In this episode of the CrossTalk podcast, James, Wes, and Sam discuss the fact that we often quote Scripture and state theological truths, but our lives don’t always reflect that we really believe those things. As Sam poses the hypothetical question at the beginning of the episode, “If that were true, wouldn’t this part of your life be different?” We hope this spiritual discussion among friends helps encourage you to have these types of conversations with Christians in your life.Continue Reading...
Archives For Christian living
Let’s face it, we all need to vent sometimes. We need to be able to express our thoughts and our feelings. And it may seem that social media (facebook, twitter, etc.) is a place where we can say whatever we want, but let’s think twice before we post.
Here are some inspired words of wisdom to consider before posting your next status update, “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back” (Proverbs 29:11).
I love you and God loves you,
To you, home may be “where the heart is,” or it may simply be, “where you hang your hat.” You may live in the biggest house on the block, or occupy a very humble abode. Regardless of what kind of home you live in, you may be a “private property Christian.”
“Private property Christians” are those who are stingy with who they invite into their home. Although they have the facilities do so, they don’t host church activities in their home. If they do welcome people into their home, it is only very close friends and family. They wouldn’t consider housing a visiting preacher, or a Christian brother or sister with whom they’re not acquainted, for a few days.
“Private property Christians” consider people in their home, outside of immediate family and close friends, to be intruders. They would be annoyed by an uninvited visitor arriving on their doorstep. If someone does drop by unannounced, they will usually leave the television on to let the visitor know that they are not really welcome there.
I must confess, I struggle with being a “private property Christian.” But I also think I need to reconsider how I think about my home.
Here are a few things you need to understand about your home:
1. Your Home Belongs to God – Whether we are renting, paying a mortgage, or have paid for our home “free-and-clear,” we really own nothing. Everything in this world belongs to its Creator. God says, “For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine” (Psalm 50:10-12).
You may be the tenant, but the “property owner” is God. Your home, like everything else in your possession, is merely a stewardship with which you have been entrusted.
2. Your Home is a Tool to Help You Glorify God – God has allowed you a place to live so that you can use it to His glory. At times, the best use of a home is solitude, rest, and recuperation (even Jesus needed time for that). We all need a quiet place to go and “recharge our batteries,” so that we can be at our best for God. However, there are other times when entertaining others would be better than merely entertaining ourselves (Hebrews 13:1).
On the Day of Judgment, the King will say to those on His right, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me…as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:35, 40); and He will send to “eternal punishment” those who failed to do so (Matthew 25:46).
Because of your unique situation, you may not have a home in which to invite people; but I guarantee you have something with which to serve others and glorify God. Whatever you have at your disposal, is a tool to be used in the service of God.
We all must use good discernment. We must ask ourselves, “At this very moment, what is the best use of my home, my time, my talents, my energy? How can I best use all that I have to bring glory to God?” Then, whether it is convenient or not, we must do what’s best (that which brings the greatest glory to God).
3. Your Home is Temporary – Don’t get too attached to your house, eventually it’s going to burn. Everything in this physical world will be burned up (2 Peter 3:10-11). Your home is just “sticks and bricks.” If you’re a Christian, you’re going to spend eternity in an eternal dwelling place Christ has prepared for you (John 14:2); don’t get too bogged down with worries and concerns about your “cottage below.”
The Christians in Jerusalem, right after the events of Pentecost, understood these things. They understood that homes and property were just temporary tools, of which God had made them stewards, for His glory, “There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need” (Acts 4:34-35).
I want to challenge us all to think about our homes differently; differently than the world thinks of homes, and maybe differently than we’ve ever thought about them before.
I love you and the God who is your shelter loves you,
I’ve been thinking a lot about this well-known passage, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Particularly the phrase, “against such things there is no law.” What a beautiful thought! “There is no law.” There’s not a man-made law or a God-made law against these qualities. There are lots of things which God has prohibited or on which He has put limits. But on these things, there is no limit. There is no restriction. There are no boundaries! What a beautiful, beautiful concept!
1. There is no such thing as a Christian who is too loving. Don’t get angry with Christians who talk too much about, “LOVE.” There is no restrictions on love. There is no law against love. The love of Christians is to run deep and wide! There is no limit on who we can love, or the amount of love we can give and show to them. Love, as defined by God’s word (1 Corinthians 13), should be personified by every child of God!
2. There is no such thing as a Christian who is too joyful. Don’t be annoyed by those who are excited, passionate, and joyful! Don’t roll your eyes at those who are whistling a tune on Monday mornings! That’s the way we should all be! Don’t try to rain on their parade; there is no law against joy!
