Showing posts with label Grace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grace. Show all posts

Do You Feel Inadequate?

In second Corinthians chapter two, Paul asks the question, "Who is equal to such a task?" And in chapter three he answers it: "Our competence comes from God" (2 Corinthians 3:5).

We are aware of our limitations when it comes to meeting the needs of our families, fulfilling the demands of our jobs, persevering in spite of the energy drain and the chronic pain, battling a long-standing habit, learning a new job after being laid off, staying in a difficult marriage, and finding the strength needed to keep forging ahead when our dreams fail.

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We pretend we have got it together. We act like we are capable of handling any situation, but deep down we know we are not. The truth is, without God's grace and power we are inadequate.

This can be a tough concept for proud, assertive types to accept. It undermines their ego to acknowledge that without God they don't know the right thing to do, the right way to do it, or where the power to do it will come from.

It is tough for them to admit they must consciously rely on Him at all times. But once you adopt that stance and start depending on God, you are on the threshold of the life you have always wanted.

What was the secret of Paul's strength? "I just let Christ take over!" And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become (2 Corinthians 12:10).

D.L. Moody said, "When a man has no strength, if he leans on God he becomes powerful." Regardless of how long you have walked with Jesus, never forget that every ounce of your adequacy comes from Him.

-- Culled from GSAF The Word for Today May 2016 --

...building the body of Christ

Turning The Other Cheek

Text: Matthew 5:38-39, 18:21-35; Ephesians 4:20-32; Philippians 4:8

Key Verse: “…And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

If for every time someone offends us we retaliate, the world would be in utter chaos by now. Forgiveness, as difficult as it is to yield to, is a significant virtue that must never leave our hearts.

Humans have a tendency to do evil and hence, we err. We step on others’ toes, speak ill of our neighbors, betray our friends, disappoint our siblings, dishonor our parents, embarrass our families, and the list goes on. But as Christians, our disposition ought to be different.

Psalms 130:3 says, “If thou, Lord shouldst mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” For a fact, the answer is none. “For all have sinned and come short the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8).

However, the Bible records something wonderful for everyone to rejoice in. Next to John 3:16; and John 1:12, among other verses, Romans 5:6-8 remains one of my favorites that give me so much joy whenever I meditate on it:

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

“But God commendeth His love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

If God Almighty, the Righteous King of glory could look pass our debasement, filth and faults, and chose to forgive us all our sins by sending His only begotten Son to redeem us through His blood (Ephesians 1:7), why can’t we do same to others? It’s difficult, right? This is the very reason we must forgive because the world’s peaceful coexistence depends on it.

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” (Matthew 5:38). Ye must also understand that an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind, and a tooth for a tooth leaves everyone with toothache and deprives of the full satisfaction of eating meat.

Hence, our Lord Jesus Christ, himself being an embodiment of love and forgiveness, commands us to forgive. He says in Matthew 5:39 that, “But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

How easy has it been in turning the other cheek? Turning the other cheek implies bearing and overlooking whatever wrong others might have done to us. It implies forgetting faults and giving others the benefit of a new start, a new relationship opportunity.

Moreover, turning the other cheek, I don’t believe, means you mustn’t get angry when someone hurts you (unless you have the grace not to). Let’s be honest with ourselves, who wouldn’t be angry? I get angry and feel bad when someone hurts and insults me but I am careful not to sin and allow the ill feelings linger in my heart.

Ever since I came to know the Lord my heart has been weak in harboring grudges. In fact, it detests them that is why I always do my best by God’s grace not to offend anyone (follow peace with all men – Hebrews 12:14; Romans 12:18) and wouldn’t do or say anything to make others be inclined to act badly towards me.

We all should know the place of forgiveness in our Christian life and how it affects our prayers. “Therefore if thou bring thy gift (prayers, petition, sacrifice or praise, tithes, offerings, etc) to the altar, and rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).

