~10 minute read time
~15 minute speech time
Do you aspire to become a student of the Bible to understand better and apply its teachings? James 1:22 reminds us, "Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only..." To be an effective learner of God's Word, one must strive for excellence yet remain humble before Him. 2 Timothy 2:15 instructs every true believer on how to present themselves to God - as approved, unashamed workers and rightly dividing His words. This blog post encourages readers with practical tips on becoming wise bible students. Through intentional study and thoughtfully applying biblical principles, we can reach the spiritual maturity required for a deeper understanding of what it truly means to honor God through our actions without shame or guilt.
Learn to Interpret the Bible in Context - What Did the Author Mean and How Does it Apply to Us Today?
Learning to interpret the Bible in context can be challenging, but with practice, it will bring us insight and clarity. We must remember that ancient people often wrote from different points of view and had other priorities than us. That doesn't mean the ancient authors are irrelevant to our modern lives; however, we must approach their words thoughtfully. Getting accurate interpretations today of ancient texts requires careful study of the original audience and what was considered meaningful in their time and place. With patience, practice, and prayerful consideration, we can confidently understand what the ancient authors meant and how their message applies to our lives today.
Scriptures that apply to this text include:
Psalm 119:105, 2 Peter 1:20-21, James 1:22-25, Philippians 4:8-9
The Bible is alive and active, so let's develop daily study habits reflecting this truth (Hebrews 4:12). Prayerful consideration combined with careful research of the cultural context will provide the best-informed approach to Bible study.
What is the biblical concept of "rightly dividing" the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15), and what does it mean to be an approved, unashamed worker in this context
The Bible encourages us to "rightly divide" the word of truth according to 2 Timothy 2:15. This means to "analyze correctly" and to "cut straight" to get to the heart of what God reveals in His Word. To be an approved, unashamed worker requires intentionality, discipline, and humility. We can endeavor to do this by earnestly studying the scriptures, submitting our understanding to the scripture, and drawing upon several Bible versions to aid in deeper discussion or clarification. Becoming well-grounded in scripture leads to a more sure foundation yet still with humble hearts that remain open to further study or modified understanding where necessary. In this way, we can continue learning and growing as we gain insight into God's character on a deeper level and strive for greater holiness.
Scriptures that apply to this paragraph include:
Proverbs 2:3-5, Matthew 7:24-25, Romans 10:17, Colossians 3:16, James 1:21-22
Critical habits of Bible students who exemplify 2 Timothy 2:15
Bible students are vital members of the Christian community, and those who seek to embody 2 Timothy 2:15 understand that they must constantly strive to improve how they interact with God's word. Adopting effective and responsible habits for Bible study is vital for making progress in this endeavor. This could include setting time aside each day for quiet reflection on scriptures or writing notes after Bible readings that explore the text further. Other helpful habits include staying open-minded, being willing to change your understanding through honest dialogue with trusted peers, and checking sources to ensure conclusions are based on valid evidence. As our knowledge of the Bible deepens, we can trust that we will increasingly come closer to presenting ourselves as one approved by God, a worker who has no need to be ashamed and is rightly handling the Word of truth.
a. Daily prayer and meditation
Daily prayer and meditation can be essential to the spiritual journey toward deepening our knowledge and understanding of God. Taking time to pause, reflect and meditate spiritually can help a person become a more approved worker of His Word. It's a discipline that is best practiced daily, for it requires serious contemplation - thoughtfully delving into the meaning behind passages and opening spiritual conversations with God - all done with humility. Doing so can bring joy, strength, and spiritual clarity to every aspect of one's life through true communion with the Lord.
b. Dedicated study time
Developing a consistent and focused Bible study time is one of the most crucial elements for becoming an approved worker of God. Carving out a preferred time each day to spend with Him and studying His Word in your preferred translation will help build knowledge and understanding of the fundamental truths found in God's Word. As you read it, pray that He will open your eyes to see further into His reality and increase your devotion to serving Him. As you put into practice 2 Timothy 2:15, be wise to commit yourself to solid daily Bible study so you can rightly handle the Word of truth with confidence as an approved worker of God.
c. Use of helpful aids such as commentaries, Bible dictionaries, and concordances
Working to be diligent Bible students, well-equipped to handle the word of truth rightly, can be daunting and overwhelming. Thankfully, commentaries, Bible dictionaries, and concordances are helpful aids for us in our journey. It is essential to approach these resources with a prayerful mind and heart. We use commentaries only after consulting various translations to truly understand the text in its historical context by our thinking first. God's guidance, commentaries, Bible dictionaries, and concordances can assist us in deepening our understanding of scripture and faithfully living out God's Word.
