Being the Best

DK Top 10 Guides Collection
Image by Gubatron via Flickr

From top 10 lists to award shows to the annual richest people in the world magazine issues, not to mention the “vote off everyone but the winner” TV shows, it would seem that the world is focused on trying to figure out who’s the best.  Of course, there are lots of ways to evaluate who’s in the lead:  the wealthiest, the most powerful, the best singer, the best performer, the one who loses the most weight, the one who survives challenges and the intrigue of personal relationships and alliances or the one who creates and successfully finishes the best project or event.  Apparently, if you believe the mavens of media, these are the most highly prized abilities in the world.

Jostling for rank and position is not a new thing (in case you hadn’t noticed!).  Did you know that even Jesus’ disciples dealt with this?  One day on the road to Capernaum, they argued about who was the greatest (Mk. 9:33-34).  Later, James & John ask Jesus to have the top spots in His coming Kingdom, which angers the other disciples, who probably had their eyes on those spots too (Mk 10:35-41)!

But Jesus threw out all the common criteria for deciding who the best is.  Jesus said that in His Kingdom, it is not about wealth, power, position or performance.  It is about humility and service.  In His kingdom, wanting to lord it over others, puts you last.  Instead, to be superior, you need to serve.  This is a challenge to our way of looking at the world.  But Jesus shows us a new way to live:  the way He did!  “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  So, to follow Him, we are called to give our lives in service.  Jesus’ life reveals that this kind of life is not the easiest, but it is the best!  Whom will you serve today?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The Journey to Spiritual Victory

In the years to come historians will comb through the actions, inactions and over-reactions to the current war in Iraq. They will analyze what was done, what could have been done, and what perhaps should have been done. Their goal will be to describe what was done and why. Military planners will also perform an analysis to determine what can be learned about how to defeat an insurgency or to prevent one from developing. Their goal will be to learn lessons so that in the future we can avoid conflicts, or if they are unavoidable, how to be victorious!

James, a disciple of Jesus Christ, writes in his letter in the New Testament about the need for spiritual victory in our lives. He reveals to us that we face a conflict and that we must choose sides. We will choose to be either a friend of the “world” (which is under the control of Satan) or a friend of God. The word “world” here is not used in the sense of our “planet,” but is used to represent a mindset which rejects God and focuses chiefly on the physical instead of the spiritual.

James then gives us directions in chapter 4 to guide us on our journey to spiritual victory. First, we must be willing to submit our selfish desires to God. Selfishness is what leads to conflict in your life, so he instructs us to turn it over to God.

Second, we must choose to pursue God rather than trying to fit into the mindset of the culture around us. If wefit in with the values of everyone around us, we will end up fighting against God! Instead, we must choose to follow God. Let Him guide us, coach us, instruct us in every part of our life. Read His message to us, the Bible, and do what He instructs us to do.

Third: Reject temptations! You will be tempted! Plan now to defeat them, instead of letting them defeat you! The best way to defeat temptations is to avoid them, if you can. We can’t avoid every temptation, but we can refuse to put ourselves into situations where we know we will be tempted. As Martin Luther is quoted as saying, “We can’t keep the birds from flying over our heads, but we can keep them from building a nest in our hair!” When we reject temptations, the devil won’t stick around! But be prepared, he’ll be back!

Fourth, turn instead to God. Find ways to get closer to Him. This can include what I’ve already mentioned, reading your Bible, plus using spiritual growth tools such as prayer, meditation, silence, simplicity, helping others, spiritual growth groups, worship, fasting, confession, spiritual coaching, and celebration. (For more on this read Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster.) James reminds us that when we draw near to God, He will draw near to you.

Fifth, James calls us to wash our hands of sin (cf. 4:7). We are to choose to live lives of purity. We must therefore ask God’s forgiveness for the sins which we have already committed. Then we must choose to live clean!

