Tag Archives: success

The Church and Salvation: Two Ministries

Today’s message summary of October 29, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

When you are in the church and you have declared Christ as your personal Savior, He gives you the desire to minister to others.  Ministry requires discipline and getting more and more into the Word of God.

All of us have two ministries.  Everything falls within them.  The first ministry involves your church–your family of disciples.  The other ministry involves your community.  Jesus provides examples where He was active in both of these ministries.

Ministry is not to be driven by “impact” or “numbers” or “success.”  While we want to have an impact in the lives of people and see church membership grow, ministry only has one thing that drives it within one’s heart, and that is obedience to God.

Many people follow Jesus for different reasons, including the receipt of His blessings, but leave out the importance of remaining obedient to Him.

John 4:34

“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work,” Jesus told them.

Do you have a desire and goals to actively do God’s work?

The reason why people don’t actively see God working in their lives is because they don’t really seek after doing the things that God would have them to do.  When you are actively seeking His presence, He will show you what He can do.

John 5:36

“But I have a greater testimony than John’s because of the works that the Father has given Me to accomplish.  These very works I am doing testify about Me that the Father has sent Me.

When God is using you and there is evidence that His work is flowing through your efforts, it is a testimony of God’s work through your life.  God is actively moving and working in the lives of those who are obedient to Him and to His will.  Their ministry testifies that God is using them.

John 6:38

For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

Your obedience to God shows that His will is important to you.

Ministry involves your will surrendering to God’s will.

To do ministry, you cannot do it in your own power or strength.  It will only truly work when you yield to the Holy Spirit and let Him work in your life.

How many of you attempt to do something, and it fails?  In failure comes learning.  It is an opportunity to learn something.

You should never be satisfied when nothing is attempted.  God is the One who can give the victory if you strive to do His work more and more.

Your ministry matters, because it reveals your obedience, and the results of ministry reveals God’s faithfulness in the work He assigned you.

1 Corinthians 3:5-10

What then is Apollos?  And what is Paul?  They are servants through whom you believed, and each has the role the Lord has given.  I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.  So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.  Now the one planting and the one watering are one in purpose, and each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.  For we are God’s coworkers.  You are God’s field, God’s building.  According to God’s grace that was given to me, I have laid a foundation as a skilled master builder, and another builds on it.  But each one must be careful how he builds on it.

Ministry has a staring place and must be defined.  Jesus reflects this within His own ministry.

  • Jesus is starting with His own (Matthew 15:24).
  • Do not go among the Gentiles (Matthew 10:5-6).
  • Begin in Jerusalem…ministry in your own home and family (Acts 1:8)
  • Judea: your neighbors, co-workers–the people around you.
  • Samaria: people who are different, your enemies, and people you don’t like.
  • To the world: everyone else, especially people you do not know.

Acts 1:8

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Jesus sends people to those that are known first (family and friends) because He wants people to work their way up to eventually go out before others over time.  People who are in ministry need time to grow within the ministry.  Mistakes will happen, but experience in ministry is a good teacher.  The Holy Spirit will provide guidance within this learning opportunity.  All that He desires is your obedience and to keep trying.

As you gain more experience, you will see how God will send you out further and further in your ministry–even to minister to those who are your enemies.  Jesus taught His disciples as to how they could do battle with their enemies, but they first had to learn how to love one another and minister to one another before they were sent out.

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Church and Salvation: Reaching Outward

Today’s message summary of October 8, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Church and salvation goes with evangelism, which is reaching out to other people.  It is to be understood, then, that one who wants to evangelize must be willing to “go.”

You will only practice what you truly believe.  If you don’t believe that there is a world of people who are lost, you won’t go out and speak with them about the gospel.

If we, as a church, are to be taken seriously of our desire to reach people for Jesus, it must begin by being believable first to ourselves, and then to others.  Next, we must ask how successful have we been in teaching the Bible to adults in such a way that they believe the Word of God to be true–to the extent that it influences behavior.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.