Ways to apply "rightly dividing" truth in your life
The call to "rightly divide the word of truth" requires consistent practice and humility. The Bible is God's Word, and truth should be read, grasped, applied, and shared through hearts filled with love. Studying scripture should be done to gain understanding so that the facts within can help form how we think, act, and interact with the world around us. To rightly divide the truth found within God's words is essential to doctrine, aiding our growth as Christians. Let us strive each day to grow more consistently in diligently studying His Word for ourselves so that we may do so with confidence and bold faith when called upon to share it with others.
Practical tips for becoming an approved, unashamed worker in God's word
Growing our knowledge of and understanding of God's word is integral to growing closer to Him. One simple step towards that end is to choose one translation consistently for reading and then use various translations alongside it to gain a deeper understanding. That helps us grasp a passage's meaning more fully and equips us to become approved, unashamed workers who rightly handle the word of truth on the path God laid for us. Translations before other Bible helps develop your critical thinking first.
a. Developing an attitude of humility and receptivity when studying Scripture
God challenges our preconceived ideas and worldly perceptions when we humbly study scripture—an attitude of receptivity allows us to grow in God's knowledge and be approved workers in His word. To rightly handle God's truth, we must first strive to remove the bias of our human thoughts, desires, and culture. When we do this with humility and openness, God reveals His truths. As we endeavor to present God with "approved workers," may we remember that He alone is God Omniscient and Omnipotent; with reverence and awe, cling to God and His word. May each prayerful study lead us closer to God's truth!
b. Joining a Bible study group or attending church regularly to learn from others
When studying the Bible, leaning not to your understanding should be the mantra of your research. It's helpful and inspiring to be part of a Bible study group or attend church regularly to grow in our knowledge and understanding with others. Proverbs 27:17 says, "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." A motto that is so true for any student of the Lord. We can learn from one another and help each other perfect the Saints for ministry work. Joining a Bible study group or attending church regularly is an important step we must embrace when following God's truth and trusting His word.
c. Maintaining a habit of regular personal Scripture memorization and reflection
Memorization and reflection on scripture are essential to being a faithful Bible student. As we meditate on the Word of God, we understand that our natural responses tend outside the truth of scriptural principles. Still, as we are born again and transformed by renewing our minds by embracing God's truth, our natural responses mold into spiritual responses that reflect biblical principles and lead us closer to God. Therefore it's essential to prioritize memorizing scripture and have a routine you can rely on as an approved worker of the Highest. Endeavor each day to look deeply into scripture so that you can execute what it is saying without having any need for the shame of not correctly handling the truth.
Examples from successful Bible students who exemplify 2 Timothy 2:15
In his writing to Timothy, Paul calls us all to model ourselves after him, for Paul wanted to imitate Christ, and it is in this imitation that Paul could rightly handle the word of truth. Paul prints this sentiment in his letter to Timothy: "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). We can take heart in other examples of Christian Bible students who have done their best to live out Paul's challenge in their own lives. Take Jesus himself as an example-- even though he was God's son incarnate with all the kingdom's power at his disposal, Jesus frequently chose to arm himself only by the sword of truth instead of wielding any earthly weapons. Because Jesus rightfully handled the word of truth, He inspires us today!
In conclusion, in this context, we have looked at the biblical concept of "rightly dividing" the word of truth and what it means to be an approved, unashamed worker. We have also discussed ways to apply this truth in our lives and practical tips for becoming approved, unashamed worker. Becoming a successful Bible student involves much more than words; it means changing how we approach Bible study. If we remain humble and open to what God is teaching us, bible study can profoundly transform our lives. We invite you to use these concepts to become an approved, unashamed worker! Remember the examples from those successful Bible students who exemplify 2 Timothy 2:15 and strive to reflect their strength, insight, and passion for learning about God's word. So now we ask you: What will you do to divide the word of truth rightly?
Courage Amid Suffering
813 Words; 7 minute read
Finding the courage to keep going when we suffer can be challenging. We may feel like we're all alone, but the Bible tells us that suffering is a part of life for everyone. Jesus suffered, and he knows what we're going through. He promised that he would never leave us or abandon us. So when we are struggling, remember that we have a loving God who understands our pain and is always with us. Let's also encourage each other with the words of Scripture: Producing courageous deeds with God as our witness. (Hebrews 10:38). When we stand firm in faith even when things are tough, others will see God at work in our lives and be drawn to him. So let's not lose heart but press on Courageously!
