Inspiration for Today's World

Category: Tips (Page 2 of 4)

TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 28

Is It Really That Simple?

Salvation, mankind’s ability to live in the presence of God forever, is often a difficult concept to grasp. One of the biggest areas of confusion is with “good works.” Do good works get you to heaven?

The Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans serves as a short course (cliff notes) for understanding our God and Christ’s work on our behalf. Salvation can be summarized into three simple concepts:

  • The Gift
  • The Work
  • The Prize

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” ~Romans 5:1-5

“The Gift” is God’s grace, extended to mankind even though it is not deserved. Paul calls this justification by faith. We must understand that mankind is separated from God because of our sinful nature. However, it was through Christ’s work on the cross and our faith in Christ that brings us into fellowship with our God. This is something we cannot do ourselves, no matter how hard we work.

“The Work” is our service to God. Charity, stewardship, using our talents to make the world better is the work. Paul calls this work sanctification. It is work done not because it is profitable to us, but because of our love for God and love of Christ.

“The Prize” is often called glorification. Simply stated, when we are finally in eternal proximity to our God, we will have reached true glory. Yes, it is this simple: accept the gift so our work can be of benefit to God and assure yourself of the prize, eternal life.


TIPS-28Salvation is not something we have to wait for, it starts the moment we accept “The Gift.” When we have faith in Christ, when we are repentant for our sins, our labors can become rewarding and our burdens lifted.

Check List√

Have you personally accepted Christ’s gift?

Are you thankful every day for the gift of Christ’s work on the Cross?

Do you see purpose in all things, even the burdens of life?

Are you filled with hope even though our world is filled with hopelessness?

While loving others does not mean we are to accept their injustices, does your attitude make you stand out as a person of “love?”


A Labor of Love

The Apostle Paul really is trying to simplify our lives.  He even defines “The Work” for us in 1 Corinthians 13. He clearly expects us to behave differently than those who have not accepted the hope of salvation.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. “

Our work is to love everyone and it is work.  We are a people of justice and want God to even the score.  But God wants us to even the score with love.  In a world filled with pain, suffering, war, deceit, etc., love is often in short supply.  But the world is watching and you may be the only Bible someone ever reads.  Your work matters, your love matters in this world.

Your tip, therefore, is to remember to love as Christ loved, feeding the hungry, comforting the sick, sharing the story of your faith walk with others—not bad work if you can find it!

 

TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 27

Want More Blessings?

A blessing, (also used to refer to bestowing of such) is the infusion of something with holiness, spiritual redemption, divine will, or one’s hope or approval. Blessings are good things, things we all want for ourselves, our families and our friends. However, we live in a world where it is hard to find them sometimes. War, debt, unemployment, monetary collapse, political infighting, even our religious freedoms are under attack.

“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” ~1 Peter 3:8-9

In 1 Peter 3:8-9, the Apostle Peter is teaching us how Christians and friends should treat one another. His advice is to be all of one mind, to be unanimous in the belief of the same faith, and the practice of the same duties of religion. Peter even reminds us that the Christian’s calling is to invest ourselves in Christ as well as His glorious privileges granted to us, so it obliges us to attend to difficult duties.

Peter warns us not to return evil for evil or to rail for railing sake. We are called to the contrary, to bless others. So how do we bless our enemies as well as our friends?

Well, here is our prescription for a comfortable happy life in this quarrelsome ill-natured world. Peter quotes from Psalms 34:12-14. “If you earnestly desire that your life should be long, and your days peaceable and prosperous, keep your tongue from reviling, evil-speaking, and slandering, and your lips from lying, deceit, and dissimulation. Avoid doing any real damage or hurt to your neighbor, but be ever ready to do good. The control of the tongue, is the best way to make this life comfortable and prosperous; The avoiding of evil, and doing of good, is the way to contentment and happiness.

Wow, after all of these years, it is all about loving our enemies!


TIPS-27Easy to say, so hard to do.  How do we get along and love our enemies?

Check List√

Does your life, your words and actions reflect back those of Christ’s?

When we stand up to defend principles, how do you know they are right?

Does calm or chaos follow your interaction with others?

Do you resolve conflicts or create them?

Does how you speak to others draw them to you or away from you?

Would your enemy seek to know you better or to destroy you?

Can you defend the hope that is in you because of Christ to others?

Can you hold differing opinions with civility?