Matthew 28:19-20

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

The Lord told us not to “go” and save people, but to go and teach others.  You are taking a journey.  In the journey, you will discover what God is doing for you.  In the going, the teaching will make disciples of other.  The teaching is beneficial for the teacher, as well, in being a disciple of Jesus Christ.  Being a disciple is like being an apprentice.  All apprentices have to have a master teacher.  All learning takes place upon receiving instruction from the one who is leading you.

You have to be willing to “go.”  There’s no specific direction that you are being given, but you at least need to go and step out into areas where you have never been before.  Either way, you can’t be obedient to God by just “staying put” (John 20:19, 26).

You are, as a servant of Christ, both a priest and a teacher.  You are being equipped by the Holy Spirit to learn and be able to serve Him in these ways.

A new believer in Jesus Christ must prepare to serve Him.  He is not ready to teach immediately.  He has to learn what it is to serve and minister to others.  Over time, he can share his experiences with others in giving instruction.

Mark 16:14-17

Later, He appeared to the Eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table. He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who saw Him after He had been resurrected. Then He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Acts 1:3-5

After He had suffered, He also presented Himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during 40 days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While He was together with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise. “This,” He said, “is what you heard from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

You can’t do anything in the flesh that will bring glory to the name of Jesus Christ, but when you go in the power of the Holy Spirit and speak the gospel, the name of Christ will be proclaimed, and that is whether the hearers of the Word choose to respond or not.

The “go” indicates a willingness to go.

John 3:17

For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

Luke 5:27-32

After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” So, leaving everything behind, he got up and began to follow Him. Then Levi hosted a grand banquet for Him at his house. Now there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others who were guests with them. But the Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to His disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus replied to them, “The healthy don’t need a doctor, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

In His going, Jesus met Matthew.

  • He went out and saw a tax collector (see the tense of the word “went” from “go”).
  • Matthew saw Jesus as being observant–giving careful attention.
  • Levi had a banquet for Jesus and invited his friends (Jesus’ disciples were also there. They were learning by observing Jesus’ behavior).
  • The Pharisees saw them as sinners.
  • Jesus is not blind or ignorant of their lives. He knew the depravity of their lives (immoral people).

What did Jesus do?

  • He loved and welcomed them into His life.
  • He offered them a refuge–a safe place.
  • Jesus is going after the real person–the one that was hidden behind the tax collector and sinner (the word used by the Pharisees).
  • Jesus is going after that person who is fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God (Psalm 139:14).

The people of the church are to look at people in this same way.  To see people in the world, beneath their facades and protection, and help them to see Jesus Christ.

How many of you are studying the needs of your community?  You want to understand the community’s basic human needs, and how the details of their lives correlate into their lifestyle.

To serve, we must open our eyes to the people around us and know their needs. Think about what is important to them and how might the message of Jesus intersect with their needs.

Our community is a target for service.

The word “target,” according to Webster’s Dictionary, refers to one or a group who are to be changed or influenced by action or an event; therefore, we target our community to manage the perception of a person or group (1 Corinthians 9:20-22).  Paul is saying that all people will not see things in the same manner.  We, as a church, are the ones who change first, in the power of the Holy Spirit, in order to bring about change.


Learning to Be Successful

A message of November 13, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Learning to be successful within a family unit is not something that automatically takes place or happens.  You have to plan on it and work at it.  It is more than just living for survival.  You need to have the determination to get back up when you fall down, and to continue to work at it.  Success in this area takes work.

Being successful requires two elements:  Obedience and Doing

Many of us know what to do when it comes to what is right; however, to choose to do the wrong thing is sin.

James 4:17

So it is a sin for the person who knows to do what is good and doesn’t do it.

 

James 2:22-23

You see that faith was active together with his works, and by works, faith was perfected. So the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness, and he was called God’s friend.