Whenever our thoughts, feelings and interactions aren’t right toward others, we are hindered from boldly approaching the throne of grace to obtain mercy and finding grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

God is as much concerned about our relationship with one another as He is our relationship with Him. This is why we see in Matthew 6:14-15 that, “if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

The bottom line is this: forgive and keep on forgiving. Forgive today, forgive tomorrow, forgive always, even more than seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22).

Finally brethren, if anyone at all has wronged you so badly that it hurts to your marrow, go and tell him or her his or her faults between you and him or her alone: “if he or she shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother or sister or friend…” (Matthew 18:15-17).

Everyone deserves forgiveness, even you and even me. Turn the other cheek today; let love thrive, let peace reign. And in all, ‘my beloved brethren, do not err.’

*** Written by Michael Olajubu aka Jacobs Adewale (Admin) ***

...building the body of Christ

A Testimony Of God’s Love And Faithfulness

Text: John 3:16; John 15:9-13; 2 Timothy 2:13

August 1st, 2008 is a day I will forever remember in my lifetime. It was a day my dad and I narrowly escaped death; that was before my dad eventually was caught up into the clouds in May, 2015. Not that we were truly worthy to be alive that day but ‘God commandeth His love towards us…’ and showed us His grace, mercy and faithfulness.

I was trying to gain admission into a University in my state of origin. I had done the Post University Matriculation Examination and got a good grade that surpassed even the cutoff marks. Later did I discover that I couldn’t gain the admission because my choice of course was one of such that hadn’t been accredited by the National University Regulatory body. Hence, no student could be admitted to the University for that course.

My dad and I had traveled to meet a sister-in-law of his nephew, who was one of the University’s Heads of Departments at that time if she could assist in any way. Our effort was futile and I believed and still believe today that the disappointment was to fulfill God’s purpose and plan for my life.

On our way back home, a truck at a distance away was slowly coming towards our direction but at the left lane of the road. We were at the right and on seeing a terrible pothole at our lane, my dad sped up so as to take the left lane before the truck was close and avert the pothole. We had almost gotten to the spot of the pothole while on the left lane, only for the truck driver to also open the throttle and aimed for a collision.

My dad was caught unawares but managed to swerve back to the right lane. And because we were at top speed, my dad couldn’t balance the car and had to make several swerves to the right and to the left and to the right and so on till the car somersaulted into a roadside ditch.

Truth be told, I was dumbfounded and good as gone in my mind. I had felt that was the end but somehow, I was breathing and because we had out seat-belts on, we didn’t sustain any major injuries. My dad regained composure and asked if I was okay. I simply nodded in the affirmative and on realizing that something terrible had just happened the tears couldn’t be caged. They came freely. And the rest was history.

This indeed is a testimony of God’s love and faithfulness towards me and dad. Those who lose their lives on daily basis on the road sometimes don’t necessarily go through similar ordeal and they are no more. But here I am sharing this testimony, having no doubt whatsoever that God loves me. And He loves you too!

Our death has been paid for at the Cross by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And no sudden death can ever overcome a true child of God. I can tell you that this incident strongly reaffirms my faith in believing that death by accident (in whatever shape or form) has no power over me.

Undoubtedly, everyone has a testimony to share about God’s love and faithfulness in their lives and family. Only an ingrate would say God hasn’t been good and faithful to him or her. For by what power and might do we breathe and sustain our heartbeats if not for God’s? By what intelligence do we go out and come in daily without being hurt and harmed if not for God’s?

A retired pastor when asked to talk about the greatest lesson he had learnt during his over fifty years of preaching and ministry. He said, “I have thought about it… and boiled it down to the one thing that has made the most difference in my life and sustained me through all my trials.

“The one thing I can rely on when tears, heartbreak, pain, fear and sorrow paralyze me… the one thing that always comforts me: Jesus loves me! This I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.”

It’s no doubt that Jesus loves you and me. He loves us enough to lay down His life for you and me at Calvary. For “greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”. And “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 15:13; 3:16).

