Saturday, June 14, 2008

What we are to do Always

 photo IMG_2830_zps8d0b2af8.jpg I have been looking for spiritual teachings in the Bible that ask us to follow always.

The 3 that come to mind easily are:
Pray without ceasing.
In everything give thanks.
Meditate on the Word day and night.

I have found 4 more that are also given this priority.
Always be abounding in the work of the Lord.
Set the Lord continually before me.
Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
Always have my light shinning.

People have taught in the past that it is impossible to do these things. Inferring therefore that we should not even try. They might have not been trying to say that but that was the result that I came away with.

Well, I don't think God put something in the Bible to be ignored. But what am I to do with them, because there is no way I can keep them? I think God put these instructions in the Bible to teach us to always strive to live by these teachings. We will never attain to perfection but we are commanded to be perfect as God is perfect.

Do I throw my hands up and quit trying? No. What I am to do is use these instructions to guide me back to the path of walking in the Spirit and away from living from a fleshly outlook.

Take for instance praying without ceasing. How could I do a math problem and pray for the problems on the Gaza strip at the same time? I can't.

What I am finding though is that I can come closer to fulfilling this teaching at work. I work outside in a downtown environment. I see all kinds of people. The very poor to the very rich. The very beautiful to the very ugly. My thinking will be caught up in what I see by sometimes judging, lusting or contempt. I was asking the Lord about this and the idea came to me to pray for the people I see. Pray that the person will have wisdom, receive Jesus as their savior and that they will be a strong influence for Christ with their family and friends.

For the mind set on the flesh is death but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6 I can't walk in the flesh and the Spirit at the same time. If I am praying for a very beautiful woman I am not lusting for her. I am not judging someone that seems rich but I pray they will bless others for the Kingdom of God.

Working for the City government also presents a problem to me. They do many things that I consider ridiculous. But the Bible says we are to let our speech be seasoned with salt to give grace to those who hear. If I am complaining about City policy I am not helping anyone. I need to be praying for the city and the workers I know. If I am praying for the government I am not criticizing.

We are to meditate on the word day and night. When I am guarding my thoughts to obey Christ and not my own desires I am using my knowledge of Scripture to counter worry. Strongholds are overthrown by the word of our testimony. God watches over those whose heart is completely His. What we think about is what is on our heart. What is on our heart is what we speak about.

When things happen that go against my desires, what will I do? Will I complain or will I guard my heart and speak the Scriptures according to the promise of the Bible? Will I pray with thanksgiving or will I or express despair? If I have set the Lord before me and live in Godly fear of Him I will respond according the Spirit.

What happens is I rely on God to live through me instead of trying to handle the situation myself.

Monday, June 2, 2008

A Call to Missions

I heard a great sermon Sunday from a missionary to Turkey - Ryan Shaw:

Biblical reasons why the church can be activated into God's global purpose:

1. The Lamb is worthy of the reward of His glorious sacrifice.
Rev. 5:12. Col. 1:15 - 5 realities about Jesus
If Jesus the lamb is slain He is worthy of our efforts.

2. The Spirit is moving. Revival in Algeria - 100,000 underground believers in Iran and that is under the Sharia law. - 175,000 people come to Christ each day. 3,500 new churches planted every week (mostly small groups).

3. The lost are dying. Every day 66,000 die with no Gospel witness.
Why do we refrain from talking about a Christless eternity?

4. The poor are suffering. 37% of global population is children who live in poverty. Be moved with Godly compassion. Pity is not compassion. Will we become advacates for the poor?

5. The church is commissioned. Matthew 28:18-20. Go = as you are going make disciples of all peoples. Vital Christianity is not a spectator sport, it is an active thing.

6. If we don't become activated we die ourselves. Preservation mentality causes death to come. When we give ourselves, the Lord gives us more spiritual vitality.

7, The Father is waiting. God's most important attribute - patience. God wants for us to become activated.

4 practical ways to implement these things in our lives:

1. Extravagant giving - our use of money shows the most about our love of God. Are we pouring more into the temporal or eternal? Abraham covenant - We're blessed to bless others. 5.4% of all giving in the world of Christ's church goes to some kind of outreach in which the Gospel is already planted. 1% of the 4.5% or 0.045% actually goes to mission activities among unreached.

2. Extraordinary praying that perseveres and prevails. Sin of prayerlessness. Intercession is the most important of all ministries.

3. Surrendered going - long term ministry

4. Impassioned mobilizing - Every believer should be a mission mobilizer.