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"Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."
We believe that there is nothing more important to man than to be reconciled to God through His Son. We want to know Jesus more and more and to help others do likewise. We desire to be obedient and Christlike by being doers of the Word and not just hearers only (James 1:22). We want to be salt and light to the world by following the Luke 4 mandate where Jesus describes His ministry. We will seek the leadership of the Holy Spirit at all times as He leads us into the specifics of our ministry work. We will work from our Spiritual gifts and calling with a servant attitude doing all of this to bring glory to God and not ourselves. And we will be intentional in working to resolve spiritual, relational, and material poverty in our community and anywhere else where we may have influence.
Do you remember the WWJD "craze" of a few years ago. It stood for 'What Would Jesus Do?' It got kind of worn out but there is still something valuable to it.
For some reason today, I noticed several Face Book posts (yea, I know, I shouldn't) from people I know to be professing Christians that were downright ugly toward others. They were political and otherwise flavored. And it has really broken my heart today.
Sure, there are lots of folks doing some pretty sinful things. But, Who is in charge of judging sin anyway? I know Him, and He ain't on Face Book.
Jesus was asked one day to pass judgment on a sinner caught in the act. Remember what He did? After He made her accusers eat crow He said this:
Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you, Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:10-11
On the other hand, Jesus very often had some harsh words for the "churchy" people.
You blind fools!... Matthew 23:17
So, what would Jesus do?
Well, what DID He do?
Folks, the world does NOT need our condemnation. It is condemned already! (John 3:17-18) What it needs is Good News delivered with loving hearts and words.
You are loved!
2nd and 4th Tuesdays. 7PM
Where is the Joy?
We need some joy these days. It’s hard to find this quality in the face of hurricanes, wars, injustice, and crime; not to mention politics – which I just did. Joy seems to be forgotten characteristic. And that is, sadly, also true of believers in Christ.
Friends, we need joy so that we can share it with a world that is joyless and has no hope of finding it or manufacturing it. Only in relationship with the Holy Spirit will we be able to find joy for ourselves and produce it as fruit for a starving world.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23 (emphasis added)
In fact, Scripture is filled with direct connections between the filling of the Holy Spirit and joy.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17
And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7
To repeat, we are not designed to have joy in and of ourselves. Joy comes from the dwelling of the Holy Spirit within us. It is a fruit of the Spirit, not something we produce or summon up from ourselves. Look at the disciple for example. They went from fearful and fair-weather followers of Jesus to joy-filled, sacrificial, and empowered world-changers when the received the Holy Spirit. And their joy was present in the middle of intense persecution.
The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Acts 16:22-25
What a remarkable story. Paul and Silas have been beaten and imprisoned and they respond by praying andsinging!
I have to compare that response to mine when I have faced circumstances far less intimidating and oppressive than this. Almost never has there been any joy in that.
But we have the same Holy Spirit the disciples had. And He longs to produce the same kind of fruit in us as He did in them. He can and will fill us with joy in the midst of any trial or pain. He can and will heal and transform us into greater reflections of God’s goodness.
The jailer responded to Paul and Silas in amazement. He and his household were saved eternally because of it. Can you imagine what might happen believers today were to respond with Holy Spirit joy in the midst of all we face day to day?
How might we do this? I’m always glad when you ask that! Let’s start with a posture of humility in God’s presence and pray to receive Him fully. The Holy Spirit will not force His way into us but He will respond quickly to our invitation.
So, let’s respond to those small tugs on our hearts. Let Him come more fully into your life – your plans, thoughts, and actions. He knows best how to guide us because He made us. Spend that time right now to receive this joy-producing God.
You are loved!