Monday, December 26, 2016

"... mutually encouraged by each other's faith."

"I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong --- that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith." -- Romans 1:11-12

Whether we intend to or not we affect the lives of the individuals we come in contact with. We may  have a positive affect or a negative affect, but we will have an affect upon the lives we touch.

The Apostle Paul had already had an affect upon the Galatians, the Ephesians, the Philippians, the Colossians, and the Thessalonians. A positive affect! And, he longed to have a positive affect upon the Romans in Rome. With Paul it was all about relationships. His letter to the Romans was to prepare the way of his coming to them, to present the salvation message and to explain the relationship between Jew and Gentile as it related to God's complete plan of redemption.

May I ask a few questions of us? --- What kind of affect do we have upon the people we encounter? Do we enter relationships only for what we can get out of them? Or, do we go into a relationship seeking what good gift we can leave? Are we leaving lasting gifts of faith, hope, love, joy, thankfulness, gentleness, kindness, etc? We all leave something behind with each person we encounter, each person we come in contact with -- even if it is just a very brief encounter. People notice. Yes, they do. I know I do. I notice.

Bottom Line: May we be mutually encouraged by each other's faith. May we be more intent to leave a good gift behind no matter how brief the encounter. And, may we realize that people notice.  Amen? Amen.

Monday, December 19, 2016


What Child is This?
Written by William Chatterton Dix (1837-1898)

What Child is this who, laid to rest,
On Mary's lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The babe, the son of Mary!

Why lies He in such mean estate
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce him through,
The Cross be borne for me, for you;
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The babe, the son of Mary!

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh;
Come peasant, king to own Him.
The King of kings salvation brings;
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise, the song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby,
Joy, joy, for Christ is born,
The babe, the son of Mary!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. – Isaiah 9:6-7a

Bottom Line: May we remember the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, not only in this seasonal time of the year but every day of the year. Amen? Amen.

Monday, December 12, 2016

"... possess these qualities in increasing measure ..."

"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." -- 2 Peter 1:5-8

Seven qualities or virtues of Christ-likeness that are to be added to our faith.  Look at them again -- goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love.

As believers, as followers of Christ these qualities should be part of our inmost being.  That does not mean we walk in them perfectly.  I will be the first to testify to my failure to do that. But, the presence of these qualities in our life should be increasing in our lives on a daily basis. Why? Because they help us to be effective and productive in our knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord. To me that means our testimony becomes stronger. And, in our encounters with others in our normal walk of life -- our very presence is a witness of our knowledge of Him because others will see the goodness, the knowledge, the self-control, the perseverance, the godliness, the brotherly kindness and the love that is in us through Him.

Bottom Line: May we increase in all these qualities.  And, may our daily lives reflect these qualities to all we encounter.  Amen? Amen.

Monday, December 5, 2016

"... love that surpasses knowledge ..."

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge --- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." -- Ephesians 3:17b-19

The love of Christ is wide and long and high and deep. His love surpasses knowledge, it surpasses our understanding. Have you ever asked, "How can you love this person, Lord? Look how they are living. Look at how they are acting. Lord, do you hear what they are saying? How can Your love be wide enough, long enough, high enough and deep enough for them?"

Well guess what?  IT IS! IT IS! And, Jesus sets the example by His command: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." -- John 13:34-35

How many know it is hard to love someone sometimes? We get hurt, we get pushed aside, we get devalued somehow. And we all go through times where we feel like we are being tested in our love for one another. Remember a couple of post ago about what agape love is -- seeking the highest good of another? We do that not with just words but with our heart and with our actions toward one another.
Bottom Line: May we know how wide and long and high and wide the love of Christ is toward us and may we extend that love to one another. And, may we adhere to the words of the Bible from I John 3:18 -- "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." Amen? Amen.