Last night celebrities from all over the entertainment business descended on the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles for the 64th Emmy Awards. The men wore their best tux and shiny shoes while the women competed for the nod as the most fashionably dressed. This is the event in which the best in television are praised for their efforts. It’s the highest award for anyone in a TV series. One by one the stars climbed onto the stage to receive the ultimate prize while the audience cheered and applauded (well all of them except the losers). “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm lost again after five best drama actor nominations for his role as ad exec Don Draper. I guess there’s always next year.
I didn’t watch the ceremony but as I thought on the night that would crown the best of the best I couldn’t help but think about our prize as Christians.
Paul said in Pilippians 3:14, “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
The best part about the prize that God gives is that every believer in Him can win it. Paul also exhorts us to run so that we may win the prize. As I think of the actors receiving the Emmys it’s obvious that they don’t achieve that amount of success by accident nor by lack of commitment. They spend hours and days and weeks and months and years perfecting their craft. So too in the Christian life we are compelled to do the same. Here are some verses that speak on this topic.
2 Timothy 2:15, “ Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval.”
1 Corinthians 9:25, “All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.”
The Lord told several parables about stewards and those who were entrusted with responsibilities. The servants who worked hard to increase the results were commended but the lazy servants were condemned. Let’s be active in His service, striving for the greatest prize of all and when we see Him face to face, His commendation will be of us, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
The only topic that came to my heart and mind was writing on the “one another” passages in the New Testament. But, I said to myself, “self, that isn’t a New Testament principle.” Ah ha! Little did I know that I would sit through a message on Nehemiah and be told that the “one another” passages in Scripture are in fact a New Testament principle. Therefore, this week’s blog post is on the “one another” passages found in the New Testament.
Let me explain why I agree with the Bible teacher who declared that as New Testament principle practicing saints, we ought to pay heed to the “one another” passages.
Principles should change our practice – it’s that simple. If we are going to adhere to New Testament principles, than our lives (not just our meetings, but our individual lives) ought to look much, much different than the world.
Let’s consider some of these passages…
Confess our sins to one another
“Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:16.
In this verse, we are instructed to participate in two different activities as part of our relationship with each other in the body of Christ. The first is to confess our sins to one another. Interestingly enough, it does not say to confess our sins to a robed clergy, to a recognized elder, to a Bible teacher, to a deacon, etc. It says to confess our sins to one another.
While Jesus Christ’s work on the cross has made it possible for us to confess our sins directly to God, there are some benefits to confessing our sins to each other in an appropriate manner.
Certainly, if we have wronged a person, we ought to confess our sins to that person and ask for forgiveness. Likewise, if we have sinned publicly (or been caught in a sin and it becomes public), there is a necessity to confess our sins to the local church and others who may have been offended by the sin.
If we need support or accountability, confessing our sins to one another has a benefit. I have sat with more than one young man who has confessed his addiction to pornography. Even as they were confessing them, there was a burden that was being released and now shared by another brother. Accountability, love, grace, and forgiveness are often needed during these times.
Pray for one another
Notice how closely, confessing our sins, praying and healing are connected. It would do us well to take note of this relationship. I would suggest that our prayers are hampered when we fail to confess our sins and likewise, holding in unconfessed sins is certainly not healthy.
Prayer is powerful!
Prayer benefits the one praying and the one who is the subject of the prayer.
Prayer aligns our thoughts with God’s perspective on things.
Prayer forms a bond between brothers and sisters that is not easily broken.
We need to pray because it expresses our dependence on God.
We need to pray for others, because it expresses our love for them.
We need others to pray for us, because it allows them to show their love for us. Let us be prayer warriors during our time here.
More on the “one another” passages next week – unless the Lord Jesus comes back – oh, what a thought… until then, fulfill your ministry.
Photo credit: Public Domain
A few weeks ago, I was driving a van full of high school kids from Pennsylvania to Alabama for a leadership conference. During the drive, we listened to a bunch of different music. Some I recognized and some I didn’t. Being the driver, though, has its privileges and I got to choose most of the musical selections!
Not only was I shocked that high school kids knew the words to many of the songs which I chose (not all of the songs were faith-based), but I was shocked by how many songs I could sing word for word. I was very impressed with them, and with myself! Then it hit me. I knew more lyrics to secular songs than I do verses from the Bible! I spent more time singing songs in my head than reading, or even meditating, on God’s Word!
I had thought about this dilemma for the few hours of driving. I wondered about the time I had spent watching TV or listening to the radio, rather than being in God’s Word. I had been taking in a large amount of the secular forms of entertainment instead of taking in Truth and it reflects in my behavior and my perception. The old adage goes, “Garbage in, garbage out”; I had been taking in garbage, and even worse yet, exposing others to the stench!
