Tag Archives: godly

Salvation and the Church: The Apostles Were a Mixed Up Group

Today’s message summary of November 12, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Church is a place where we learn how to live for Jesus Christ.  It counters how people have learned to live according to the world’s standards.

A person will truly change not just because someone tells him to change.  The true change will come with the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit in that person’s life.

In understanding the word “apostle,” one first has to note that the word was never found in the Old Testament.  It was only presented when Jesus used the word.  It was a word used at sea concerning the ships that first went out.  The ships were “sent out” before the rest of the fleet.  Jesus applied this term to people.  If you take the example of the apostles, Jesus sent them out before the church even comes into existence.  He sent them out beforehand with a message.

Of the people that Jesus chose to be apostles, they were a mixed up group of people!

All but one of the disciples were from Galilee, which turned out to be a hotbed of activity and rebellion against the Romans.  Nazareth was within Galilee, where it was spoken, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46a)

There was a controversy with Jewish authority (a religious group).  Jesus was concerned about what was being taught within these groups.

The apostles witnessed miracles–things that no other person could do.  They may not have completely understood what they were seeing, but yet they witnessed them.  The miracles said something about Jesus, and that He was different from everyone else.

The apostles received private instruction–it was time alone with Jesus.

The apostles witnessed His resurrection.  They saw Him in His new body.

They were able to see things that no one else had seen.  In all of this, they could not even begin to explain all that they had witnessed to others.

Remember that Jesus was involved in two major ministries at that time (in the same way that today’s church is involved with these ministries today):

  1. Calling and training the twelve. (While there was emphasis on the twelve, there was other teaching and instruction that was taking place.)
  2. Healing and teaching in the community. (Jesus spoke to crowds of people and provided valuable wisdom and knowledge.)

The condition of our very society should be a flashpoint as to how the church is to respond, as the church is indeed the light for a dark world.

The church is to train people within its walls to be able to go out and execute Jesus’ Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), and that is to make disciples of other people–to win people to Jesus Christ and to bolster up and encourage other believers.

The apostles become Jesus’ traveling companions.

The disciples are those who receive Jesus’ teaching and even the direction of the apostles.

The community receives the teachings, and members of the community also go out in an effort to reach others.

Luke 10:1, 17

After this, the Lord appointed 70 others, and He sent them ahead of Him in pairs to every town and place where He Himself was about to go.

The Seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your name.”

The apostles were godly men who showed their sincerity by following Jesus; yet at the time of their calling, they were ignorant, narrow-minded, superstitious, and full of Jewish prejudices and misconceptions.

And yet, God calls these men.  They soon learn that Jesus taught them differently from what they had heard in the past.  Even though they were considered godly men, it was Jesus’ words that gave them the ability to look at their own hearts and minds.

The apostles were aware of their own Jewish traditions, but lacked understanding as to their true meaning and application.  They also had prejudice (Jews verses Gentiles, Samaritans) and superstition (ghosts).  This is a lot like many of us today.  Many people have ongoing misconceptions about what the church represents.

The apostles has much to unlearn of what was bad.

They had much to learn of what was good.

There were old beliefs that were incorrect that needed to be challenged in order to make room for new beliefs to be recognized and understood.

The greater number of disciples (70) were occasional followers.  The (12) apostles would be with Him most of the time.  They would become His traveling companions and His real ministry companions.  He was teaching them in order to be able to send them into the world.

Mark 3:13-15

Then He went up the mountain and summoned those He wanted, and they came to Him.  He also appointed 12He also named them apostlesto be with Him, to send them out to preach, and to have authority to drive out demons.

Matthew 13:36

Then He dismissed the crowds and went into the house. His disciples approached Him and said, “Explain the parable of the weeds in the field to us.”

Matthew 6:5

“Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by the people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward!”

Luke 11:1

He was praying in a certain place, and when He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples.”

Godly men need to learn how to pray.

Matthew 5:1-2

When He saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain, and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.  Then He began to teach them…

Jesus is still teaching today if you find the time to be with Him.

Are you willing to learn?  Ask Him to teach you.

Do you desire to know more?  Ask Him for more.