The Bible teaches that suffering is a part of life.
The Bible clearly states that suffering is a part of life, but courage and faith can shine through in these moments of conflict. God never promises us a life free from hardship or pain, but He does provide comfort and courage to stand firm in our faith, even when we face suffering. God's promise to never leave us nor forsake us gives us hope - the courage to press on faithfully through any storm that comes our way. The Bible teaches that courage and perseverance will always be rewarded if you remain true to the faith. (Psalm 31:10; Hebrews 13:5)
God uses suffering to grow our faith and character.
In times of great suffering, feeling lost and hopeless appear to be all there is. Thankfully, God uses these difficult times to help us mature and grow closer to Him. Through suffering, He strengthens our faith and refines our character - honing us into who He designed us to be. As we choose courage and trust that God has a purpose for our pain, we will mature in life experiences. A maturity that not only produces endurance but brings a sense of peace to carry us through hard times. (Romans 5:3-4; 2 Corinthians 4:17)
We can have hope amid suffering because God is with us.
While suffering, it can often be difficult to keep hope alive in our hearts. However, we can take comfort in knowing that God has promised us His indwelling presence through the power of His Holy Spirit. God is always with us and will never leave us alone, no matter how dark the hour may seem. By drawing from this new life and strength found only in Him, we can face our struggles with courage and grace, knowing He guides us on our journey. (John 14:16-17; Psalm 23:4)
We can courageously face suffering by depending on God's strength.
Often in life, we find ourselves on a rough path fraught with turbulence and trials; yet it is in moments like this that our faith is tested. But there is a source of power considerably more potent than our own – God's might and wisdom, which resides within us if we would only reach out and let it guide us. Depending on His strength will grant us the courage to face these tribulations head-on – with faith as our foundation; God will walk us through any trial with incredible courage and hope, whatever the outcome may be. We can do more than merely survive suffering – but have the power to thrive within it because He makes everything possible in his name. (Psalm 46:1-2; James 1:12)
When we suffer, we can comfort others with our hope in Christ.
Even when the trials of this life weigh down our hearts and minds, we can be a beacon of hope for others in their suffering. We can discover the courage to rise above any pain or difficulties through prayer and faith in God and His promises. Uplifting one another by reminding each other of Jesus' victory over death and his eternal reward is an encouraging reminder that no amount of suffering on Earth ever lasts forever. We can all find solace when we remember that our suffering pales compared to the joy Christ promised us, a joy never ending and an eternity spent in his presence. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4; Romans 8:18)
While suffering is inevitable in this life, we can face it courageously with the support of God's Word and strength. Scripture reminds us that Jesus overcame the world and endured great suffering. By clinging to His promises and depending on His power, we can walk in obedience even when suffering appears overwhelming. We should not forget that the same hope that brought us through our struggles can provide comfort for others too. In conclusion, let us "lift our eyes and look to the heavens," where our Father fights for us every step of the way. He will give us the courage to overcome pain or persecution as we faithfully follow Him. Where do you need to walk in courage? Pursue God's Word to find strength and everlasting life; nothing is impossible when we trust Him.
Church Mission to Value People
5 minute read; 7 minute speech time
Value People the Key to Reclaiming the Church Mission
John Maxwell argues that if the church is to reclaim its mission, it must first value people. He states that churches often focus on maintaining their buildings and programs while neglecting the people they are supposed to serve. Maxwell believes that by valuing people above all else, the church can make a difference in the world. Whether you agree with Maxwell, his argument is compelling and sure to get you thinking about the church's role in society today.
The church has lost its way because it has stopped valuing people.
The church was once a beacon in the night, a pillar of strength for those looking for solace and overcoming sin. Yet, somewhere along the way, we began prioritizing politics and programs over people. We stopped valuing individuals, especially the poor, marginalized, broken, and weak. I believe the church has lost its way because it has stopped seeing people as essential and shifted its focus toward politics to maintain power. We must return to respecting and serving people- believing that we are all created in His image- if we want to recapture the spirit of the original mission found within our ancient texts.
The church's mission is to reach out to people and help them find salvation.