 

James 4:4

Adulteresses! Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the world’s friend becomes God’s enemy.

 

Isaiah 28:10-13

For he says: “Law after law, law after law, line after line, line after line, a little here, a little there.” So He will speak to this people with stammering speech and in a foreign language. He had said to them: “This is the place of rest, let the weary rest; this is the place of repose.” But they would not listen. Then the word of the Lord came to them: “Law after law, law after law, line after line, a little here, a little there,” so they go stumbling backward, to be broken, trapped, and captured.

 

God’s Word is to have you grow and make progress, and if you choose not to, you are subject to falling backwards or being stuck.

Winning (success) does not come easy.  That’s why the Lord talks about endurance.  You need to endure hardships in order to experience victory.

God is looking more at your being (a follower of Christ, being in Christ) than your doing.

You can do things without being in Christ, but your being in Christ causes you to do things that matter for Christ.

John 15:1-5

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper. Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me.

 

No one can bear fruits (of the Spirit) without Jesus Christ (Galatians 5:22-23).

There are three areas that need to be done to help build up a family:

  • Teach children to strive for knowledge.
  • Help the children understand their physical makeup (for the sake of awareness…”you are unique, and God made you the person that He wants you to me”). Out of this comes a high self-esteem.
  • Re-productivity of the child (sexuality)–when is it appropriate and how it is to be controlled.

It is better to grow healthy children into healthy adults than it is to repair adult men and women later in life.

The purpose is to build a family that will go through life undefeated.  Life is a boxing match, and you’re going to get knocked down.  It is all about getting back up.

When you get back up, it is important to get back into life with a purpose. If you lose your purpose, you lose your drive and momentum.

You have to care enough about yourself that you are the gatekeeper of your life.

Acts 4:13

When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and recognized that they had been with Jesus.

 

The foundation for a successful family is one who looks at life from God’s point of view…not by one’s emotions or feelings.  Keeping your eyes on Jesus…

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.

 

Matthew 6:33

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.

 

A man, in his own ways, sees himself as right, but a wise person will evaluate how he sees himself with God’s Word, and the one following Christ will make the appropriate adjustments or corrections.

Psalm 119:59

I thought about my ways and turned my steps back to Your decrees.


Marriage and the Family (First in a Series)

Today’s message summary of September 11, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Marriage is not something that is an easy undertaking.  It’s tough.  It’s work.  It can wear you out.  But it also brings great joy into your life…that peace that surpasses all understanding.  It is very complex.  Marriage is something that it is constantly being worked on.

Society would like people to believe that attractiveness leads to love.  That’s not true.  Attraction is not love in itself.  Love is a development over time.  In a relationship, there will be days where love is prevalent, while in others it may be missing.  Love is a mental attitude where each day a person has to decide that you love the other person.  At times, it is the problems that come up over time that is the hindrance to love.

A relationship has substance and meaning, but it starts to fall apart when one is not seen as worthy or as valuable.

Marriage is a divine creation.  Adam and Eve were created as the first married couple, and that is what God intended for all of humanity.

God intended for two to become one, while Satan’s desire is to separate couples.  Satan is at war with married couples.  A person has to decide where the fight is coming from and, once it is recognized that Satan is the opposition to reject him.  Satan is out to defeat both the husband and the wife.  His goal is to have two bitter enemies and to also reflect all of this on the children involved.  Each of these will keep a person from recognizing Jesus Christ or the importance of Jesus Christ in life.  Satan is trying to steal that which God has given to you.

John 10:7-10

So Jesus said again, “I assure you: I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.

The battle is not between ourselves—the battle is with Satan.

If a married couple acknowledges that they are together, the credit should also go to the One who they look to.  God is trying to build the relationship, while Satan tries to tear it down.

Genesis 2:25

Both the man and his wife were naked, yet felt no shame.

Being naked at that time was not associated with anything corrupted.

Genesis 3:1

Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden’?