Look at these men who Jesus selected (Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16)

  • Peter and Andrew were brothers (John 1:40-41; Matthew 4:18)
  • James and John were brothers who left their father (Matthew 4:21)
  • Matthew was a government tax collector
  • Thaddeus was known by three different names, including Jude
  • ..a zealot…a killer and hater of Romans
  • Judas was a deceiver and a thief
  • James, son of Alpheus, brother of Matthew
  • ..one who learns, spoke Greek
  • ..also known as Nathanael; was skeptical (John 1:45-49)
  • ..a doubter; was unsure (John 20:27)

Some of the brothers were bidding for a position within their role as apostles (who sits on the right hand of God or the left).  This mixed up group of people had to learn from Jesus what was really important.

John 13:34-35

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.  By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 8:31-32

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples.  You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Jesus can take anyone, regardless of their past, and transform a person to become a faithful servant of God.  Jesus just wants you to come.

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Socrates and Godly Wisdom

Today’s message text from Melvin Gaines:

One of the subjects required in my Master’s track is the study of philosophy. Philosophy is something that I was not looking forward to, but I knew that it would most certainly stretch my thinking about the subject as it relates to matters of faith.

What is philosophy? Well, defining philosophy is not a slam-dunk. Wikipedia took a crack at it by defining it as the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. In other words, philosophy is the study of everything. The word itself comes from the Greek word philosophia, which means, “love of wisdom.”

When I think of the early philosophers, my imagination paints a picture of a bunch of guys hanging out on a street corner and talking all day long about whatever comes to mind. Then my imagination takes me to today’s barber shop, where guys are talking what has to be all day long while maybe two heads of hair have been cut or trimmed over the course of five hours, or sitting at McDonald’s listening to guys get together over coffee and Egg McMuffin talking, or loudly discussing, or even cussing about current events and politics. The conversation mercifully ends when I learn my car is ready to be picked up and I make a fast exit to the door.

To be clear, philosophy is not just a bunch of guys getting together talking smack or playing the dozens. Back in the day, specifically around 500 B.C., there were very serious discussions that took place about life, water, earth, air, atoms, the sun, moon and stars. Of the class of philosophical all-stars, one of the greatest was Socrates. Socrates (470-399 B.C.) lived in Athens, Greece, the hotbed of all activity when it came to progressive thought, for all of his life. If you ever get the opportunity, you will want to read about Socrates. Of all of the historical philosophers, Socrates never recorded his thoughts or findings. He felt that his written words would diminish his spoken words. If it weren’t for Plato, a student of Socrates, we wouldn’t even know who he was. Plato was fascinated with Socrates, and he wrote down everything meaningful about him. He even noted that Socrates was married, and there were many occasions where his wife would send him out for errands only to learn that he was hanging out on the street corner talking with guys for all hours of the day. It got to the point that Socrates was so occupied with these ongoing discussions that his wife would hide his clothes to keep him from going outside. Undeterred, Socrates would run outside naked through the streets to his meeting place with the guys, who got tired of seeing him naked and kept robes handy to hand off to Socrates to cover himself. After learning about this, I then found this quote attributed to Socrates about marriage:

“My advice to you is get married: if you find a good wife, you will be happy; if not, you will become a philosopher.” — Socrates

I can’t say that Socrates didn’t ask for trouble with his wife, but I suspect that his home could have been a little happier.

Socrates never claimed that he was a teacher. He was a thinker. That was his specialty. In his thinking, he came up with very wise sayings. He was also quite controversial in his ongoing dialogue with others; so much so that he ticked a lot of people off and was arrested for subversion, incivility and corruption of minors. In his famous defense before a jury of 501 peers, Plato attributed Socrates with a couple of quotes that really stood out to me. First:

“For each time those present think I am wise in these things in which I refute others; but the fact is, men, in reality God is wise, and in this oracle it is saying, ‘Human wisdom is worth little or nothing.”  

This statement was indeed part of his “Defense”, but it is profound beyond what Socrates probably realized or even intended. It was a common belief, according to the pre-Socratic practice of Homeric religion that all men, whether good or evil, would reside in Hades after death in a state of consciousness and not in punishment. [2] Socrates implied that he did not know for sure what to expect after death, but he reasoned “he would ask the shades in Hades if they had any knowledge.” [3] Perhaps without even realizing it, he referred to the only true Source of wisdom that would have answered a number of his questions pertaining to knowledge:

Proverbs 2:6-7 (ESV)

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity.