As the church looks to serve God and others, we must value people above all else. Our mission is to reach out to those in need by coming under them with unconditional love and compassion. We must serve others to serve God, providing opportunities for those within our reach to find the salvation they long for. It's not about collecting members—it's about genuinely caring for the needs of each individual and helping them discover a saving grace that can transform their lives forever.
The key to reclaiming the church mission is to start valuing people again.
If we want to reclaim the church's mission, one of the most important keys is actively adding value to every person we encounter. We must live out our good values and share them with others. Remember that value trumps law. We must actively seek it and focus on investing in others. That's how we reclaim our mission: by valuing the community of people, we come in contact with to build and bless.
When we value people, we can see them as God sees them.
Jesus, being the epitome of both grace and mercy, maintained that all individuals - regardless of who they were or what they had done - were of infinite value. Jesus did not judge in the world's ways; He instead chose to uphold his teachings, teaching those around Him to do the same. We must adopt this standard to see others as Jesus sees them truly. By valuing people above all else - their character, background, or experiences - we will build a relationship between God and them as Jesus intended. Our calling and responsibility are to show God's love to others through understanding and kindness. Valuing every person we encounter allows us to see them through Jesus's narrow gate, which invites us all in despite our faults and failings.
As we value people, we will be able to love them unconditionally.
When we truly value people, connecting on a deeper level and recognizing their worth, we can extend ourselves much more meaningfully. We are no longer limited by our assumptions and can see them through God's eyes. Our influence comes by actively adding value to those we contact. We become attractive to people by living good values as scripture teaches us. We transform people by sharing those very same values. We do all this unconditionally.
When we love unconditionally, we can lead them into a relationship with Christ.
We have a unique opportunity to love people without reservations or conditions. By serving people and coming under them, rather than attempting to lord over them, we can influence their lives and encourage behaviors reflective of Christ's teachings. When we practice unconditional love, adding value and worth to people, individuals become more open to a relationship with Christ. Only through serving others can we hope to exhibit our commitment to Christian values and make it easier for those around us to accept our offer of friendship in Jesus' name.
The church has lost its way because it has stopped valuing people. The church's mission is to reach out to people and help them find salvation, but we can't do that if we don't value them. The key to reclaiming the church mission is to start valuing people again. When we value people, we will be able to see them as God sees them: precious and worthy of love. As we value people, we will be able to love them unconditionally- just as Christ loves us. When we love unconditionally, we can lead them into a relationship with Christ. Who in your life do you need to add value to that they might experience the unconditional love of Jesus?
Winning the Good Fight, Running the Right Race, and Having Steadfast Faith - A Guide to Reaching God's Promises
The journey of life can be a challenging one. We are all on our paths, striving for success and fulfillment. But it's important to remember to keep a steadfast faith in God as we make our way through this race. It's not always easy, but anything is possible with God at our side.
a. What Does It Mean to "Fight the Good Fight"?
b. How Can We Win This Fight?
3. Running the Right Race
a. What Does It Mean to "Run the Right Race"?
b. How Can We Ensure We're On the Right Path?
4. Having Steadfast Faith
a. What Does It Mean to Have "Steadfast Faith"?
b. How Can We Cultivate a Steadfast Faith?
a. Summary of the Three Elements for Reaching God's Promises
b. Final Words of Encouragement
The journey toward God's promises may not always be easy, but it is worth it. The "good fight, right race, and steadfast faith" are three components that can help us get there. With God at our side, anything is possible. Let us strive to stay the course, fight the good fight, remain vigilant in running the right race, and cultivate an unshakable faith to reach those promises of God
Good Fight, Right Race, and Steadfast Faith are three core concepts for a successful Christian journey. Together, these elements form the foundation of what it takes to be on the path to reach God's promises.
The "good fight" refers to striving toward righteousness in our actions and decisions. It is the fight against temptation and our human weaknesses while striving toward the good that God desires of us.
The "right race" refers to staying on the path that leads to eternal life with Him. This race is not easy; it requires vigilance, focus, and determination to stay on course.
Finally, "steadfast faith" is the foundation of our race. It is a steadfast belief in God, and His promises, despite any obstacles that may come our way. With God at our side, anything is possible.
This blog post will explore how these three elements intertwine to create a successful Christian journey toward the promises of God. By understanding the importance of these three components, we can create a clear path to reach our ultimate destination.
2. The Good Fight
a. What Does It Mean to "Fight the Good Fight"?