Satan attacks us with our thoughts and perceptions, and as a result, our intellect.

Both God and Satan reveal themselves to people, but for different reasons and purposes.  His influence is bad because what he reveals causes a person to change and even become irrational.  A person winds up using his own reasoning and going to God less and less.

Satan has to be defeated by looking to God for reasoning that overcomes unspiritual strongholds.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5

…since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ.

The shame of sin is what created the environment of the need to be covered with clothing.  Our marriage does indeed have boundaries that are established, and it is important to understand what is good and proper within the marriage relationship.  It is important to be sensitive to the person that you are married to.  It speaks to our emotional state and the ability to trust the spouse.

The days where there is a struggle within the marriage should be the days where there is patience and understanding.  Couples need to remind themselves to refer back to how God is working with both the husband and the wife each day.  This will contribute greatly to demolishing any negative thoughts or arguments.

Eve did not take every thought into captivity when interacting with the serpent (and neither did Adam). They entertained thoughts that were not of God.

Genesis 3:6-7

Then the woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.

When Adam first saw Eve, there was no shame.  After their sin, they both saw each other differently and experienced a closed-off relationship.  The relationship changed from an open one to a more secretive one. (Also notice that Adam had the responsibility to warn Eve about the fruit, but failed to do so adequately, and did not intervene.  God came on the scene not at the point that Eve ate the fruit, but immediately manifested Himself when Adam ate it.  Adam failed to be the covering influence for their marriage by saying nothing.)

Numbers 30:10-12

If a woman in her husband’s house has made a vow or put herself under an obligation with an oath, and her husband hears about it, says nothing to her, and does not prohibit her, all her vows are binding, and every obligation she put herself under is binding. But if her husband cancels them on the day he hears about it, nothing that came from her lips, whether her vows or her obligation, is binding. Her husband has canceled them, and the Lord will absolve her.

In marriage, you should be able to share freely with each other.  You should be able to understand more about the other person as you gain understanding about what the person has gone through in life.  It is important to be able to know and understand one another’s places of security and insecurity.  In contrast, secretive relationships create boundaries that impede the marriage and, as a result, the development of the marriage in a positive manner.

The truth sets people free.  Lying only causes separation and mistrust.

God has created us, and not Satan.  God has given us His Word as a guide for personal development in every aspect of life. He has given us His Word for successful living in the marriage for both the husband and the wife.

Satan has not given us anything with which to build success on. What he has done is caused shame.  It is a damaging emotional and mental state.  Shame brings about discord, frustration and disappointment.

When a person begins to disconnect from another person, it is based upon some sort of disappointment.  Satan is definitely in it, and he desires to keep God out of the picture.

A person has to declare that nothing will separate me from the one that I love in marriage.

In marriage, we are to help each other. You are to consider their past experiences as they will surely be revealed.  Jesus took into consideration the person’s life experience (John 4:16-17).  He saw (and revealed) more than what the woman at the well wanted Him to see; yet, she needed to know that He was concerned about her insecurity.  Jesus already knows the hearts of everyone He encountered, and still does, but it is important for couples to share about themselves to each other.

In a marriage, you have to see more about the spouse than what is visible.

1 Peter 3:7

Husbands, in the same way, live with your wives with an understanding of their weaker nature yet showing them honor as co-heirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

The King James version uses the word “knowledge” for understanding.  It comes with studying one another.  Husbands and wives are to be thoughtful to others as you understand the life of the other person.


Ready, Willing and Able

Today’s message summary of January 24, 2016 from Melvin Gaines:

There was a time in the past when someone, perhaps an adult, asked you what you wanted to be when you grow up. When I was asked this question as an early teenager, I used to answer that I wanted to be an architect or an engineer. I came to that conclusion because I loved watching television in the 70s. Among my favorite shows were The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, Rhoda, Phyllis, The Partridge Family and The Brady Bunch, where Mike Brady, the dad and husband of the bunch, was an architect. Beyond that, I didn’t have any idea what it would take to be an architect or what it meant to be an engineer. I was rather impressionable at that time in my life, and it just seemed to be the cool thing to do.