We are alive today only because of His grace. “It is of the Lord’s mercy that we are not consumed, because his compassion fail not. They are new every morning, great is thy faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23). Great is thy faithfulness O God!

I have experienced His faithfulness and still do. I am a living testimony; O, yes I am. Have you also experienced God’s faithfulness, love and kindness in your life? Has He been good to you, to your friends and your family? Then don’t keep it to yourself. Tell of His goodness and bless His holy name.

“Let us lift up our hearts with our hands unto God in the heavens” to praise and worship His Majesty. “O, give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good and His mercies endureth forever… To Him alone who doeth great wonders: for His mercy endureth forever…” (Lamentations 3:41; Psalms 136:1-26).

Blessed be the name of the Lord! Amen.

*** Written by Jacobs Adewale (Admin) ***

...building the body of Christ

The Cross

Text: John 3:15-16; Isaiah 53; Romans 4:24-25; 1 Peter 3:18

In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear,
Till a new object struck my sight,
And stopped my wild career.

I saw One hanging on a tree,
In agonies and blood;
He fixed His languid eyes on me,
As near His cross I stood.

Sure never till my latest breath,
 Shall I forget that look!
It seemed to charge me with His death,
Though not a word He spoke.

A second look He gave, which said,
 "I freely all forgive;
This blood is for thy ransom paid;
I die that thou mayest live."

Thus while His death my sin displays
 In all its blackest hue,
Such is the mystery of grace,
It seals my pardon too!

*** Written by John Newton ***

...building the body of Christ

It's Time To Grow Up 1

Text: 2 Peter 3:18; Ephesians 4:15; 1 Peter 2:2

Key Verse: "Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God..." (Hebrews 6:1)

Getting saved is not all there is to the salvation experience. Many who have confessed Jesus as their Lord and Savior believe that once they're born-again they can eat, drink, and be merry until Jesus comes back to take them home to heaven. These people are greatly deceived and will not fulfill their destiny if they continue to believe and act this way.

Every person who has made Jesus the Lord of their life has an assignment from on high for which they will be held accountable at the judgment seat of Christ. The end is upon us and now is the time to work and not play because life is a vapor and is quickly passing us by.

Jesus is coming soon and the kingdom must be advanced and the work of the ministry must be done. God is raising up an army of believers right now who are being trained and will soon be receiving assignments from above. Pay attention, listen well, and put into practice that which you have learned. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow because your training is very important and will soon be complete.

You are a soldier in the army of the Lord and soldiers are not in training forever. They're trained and then they're sent on an assignment. Without a doubt God gives us all things to enjoy and we are to be happy and joyful in our everyday lives. However, having fun all the time is not what we're here for. There will be plenty of time for fun in the afterlife but in the here and now we've got a heavenly calling on our lives and the fulfillment of that call is what living the good life is all about.

Everybody has a call, everybody has a place, but you must be trained until you reach a level of maturity where you can perform and operate in the graces and abilities God gives you. In other words, you have to grow up. It is the will of God for you to be perfected, developed, and matured for the work of the ministry.

You can't serve God fully and completely unless you are spiritually grown up. You don't give a five year old a grenade launcher and send him into battle. But the more grown up and mature you are, the greater your development in the things of God, the greater and more effective your contribution to the overall building up of the body of Christ will be.

It is a commandment in the Word of God that you become like Jesus for He is the perfect example of being grown up and mature. 1 John 4:17 says, "As He is, so are we in the world." Jesus was not a whining baby nor was He childish. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords! When you grow up and become a mighty warrior like He is, you'll be able to endure hardness like a good soldier. You'll fight on the front lines of battle and push through the adversary. You'll complete the mission you were commissioned to do.

God needs warriors who don't sit around and think about how they feel all the time. He needs grown up and mature believers who press on in battle whose war cry is, "Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world! I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me!"

