“For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16)
As Christians, are we busy saying “woe is me” or are we busy saying “whoa is me” when it comes to serving God, his son, his gospel and his church?
If it takes jewelry for a kiss, candy for a smile, or flowers for a hug, your marriage needs fixing. Love doesn’t come down to one day a year. Love is a commitment, for love “does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil” (1 Corinthians 13:5 NKJV). This applies to both husbands and wives! It is not just up to the man to put life into the marriage. Love is not a burden or a pain, but a consideration, for “love does no harm to a neighbor” (Romans 13:10 NKJV). Marriage seems to be unpopular, because it is based on love, and love requires commitment and consideration. “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3 NKJV).
This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.
We may fear being limited by the constraints of being a member of Christ’s Church. However, part of being of a disciple of Jesus is being disciplined so that we may be authentic, that we may function in our appropriate role as members of his body, the church. Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 both make the point that just as members of a physical body (fingers, toes, neck, etc.) cannot just walk away and say that they do not need other parts of the body, so members of the body of Christ need one another. The church needs each of us: Our authenticity, our uniqueness, and our idiosyncrasies. At the same time, we must remind one another that the church must not simply stare inward but must have interaction with the world while maintaining its identity as a collection of motley, yet committed and changed, followers of Jesus. So be true and authentic, but meditate on Luke 9:57-62 and what it may mean for you. In that passage, Jesus challenges would-be disciples. Discipleship means commitment to Jesus. Distractions from that commitment threaten our relationship with the Messiah. Jesus himself said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:57-62).
When Cortez landed at Vera Cruz in 1519 to begin his conquest of Mexico with small force of 700 men, he purposely set fire to his fleet of 11 ships. His men on the shore watched their only means of retreat sinking to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. With no means of retreat, there was only one direction to move, forward into the Mexican interior to meet whatever might come their way.
In paying the price for being Christ’s disciple, you too must purposefully destroy all avenues of retreat. Resolve that whatever the price for being His follower, you will have to pay it.
Revelation 3:20-21 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
“Thoughts For Today to Brighten Your Day” by Glenn, Mercedes and Lauren Hitchcock
Jesus said that He came to give us “an abundant Life.” (John 10:10) Since we are “in Christ,” God wants us to enjoy ourselves in the Lord Jesus! Christians are to be a joyful people (Phil. 4:2). We are not to act and look like a sourpusses all the time. I’m sure you have known or know some Christians that fit that bill. That is so sad. We must show our love for Jesus through our actions. One song says: “They’ll know we are Christians by our love.”
Paul Tells the Colossians that since we have named the Lord Jesus as our Savior and have obeyed the Gospel, our mindset must change (Col. 3:1-2) This passage tells us that we are “to set our minds on the things that are above, not the things that are below.” To “set your minds” means that it must be a deliberate choice not only to accept Christ, but one to serve Him. He will never force Himself on the unbeliever, and likewise, He will not force the believer to grow in Him. We must want to. And if we want to, He has promised to equip us for the journey.
We must put everything out of our hearts and minds that us detrimental to our Christian growth (Col. 3:5-11). Whenever God tells us in His Word to “put something off” He replaces it with something for good (Col. 3:12-17).
We must realize that Christian growth does not come automatically; it must be cultivated. This is the attitude we must have if we are going to live the “abundant life.”
Let’s seek to emulate Paul’s admonition in 1 Cor. 15:58: ”Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
If we make this our goal, we will desire everything that God has for us and will use what He has givens to help ourselves and encourage each other as we live this life in the “here and now,” waiting, watching and working till Jesus returns for His Church.
Look Up! He May ComeToday!
How committed are you to God’s cause? Consider the following illustration:
Sitting majestically atop the highest hill in Toledo, Spain, is the Alcazar, a 16th‑century fortress. In the civil war of the 1930s, the Alcazar became a battleground when the Republicans tried to oust the Nationalists, who held the fortress. During one dramatic episode of the war, the Nationalist leader, Col. Jose Moscardo, received a phone call from the Republicans.
Col. Moscardo was informed that his son Luis had been captured by the Loyalists. The ultimatum: if Moscardo didn’t surrender the Alcazar to them within 10 minutes, they would kill his son. The father weighed his options and asked to speak with his son, who asked what he should do.
After a long pause, with a heavy heart, he said to his son, “…Then die like a man.”
The son’s reply? “That is quite simple; both I will do.”
—Daily Walk, April 16, 1992—
Moral: Many of our love ones may be captured by the forces of Satan and it seems that our only option is surrender in order to maintain our relationship of family. Yet, there must be a Higher commitment to remain within the place of refuge where God calls all men.
Have you made the clear choice?
“…and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever” (Psa. 23:6).
(via Glenn & Mercedes Hitchcock, “Thoughts For Today To Brighten Your Day”)
In verse 4 of the song “I’ll Put Jesus First in My Life” we are reminded of the protecting grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. The New Testament teaches us that we are saved by grace through faith, in baptism unto good works. As long as we abide in Jesus we will never fall, we will never lose our salvation.
Christians are never promised a “bed of roses.” We are not under a “name it and claim it” philosophy as many radio and TV preachers would have us believe.
We are not immune from the “cares of this world.” The “rain” falls on the “just and unjust,” the Bible tells us. “Tho’ earth’s tribulations continue each day,” reminds us that bad times do befall the believer, “His grace will protect me for ever and aye..” We can “take that to the bank.” We can be assured that although we live “in this world,” we are “not of this world.” (I John 2:15-17)
Remember the chorus, “In all that I say, in all that I do, throughout the world of toil and strife, by day and by night, through trust in His might, I’ll put Jesus first in my life.” We must give our all to the Lord. We must be consistent in our walk for Him. We must “let our light shine” for Jesus! Keep looking up! Jesus may come today!