THE FIRST MARK OF THE CHURCH: JOY (September 1996)
As we complete the expansion of our Church facilities, and move forward into a new phase of our Congregational life, it is timely to remind ourselves of who we are, why we exist, where we are heading. Jesus mentioned six characteristics or marks that should be found among his followers.
The first mark is Joy. In a prayer to His Father in Heaven, Jesus said, "I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my JOY within them." John 17: 13.
The first characteristic Jesus mentions is not truthfulness, holiness, unity or love, but Joy. Jesus wants His people to be filled with joy. His early disciples were. Indeed, the verb "rejoice" or "be joyful"
is found 72 times in the New Testament, and the noun "joy" is found 67 times. "Joy be with you." "Behold, I bring you
good tidings of great joy." "These things I have spoken
to you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I
say, Rejoice." Jesus intends for us to have joy. Yet, too often we are not joyful. What is the remedy? May I suggest several.
The first remedy for a lack of joy is SOUND DOCTRINE. Jesus says clearly, "I say these things ......so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them." Joy is associated with a mature knowledge of God's Word. Jesus said, "If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in His love. These things have I spoken to you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." Our happiness or joy consist in having settled all our thoughts on God, His dealings with us, and His purpose with and through us. So long as we are unsettled, we are in a sea of doubt and inner turmoil When we are settled in our knowledge of God, His will and His ways, we can trust Him peacefully and joyfully whatever the circumstances.
The second remedy for a lack of joy in the believer's life is FELLOWSHIP, and that in two dimensions. There is a vertical fellowship, fellowship with God. And there is a horizontal fellowship, with one another. Jesus is the pattern for us in both cases. Jesus had the joy of moment by moment contact with the Father. This is what sustained Him throughout life. And it will sustain us as well, if we will enter into the reality of that fellowship. Moreover, we can enjoy fellowship on the horizontal level as well. In fact, the evidence that we have fellowship with God is that it draws us close to each other.
The third remedy for lack of joy is to live a holy life. Sin will keep us from God, and fellowship with Him will be clouded. Fellowship with God and the joy resulting from it will disappear if we go our own way, rather than God's. How much better, to go God's way, in obedience to His will, to rest in Him, and thus allow Him to will us with all joy and peace.
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THE SECOND MARK OF THE CHURCH: HOLINESS (October 1996)
I mentioned last month, as we settle into our new facilities,
it is timely for us to remind ourselves of who we are, why we
exist, where we are heading, as a Congregation. Jesus mentioned
six characteristics or marks that should be found among his followers.
Last month we considered the characteristic of Joy. This month
we want to look at the second mark of the Church that Jesus mentioned:
In John chapter 17, he prays for those who believe on Him, that
they may be "sanctified" or made "holy." The word "holy" is used interchangeably
with words such as "saint" or "sanctify."
A saint is not a person who has achieved a certain level of goodness,
but rather one who has been set apart by God for God. And it
refers not to a special class of Christians, but to all Christians.
The saints are the "called out ones," who make up the
Church of Christ.
The same idea is present, when in Exodus chapter 40, the Bible
refers to the sanctification of objects. In that chapter Moses
is instructed to sanctify the altar and laver in the midst of
the tabernacle. That is, he was to separate them apart for a
particular purpose. And that is what Christ was praying for,
that we might be put aside, separated unto God, for God, so that
we might be completely His.
Jesus knew what hinders this from happening. He prays, "My
prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you
protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even
as I am not of it" Our problem is that we assimilate the
Satan inspired wisdom, standards, goals, theology, priorities
and methods of the secular world. Instead of the Church changing
the world, the world under the influence of Satan has changed
Our problem is the same as the members of the Church in Thyatira
of the first century. Christ commended them for their good deeds,
their love of him, their perseverance in faith and truth, and
their patient endurance through many trials. But Christ also
offered this criticism: "Nevertheless I have this against
you. You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess.
By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality
and the eating of food sacrificed to idols." A member of
the Church encouraged others to join trade guilds, where idols
were toasted with a glass of wine, where food offered to local
gods and goddesses was eaten, where parties involving drunkenness
and sexual immorality were the order of the day. The problem
for the Christian was that belonging to a trade guild was the
way of protecting his business interests and ensuring his livelihood
and material prosperity. And the Congregation at Thyatira tolerated
the position held by Jezebel and those who sided with her.
We can quickly condemn the Christians of the Congregation of
Thyatira for caving into the influence of the secular world.
But we have to be careful that we do not do the same thing. I
am fearful that we too easily accept the world's wisdom, priorities
and beliefs. You can see it in almost every direction, our emphasis
on material wealth, sexual immorality, our belief that it doesn't
matter what you believe, as long as you believe something, our
willingness to remove with violence anything that is unwanted,
from unborn babies to opposing nations.