 

James 1:5 (HCSB)

Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.

 

Socrates was correct in his assessment that “human wisdom is worth little or nothing.” This conclusion was based upon his statement that God’s wisdom is superior to man’s wisdom.

 

1 Corinthians 1:25 (ESV)

For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

1 Corinthians 3:19-20 (HCSB)

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God, since it is written: He catches the wise in their craftiness; and again, The Lord knows that the reasonings of the wise are meaningless.

 

When you think you know something, you really don’t know anything.

True wisdom comes from God.

As I learn more and more from my own personal studies in business, corporate communications, and especially in pursuit of my Master’s in Christian Studies, I readily see that I didn’t really know as much as I thought when I was asked to bring a Sunday morning message to my church back in 2003. I now know that I have more knowledge about Christ and the things of Christ when compared to that time in my life, but I’m also smart enough to know that I am just beginning to learn more, and that is only because of God’s graciousness in providing greater understanding of His Word and His truth in my life.

Socrates’ other philosophical statement also was profound to me:

“…the greatest good for humanity to make arguments every day about virtue and examine myself and others, the unexamined life not being livable for a person.” [4]

This brought to mind the slogan for the United Negro College Fund advertisements approximately forty years ago: “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste.” While this was coined by the advertising agency Young and Rubicam for the purpose of promoting UNCF’s scholarship fund [5], that phrase has taken on an iconic status for its boldness and profound truth, and not just for black students, but for all students and all of mankind.

On a personal note, I believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and my personal Savior, but even with this knowledge, I cannot, in my own flesh, maintain a relationship with Jesus Christ without self-examination. Self-examination of my life in the flesh and sinful behaviors will always show my need for repentance and forgiveness under the blood of Christ. My act of humbling myself helps me to see my need for Jesus, and it also helps me to see others the way that Jesus sees them, as well. All of this requires self-examination. How would life be for a person that does not see the need to examine oneself? According to Socrates, this is a wasted life…a wasted mind. In order to live a virtuous life, there must be an internal reasoning and recognition of the need for a close relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and in that realization, you will see how Christ can be projected to others in how you live a meaningful, purpose-filled life.

Socrates was constantly seeking answers to truth and wisdom when he had those answers right in front of him. It’s sad to think that people live their entire lives without making a choice to live a purpose-filled life for Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:5-7 (HCSB)

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.

 

  1. Document – Vernon Caston. The Defense of Socrates by Plato, Week 1 Lectures – Introduction and PreSocratics, Logic; Topics in Philosophy CST5225, Crown College, St. Bonifacius MN., pg. 54
  1. Gordon H. Clark (1957). Thales to Dewey, A History of Philosophy, Fourth Edition. Copyright © 1957 Lois A. Zeller and Elizabeth Clark George.   Copyright © 2000 John W. Robbins, The Trinity Foundation, Unicoi TN, page 30.
  1. Donald Palmer (2014). Does The Center Hold? An Introduction to Western Philosophy, Sixth Edition. Copyright © 2014 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., New York NY, pg. 33.
  1. Document – Vernon Caston. The Defense of Socrates by Plato, Week 1 Lectures – Introduction and PreSocratics, Logic; Topics in Philosophy CST5225, Crown College, St. Bonifacius MN., pg. 63
  1. Article – Gene Denby (2013). New Ads Still Warn A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste. Code Switch. Retrieved September 11, 2014 from http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2013/06/14/191796469/a-mind-is-a-terrible-thing-to

Copyright © Melvin Gaines


The Fruits of The Spirit – Godly Patience

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

 

These are the characteristics of the Holy Spirit that He manifests and produces within us as we live for Jesus Christ.  It is a happiness that is derived from Jesus Christ, and you won’t find it in the world.  Without love, joy and peace, you will not be effective in ministry.  It is all about presenting the agape love that God represents to each of us.

Now we will look at a difficult fruit for many of us…patience.  If you are going to be in ministry, it will require patience.  It will not be about your timing; instead, it is about God’s timing.

God is patient with us, of course.  He knows that we need to learn from Him and how to be patient with others.  God wants us to see how He is working within our acts of patience.

The patience of God reveals to us that God is more concerned about the worker than the work.  The people that we are sharing with who need to be ministered to are more important to Him than the work itself.

