Exalting God, Edifying Believers, Evangelizing the Lost

Meekness or weakness?

When we think of the character of meekness, many people associate it with being weak.

In fact, meekness is quite the opposite.  A good definition for meekness might be,” strength under control.”

While meekness is hard to put a solid definition to, it is easily seen in the lives of those who bear this fruit of the Spirit.

Moses is referred to in Scripture as being meek, and yet he was a great leader and prophet of Israel. When God was ready to destroy Israel because of their sin and begin again with Moses, Moses pled only for the well-being of the people.

Jesus is probably our greatest example of meekness. It was Jesus who, in meekness, drove the money-changers out of the Temple. Yet, when beaten and mocked by the Roman soldiers before He was crucified, Jesus suffered in silence, even though He could have used His strength to free Himself and destroy His enemies.

Matthew 5:5 says,

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

As believers, we have a great inheritance waiting for us. But for now he has called us to be strong for what is right, while not worrying about standing up for ourselves and our own rights.

Called to Faithfulness

During the 1992 Olympics, Derrick Redmond from Great Britain tore a hamstring muscle halfway through his 400 meter race. Rather than giving up, he continued down the track, limping and leaning on his father for support, until he crossed the finish line. Although he did not win a medal as he hoped, he became an Olympic icon for perseverance.

Hebrews 12:1 calls believers to

“lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us…”

We are not promised that the race will be easy. We are not promised that we will not fall or get hurt in the process of running.

But God has promised that to those who finish well, despite the hardships and trials, He will reward and welcome into His rest with the commendation, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).

Our faithfulness as believers is not evaluated by the great things that we accomplish in our lives for Christ.  Our faithfulness will be judged in how we persevered in the little things that God has called us to every day.

Good Enough?

The basic tenet of Humanism is that man is inherently good.  As such, many people consider themselves to be good people and are trusting their goodness to get them to heaven.

But Romans 3:10 tells us that

“There is none righteous (good), no not one.”

In fact, when the rich young man called Jesus “Good Master,” Jesus replied, “Why do you call me good? No one is good, except God alone” (Mark 10:18).

We have made goodness a relative term, trusting the fact that we are not as bad as others may be.  But God is the standard of goodness, and He is perfect.

There is no way that any of us could be “good enough” for God to accept us into Heaven.

Isaiah 64:6 says that “all our good deeds are as filthy rags.

Praise God that we have a perfect Savior who was perfectly good on our behalf, so that we might share in His goodness. And by His grace and the work of His Spirit, God’s goodness is ours to share with others who will never be “good enough” until they are in Christ.

Blessed Through Kindness

As children, most of us were probably taught to be kind to each other, and to treat others as we would want to be treated. After all, that is the substance of the “Golden Rule.”

Biblical kindness, the kindness that is the fruit of the Spirit, is not kind to others in order to get kindness back. It is given freely to others regardless of the return.

Proverbs 11:17 tells us:

The merciful (kind) man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.

In being kind to others, we actually benefit ourselves, but that should not be the motivation.

Christ said that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Those who are willing to be kind out of love, expecting nothing in return, are those who will receive the greatest blessing, even as they bless others.

Are you ready to be blessed? Who can you be a blessing to this week through your kindness?

The Key to Successful Motherhood

Mothers are amazing women and are called to carry out some very important and difficult duties from God.

In addition to caring for their households and raising their children, they are also called to support and serve their husbands in love.  And sometimes serving the husbands can be more challenging than raising the children.

Regardless of the family situation, no mother will ever be able to fulfill God’s calling in her own strength. Proverbs 31 lists the characteristics and activities of the “excellent wife,” but verse 30 emphasizes the key to motherly success:

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Being a good mother and wife begins with a proper fear and worship of God, understanding that it is only in Him that you will find the strength and wisdom to carry out all the responsibilities of motherhood.  May God bless our families with mothers that fear the Lord.

Patience with People

We all can relate to the prayer that one man prayed: “ Lord, grant me patience…and please give it to me now.”

In a culture dominated by “instant gratification,” patience is rare. But Christians are called by God to be patient, especially with other people and their failings.

In Colossians 3:12-13, the Apostle Paul instructs us:

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering (patience);  (13)  Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

Our patience with one another is the mark of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We should be willing to overlook the offenses of others against us and forgive them, just as God has forgiven us.

Romans 2:4 challenges us: “Do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”  If God was willing to be patient with us, shouldn’t we also be patient with each other?

Are You Rejecting the King?

When we celebrate Palm Sunday, we remember the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. At this event, Jesus rode into the city on a donkey while the crowds praised Him as a king and laid palm branches in the road before Him.

The Jews believed that Jesus had come to give them what they wanted—deliverance from Rome.  It didn’t take long for them to realize that Jesus was not going to fulfill their expectations, and less than a week later, many of these same people were yelling, “Crucify him!”

Although it is easy for us to condemn those people who sent Jesus to the cross, many times we are guilty of rejecting Jesus just as the Jews did.

Romans 10:9 tells us that

“if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

In many cases we want Jesus as our Savior, but we don’t want Him to be Lord of our lives.  We only want a King who will do what we want, not one who wants to rule over us.

Have you truly accepted Jesus Christ as King and Lord of your life? Or are you only looking for a King who will serve your own desires?

Where is your Joy?

How many times as believers do we let our joy be stolen by our circumstances?

James 1:2 says: Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials.”  Joy is supposed to be a characteristic of true believers because it is a fruit of the Spirit.  If we have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us, then the character of Christ should show through us, regardless of our circumstances.

As a third-century man was anticipating death, he penned these last words to a friend: “It’s a bad world, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people are the Christians–and I am one of them.

Does your joy show that you are one of them?

Are You Loving or Doing Business?

Last week, I saw this message written on a chalkboard in my chiropractor’s office: “If you show kindness to someone and expect something in return, that’s called ‘conducting business.’  True love has no expectations of repayment.”

That is a great summarization of Jesus’ teaching on love in Matthew 5, as he tells his listeners that we should love our enemies as well as our neighbors.  He further explains this statement in verse 46: “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

What Jesus meant is that even many unsaved people follow the Golden Rule, expecting that their kindness will, in turn, earn them kindness from others, and from God. True love from God, though,  is demonstrated in how we treat those who are not loving in return. This is exactly how Jesus Christ showed His love to us, “in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Is the love that you show to others dependent upon their treatment of you, or are you letting the unfettered love of God reach through you to love the “unlovable” people in your life?

What Kind of Tree Are You?

Spring is here! In just a short while, the flowers will start to bloom, the grass will start to turn green, and trees will sprout new leaves.

Fruit trees will also begin to blossom with leaves and flowers, making the landscape beautiful again.  But to the untrained eye, most fruit trees look very similar until they start to bear fruit. Then it is easy to tell an apple tree from a pear tree since the apple tree will have apples on it and the pear tree will have pears.

Jesus said that we can use the same method for telling true believers from unbelievers—look at our fruit.  Galatians 5 tells us that unbelievers will bring forth the “works of the flesh,” which includes anything that is done in our own power and for the purpose of pleasing ourselves. Believers, on the other hand, will exhibit the “fruit of the Spirit,” consisting of a life that exemplifies the character of Christ in both action and attitude which can only be produced by God’s Spirit within us.

What kind of tree are you? The answer to that question is found in the kind of fruit that your life is producing.