Sixth, we are to seek purity of heart. James reminds us here that in the final analysis, sin is a matter of the heart. If your heart is still set on sin, asking for forgiveness of what you have already done will not produce a change in your patterns of behavior. To see true change take place, you need to have a change of heart. James calls us “double-minded” and says we need to purify our hearts. Many people say they want a great relationship with God, but they aren’t willing to quit doing the things that break God’s heart! Try that approach with your spouse and see how it works for you! We will need God’s help to purify our hearts. Pray the prayer that King David prayed, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

These steps are not easy to take. They call us to set aside our selfishness and focus instead on God and His purposes for us. But God’s response will make it worthwhile. As James puts it, “Humble yourself before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” That sounds like victory to me!

A New Beginning (with a History)!

We are beginning a new year, 2008! Millions of folk have celebrated the new year in Times Square and around the world. Everyone likes to think that each year we get a new lease on life. A chance to start over, to start fresh! They are right! A new year is a gracious gift, a hopeful promise! Of course, there is no guarantee that we will get to live to see the end of the year, or that we will make good use of the time we will be given. But “here’s hoping!”

What many people forget is that this new year has a foundation: all the years before. What this year will become is not limited to, but is dependent upon what came before. I saw an example of this in Mark chapter 1, verses 1-2. Marks begins his Gospel by saying, “The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the son of God.” Wow! That’s a loaded title! It marks a new beginning! He says this is “gospel,” which means, “good news!” This good news is about Jesus who is the Christ, or the Messiah, the Savior promised by the Jewish prophets. Some ancient manuscripts record Mark as testifying that this Jesus is the “Son of God!” A divine savior who fulfills the promises of the ancient Jewish prophets…now that’s a new beginning with a history! But this new beginning, built upon a foundation of history, was not limited to that history. Jesus himself said that he came not to abolish the law or the prophets (what had been built before), but to fulfill them (cf. Matt. 5:17).

Mark follows verse 1 with quotations from Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3, who are Old Testament prophets. Mark shows that this new “beginning” has a history.

So, what does that mean for us?

Often we try to get away from our past, but find ourselves tied to it. Many folk find themselves repeating the past, despite their feverish attempts to distance themselves from it! How do we move beyond the past?

First, Mark’s words show me that I can never move beyond my history until I face it. As we start this new year, it may be helpful for us, hard as it may be, to review our life to this point. Ask yourself, what lessons have I learned thus far in my life? What lessons should I have learned from my mistakes? Honestly assess where you are, where you have failed and where you have succeeded.

Second, Mark’s words show me that even if I have a past, I can, with God’s help, have a new beginning! In fact, another apostle, John, quotes Jesus as saying, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10b). We are not defined by our past. We need not suffer an eternal curse because of our history. In fact, Peter is quoted in Acts 10:43 as saying about Jesus that “All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” What an amazing gift that Christmas has given us! A Savior who is willing to forgive us of our sins! The writer of the book of Hebrews (10:17) reminds us of the promise of Jeremiah 31:34 “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” In God’s eyes, our history is wiped clean!

Third, Mark’s words show me that my future has its meaning in Jesus Christ. If I want to make a new beginning in my life, it needs to be about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He is the center of history. The numbering of our year, 2008, is tied to His birth. His birth was the watershed event of history. If I want my life to be meaningful, it must be connected to the One who gives meaning to life! Ask Jesus to come into your life, bringing forgiveness for your past sins, helping you to learn from the past, becoming a companion to bring you joy in each day, and providing guidance and purpose for your future.

Now that’s a New Beginning with a divine history!

Powered by ScribeFire.

Don’t Lose Your Marbles!

(Click here for the podcast recording.)

Welcome to FaithBuilders Podcasts at buildyourfaith.net.   

How is your new year going so far?  Can you believe it is 2007 already!  I can’t!

Not long ago I received an e-mail which gave the account of a man who found a way to remind himself to take advantage of the time he had.  He calculated that if he lived an average lifespan, at about 58 years of age, he had about 1000 weeks left to live.  So he went out and bought 1000 marbles and put them in a glass jar.  Every Saturday morning he took out one marble and threw it away.  Then he set out to use his week in a productive, meaningful way, spending time with family, serving others in love, accomplishing “missions” of ministry for God.