Everybody has a call on their life to advance the kingdom of God. He gives you special gifts and abilities to help fulfill that call but you have to grow up to see the manifestation of those gifts. If you remain a baby you won't see the full potential your spiritual gifts can achieve. For this reason God gave to the church anointed ministers to help all believers become all they were meant to be.

Ephesians 4:11-16 says, "And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive, but, speaking the truth in love may grow up in all things into Him who is the head - Christ - from which the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love."

God uses people who surrender to the call on their life to do the work of the ministry and He has positioned you to be His answer to the needs of those around you.

You are called to build up and edify the church but first you must grow up to the full stature of Christ. The Message Bible says we are to be "fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ. No prolonged infancy among us, please. We'll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love - like Christ in everything."

You must see the need to grow up before you can begin the journey to spiritual maturity. There is an over exaggeration of one's own maturity and most Christians won't admit they're spiritual babies. People who get upset when they're told to grow up think they already have but the fact that they are upset proves that they have not.

One characteristic of being immature is to think you're more mature than you actually are. There are Christian babies everywhere and this can be confusing to new believers because there are spiritual infants in fifty year old bodies.

It is God's will for you to grow up and He has anointed people to tell you where you actually are in your spiritual development and what needs to happen next. You need to be told the truth in love and this truth will set you free from the restrictions of childhood. Babies can't do much. They have things decided for them. They don't have the freedom and the responsibilities and the rewards that adults do. Babies live in a small world that they are the center of. The only thing they are aware of is what pertains to them.

Babies have themselves on their mind all the time. They like to vent and it's not pretty and it's not nice. Babies need somebody to do things for them. Spiritual babies look to somebody else for everything. They want their problems fixed and be told what to do. More than half the believers in the world want other people to pray for them and believe for them. These people need to be confronted and asked, "Why can't you pray for yourself?" Babies need to grow up and learn to put on their own clothes and start doing things for themselves. They need to work and carry their own weight and take on their responsibility to the body of Christ.

The majority of your learning comes from you doing the work of the ministry. You need to learn how to grow up and not burden other people with what you're dealing with. You need to deal with things for yourself. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3:1, "And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ." Babies can't handle much. Babies will ask you things you can't tell them because they don't have the maturity and understanding to comprehend the answer to their questions.

You can't feed a baby a T-bone steak. Everybody has room to grow. You need to grow up from where you are right now and you need to do it quickly. It is not okay to be a childish baby for thirty years. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 2:14, "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." You need a mature, well developed spirit to evaluate and discern the things of God.

When you grow up you get very interested in the things of God, for no longer is it foolishness to you but instead is the source of life. Don't be fooled into thinking you can discern the things of God with a great intellect. It doesn't matter how smart you think you are. A good education only goes so far for it can't tap into the realm of the Spirit.

Some people are so dumb and ignorant that they actually think they're smart, that they know more than anybody else, including God. They'll dispute over doctrine or any little thing that comes up like what color the carpet should be at church. They complain if the church service went too long and they'll stay home if it's too cold out to go to church. You say up, they say down. You say left, they say right. You say white, they say black. It is time for these spiritual babies to grow up! Paul said, "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things" (1 Corinthians 13:11).

The Message Bible says, "When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good." Those who are deceived into thinking they're more grown up than they actually are become rebellious to the point where they won't let anybody show them where they're missing the mark and failing to grow up.

It is shameful for a person to while away the years of their life and not grow up and reach their full potential. Jesus said in Matthew 5:48, "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." People often neglect this verse because they falsely believe the manifestation of it is not possible. They assume the fulfillment of what Jesus said is beyond them so they pass right over it and move on to the next verse. The truth of the matter is that Jesus did not say try to be perfect, He said do it! Be ye perfect. He would not tell you to do something were it not possible for you to do so.