I went go through the effort of buying a drafting board, a T-square, pencils and rulers to pursue drafting, but I wound up getting more involved in freehand drawing and lettering. From there, I moved to graphics and later changed to drawing, but I ultimately did not pursue a career in art. In fact, I had considered becoming a lawyer until one of my professors in college, who taught Political Science, made a comment that lawyers will be marching single file over a cliff because there will be too many of them to effectively make a living. Talk about a downer!

You can see how random my career path turned out to be; in fact, I stumbled into the collection business because I transitioned out of retail and sales. I’ve been involved in collections, customer service and supervision now for over thirty years, and it was far from my original choice of a career path.

Perhaps, unlike me, you were able to pursue your most desired career path. Many of us derive our self-worth with what we do for a living. Some of us are still trying to get to that dream job or reach the pinnacle of a career path towards success. Even if you are still trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up, there is something very, very important that you can do, no matter what your career is. The most important thing that you can do is to serve Jesus Christ right where you are.

When you are serving Christ, your career job or your career path becomes less important, and your relationship with Christ becomes more important, because you trust that He has you where you need to be at that very moment.

Now, let’s take this a step further. Assuming that you are serving Christ, and living as He would have you to live, are you ready, willing and able to think about moving outside of the box? Are you sensitive to God’s call to reach others for the gospel outside of your workplace? Are you open to God’s call to go further than you ever thought you could go?

Please consider the following call that God gives to every believer in Jesus Christ, whether you have a career or not:

Matthew 28:18-20 ESV

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

The authority that Jesus received from His father gave Him the right to tell His followers to go out and reach others with the good news of Christ. He wants them to tell all about what we know of Him and His Word in order that those who hear the message could also tell others about Christ. In order to do this, His followers would have to leave their homes and even their immediate surroundings to carry out this command:

Acts 1:8 ESV

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

Jesus was not limiting His call to your street or your neighborhood, your office or your company, or even within the state or country. He literally meant “the end of the earth,” which is “all nations.” For believers, this should not be considered as “out of the box” thinking. It is what He expects of His followers.

So, what now? Jesus is calling for His followers to go to other nations. The gospel is to be proclaimed wherever there are people all over the world. It must be proclaimed because there are millions of people in our generation who were just like you at one time in your life…unsaved and lost. There are millions everywhere who are “lost in a system of religion that binds people into submission; lost in the discord of deities and idols; lost in a belief that we are alone in this world, that human enlightenment is the path to truth, and that our own works will determine whether we get to go to heaven or not” (cmalliance.org).

There are many who are without hope, just as you were at one time. There are many who have not realized God’s eternal grace. In order to have empathy for the lost, you should quietly reflect upon where you once were without Christ, and where you are now with Him. Jesus Christ desires for all to come to a saving knowledge of Him (1 Timothy 2:3-4), but if you don’t share this desire, then you are not ready to go anywhere. You have more to learn about Jesus, and you have more to learn about yourself.

Jesus calls His people into ministry and to “go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15). In order to fulfill this task, Jesus wants us to be ready, willing and able. He gives us the Holy Spirit to provide us with power and energy, but we still need to do our part.

I.  Get ready. To be ready means to get ready. This readiness is all about personal development in Christ. A healthy relationship with Jesus Christ can only be developed and improved with the discipline of preparation, the desire to be obedient and the implementation of His character each day.

The discipline of preparation is reading and studying the Bible on a daily basis. As the Word means more and more to you each day, you find yourself desiring to please God more and more by following His teaching, and by living under His instruction as you pray for knowledge and meditate on His wisdom:

Psalm 1:1-2 ESV

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night .