Did you know that the average lifespan for Americans is about 78 years?  Most of us think that is a long time away still, especially if you are in your teens or 20’s.  However, an average 15 year old only has 3276 weeks left to live.  An average 20 year old only has 3016 weeks left in an average life span.  If you are about 30, you have about 2500 weeks.  I am 43, so I figure I have only about 1800 weeks left, if I live to be 78.  If you are about 50, you have about 1500 weeks left.  If you are about 60, you may have a little over 900 remaining.  So what are we going to do with those weeks?

I don’t know about you, but I want my life to count for something greater than myself.  I want my life to contribute to something that lasts longer than my earthly life.  I don’t want to “lose my marbles!”

Join me in considering, as we begin 2007, “How will I spend my life this year, this week, this day?”

Just don’t lose your marbles!

“Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
  (Psalm 90:12, NIV)

Christmas and Waiting

Click for the recording of the podcast.

Do you remember Christmas when you were a child? Didn’t it seem like it would never come! We had to wait for what seemed like YEARS! We couldn’t wait for Christmas morning to arrive! In fact, I think I remember wanting to go to bed early on Christmas Eve so that Christmas morning would seem to arrive sooner! Well, no matter what we did to try to “hurry up” Christmas, it still came on the same day every year, just like the calendar said!

Paul said in Galatians 4:4, “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son…” The first Christmas happened according to God’s schedule. He had a plan and a time-table for the plan. When the right time came, God sent His Son and the world was blessed!

 

Since our church is going through a relocation project, friends and acquaintances often ask me, “Well, do you have property yet?” And, to date, I have to say, “Not yet. But we’re still looking.” And we are looking! Since mid-July we have sent out over 1000 e-mails to real estate agents and have corresponded individually or talked with real estate agents 25 times. We have reviewed dozens of properties, it seems! At times like these, it is good to know that God has a plan and when the right time comes, God will work out His plan for us!

For what are you waiting? Are you waiting for a promise of God to be fulfilled? Are you ready for God’s plan to come to fruition? Are you waiting AND watching? When His time fully comes, God sends His answer! Don’t lose hope! You don’t want to miss out on His Gift!

Thank you for visiting FaithBuilders Podcast Blog site. Build your faith today by waiting on God!

 

The Quest – Day 39

This is the devotional for Friday, November 3, 2006 which is the 39th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 39 of Frank Moore’s life-changing book, The Power To Be Free.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

 

Day 39 – Life in the Spirit of Christ

We live life in the Spirit of Christ every day through a thousand daily choices.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2 NIV)

To develop Christlike character we must look to Christ as our example. Then we consecrate ourselves completely to God. Next, we receive His gift of sanctification. Then we move from one growth cycle to another for the rest of our lives.

If you have heard that God quantum-leaps you to Christlike maturity in one moment with one prayer, you have been misled. Yes, our consecration can be accepted and our hearts purified in a moment. But the work of maturity is done in the many choices we make daily.

In our Scripture text for today Paul speaks of God’s incredible freedom that enables you to choose daily the way you think, value, and live. You have the freedom to choose one of two ways of life:

    Two preferences
Life in Christ Jesus, or
Life in the flesh, by which paul means living according to the carnal nature of humanity that prefers self over God

    Two walks
A spiritual walk in step with God’s value system, or
A fleshly walk in step with one’s own value system

    Two laws
The law of the Spirit of life – not a list of dos and don’ts, but the guidance of our deep love for God
The second law is the law of death – the outcome of doing what you please ends in spiritual death.

    Two powers
The power of Christ to forgive and free us from sin, or
The power of the old, condemning law which is powerless to deliver us.

    Two loyalties
Loyalty to the Spirit in which our pleasure is to do His pleasure, or
Loyalty to the flesh in which we become enslaved to our desires, passions and addictions

    Two destinies
Eternal life, or
Eternal death

Each day we have a choice between these two ways of life. You validate your consecration and affirm your sanctification in daily choices as you continue to live out your resolve to make Christ Lord of all!

The memory verse for this week is Colossians 1:27, “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

For more information on both the FaithBuilders podcast and the Faith Church podcast visit www.buildyourfaith.net. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today by choosing life in the Spirit of Christ.

