A person’s name is one of his most precious possessions. To call a person by his name, to remember his name after you have met him, shows that you value that person. Many will be impressed that you remember. They will see it as a sign that you care. O Soul, remember names as a first step into a person’s life. The respect you show others by doing this may allow you to know the person behind the name. This is true, of course, of God, and no less true of human beings.
Here in SJCampos, the Esplanada congregation, with which we worked for several years before beginning an effort in our home, is leaving the rented quarters that they have used for years. Because of losses due to moves and some falling away, with evangelism not keeping up, they can no longer afford the meeting room at that location. They have decided to meet in a brother’s home.
I’m going this morning to speak during the Bible class time, to help them in this transition. My first point will be to look at it in a positive light, as a new opportunity that presents many advantages. Since 2014, we’ve seen the advantages first-hand. Please pray for them during their move.
Last night I mentioned that I’d be teaching tonight in a new venue, one new to me, at least, at the exercise gym down on the main avenue in our part of the city. I’m studying the Bible with the owner, who is my neighbor across the street, and he wants to do this once a month during 2018, starting at 10 pm, after all the sessions are finished.
At the beginning, at least, it’s going to be directed toward men. He said it might be just him and me and my son Joel, who works out there. But worth a try! People of all religious backgrounds — and some with none — work out there.
(Note, I work out at another gym close to my office, but the owner still likes me.)
Please say a prayer that this will be a good outreach for the kingdom.
Which is the more dangerous sin, the one that creates a chemical dependency, such as drugs or alcohol, and destroys a body, or the one that creates an emotional or behavioral aberration, such as envy or complaining, and twists a person’s spirit?
This is a shameless plug for my devotional article today. I invite you to read it and comment with your perspective.
Satan perverted the law of Moses. So Jesus called him the Jews’ spiritual father, Jn 8.44. He called the Jews who persecuted the church “the synagogue of Satan” Rev 2.9.
Satan has also perverted the church of God. He is behind the denominational divisions and all attempts to separate people from the apostolic truth, 2 Cor 11.12-15.
People who cause and support such divisions are “worldly, devoid of the Spirit” Jude 19. It plays into the devil’s hands to say that denominations are a good thing. It makes him one’s (un)spiritual father.
Today, Ed Mathew’s devotional is based in Philemon.
Faith in action is powerful. It reveals the riches of living in Jesus. It leads others to see the beauty of Christianity. It draws people to the Lord. The most convincing faith is a demonstrated faith, II Thessalonians 1:11,12. Actions are more persuasive than words.
Focus question: How does your faith show itself at home, at school, in the workplace, in the congregation?
Update: This was supposed to have been sent to my microblog, but it’s still OK for here.
In a little while this evening, we’ll have another study with a young couple who have been Christians for about six months. Before we get to the Bible text, here are some questions I plan to ask them tonight.
- What difficulties have you encountered since your conversion?
- What has been your greatest challenge?
- Any positive surprise that you’ve had?
- What have you seen in terms of spiritual progress and growth?
- Any disappointment during this time?
- What is your greatest motive for thanksgiving during this time?
What other questions might you ask?
God is a planner, Jer 29.11; Psa 33.11. Human plans are also good, as long as they’re well made, Prov 15.22; 20.18. There’s even a prayer that God might “bring all your plans to pass” Psa 20.4.
“A person plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps” Prov 16.9. So plans must take God into account, Jas 4.13-17.
The new year is a good and appropriate time for plans. Many people make them. What are your spiritual plans for the next year, be they for personal growth, service to God’s family, or making disciples for the Lord Jesus Christ?
I posted this earlier today over on my microblog, but nobody reads it (which is fine with me), and I thought this deserving of a good read. May it encourage someone today.
Have faith. Trust in God. Believe that he will provide. Has he not done so in the past? Has he not cared for your every need? Have you not seen his hand move when you were helpless? Are you not his child, in Christ? Did you not obey the gospel and receive his grace? God cares for his own. He has promised to care for those who seek first his kingdom and his righteousness. Rest in him. Be at peace. Know that he is God and he sees your need. Give thanks for his goodness toward you.
