Day 281

Over the years I have met my fair share of people involved in other religions, cults and belief systems.  Just this past week I was stopped by two men who were Jehovah Witness.   I let them give their presentation so I could observe what it felt like being on the receiving end of a spiel.  When the one fellow got to the end of his discombobulated speech from Matthew 19 about not praying repetitively.  I felt a little used.  As if he was just trying to get his words out without really caring about who I was and what my spiritual state was/is.  I was unclear about what he was saying and wondered how they get into so many homes to “convert” others.  They thanked me for listening and shook my hand and that was that.

What a great difference by way of comparison between those men and the heart of the Apostle Paul.  Obviously, the greatest difference would be a personal knowledge of the Savior, but as far as methodology goes, Paul had a heart for the people he spoke to.  He had a desire for them to truly be transformed by Christ for their own good, not his.

In the book of I Corinthians, Paul is having to deal with some weighty things happening in the church, but he doesn’t start out by talking to them as if they are nobodies.  He mentions in the opening verses how that they are enriched in Christ in their knowledge of and their ability to speak about the Lord.  He isn’t just giving a spiel.

Paul goes through a lot of things before coming to 10:31:

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

He adds that they shouldn’t give offence or seek their own profit, but the profit of many so that many may be saved.

We shouldn’t be a combatting people to speak to as Christians.  So often we want to argue for the sole purpose of proving we are correct and believe correctly.  But what does it profit us or Heaven if we turn people off to the Lord by our argumentative demeanor?

Let’s never propagate heresy, and let us always speak TRUTH, but let us do so in love.  Love for our fellow man who is someone for whom Christ died.

Had those two JW’s been Christians, and I a lost person, I am afraid I would still be lost because they didn’t really care about me as a person.  I took away a good lesson from that whole experience!

Whatever you do this week, do if for God’s glory and not your own.  God sees us as individuals, so open your eyes to those around you and treat them with His love and try and win them to HIM, for HIM.  The more you dwell in His Word and in His presence, the more you will want to get others to experience the same peace for themselves.

Until Next Time, Lord willing,

Sheri

 

Day 280

STUDY TIME!

(On Saturdays and Sundays my blog posts will give you a verse to study. I won’t give you the reference….you have to find it for yourself. I will then ask you some questions)

VERSE:

“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

STUDY:

  • Is the God of the Old Testament the same as the One we serve today?
  • Has God’s abilities changed or slackened in any way over time?
  • Should we fear to do what He has told us to do?
  • What is it you are afraid of doing for the Lord?

 

*** HELPFUL TIP ***

If you do not own a concordance or commentary, try downloading the e-sword app to your phone or tablet. This app can be VERY useful when you want to do a word study or find a verse when you are on the go.

Until Next Time, Lord willing,

Sheri

Day 279

STUDY TIME!

(On Saturdays and Sundays my blog posts will give you a verse to study. I won’t give you the reference….you have to find it for yourself. I will then ask you some questions)

VERSE:

“And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand.  And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof:  and after that he will let you go.”

STUDY:

  • Who is speaking?
  • To Whom is He speaking?
  • Did He say WHEN He would do this?
  • Did He keep His Word?
  • Read Exodus 5:22-23.
  • Do you ever find yourself complaining to God for not acting?
  • Take time to remind yourself and encourage yourself that God always, always, always, always keeps His promises.  Don’t grow weary and complain.

*** HELPFUL TIP ***

If you do not own a concordance or commentary, try downloading the e-sword app to your phone or tablet. This app can be VERY useful when you want to do a word study or find a verse when you are on the go.

Until Next Time, Lord willing,

Sheri

Day 278

I have to say that right now I am suffering from something we don’t really have a word for in English.  In Portuguese it is called saudades (sow-dodge-eeez).  It’s more than just a feeling of homesickness, it is a longing for a people, a place and a position.

I have saudades for Brazil.

Do you know what I do to help me with my saudades?

I open up Google Maps on my iPhone and I zoom into our city of Lages.  I make sure the map is on satellite view and I zoom in as far as the app will let me.  Then I visit the homes of each of our church members.  I pray for them and then head off down my walking route where the “betty’s” stand at night for their customers.  I pray for them and then I “drive” around town and picture myself there.

Thank the Lord for technology.

I have to physically abide in the USA for a few more months, but pretty soon I will be back in South America, back in Lages and I’m sure the saudades will be reversed from there to here as I zoom back into Florida and Arizona to “visit” my children.

When it comes to being a born again believer, I am glad I have a fixed position in Christ where I can abide at any time I want.  And while I have a longing for Heaven and being liberated from this sin cursed world, I have been purchased with a price and I am redeemed.  Instead of opening up my smartphone, I open the Word to remind myself of my position.  I zoom in on verses that comfort my heart of Who loves me and Who it is that I love and belong to.

