Tag Archives: Lifestyle

Make Full Proof of Your Ministry

2 Timothy 4:5

 

But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry

What good is our ministry if there is no evidence, no proof, that other people see in us? Everything we do and say should reflect the ministry that God has placed within us.  And all of us have a ministry! Don’t for one minute think that you are exempt.  If God has saved you. He has called you.  And if he calls you, He places within you talents to reach other people.  Paul puts in this way in Romans 8:30:

30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Whom he calls he justifies and glorifies.  What that means to me is that God will place within us a form of glory that can’t help but touch other people.  The glory of the Lord can be seen by the unbeliever as much as the believer.  When we walk in this glory, it reaches beyond our human flesh to minister to others.  There is a caution I want to give, though.  We must be very careful not to raise up in pride because we carry this little bit of glory within us.  It would be easy to give in to that pride, but we must not. That will destroy the ministry He has given us.

Let’s take a closer look at the four things Paul tells Timothy to do in this powerful verse.

  • Watch in all things.  This word watch is an interesting one.  The Greek word is nepho, which in most cases is translated “Be sober,” meaning not intoxicated.  But the deeper meaning is to have presence of mind, to always keep your mind clear of things that would distract one form the ministry.  The enemy of our souls can use anything to distract us and keep us from being the light we are supposed to be.  In my opinion, 2020 was a year he used science and politics to distract many Christians from the ministry of saving souls.  The Coronavirus brought fear to the hearts of billions of people and caused many a preacher to change their message from salvation to end times theology.  There were more people preaching about the last days than I have ever seen in my 69 years on this earth.  We do not, nor never will, know the time or day when Jesus will return.  We can look at the signs, and warn people He is coming, but that is not the important thing.  The important thing is that people get saved.  That they trust their lives to Jesus. But instead of preaching the love of God, many preached the wrath of God.  It is by His love that people get saved.                                                                       The political arena was also quite disturbing.  So many jumped on the bandwagon of a rigged election and fake news that it was confusing.  But God is not the author of confusion.  Our job, our mission, in times of uncertainty is simple.  Be a tree beside still waters that will not be moved.  Stay in the word and out of the jungle of political rhetoric.  God needs us to stay sober minded, cautious of the ways of the world, but temperate in what we say and do. The church in many ways lost it’s bearing in 2020, and we need to get back to the place where we are watchful and wise.  Adding emphasis, Paul says in ALL things.  I could preach for a long time on all, but let’s just say there should be nothing we are confused or conflicted about.
  •  Endure afflictions – This is actually one word in the Greek and it means exactly what it says.  It is translated this way and also endure sufferings.   The Greek seems to point not only to those things that come against us to set back our ministry, but also things of malicious intent that may never harm us personally, but will have a negative affect on our ministry.  Things like gossip and backbiting people would fall into this category.  We must not let our anger rise up, or try to get revenge or engage in any activity to get back at those who would commit such acts.  The Gospel is all about Christ’s love.  We must always show that love, even if a storm is raging against us.  This dedication to endure to the end will show others we live in real faith and that will bring people to Christ.  The fruit of longsuffering as aptly worded in the KJV.  Suffering long with wrong is a hallmark of the best of saints. On to of that, nothing, and I mean nothing, should offend us.  It is only pride that can get offended.  Only pride can get steamed up over something someone says or does against us.  When I was at Pure Life Ministries back in 2008, there was a saying on the wall that I wall always remember.  It said “If I get offended, what miserable piece of flesh is still in me that I can get offended.”  We must guard against allowing people to get under our skin and make our love not as effective.  Endure. or work through, and type of affliction without getting offended.  Your testimony will be greatly enhanced when you do this effectively.
  • Do the work of an evangelist. – This word means exactly what we think it means.  Timothy had a calling to be a bearer of Good News to all he met.  That is what an evangelist does.  We are all called to bring the Good News to those we come in contact with and we can do that in many ways.  The first way is to actually preach the Gospel, to vocally proclaim the Good News that Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again to give us eternal life.  But there are more ways to actually preach the good news, and the most important one is by our conduct and character.  In the Bible it is often called our conversation.
    • Philippians 1:27 says “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;”
    • Hebrews 13:15 “ Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
    •  James 3:13 “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.”  
    • And 1 Peter 1:15 “ But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;” 
    • All of these verses point to a lifestyle that is above contempt and that visibly shows to other people  the work that Christ has done in us.  We can have all the flowery words we want, but if we do not have the conversation to go along with it, they are vain words and will lead people astray.  Make sure your lifestyle is where your mouth is!

