A Sincere Faith

1 Timothy 1:5The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – A sincere faith leads to a pure heart, which in turn leads to a conscience that is clear. The final result is love.

My Advice – Keep your faith in God and Christ sincere. It is the key to a pure heart, a clear conscience and love for others.

Pay Back or Pay Forward?

1 Thessalonians 5:15Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Our ways should not be the ways of the world, but the ways of the Lord. Rather than crush a foe, we should try to win a foe. After all nothing is gained by defeating another, but we can gain a friend by winning (not defeating) them over.

My Advice – Don’t seek revenge. This is the way of the world. You are called to be different. Rather, be kind to those who would harm you.

Grasping the Immeasurable & Unimaginable?

Ephesians 3:18-20Grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge…Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – What a mind boggling thought! Not just more than we can ask for or think of, immeasurably more. According to His power, which is immeasurable. There is nothing wide enough, long enough, deep enough or high enough to contain the love that He has for us.

My Advice – Take time to regularly thank Him not only for the things that He has blessed you with, but for the things that He will bless you with.

Burden Bearers

Galatians 6:1Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – And what is the law of Christ? Love God with all our heart, soul and might and love our neighbors as ourselves.

My Advice – Burdens are easier to bear when there is someone to help. Help others with theirs. God will certainly send someone to help you with yours when it is needed. It very well could be someone you helped previously, helping you because you helped them.

Godly Sorrow

2 Corinthians 7:8-10Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it–I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a while–yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Sometimes we hurt the people we love when we point out errors to them. But if it is the truth, and if it is done in love, like Paul, we need not regret it. The hurt will last only a little while, but the result of repentance restores not only their relationship with you, but with God.

My Advice – I am happy to give you advice, even if some of it hurts a bit, if it keeps you on the right track or helps put you back on the right track. Accept my advice for what it really is, a labor of love and concern for my son.

 

Love Is, Love Is Not

1 Corinthians 13:4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered it keeps no record of wrongs. Loves does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, it always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – It is clear to see that what many try to pass off as love is really selfishness.

My Advice – Keep this as the standard of love that you aspire to with a mate, a friend, family and fellow Christians.

It’s the Gospel, Stupid!

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Isaiah 52:7How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” (NIV 1984)

My Musings – In the spring of 1991, following an immensely successful invasion of Iraq, President Bush’s (the first one) approval rating was 90%.  He was considered unbeatable as he looked ahead to his reelection bid the following year.  Then, the economy began to sour, and by late summer of 1992 (just weeks before the election) 64% of Americans disapproved of his job performance.  With this dramatic reversal of fortune, the Clinton campaign’s slogan became “it’s the economy, stupid!”  The slogan’s intent was to keep the campaign focused on the real issue of that year’s presidential election – the economy, President Bush’s Achilles’ heel.  They could have lost their way and become side-tracked on less important or even non-essential issues and lost the election.  The slogan was meant to be the rallying cry to get them back on track to what was important in order to win the election. It did and they did.

I think evangelical Christianity is in need of a similar slogan today to get it back to its “prime directive” – It’s the Gospel, stupid!  My intent here is not to throw rocks at someone else’s “glass house,” because I consider myself to be an evangelical Christian.  But what does the term evangelical Christian mean anyway?  Here is an excerpt from someone else’s musings [with some editorializing by me thrown in] that might prove helpful ( from https://www.gotquestions.org/evangelical-Christian.html):

“In Western culture today, there are many caricatures of evangelical Christians. For some [perhaps an understatement], the term evangelical Christian is equivalent to ‘right-wing, fundamentalist Republican.’ There is no doubt that holding to the fundamentals of the Bible will result in a certain worldview and, yes, political [political maybe, moral certainly] beliefs. However, there is nothing about being an evangelical that demands a certain political party or affiliation [or gives them a monopoly on morality].”

“The term Christian essentially means ‘follower of Christ.’  The term evangelical comes from the Greek word that means “good news.” Evangelism is sharing the good news of the salvation that is available through Jesus Christ. An evangelical, then, is a person dedicated to promoting the good news about Jesus Christ. Combined, the description “evangelical Christian” is intended to indicate a believer in Jesus Christ who is faithful in sharing and promoting the good news.”

“A Christian is called [actually commissioned by Christ] to share [evangelize] the good news [Gospel], to preach God’s Word, and to set an example of [not dictate to] purity and integrity. If these callings require [require may be too strong of a term] political action, so be it. At the same time, evangelical Christians should not be sidetracked into abandoning our highest calling—sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

So, back to my musing.   It’s the Gospel, stupid!  Gospel is a word that is derived from the Anglo-Saxon godspell denoting “glad tidings” or “good news” (Baker encyclopedia of the Bible).  Among other definitions, stupid means  not intelligent, not sensible, not interesting or worthwhile (Merriam-Webster).

Evangelical Christians need not be apolitical, nor should they compromise their convictions or beliefs in the name of political expediency.  Speaking the truth in love is not mutually exclusive.  We should not speak the truth in an offensive or hateful manner, nor should the truth need to be silenced or watered down in order to keep peace and love.  While we cannot keep the world from hating us (Jesus said they would because they hated Him), nor finding the Gospel offensive (Paul said many would), we need not be hateful or offensive such that others find the “good news” to be “not intelligent, sensible, interesting or worthwhile” because of how we proclaim it.

My Advice – Let’s share what’s in our “lunchbox” with love and concern.  Let’s not beat others over the head with it in arrogance or self-righteousness.  It’s the Gospel, stupid! Let’s stay on task (get back on track).  Let’s help win the “election” for the lost.  Let’s keep our feet “beautiful” by bringing “good news,” proclaiming “peace,” bringing “good tidings,” and proclaiming “salvation.”  After all, its the only “campaign” with eternal consequences.  Our God reigns!