3. There is no such thing as a Christian who knows or makes too much peace. War is never a good thing. Sometimes it is necessary, but it is never good! God never intended for there to be wars, death, and destruction. Never glory in war. Don’t delight in the destruction of your enemies. Even when war is necessary, it should be heart wrenching. Christians are to be people of peace; people who promote peace and make peace! There is no such thing as a Christian who is too peaceful!
4. There is no such thing as a Christian who is too patient. First, realize that there is a difference between patience and tolerance. But, a Christian parent cannot be TOO patient. A Christian spouse cannot be TOO patient. A Christian cannot be TOO patient as he waits in line! A Christian cannot be TOO patient as he drives his car. Remember this the next time your patience is being tested! Don’t lose your patience, strive for more!
5. There is no such thing as a Christian who is too kind. You can never be too nice to people. You can never have your words be seasoned with too much grace. You can never be too sweet in the way you deal with people who are rude to you. There is never a time when you’ve been too kind to someone.
6. There is no such thing as a Christian who is too good. The world thinks you can go overboard with being good. They think it is extreme to want to be good all the time. I just wish I was good all the time. Let’s all acknowledge the fact that there really is no such thing as being TOO good! Even Jesus, who was PERFECT, was not TOO good! He was what all of us should be!
7. There is no such thing as a Christian who is too faithful. Similarly, there is no such thing as being TOO faithful. You can’t have too much trust in God. You can’t believe God or believe in God too much. You can’t be too loyal or obedient to God. There is no such thing as taking your faithfulness to unhealthy extreme!
8. There is no such thing as a Christian who is too gentle. Remember this when dealing with others. You can’t be TOO gentle. You can be too rough and harsh, but you can never be too gentle!
9. There is no such thing as a Christian who is too self-controlled. I think it is interesting (and sad) that so many people seem to think indulgence is a Christian virtue; it’s not! Self-control is a Christian virtue. You can never be too self-controlled. It is a guarantee that God will not say to you on the Day of Judgement, “You know, you really should have let yourself go a little more. You shouldn’t have been so self-controlled.” People in the world might encourage you to have less self-control, but God never will! You can never take self-control to an unhealthy extreme!
You can take a lot of things to an unhealthy extreme. You can be too “radical” in some things. But against love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control there is NO law! So live it up; be as loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled as you can possibly be! Don’t worry, you can’t go overboard! Just something to think about!
I love you and a wonderful God loves you,
If I had to choose one word to describe a lot of Christians’ lives, it would be “busy.” I may even use the word, “loud.” There seems to be a lot of activity and noise in our lives today, doesn’t there? Maybe even more than ever!
Even our spiritual lives are busy and loud. A lot of us, applaud ourselves for our Christian busyness, don’t we? I know I sure have. But as I read the Word of God, I see Him saying, “be quiet” more than He says, “be busy.” Not that we shouldn’t be active, because we should; but, even in our activity we need to, “be quiet.”
1. Quiet Faith – Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” In the NASB, it reads, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” Sometimes we seem to think, “If I stop now, the whole world will fall apart.” Realize you are not in control! Do what needs to be done, but trust God! Just, “be still,” be quiet, and trust Him!
2. Quiet Reflection – I have said for many years, and it seems to be getting worse, that Christians are afraid to be quiet because their minds might turn toward self-reflection. Just as I’m afraid to step on the scale, when I know I haven’t been eating right, Christians are afraid to be still and quiet because we don’t want to deal with the reality of who we have become. Let me tell you, as one who struggles with this, you will never be the man or woman you need to be until you quietly reflect on who you are right now! 2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith.”
3. Quiet Time with God – It is great to have group Bible studies and prayer. You may be the kind of person who packs in as many Bible studies a week as you can possibly manage. But think about this for a moment, if it was important for Jesus to, “withdraw to desolate places and pray,” isn’t it just as important for you and I to do the same?! Fellowship is important and necessary for growth, but do not let it be a substitute for quiet time with God!
4. Quiet Influence – Paul writes to the church in Thessalonica, saying something I’ve never heard a preacher say to a congregation today, “Aspire to live quietly (1 Thessalonians 4:11).” You will have much more influence on the world if you do it quietly, than if you stand on the street corners and scream at them! Even your spouse, is much more likely to be influenced if you do it quietly, “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives” (1 Peter 3:1). So, evangelize and teach, but strive to do it quietly.
This lesson is more for me than it is for anyone else. I need to “aspire to live quietly,” as much (or more) than anyone I know. I hope, if you also struggle with being too busy, this has been an encouragement to you.
I love you and God loves you,