Make full proof of your ministry – carry out completely what God ahs called you to do!  What a strong challenge Paul gives to Timothy and to all of us.  Do you know what God ahs called you to do?  Does God every stop calling us deeper, or to do more?  Our ministry is always evolving, always changing.  He has great things for every one of us to do, and if we listen closely, He will tell us what the next step is.  We have to be careful not to get off track, but to follow the path he has laid out for us.  This world is dying to hear the Good News.  How is God calling you to share it?  What is your ministry?  Whatever it is, whether washing the walls, preaching the gospel, teaching Sunday School, being a greeter or maybe a prayer warrior, do it with all your might and God just might call you deeper.  Be ready!

Walk in the Light

Eph 5:8-14

For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

There was a time that I walked inn darkness.  I did not know Jesus even though I had been raised in the church.  I knew about Jesus, but I did not know Him.  I did not know about His power to save.  I did not know that He died for me.  I did not know He took the sins poof the world on His back.  I did not know His wounds healed me.  There was so much I did not know.

But light was shed on my path.  Once the light dispelled the darkness, I could see Jesus for who He really was.  And once I knew that, I had a choice to make.  Choose darkness, or choose light.  To me, that was an easy choice.  I chose light.  So now I must walk in the light.  I must allow the truth of the gospel to show me the way to live.  I am a child of that  light, and I must listen as  a child listens to their parents.  The light will guide me to better things in God, and that is what I desire.  The Spirit will lead  me as I  walk in the light, and will guide me to  what is good, and right, and true.  That is the only way I can prove what is acceptable to the Lord.  And I have a call to prove that, so the world will know  what is acceptable to the Lord.

11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

Fellowship means friendly association.  I have no right to associate with the works of darkness any longer.  And I should have no desire for those things.  Remember, darkness cannot exist where light is.  Reprove means to reprimand or to correct a fault.  When I find these things in my life, I must take action to rid myself of them.  The works of darkness need to be eradicated from my life.  Unfortunately, I still have a level of pride within me that  says I can have those things, God won;t care.  I need to guard against that attitude on a continual basis, and make sure if my pride gets the better of me, that I now only put that down, but also put down any other area of darkness that might creep in.  This is a continual vigil.

We must keep our mind and thoughts clear of these  things.  That is why Paul tells us not to even speak of such things.  He knows what we speak has power and can infiltrate our minds very easily.  The darkness that is in this world seems to get darker all the time.  More eyes are blinded to the light by our enemy.  They cannot even see the light dimly in the distance, they are so encased in the darkness.  Those who can’t even get a dim view of God need our prayers.

13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

When we correct those things in our life that don’t belong, the light will shine on them for what they truly are.  We will see the error of our ways, and realize that once again, by His mercy, He has spared us.  Many times it may take a trial or a test to make us aware there is  something in our lives that is displeasing to Him.  He is so gracious that He will allow us to see it in the midst of the storm, and then He will calm the storm around us.  He s patient with us, and allows us time to work through those things from the darkness we were once in that may still influence our lives.  What a loving God we serve.