In the Bible the word "perfect" does not mean 'flawless.' Everything and everybody in the natural realm is flawed in some way because of sin and the curse that is on the earth. God is a Spirit and He's not holding a magnifying glass on your flesh. Thank God for that. He looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). His eyes roam to and fro across the earth to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is perfect and loyal toward Him (2 Chronicles 16:9). That does not mean 'flawless.'

People say "nobody's perfect" so they don't even try but the Word commands you to be perfect and therefore you must be able to be perfect. The Hebrew word for "perfect" is 'complete' and a composite of both Hebrew and Greek means 'brought to its end, complete, lacking nothing necessary to completeness, brought to its completion.' Philippians 1:6 says, "being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." According to scripture, a person who is perfect is mature, fully grown, and completely developed. The more mature you are, the more you'll be like Jesus.

God intends for you to reach your full potential and for that to happen you must grow beyond where you are now. You know you're grown up when you become like Jesus. 1 John 2:6 says, "He who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk just as He walked." Jesus emptied Himself and walked the earth as a perfect and mature man proving it can be done. He is now calling you to do the same thing and it is exciting to believe that you can.

--- Please click: "HERE" to read It's Time To Grow Up 2 ---

*** Written by Randall J. Brewer ***

...building the body of Christ

It's Time To Grow Up 2

You grow up and get perfected so you can do the work of the ministry. When you do something for God He requires that you do it perfectly in a sense of following a thing through to its completion. You see it through to its end. You work on it, you continue on it until you have the satisfaction on the inside of you that the task is completed.

--- Please click: "HERE" to read It's Time To Grow Up 1 ---

Shortly before his death Paul told Timothy, "But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry" (2 Timothy 4:5). He then said in vs. 7, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."

Every believer has a job to do and the more complete and mature you are, the better you'll be able to fulfill your ministry. You need to grow in faith and walk as Jesus walked and say what Jesus said and do the things Jesus did. Even Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father" (John 14:12).

When you begin something, see it through to the end. Jesus said, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62). Be led by the Spirit and follow what's in your heart until you get a release in your spirit to stop and move on to something else. The Bible calls this "perfection." When Jesus said "be ye perfect" He was telling you to be complete just as your Father in heaven is complete.

God created man in His own image (Genesis 1:27). He patterned you after His own self and He is perfection. Ephesians 5:1 (AMP) says, "Therefore, be imitators of God, copy Him and follow His example as well beloved children imitate their fathers."

The Message Bible says, "Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents." Paul did this and wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:1 (AMP), "Pattern yourself after me, follow my example as I imitate and follow Christ." People will imitate who and what they respect and imitation is the way God gives you to develop your spirit and your involvement in the things of God.

2 Thessalonians 3:11 says, "For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you." 3 John 11 states, "Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God." Hebrews 13:7 says, "Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith." You must position yourself to be in the presence of strong, well developed believers who can show you how to grow up and be more mature and complete. We learn by observation. We imitate what we see people do, not what we hear them say.

In today's world there is too much "do as I say, not as I do." Paul addressed this when he wrote in Philippians 4:9, "The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you." The Amplified Bible says, "Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me and model your way of living on it and the God of peace will be with you." Jesus, of course, is the ultimate example of whom we are to follow. Press everyday towards the mark of being like Jesus.

Luke 2:40 says, "And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him." Vs. 52 says, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." Jesus grew up! He is your example and you are to pattern your life after His. At age twelve Jesus was in the temple "sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers" (Luke 2:46, 47).

Every year, His parents went to Jerusalem at the Feast of the Passover. The previous year and the years before that Jesus went home with the rest of His earthly family. But this year, at age twelve, He stayed behind and went to the temple. A change had taken place. Jesus began to grow up at age twelve. His focus began to change. His interests and priorities were different than they were the year before. Instead of playing with the other children He chose to go sit in the temple to learn spiritual truths. He's asking questions about the Word and sharing what He knows.

As your example Jesus is showing you that children at age twelve should be hungry for and pursuing the things of God. They should want to learn more about Jesus than they want to go outside and play. It is not acceptable for a teenager to sit on the couch and play video games all day long. In times past, sixteen year old boys were putting on armor and going into battle and fourteen year old girls were getting married.