The Quest – Day 38

This is the devotional for Thursday, November 2, 2006 which is the 38th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 38 of Frank Moore’s life-changing book, The Power To Be Free. 

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

 

Day 38 – Growing in the Spirit of Christ

 

The Spirit of Christ wants to grow a Christlike character in you.

“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”   (Colossians 1:9 NIV) 

Character growth doesn’t happen while you sleep or watch television.  God expects you to roll up your sleeves and do your part to exercise, grow and mature.  You and I cannot build a foundation on feeling and emotion.  Growth in wisdom, understanding and good works lead to growth in our knowledge of God as well as growth in Christlike character.

On Days 34 and 35 we reviewed the characteristics of Jesus’ life that offer goals for us to develop Christlike character.  We can’t develop these qualities on our own.  God works in our hearts to create these qualities in us.  God accomplishes decisive, character-building work in us only after we consecrate ourselves totally to Him.  After we offer ourselves as living sacrifices, He fills us with the Spirit of Christ.  We then enter a clear path to a lifetime of growth and development in Christlike character.  So take a moment to review the strategies for growth we mentioned on Day 3

In Ephesians 4 Paul shows us that God’s plan is to enrich our lives personally as well as to enrich the community of faith.  We grow as we minister to one another and the community of faith grows as well.  Christ works like glue holding believers together to form His Body on earth.  The purpose of this plan is to bring us to a common belief, a common Savior, and a common model for our spiritual maturity.  God doesn’t want you to be a spiritual baby, an infant who will never grow out of the “baby stage.”

Right standing with God does not exempt us from the need for further spiritual growth.  We must balance our thinking between satisfaction in what Christ accomplished for us on the Cross and a hunger to press on to a deeper walk with God. 

The memory verse for this week is Colossians 1:27, “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

For more information on both the FaithBuilders podcast and the Faith Church podcast visit www.buildyourfaith.net.  For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.  

Build your faith today by pressing on toward maturity.

The Quest – Day 36

This is the devotional for Tuesday, October 31, 2006 which is the 36th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 36 of Frank Moore’s incredible book, The Power To Be Free.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 36 – A Holy and Pleasing Offering

We must offer ourselves to God as living sacrifices.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2 NIV)

Author Frank Moore says that the common experience of saints down through the ages has been an awareness of a remaining hindrance to further spiritual growth. We come to realize that our problem involves wanting the best of both worlds—what God wants and what we want at the same time. But we know we cannot have it both ways.

Once we pinpoint the self-centeredness that is the heart of the problem, we realize it must be replaced with Christ-centeredness. We confess our need to God and surrender ourselves completely to His will. We sacrifice ourselves for God’s purposes and then trust God to change us. The Spirit entered our lives when we accepted Christ; now we are inviting Him to take charge of our control center.

Today’s Scripture lesson reminds us of Christ’s sacrifice. He willingly gave Himself to be nailed to the Cross. We too, should willingly offer our entire beings back to God as a living sacrifice. When we do this, something miraculous happens. Our values are changed from the world’s values; God radically transforms our lives. We receive the “mind of Christ” that the Apostle Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 2:16. We say to God, “Whatever You ask, I’m willing to do. I’m just a glove for Your hand to fill.”

The memory verse for this week is Colossians 1:27, “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcast at www.buildyourfaith.net. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

To hear the message for Discovery 5 of the Quest, which reveals that “You can develop Christlike character,” or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Church podcast. You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net.

Build your faith today by offering yourself as a living sacrifice to God.

The Quest – Day 35

This is the devotional for Monday, October 30, 2006 which is the 35th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 35 of Frank Moore’s thought-provoking book, The Power To Be Free.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

 

Day 35 – Christ in You, Part 2

You can become like Christ!

“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27 NIV)

Today we continue the study of Christlike character development we began yesterday. Now, remember that this character development does not occur overnight.