God could have delivered the people of Israel just by speaking.  Instead, He took time to build the people up and work with Moses (in training) for 80 years.

God could have fed Jacob by providing for him without a Joseph.

The issue is not getting the job done so much as it is about building character.  You don’t build character by taking short cuts.

In order to build godly men or godly women, there are no short cuts.  To be a servant of God, there are no short cuts.  To be obedient to God’s will, there are no short cuts.

We miss the best that God has to offer when we act impatiently.

James 5:7-11

7 Therefore, brothers, be patient until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the Lord’s coming is near. 

9 Brothers, do not complain about one another, so that you will not be judged. Look, the judge stands at the door!

10 Brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s name as an example of suffering and patience. 11 See, we count as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job’s endurance and have seen the outcome from the Lord. The Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

 

Consider that Job’s patience was blessed by God.  Job’s faithfulness and loyalty to God was rewarded because he saw the God that he served in all righteousness.

Patience is built within ministry.  It is one of the first lessons learned, and it is all about God’s timing and not your own.

Patience is being willing to be serviceable to others.  It has to be developed from within and reflect true godliness.  A patient person does not lack anything in Christ.

James 1:2-4

2 Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.

 

1 Timothy 1:16

But I received mercy for this reason, so that in me, the worst of them, Christ Jesus might demonstrate His extraordinary patience as an example to those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

 

2 Corinthians 6:4

But as God’s ministers, we commend ourselves in everything:

by great endurance, by afflictions,

by hardship, by difficulties.

 

2 Corinthians 12:12

The signs of an apostle were performed with great endurance among you—not only signs but also wonders and miracles.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:14

And we exhort you, brothers: warn those who are irresponsible, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

 

Your patience will be tested (Psalm 78).

People will rebel against teaching or learning (Psalm 78:1, 8, 17, 40, 56).

He sees them as useless (unreliable) as a crooked bow (v. 57).

People will forget what you have done for them.

Psalm 78:9-18

9 The Ephraimite archers turned back

on the day of battle.

10 They did not keep God’s covenant

and refused to live by His law.

11 They forgot what He had done,

the wonderful works He had shown them.

12 He worked wonders in the sight of their fathers

in the land of Egypt, the region of Zoan.

13 He split the sea and brought them across;

the water stood firm like a wall.

14 He led them with a cloud by day

and with a fiery light throughout the night.

15 He split rocks in the wilderness

and gave them drink as abundant as the depths.

16 He brought streams out of the stone

and made water flow down like rivers.

17 But they continued to sin against Him,

rebelling in the desert against the Most High.

18 They deliberately tested God,

demanding the food they craved.

 

God was patient with Israel.

 

Psalm 78:70-72

70 He chose David His servant

and took him from the sheepfolds;

71 He brought him from tending ewes

to be shepherd over His people Jacob—

over Israel, His inheritance.

72 He shepherded them with a pure heart

and guided them with his skillful hands.

 

Patience allows for a person to grow in Christ while they are bouncing around in life.  Sometimes people will put you through the test to see how you will respond, including to your own teaching.

God’s desire for us is to walk with Him.  He wants us to be obedient to Him and to His Word.

God’s patience does have a limit as He is holy and righteous, and He deals with prolonged unrighteousness.

 

Psalm 78:31-34

31 God’s anger flared up against them,

and He killed some of their best men.

He struck down Israel’s choice young men.

32 Despite all this, they kept sinning

and did not believe His wonderful works.

33 He made their days end in futility,

their years in sudden disaster.

34 When He killed some of them,

the rest began to seek Him;

they repented and searched for God.

 

Even with all of the rebellion, God remains long-suffering.  When God’s patience runs out:

 

Psalm 95:11

So I swore in My anger,

“They will not enter My rest.”

 

Hebrews 3:7-11

7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:

Today, if you hear His voice,

8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,

on the day of testing in the wilderness,

9 where your fathers tested Me, tried Me,

and saw My works 10 for 40 years.

Therefore I was provoked with that generation

and said, “They always go astray in their hearts,

and they have not known My ways.”

11 So I swore in My anger,

“They will not enter My rest.”

 

As believers in Jesus Christ, no one can take away from you how you respond to their behavior.  Your patience is to remain in God’s agape love for that other person.  God has the right to do whatever He pleases, yet He has remained patient with us.

