Friday, August 14, 2009

Dear Bereans,

I trust that you are all well and enjoying your summer. Mary and I have been resting and spending our time off relaxing, reading, and meditating on the things of the Lord. I am looking forward to coming back in September to resume the ministry among you all. Thank you for all of your prayers and thoughtful words during this time of spiritual rest and refreshment. One of the things that I have been doing is editing and revising a book on the blood of Jesus that I am planning on publishing through The Emmaus Road Press. I am almost done with this project and I am very excited because I believe this book will be a great blessing to all those who read it. Keep me in your prayers as I finish this project.

Recently I was meditating on the text in Matthew's gospel 25:21 that reads, "Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." These words were from the Lord Jesus. They represent what we trust you will all hear when you stand before God in the day of judgment. I want to share some thoughts with you on this text.

A life "Well done" is a life that was:

1. Lived for God's glory.

2. Filled with the Spirit.

3. Focused on the Lord Jesus Christ.

4. And conformed to the image of Christ.

This is the essence of a "Well done" life.

A "Good and faithful servant."

1. Only God is good in the absolute sense.

2.We are good only so far as we have been justified by God's grace. If God declares or pronounces us good then we can rejoice indeed!

3. Faithfulness is seen in our obedience to the calling of God and the will of God. We have been called into fellowship with His Son. We have been called to be saints, Romans 1:7. God's will for us is summarized in Micah 6:8 and Romans 12:1-2.

4. We are servants. First of all, we are servants to the triune God. And secondly, we are servants to our brothers and sisters in Christ. One of the great characteristics of the children of God is that they are servants. The attitude of joyful and humble servanthood characterizes all those who have been indwelled by the Holy Spirit.

"Enter into the joy of thy Lord."

1. It is the Father's good pleasure to give us the kingdom.

2. The Father is filled with joy at His Children's spiritual blessings and prosperity. When we enter the eternal state with all of its many blessings and privileges it will bring the Lord great joy.

3. The Lord Jesus went to the cross and suffered it's shame, reproach and the wrath of His Father with joy because of the knowledge that this death would secure eternal blessings for those the Father had given to Him. Hebrews 12:2, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Here are some questions that this text calls us to ask:

1. Will you hear these precious words on the day of judgment?

2. Does our conscience, our friends, and the Holy Spirit confirm to us that we are "good and faithful servants?"

3. The joy of the Lord is not just a future in heaven. It is also a present reality right now as we daily walk with God. Is this the reality we are living in right now?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Some Thoughts On Walking With God

Dear Bereans,

This month I am taking some time off to rest and replenish the spiritual wells of my heart. While I am away from Church I will be praying for each of you. I thought that as I am absent from the Church that it might be good to give some practical advice on walking with God that each of you might seek to pursue in your daily walk with the Lord. Here are some thoughts that I have had recently about the kinds of things that we each need to work on in our walk with the Lord. I am not putting these in any particular order but just as they come to my mind as I type this up for you.

1. To walk with God we need to live in the atmosphere of prayer and praise.

2. Walking with God means also that we must live in the Word. The Scriptures must nourish our souls on a daily basis. Feast on the Word of God!

3. Those who walk with God will develop a hunger for the Lord's presence. Do you hunger and thirst for the Living God? Walking with God means we are learning to live in God's presence.

4. Those who walk with God will be servants. Being a servant to our fellow man is not only an aspect of walking with God but is also part of what it means to be Christ like. Who have you served lately?

5. Be approachable! Those who are walking with God must not be angry or distant to those who would draw near. Are we the kind of people that others do not hesitate to approach with questions or concerns?

6. Be pleasant to be around. What kind of person are we in our interactions with those that we work or live with? Are we pleasant or are we snippy, feisty, and hard to live with? Do people enjoy our presence or do they sigh with relief when we leave?

7. Those who walk with God must also be good listeners. Jesus was a good listener. We must follow His example. Are you patient to listen to those in your family and those that you work with? Do you listen with good eye contact? Some people are always talking about themselves. They dominate every conversation with all that they have done, their accomplishments and what they think. Hey, let's each stop and just for once be good listeners to those around us!

8. Be an encourager. Nothing is more delightful than to be around those who are positive and uplifting. I cannot imagine someone truly walking with God who is not also an encourager. Jesus was such with His disciples. There are just two kinds of people: those who build up and those who tear down. Which one are you?

9. Show your love to those you live with by a tender touch or a hug. Today, in our world, we need people in the body of Christ to be huggers. Give those around you a hug. A smile would be a blessing as well! Those who walk with God have learned and experienced His love and must therefore share that love with others.

10. The people who walk with God must look for ways to affirm and to edify others. This is a discouraging world. What the Church often needs is to have a good number of praise warriors. Not just prayer warriors but praise warriors. Praise uplifts and encourages us.

11. I think that those who walk with God will also be those who will often be heard to say, "I love you." These words need to be heard every day in our homes and with those that we live and work with. How often do we say this to our wives, husbands, children or friends?

12. Those who walk with God will not poison those around them with negative words, rude behavior, scowling looks or a critical spirit. Those who walk with God will be filled with the fruit of the Spirit. You, joy, peace, etc.

13. Those who are walking with God will not be a wet blanket to dampen every one's hopes and spirit. They will like a light to brighten up the room into which they walk. Let people see the light of Christ in our lives.

14. Finally, those who walk with God will be leaders. They will lead others to be like Christ. Study the New Testament and pour over its pages searching for every clue on how our Lord lived, walked, responded and behaved in His every day life. Let us all desire to be like the Lord Jesus Christ.

These are just some practical thoughts on what is involved in walking with God. May we each strive to walk with God every day so that our lives will be a blessing to all those around us.