Correct Gently

baggage
Put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another. —Colossians 3:12-13

At the end of a conference in Nairobi, Kenya, our group traveled from the conference center to a guesthouse to prepare to fly back home the next morning. When we arrived, one person in our group reported that she had forgotten her luggage back at the conference center. After she left to retrieve it, our group leader (always meticulous on detail) criticized her sharply to us in her absence.

The next morning when we arrived at the airport, the leader discovered to his dismay that he too had left his luggage behind. It and his passport were back at the guesthouse. It was now going to cost us even more to go for his baggage. Later, he apologized and said to all of us, “I’ll never criticize so harshly again!”

Because we all have faults and weaknesses, we should bear with one another and forgive each other when things go wrong (Col. 3:13). We need to be constructive in our criticism and “clothe [our]selves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (v.12 niv).

Paul’s admonition in verse 16—that we are to allow “the word of Christ [to] dwell in [us] richly in all wisdom”—parallels Ephesians 5:18-19, where we are challenged to be under the control of the Holy Spirit. This results in worship, thanksgiving, and maintaining appropriate relationships with others.

When correction is necessary, it should be done with kindness and love. In that way we become imitators of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Dear God, You know that there are times when I just don’t feel patient and humble and gentle. Those days in my life, the fruit of Your Spirit seems in short supply. Please enable me to love others today.

The keys to effective relationships are gentleness and humility.

Why Believers Pray

Psalm 103:19-22

Recognizing that God is sovereign prompts some questions about the nature of prayer. Specifically, many people have asked me, “If the Lord is in control, why does He expect us to pray?”

Prayer brings us into cooperation with what God has purposed to accomplish. He desires to involve believers in the work He is doing both in the world and in their lives. But the word “work” is a tricky one when it comes to our faith. Unlike the striving we see in the world, what God desires is for us to trust Him (John 6:29), surrender our burdens to Him, grow in relationship with Him, and allow Him to work through us. Prayer is a tool we can use to do all those things.

Jesus asked the Father to protect the disciples by the power of His name (John 17:11 NIV). Did He think they might lose their salvation or drift from their commitment? Absolutely not. Jesus was God in human flesh. He knew exactly what was going to happen—how these men would spread the gospel and remain faithful even unto death. Jesus was taking part in the Father’s plan for His followers by interceding for them.

God certainly can build His kingdom without believers’ input or help. But a relationship develops depth and intimacy when the Lover and His beloved share an interest. Praying and working alongside our Lord strengthens our faith in His power.

The Lord created you to love Him and be loved by Him. Prayer nurtures and develops our connection with Him. Our Father calls us to communicate with Him so He can draw us close and involve us in building His kingdom.

Inherit the Wind

“He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.” (Proverbs 11:29)

This verse was selected to provide the title for one of the most widely distributed movies ever produced in Hollywood. Inherit the Wind was a black-and-white movie produced in 1960 starring Spencer Tracy as the famous atheist lawyer Clarence Darrow. The theme of the picture was the Scopes evolution trial held in Tennessee in 1925. The picture glorified Darrow and evolutionism, portraying creationists and Bible-believing Christians as fanatical buffoons.

Although the movie grossly distorted history, it has continued all these years to be shown over and over. The Scopes trial itself—in the absence of any real scientific evidence for evolution—is repeatedly rehashed in print by evolutionists in their zeal to destroy creationism. This is typical of the “profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called” (1 Timothy 6:20) to which evolutionists resort in lieu of evidence.

As far as the Scripture verse itself is concerned, it should serve rather as a sober warning to those evolutionary humanists who are still troubling our nation’s homes and schools and churches with this false and deadly doctrine of evolution. They are the ones who will inherit the wind. “The ungodly . . . are like the chaff which the wind driveth away” (Psalm 1:4). They are the ones who, “professing themselves to be wise,” became fools (Romans 1:22), “who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator” (Romans 1:25).

It is the one who proclaims “no God” who is “the fool” (Psalm 53:1) of our text. Evolutionists, humanists, atheists, and other anti-biblicists will inherit nothing but wind, but “the wise shall inherit glory” (Proverbs 3:35). HMM

Listen to God

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. —John 8:12

If while hearing a sermon we can fix on but one real jewel of truth we may consider ourselves well rewarded for the time we have spent.

One such gem was uncovered during a sermon which I heard some time ago.

From the sermon I got one worthy sentence and no more, but it was so good that I regret that I cannot remember who the preacher was, that I might give him credit. Here is what he said, “Listen to no man who fails to listen to God.”…

No man has any right to offer advice who has not first heard God speak. No man has any right to counsel others who is not ready to hear and follow the counsel of the Lord. True moral wisdom must always be an echo of God’s voice.

The only safe light for our path is the light which is reflected from Christ, the Light of the World….

God has His chosen men still, and they are without exception good listeners.

They can hear when the Lord speaks. We may safely listen to such men. But to no others.

Don’t ever let me preach my own empty, worthless stuff, Lord. Whenever I enter the pulpit I pray that I might have afresh word from heaven. Amen.

God Spoke and It Was Done

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1

The whole Bible supports the idea that it is the nature of God to speak, to communicate His thoughts to others.

“In the beginning was the Word”—a word is a medium by which thoughts are expressed, and the application of the term to the Eternal Son leads us to believe that self-expression is inherent in the Godhead, and that God is forever seeking to speak Himself out to His creation.

It is not just that God spoke: but God is speaking! He is by His nature continuously articulate. He fills the world with His speaking voice.

One of the great realities with which we have to deal is the Voice of God in His world. The briefest and only satisfying cosmogony is this: “He spake, and it was done!” The “why” of natural law is the living Voice of God in His creation.

This word of God which brought all worlds into being cannot be understood to mean the Bible, for it is the expression of the will of God spoken into the structure of all things. This word of God is the breath of God filling the world with living potentiality. The Voice of God is the most powerful force in nature, for all energy is here only because the power-filled Word is being spoken!

Your Devotional Life

Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. EPHESIANS 6:10

Too many of us object, perhaps unconsciously, to the rather evident fact that the maintenance of the devotional mood is indispensable to success in the Christian life.

And what is the devotional mood?

It is nothing else than constant awareness of God’s enfolding presence, the holding of inward conversations with Christ and private worship of God in spirit and in truth!

To establish our hearts in the devotional mood, we must abide in Christ, walk in the Spirit, pray without ceasing and meditate in the Word of God day and night. Of course, this implies separation from the world and obedience to the will of God, as we are able to understand it.

No matter how we may argue, true holiness and spiritual power are not qualities that can be once received and thereafter forgotten, as one might wind a clock or take a vitamin pill. Every advance in the spiritual life must be made against the determined resistance of the world, the flesh and the devil!

Dear Lord, thank You for watching over me and my loved ones last night. I look forward to spending time with You throughout the course of this day.