Apr 20

Having The Right Foundation

larrydec26Having the right foundation spiritually can make the difference on where one spends eternity.  The only foundation that will make it. past this life is one that is based and founded upon the Word of God. It is one that puts it’s trust in the One whom the Apostle John called the “Word.” It is a life built on a trust in the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We build our lives on all kinds of foundations. Jesus spoke  of those who build  their lives on the sand, which has no permanent foundation. He contrasted that with the ones who built their lives on a solid foundation.  The one who built on the sand had all kinds of problems; the one on the solid foundation had the blessings of God.

We need to base our faith on the foundation of the Lord Jesus and His blessed Word. Romans 10:7 reads, “and so faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”

We must be found standing on a faithful Word.  We must have the assurance that the Bible we read, study and live by is really God’s Word.

The Apostle Paul answered that question for us in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

It is the responsibility of every Christian to be steadfast. We have a reliable Bible and in  it we find out how to live the Christian life.  If we will but allow the Lord, He will equip us for service today!

We must be willing to put Him first in our lives at all times, not just when it is convenient for us.  The song “I’ll Put Jesus First in My Life,” tells us in verse 1 that to the Christian the “the world all about me has now no allure.”

This  means that  once we put the Lord Jesus on in baptism  we change “kingdoms.” Paul told the Colossian church that we have been conveyed out of a kingdom of  darknessthat leads to Hell and now we are in the kingdom of the Son of His love, a kingdom of light ruled by the Jesus. We are now in the “marvelous light of the gospel” and have the privilege to help other find that light.

By having the “firm foundation” of the Faithful Word of God, we  are on the path of spiritual growth, a lifelong privilege to look into the very thoughts of The Godhead and know that They love us and want us to, as the Apostle Peter said, “to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ!”

Apr 16

The Words Of My Mouth

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMusical preference is subjective, and that truth is seen in religious as well as secular settings.  In a majority of churches you’ll find 2 basic styles of music: hymns, and praise and worship songs.  Whichever style of music you find yourself supporting, or even if you’re appreciative of both, I think it’s fair to say that we could all benefit from a ‘spring cleaning’ of sorts, in regards to the way we approach our time of musical worship.

If you sing something enough times, you’ll memorize it.  While memorization is an awesome skill, I have caught myself on many occasions robotically singing both categories of songs during a church service without engaging my mind and my spirit in the words that I’m singing, and in the message that’s being conveyed.  One could point the finger at ADHD, and I won’t deny that my brain is a bit ‘lacking in focus’ at times, but each Christian  has a responsibility when we walk in the door of the church to make an effort to focus on worship.  If we don’t, then we have to ask ourselves why we’re even there.  The deeper, more invisible culprit to my nomadic mind is our enemy the devil.  He WANTS you and I to be distracted during church.  What a way to thumb his nose at God, eh?  Almost anything can be a distraction during church, from planning the day ahead, to the personal devices that you bring to church, to children (yours or others).

One way that we can attempt to overcome this distraction is to make more of a connection with the songs that we sing.  Hymns are typically more beloved by the older generation because they grew up singing them.  A hymn is definitely not the musical style of today, but many of them have awesome words and melodies.  Consider the song “Only In Thee.”  It has a nice tune and harmony, but a few of the words and some of the poetic imagery are pretty unfamiliar for today:  words like thee, thy, dwelleth, betide, cometh, and ‘pilgrim bark aright’.  Don’t be tempted to bypass the absorption of these songs into your mind!  Upon closer inspection (and perhaps with the help of a dictionary), we can see the powerful message of this song.  You can endure the troubles and temptations of this life by the peace and protection of Jesus.  Many of us could attest to the fact that sometimes life in this world is dark (‘Only in thee when days are drear, when neither sun nor stars appear…’).  Jesus is portrayed as shining ‘like a beacon in the night’, and the last verse is a beautiful statement of his love for us: ‘Only in thee dear savior slain, losing thy life, my own to gain’.  A modern way to paraphrase this is: Only you, Jesus, would lose your life, to save mine.  What an awesome thought to hold onto, if you will delve into the words and their meaning!

A praise and worship song I love is “Sanctuary.”  A short chorus with only one main thought, but what a vital piece of our Christian walk and worship:  ‘Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary: pure and holy, tried and true.  With thanksgiving I’ll be a living sanctuary for you’.  Exodus says (God’s words) “Then have them make a sanctuary for me and I will dwell among them.”  What an awesome thought, that God wants to spend time with us.

I invite you to take the opportunity to explore songs you’re unfamiliar with, and also to be focused and aware in your worship.

Rebecca Parr is married to  Kevin and they have  3  children.

Apr 12

An Example Of A Sincere Faith

standfirmThe Word of God tells  us   of many   men and  women of faith. We read about how they  put their faith into action.  Serving  God requires  action on our  part. If we are willing to  accept the Lord Jesus as  our  Savior and obey the Gospel by being  “buried with Him in baptism,”  God had promised that  our  sins will be  remitted and we will receive the “Gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

We  must  want to  grow “in the grace and  knowledge of the Lord Jesus.” The Lord has promised to  equip His  followers  for  service.  We  must  put  our faith into action and  be “doers of the Word and not  hearers only.” We must desire to grow spiritually.

We  must endeavor  to have a  faith that is real, a faith that is  active and ongoing. The  Apostle Paul had that  kind of  faith and he shared the importance of that faith with Timothy, as well as others.  Paul never ceased to encourage Timothy. I’m sure  he learned that, in part, from Barnabus, who is  called “the son of encouragement.”

Faith, like other characteristics of  believers  is meant to  grow. All of us are at  different  places  in our  spiritual pilgrimage.  Paul in 1 &  2nd Timothy  is attempting to  encourage Timothy and get  him to build upon his  faith in Jesus. In the  2nd  Epistle, Paul who is in prison  in Rome  awaiting  execution knows that this is   last  chance  to write to Timothy. He   wants Timothy to come to  Rome; we  do not know  if he  made it.

In  2 Timothy  1:3-5 we have Paul reminding Timothy of the  heritage  he has in Christ. He  first  tells him that he  is  praying for him.  Secondly, he reminds Timothy of his spiritual heritage.  Timothy was  blessed to have  a  faithful grandmother and mother.

Paul tells  Timothy  that  he  is confident of the  faith of Lois and Eunice and that  he  believe that  kind of  faith is  present in  Timothy also.  Paul calls it a “sincere” faith (ESV). The  NKJV uses the  word “genuine,” while  the  ASV uses  “unfeigned.”

Denny Petrillo, President of Bear Valley Bible  Institute of Denver, in a  series of  expository  lessons  on  2 Timothy given at the 2012 “Re Charge Me Conference” in Monterey, CA explained “sincere faith” in the  following  manner.   “It is a  faith that is  present, even in the dark. It is a  24/7 faith. His faith is the   ‘real deal.’”

It seems, according  to 2 Timothy 1:6-7 that Timothy’s  faith  may have  been weakening. Paul admonishes  him to “fan into flame” (ESV) or “kindle afresh” (NASB1977).  We  must always  be growing  in Jesus, using what  He  has   given to  equip us  for  service. We must take  advantage of all the Lord has  for us.

If we have the “sincere faith” Paul  mentions  here, we will be  able  to live an  abundant life in the Lord  Jesus and  help others  to the  same, thus living out our faith as the Lord Jesus  told us in  Matthew 5:16“In the  same way, let your light shine before  others, so that they may see your good works and give glory  to your Father who is in Heaven.”

Having a  “sincere or genuine faith” means  putting Jesus first and living out our faith.