Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Role Models

My daughter and me.  
I pray my life is one she will what to imitate.

I’ve been fortunate in my lifetime to have role models whose lives are of godly moral character.  They are and were lives I want to emulate. 

When I was a little girl and regularly attended kid’s camp, I’d fall in love each year with whoever my camp counselor was.  I don’t remember even one of my counselor’s names from camp, but when I was younger the first chance I had, I wanted to be a camp counselor.  I wanted to impact young lives for the Lord like these women who gave their energy and time to impact my life.   

From my youth until now, I was blessed with many great role models who were sold out to God.  There were Sunday school teachers, pastors and their wives,  and godly men and women in the church, who spoke into my life with words and actions.

In my own family, I had five great women who influenced me and helped form me by their example.  I am who I am today because of my praying grandmother, generous aunt, loving mother, caring mother-in-law and spiritual stepmom. 

The book of 3 John is a short one-chapter book written in three-parts.  

The first part of this one-chapter book was praise from the Apostle John to a man called Gaius for a job well done, yet John encouraged him to do more.  We all could be and do better in our walks with the Lord.  None of us have arrived.  I like that before John told Gaius that there was room for improvement, first he praised him for what he was doing well.  Take note parents and spiritual leaders, it may be good to find a few positives before zeroing in on the areas that need improvement. 

In the second part of the letter, John warns about a man named Diotrephes, who’s example is one to avoid.  Diotrephes was a man who exhibited selfishness, gossip, bitterness, jealousy, and contention.  And an area that John speaks to in this book is this man's lack of hospitality to those in ministry.  John warns Gaius to beware of him.  He is not a good role model.

In the last part of 3 John, Gaius is given the name of someone who’s example he should follow.  This man’s name was Demetrius.

In 3 John 11, it says,  

Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good.” 

Demetrius had a reputation within his church as a godly man who walked in truth and believed in God.  He was well spoken of within his church community. 

John encouraged Gaius to imitate what was good and not what was evil.   

Who are you emulating and who is emulating you?  

Are you a Diotrephes who is known for causing division in the church or a Demetrius who walks in love and truth? 

Choose your role models carefully.  

Your spiritual health depends on it.

 

 



Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Truth Matters



Teaching children to tell the truth is no small task.  I tried to drive this point home with my children when they were young by saying this, "I’m not punishing you for what you did wrong, but for not telling me the truth when I ask you."   


I did this with the hope that the next time I needed to address untruthfulness they would ponder the message and do the right thing by telling the truth no matter what the consequences might be. 

 

This lesson has been used by parents for generations.  Why?  Because truth matters.

 

The one chapter and thirteen verse of the book of Second John holds a powerful message.

 

·      Know the truth.

·      Walk in the truth.

·      Protect the message of the truth.

 

The truth that John is driving home for us in this book is that we should love one another, and John did not leave the truth of loving one another undefined. 

 

In 2 John 1:4-6 in The Message says this.

 

I can’t tell you how happy I am to learn that many members of your congregation are diligent in living out the Truth, exactly as commanded by the Father. But permit me a reminder, friends, and this is not a new commandment but simply a repetition of our original and basic charter: that we love each other. Love means following his commandments, and his unifying commandment is that you conduct your lives in love. This is the first thing you heard, and nothing has changed.

 

When training a child, we start at the beginning with a principle that we want them to learn.  That training is consistent and unchanging.  

God started from the beginning teaching His children an unchanging principle too, that we should love one another!

This truth matters.  When Believers allow worldly things to override their love one for another--we are acting in disobedience.   

·      Know the truth—by studying God’s Word to know what the Bible says about love.  

·      Walk in the truth—by showing your love for one another with your words and deeds.

·      Protect the truth—by not bringing shame to the name of Jesus by your unloving actions towards other Believers.

 

One day we will each stand before our Heavenly Father, and I hope He will not judge us too harshly when he recalls our love for one another.    

 

Truth Matters—Love one another.

 

 

 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Love One Another

The best communication is clear and uncomplicated.  I don't care for all the frills and fluff that can get in the way of the message when things get too wordy.  


Are you familiar with this acronym?  


K.I.S.S.  


It sums up how I feel about most things in life.  Why make it harder than it needs to be?

That's why I love this verse from 1 John 3:11 (TLB).  It's simple and easy to understand yet communicates a message that many Christians struggle with.


For the message to us from the beginning has been 

that we should love one another.


The idea that we should love one another is a simple, uncomplicated command, yet when someone we should be loving upsets or offends us, how quickly do we take our eyes off the Lord and handle things in a way that is anything but love. 

 

If you have failed in loving one another, you're not alone.

  • The brothers of Joseph took their eyes of God and allowed jealousy to rob them of brotherly love.
  • Esau took his eyes off God and gave away his birthright for a bowl of soup.  Then resented his brother for his own poor choices.
  • David took his eyes off God and allowed his flesh to rule his heart.  His bad choices and attempts to cover up his sin led to taking another man’s life. 
  • Peter took his eye off God and, in fear, denied he ever knew Jesus.

I wonder if we choose to say this one simple phrase before taking action if our lives would be better for it.  

...we should love one another.


I think, yes.  


Yes, they would.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Make Every Effort


 

When I'm given a job assignment, I haven't always put forth my best effort.  In fact, I'd go so far as to say, it's not my strength.  For me, it has been a struggle to enjoy the task at hand because my eye is fixed on the finish line more than giving whatever the task may be my very best effort.  


For me, it's all about getting the job done, and as quickly as possible. 

 

In my life, I've made some blunders, messed up big time, and my hurried work has affected me and those around me.  Not good!  


In the book of 2 Peter, the author writes at the beginning and end of the book: "Make every effort."  This book was written for the early church but also applies to us today. 

 

In 2 Peter 1:5-8, the Apostle Peter gives us stepping stones to help us make every effort to build on a solid foundation.  This verse also tells us what happens when we don't make our best effort.


...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, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, 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.


Next time you question if you are making every effort in your life to be effective and productive members of the body of Christ, here's the checklist from 2 Peter for you to consider.  

  • Is it good what you are about to do? (goodness)
  • Is God's word in agreement with what you're about to do? (knowledge)
  • Is it within your power to show self-control in this matter? (self-control)
  • Am I easily distracted by the concerns of this world and not focused on doing God's will?   (perseverance)
  • Will others see Christ in my actions? (godliness)
  • Do my actions show I care for my brothers and sisters in Christ? (mutual affection)
  • Are my actions an expression of love to others? (love)

If your answer is negative to even one of these questions, make every effort to reconsider your actions.  


In this first week of 2021, my prayer is that all who read these words would make every effort to filter their actions through this verse.  


When we do this, we'll become productive and effective representatives of Jesus.   

 

 

 

 

 

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