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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Questions about God's providence

1. What is the proper definition of 'God's providence'? 
2. Do you believe that God's providence is at work in our lives today? 
3. If yes, what Bible passages would you use to support your answer?
4. What Bible examples could you offer (actual cases of providence in the
lives of individuals
5. Does God's providence order every single act or event in our lives? 
6. How can we know if a specific circumstance has been brought to pass by
God's providence?
7. Is God's providence primarily concerned with physical or spiritual
things, or both?
8. Is there a contradiction in claiming that God's providence is at work,
and the obvious human suffering that we observe (even among faithful
Christians)?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Correcting Misconceptions of Humility

Once it is established that Jesus was the ultimate example of humility, several misconceptions are laid to rest.

Humility is not weakness.

Even the enemies of Jesus testified to His power. It was demonstrated over Satan, over nature, and over every force that opposed Him. Yet in the exercise of His power He was humble, acknowledging that the works He did were the works of His Father (John 5:19). Humble individuals who recognize their own weakness and allow the power of God to work in them are the only ones who are truly strong. The Lord said to Paul, "My strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9), causing Paul to respond, "When I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Humility does not preclude leadership.

Jesus was "meek and lowly" (humble), but this did not prevent His exercising leadership. He is the great Shepherd of the flock, the King of kings and Lord of lords. Some individuals, citing humility as their reason, refuse to accept the responsibilities of leadership, especially as elders. The fact is that elders must be humble. They are to be sober-minded (1 Timothy 3:2), and this is defined in Romans 12:3 as not thinking more highly of oneself than one should.  1 Timothy 3:6 says that an elder should not be a novice, "lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil." Rather than hindering leadership, humility defines the style of leadership that pleases God. Christ-like shepherds are not lords over those entrusted to them but examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:3).

Humility does not forbid rebuking sin.

Jesus was just as humble when He was driving out the money-changers from the temple in Matthew 21 and rebuking the Pharisees in chapter 23 as when He was blessing little children in chapter 19. In each case He was expressing in His words and actions the will of God, not His own. Humility will, however, affect our manner of dealing with sinners and those in error.  "A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition" (2 Timothy 2:24-25).   "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted" (Galatians 6:1).

Rebuking that is done from a spirit of self-righteousness and pride will never be effective in accomplishing God's purpose.

Humility is not inconsistent with personal initiative.

The church needs the input of every spiritually-minded Christian in planning and, executing its work.  A song we sing says, "Take my intellect and use every power as Thou shalt choose”. Yet some who have useful ideas fail to offer them, feeling that to do so would be inconsistent with humility.  Of course, if one demands that his way be accepted and becomes angry if his suggestion is not taken, he does lack humility. Humility demands that "each esteem others better than himself" (Philippians 2:3), but it does not forbid our offering our wisdom on a subject for whatever it may be worth in the opinion of our brethren.

Humility does not require that we think of ourselves disdainfully, speak of ourselves disparagingly or grovel in the presence of others.

This is what many people think of as humility. However, this is the opposite of humility. Such a person is thinking too much of himself, however negative his thinking may be.  When one is constantly thinking: "How inferior I am, how worthless I am, how useless I am, how poorly I do compared to others" he is thinking of himself all the time. Pride is his problem; he is too proud to be comfortable among those whom he considers superior to himself. Humility is not the cause of such negative thinking; it is actually the solution - not thinking of self at all.  A Christian can rejoice in the superiority of his brethren. Furthermore, he can hold up his head in the presence of all men, not because he himself is so worthy, but because he is a child of the God of heaven, redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus. Jesus did not grovel before any man, yet He was not lacking in humility when He said to a Roman governor, "You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above" (John 19:11).

Conclusion

True humility replaces self-seeking with seeking first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33), self-will with doing the will of God (Matthew 7:21), self-reliance with reliance upon God (2 Corinthians 3:5), self-confidence with confidence in God (2 Timothy 1:12), and self-exaltation with exaltation by God (1 Corinthians 4:3-6). These were the qualities that made Jesus humble and the qualities He seeks in us. May we bring ourselves to say truly, even as we sing: Lord, thy love at last has conquered: None of self, and all of Thee.

- by Sewell Hall

 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Watch your thoughts; They become words.

Think About It

Watch yourthoughts; They become words.

Watch your words; They become actions.

Watch your actions; They become habits.

Watch your habits; They become character.

Watch your character; It becomes your destiny.

What starts out as a simple thought may ultimately determine our destiny, even our eternal destiny. The writer of the above statement must have heard or read the words of Solomon found in Proverbs 23:47, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he."

Our thoughts reflect the person we really are. If we have thoughts which are hateful, they will manifest themselves as words-actions-habits. If, however, we fill our hearts with positive things, can anything but good actions result?

Paul summed it up rightly when he wrote in Philippians 4:8, "Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy; think about such things."

Think about "these things," if we occupy our time on thoughts concerning "these things," it cannot help but result in an eternal destiny with God the Father.

WE ARE WHAT WE THINK!

- by S. Kilpatrick

 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Never make New Year's resolutions again

 

 


New Beginnings

 

Can you believe it that we are now into a brand new year? I know it happens every year, but it is such an amazing thing if you think about it. One of my favorite quotes comes from the book Anne of Green Gables where she says that "we begin every day new, with no mistakes". That's the way it is with our new year isn't it? God gives us a fresh slate with no markings on it, and it is entirely up to us to decide what is written there.

 

The New Year also gives us a new branch on our road we call life. Will it be an adventure or a mystery" Will it be a challenge or a time of peace and rest? We never know and as disconcerting that concept is to some, it should breathe into us a new zest for life as we face new challenges, new problems, meet new people, have to adjust our lives and life styles. I don't know about you, but I really don't want a stagnant life! If you are not experiencing change or challenge then your life is going no where. It might not be dead, but then it might also. Growth and change show that something is alive.

 

Right now, at this time of the year, there are more people trying to make changes than any other time of the year. That's why people make resolutions; to help them as they try to institute changes in their lives. I personally, rarely make a New Year's resolution, because I have so much going on in my life any way, there are constant changes taking place within my life. Some good, some not so good, just like many of you.

 

I understand that not everyone is wired that way. "I read about one poor fellow who decided to make only resolutions this year he could keep. He resolved to gain weight, to stop exercising, to read less and watch more TV, to procrastinate more, to quit giving money and time to charity, and to never make New Year's resolutions again." (Duncan)

 

That kind of thinking reminds me of one of my favorite Old Testament passages, Proverbs 24:30-34, where the writer talks about those who refuse challenges. He says: "I walked by the field of a lazy person, the vineyard of one with no common sense.  I saw that it was overgrown with nettles. It was covered with weeds, and its walls were broken down. Then, as I looked and thought about it, I learned this lesson:  A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber."

 

 

It really is a time for new beginnings! It is a time to make the changes you have been putting off, which may include you neglecting your relationship to Christ. How about you, is it time for a change, a time to accept a new challenge or take another leg on this adventure called life? Don't put it off, make that new beginning.

 

 

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