This generation is expecting far too little from their children. They let them act like children all through their teenage years and when they turn eighteen they're not developed as an adult and can't handle the pressures of an adult world. How do you know if you're grown up? You know when it's time to play and when it's not time to play.

God believes in vacations but not every week. Hebrews 11:24, 25 says, "By faith Moses, when he became of age" - when he grew up - "refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin." The prodigal son was an impatient young man who wanted his inheritance and he wanted it now! His father gave it to him "and not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living" (Luke 15:13).

A characteristic of youth is waste and when his money was gone the prodigal son had no friends. Many people are users who will hang around you if you're popular and have money but scatter when the going gets rough.

Young people are easily influenced. They want to be like their peers and don't discern if they are doing good or not all for the sake of being accepted. It's popular today to get tattoos all over your body and body piercings and to dress in a certain way. They smoke and take drugs and have sex. Youth are impatient and wild and act insane and insecure. They have wrong priorities.

Jesus wanted the rich young ruler to sell everything he had and come follow Him. "But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions" (Matthew 19:22). Jesus wanted him to grow up and mature and He was showing him how. Jesus wanted him to put God first and offered him a place with Him in the ministry right then and there. The young man thought his money and earthly pleasures were more important so he turned and walked away.

It is time for the body of Christ to wake up and grow up! You have to change the way you think, talk, and act. You have to put away childish habits and behaviors. Paul said, "When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me" (1 Corinthians 13:11 NIV).

You are not supposed to go through a second childhood. The outward man is perishing but the inner man is being renewed day by day and growing stronger and stronger (2 Corinthians 4:16). A characteristic of one who is grown up is to be self-disciplined and self-motivated. You've got to make yourself turn off the television and read your Bible. Force yourself to pray and visit the elderly and help the widow.

Babies always express what they feel but a mature person learns the value of words and only speaks when necessary. He doesn't spew out of his mouth every lame thought or feeling that comes to his brain. Good listeners are not as common as they should be. Even a fool is considered wise if he keeps his mouth shut. Believers who are grown up don't use words to vent their feelings. They don't chat and say things that have no substance but instead use words as tools to build up and edify. What comes out of your mouth reveals the level of your maturity and development.

Children and those who are grown up speak differently. Adults don't talk about their problems nor do they gossip about other people and judge them. They talk about love and important things that have to do with the kingdom of God. Babies are carnal and ruled by their feelings but there will come a time when you feel one way but act another. You'll want to tell somebody off but you'll love them anyway. You'll endure hardness like a good soldier as you act in faith and talk in faith. You'll stir yourself up in the spirit as you press on and take that hill.

Jesus is the standard by which all spiritual growth should be measured. He is the perfect example of the perfect spiritual man. He is the complete one, the fully developed one. When you grow up you are to be just like Him. You can operate like Jesus. You can think like Him, talk like Him, act like Him, pray like Him, love like Him, be led like Him, live like Him. Most of the churches don't believe this. For them it is a reality not to be grasped but Jesus said in Luke 6:40, "A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher."

The Amplified Bible says, "A student who is completely trained will be just like his teacher." You can be just like Jesus. In fact, you're commanded to. You can grow up and be just as honest and faithful and genuine as Jesus. You're bridging the gap as the days go by. You'll never surpass Him but when you're grown up and fully developed you'll be just like Jesus. He was the brightness of the Father's glory (Hebrews 1:3) and the image of His person.

When you've seen Jesus, you've seen the Father. His plan for you is that when people see you, they've seen Jesus. And when they see Jesus, they've seen the Father. After the ascension the people said about the disciples, "They've been with Jesus." They trained under Him and they acted like Him and sounded like Him.