II.  Be willing. Willingness is a component of obedience to Jesus and His call for you. If He is calling you to go forth, you must be willing to listen and embrace what He wants you to do, reminding you that He is asking you to do it in the power of the Holy Spirit, for remember that He tells you that He will be with you no matter where you are (Matthew 28:20):

Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

To be willing is to be flexible. It means that following Jesus is more important than creature comforts or familiar settings. It means living a life of personal sacrifice, and it requires a humble heart in order for you to carry out the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) before others. It means being a friend to others. It means loving other people—even those who are much different than you—where you will reflect the love of Christ:

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Your desire to serve Jesus Christ in love will produce much fruit:

  • Jesus wants you to be willing to obey Him in all things (John 14:15; 1 John 5:3).
  • Jesus wants you to be willing to show yourself to others as a sincere human being who follows Him (Colossians 3:22; Titus 2:7).
  • He wants you to be willing to live and act in such a way that people can see His love, grace and mercy (1 John 4:7-8; Romans 6:14; Luke 6:36).

Of all of these things, Jesus desires for you to be willing to forgive others, even those who persecute you:

Colossians 3:12-13 ESV

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

A willingness to obey Jesus propels the faithful believer into a life of service that is open to the work of the Holy Spirit in everything that is done.

III. Be able. In order to serve Christ wherever He sends you, it is very important to be able to rely upon the Holy Spirit to provide wisdom and guidance throughout any and all circumstances. The Spirit enables you to live in a Christlike manner before others:

Isaiah 11:2 ESV

And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

Ezekiel 36:26-27 ESV

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

John 14:15-17 ESV

If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

You are able as the Spirit enables you to do these things. His purpose is to glorify God, which is what people are to conclude as they see the presence of Christ in everything that you do. You are able to show others God’s love, grace and mercy, in order that they can, perhaps for the first time in their lives, experience God’s love, grace and mercy.

The Great Commission of Jesus Christ is a powerful message for the believer. It compels you to think long and hard about more than just a job, or even a career. It compels you to think about how you can serve Him. The burden of serving others will make you pray fervently—get down on your knees—and open yourself up to how He can use you. You will see the need for a harvest in the same way that Jesus does (Luke 10:2; 2 Peter 3:9). A. B. Simpson noted that people are to be prayerful for qualified, well-trained workers who desire to follow God’s call to missions, and also prayerful for sufficiency in financial support.

There is a lot at stake as there is an end to when the gospel will be proclaimed—Christ’s return is imminent:

Matthew 24:14 ESV

And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

When He returns, Jesus Christ will claim His people and judge those whom He does not have a personal relationship. The signs of His coming are ever-present and should not be ignored:

A. B. Simpson noted: “The religious signs are growing more vivid. Lukewarmness and worldliness in the Church, intense longings after holiness on the part of the few, and a mighty missionary movement are the features of the age, and the signs of prophecy, that point to the day of the Son of Man.”

A. B. Simpson stated that the gospel message is reflected in “the greatest text in the Bible,” and that it is a missionary message summed up in three thoughts:

  1. “This is the God the world needs to know.
  2. This is the Gospel the world needs to hear.
  3. This is the Love the world needs to see.”

The lost of the world need to see the true God of the universe reflected in your Christlike behavior.

The lost need to hear God’s words of encouragement through His promise of salvation.

The lost need to see your love and sincerity through friendship in order to share these very important truths.

The Bible says in Romans chapter 10, “how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it?” (cmalliance.org)

Now is the time to be ready, willing and able to speak freely about the One who saved you for all eternity.

Are you ready, willing and able to trust in Jesus Christ in this way?

In the same way Jesus proclaimed you righteous and saved you with His grace, now’s the time for you to share His love for you with others.

2 Corinthians 6:2 NLT

“For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.”