To fight the good fight means to strive toward righteousness in our thoughts, words, and actions. It is the fight against temptation and our human weaknesses while striving toward the good that God desires of us.
It takes strength and courage to withstand temptation and pursue righteousness; it requires faith and trust in God's plan for us. We must remember that although it is a difficult journey, it is worth fighting for.
We can fight the good fight by surrendering our lives to God and trusting His plan. This means being willing to accept the consequences of our decisions and using them as learning experiences to pursue righteousness in the future better. It also involves being honest about our weaknesses and striving to overcome them.
We can also fight the good fight by surrounding ourselves with people who will encourage us in our walk with God and support us on this journey. We must have a community of believers to turn to for spiritual guidance and wisdom.
Ultimately, it is up to us to decide when and how to fight the good fight. With faith and determination, we can overcome any obstacles that stand in our way and stay on track toward God's promises.
b. How Can We Win This Fight?
We can win this fight by trusting in God's plan and recognizing that we are ultimately responsible for our actions. We must be honest about our weaknesses and strive to overcome them while seeking encouragement from a community of believers.
It is essential to understand that temptation will come, but how we choose to respond to it is what matters. We must have the strength and courage to resist temptation and pursue righteousness.
We can also build our spiritual "muscles" by reading scripture, praying, attending church services regularly, and participating in Bible studies or small groups. These activities will help to keep us accountable and remind us why we are in this race, to begin with.
It is essential to remember that God is always with us and will never leave our side. He will provide the strength and courage necessary to win the good fight and stay on track toward His promises.
3. Running the Right Race
a. What Does It Mean to "Run the Right Race"?
To run the right race is to stay focused on our ultimate destination: eternal life with God. This race is not easy; it requires vigilance, focus, and determination to stay on course.
Running the right race involves setting personal goals to help us grow spiritually and live a life of holiness. We must also be aware of our surroundings and the temptations that may come our way. We should strive to make choices that will lead us closer to God, no matter how hard or complex they might seem initially.
We must remember that this race is not just about reaching the finish line; it's about staying on track to avoid any detours or distractions. We should strive to remain focused on our mission, keep the faith, and never give up despite any obstacles that may come our way.
By understanding what it means to run the right race, we can create a clear path toward our ultimate destination with God.
b. How Can We Ensure We're On the Right Path?
We can ensure we are on the right path by cultivating a deep relationship with God. This means reading scripture, praying, and attending church services regularly. These activities will help us stay focused and strengthen us when temptation comes.
It is also important to surround ourselves with people who will support our Christian journey and guide our race toward God. These can be close friends, family members, or leaders from our church community.
We must remember that running the race is a marathon, not a sprint. We should rest and reflect on our progress as we strive toward eternal life with God.
4. Maintaining Steadfast Faith
a. What Does It Mean to Have "Steadfast Faith"?
Steadfast faith is the foundation of our race. It is a steadfast belief in God, and His promises, despite any obstacles that may come our way. With God at our side, anything is possible.
Having steadfast faith means having the courage to trust God and His plan for our lives. It requires us to believe that God will guide us through no matter how difficult the race may get.
It also involves a firm conviction that good will come out of any situation, no matter how bad it may seem. We must remember that with God, all things are possible, and our race will ultimately be successful if we remain faithful to Him.
We can stay the course throughout this race and continue striving toward God's promises by having steadfast faith.
b. How Can We Cultivate a Steadfast Faith?
We can cultivate steadfast faith by staying connected to God through prayer and reading scripture. This will help us stay focused on our race and provide strength and courage when faced with difficult situations.
We should also take time for self-reflection to check in with ourselves and make sure we are making progress in our race. We should note any areas we may need to work on and make sure we are making positive changes to stay the course. Don't be afraid to ask others about their perceptions of our steadfast faith.
By cultivating steadfast faith, we can stay focused on what lies ahead and continue to progress toward God's promises.
a. Summary of the Three Elements for Reaching God's Promises
Reaching God's promises requires a good fight, the right race, and steadfast faith.
We must fight against our weaknesses and strive for spiritual growth. We must stay focused on the race at hand, choosing paths that will lead us closer to God. And finally, we must maintain a steadfast faith in God and His promises for us, trusting that He will guide us to the finish line.
By embracing these three elements, we can successfully race towards God's promises and secure our place in eternal life with Him.
b. Final Words of Encouragement
Although the race is complex and, at times, overwhelming, we can find hope knowing that God is with us every step of the way. With Him, anything is possible. We must remain faithful to Him and trust that He will guide us throughout this race toward His promises.
