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Posts Tagged ‘encouragement’

Relating to Each Other in Trust and Integrity

September 13th, 2017

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Matthew 7:1-2)

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring you to God … I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge, and competent to instruct one another. (Romans 15:7,14)

The fourth core value that the Vision and Mission Team identified in 2008 is: We relate to one another with trust and integrity

Christians can be confident in one another because of the work of Christ in each or our lives. We can believe the best in our fellow Christian and in spite of our many weaknesses we know that God will complete in each believer what He began at their salvation.

One of the interesting things of the apostles is that they always saw Christians in the highest possible terms. Despite the problems the churches were dealing with, despite their weaknesses, when they wrote to them they described them positively. For example, Paul wrote: “To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ” (Col. 1:2); “To the saints … the faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:1); “to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy” (1 Cor. 1:2). This was typical of the positive way they saw each other in Christ.

The habit of some to criticize, to find fault, and to doubt whether anyone can really improve or change, all falls away at the power of the cross. Through the cross we learn that none of us is able to save himself. We all are fallen creatures. But God is at work in Christ redeeming us.

Because of the love of Christ and the power of His Spirit, we can see each other positively - not in light of our failures but in light of the power and grace of God.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Cor. 5:16-17)

Now we can relate to one another positively and honestly, in hope and confidence, not negatively in suspicion and doubt. And because we treat others positively, they will treat us the same way.

  • Pray that God would wash away from our memories old disagreements and old pains of betrayals.
  • Pray that in the place of doubt we would have hope for one another
  • Pray for those who serve on committees and in ministries in our church, that we would all see each other in light of the progress we have found in Christ, and not in the light of our old failures of the flesh.
  • Pray that we might be worthy of respect and trust.
  • Pray that we might deal with one another honestly - not lying for some personal advantage, but trust in God and simply telling the truth.
  • Pray that God may give you patience with others, even as He gives them patience for dealing with you.
  • Pray that we would be kind, positive, and uplifting with our words with one another.

21 Days of Prayer 2017 , ,

We Do Not Lose Heart

July 31st, 2017

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16 ESV)

The apostle reveals a thought-altering principle here, that the Christian life is not dependent on what happens to us in the physical or material realm. We live by another principle, a spiritual one, and though outwardly we are wasting away - we all are in decline physically by our mid-thirties - we are never in decline spiritually. Rather we go from “strength to strength” in the Lord Jesus (Psalm 84:7).

The attitude of a pilgrim, that was so beautifully described in Psalm 84, is the attitude of the Christian. We are on a pilgrimage, not merely a journey but a purposeful journey and we should keep our eyes set on the goal. We do not lose heart because we know the outcome of our faith, the result of God’s grace to us in Christ Jesus. The psalmist wrote:

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the Valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
each one appears before God in Zion. (Psalm 84:5-7 ESV)

Certainly there are difficult moments we experience here, setbacks, sometimes severe ones, that may dampen our spirits. But through the eye of faith we can overcome all of these and look to see what God is doing within us each day. Jeremiah the prophet wrote:

Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall!
My soul continually remembers it
and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:19-24 ESV)

This is the song of the believer - the mercies of God are new every morning and God is at work in our lives each day. Though outwardly we decline, spiritually and inwardly we continue to grow by God’s grace and mercy. Our hearts should be continually set on Him, valuing His love and grace above all in life, knowing Him personally and enjoying that relationship.

For some Christians, the Christian life is about receiving the material blessings of God. For others, it is about having friends in the Lord, or receiving the social blessings of God. For others, it is about receiving recognition and respect as leaders in the church. These are merely the minor blessings associated with the Christian faith - and we could add many more to these.

But the heart of the Christian life is to receive the new life of Christ, to know God through Christ, to rejoice in our new relationship and in His grace to us, and to let Him renew us inwardly each day. Friends, blessings, respect - all of these are good things, but they are not the main thing. The main thing is knowing God through Christ and receiving His life.

Let this be your focus today.

2 Corinthians , ,