Saturday, December 20, 2014
Life Principle 28
No Christian has ever been called to “go it alone” in his or her walk of faith.
Hebrews 10:24, 25
The writer of Hebrews knew that his audience, made up mainly of Jewish believers who had just come to faith, was struggling with how to incorporate their Jewish heritage into their walk with Christ. The author therefore spends a great deal of time explaining that Jesus Christ prepared the way for uninterrupted fellowship with the Father. He is our great High Priest. His death provided the way for individuals to have personal access to God without going through a human agent.
At times, this principle was difficult for the Jewish Christians to accept. They were accustomed to participating in a variety of ceremonial washings and offerings to be cleansed from their sins; immediate access to God apart from those things was something new. But the writer assured them that since Christ died for their sins and rose from the dead, they could now go directly to the Father with their prayers and needs. The author also knew the challenge facing these converts to remain faithful to their new faith. So he exhorted them to “hold fast … without wavering” (Heb. 10:23)
He instructed his readers to help one another hold fast to their faith in God. He knew they would be tempted by trial and persecution to drift from the truth that God had plans for their lives. So he said, “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds” (Heb. 10:24). The Greek term translated “stimulate” literally means “to irritate” or to pressure one another to consider what the Lord has done in the past. He is faithful and does not abandon the work of His hands. We are His creations, and when we encounter difficulty, sorrow, rejection or any other distress, we can know without doubt that God will provide the wisdom and resources we need. Even in times of joy, He is blessed by happiness and contentment. In essence, the author was instructing his readers to spur one another along, to refuse to become ensnared by negativity, and to take responsibility for their lives in Christ as well as one another.
With this backdrop, the author made it clear that they should not stop meeting together (Heb. 10:25). They needed one another, just as we need other believers. To give up meeting together would spell disaster because it would provide Satan an opportunity to draw them away from the Lord. In meeting together, they found the mutual encouragement to keep going. The same is true for us.
God wants us to regularly meet with other believers. He wants His people in church! Many believers don’t take this admonition seriously because they don’t know the reason behind it. I have often heard this refrain: “I can worship God at home. I don’t need to go to church.” Many believers believe the sole reason we meet together is to worship—and understandably so. After all, we call it a worship service.
Together In the Christian Life
If worship were the only reason we are commanded to meet, then those who claim they can worship at home would have a strong argument. But worship is not the sole reason. Nor is it so that we can be taught God’s truth. We can turn on our radios and televisions and hear good Bible teaching. On the surface, it seems that anything we can do at church we can do just as well at home, alone.
So why are we commanded to meet? Why go to church?
The writer of Hebrews says it is to safeguard against drifting. We are the body of Christ, and when we are with other believers, we are doing what comes naturally and what we will do for eternity—being together in His presence. We make up the church, and together we provide strength for one another through prayer, fellowship, and encouragement.
Enemy forces are always at work around us, seeking to blow us off course. Sheer individual commitment is really not enough to keep us in line. We need the presence and accountability of other believers who love us and are willing to laugh, cry, and check on us. At times, when we feel as if our faith makes no difference—or we see no fruit in our lives, and we don’t think our testimonies make a difference—it does. When we surrender our lives to Christ, He uses us in countless ways, ways we may never know.
In the atmosphere, worship, and fellowship in God’s house, we discover that we are not alone. We hear others talk about how the Lord has miraculously provided for them. One may describe the pain he has suffered as a result of a loss. A new believer may tell her story of redemption, rejoicing in God’s grace. As we listen to others recount God’s work in their lives, something happens inside of us. We are spurred on to faithfulness and to praising God for His goodness.
The accountability and encouragement found in church anchor us against the tides that work to sweep us away. To neglect the regular assembly of fellow Christians is to miss out on this essential element in the development of our faith.
Throughout the Bible, we find that one of God’s principle desires is to have a close relationship with each one of us. By becoming active in a local church, you safeguard yourself against missing out on all that God has for you. Your participation in a body of other believers safeguards your personal fellowship with God. Remember, when you drift away from the family of God, it is only a matter of time until you drift away from fellowship with God.
Regular church attendance should never be viewed as something you do to gain God’s merit. We are not saved by good works. Instead, it should provide the catalyst for spiritual growth. Make sure the church you attend teaches the Word of God without compromising His truth. If yours doesn’t, I recommend you visit another church. Find one that accurately teaches the principles in Scripture while demonstrating God’s love, forgiveness, and grace. Remember that you also have a responsibility to actively use your spiritual gifts for the benefit of other believers.
Adapted from The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, © 2009.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Life Principle 27
Prayer is life’s greatest time saver.