So let us continue to strive forward, fight the good fight, race in the right direction, and maintain steadfast faith. Let us race towards God's promises and live our lives for Him.
Grace and blessings!
Roe V Wade Quick Comments
Today, the United States Supreme Court has officially released its decision on the Mississippi case, which jeopardizes the infamous Roe versus Wade decision of January 22, 1973. I would certainly like to put out blogs that I know up front would be without controversy and be a place where people will see that they will receive thought-provoking Bible-based inspiration and knowledge from which they can gain wisdom. I desire to "Inspire Excellence."
As a Christian, I understand that I exist in this world but should not be of the world. Meaning that my life follows a higher standard of being, which I believe to be God's Word (The Bible). Yes, I am to submit to Governing authorities. However, when the Governing authority runs counter to the ultimate source, I am not required to submit to worldly mandates. The Government does not determine for me what is right or wrong. The Lord does that for me. Christians need to become clear on that point. Just because something is legal does not make it moral or righteous.
In considering what many would consider a momentous decision from our Supreme Court today, I prioritize it with the scriptures that ultimately direct my life. I am often asked my opinion about various matters of life and living. My best answers are not what I think but what I clearly articulate from God's Word. If I can effectively speak for God without addition or subtraction, I have done my fellow man an excellent service. I have done a disservice to my fellow man when I muddy up the waters by not being clear, choosing to convey my personal opinion, or not standing up for the truth.
God has already settled the abortion issue. If we know what the Bible says about abortion, then we know how we are to respond when it shows up in our lives. Not doing what is right in the sight of God is sin, no matter the excuses. Before you parade your sentiment about the decision today:
I can not imagine a scenario where God would advise abortion. Therefore my advice must be like His. If God suggested abortion, I would have to do the same in those cases. Today's decision will not eliminate abortion, so Christians still have to decide for themselves what is right or wrong. Now, if you continue to look to the Supreme Court for your moral compass, your compass will point in opposite directions depending on when you look at it. That's a big difference; God is the same today as He was yesterday. He does not change His mind based on the climate of the political situation.
My advice to you is to turn to God and His ways. He will light your path to righteousness. Follow Him all the days of your life. Then you will not be tossed to and fro with every change from men's courts. As for me and my house, we know and trust the Lord. The Supreme Court does not get to decide what is right and wrong in my home. Only the Lord can do that. He has given me His Word that I might walk with Him and avoid the world's foolishness.
There is a quick 5 question form you can fill out to help determine your thoughts on Roe V Wade. Click the link below to submit your responses.
What are your thoughts, and leave me your comments?
Powerful Prayer Basic and Needed
Reading Time 4 min 41 sec - Speaking Time 9 min 1 sec
What are the traditional Christian activities? Assemble, communion, fellowship, evangelism, and baptism, to name a few. Of all the Christian "things" we do, however, the thing we probably do most often is prayer. We pray when we eat, worship, when we're alone, when visiting sick people, during times of trouble and despair, or when we are pleased.
We probably rack up more time praying than any other spiritual "exercise" we do as Christians. For this reason, the prayer activity sometimes gets a little stale and boring. Like anything else, if you repeat it often enough, it begins to feel old and ineffective.
Never stop praying, and let's consider some reasons why we should persevere. You should persevere in prayer because:
Prayer is Needed For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
In Ephesians 6:12, Paul tells us that the true struggle in this world is not between countries or economic systems (these only reflect the actual battle). Work is "..against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." The battle is against Satan and his evil forces continually trying to destroy the church and spread the word of God.
Some people have wisdom from below and can only see the small picture of human wars, politics, and power. God has given through His word the ability to see the bigger picture, which is that the battle in the spiritual realm creates the struggle in the physical realm. Some choose to fight with guns and diplomacy and financial wheeling and dealing - the local battles for territory, money, and temporary power. Others choose to fight the war on the first front, the spiritual front against the true enemies, and they fight this battle with the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and prayer.