Lastly, Paul tells us to awake from sleep, and arise from the dead, and He Jesus will give us light.  When we come to realize what is holding us back from fully  committing to Him, we wake up.  We start to allow Him greater access to our life – we open the doors in our life and allow Him to shine His light in.  Once His light shines in that room, there is no turning back.  We must deal with that area of our life that He is asking us to give Him.  We need to be in the Light!  This is an old one, but a good one!

 

 

 

God Will Do What?

Philippians 4:19

19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

 

Paul is a master at using the right words.  Here, I love the fact that he says “My God”.  He does not say our God, or your God or just God.  You might say why is that a big deal?   Here’s how I see it.

The Philippians knew that Paul’s God had delivered him from Prison right there in Philippi.  They knew that his God knocked him off a horse and blinded him on the road to Damascus in an amazing conversion experience.  They knew that Paul had been beaten and stoned and shipwrecked, and his God had kept him in every situation.  They knew that Paul trusted his God without question.  Paul was always taken care of by his God.

Now they had heard Paul talk about his God, and those in the church had accepted his God as their own.  But they had no personal experience with this God, not like Paul had. Oh, some may have experienced healing, or answered prayer, but not like Paul.  So Paul lets them know that his God, the one that had been faithful to him, would supply all their needs.  If Paul had said your God, they might not have had as much faith to believe, but they know what Paul’s God had done.

It makes me wonder if I shouldn’t use that term with people who have little faith.  Right now, I might say God will hear your prayers.  But if they have little faith, will they believe God can do that?  Whereas if I share what God has done for me, and tell them My God can do it for you, will that strengthen their faith?  Something to ponder!

The second things about this verse is that God will supply our needs, not our wants.  I see a lot of Christians use this verse to claim God’s provision on things that clearly are not needs.  To me, this is very presumptive.  Isn’t God graceful enough without presuming He is just some magic machine that will give us whatever we want?  People use Psalm 37:4 the same way “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give the desires of our heart”.  I believe this verse means He will give you His desires in your heart, not that he will give you whatever your heart desires.  Matt 6:33 tells us that is we seek first the kingdom of God and Hs righteousness, all these things (he necessities of life) will be added to us.  Nothing about wants – just needs.

Can we learn to be content with our needs met?  Or must we have a God who meets our wants as well?  For me, I prefer to be happy when He supplies my needs – that is gracious enough.  I don’t really deserve anything from God!

All of this is according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  It is Christ who made it possible.  Jesus Christ paid the price at Calvary when He willingly laid down His life to redeem me from my sin.  if I want this verse to apply to my life, I need to accept that sacrifice as a substitute for me and my sin, and allow Jesus to be Lord of my life.  Th promise of this verse is BY Christ Jesus, meaning that Christ is an integral part of the promise.  By Christ Jesus means that He is the vehicle through which these needs will be supplied.  I need to have Him active in my life to claim this promise.  What an awesome God we serve, that He would take time to meet my needs!

Just Do It!

Philippians 4:9

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

 

Now that Paul has done his best to get the congregation thinking the right way, he gives a final admonition on what they should do. It’s almost worth going back and looking at the different ways he tells them to think.  I know we spent a lot of time on this but there’s nothing more important than getting our thought life straight. So the things were going to think about are things that are true, honest, just,  pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy. If you  missed the posts on each of these characteristics, please go back to the last 8 posts and enjoy them

With that in mind, let’s look at the things that Paul says here that they need to do now that he has them thinking the right way.  First, they need to do the things that they’ve learned. As we look back at the Philippian Church, they learned about salvation, they have learned about the Holy Ghost, they have learned about deliverance (remember Paul was delivered from prison in Philippi), they have learned how to pray, and the power of prayer, and they have learned humility. Now they need to do these things.

What have they received? They have received salvation. They have received the Holy Ghost. They received several of Paul’s co-workers to help minister the gospel. They most likely received immeasurable blessings from the Lord. So they need to do these things. How did they do these things? They share them with others. That’s how we do the things that we receive – we give them away. When was the last time you prayed for somebody to receive Christ.  I have to admit it’s been awhile for me. I need to give away some of the things that I’ve received.