13. Jesus was not vindictive and did not retaliate when others treated Him wrongly.
14. Jesus did not need to make a name for himself.
15. Jesus expressed strong emotion and indignation when the occasion called for it.
16. Jesus showed great courage throughout His life.
17. Jesus had a clear mission and purpose for His life.
18. Jesus lived with eternity’s values in view.
19. Jesus realized and accepted His human limitations.
20. Jesus always sought to do the will of His Father.
21.Jesus lived in constant communion with His Father.
22.Jesus depended on the Holy Spirit for constant spiritual strength and encouragement.
23. Jesus lived a life of service.
24. Jesus submitted himself to suffering on our behalf.
25. Jesus submitted himself to death on the Cross to accomplish our salvation.

Look back over the list of qualities and virtues from yesterday and today. God wants to form these in you as you grow in Him. Resist the tendency to make a list of these character qualities and grade your daily performance, or you’ll fall into the trap of bondage to performance. Just live for God and seek His ways. Growth in Christlikeness will follow as naturally as “April showers bring May flowers.”

The memory verse for this week is Colossians 1:27, “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcast at www.buildyourfaith.net. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 5 of the Quest, which reveals that “You can develop Christlike character,” or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast. You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net.

Build your faith today by asking the Father to make you like His Son.

The Quest – Day 34

This is the devotional for Sunday, October 29, 2006 which is the 34th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 34 of Frank Moore’s thought-provoking book, The Power To Be Free. 

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

 

Day 34 – Christ in You, Part 1

 

The Father wants to make you like His Son!

“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”  (Colossians 1:27 NIV) 

For the past month we’ve been on a quest to discover how we can live the life we’ve longed for.  We’ve learned we have a Guide to show us the way.  Our relationship with this Guide allows us to accept God’s love, experience His purity, and receive His power for this life.

Our quest for the remainder of our 40 days will point us in the direction of a Christlike character.  Christianity’s most unique feature is a close personal relationship with God.  He actually responds to our prayers!  Over time God molds us to think and act as He does.  We become like our God. Paul says in Romans 8:29 that God wants us “to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.”  So what does that look like?  Let’s look at the qualities Christ displayed in His earthly ministry. 

  1. Jesus loved the Father first and foremost, and then He loved us as an outgrowth of the Father’s and Son’s love for each other.
  2. Jesus had a winsome personality.
  3. Jesus lived a life of humility.
  4. Jesus lived a balanced life.
  5. Jesus had a sense of humor.
  6. Jesus had a heart of compassion and gave His hands to compassionate ministry.
  7. Jesus lived a life of fairness.
  8. Jesus was courteous.
  9. Jesus was thoughtful.
  10. Jesus paid compliments and showed appreciation.
  11. Jesus did not attempt to create conflict with His enemies, but when it arose He did not run from it.
  12. Jesus did not contemplate His plight in life and feel sorry for himself.

Think about each of these qualities of Christ throughout the day and imagine ways the Father might make you more like His Son. 

The memory verse for this week is Colossians 1:27, “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcast at www.buildyourfaith.net.  For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.  

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 5 of the Quest, which reveals that “You can develop Christlike character,” or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast.  You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net. 

Build your faith today by asking God to make you more like His Son!

The Quest – Day 32

This is the devotional for Friday, October 27, 2006 which is the 32nd day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 32 of Frank Moore’s challenging book, The Power To Be Free.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

 

Day 32 – Power For Witness

 

God has the power to help us make disciples for Him. 

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV)

Today’s Bible study passage reminds us God invites us to join Him in His ministry of adding new converts to the Christian community.  However, we can quickly develop a power shortage when we attempt to disciple new converts into God’s kingdom by our own strength and ability.  

Jesus, who has been given all authority from His Father, gave a commission to all of us.  He does not reserve disciple-making only for preachers or evangelists.  We are to:

  • Go
  • Make disciples in all nations
  • Baptize them into faith and
  • Teach them the doctrines and lifestyle for Christ’s followers.

God has a place for each one of us in His work.  Paul speaks of various roles we serve in the Christian community, which differ according to the different gifts, talents, abilities and personalities God has given us (cf. 1 Cor. 12:7-11 and Rom. 12:6-8).  God uses each person in a unique way to contribute to the growth and development of God’s plan.  