 

Copyright © Melvin Gaines


Love is a Commitment

Today’s message text from Melvin Gaines:

The other day, my supervisor at work asked me to provide him with a text that he needed to preside over a wedding ceremony taking place this weekend. He originally asked me to select some Bible verses to reference within the ceremony, and he narrowed in on two of them.  One was Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, which notes that three strands of a cord are not easily broken, and 1 Corinthians 13:4-7—the love is patient and kind verses.  From there, I put together a brief talk for him incorporating those verses.

It was likely not a coincidence that these two verse selections were chosen, for both of them have a very common thread in marriage—the importance of endurance.

Love is indeed important in marriage, but in order for a marriage to last, you must be ready to endure.

A believer in Jesus Christ has a foundation of love within the relationship, but the believer must also endure.

In both a marriage and as a believer, the ability to endure requires the participants to act in love with a commitment for success in the relationship.

Love is a commitment.

Note the various synonyms you can find in a dictionary for the word commitment: dedication, devotion, loyalty, fidelity and faithfulness.

There is a lot that can be said about not making a commitment to do something until you are ready to do it.  Many people make commitments to themselves that they can’t keep, let alone those that may be made with others.  When a couple, for example, says that they’re in love and want to get married, is there consideration given to what the commitment of marriage really means?

Love is not just the lovey-dovey stuff with hearts and smiley-faces.  Love is a commitment.

Our best example of a lasting commitment is in God’s covenant with His people, and especially the covenant that Jesus Christ has with His people.

Ezekiel 37:26-28 (HCSB)

26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. I will establish and multiply them and will set My sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be My people. 28 When My sanctuary is among them forever, the nations will know that I, Yahweh, sanctify Israel.”

John 1:14

The Word became flesh
and took up residence among us.
We observed His glory,
the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father,
full of grace and truth.

 

2 Corinthians 6:16

And what agreement does God’s sanctuary have with idols? For we are the sanctuary of the living God, as God said:

I will dwell among them
and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they will be My people.

 

These verses show that God has been pursuing His people throughout history for the purpose of having a relationship—a loving relationship.  A loving relationship requires commitment.

Love is a commitment.

In any relationship, it will stand or collapse based upon the level of commitment.  A strong union will be able to rejoice during the good times and endure during the bad times.  God must be the source of strength and encouragement in any relationship.

Here is one of the verses that was chosen for the wedding ceremony:

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. 10 For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? 12 And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.

 

In a marriage, two of the strands represent the husband and wife, but the third strand represents the presence of God in your life.  Three strands are not easy to break, but it requires a husband and wife to stand together, even in disagreements.

Marriage is a commitment to live faithfully and without holding grudges.  Some of us have been married long enough now where the honeymoon may be over, and the reality of life has kicked in.  Here’s some free relationship advice:

Men, ladies don’t like to be ignored when they speak to you.

Ladies, men don’t like to be nagged.

Men, ladies want to be honored and feel safe in your presence.

Ladies, men want to be respected and appreciated.

Here is where this commitment of love has to be at the forefront of your marriage, all marriages and even in your relationship with Jesus Christ:

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient, love is kind.
Love does not envy,
is not boastful, is not conceited,
does not act improperly,
is not selfish, is not provoked,
and does not keep a record of wrongs.
Love finds no joy in unrighteousness
but rejoices in the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

 

Note the words used in this passage to describe true love (not just lovey-dovey love)…it’s not envious, not boastful, not conceited, not acting improperly, not selfish, not provoking, not holding grudges.  Love is all about patience, kindness, truth, righteousness, unselfishness and endurance.

Marriage is a commitment for the long haul, and true love will get you through the long haul.

Love is a commitment.

Jesus Christ made a commitment to love us for the long haul.  He loves us and showed it through His sacrifice for us for all eternity (John 3:16-17).  All that He asks of us is a commitment to complete a relationship with Him by acknowledging Him as Lord and Savior.

Loving Jesus Christ is a commitment, and the benefit is for all eternity.

