Final exhortations to a fledgling church (1 Thessalonians 5:12-22)

Final exhortation to a fledgling church

The Apostle Paul closes his first letter to a fledgling church with these final exhortations. This letter was written after Timothy returned with mostly good news about their spiritual growth in the Lord. It is full of thanksgiving to God for the faith, love, and hope of the new church. It also contains things he didn’t have time to teach them. It answers their questions about the future resurrection and rapture. And, it contains strong rebukes against sexual immorality and Continue reading Final exhortations to a fledgling church (1 Thessalonians 5:12-22)

Walking worthily — lead a life worthy of God

Walking Worthy of the gospel, the calling, the Lord, being saints, love of God

Throughout history and in every other religion on Earth, mankind strives to be worthy of God. Every man-made religion teaches how to become good enough to merit God’s approval. That is the opposite of Christianity. Jesus Christ did all the work. It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God: our righteousness, holiness, and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30). He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised Continue reading Walking worthily — lead a life worthy of God

Abstain from all appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22)

Abstain from all appearance of evil (the final slam of the door at the end of a contentious argument)

The 400 year war about “appearance of evil” The King James translation of this verse using “appearance” has probably been responsible for more fighting among Christians during the last 400 years than any other verse in the Bible. When it is quoted in an argument about some activity, it is used to enforce one Christian’s belief, conscience, and opinion on another Christian. It is supposed to be the final slam of the door at the end of a contentious argument. Continue reading Abstain from all appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22)

The teaching and example of the Hebrew Scriptures — live in complete harmony with one another

The Hebrew Scriptures teach endurance to live in complete harmony with each other

The Hebrew Scriptures teach endurance to live in complete harmony with each other Jesus Christ puts a strong emphasis on the importance of harmony in the church. Read A Modern-Day Parable of Romans 14 (How to avoid conflicts in the church) For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. (Romans 15:4 NIV) According to Merriam-Webster, endurance is defined to be the ability to withstand hardship Continue reading The teaching and example of the Hebrew Scriptures — live in complete harmony with one another

A Modern-Day Parable of Romans 14 (How to avoid conflicts in the church)

Group of men who were helped by wisdom of older man to resolve conflicts

Once a week George, Tony, Wallace and their families would gather for a potluck at one of their homes for a Bible study.  They all came from different backgrounds and traditions and it soon became evident that there were conflicts among them. They all loved and appreciated each other but they were afraid their conflicts would tear them apart. They realized they needed help to find a resolution to the conflicts so they all agreed to go visit an older Continue reading A Modern-Day Parable of Romans 14 (How to avoid conflicts in the church)

Becoming a trusted counselor

To be a trusted counselor, you have to do more than come alongside a counselee and spout vague generalizations and empty platitudes. You must meet them where they are — like the LORD God walking with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day — like Jesus manifest in the flesh to break the power of sin and death — because they cannot come to where you are. First, you must understand their pain, their fear, and their darkness. Continue reading Becoming a trusted counselor

Imagine a place where fellowship grows

Imagine a place where fellowship grows by the grace of God

I was sitting out on the porch with my wife not long ago watching the rain and enjoying the natural beauty of nature, much of which she had added by her gardening knowledge and special touch. Many times, we’ve enjoyed our mornings together this way, drinking coffee and sharing thoughts. Twelve years ago hundreds of our trees were majorly damaged by a downdraft tornado, completely destroying the beauty that God and my wife had given to our little backyard getaway. But over time, with Continue reading Imagine a place where fellowship grows

Love Grows Where Love Flows (the secret to a loving romantic marriage)

Food Grows Where Water Flows The phrase, “Love Grows Where Love Flows” is borrowed and adapted from a powerful political message, “Food Grows Where Water Flows”, used by the farmers of California to explain the importance of water management to balance the crops of fruit, vegetables, and nuts they grow to feed 100s of millions of Americans versus the life-giving water needed for people, crops, landscape, recreation, and ecology. There are long lasting repercussions from simple decisions. Love Grows Where Continue reading Love Grows Where Love Flows (the secret to a loving romantic marriage)

When Jesus prayed for you to be one; that the world will believe

When Jesus prayed for you

Not for these only do I pray, but for those also who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that you sent me. (John 17:20-21) Jesus Prayed for you, but most Christians have not answered that prayer. They have splintered into thousands of groups, sects, divisions, schisms, churches, and denominations. They have Continue reading When Jesus prayed for you to be one; that the world will believe

10 Ways Prayers are Hindered (#5 is Shocking)

1) Prayers are hindered by lack of love All the virtue that is saving, and that distinguishes true Christians from others, is summed up in Christian love. When that love is missing or corrupted, then our prayers are hindered. Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full–pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” (Luke 6:38) Continue reading 10 Ways Prayers are Hindered (#5 is Shocking)