Jesus promises to be with us as we do this.  He fulfilled that promise by sending His Spirit.  With the aid of His Spirit, we face the challenge to make disciples by receiving the direction and strength from Christ Himself!  Partnering together with the Creator of the universe to make disciples for His kingdom—now that’s power!

 

The memory verse for this week is Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Thank you for visiting the FaithBuilders podcast site.  Don’t forget to visit our Faith Church podcast site also..  For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.  

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 4 of the Quest, “You can receive power,” or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast.  You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net. 

Build your faith today by making disciples for Jesus Christ.

The Quest – Day 31

This is the devotional for Thursday, October 26, 2006 which is the 31th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 31 of Frank Moore’s challenging book, The Power To Be Free.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

 

Day 31 – Power For Witness

God has power to help us witness for Him.

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV)

If you tell new or seasoned Christian they need to give a witness for Christ, they quickly conjure up frightening images of embarrassing or stressful situations!  But witnessing for Christ should not scare us.  Think about your response to such questions as:

  • How did you come to know the Lord as your personal Savior?
  • In your own words, who is Jesus Christ?
  • Why are you a Christian?
  • What does faith in Jesus mean to you?
  • How do you cope when the troubles of life close in on you?
  • Why do you have such a positive outlook on life?
  • Where is your hope?

Our presentation can be simple and must be personal.  Note that Peter tells us in the last part of verse 15, “But do this with gentleness and respect.”  Nothing could be worse than for a Christian to speak for Christ with a spirit of arrogance or superiority.  Peter reminds us of the importance of keeping a clear conscience and of our lives matching up with what we say. 

In John 9:25 a man who was healed by Jesus told his personal experience in his own words.  His witness cut through the opposition of critics with his simple statement, “I was blind but now I see!”

The story of Christ’s work in your life can flow from your lips as naturally as telling your neighbor abut a great bargain at the shopping center.  You don’t have to be eloquent.  People care more about your being genuine than they do about hearing a grandiose tale.

Your quest for power includes a search for the strength and ability to witness for Christ.  He has promised to give you power to witness!  He’s never been ashamed of you; you must never be ashamed of Him.

The memory verse for this week is Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcast at www.buildyourfaith.net.  For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org. 

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 4 of the Quest, “You can receive power,” or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast.  You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net. 

Build your faith today by depending on God’s power to share the story of what Jesus has done for you.

The Quest – Day 30

This is the devotional for Wednesday, October 25, 2006 which is the 30th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 30 of Frank Moore’s great book, The Power To Be Free.

 Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

 

Day 30 – Power Over Trials and Temptations

God gives us power to live victoriously over trials and temptations.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” (James 1:2-3 NIV)

Author Frank Moore’s family plays a board game called The Magnificent Race.  Players must overcome a series of obstacles while progressing in the worldwide race.  The arch villain of this board game is Dastardly Dan, who does everything in his power to discourage and bankrupt players.  Victory comes only after numerous battles with this villain. 

Christian living mirrors this board game in many ways.  Most days seem like a mad dash against a nearly impossible schedule.  We must each deal with our own Dastardly Dan arch villain in the form of Satan.  He’s pinned a bull’s-eye on our backs and targeted us for spiritual defeat.  Our quest today takes us on a search for power to live victoriously over trials and temptations.  Temptations attempt to derail our faith; trials test and strengthen it.

In today’s Scripture, James urges us to look on the positive side of our trials.  James lists four positive results that come from trials:

  1. We grow in patience (v. 4)
  2. We become mature and complete in our faith (vv. 4-5)
  3. We increase in faith (v 6)
  4. We receive a reward from God (v. 7)

The Bible warns us against surrendering to temptation.  Remember temptation targets us for defeat.  Paul talks about temptation in 1 Corinthians 10:12-14:  So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.  Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.” 

These passages reveal that:

  1. Temptation is a fact.
  2. Temptation usually catches us off guard.
  3. Temptation originates outside of us.
  4. Temptation is universal.
  5. Temptation has its limits.
  6. You can resist temptation.
  7. Once temptation passes, you’ll be left standing.