I Corinthians 1:30 says,

”But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:”

I Corinthians 2:23 says,

”And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.”

I Corinthians 7:23-24 says,

”Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.  Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.”

I have a fixed eternal position in God because of Jesus Christ.  My body may fail me or be raptured out one day and I will go to eternally dwell with the Lord.  There is an element of saudades for what is to come, but I am assured of its reality.

The Bible tells us not to be entangled in sin and the former lusts we had before salvation.  We are warned of its pitfalls and dangers.  We are not to be servants in bondage to the sins that brought us shame and disgrace.  All of those things threaten our abiding time with God.  Our position may be fixed, but how we feel in that position will either be uncomfortable in sin, or a longing for more of what is to come in Glory.

What do you have saudades for today?  Are you looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith?  Are you hoping for Heaven as you are comforted by the Spirit in the Word each day?

Or have you put yourself back into bonds of some sin that makes you fret, fear and fail?

Let’s open the Word, pray and ABIDE in Christ so that we can enjoy our position right now and look forward to when we can see Him face to face.

Until Next Time, Lord willing,

Sheri

Day 277

Have you ever heard the saying, “If you can be talked into something, you can be talked out of it.”?

I used to work as a telemarketer while I was in college.  I had a list of things I would say to the unlucky person who happened to answer my call.  And no matter if I was selling lawn care or newspapers, I had a rebuttal to everything the person on the other end of the line said.  My goal was to get them to buy the service or product I was peddling and I did my dead level best to get a commitment out of them before they hung up the phone.  The more commitments I got, the greater the chance that I could go home early or win a prize.  It was all about what I could get out of it, not the sucker on the phone falling for my speech.

Awful right?

I know some people who try and win souls like this.  I think that is terribly wrong.  We can be knowledgeable in the Scripture, but I don’t believe we need to scare people into a prayer just so we can make a facebook post about it or raise our hand in Sunday School that we “won” someone to the Lord.

When making a sales pitch for Salvation becomes a guise for us to earn brownie points or pats on the back, we have become the worst type of imposters and hypocrites.

If someone has talked you into Christ by threatening you with hell and separation from your family for eternity, someone else can come along and talk you out of Christ.  No, I am not saying people can lose their salvation, I am saying their faith was probably misplaced because of the foolish reasoning of men instead of the wisdom of God.

I Corinthians 2:5 says,

“That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”

What then is the power of God?

Look at a few verses prior:

I Corinthians 1:24 says,

“But unto them which are called both Jews an Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

Christ.  Jesus Christ is the power and wisdom our faith should stand in alone.  Nothing more and nothing less.  Christ Alone.

Should we actively seek to tell others about the Lord?  YES!  A THOUSAND TIMES YES!  But talk about Him….LISTEN to what the person is saying before throwing a memorized rebuttal back at them!  Knock on doors, pass out tracts, meet new people and spread the Gospel as much as you can, but remember that their Salvation is not dependent on you, but the POWER of Christ.

Which leads me to the thought we can dwell on today.  If I am not dwelling in the Scripture and letting God’s Holy Spirit have His way in my heart and life, then in what power am I serving Him?  In whose name am I walking down the street and knocking on doors?  Mine?  The Pastors?  The church?  None of them have power to save.  Only Christ does.  And my life needs to be full of Him for my motives to be pure.

Go in JESUS name and share HIM; not a fabricated, memorized speech to force someone to pray a prayer.  Souls are in the balance and they are worth more than our pride.  They cost Jesus all the humiliation of the cross and every drop of blood He had.

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” I Corinthians 1:18.

Share Christ, depend on Christ, be filled with Christ.  His Spirit can convict the hearts of the hearers to the point they will either choose to accept or reject Him.  Don’t cheapen His love towards mankind by turning His story into a sales pitch.  He is worth more than that.  He should have all the honor and the glory in the way we present Him.

Let’s go win the world!

Until Next Time, Lord willing,

Sheri

Day 276

Love.

Romans 8:35-39 says,

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature; shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Pretty amazing to read and meditate on isn’t it?  We generally like this passage because we are reminded of God’s love towards us as individuals.  We know the trials and tribulations we have had in this mortal body, and this Scripture assures us that we are loved anyway.

But I have another passage I would like to share for us to dwell on today with Romans 8 in mind.

In John 15:12 Jesus is speaking and He says,

“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”

He adds to this and says we are His friends if we do what He commands us to do.

I want to be a friend of Jesus!  Don’t you?

So I must ask myself;

What do I allow to separate me from loving others as Christ loved me?

We are individuals, so we will have different responses to this question.  But, whatever our answer, we probably feel pretty badly about it.

I John 4:16 says,

“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us.  God is love and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God and God in him.”

