My dad was a tailor – excuse me – a master tailor. He was the best and he believed how good he was. It was his gift, a true calling.
Sewing clothes presented many opportunities for my dad to meet and minister to people. He never preached to them, but he shared his knowledge and his heart. He had many customers, including some that decided to go elsewhere. Some of those that left chose another tailor because they were “well known”, not necessarily because they were better. Of course, it was upsetting for him to lose customers to someone else, especially when he’d taken the time to get to know them and perfect their preferences.
God cares about how we live our lives, He has provided us so much of His guidance in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. For example, God’s word instructs us how to walk in Ephesians 5.
•Walk in Love (Ephesians 5:2)
•Walk in Light (Ephesians 5:8)
•Walk in Wisdom (Ephesians 5:15)
God instructs us to walk in Wisdom but how do we walk in wisdom?
The decisions we make every day don’t just affect our lives, they affect generations to come. When you make decisions that honor God, when you’re generous and faithful, it is being credited to your children’s account, to your grandchildren, to future generations. Just as there is a generational curse of negatives that can be passed down, there is a generational blessing. God is keeping an account of every good thing you do, the times you forgive when you could stay bitter, the times you’re being your best when nobody is giving you credit. That’s not being overlooked. It’s accruing mercy, favor, and blessing in your family’s account. You can be the one to set your family on a new course of blessing. You can start freedom, wholeness, and victory.
In graduate school I developed a vision problem. After late nights of studying, I’d wake up in the morning unable to open my right eye. I’d lie in bed and rub gently, encouraging it to wake up too. A long day of classwork and reading lay ahead; I couldn’t do it without both eyes functioning properly.
When I could blink both eyes, I’d get up and go about my work with little thought to the problem—until the headaches set in toward the end of the day.
A call to the ministry is a call to the ministry of the Word. As such, we are called not only to proclaim it but also to defend it. The New Testament Epistles overflow with injunctions to guard the truth. Reflect on Paul’s words to Timothy—a mere sampling of the New Testament charges to defend the faith—and let their import for you and your call to ministry sink in:
It’s one of those play calls for Team Jesus that has challenged the best and most upright Pastor, Church Mother, and saint at one point or another. When we are hurt, damaged, or betrayed by someone, it’s not in our human nature to naturally forgive.
Forgiving others will rarely be as easy as breathing or blinking. It takes work and intentionality to begin – and end – the process of forgiveness.
For most people, the difficulties of the past year have been a strong reminder that life doesn’t always go the way we think it will. First Samuel 30 records a similar period in David’s life. Thirteen years after he was anointed to be the next king of Israel, he was still living as a fugitive from King Saul. Then one day David and his six hundred men came home and found their city had been burned, their possessions taken, and their families taken captive. It was so heartbreaking and distressing that the men in his army were threatening to stone him. Yet at his lowest point of discouragement, the Scripture says David “encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (v. 6). He rose up, inspired his men to fight again, and they defeated their enemy.
Many of my goals and plans for 2020 got sidetracked. (There’s an understatement.) Some areas for which I had great intentions didn’t improve, while I’ve seen growth in other areas for which I didn’t even set goals. The start of a new year is a perfect time to reevaluate what God is doing in your life, praise him for all he has done, and set some God-centered goals for the new year. Christian leaders such as Jonathan Edwards modeled this disciplined pursuit of godliness––a young Edwards set 70 resolutions to help him seek to glorify God.
Some people believe that the gospel is only useful for evangelism—a message only unbelievers need to hear. Yet the Bible teaches that followers of Jesus need to continue hearing the gospel even after they are born again. Christians should meditate on the gospel every day in their personal Bible reading, and pastors should preach the gospel in every sermon. We regularly need to hear about the life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, as well as the call to repent of our sins and turn to Jesus in faith.
It’s that time of year again, Team – the holidays. Typically, people either love or hate the holiday season because it has a way of making us examine our lives. It might have something to do with it being the end of the year, maybe we’re faced with the reality of what we did or didn’t accomplish and why. Or, it could be that the cold and darker days slow us down long enough to take stock of what and who really matter.
If you have a great family and a cool job, it means so much more, and if not, it seems to hurt so much worse. Let’s touch and agree that we will beat any holiday blues this year and walk in the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).