Tag Archive | faith by itself

How BIG is your church?

 When we talk about the church do we often limit it to our “own” church? The body of believers that we are joined with by meeting together on a regular basis, sharing with, supporting and praying for? If so, perhaps  we need to widen our scope. We need to remember that every follower of Christ anywhere in the world is our brother and sister.  Though it is vital that we are part of a local church body for spiritual growth, to bless and be a blessing to others, to serve locally, to bring our tithes etc… it is also vital that we not neglect our brothers and sisters elsewhere. We belong to a church family that is sprinkled from one end of the planet to the other and it is so important that we pray for and give to our “worldwide” family when the need arises. Through the internet, tv, newspapers and other forms of media we are able to hear the plight of our brothers and sisters in foreign lands. If we hear and do nothing we are not demonstrating the love of Christ to those who may need us desperately.

If we see a need and we have the financial resources to do so, we should help in the most responsible way possible. If we are not able to financially give, we still have a mighty weapon we can wield on their behalf and that is prayer! We have the ability to intercede for many of our brothers and sisters who are in great need, who may be suffering under the hand of persecution or who may be stumbling. I, like most Christians, am a firm believer in supporting our local church. I think it is scriptural and necessary, however I don’t think that just because we do so we have the right to ignore the plight of our fellow followers of Christ in foreign lands. We may not all be called as missionaries but we are all called to help others in need and it would be negligent to ignore our brothers and sisters plight.

I am glad to be part of a church that regularly supports our fellow brothers and sisters outside our own circle. I believe God is blessing us greatly partially because of that. I also believe that it is the responsibility of each of us individuals to do our part. Why not assign specific prayer time a day to intercede for believers in a specific country? Or perhaps for those worldwide that are being persecuted for their faith? For ministries that are sharing the gospel of Christ on a day in/day out basis. For children in foreign lands that are being torn from their Christian homes and becoming the victim of sex traffickers all because their parents will not reject Christ.

I am not suggesting we stop praying for the unsaved or unloved. That is the call of every believer. However, it is important we do not neglect our own. There are believers worldwide in great need of prayer and in many cases food, shelter and protection from an ever encroaching enemy. I believe it pleases our Lord when we bring the hurting, the downtrodden, the persecuted, the weak and the suffering before Him in prayer and I also believe it can release the change in their lives that they desperately need! Our prayers can move spiritual mountains! We live in exciting times. We are seeing God raise up people all over the world that are sold out for Him. Let’s not take that for granted. Let’s each do our part in supporting our brothers and sisters worldwide in whatever manner we can.  The Word of God encourages us to do this by both  prayer and meeting their tangible needs.

Ephesians 6:18 NIV 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

James 2:14-17 NIV 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Lord, please teach us to pray effectively for our brothers and sisters worldwide. Give us the heart and desire to interceded on their behalf and to help in whatever way possible. Keep our hearts tender to the needs of others as we walk out our love for You.

In Jesus name,

Amen.

Christianity is not a spectator sport!

I’m not sure who the original author of this quote is but I love it nonetheless, “Christianity is not a spectator sport.” These are true words regardless of who first penned them! If our following Christ just involves attending church and not doing anything for Christ then we fail miserably as His followers. Jesus meets us where we are but He doesn’t leave us there. He cleans us up and prepares us for service. It may take a bit of time before we are ready to serve but that day will come, unless we choose to remain a spectator.

Our walk, as followers of Christ, involves abiding in Him and through His love and Holy Spirit, we are lead into ministry. Our ministry will involve our home church and may also  involve our neighborhood, outside our neighborhood or even outside our own country. There are so many wonderful ways God is able to put our giftings to use. If you are sitting on yours it’s time to change!

James 2:14-24 NIV 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

The Word of God has lots to say about being involved in serving Christ. As followers we must follow and that involves continuing the work He has laid out for us to do. Workers are  needed everywhere. It is up to us to seek God and see where we will be the most fruitful but we can’t neglect to begin in our home church. All of us have a roll to play in our home church.

1 Corinthians 12:24-31 NIV But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.

Outside our church home, there are so many ways we can demonstrate our love for Christ. We can be a source of encouragement to others, meet legitimate needs, and love on them as Christ would do. We are not to gloat on the fact that we have been saved but to recognize the high price Christ paid for each and every one of us and to remember that as we extend His love and good news to others.

Phillipians 2:2-8 NIV Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death-even death on a cross!

If you find yourself comfortably watching the gospel played out in your church, it’s time to get on your knees and ask God to prepare your heart and mind for service. If you see needs in your neighborhood and walk by or ignore them it’s time you ask God to show you what you can do to make a difference. If your heart breaks for people in distant lands then seek God for a way you can become involved in being part of the solution. If you are disabled and unable to be actively involved in outward service you can be a prayer warrior, tearing down strongholds and opening doors for Christ to move!   We are called to be the hands and feet of Christ, and if we are sitting idle and not using either we are not being followers of Christ, we are being spectators.