We can draw a simple conclusion to this by stating:

To the degree I dwell in God will be manifested in the love I have and show towards others.

The separating factors will diminish between me and another human being.  If I love God and dwell in His presence (LOVE), I will have and show love. Period.

It is easy for me to love my four children.  VERY easy.  They are the joy of my life and there is nothing they can do that will cause me to stop loving them.  We talk every day and have solid relationships because we communicate love towards one another.  It is easy to love them.

It is NOT easy for me to love or show love to my next door neighbor in the apartment complex we are staying in off and on during furlough.  He LOVES his hip-hop music.  And he loves to play it LOUD on Friday night while he smokes his weed with friends.

What is the difference between who is easy to love and who is hard to love?  The level of communication.

If I want to be a friend of Jesus, I need to love others.  The first step towards doing that is to communicate.

In this apartment building you can hear everything from footsteps to people brushing their teeth (gag).  So, every now and then, when my neighbor is about to leave, I also open my door and walk out.  I have smiled and spoken to him (he is a young man, don’t think I am being inappropriate).  I haven’t gotten more than a grunt and chin raise from him, but I want him to associate me with kindness.  I want to show love even though my flesh wants to bang on the wall and tell him we are all going deaf and getting high because of his Friday night exploits.

That is just one silly example of my life that I hope makes you think.  People all around us are dying and going to hell.  And the more and more we progress into this century, the farther removed our nation is from the principles it was founded upon.  In the opinions of our country’s people, Jesus is not the Savior, He is their enemy.  And the only way we can combat this line of thinking as individuals is to make sure we are dwelling in God, learning of His love and then communicating it to others.

Luke 6:35 says,

“But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest:  for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil”

Did you notice the last part of that verse?

Are you being kind to the unthankful?

Are you being kind to the evil?

Love.  Communicate that love.  Be kind.

Until Next Time, Lord willing,

Sheri

Day 275

Recently I was in a restaurant and overheard a little girl of about 6 or 7 years of age, ask the waitress what had happened to her finger.  Apparently the waitress had a bandaid on one of her fingers and the little girl was curious.  I smiled as I listened to the waitress explain that she had hurt it while cleaning tables earlier in the day and torn the finger nail, so she hid it with a bandaid because it was ugly.

After a while the little girl, seemingly very concerned with the wound, stopped the waitress again and asked her would the boo-boo get better.  Again, the server assured the little girl that it was fine and there was no cause for concern.

What happened next really bothered me.

As soon as the waitress walked away, the grandmother of the little girl turned in her booth and said visciously, “You stop that!  You stop asking about her hand!  You don’t care about her finger and you are embarrassing her!  Now sit down and shut your little mouth.”

I glanced out of the corner of my eye and watched that child hang her head and slide down into the corner of the booth, completely dejected.  I wanted to stand up and slap that grandmother.  My heart ached knowing that the girl was just curious and genuinely asked about the waitress in her innocence of limited knowledge.

The grandmother however proceeded to lambaste her granddaughter with a stream of accusatory remarks that I could tell had absolutely nothing to do with the girl, but with someone else, maybe the mother or father who were present at the table as well.  Whatever her reasoning, it was wrong and I felt sorry for the whole situation.

A great error was made by the grandmother because she was treating a child as if they could think like an adult.  That little girl has spent at most, 6 trips around the sun, 6 birthdays, Christmases, and Easters.  And for half that time, she was an infant and toddler.  Her brain has no where NEAR the information it needs to reason things out.  That is why God created us with curiosity, it is the way we grow and evolve as humans as we mature.  Yet, that grandmother transferred whatever burr under her saddle was, onto that child for no other reason than to release hatred that was overflowing in her heart towards another person or situation.

Romans 8:6 says, “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

In contrasting the saved and unsaved this passage makes me think that we ought to look at ourselves long and hard and ask “Who am I living and behaving like?” Am I acting like someone who has not experienced the love and compassion of a merciful God in my own life when I did not deserve it?  Or am I behaving like a heir of the King?

Are your words and actions the grim reaper to the spirit of another human being?

Are you so busy trying to prove to God that you are His prize child that you will push and shove others around in order to appear better?

Are you living carnally or being led by the Spirit?

All of us have areas to focus on when it comes to our treatment of others, I don’t care who you are or what your title is.  We all can be down right nasty.  But I ask you, for what?  What part of our fellowship with God is so worth us turning a cold shoulder to someone just because we “think” they should be doing something differently?  Who do we think we are?

Don’t squelch the curiosity and excitement of a new believer because you have grown distant and cold in your Baptist routine of doing things.

Don’t behave like you are unsaved.

You and I are heirs to the King of Kings.  Our actions and our words both privately and publicly should reflect our new nature, not our old one.

Until Next Time, Lord willing,

Sheri