It’s All About Love

It is important to note here that Peter was not saying to put up with your enemy’s evil ways and be a victim.  Our enemies do nothing without God’s permission and are subject to God’s eventual judgment.  Peter is trying to tell us that as Christ suffered, we will no doubt suffer some too.  But our attitude, our ability to love one another as well as to be civil to our enemies is a powerful silent statement to the hearts of men.

Yes, we are many times called upon to fight evil.  The world is filled with it.  Peter is saying, that at least get a long with those who think alike, fellow Christian.  Then set an example for our enemies that we are civil people.  Civil but strong, willing to defend our freedoms and our faith.

“You need not be afraid of any thing they can do to strike with terror nor be concerned about the force of our enemies.”  Christ has given us His example so that we may have eternal joy.

Your tip, therefore, is to be aware that both those who love us and those who hate us are watching us.  Be a mirror so that both groups can see Christ at work in this world.

 

TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 26

It’s All Or Nothing

Isaiah, in verse 29:13, is passing on one of our God’s big complaints: His people are claiming to honor him but their standards are standards that the people have created, not those of God. In Isaiah’s time, the Pharisees created elaborate traditions and rituals that God’s people were required to follow.

And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, “…. ~Isaiah 29:13

One example is that of hand washing. No ordinary thing here. The water, the jars, the positions of the hand, how the water cascaded over the fingers were all documented in agonizing detail. Follow them exactly and you were following God. However, those same people could lie, cheat each other, be immoral and as long as they washed their hands correctly, they would be OK with God.

It seems that mankind likes to invent what God would find pleasing. However, humans often miss the mark. God is interested in the contents of our hearts. We may go to church, we may read Scriptures everyday, we may pray. But how is your heart? Are you totally committed to God?

In the world of Olympic sports, we are reminded every few years how hard, how dedicated the athletes must be to compete and win. To the runner or swimmer, they cannot train one hour a week. Many athletes train their entire lives. Yet as people seeking God’s favor and protection, many believe that one hour on a Sunday is all that is necessary. The rest of the week, they are caught up in the rituals of humanity.

From Isaiah’s time, God has been consistent and clear: He wants us full time, 24 by 7, placing our faith and trust in Him. Think of it like a tapestry, a beautiful image woven with faith, prayer and service to God, producing an image of your life, filled with hope and happiness.


TIPS-26Are you “In To Win?”

Check List√

Do you regularly worship?

When you worship, are you in touch with God?

Do you fellowship with others who desire to study and learn from God’s Word?

If you were taken to trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence in your life to convict you?

Do you humbly serve the God that is?

What or who defines your image of God?

Have you replaced any of God’s priorities for your life with human priorities?

Have you sought God’s forgiveness for your shortcomings?


How To Win The Race

In the Gospel of Mark 7:1-8, Jesus comments to the Pharisees quoting verses in Isaiah.  Our Savior tells them “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” This problem is still with us today.  Traditions and rituals are comfortable.  The danger here is that instead of searching for the will of our God, we search for an accommodating and comfortable faith.  No where in all of God’s Words is humanity given the responsibility to define God.  Our responsibility is to find and fear the God that is.  If you want God in your life every day, you need to place God in your life every day.  If you want God in your life every minute, you need to place God in your life every minute.

The example set by each of us, the way business is conducted, the way one’s word is honored all matter.  Like the Olympic Gold Medal, salvation is the ultimate award but it comes only with an “all or nothing” attitude.

Your tip, therefore, is to be on the lookout for ways to improve your faith walk, to strengthen and train your heart for God.  Be a Gold Medalist!

 

TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 25

Why Did Jesus Come?

This is one of the greatest questions of our time. If we have a loving and benevolent God, then why did Jesus come? We live in a world that easily admits to believing in a Creator. Most people acknowledge that God exists. In virtually all cultures worldwide, the concept of God is there. Hardly a coincident, our very creation has implanted a sense in all of us that mankind is not the highest form of intelligence. Our very DNA acknowledges the existence of God.

Scriptures tell us that mankind, from our very beginning, was separated from our God because of sin. When you think of it, sin not only separates us from God but it does a pretty good job on humans too. For the most part, good and repentant people prefer to separate themselves from the wicked.

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” ~2 Corinthians 5:18-19

One important point to consider is that mankind, no matter how educated, how intelligent, can ever hope to define who God is. God is God! God hates sin and because all humans are imperfect, that sinful nature will forever separate us from God unless there is some perfect reconciliation between God and humans.

And that is why Jesus came. We are powerless to overcome our nature. God, knowing this, has provided a path, a bridge that will overcome this separation.