Lord I pray that each and everyone of us will seek you for wisdom and guidance in how best we may serve You today and in the days ahead! Cause  us to repent for any spiritual laziness that may have  set in. We want to hear Your words, “Well done thou good and faithful servant,” when we see you face to face!

“It is true that God may have called you to be exactly where you are. But, it is absolutely vital to grasp that he didn’t call you there so you could settle in and live your life in comfort and superficial peace.” ~Francis Chan

Are you using your freedom for good?

  I love the summer. In Canada, we seem to wait so long for it to arrive and when it does I try and enjoy every minute of it as I know it will only be for three months and then the cooler temps will come. I love watching our vegetable garden grow, our flowers bloom and all the wildlife I see on my way to and from work. Yesterday I saw a deer and a rabbit on my way to work and a few snapping turtles and squirrels on my way home. I am blessed to live in this free country where I can enjoy a job of my choice, my family has freedom to make choices of their own and I am able to worship God freely and openly. Our freedom is an awesome blessing.
I am also aware that with this freedom comes a responsibility to help out those who don’t have this freedom. There are people all over the world that are happy to have a cup of clean water and the tiniest bit of food even once a day. There are brothers and sisters in Christ, all over the world, that have absolutely no freedom to openly read their Bibles, have fellowship or worship God. There are brothers and sisters world wide that are currently suffering enormous persecution for their decision to follow Christ. Some are imprisoned, some have lost their jobs and families for standing up for Christ, some have died because they have refused to recant their faith in Christ.

My prayer is that this year and each and every year ahead, should Christ tarry, I want to become more like Christ and use my hands and feet to help those in need. It may mean sharing produce from my garden. It may mean helping another in need with chores. It may mean interceding for another in prayer. It may mean sending financial help to others in need. It may mean sharing the gospel with those who haven’t heard. There are so many ways, we who are free, can be working for Christ and fulfilling the great commission.

Lord, from this moment on, let me never take for granted all that you have provided for me and mine. Let my heart be sensitive to you and obey you when you impress upon me to do your labor here, regardless of the form it takes.
Let me be your hands and feet in the world I live in!

Matthew 25:35-40 NIV 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

James 2:14-17 NIV 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

1 John 3:17 NIV 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them,how can the love of God be in that person?

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Don’t sit idle!

Some days my heart hurts for this world we live in. I watched the news and heard about the British soldier slaughtered on the street in London. He wasn’t in battle but simply walking down the street when he was approached and slaughtered by a raging terrorist who felt justified in killing him  because he wasn’t of the same faith. Today, I heard of an attempted plane high jacking from Pakistan to England, that thankfully it was thwarted but could have ended in tragedy. Again, an attempt to take the lives of others who don’t share their extreme ideology…

Anyone that doesn’t see the evil in this world we live in has to be wearing blinders. There are wars and rumors of wars all around us. Governments are involved in corruption on so many levels and refuse to admit or take any responsibility for their actions. One country feels the right to annihilate another because of a difference in beliefs. We hear stories of parents killing their children and children killing their parents, abuse in homes, schools, churches and so much more…

So what is the answer to all of this mess? Do we just resolve ourselves to the fact there is nothing we can do? Do we live in our own little bubble and refuse to help and make a difference? Do we harden ourselves by ignoring others and moving forward without a thought for their difficulties?

As Christians, God has called us to a world such as this.  We are men and women with the tool of prayer at our disposal. We are men and women with the answer. Christ didn’t come to save the “found” but the lost! We have the good news and we need to share it with a dying, messed up world.

Luke 19:10 NIV 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

Matthew 20:28 NIV 28 Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.                                                              

Luke 5:32 NIV 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

When you see destruction and heartache all around, take the time to ask God what it is you can be doing to make a difference? There is always something we can do! Pray, pray for the lost, pray for the hurting, the broken, the rebellious, the bitter, your enemies and then do something to demonstrate the love of Christ to another!

It’s important that we don’t sit on our hands and moan about the state of things without getting down on our knees and praying! Prayer is the thing that will usher in the most change.  It is a mighty and powerful weapon that is at the hands of every follower of Christ!  Even the most frail, limited body can pray and therefore is capable of bringing about huge change in this world of ours!

When you have done that ask God how you can serve others?  What can you do to be the hands and feet of Christ?  Ask Him to put people in your life that need to hear the GOOD NEWS and when He does, share it!  Ask Him to provide opportunities where you can minister love and compassion to others and when He does, do it!

We are only limited by our indifference!  Determine to make a difference in this world. Determine to help others by sharing the good news. Determine to not sit back and watch but get involved in doing Christ’s work here while you still have time and while you are able.

Psalm 145:18-19 NIV 18 The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him;  He hears their cry and saves them.

 James 2:14-17 NIV 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.