2 Thessalonians 3:1
Change is never easy, especially when our choices affect other people. Change means important decisions will be made—which introduces the possibility of terrible mistakes and ongoing consequences. When we make those choices without seeking the Lord’s leadership, we are headed for disaster. But when we pray to God, requesting His guidance and committing ourselves to His will, He moves in astounding ways to help us.
I remember the time when we needed to find a new property to house our “In Touch” television and radio ministry. Four months before we had to move, we found a building that we thought would be perfect. The only problem was that it cost $2.7 million. Several of our board members and executive staff felt good about the location and price, so they suggested we borrow the money for the property. Several others, however, rejected both the price and the idea of going into debt.
One Wednesday afternoon after that, a group of us met for a long time to discuss the move but were unable to come to any consensus. It was as if we were in a fog. We needed divine direction, and I knew we were not going to receive any sitting around that conference table. I asked my secretary to call Unicoi State Park and book some cabins for the following week. I understood that to stay there, we should have called four to six months in advance—it was unlikely they would have space for us. Ten minutes later, however, she returned and reported that we were all set.
On the morning we left for Unicoi, I asked a friend to negotiate with the owner to see if we could purchase the property for $2 million. I also asked our church administrator to see if we could possibly extend our stay at our current offices for six more months. Both told me they would do their best.
During the two hours I drove from Atlanta to the cabins, I thought and prayed. And God brought Zechariah 4:6 to my mind: “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.” I took it as a sign that He wanted to do something that we knew nothing about. So I prayed, “Lord, whatever You have in mind, please don’t let us miss it!”
For two days, we did very little talking and a whole lot of praying. We cried out to God in desperation, realizing that a deadline was looming while our peace and unity were missing. During one break, I called our administrator and discovered that we had been given an extension at our current location—we had six more months before we had to move. That was great news. Later, my friend called to tell me that the owner of the property had agreed to sell it to us for $2 million. There was only one problem. The building had a tenant who still had another six months on their lease. Moving them out early would cost us extra. We just kept praying.
Prayer: Our Time-Saver
When we left Unicoi two days later, we still didn’t have any clear direction about how to purchase the building, but we were committed to waiting on God. We were confident that He had something different in mind other than borrowing the money and that it had already been worked out.
When I arrived home, I had a message to call a man I had never met. He was an “In Touch” viewer who was interested in helping the ministry. I called him back and he said, “Dr. Stanley, I have had you and your ministry on my mind the past several days. I notice that you never ask for money on the broadcast, and I was wondering if you had any needs.”
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I explained our situation and then told him about our prayer meeting. He asked how much the building cost. I told him I thought we could get it for $2 million. He said, “I think I can handle that.” And he did. We closed about 90 days later.
Can you imagine the mistake we would have made if we had not stopped to seek the Lord’s guidance and had failed to trust in His provision? Can you imagine the time, energy, and resources we would have wasted if we had tried to acquire that property in our own strength instead of God’s?
Prayer is always life’s greatest time saver. You may be facing a great change or decision that seems overwhelming to you. The Lord knows exactly what you need, and He will always answer your prayers as is absolutely best for you. Therefore, spend time listening to Him, receiving His wisdom and direction, and drinking in His presence and power. Be quiet before Him, rest in Him, and allow Him to order your steps. He will keep you from moving in the wrong direction or from wasting your time doing useless things.
Are you willing to stop and listen to Him? Are you ready for Him to make you the most fruitful you can possibly be? Then no matter what you face, commit yourself to His schedule, wisdom, provision, and guidance through prayer. You’ll find that your time with Him is the best investment you make every day.
Adapted from The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, © 2009.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
What motivates you most when trying to lose weight?
A friend or family member expressed their concern for your health or did you see yourself
in the mirror or in a picture one day and it just hit you, that you didn't like what you saw. Maybe your doctor advised you to lose weight for your health or you had an event that you wanted to lose weight for. While losing weight made it easier for a sport you wanted played or a wedding you wanted to go to it was that special reason that motivated you enough to lose the weight that you wanted to.
For some of us it takes something really drastic to get us motivated and hopefully it won't come to the story that I have to tell.
Let's face it, we've all been there time again and again. We have told ourselves that we are starting a new diet, only to set ourselves up for failure. Well what is making it different this time?
Well, tell me? Just what is different this time around? Is it your health? Are you having trouble walking, breathing or just want to drop a few extra pounds?
I suggest, that you get a piece of paper out and write down, exactly why it is that You want or need to lose weight. Because here it is, there is no easy way to tell you this. I am just going to be straight forward with you. It cannot be a DIET. It has to be a WAY of LIFE. That is right. You have to make a commitment to a way of life. Not for me, not for your husband or children, but for You.
