24 Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. 25 All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen. – Jude 24-25 NLT
Our prayers should always contain adoration and praise for our Creator. He alone is worthy of our praise. Just as any parent wants to hear their children say “I love you”, so does our Father want to hear us say it. Take the time to sit in His presence and commune with Him. He has something to say to you, so don’t talk “to” God, talk “with” God, Speak to Him and then wait on Him to respond. Most of all, remember, not every prayer has to be a request, sometimes He wants to hear from us just because we love Him. Consider the possibility that if God answered each of our prayers immediately, He knows that He wouldn’t hear from us again until another need arose. He is our Creator, but He is also our Father. Once we have acknowledged Him as our Lord and Savior, He also wants to be our closest Friend. So, as we pour out what is in our hearts to Him, we also need to praise Him and just love on Him. He is waiting to hear from each of us.
This gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. — Romans 5:8 NLT
Oftentimes, when we have sinned, whether intentionally or unintentionally, satan uses that as a spiritual weapon against us. He tells us how unworthy we are and from a human viewpoint, he is correct. But we should never let satan’s lies defeat us. God does not see us as unworthy. In fact, God sees us as worthy because His Son paid the price for our redemption. Without the blood of Jesus, we are just as unworthy now as we were before Jesus died for us. But the Trinity determined before the foundations of the earth that Jesus would die for God’s enemies. It is not a question of our worth, because we are not saved by our worth or works. It is a statement of the worth of Christ Jesus, our Savior and Lord, God will never leave us nor forsake us because that would be saying that Jesus did not complete His work at the Cross. When Jesus said “it is finished”, it was finished, satan was and is defeated and satan can’t change that. So, like the wounded lion he is, satan goes about roaring lies and accusing Christians. But we should feel no condemnation and we should have no fear, because the battle is not ours, it is the Lord’s! Hallelujah!!
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position.10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business. 12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. — James 1:9-12 NIV
God has people in all levels of society, from the homeless to those living in huge homes and castles. Whether we are rich or poor, from the human viewpoint, has no effect on how God sees us and whether or not, He can use us. We are all special in His eyes and worthy of His death on the cross. Not all us are capable of playing musical instruments but, in a band or an orchestra, every player must play the right notes for the music to be appreciated, Even fewer of us will be band directors or orchestra leaders. And that is a very good thing. Because we need farmers, doctors, business men and women, educators, engineers, scientists, as well as someone to fill all the other positions that are needed for our survival. God has given each of us a talent that He can use for His glory if we will allow Him to do so. While we are all very special in God’s eyes and have special talents, we are all alike in that we will all have temptations to avoid and trials to go through. For us to persevere, we will need to keep our eyes and our hearts focused on Jesus and not on the world around us. Regardless of our social position or our economic value, Jesus expects us to allow Him to use us to further His Kingdom here on earth. When we learn total dependence on Jesus, the worldly things will become of much less importance to us and we can be joyful in the fact that Jesus considered us worthy. Worthy enough that He would choose to die for us, worthy enough to allow us to be a part of His team and worthy enough to spend an eternity with Him in glory. We should never belittle His gift and His opinion of us by not using our talents to glorify Him.
12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. — 1 Thess. 5:12, 13 NIV
We are instructed to pray for and respect those that are in leadership positions and have authority over us. This is true in the natural and spiritual areas of our lives. It is God that has lifted them up or has allowed them to be lifted up to those positions. God can use these people, be they good or evil, to accomplish His plans and purposes. As long as their instructions to us do not violate man’s law or the Word of God, we should follow their directives. So, it is imperative for us to pray for and support our pastoral staffs as long as they hold to Biblical principles. Our support should not only be financial, but we should support them with our time and our presence at the activities they have planned for the church. Love them, pray for them and be there for them when they need someone. The leaders of the church are worthy of double honor.
17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18 For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” — 1 Timothy 5:17, 18
God has raised them up and if they are no longer worthy of that position, He is their judge and He will bring them down.
We should live in peace, not only with the leaders of our congregation, but also with our brothers and sisters in our church, our community and throughout the world. .
Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, 8 so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 9 Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. 10 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. 11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. — 1 Thessalonians 2:7b-12 NIV
Paul sets a great example for us to follow when we are witnessing to others. We should be doing this because our hearts’ desire is to show others the love that we have for them. We have this love for them because of the love Jesus has for us. No other motive is needed, not money, not fame, not popularity. Even while spending his life as a missionary, Paul worked as a tentmaker, so that his presence would not be a financial burden on those to whom he was speaking. He and his companions did their best to mirror the lifestyle of Jesus, their Lord and Savior. Because Jesus cared enough to die for us, Paul spent his life in caring for others, just like a Mother cares for her children. Not only was he concerned about their physical welfare, but he cared even more about their spiritual welfare. He didn’t just preach the Gospel message and leave them, he spent time in explaining the scriptures to them and living an obedient lifestyle while he was there with them. He encouraged, comforted and urged them to live lives worthy of God. In other words, he was “making disciples”, teaching them how to grow in the word and not leaving them as babies without food and no one to feed them. He exemplified God’s love even more by writing letters to them after he had left as well as sending some of his companions back to check on them at times. Jesus’ command was not to “love them and leave them” or to “save them and send them’, it was to make disciples.
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” — Matt. 28:19, 20 NIV
17 But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” 18 For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. — 2 Cor. 17,18 NIV
We live in a world of almost total deception. We are taught that other people’s opinions of us are based on externals. To win friends and influence people, all men must have six-packs and all women must look like professional models. We must dress in the latest styles and wear the brand names or we will become outcasts in our society. Our self-worth has become based on popularity and what others think about us. If that is how we come to determine our self-worth, we are headed for a lifetime of misery and big disappointments. We need to be sure that we understand that the one Person we need to approve of us is Jesus. Jesus, the one who thought we were worthy of His death, is the one we need to impress. And we can only do that, if the internals are right. Our hearts and our mindsets must align with the Scriptures and not the latest fads.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. — Psalm 51:10-12 NIV
We can stress ourselves out everyday chasing the latest and greatest things that the world throws at us to be popular and we will end up worried, tired and unhappy. Or we can choose to live lifestyles that commend us to Jesus, put our feet on the Rock, rest in His arms and live a life filled with joy and peace.
18 You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. 19 For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment. 20 Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you. 21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.–1 Peter 2:18-21 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
In today’s society and in most countries, we no longer have slavery. But in our workplaces, we do have taskmasters that often treat us unfairly. So, Peter’s admonition to endure with patience is directed to us. Just as Jesus is our example of enduring unjust pain and persecution, so are we to do the same. God is our Jehovah-jireh, our provider. He has provided us with jobs so that we can provide for our families. Instead of complaining and gossiping about our bosses, we should be thankful for the provision. No matter who signs the paycheck, God is our provider. We are to set the example for those around by having a grateful attitude and not joining in when others are criticizing the employer(s). Jesus promised us that we would be treated unjustly and offended by the world, so we should not be surprised by the unjust treatment we receive. We have not yet been required to be faithful when we are facing death for Christ’s sake. We should have the same attitude that the apostles had in the First Century.
40 The others accepted his advice. They called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go. 41 The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus–Acts 5:40-41 (NLT)