Remembering Who & Whose you are

This is advice given by many a parent to their child as they send them out into the world. It’s good advice which every Christian ought to practice for themselves.

Reminding ourselves of our past is a good exercise, and often painful, that can aid us in our current walk in the Lord. In his letter to the church at Corinth, Paul did it for the saints. He said, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” [1Cor 6:9-11] This reminder was meant to admonish the brethren that their current attitudes could be changed for the better by a reminder of who they used to be and who & whose they are now. He went on to say, “know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” [v19-20] Remembering who & whose we are can continue to help modern day Christians in 3 ways…

REMEMBERING OUR PAST: By reminding ourselves of what manner of person we once were, that we’ve been freed from the bondage of sin through the blood of Christ, can help us to refocus ourselves to the hope of heaven. “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” [Eph 2:5; cr. 1Co 7:23; Ga 3:13]

REMEMBERING OUR HELPERS: No one is an island unto ourselves [Rom 14:7]. We’ve all been aided in some way. The Holy Spirit tells us that none of us heard the gospel without a preacher; “…and how shall they hear without a preacher?” [Rom 10:14b]. It is a very good exercise to make a list of those helpers in your life. I keep a running list of folks who have taught me lessons by their example or through their time. Those who have lifted me up when I was down, both emotionally & financially. Those who have motivated & inspired me to be more than I was. Who taught you the gospel? Who helped you to become a better Christian? Whose example do you wish to emulate? [cr. Phil 3:17] By making this list you will become more grateful and much more aware of influencers currently in your life. More importantly, it will make you more aware of those you can help.

REMEMBER HOW FAR YOU’VE COME: The third way remembering our past can help is by showing us how much we’ve grown. Paul reminded Timothy of this, “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” [2Tim 1:5-7]. This reminder was to inspire Timothy to use all his gifts for the furtherance of the gospel. We can do this. Service to our King increases by using our growth.

Some might argue that Paul also told us to forget those things that are behind [Phil 3:13]. This is not a contradiction, because in the context of his statement he listed some of the things he had done, including persecuting the church [v6]. What he means by this is that as we remind ourselves of our past that we ought not to let it paralyze us from pushing forward or to think we’ve already achieved something.

We all need to remember that success in this life is not the end of things. For the Christian, success is serving God His way so that all may come to the knowledge of His dear Son and be able to go to heaven when He returns. [Eph 4:13; cr. 2Pet 3:9]

One final reminder. We need the reminder that we can become disqualified. Jude wrote, “I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.” [Jude 1:5]. Why do WE need this reminder? Because it’s possible to fall away today.

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Under Pressure

It’s that time of year again when summer vacation comes to a screeching halt and our children head back to school. Back into the pressure cooker of studies, homework and sports. These are good pressures, but there’s another pressure they will face, peer pressure.

Peer pressure is not new, AND it’s not restricted to the school yard. Peer pressure continues throughout life. Don’t fool yourselves you big people, we all need to guard our hearts from the pressures of the world.

Before you can overcome peer pressure, you must become aware of it and from where it will come. Following are the 6 areas of pressure everyone faces.

THE 6 PRESSURES OF LIFE:

TO BE CONFORMED TO THE WORLD: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” [1John 2:15] (1Tim 2:9; 4:12; Rom 12:2; Jas 4:4)

Conformity — people acting like everyone else, without knowing why or what they are doing. Conformity is the opposite of COURAGE. It’s hard to go against the crowd, but that is the best way.

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.” [Mat 7:13]

TO GIVE UP THE FAITH: “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.” [Mat 10:22] (2Tim 4:10; 1Cor 9:27)

In today’s world, true Christianity is frowned upon for its stance against sin and denominationalism. In many classrooms, our children are compelled to believe in humanism & evolution. But stand firm, for a reward awaits the faithful.

Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” [Rev 2:10]

TO BE DISHONEST: “Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse:” [Prov 1:14] (Rom 12:17; Phil 4:8; 2Cor 13:7; Rev 21:8)

Honesty seems to be a lost art today.  In some cultures, religions and politics lying is an acceptable form of communication. We must guard ourselves from lies or we might end up believing some of them and that’s not good. [2Thess 2:10-11]

Now I pray to God that you do no evil,” [2Cor 13:7]

TO BE POPULAR: “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” [Gal 1:10] (2Tim 4:3; John 12:42-43; 1Th 2:4)

Nobody likes to be isolated from others, but better to have just a few quality friends than to do what is necessary to have many friends. The compromises of your integrity are just not worth it.

For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” [Acts 4:20]

COMPROMISE THE TRUTH: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” [John 8:32] (1Pet 1:22)

You may have noticed a subtle change in way people refer to truth. Listen carefully and you’ll hear people say, “your truth” or “my truth.” We live in a time when majority of people no longer believe in THE truth, but you must.

Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” [John 17:17]

TO BE LUKEWARM: “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.” [Mat 12:30] (Rev 3:15-16)

People don’t really care what you do so long as you don’t make them look bad doing it. Being a quality Christian is going to make folks look bad. People may become uncomfortable with you as you walk in the light. But this is God’s desire, that people see your good works and glorify Him by converting [1Pet 3:1-5; Mat 5:16].

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” [1Cor 15:58]

There’s a man who has never been on time to work and the boss refuses to fire him. The reason will shock you!

A FEW WEEKS AGO, I learned of a man who has been working with the same company for more than 10 years. From the day he was hired, he has NEVER BEEN ON TIME. As a matter of fact, he’s been off his scheduled time by an hour and a half!!! A full 90 minutes! I know from personal experience that his co-workers probably hate him for it, but won’t say anything. Can you believe it? Yet, after all these years, his employer has refused to fire him.

This is a 100% true story. This is not a made-up illustration to make a point. It involves an actual person, with a real boss, a real job and real co-workers.

I said the reason will shock you

This person, who has never been on time to his job, and is scheduled to work, at 9am Monday through Friday, comes in at 7:30am every work day, 90 min BEFORE HIS SCHEDULED START TIME!! Now you’re saying, “OOOOH! I get it. He comes in EARLY for his shift.” You also see why it’s shocking. We know it’s a good thing to be on time for your shift or even better, to arrive early, but who comes in 90 minutes early?

Someone once said, “if you’re on time, then you’re 15 minutes late.” Very few people say that today, it’s from a bygone era. Our culture today seems to be asking, “what is the minimum amount of work I can do and still get paid?” Others work as if the minimum wage is the amount of money needed just to get them to show up, but if you want them to do any work they’re going to need more money! These days, it’s normal for the employee to blow through the doors in the very nick of time to punch in, then proceed to put their stuff away, use the restroom, get a cup of coffee and be ready to work within 15-20 minutes of arrival.

Christians are different, or at least they ought to be. We have learned from our Master that we are peculiar people set apart to be different from the world, not to be normal, rather we are to overcome normal.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. [Romans 12:2]

As Christians, we also know we ought to do MORE than what is expected of us, even if it means to arrive early for our shift at work. Let it never be said of us that we are just like the world in our thoughts and actions. Our Master taught us to go beyond what is expected of us, to go the EXTRA MILE.

And whosoever shall compel thee to go one mile, go with him two. [Matthew 5:41]

He also taught…

His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

[Matthew 25:21]

You see, Christians don’t work for people and our reward is not the check on Friday. No, we have a Heavenly Master, and our treasure is with Him.

Servants, obey in all things them that are your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord: whatsoever ye do, work heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that from the Lord ye shall receive the recompense of the inheritance: ye serve the Lord Christ. For he that doeth wrong shall receive again for the wrong that he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

[Colossians 3:22-25]

There’s another point I could make, but alas, I’ve run out of room so I’ll leave it for you to ponder.