If it is your health that has brought you here, then you had better listen up. This may be your last chance. Your last chance before you become like my sister - in - law Mary. Gasping for every breathe of air that you breathe, choking up sputum, unable to walk, a heart murmur, Sleep Apnea, Diabetes and COPD. The ending result was Mary's Death at the age of 49, one day before we celebrated her 50th birthday on January 3, 2014. You see Mary was morbidly obese and weighed in at 448 Lbs. at the time of her death. Mary also suffered as a manic depressive and had become a recluse. Refusing to leave the house. And like so many others in the family, I sat by and allowed my sister - in - law to slowly eat herself to death.
Yes, you read that right. I sat by and did nothing. What is that you say? It isn't my fault, I tell that it absolutely is. I could have reached out to my sister, Mary and could have told her that I cared. I could have told her about Spark People. I could have went to her house and showed her how to exercise in a chair. I could have educated my sister Mary on healthy ways to eat and take care of her diabetes. I could have done what Jesus would have had me to do. Now, I am going to give you a few pointers.
1) Take out a pen and paper.
2) Write down the reasons you have as to why you don't need to take charge of your health
3) Write down the reasons why you want to take charge of your health and lose weight
4) Write down all of your health needs
5) Now write down a list of reasonable goals
6) Share them with your family and tell them why it is important to you that you make this changes
7) Make a plan to start implementing them into your life
8) Go see your Doctor and make sure that you are healthy enough to start an exercise plan
9) Get an exercise buddy or system in place , join a gym, get the hubby or children involved
10) Have fun while getting Healthy!!
A few Tips to ensure that you are on the right track to losing weight.
1) Mind set. Once you have that everything else will start lining up in place.
2) Little Changes = Big Results
3) Wake Up, Drink up- 1st glass of H2O- Stay hydrated You need 8 - 10 glasses Daily
4) Develop an exercise routine - AM is usually Best - Don't forget H2O
5) Be a label reader - Nutrition and Calories Count, Be aware of what is going into your body
6) Rest - Getting an accurate amount of sleep is just as important as burning calories
7) Snacking - Cut out all refined sugary snacks and replace with fresh fruits and nuts, Healthy
alternative snacks, again be a label reader, look for lo - fat all natural snacks
8) Work out Gear - should be comfortable and well fitting, shoes are just as important
9) The Scale - Don't let the scale control you, your weight will fluctuate. But that doesn't mean
you are not getting healthy. You may be toning muscle.
10) Every activity is important: I recommend getting a tracker to record and track your
movements, as well as your calories
11) This is the most important of all. Please remember, we're all human and tend to slip on
occasion. This doesn't mean for you to throw in the towel and go on a four day binge. It
simply means that is okay to slip up once in a while. Just don't make it a habit. Forgive
yourself and get right back on track. Before you know it, you will have reached your goals.
And you will be a whole new you with a whole new life.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Life Principle 26
Adversity is a bridge to a deeper relationship with God.
Philippians 3:10, 11
What is God’s goal in adversity? His basic objective is to draw us closer to Himself. He does not glory in pain or sorrow, but He uses these things to teach us about His love and faithfulness.
The moment adversity comes our vulnerability increases, and we may find ourselves wondering why God has allowed us to face such difficulty. Pain, disappointment, and trial are effective tools that He uses to drive us to Himself and to the cross, where we discover our personal need for a Savior. We are struck with a defining thought: I need God. We need His strength, wisdom, and forgiveness.
Whenever you are confronted by adversity, always remember that God has a purpose for allowing it to touch your life. He is never out of control. He has a plan and a goal, not just for this situation alone, but also for your entire life. In times of difficulty, He is your immovable strength (Prov. 18:10), and He has promised never to abandon you.
What are you to do when adversity strikes? The Book of Hebrews encourages us by saying, “Do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised” (Heb. 10:35, 36).
When adversity strikes, one of the first things we should do is turn to the Lord and ask Him to show us what we need to learn in the situation. We may initially battle feelings of disbelief or denial, but the overriding thought needs to be one of trust and faith in God’s ability. The second step is to affirm our commitment to Him and set our focus on Him—not our circumstances. We see both of these portrayed in the lives of the men and women of the Bible.
Joseph’s life especially was a study of faith, trust, and victory amid adversity. As a young man, he trusted and watched God take the cruelest act and turn it into a blessing. Sold into Egyptian bondage by his brothers, Joseph spent years bound and confined to a life of slavery. Even when it appeared that he would gain a reprieve from danger and heartache, adversity struck a second time as he was falsely accused of a crime. Back to the dungeon he went, only this time with a stiffer sentence.
Burden or Bridge
We may be tempted to think, “Poor Joseph!” But actually, he was right in the center of God’s perfect plan. He may not have understood why he was in captivity, but he believed that he could trust God for his life and future.