Remaining in God’s Word and prayer daily provides me with a way to recycle the garbage which I’m exposed to and, through a change of perception, turn that garbage into something which is good and useful to others, something which I can use to build up others; exhort and encourage. In a way, I become a waste recycling plant, through a Biblical worldview, instead of a waste dump (a secular worldview).
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Photo credit creativefreedom
There’s no denying that Facebook is huge. It has been a part of millions of people’s lives each and every day. Because of its popularity many Christian parents are faced with tough choices. Do I allow my teenager access to Facebook? What boundaries should I set? How can I effectively communicate the concerns I have about Facebook without being too controlling?
The group at Why We Web have been asked these questions and are offering a free 1 hour webinar to discuss some answers. The webinar is offered twice on Monday July 16 at 8pm EDT and Wednesday July 18 at 2pm EDT. Space is limited so register early to ensure your spot by clicking one of the buttons below.
The main questions being discussed are:
- Why do people use facebook?
- What is appropriate content for families?
- What settings do I need to set to make sure my family is safe?
- How do I communicate with my family about Facebook?
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6: 14-15
I was confronted with this question yesterday as I listened to a visiting speaker at our Family Bible Hour. It really hit home just how black and white the scriptures can be sometimes. When others sin against me, whether intentionally or unknowingly, how am I to respond? My natural tendency is to want to get back. I want to see that other person punished for what they have done. Surely there needs to be some kind of torture inflicted so that they pay for their crimes. Let’s not forget that the Bible does say that I don’t need to forgive someone unless they repent and ask for it right? Well, wrong.Read More
A few years ago I was given a new Bible. It’s a devotional Bible for men with stories, analogies and commentaries scattered throughout. The only problem was that when I saw the translation I was skeptical. The New Living Translation? Wait a minute, isn’t that just a paraphrase? I have to admit I was disappointed. I was encouraged however, to give it a try. I am so glad that I did. Do I still study with my trusted NKJV? Yes. Do I still think of verses I have memorized in NKJV? Yes. But the NLT has opened up a whole new enjoyment and appreciation for the Word of God. It has revealed the scriptures in a fresh and tangible way. It has made my daily devotions come alive. Now this post isn’t about Bible translations, and the futile debates over which one is right and wrong can be left for someone else.
One verse that has become so much more meaningful to me since reading it in the NLT is Galatians 6:14, “As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died.” Wow, what a powerful verse and translation of it. It really says it all about how my life should be lived.Read More
One of the first Wii games we ever got was Mario Cart. It’s a fun, fast-paced game and it brings the whole family together. I figured that it was quality time with them since it was something they wanted to do with me. Keep in mind, that when we first got the Wii, my son was only 7 years old.
When he would play, it would be really frustrating because it seems that all he did was wreck, drive in circles, or drive backwards! Every single race, I would have to wait 1-2 minutes for the race to officially end. That’s way too long for me toRead More
“So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Feed My lambs.’” John 21:15
When believers fall, they sometimes falsely think that their service, usefulness, and preciousness to God the Father are at an end. Thankfully, those who have received Christ by faith have become children in His family, and can neverRead More
People face many temptations, especially in the area of moral purity. One of the most appealing lures to the fallen flesh is sexual lust. Pornography has become increasingly brazen, readily visible to the unguarded eye of one who is not even seeking it. It has become one of the most successful weapons against the child of God. Our church families are plagued with failed marriages as the enemy has rushed in to ruin the testimony of the saints. There has been casualties among public leaders, the last to be suspected of such moral sin. This all-too-common tragedy has burdened my heart to exhort and encourage men, in particular, to echo the plea of the psalmist as he stood before his Lord and cried out, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me,” Psalm 51:10
This is a quote from the introduction to the book Look Straight Ahead – A Call To Men For Moral Purity written by Sam Thorpe, Jr. and published by Everyday Publications of Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada. The book is a heart felt plea to the men of the church to intentionally live a life of moral purity. This is a timely book, dealing with a major issue in the church that few others are willing to address.
The author rightly recognizes the sin of pornography as a powerfulRead More
I love to go fishing. When I was a young boy, fishing was the only thing that my father and I did together. There is a fishing story I’d like to share with you.
An older man was seen fishing. While the older man was being observed by the young boy, the older man caught several very large fish. To the amazement of the younger onlooker, the older man threw each fish back. Then, the older man began to catch some smaller fish. Again, to the amazement of the young boy, the older man kept the smaller fish that had been caught!
The young boy was so perplexed by the foolish decision of the older man, to throw back the big fishes and keep only the smaller fish, he had to ask the big question; “Why?” When asked, the older man simply answered,