Paul says that the "wages of sin are death" in Romans 6:23. Peter says that Satan continually prowls around to devour. In other words, he constantly tries to seduce people into sin to create death and its symptoms in their lives. Prayer is needed to counteract his attacks in many ways:
Continue to pray because it is needed, but also because:
Prayer is the Basic Ministry of the Church.We know the ministry system in the church: Education, Evangelism, Fellowship, Service, and Worship. These activities allow individuals and the congregation growth. But each of these individual ministry groups needs prayer to be effective. We need to:
Never stop praying because:
Prayer is PowerfulSometimes I hear people say things like, "We could always pray" or "Let's pray; it can't hurt." Statements like this reveal that we don't recognize the power of prayer. Prayer is not wishful thinking or desperation! Prayer is powerful for several reasons:
We have not covered every aspect of prayer, the types of prayers to be made, or examples of how we should pray. This June, we will give more information about renewed faith and prayer - why and how to do it effectively. For now, I remind you not to give up on praying as part of your Christian life and encourage those who do not pray regularly to begin making it part of their daily walk with the Lord because:
Take the very short 5 question quiz on this blog below.
Leave your comments or suggestion.
Renew Faith with Prayer
Reading time - 3min 31sec Speaking time 6min 46 secs Words 881
We have begun the year intending to renew our faith. The effort in June to achieve that objective is "Prayer." It would probably be helpful for us to consider what prayer is not.
Prayer is Not
Each person complete in their own mind the following sentence: "For me, prayer is ___________________. "
What prayer needs to be
In developing a godly character, prayer needs to be the following:
- I Timothy 2:1-2
And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.
- Matthew 6:7
Godly mature Christians replace worry with prayer in their lives. We seek God's solutions for our troubles through prayer instead of more worry.
As human beings, we are naturally concerned about illness and trials, but the concern is different than worry. Respect treats matters seriously, relying on God to provide through prayer. Worry is choosing to fret and review the problem without giving it to God in prayer. The problem with anxiety is that it has no faith attached to it, so it is a nonspiritual action that does not affect the situation other than weakening the individual.
The perils and promises of prayer
Here are a few tips for those ready to devote more time and energy to prayer. Remember:
7 Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
- II Corinthians 12:7-10
Note that God gave Paul what he needed (humility) and not what he wanted (healing). God required glory through Paul's weakness rather than by his strength.
Adapted from: Prayer, 10 Steps to the New Spiritual You - BibleTalkTV
3 Reasons Why We Pray
Reading Time 4 min 58 sec - Speaking Time 9 min 34 sec
For June, efforts to "Renew our Faith" continue with considering prayer. There are many approaches to discussing the subject of "Prayer." For example:
Church leaders say that prayer is the action in life that we need most to do but do the least. Therefore, before we study how to pray, who to pray to, and what to say, it would be prudent first to understand some of the important reasons we ought to pray.
First, let's define prayer as communication and communion with God. We should also be aware that prayer does not have to be verbal. You can pray in silence; man can do prayer with his body; man can pray with his life. The more ways we can learn to pray, the better it will be for our souls.
Here are three reasons why we should pray:
1. Prayer is how we unburden our hearts of the anxiety and guilt that plagues us because of sin. Amazingly, people will try everything under the sun to deal with their worries and fears (drugs, self-help methods, escapes, and devices) before finally coming to God in prayer.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.- I Peter 5:6-7
Notice that Peter doesn't say that we have to work out our problems and give them to God for approval, nor does he suggest that we pray and ask God for the solutions so we can take care of the problems with His divine help (e.g., "God, give me the plan…!"). He says to take the burden off of your heart and give it to God — that's it! I'm not saying that this absolves us of the responsibility for our lives and problems, but through prayer, we can detach ourselves from the anxiety, fear, and stress caused by these things.
Prayer serves us the same way when we use it to deal with the problems we have due to the sin in our lives. As Christians, we often sin and fail in living as we ought. God knows this and has given us the avenue of prayer as the starting point in addressing these issues. Yes, we must resist temptation and secure the help we need to do away with sinful behavior. John writes the first action in combatting sinfulness is to acknowledge it as such and appeal to God for help and forgiveness in sincere prayer.
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. - I John 1:8-9
For the non-Christian, forgiveness comes through baptism (Acts 2:38). However, for the Christian, God has provided the spiritual exercise of prayer to accomplish spiritual healing. We need to pray because we leave with God the worry caused by trials and the guilt due to our sins through this action. No other method is more effective to these ends than prayer. Prayer is a vital rhythm in the health of the soul.
2. We need to pray because prayer initiates spiritual and physical blessings for ourselves and others (Matthew 6:31-32).
In Matthew 7:7, Jesus tells us that we should ask for the things we need, and God (who knows what we need) will provide according to His will and purpose.