 

Romans 9:22-24

22 And what if God, desiring to display His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience objects of wrath ready for destruction? 23 And what if He did this to make known the riches of His glory on objects of mercy that He prepared beforehand for glory— 24 on us, the ones He also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

 

Luke 8:15

But the seed in the good ground—these are the ones who, having heard the word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, bear fruit.


The Godly Mother

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

[NBA Star Kevin Durant praises his mother during his MVP award speech.]

Lord, we want to thank you for every mother, and we pray that today will be a blessing to them. Let us also remember the grandmothers, as well. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

While the bible does not speak specifically about single mothers, we know that they were indeed present. We know that there were single mothers and widows because of various circumstances. Today, we are keenly aware of single mothers and the trials of such parenting. We know that mothers are indeed honored by God.

A mother must decide how she is going to live before her children and her family. A mother who follows after God will be blessed according to how God honors and looks after them. A child will often not remember so much what a mother says, but they certainly remember her actions.

A child who has a mother that he is ashamed of will often have to suppress his or her feelings because they are trying to deal with their disappointment. It will eventually surface in a negative way because of all of the hurt that was experienced. Mothers need to be aware of how much their children are affected by what they do. There is a real need today for godly mothers.

What makes a real difference today is a mother who relies upon the Holy Spirit in living life and making decisions.

Can a nation rise or fall based upon motherly counsel? Mothers are to be mindful of what counsel that is provided to daughters and sons about the people they choose in marriage. Unwise counsel can lead to broken homes and marriages.

Mothers have difficult decisions to make today as to who they choose to associate with and how they live. It is important for a woman to not live sexually with multiple partners in the hopes of finding someone who they think will fulfill a family unit. This woman needs to repent and live in holiness under the Spirit and prevent the tragedy of broken families and children being damaged by multiple influences of men who have no desire to be involved with a family.

Exodus 20:12

Honor your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

 

It is important that a child is taught how to honor their mother and father, for they need to understand what it means to respect them.

Leviticus 19:3

“Each of you is to respect his mother and father. You are to keep My Sabbaths; I am Yahweh your God.”

 

Note how the Scripture references the mother first in this passage (unlike the reference in Exodus 20:12). Note the emphasis here on the mother needing to be honored because of everything being accomplished within the family unit. The man typically had the focus in those times of being the head of the family, but God made sure that the mother was highly regarded for what she does for the family.

Moms are the cheerleaders and the encouragers. For all that they do, mom is to be respected.

God can do amazing things to bring mothers out of a bad situation and turn it into something amazing to behold. Note that God does not overlook the sin of the circumstances in the beginning (having children out of wedlock), but He can turn a woman who is sincerely seeking Him into someone that can honor Him with children that honor and respect her, and call her blessed.

Psalm 139:13-16

13 For it was You who created my inward parts;

You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I will praise You

because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.

Your works are wonderful,

and I know this very well.

15 My bones were not hidden from You

when I was made in secret,

when I was formed in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw me when I was formless;

all my days were written in Your book and planned

before a single one of them began.

 

Mothers should know without doubt that they are highly favored as vessels of God’s creation. The mother gives of herself to others and reflects God’s grace and mercy in His divine privilege and purpose of nurturing children. The mother is also a teacher and instructor.

Proverbs 1:8

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction,

and don’t reject your mother’s teaching.

 

While the father sets the tone for the household, it is the mother than often has to provide ongoing instruction. Hopefully, the children are learning about godly behavior through His Word.

Mothers need to ensure that the children are properly trained in the same way that God wants His children to be trained and educated. It is the desire of God that persons who are educated and trained up in the Word can eventually be used for Him and His glory.

Acts 16:1-2

1 Then he went on to Derbe and Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a believing Jewish woman, but his father was a Greek. 2 The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him.

 

The Jewish woman was learning about Old Testament law and principles. It was additional preparation that led her to a relationship with Jesus Christ. She was able to teach Timothy in the truth of the Word despite the Greek influence within the household.

The faith of a person such as Timothy can be seen in the support of his mother and grandmother. They were the foundation of his sincere faith and love for Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 1:4-7

4 Remembering your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy, 5 clearly recalling your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois, then in your mother Eunice, and that I am convinced is in you also.