1 John 4:7-10

Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

 

With this knowledge, is there something that you need to evaluate in your relationship with your husband?  Your wife?  Members of your family?  Or even with Jesus Christ?

In any relationship worth having and keeping…love is a commitment.

Matthew 22:36-40

36 “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?”

37 He said to him, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and most important command. 39 The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”

 

Jesus Christ has made this commitment for you.  If you don’t have a commitment to Him, now’s your opportunity.

Love is a commitment.

 

Copyright © Melvin Gaines


Your Mind and Thoughts

A continuing study on the impact of sin.

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Galatians 5:16-17

The Spirit versus the Flesh

16 I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want.

God gives each one of us a mind. While God wants you to use your mind for the purpose of serving God and glorifying Him, it is up to you to determine whether you will follow God or follow the ruler of this world, Satan.

Romans 7:21-23

21 So I discover this principle: When I want to do what is good, evil is with me. 22 For in my inner self I joyfully agree with God’s law. 23 But I see a different law in the parts of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body.

Sin is never eradicated or destroyed.

God deals with sin in two ways:

1. He frees us from sin, for we are slaves of sin.

2. He delivers us from sin.  He rescues us from the perils of sin.

Note that once you are in sin, you alone cannot walk away from it on your own power or ability.

Proverbs 16:1-2

1 The reflections of the heart belong to man,

but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.

2 All a man’s ways seem right to him,

but the Lord evaluates the motives.

Your thought process is affected by many different factors (your friends, worldly influences, and even demonic influences). You can experience conflict in your thought process, especially in your own flesh.  God has to be a part of your thought life in order that He can reason with you.  He helps you to sort out any voices that conflict with Him.  It’s up to you to listen to God’s voice and allow for His reasoning.  He is the voice that keeps you away from sin.

If we follow a principle to guard our thoughts and hearts, we will be receptive to God’s voice.

Philippians 4:8

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.

1.  Is it true?  (speaking the truth, truthful)

2.  Is it noble?  (honest character, honorable; showing high moral qualities, ideals or deeds)

3.  Is it right?  Is it just?

4.  Is it pure?  (avoid carnality; free from every fault, clean)

5.  Is it lovely?  (acceptable, pleasing)

6.  Is it admirable?  (well spoken, repeatable, good report)

7.  Is it excellent?  (virtue, moral goodness)

8.  Is it praiseworthy?  (a commendable thing)

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth.  He will give you what is best for you if you listen to Him, but you have to trust Him and believe in His Word.  The enemy will try to discourage you with thoughts that God does not want the best for you.  It is important for you to distinguish God’s truth from Satan’s deception.  When your thoughts are weighed against God’s reasoning and His truth.  He helps us with our thoughts and leads us to truth.

Proverbs 16:20

The one who understands a matter finds success,

and the one who trusts in the Lord will be happy.

You have a choice to make.  God makes known His will through His Word.  It should be a matter of prayer for each of us as we seek the truth and His will in our life.  We must choose to do God’s will or we will be outside of it.

John 7:17

If anyone wants to do His will, he will understand whether the teaching is from God or if I am speaking on My own.

Luke 10:38-42

Martha and Mary

38 While they were traveling, He entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s feet and was listening to what He said. 40 But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand.”

41 The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.”

It is important for each of us to listen to God speak in order to process our thoughts with the proper care and consideration.

After God has replied to our prayers and petitions and weighed our plans and thoughts, we still need to commit to the Lord’s plans.  This is an important step in trusting The Lord.  Your success is in the Lord’s hand.  It all has to work out according to His will.

Proverbs 16:3-4

3 Commit your activities to the Lord,

and your plans will be achieved.

4 The Lord has prepared everything for His purpose—

even the wicked for the day of disaster.

Proverbs 16:9

A man’s heart plans his way,

but the Lord determines his steps.

If you commit your plans and thoughts to God, His promise is that He will direct your steps.  He is faithful.  He wants you to succeed.