When you think about it, this is amazingly simple: We cannot overcome the distance between ourselves and God so God provides a bridge, strong and true that any human can cross and reach God. On the other side of that bridge is an eternal world, filled with peace, void of pain and disappointment, so perfect that all the joy we will need forever can be found. But there is a catch. Each person must make their own decision to cross that bridge.


TIPS-25Embracing Jesus is important.

Check List√

Do you know who Jesus is?

If Jesus showed up at your home or work, could you confidently recognize Him?

Have you acknowledged that you are separated from God and need help?

Do you understand the Gift, the Gift of the Cross and how it provides you with a bridge to eternal life?

Is your love of God and Jesus infectious, leading others to desire to know more about God?

Are you a “town crier” for your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers ? Remember, you don’t have to use words, just become a living example.


The Gift of Reconciliation

The Apostle Paul tells us that our reconciliation with our God is both an accomplished fact (v18) and a continuing process (v19). Although it is a done deed because of Jesus’ work on the cross, the reconciliation must be personally appropriated. We need to walk across that bridge ourselves. While the bridge is strong and true, the sinful nature of our world is always calling us back. That is why we fellowship with others who are on this journey, encourage each other, study together, praying together and helping each other. While the journey is ours alone to make, we do not have to be alone on our journey.

We are all “town criers” of the Gospel of Truth. By sharing our lives with others, we become living witnesses for God. Each one of us on this bridge needs to call back to those still fearful of the first steps. The bridge is strong, Jesus is strong, so make sure those around you see your confidence.

Your tip, therefore, is to make sure you confidently allow Jesus to carry you to God. And then as you journey, look back, call to others and be a confident example.

TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 24

Social Media

Social Media has surely made a place in this world as an efficient form of communication. Facebook alone is estimated to have 900 million users. Clearly, Social Media connects people better, informs them faster, is entertaining, raises productivity, can improve creativity and extend anyone’s reach to all corners of the globe. It is estimated that the Internet now holds 5 million terabytes of information and most of it is free.

So the question to pose is not whether Social Media or the Internet is good. It is good. The question, however, is how does someone discern the correct information, the trustworthy information from all that technology is bringing us?

If you would search on the question “Is God real?” you would no doubt find answers confirming and denying God’s existence. To our youth who are growing up in this age of communication and information, how do they sort out what is true?

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans, states a very important point to begin this discussion on. That is, our God, creator of the Universe, has given us evidence. That evidence is sufficient to remove any excuses about our world and our God’s existence.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. ~Romans 1:20

So let’s look at what we can do. Social Media feeds the idea that anything can be reduced to simple statements, bullets, tweets. This is called minimalism. The risk is that by reducing everything to a few words, it becomes harder to discern the truth.

Nothing can and ever will take the place of people caring for other people, sharing their faith walk, encouraging one another, helping one another. This symbol stands for a kiss :-* and it will never replace the real thing.


TIPS-24We live in a changing world. But with confidence remember God is in charge.

Check List√

Are you discerning when you use information from the Internet?

As a user of Social Media, do you know how to be safe?

Do you share personal time with your friends, family and neighbors?

When is the last sunset you watched in person with your spouse, best friend, child or grandchild?

In an “always on and connected” world, do you spend quiet time so that God may speak to your heart?

Have you shared any great parables lately—they often lead to revelations of eternal proportions?


Getting to Know God in a New World Order

So how do we live in this world of Social Media and online information and know what is true? Here are a few simple steps to use for yourself and for others.

First, know there is a God.  The evidence of history, the world around us has for thousands of years and billions of people, led them to conclude God exists. Regardless of the technology, most people can discern morality.  The use of immoral information is wrong.

God gave us a lot, laws, government structures, the principles of economics, education, even politics.  But God demands that we apply common sense.  The Holy Spirit may be our guide but we will ultimately be held personally accountable for our actions in life.

Finally, God has created us with a mind capable of applying reasoning to any problem.  When we do, God instills the human heart with revelation.  And then you will know God is real.

Your tip, therefore, is to embrace or modern world with common sense and pass a little of yours onto others too.

 

TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 23

Got Power Steering?

Can you remember a time when cars did not have power steering? Well, you may be dating yourself but there was a time that only the most stalwart of drivers could navigate an automobile. Steering was hard. No power accessories. Yes, you had to crank the window down and set your mirrors by hand. Today, the manufacturers of many labor saving devices have standardized their features to include “power steering.” Cars, even vacuums, all have power assist. Garage doors, tooth brushes, and the list goes on and on. In the Apostle Paul’s second letter to his young protégé Timothy, he is thankful for Timothy, for his friendship, faith and prayers. Paul is writing this letter to encourage Timothy, reminding him that he got a very important gift from God, Timothy got the help of the Holy Spirit.