We are living in the last days and there is work to be done and little time to do it. He needs all of us to grow up and stop acting like babies. You need to put away childish things and operate in your full potential and do the job, and let the Lord come back. Babies don't get to rule and reign but only those who are perfect, complete, and whole. It is imperative that you grow up and become just like Jesus.

*** Written by Randall J. Brewer ***

...building the body of Christ

Clothe Yourself With Humility

Clothe yourself with humility,
Don’t try to take first place.
For God opposes all the proud,
But gives the humble grace.

Humble yourself beneath God’s hand,
Someday He’ll lift you high.
Cast your anxiety on Him,
His care will never die.

Be self-controlled and on alert,
Satan is prowling round.
He’s like a lion seeking prey;
Stand firm and don’t give ground.

Stand firm and steadfast in the faith;
You’re not alone in trial.
Your Christian brothers round the earth
Suffer like you a while.

The God of grace will see you through;
Someday His face you’ll see.
You’ll share the glory of His Son
For all eternity.

And after you have suffered here,
God will remove your care.
He’ll make you strong, steadfast, and firm;
His be the power fore’er!

...building the body of Christ

Take The Pain

TEXT: 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Several years ago a very graphic movie was made about the horrors of the Vietnam war. There was one scene in the movie where a foot soldier stepped on a land mine and half of his leg was blown away. Frantically he fell down and began to scream hysterically. So loud was his outburst of pain that he put the rest of his comrades in danger by giving their position away. To prevent this from happening the master sergeant jumped on top of him, cupped his hand over the fallen soldier's mouth, and said through gritted teeth, "Take the pain! Take the pain!"

Forgive me for using this gut-wrenching illustration to make my point but sometimes we all face brutal trials that for us are equally severe. Also, I am wondering if God sometimes asks us to do the same thing. "Take the pain!"

Why do I say that? The Bible does tell us to endure hardship like a good soldier in Christ. If we are enduring hardship then that means the hardship is not taken away. Right? Let's also not forget that He never did take away Paul's thorn in the flesh. When God told Paul "My grace is sufficient for you" was He telling him to "Take the pain"?

I believe He was and now we must ask the question "Why?" When you think about it, this is not a hard question to answer. What it all comes down to is that God insists on being number one in our lives. He wants us to seek Him more than anything else.

Here's what I'm saying. Sometimes our trials get so bad that we seek the answer to our problem more than we seek Him. We crave the solution so much that it becomes a god-like idol to us and God says we are to have no other gods before Him.

The enemy sends trials our way to distract us from God and from fulfilling the call on our lives. The devil is hoping we'll get so distracted by the trial that we'll spend more time seeking the solution to our problem than we do God. We are told in scripture to not be deceived by the wiles of the devil and this is one of his most cunning and successful strategies against the body of Christ.

So what should we do? Keep doing what we were doing before the trial began. Learn to seek God more than the solution to all our problems. Seek His face and not His hand. Trust me, when you do this you are showing the devil that he cannot and will not win this battle.

God will not leave you stranded and before you know it the victory will come rushing into your life like a mighty wave on the open sea. I say again, don't make the same mistake I've made several times over by making a god or an idol out of the solution to your problem. Seek God and for sure the victory will be yours. After all, it is He Who always leads us to triumph in Christ Jesus.

*** Written by Randall J. Brewer ***

...building the body of Christ.

Have You Any Room For Jesus?

Have you any room for Jesus,
He who bore your load of sin?
As He knocks and asks admission,
Sinners, will you let Him in?

Room for Jesus, King of glory,
Hasten now, His word obey,
Swing the heart’s door widely open,
Bid Him enter while you may.

Room for pleasure, room for business,
But for Christ the crucified;
Not a place that He can enter,
In your heart for which He died?

Have you any time for Jesus,
As in grace He calls again?
O today is time accepted,
Tomorrow you may call in vain.

Room and time now give to Jesus,
Soon will pass God’s day of grace;
Soon thy heart left cold and silent,
And thy Saviour’s pleading cease.

...building the body of Christ