Consistently Strong

Hebrews 3

James 3 5 NIV

Have you ever heard young boys arguing? It may begin as an argument about which is faster but many times it will end up with the two boys shouting something to the effect of, “My dad is stronger than your dad!” Often times we see our fathers as a symbol of strength, but what does strength look like? Is it a bodybuilder with bulging muscles? Is it a sprinter with unbelievable speed? These can be measures of physical strength but the strength that we are called to display is more than just strength of body.

The world tells us that a strong person should “get mad and fight like a man” God tells us through James to control our speech and even to control our anger. In chapter one he said, “Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to become angry”. James 1:26 tells us “If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless” In Chapter 3 he says that anyone who does not stumble in what he says is a perfect man, I can tell you I am far from perfect. He goes on to explain how such a small part of our bodies can control and lead so much of our life. When I take a flight I often sit near the wing and will watch the flaps as the pilot makes adjustments to control the aircraft. It always amazes me to see that such a small change, in a relatively small piece of the plane, can determine the altitude of such a massive machine as it carries me through the air at hundreds of miles per hour. James 3:5-8 says

5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. 7 For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. 8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.

Although the tongue is such a small part of our body it is what we use to express our thoughts and emotions to those around us. Jesus even said that our words are the overflow of our heart. Does that mean when we are sarcastic and disrespectful to those around us that is what is truly in our heart? That can be a disturbing thought sometimes. Perhaps we should use our words to view the contents of our heart.

When I lived in the South I would hear someone say something inappropriate and another person would ask, (insert your best southern accent) “You kiss yo momma with that mouth?” James says something similar but with even more force. He says, “With it we bless our Lord and Father; and with it we curse men, … these things ought not to be this way.” We should seek to honor both God and people with our words.

We should be consistent with our thoughts and actions.

We should be consistent in the strength of self-control.

It takes true strength to control your tongue.

Show strength that builds up, not tears down!

-Bill Dunn

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The Greatest Commandments

Mark 12

Mark 12 29 30 NASB

A scribe goes to Jesus and asks what the foremost commandment is.  “Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The LORD our God is one LORD; and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31.

It’s easy. Know who God is, love Him with all your heart, and love others. Well, when it’s put like this, it seems easy anyway. It’s interesting to note that if we are loving God with all our hearts, then we are keeping the first five of the 10 commandments.  (Honoring our fathers and mothers is a way we honor God as well, because He put them in authority over us. Although you could say that this fifth commandment could go with the last five and loving others.) Likewise, if we are loving others, then we are keeping the last five of the 10 commandments.

How can we love others as ourselves? We can strive to think of others before we think of ourselves. If we can make our lives more about others and less about “me”, then we are on the right track. How do we love God with “all”? Well, we must love God with every part of who we are and outwardly it shows because of how we spend our time and money. At the end of this chapter Jesus points out the widow who gave very little, but gave “all she had”. That took a serious amount of faith. God is always pleased when we act out of faith in Him.

-Melissa New

 

Repentance that Leads to Salvation

2 Corinthians 7

2 Corinthians 7_10

While I was at church last week, one of the younger girls that I have watched grow up  since she was a baby came up to me and was so very excited to whisper some big news into my ear. Her smile grew larger and larger as she leaned in close to reveal that she and her older sister are planning to be baptized in just a few weeks! I looked at her with excitement! I was overjoyed! What wonderful news for anyone to tell me, let alone this sweet girl who I adore. Of course as an education major, I am drawn towards investing in youth. I am passionate about teaching children in my daily life but more than that, I am passionate about guiding youth to become individuals who strive to honor God daily. In the same sense, Paul was passionate about building and growing the church. He was passionate about investing in others also as we see here in 2 Corinthians. I imagine the excitement that I had when I received the news of the baptisms in my church was similar to the excitement that Paul had when the people of Corinth were repenting.

 

 

While reading this chapter today, I was especially drawn to verses ten and eleven as they state,

10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret,

whereas worldly grief produces death. 11 For see what earnestness this godly grief

has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation,

what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved

yourselves innocent in the matter.

 

Question:

Is there anything in your life that is holding you back from pursuing a healthy relationship with our Heavenly Father? Moreover, is there anything in your life that is stopping you from accepting the sacrifice that His son made on our behalf?

 

  • No matter where you are at in your life right now, no matter what struggles you may be facing, I encourage you to give it all to God. Lay down all of your burdens and troubles and He will meet you wherever you are. It’s not too late to say yes to His free and perfect gift. It’s one that you don’t want to miss out on!

 

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:38

 

-Kayla Tullis

Worship God with your Body

Col 3 5a

Free Theme Week: Worship

Chapter reading for the day: Colossians 3

There is a particular “truth” that is extremely pervasive in our culture, the news, social media, etc. This “truth” is that you are the sole determiner in what you decide to do with your body and that no one else has the right to tell you what you can or can’t do with it. If you want to tattoo your whole body do it. If you want to fill your body with botox and recreate your image through plastic surgery have at it. If a woman wants to get an abortion, how dare anyone tell her she cannot. If you want to sleep around with different people in the name of finding yourself and wanting non-committal sex, more power to you. We are bombarded with messages everyday about how the individual is the authority of their body. There’s a problem though; this is a lie.

The truth is that humans are not the sole authority over their bodies, God is. The reason he is the authority is because he is the creator of our bodies (Psalm 139) and as disciples of Jesus we are to honor and glorify God and Jesus in our body. We are to subject our bodies to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and use our body for the glory of God and Jesus. Now there are many ways we can do this but for today we will look at two ways in which we can worship God in our body.

  1. Food
  2.   Sex

Food is a particular problem in America. We can eat food whenever we want and eat however much we like. The problem with this is that many Christians, along with Americans, are overweight and unhealthy. God created food to be good and for us to enjoy. The problem is when we indulge too much in food and we hurt our bodies with disease and premature death. The Bible warns against gluttony (Prov. 23.21, Philippians 3.19). When our bodies are slowed down by being overweight, too tired, and fighting disease the ministry God has given us is hindered. The remedy to being in control of food and honoring God with your body is self-control. Self-control is a fruit of the spirit (Gal. 5.22-23). Let us pursue self-control when it comes to eating. Let us pursue self-control when it comes to the quantity and quality of the food we eat. When we do this we honor and love God with our body. Your body is for more than just to take pleasure in food it is to worship God and minister to others.

A second way to love and honor God with our body is to obey God in his design of sex. Again God created sex to be good but only within the parameters that he set up. These parameters are the marriage union between a husband and wife. Whether you are married or single, any person can use sex outside of God’s will. Instead of listing activities that fall outside of God’s design for sex, I’ll speak positively to God’s will for sex. It really only comes down to two things:

  1. A husband and wife are to be sexually fidelitous
  2. A single person is to be abstinent in their body and mind until marriage

God states plainly in I Thessalonians 4.3, that his will for his people is to abstain from sexual immorality. Participating in sex the right way results in us loving and worshipping God with our body. As Paul states in his letter to the Corinthians:

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy spirit which is in you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” – I Corinthians 6.19-20

-Jacob Rohrer