In the wilderness temptation (Matt. 4:1-11) and throughout His life, Jesus met Satan’s temptations and remained victorious at every encounter.  So can you!

The memory verse for this week is Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Thank you for stopping by to read (or listen to) FaithBuilders podcast at www.buildyourfaith.net.  For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org. 

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 4 of the Quest, “You can receive power,” or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast.  You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net. 

Build your faith today by depending on God’s power to live victoriously over trials and temptations.

The Quest – Day 29

This is the devotional for Tuesday, October 24, 2006 which is the 29th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 29 of Frank Moore’s insightful book, The Power To Be Free.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

 

Day 29 – Power Over Sin

 
God offers power to give us victory over sinful habits and self-preference.

 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin…My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.” (1 John 1:7, 2:1 NIV)

For the past two days we have talked about spiritual power.  But we must ask a very important question, “Power for what?”  We have seen that God does not offer us power just so we can amaze others or so we can be like Superman.  God is not offering power to feed our personal egos.  But God does offer us power to live above habitual, intentional sinning.  John makes the point clearly in our text today when he says that he writes “so that you will not sin.”

Sin creates a twofold problem.  Our list of past sins is Problem 1.  Sin’s nature buried deep within us that pushes us toward sin and self-preference is Problem 2.  This self-preference remains deeply rooted even after God forgives my sins.

Some Christians believe that sin’s habitual power and our self-preference is a curse we will live with our whole lives.  So are we doomed to sin throughout our lives?  Is our battle against sin hopeless?  Will we always use our freewill to choose our own way?  Absolutely not—to all these questions!

Not only can God solve Problem 1 by forgiving us of our past sins, but He also has the power to change us from within and reorient our nature so we can return to His will and plan for our lives.  God’s power can change us at a heart level in order to break the cycle of sinning.  God offers us power to cleanse us from self-preference.  So, the solution to Problem 2 is to surrender command of the control center of your life to our loving God.  Let the Christ who created you and died for you have complete control of your past, present and future—everything you are and everything you may ever become. 

Yes, God can give you power over intentional, habitual sin, so you can live the life you’ve longed for!

The memory verse for this week is Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcast at www.buildyourfaith.net.  For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org. 

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 4 of the Quest, “You can receive power,” or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast.  You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net. 

Build your faith today by yielding control of your life to Christ who died to free you from the power of sin.

The Quest – Day 28

This is the devotional for Monday, October 23, 2006 which is the 28th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 28 of Frank Moore’s insightful book, The Power To Be Free.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 28 – It’s In The Bank

God has provided all you need for victorious Christian living.

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. 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 3:16-19 NIV)

One of Professor Frank Moore’s students requested prayer for her brother who had moved out of the family’s expensive home and was sleeping on city streets and eating from garbage cans. The young man’s father had placed a large sum of money in a bank on the street where his son slept. He gave his son a checkbook with the words, “If you ever need money, all you have to do is walk into the bank and write a check.”

From what Paul says in our Bible text for today, God has done for us something like what this father did for his son. God prompts a longing in our hearts to find power for our lives and then provides a way for us to access that power. This power comes through the indwelling presence of the Spirit of Christ.

When Paul speaks of our inner being, he is thinking of the place of our personality, our spirituality, of the seat of our praise, worship and gratitude, the source of our willpower, emotions, attitudes and conscience. The Spirit of Christ must flavor everything that springs from our inner being.

How do we get this power for the life we long for? Paul says it comes by our faith in God and His indwelling love. Only God’s love working within us gives us the solid foundation we need to complete our spiritual journey with victory. This power is not just for a select few; it is for all of God’s saints—including you! God and His love can dwell completely in you, a love that you can understand in your heart, but cannot adequately put into words. This power fills us with God Himself!

God’s power comes your way though relationship with the Spirit of Christ. Seek Him rather than power as the focus of your quest. God’s power comes as a by-product of your relationship with Him.

The memory verse for this week is Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcast at www.buildyourfaith.net. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 4 of the Quest, “You can receive power,” or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast. You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net.

Build your faith today by receiving the Spirit of Christ and His indwelling love by faith.

« Older entries