6 Therefore, I remind you to keep ablaze the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.

 

The result of this is three generations of people who follow and honor Jesus Christ. Mothers indeed have a huge responsibility in developing and promoting legacies of Jesus Christ within families.

What kind of mother do you want to be? What kind of grandmother do you want to be? You want to set the example where your children will call you blessed.

 


The Depth of Your Confidence in God’s Faithfulness

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Often, the issue about our faith is how deep it is, and how confident we are in God through Jesus Christ. As God is truly faithful, can you measure the depth of your trust in His faithfulness? The depth of your faith will be reflected in your actions. In the same way as the foundation of a skyscraper, the foundation below ground has to be significant in comparison what is being held up above ground. Your foundation of faith in Jesus Christ must have a similar presence.

When you determine, in your faith, that God is faithful, you will see how He works in your life. Your faith in Him is a dependence upon Him. He will provide direction in your life.

Colossians 2:6-7
6 Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, overflowing with gratitude.

Notice Paul’s confidence in The Lord, as he entrusted his life to Him.

2 Timothy 1:8-12
Not Ashamed of the Gospel

8 So don’t be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, or of me His prisoner. Instead, share in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God.

9 He has saved us and called us
with a holy calling,
not according to our works,
but according to His own purpose and grace,
which was given to us in Christ Jesus
before time began.
10 This has now been made evident
through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus,
who has abolished death
and has brought life and immortality to light
through the gospel.
11 For this gospel I was appointed a herald, apostle, and teacher, 12 and that is why I suffer these things. But I am not ashamed, because I know the One I have believed in and am persuaded that He is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day.

Why are you willing to suffer for Jesus? Why are you willing to put it all on the line for Him?

Philippians 3:8
More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ.

What are you willing to give up in your life for the glory of God through Jesus Christ?

2 Corinthians 11:22-29
22 Are they Hebrews? So am I.
Are they Israelites? So am I.
Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I.
23 Are they servants of Christ?
I’m talking like a madman—I’m a better one:
with far more labors,
many more imprisonments,
far worse beatings, near death many times.
24 Five times I received 39 lashes from Jews.
25 Three times I was beaten with rods by the Romans.
Once I was stoned by my enemies.
Three times I was shipwrecked.
I have spent a night and a day
in the open sea.
26 On frequent journeys, I faced
dangers from rivers,
dangers from robbers,
dangers from my own people,
dangers from the Gentiles,
dangers in the city,
dangers in the open country,
dangers on the sea,
and dangers among false brothers;
27 labor and hardship,
many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst,
often without food, cold, and lacking clothing.
28 Not to mention other things, there is the daily pressure on me: my care for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?

Paul suffered through many, many things for the cause of Jesus Christ. He was not ashamed to live this way. In the same way, we are to live in a godly manner in order that others might be saved. We may not suffer in the way that Paul did, but there is something to be said for making the effort to give up things for the comforting presence of Jesus Christ in your life.

Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek.

1 Peter 4:1-2
1 Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh, equip yourselves also with the same resolve—because the one who suffered in the flesh has finished with sin— 2 in order to live the remaining time in the flesh, no longer for human desires, but for God’s will.

Paul declares, “I know whom I have believed…” Do you know Jesus Christ and what He can do in your life? The more that you know Him, the more you will have confidence in Him.

He is the author of my salvation.

Hebrews 12:2
…keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.

He is the truth.

John 14:6
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

He is your blessing.

2 Peter 1:3
Growth in the Faith

His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.

To know Jesus is to know (and understand) what He can do.

He can deliver and rescue you.

2 Timothy 4:18
The Lord will rescue me from every evil work and will bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever! Amen.

2 Peter 2:9
…then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment.

God calls upon you to stretch and exercise your faith.

Matthew 14:28
28 “Lord, if it’s You,” Peter answered Him, “command me to come to You on the water.”

God calls you to have faith, hope and love in your life as you gain confidence in Him.

1 Corinthians 13:13
Now these three remain:
faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love.

Romans 8:38-39
38 For I am persuaded that not even death or life,
angels or rulers,
things present or things to come, hostile powers,
39 height or depth, or any other created thing
will have the power to separate us
from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!

Paul was confident that God would be with him.