And what if they heard?  They heard the gospel message. They’ve heard about humility. They’ve heard about their thought process. They’ve heard about sacrifice. They’ve heard about being like-minded. They’ve heard about deliverance from prison. They’ve heard about the power of prayer. Now they need to do these things. It’s not enough to just go to church and hear the sermon.  When we hear it, we should do it. When was the last time you acted upon a sermon that your pastor gave? You might say to me that he’s not a very inspiring speaker.  He hasn’t inspired me to go out and do things. I’ve heard it said that Jonathan Edwards was not a very fiery preacher either but people would feel like they were burning in hell as he sat in the chair and delivered his message.

When it comes to hearing and doing it’s up to you. The pastors job is to deliver the message God has given Him for that  day.  I am a firm believer that if I am sitting in that congregation, God has something for me in that sermon, and it’s my responsibly to listen and act upon it.  It’s not up to your pastor to put it in some dainty little package. It’s up to you to act on the word of God. So stop paying attention to how it’s delivered and pay attention to the word that’s given.

Lastly he says to do the things that they’ve seen in him. What have they seen Paul do?  They’ve seen him give his life for the gospel.  They’ve seen him worship and praise the Lord while he was in prison.  They’ve seen him traveling all over the place to minister the word.  They’ve seen him not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. These are the things I need to do.  And, as a side note, would I be comfortable telling people to do the things they have seen in me?  How about you? I’ll leave that as a rhetorical question.

Paul then leaves them with this thought: if they all do these things God will be with them and He will give them peace. I don’t want to be questioning whether I’m doing what God wants me to do or not. I can have peace with God by just doing the things that I’ve learned, received, heard and seen others do. I think I better get busy.

Wonderful Peace

Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

As a worship leader, I come across a lot of songs that just stick in my head.  During difficult times, this is a wonderful thing, because I can call upon them at any moment, and they encourage me over and over again.  I am reminded of one such song now – Wonderful Peace.  The chorus and second verse are most touching to me when I think about the peace of God:

What a treasure I have in this wonderful peace,
Buried deep in the heart of my soul,
So secure that no power can mine it away,
While the years of eternity roll!

Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!

 

This peace that God gives us is something that people can see on the outside if we truly walk in it. They won’t understand it, but they sure will observe it. It is a peace that surpasses anything this world can offer. Jesus said that He leaves His peace and then our heart should not be troubled or afraid (John 14:27). We can look at Jesus life and notice this peace while He was on this Earth.  He had peace about Him in every situation, even on the cross. And He said He was going to leave His peace with us. We can walk through life the same way He did. Nothing will bother us and we will live in harmony with God.

I know that I’ve mentioned this time and time again but it becomes so relative when I’m doing these studies. I was diagnosed with cancer March 10th 2016. And it wasn’t a simple cancer like prostrate. It was multiple myeloma, which has a long recovery cycle. I’ve been afflicted by several things that we are not sure whether they’re related or not. My right shoulder is not working and I’m right handed. And I have terrible neuropathy in both feet and both feet have succumbed to drop foot.  So I have to wear braces on both feet in order to get around. I need to use a walker even in the house.

Am I frustrated with all this? Of course I am. Do I question God and ask him why? Of course I do. Do I have peace about it? Absolutely. I know God is on my side and I know he does all things for my good (Rom 8:28) and I know if he has a plan and it includes His peace and an expected end (Jer 29:11). I’m not trying to brag but other people look at me and are amazed at the attitude that I have in the midst of this struggle. There’s a peace about me that only God can give, and the world does not understand it.

I pray that you’re experiencing his peace today. You will know if you have it because nothing will bother you. the enemy could send 1000 devils your way and you would know that God is on your side and you cannot be defeated. Relax and enjoy this wonderful peace that only God can give