Adversity was a keen tool in Joseph’s life. The Lord used it to shape His servant for service. Joseph landed in a key leadership role that ultimately led to the preservation of the nation of Israel. Had he escaped from prison and gone into hiding, the entire nation of Israel would have missed God’s blessing. And without the training that came as a result of severe disappointment, Joseph may have become proud and self-reliant. Instead, God used this young man’s life to change the course of history.
People often ask, “What is the quickest way through seasons of adversity?” Many times there just is no quick solution to the trials we face. There is one sure way through the difficulties of life, however, and that is through obedience and surrender of selfish feelings and desires.
Adversity has a way of pushing us beyond ourselves where we find God waiting to gather us in His arms. It stirs us to pray like nothing else can. And it is in prayer that we find shelter from the storms of life. Held under the canopy of God’s presence, we discover a sense of security and hope that we thought had evaded us.
Even when life seems emotionally and spiritually dark, He will be your light. You can be sure that God will use the trials you face to shape your life so that you reflect His love and care to others.
Never forget that God knows the future! He understands the advantage of adversity and how it can be used to strengthen your faith, refine your hope, and settle your heart into a place of contentment and trust. Without times of adversity, you would miss the powerful experience of God walking with you through the valley times of life.
Therefore, determine to keep the focus of your heart on Jesus. Don’t let the negative talk of others tempt you to get off course. Stay close to the Lord in devotion and prayer. Read His Word. He will guide you through the greatest difficulty, and then you will know what it means to live in a broad place of blessing.
Adapted from The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, © 2009.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Life Principle 25
God blesses us so that we might bless others.
How would you complete the following three statements?
1. God saved me because _________________.
2. God’s purpose for me is _______________.
3. I am most like Jesus when I ________________.
This little quiz is not to put you on the spot, but it is to set the proper framework for this life principle:
1. God saved me because He loves me.
The sole reason God sent His Son to this world to die for our sins was because He loved us. When we acknowledge our sin and need for a Savior, He forgives us, grants us eternal life, and gives us the gift of His Holy Spirit out of His immeasurable love and grace. There is no other reason.
Many people seem to believe that God saves a man or woman because of the person’s good works or service. Nothing could be further from the truth. No amount or type of service can earn salvation. The apostle Paul made this very clear when he wrote: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8, 9). Even the faith by which we believe that God forgives us and saves us is a divine gift that flows from His love!
This point is critical to understand. Any good we do is in response to God’s gifts of salvation, eternal life, and the Holy Spirit—never in order to earn, win, or warrant salvation.
2. God’s purpose for me is to bring Him glory.
God saved you and me so that we would serve as examples to others of His love and mercy at work in and through a human life.
Many people seem to think the only reason for salvation is so that a person will go to heaven when he dies. Eternal life is part of God’s plan of forgiveness, but that is not the sole reason for our salvation. God saved us so that we each might reflect His nature—that we might be His people on this earth, doing the kinds of works that Jesus Himself would do if He were walking in our shoes, through our world, during our lifetime. He desires to manifest His character through our personalities and giftedness.
Passing on God’s Blessing
When we allow His Holy Spirit to work in us and through us to others, we become vessels of His love in action. We begin to reflect His compassion, love, and mercy to others. And in so doing, we become His witnesses. We bring credit, honor, and glory to Him.
3. I am most like Jesus when I serve others.
The foremost characteristic of the life of Jesus Christ was and is service. We are most like Him when we serve as He served.
Many seem to think that a person is most like Jesus when he preaches like Jesus preached, teaches like Jesus taught, heals like Jesus healed, or performs miracles like Jesus performed miracles. They look only at the outward manifestation of a person’s witness and ministry.
They need to look beyond the outer manifestation to the motivation for Jesus’ life. That motivation was always love. Jesus preached, taught, healed, and performed miracles in order to help others, never to call attention to Himself. He poured out His very life so that others might be saved. Paul wrote, “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).
God calls us to serve one another just as Jesus did. He didn’t save you or call you to service so that you might be exalted, praised, glorified, or put on a pedestal. He saved you so you could serve Him and others. When we do this, we honor Him with our lives. The most important thing you can do outside of accepting Christ as your Savior is to give your life to Him and allow Him to lead you each day.
Some mistakenly think that what we do is unimportant to God, but this is far from true. He has a plan for each one of us. When we make a decision to walk by faith, He will reveal it to us. And that plan always includes service and dedication to Him and to those He brings into our lives.
God loved us so that we might love others. He blesses us so that we might bless others. That’s what the Christian life is all about.
Adapted from The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, © 2009.
Get An Email Alert Each Time SURVIVOR61 Posts