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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 , ,

Confidence through the Lord

March 7th, 2017

I have confidence in you through the Lord… (Galatians 5:10 KJV)

Our confidence in one another is not based on what is in us, but rather it rests upon God and trusts in His work of redemption in us.

There are some people whom we feel we can trust because of their upbringing, or on the basis of how their character has revealed itself. They have kept their word, have done the right thing even when it was difficult, and have served the Lord sacrificially. All of these things reveal a mature character.

Yet our hope and confidence in one another should have another force behind them - the work of God. We should not trust another person’s conscience as much as we trust the Holy Spirit who will bring conviction to their conscience, and not only conviction but regeneration, newness of life, and the character of Christ. As good as our upbringing has been, as well as we have been taught, mentored, and instructed, as sacrificially as we have served and as hard as we have been tried, none of these experiences and influences is to compare with the work of God in our lives.

What we admire in others should not be merely of human origin, but it is the evidence of the work of God. The supreme traits of the Christian’s life should be dependence upon and surrender to the Lord for Him to complete His work of transformation. Though we may be grateful for the good human influences in lives, behind them all and over them all stands the presence of God, the voice of His Spirit, and the leadership of the Lord Jesus.

We can also say this about ourselves - as individuals and as Christian communities. We have confidence in us, you have confidence in you, and I have confidence in me, because of the work of the Lord. Has God called you to do something that has frightened you? There is something honest about self-doubts, and we ought not to aspire, merely out of personal desire, to “be masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation” (James 3:1 KJV). The modern translations see this as a warning not to aspire to be “teachers” just for the sake of the position, because God will hold teachers to a greater level of accountability. But it is a principle for all of the work of God.

The job should seek the man, and not the man the job. The position should seek the person, and not the person the position. We are repeatedly warned against the dangers of selfish ambition in the church (1 Peter 5:2-3, Jas. 3.16 and Jer. 45:4-5), and advised to seek experienced and proven leaders (1 Tim. 3:6,13).

Yet, neither should we let fear prevent us from serving the Lord where and how He calls us. Our confidence is not in ourselves but in the grace and power of God. Whatever God calls us to do He will enable us to do. Wherever God calls us to stand for Christ, He will enable us to stand for Christ. However God calls us to serve, He will enable us to serve and remain faithful to Him.

Christ said that as the Father has sent Him, “Even so send I you” (John 20:21). He will enable us to stand. Our job is to learn to depend on Him.

So send I you to labor unrewarded,
To serve unpaid, unloved, unsought, unknown,
To bear rebuke, to suffer scorn and scoffing-
So send I you to toil for Me alone.

So send I you to bind the bruised and broken,
O’er wand’ring souls to work, to weep, to wake,
To bear the burdens of a world aweary-
So send I you to suffer for My sake.

So send I you to loneliness and longing,
With heart ahung’ring for the loved and known,
Forsaking home and kindred, friend and dear one-
So send I you to know My love alone.

So send I you to leave your life’s ambition,
To die to dear desire, self-will resign,
To labor long, and love where men revile you-
So send I you to lose your life in Mine.

So send I you to hearts made hard by hatred,
To eyes made blind because they will not see,
To spend, tho’ it be blood, to spend and spare not-
So send I you to taste of Calvary. (”So Send I You” by Margaret Clarkson, 1954)

Daily Devotions , , ,