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. ~2 Timothy 1:6-7

We often forget about this third member of the Trinity. God of course and Jesus are the other members. So what exactly is the Holy Spirit going to do for us?

Paul says, power, love and self-discipline. Three things that no one would ever dispute are pretty great to have. Many times, it is hard to take these invisible gifts from God and understand them but maybe the perfect way to understand the Holy Spirit is to think of “Power Steering” for your life.

The Holy Spirit is there, a gift to each of us to help each of us be bold when we are timid, to love when we want to hate and to provide strength when we are weak. You have Power Steering, so why not use it as you drive through life.


TIPS-23We are told in Galatians 5:22-23 what the fruits of the Spirit are. If we have fruits, God trusts us with gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12)

Check List√

Is there a sense of God’s Love in your life?

Are you joyful?

Can you find peace somewhere?

Has your suffering brought you closer to God?

Are you kind?

Are you good?

Are you faithful?

Would your friends call you gentle?

Do you have self control over those things that are trying to push God out of your priorities?


So Who Is The Holy Spirit?

The Spirit is fully God, is eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, has a will, can speak to us and is alive.  The Holy Spirit has inspired the very Scriptures we all hold as true.  A counselor and teacher, the Spirit testifies as to who Jesus is and provides us truth.

We have a great God.  He not only created us in His image but granted us free will, without which happiness could not exist.  God provided us dominion over our entire world.  He even assured us that our imperfect free will would be forever repaired through the work of Jesus on the Cross.  Now if that is not enough, the Apostle Paul tells us that we have also been given power for our life that works in this world, power to overcome those we dislike with love and the power to overcome sin through self-discipline.

Don’t ignore the power you have to navigate life.   No one needs to go it alone.  Use God’s gifts, the Spirit and Jesus to make this world a better place to live in.

Your tip, therefore, is to listen for the whispers of Spirit in your heart.  Steering through life will be much easier.

 

TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 22

The Holiest Day

Yes, another Easter has come and gone. Isn’t it a wonder how the churches were filled to the brim on this very special day. People jammed into the overflow areas, standing in the isles. In Psalm 118:24, the traditional song that was sung at the conclusion of Passover, God’s inspired word tells us, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

We often hear these words in our church services. However, the psalmist was telling us that Easter is the day the Lord has made through the miracle of Christ’s death and resurrection. People filled our churches, singing and praising God. Dressed in their finest, they rejoiced and carried their celebrations home for the day.

Now the sadness comes. It is after Easter and attendance in church is normal again. As we look out into the congregations, some have dropped to half of Easter’s attendance. What is it about human nature and faith that could shift so quickly from the pursuit of holy joy to the pursuit of a hole-in-one?

Our society today is not unlike the societies of the Bible. We do an excellent job of taking issues like faith and God and moving them to middle ground. What is middle ground? It is a position that is taken to avoid controversy, a position without cause. Middle ground never offends, never risks failure, and never takes sides. Taking middle ground is how the death and resurrection of Christ was converted to bunny rabbits, chocolate eggs and jelly beans. Taking middle ground is how Christ could ride into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday as a King and five days later, be beaten and crucified.

1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. 4 Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. 6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction. ~Psalm 1

The question to contemplate is whether the Christian Church can survive today holding middle ground, offending no one, never considering change, or never taking sides. Have you looked for Biblical support on middle ground? There is none. God gives us clear choices and we can find how to make those choices in Psalm 1.


TIPS-22God’s kingdom requires people to change their attitudes but not God’s message. Easter, the full churches on Easter, remind us how hungry the world is for a message of hope, redemption and salvation. Moving off middle ground is never easy. There are risks. Remember that God only asks us to try in faith. When we do, He does not disappoint but leads us to the solid banks of a stream where we can be nourished.

Check List√

Share your faith with a friend or neighbor. They may be thirsty.

Make a difference in this world. Stand with God.

Make sure you bear fruit and be generous with it.

Make sure you are not comfortably on middle ground. Stand with God.


God Defined – Through the Eyes of Scripture

Psalm 1, written by David, gives us a definitive view of the choices God gives each of us.  In just six short verses, we see that there are only two places for mankind to stand; on God’s side or opposing God.  God does not give us a third choice and for sure God does not give us middle ground.  David knew that he must accept the God that IS, not the God he wanted.