Our society prides itself on being independent. The world admires the self-made man/woman, and we strive to be fully self-sufficient or at least the dominant partner in any cooperative enterprise we undertake. As Americans, it goes against our training, history, and character to be dependent, yet, in reality, this is what we are — totally reliant on God!
Prayer is our expression of dependence on God. We cannot think of or enumerate everything needed to sustain our daily lives, but in prayer, we express our dependence on God to supply everything we need. In addition to the physical things required, prayer is also the way we access the "spiritual" blessings necessary for growth in the kingdom of God.
Paul describes specific blessings only obtainable through prayer in his letter to the Ephesian church. There are no physical ways to generate things like spiritual wisdom, a more precise knowledge of God, and an understanding of eternal life through Jesus Christ other than through an active prayer life.
For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
- Ephesians 1:15-18
3. Prayer is necessary because, through prayer, we sanctify (purify) everything that we have to consume or use with a clear conscience and a joyful heart.
For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer. - I Timothy 4:4-5
Is there anything in this world that is not imperfect because of sin? Are we not compromised in some way no matter what we do? For example:
Join us at the Brookfield Church of Christ, where we will present four sermons on "Prayer" for your consumption and spiritual benefit.
Visitors and Opportunities
Due to Christian attendance sinking, many believe that there are not enough opportunities for the church to win souls. If you have fallen into this mode of thinking, I would like to dispel you from it. It all depends on how you think about opportunities and what you think about the church.
Opportunities are when we can share our faith in a way that we hope will be persuasive. They are not just the times that individuals visit our church buildings. We are the church, and we take the church with us wherever we go. Therefore, everyone we come across is a visitor to the church. This expanded and accurate depiction gives us a better understanding of the opportunities to present the church. There are way more visitors to the church than our bulletins or guest boards portray.
The question becomes, are we accurately portraying the body of Christ? Are our visitors getting an authentic glimpse into what the church is? Perhaps that is why guests who attend our corporate assemblies are not persuaded about the church as we think they ought to be. They've already judged their involvement in the faith we profess. Their visit is a kind gesture to you as a friend, but that soil is not ready to receive the seed that is God's Word.
Let's take a few moments to consider what opportunities are. Here are nine "Essentials on Opportunities" that John Maxwell, a Christian preacher, turned wildly successful leadership guru, put together.
There are more chances for us to present the church than we realize. We must become more aware of those opportunities and adequately show the body of Christ for the benefit of humanity. Do not wait for opportunities to come your way. Instead, create your prospects found with and inside your problems. This proactive approach to opportunities carries a powerful ability to develop ways to increase visitors to experience the abundant life in the church.
What are your thoughts about opportunities the church creates for itself? What problems are you aware of that are opportunities? Who was the last visitor you are aware of to the church?
Choose the button below to get assistance in evaluating opportunities for visitors.
Loving Your Visitors
421 Words - Reading Time (1min 41secs) - Speaking Time (3min 14secs)
The world today is always trying to sell us something. Commerce is a way of life for most. Buying and selling take up a disproportionate amount of our human experience. It has gotten to the point that individuals feel like they are being sold in everyday human discourse even when they are not. Communication today often feels like manipulation. One person is trying to convince another person about their ideas.
The same thing applies to issues of faith. In evangelism, this modern backdrop of buying and selling is in place. Conversations of an evangelism nature can feel like you're selling something. The recipients think they are being manipulated and coerced. Before you can effectively communicate such intimate knowledge, consider the answer to these three questions in the individual's mind.
If you have ever spoken with someone about your faith and they make a complaint about you selling something, then it is time to consider another more powerful command. Our Lord gave us a command as one of the two most outstanding commands. That is the command to "Love your neighbor." Look at what Jesus teaches us in Matthew 22:36-40.
Matthew 22:36–40 (ESV)
36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" 37 And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."
As a people trying to lead others to Christ, we must do a better job at the second most excellent command. Doing this will allow others to answer the previous three questions mentioned above in a positive light. When we love our neighbor, then leading can happen in good soil. Love removes ulterior motives where people think we only want to convert them to our religion. Instead, people will think we are doing what is best for them and not for ourselves.
Here are three questions to ask yourself in regards to loving your visitors.
Barry G. Johnson, Sr.
An Evangelist at the Church of Christ which meets in Brookfield, IL.