Faith and footwork for the Lord,
Contented smiles to take the News,
Fervent prayers for family growth,
For added workers in the field.
A tropical sun to try the wavering,
Jeers and rocks from passersby,
A song of joy from Jesus’ sowers,
With seeds of hope for heaven’s folk.
Amazed disciples mind their brethren,
Fraternal love to teach and learn
The gifts of life, the gates of glory —
Here reigns our God, the rousing Father.
When one considers the thousands of preachers and priests in the world, it is obvious that most of them are not speaking for God because they teach conflicting things.
One man I baptized started reading the Bible because different priests in his own church were teaching contradictory things.
His reaction was: “Since the priests say different things, I will read the Bible for myself. What it says will certainly be right.” The first time I met him he said: “I don’t know where it will lead me, but I have decided to do what the Bible says.” I thought, “If he really means that, he will become a Christian.” And he did. Have we decided to do what the Bible says?
God’s word enables us to distinguish truth from error.
Our brother Jim Newsted was a Fellow here on TFR several years back. His wife Linda is in hospice care. Please pray for the family.
Jim was always open about his past struggles in understanding the unconditional love of God. He was a great Barnabas for us (one of his self-identified gifts), and we pray he continues to be so.
As I was going through some notes of mine from college, here’s what I took away from Dr. Dowell Flatt’s comments on 1 Thes 5.16: “Always rejoice”, about why we should rejoice:
- It’s God-given.
- It’s possible.
- It’s practical.
- It’s evangelistic.
- It’s commanded.
I also noted two references that he gave: Lk 6.22-23 and Jas 1.2-3.
It was a normal day for us, pretty much, on Thanksgiving. Kids are scattered abroad, the one who lives near us was on vacation down south. We both worked, went to CrossFit, followed our regular routine. Except that in the evening, the Missus had a special meal, that one that I like so well: vegetarian shepherd’s pie, sweet-and-sour carrots, congealed layered salad. I’m more and more separated from social media, so missed all the hip-hooray of the American holiday.
But today here is Black Friday. Brazil imported it but forgot the day previous. Like much of what is imported from America, people choose the worst. And in American there is much to choose from.
So gratitude, as always, must be deliberate. And I chose to be deliberate in thanking God for these:
- Long-time and new friends with whom and for whom we can pray.
- Upbringing in the faith as a Christian, without denominational baggage.
- Fruits from our labors.
- The Good News of Jesus Christ which saves, transforms, empowers, and equips.
- The God who created all, who loves man made in his image, who sent his Son to redeem us, who daily watches over us, who is faithful in all he does and promises, who disciplines us in our pain and suffering.
- Health, daily bread, home, books, space to meditate and grow, family, communication, poetry, language, prayer, teeth (to bite the tongue), silence.
This is my list for today. Ask me tomorrow about a new one. To paraphrase the Lord, if one may be so bold, “Sufficient for the day is its own gratitude.”
See if this organization of Genesis 28.10—32.2 holds water for you. If so, it’s a beautiful picture of some important emphases in the book.
A: 28:10-12 – Jacob encounters angels
—B: 28:13-19 – A covenant and a stone pillar
——C: 28:20-22 – God watches over Jacob
———D: 29:1-12 – Jacob journeys and meets Laban
————E: 29:13-14 – Laban lauds family ties with Jacob
—————F: 29:15-30 – Jacob negotiates wages with Laban
——————G: 29:31-30:24 – Rachel and Leah compete for children
———————H: 30:25-26 – Joseph is born & Jacob is ready to leave Laban
——————G: 30:27-43 – Jacob and Laban compete for sheep
—————F: 31:1-13 – Laban renegotiates wages with Jacob
————E: 31:14-16 – Laban repudiates family ties with Jacob
———D: 31:17-32a – Jacob journeys and is pursued by Laban
——C: 31:32b-43 – God watches over Jacob
—B: 31:44-55 – A covenant and a stone pillar
A: 32:1-2 – Jacob encounters angels