Isaiah 50:7
The Lord God will help Me;
therefore I have not been humiliated;
therefore I have set My face like flint,
and I know I will not be put to shame.

John 4:41-42
41 Many more believed because of what He said. 42 And they told the woman, “We no longer believe because of what you said, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this really is the Savior of the world.”

1 John 3:24, 5:11-14
24 The one who keeps His commands remains in Him, and He in him. And the way we know that He remains in us is from the Spirit He has given us.

11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

12 The one who has the Son has life. The one who doesn’t have the Son of God does not have life. 13 I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

Effective Prayer

14 Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

To know Jesus Christ is to have a confidence in Him with faith that He will deliver and keep His promises. Have you put everything that occurs in your life at the feet of Jesus Christ? He can best use you for Him when you do.


A Mother’s Day Message

Being a mother in today’s world is certainly not easy. There are some circumstances when a mother and a grandmother have a mutually important role of raising the children in the family. The old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child” comes to mind. Unfortunately, today we have parents who are often confronted by their children or who may even be abused by their children. There may be a complete absence of control or discipline in the household where the children have little or no regard for their parents. This is contrary to what Scripture declares, for motherhood is part of God’s plan and purpose. Many of us can attribute our successes and triumphs we experience in the strength and encouragement of our mothers. A mother has to rely upon knowledge, wisdom and the proper motivation to teach and instruct their children. All of this requires time, which is often precious and while there needs to be prioritization, the mother recognizes the importance in making time for the benefit of their children.

God sees motherhood as an important role in the family that benefits the children, and God honors the mother in the fulfillment of her role. There is a similar honor for all of us, as well, in how well we treat our father and mother. “Honor your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12). It is not a choice for the child of a mother to honor and respect her–it is God’s command. When you disrespect your mother or curse her, you’re not honoring her.

Historically, the father was outside of the home to fulfill the responsibilities of the country and also the household, including fighting in battles, searching for food, and, in more modern times, working to earn money to care for the entire family. The mother had the more traditional role in the home shaping and molding the children with wisdom and instruction. “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction, and don’t reject your mother’s teaching” (Proverbs 1:8). Young ladies, especially, need a mother’s instruction to know how to grow up to be successful young women. When a child comes to a place where they are not listening to their mother’s instruction, they enter into a very dangerous area and can bring destruction upon themselves, for they are not operating within God’s will, plan and purpose by their actions. “A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish one despises his mother” (Proverbs 15:20).

What is the extent of the love that a mother can have for her children? Consider the example of Rizpah in the book of 2 Samuel 21, where, even in her sons’ tragic death, she was so devoted to her children that she literally protected their bodies from the birds and animals from April (harvest time) until October. This was the only reference in Scripture about Rizpah and her children, but if this is how she cared for and nurtured her children after their death, just imagine how she treated them and cared for them during their lifetime! Her love and devotion is admirable, and shows that mothers have a special God-given ability to care for and nurture their children.

Mothers need to know that they really do matter to their children. Mothers should never think that they are too old to give their children advice on life. While it is to be given in respect of the child who has grown into adulthood, the role remains the same in that the mother still has a positive influence and effect on their children.

Loving mothers should represent good things when it comes to their children. God wants them to give good gifts of instruction and wisdom to their children, which builds up their faith and good character. It is not just words, but also the example of living a godly life before your children (Matthew 7:9-11). Timothy most likely witnessed, and therefore, experienced the living faith of his mother and grandmother as he was being raised by them (2 Timothy 1:5-7). This faith was passed down from generation to generation–first from the grandmother, and then to his mother, and then to Timothy. When you find a woman who knows the Lord Jesus Christ, you have found a woman who will invest in the life, health, and well-being of their children.

A mother has great ambitions for their children. Their desire is for their children to see that same desire that they have and to take hold of it. What is the gift or ambition that you have given to your children? Do you instill confidence and encouragement to give the child the desire to do well and look beyond the obvious? You know what they are capable of; therefore, dream big dreams for your children. While others may say it can’t be done, your words can help them achieve and succeed beyond their expectations. Mothers have to instruct, push, correct, and guide their children in order to see to it that they realize success, especially in your demonstration of a life of faith and love in Jesus Christ (Proverbs 22:6, 23:13).

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers and grandmothers! We love you and appreciate all that you have done for us!