Verse 3 compares each of us to a tree, planted by streams of water, yielding fruit, kept healthy and prosperous by standing with God.  There are many places in Scripture where we are compared to trees or vines, bearing fruit for the benefit of God’s kingdom.

Why the frequent comparison to fruit?  Fruit is not grown for the benefit of the tree or vine, only for those who pass by and eat of it.  God’s plan is to nourish others through the feeding of His people with our fruit.  We cannot feed people from the middle ground.  God calls each of us to “choose sides.”

Your tip, therefore, is to pick a side and then play hard for victory.  I would pick God’s team—He always wins, you know.

 

TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 21

Priorities, Priorities

Life is filled with decisions. To add to the problem, it is easy to become distracted from our goals. Just surviving in this world is a full time job. Employment, children, relationships all seem to add up to more stress and less time. We all know what the book says, “just prioritize.” I am sure that if I just could prioritize, I would have time to read the books on how to do it! Does anyone see the “Catch 22” here?

When things get rushed, there is one book that I try not to forget about. Of course you all know it is the Bible. There are many interesting places in Scripture where we can look for some help on how to handle this hectic world. Here are some I found.

One of the greatest opportunities afforded each of us is to inspire people spiritually. Each of us should consider it a great honor to know that we can influence the spiritual health of those around us. We all are called into action with regard to love and what greater love can anyone demonstrate that to show concern for the eternal well being of our families, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.

The Apostle John gives us some real insight as to how this is done. John wrote this letter in his latter years. As an old man, he had watched the mistakes others had made and wanted to set the record straight. If you want to show the love of God, if you want to show others that you love them and care about them, “don’t use words.”

“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” ~1 John 3:18

Simple enough, but there are some instructions too. First, we cannot talk someone into loving God, we cannot email someone the facts about loving God. We cannot look up enough information on the Internet to convince someone to love God. In fact, we cannot Tweet a message or leave it on Facebook. John simply says, be truthful, be with them, and show them the love of God through your actions. Now that should be priority one.


What can you do to love with actions and truth?.

Check List√

Can someone tell you are a Christian by observing how you live?

Do you treat others with truth and respect, no matter what their position in life may be?

Do you hold others to the same measure of truth?

When you pick people, does it matter how they live (act)?

Does the way you live your life cause others to love God more?

Would someone in need seek your help?

Do you pray for others?

Is generosity an attribute that others would use to describe how you live?

Have you left your “water jar” behind?


Balancing God with Life

In the story a Samaritan woman’s meeting with Christ, (see John 4:1-29), she is amazed by the fact that Christ knew everything about her life.  While this is often the key point of the story that is discussed, there is an interesting and inconspicuous reference to her water jar that gives us an indication of a change in her priorities.  Why does the Word of God document such a seemingly insignificant event as leaving her water jar behind?

After the Samaritan’s woman’s encounter with Christ, and her enlightening by His wisdom, she stopped doing what she was doing and went back to be with others to share her “Good News.”

In her response lies the answer to the question of balancing God’s priorities and life’s priorities.  Once we are shown who Christ is, once we are shown His love for us, it is impossible to continue our life as it was.  Our priorities change, our hearts change and we begin the process of following a life directed by Christ, instead of one directed by our own selfish nature.

Your tip, therefore, is to show others through your life, the love of God and His generosity.  Do this and He will take care of the rest.

 

TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 20

So Now What To Do?

Another new year goes by. Whether we liked the past year or not, we all look forward to new and better things. Priorities are set and plans are made. Maybe this year, things will be better.

What to do next is never clear. So let’s look to the Apostle Paul for some guidance.

Shortly after dictating his second letter to Timothy, Paul was martyred. In his letter, Paul makes an intense appeal to Timothy to be faithful to Christ and to Preach the Word. We should view Paul’s admonitions as more than just good suggestions or New Year resolutions of sorts. They are nothing short of commands for all of us to take up.

“Preach the Word, be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction. ” ~2 Timothy 4:2

Preaching the Word carries some implications. It implies that one must know the Word, know its applicability to life and know how to make it understandable to those who God has placed in our lives. While it is important to impart knowledge, theory does little to change the heart.

To be prepared at all times is in reference to our attitude toward how hard we are willing to work or how convenient it may be to fit into our busy lives. Paul is telling us that it is not our role to adjust the message to one of convenience. He calls us to use the inspired Word of God as God intended, not filtered with opinions, not made to fit our schedules, not convenient for our busy lives.

Paul warns Timothy that the time will come when people will not want the Word of God — and that time is NOW! It is easy to soften the Word but in verse 4, Paul tells us that “They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

So what should we do next? Start preparing ourselves to learn and spread God’s message of hope, love and salvation.


TIPS-20What are you doing to prepare for the coming new year?.

Check List√

Do you have a plan to increase your knowledge of God’s Word?

Have you taken the time to reflect on your own faith walk — what your life was before accepting God’s gift of salvation and what your life is like now?

Can you defend God’s Word?

Do you have a mentor?

Do you have an apprentice?

Do you have someone in your life that will hold you accountable?

Is sharing your faith with those around you a priority in your life?

Are you willing to place your trust in God and Christ?


Turning Away From Truth

As people turn away from Truth, they begin to believe in fables.  Fables let people believe that God accepts our poor choices of priorities, that God understands our need for consumptive lifestyles and fables even let us believe that  Hope and Love can be spread with little more than just letting others see how we live our life.

Yes, letting others see the Gospel’s message through how we live is a good thing to do but it is not a replacement for pointed personal testimony and Biblical teaching.

Why then, after all that Paul had done to promote Christ, all of his knowledge and experience, were his last words to Timothy, “Preach the Word?”  Because Paul knew that it was the only pathway to “changing the heart.”

Everyone of us is called to share our unique gifts to the world around us.  We are called to encourage those who can teach to do so and to those who can preach to preach.  And make a New Year’s resolution to encourage yourself to share your faith with all around you.

Your tip, therefore, is to tell others why you love God, why you love Christ and why God and Christ love them.

 

TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 19

Separation & Sacrifice

It is difficult to imagine what Adam and Eve must have felt like right after Applegate. One minute, basking in the glory of paradise and the next, separated from God. Genesis 3:6 marks the black day for all mankind, Adam and Eve cowering in shame. Yet, only a few verses later, God moved quickly to establish one of the most fundamental components of our relationship with Him, Sacrifice. Read Genesis 3:8-11 carefully. You will notice one amazing little fact.

“The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them” ~Genesis 3:21

Adam and Eve were hiding from God, or trying to. They were “ashamed of their nakedness.” Yet it was God who moved to clothe them in garments made of animal skins. These were history’s first sacrifices: the first intimation in Scripture that the effects of sin could be reversed by te death of a substitute. On the basis of that sacrifice, Adam and Eve were again able to fellowship with their God. The valley of separation was bridged, at least temporarily.

The garment in Scripture is a symbol of righteousness symbolizing the basic provision of God’s salvation by grace through faith in Christ. This concept is consistently supported (see Isaiah 64:6; I Corinthians 1:30; Revelations 19:8). Through sacrifice, we who are separated from God, re-establish fellowship with our God. This simple and consistent biblical theme is the basis for stewardship.

While the details of the actual sacrifice are not given to us, Scripture lets us conclude some interesting points. God moved quickly, without hesitation because separation from Him is dangerous. God did not wait until the end of the month to see if the herd was big enough to spare a couple of animals. God did not sacrifice because He needed anything. God sacrificed because we need everything. God sacrificed out of His love for Adam and Eve. God sacrificed His Son out of His love for us.


TIPS-19Stewardship to our church and community are important .

Check List√

Are you comfortable with giving to a church, to charities, to others in need?

Do you give of your time, talent, treasure and testimony from your “first fruits” or from “left overs?”

When others see you, do they see a generous person, who’s faith is in Christ?

Is your generosity sacrificial?

Do you view your generosity as a key component of your relationship with God?

Are you trying to hide from your God?


Why do People Try to Hide from God?

Hiding from God takes many forms.  One can ignore God and insist He does not exist.  Some may choose to define God as something He is not, ignoring what our Scriptures have given us.  There are those who are so busy that God never really gets moved up on the priority list.  Work, family, making money, even health issues can detract us from our relationship with God.

What Adam and Eve wanted was “knowledge” or power.  That is what the serpent promised them.  Yet all our God wants is our love.  God asks us to leave enough time in our life so that He can have a caring and loving relationship with each of us personally.

Humans are hard to convince.  That is why our God sent His Son to us.  Christ not only provided us a living example of our God’s character but provided us examples of how to live.  On the cross, Christ removed our fears and brought us into fellowship with our God.

Your tip, therefore, is to always remember that the garment of choice should be the skin of the Lamb, for He is clean and White and the Garment of our Salvation.

 

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