The answer to our lack of holiness is not easy but it is clear.
Christ reminded the members of the Church at Thyatira who were
not swayed by Jezebel, to "hold fast what you have."
They knew the will of God through the Word of God. And they
were to hold fast to the known truth.
This is the way to holiness in our lives and in our Church: to
know the truth, God's revealed truth in
Scripture, and then to hold fast to it. May this be our mark
and the mark of Parkwood.
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GO AND TELL (November 1996)
In St. Mark's Gospel, chapter 16, verse 15, we
read the words of Jesus: "GO INTO ALL THE WORLD
AND PREACH THE GOOD NEWS TO ALL CREATION."
It is known as the "great commission." History confirms
that when the church has obeyed that commission it has
become alive, exciting, and growing, and when for various
reasons it has disobeyed that commission it has become
stagnant, dead and decreasing in numbers. The great joy,
or the great problem, for the Christian, depending on how
you look at it, is that part and parcel of being a Christian is
that we are to give witness to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now we may not take that very seriously,
shrugging off the call of Christ, by saying, "Oh, that is the
minister's job" or, "I don't think it is right to shove my belief
on someone else" or "religion is a private matter," or "I am
a shy person when it comes to things like that". Those
excuses may sound great, but are shattered in face of the
words of Jesus, who said in Luke 9:26 "IF ANYONE IS
ASHAMED OF ME AND MY WORDS, THE SON OF
MAN WILL BE ASHAMED OF HIM WHEN HE COMES IN
HIS GLORY AND IN THE GLORY OF THE FATHER OF
THE HOLY ANGELS." If I am hearing correctly Jesus and
the testimony of the rest of the New Testament, it means
that if we refuse to give witness to our Lord we in fact are
denying Him, and we will be rejected by Jesus Himself,
because no matter what we say, and how religious we
may seem, we are not one of Jesus' disciples. Does that
help to get our attention, and add some importance to the
question "how can a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ
witness to Him."
One excellent outline of how to witness is given by
John in his Gospel, chapter 1, verses 6 to 9: "There came
a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He
came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that
through him all men might believe. He himself was not
the light, he came only as a witness to the light. The true
light that gives light to every man was coming into the
world." If we examine these verses, we see at once that
they contain three statements about John the Baptist's
testimony: 1. He was not the Light; but
2. was sent to bear witness to the Light, in order that 3. all
men through him might believe. I suggest that if only
these three points are followed, the witness of any
Christian, no matter how halting it may be, will be
The believer must recognize in the depth of his
being that he is not the answer to other people's problems,
that he is not the light. A delegation from Jerusalem came
to visit John the Baptist to ask him who he claimed to be.
Was he the Messiah, or Elijah, or maybe Moses? John
rejected all three suggestions, claiming to be only a
"voice", one who had come to prepare the way of the
Lord. When he saw Jesus, he said, "He (Jesus) must
increase, but I must decrease." John wanted men and
women to forget him and see only the King. This should
be a goal of every true witness.
If we are to bear a witness to Jesus, clearly we
must know something about Him. And this means that we
must have a message. What is our message? The major
parts of the answer to this question are suggested in our
story. They are: 1. A witness to who Jesus Christ is; 2. A
witness to what He has done; and 3. A witness to how a
man or woman can come to know Him personally.
We witness to who Jesus Christ is. John did this
when he said, "I have seen and testify that this is the Son
of God." Jesus said of Himself, "I and my Father are one
(John 10:30)." He also told His disciples "He that has
seen me has seen the Father (John 14:9)." Most non-
Christians have never actually faced these claims, and
many have never even heard of them.
Then too, we witness to what Jesus Christ has
done. We want to share particularly the meaning of His
death on the cross , when we try to tell others about Him.
In his day, John the Baptist did this by reference to the
Jewish sacrifices. He said, "Behold the Lamb of God, who
takes away the sin of the world." Jewish people
understood that a sacrifice involving innocent blood had to
be made to obtain forgiveness. They also knew that in the
daily services of the temple, lambs and goats were
sacrificed as a substitute for those who had sinned. On
this basis, John , in pointing to Jesus and declaring
"behold the Lamb of God," identified him as means
through which our sins would be removed.
Finally, we also witness to the way in which a
person can come to know and trust Jesus for himself.
John did it by pointing to the fact that Jesus is the giver of
the Spirit. He meant that Jesus Christ was the One who
would give of His spirit to those who would follow Him.
Or, to put it another way, it means that Jesus would come
to live within the lives of His followers. Thus, when we
bear witness to Jesus today, we talk not only of who He is
and of what He has done, but also, of how a person can
come to have Him enter his life and fill it.
Someone will ask, "you say that Christ must enter
our lives, but you have not told us how that can happen.'
The answer is that it happens by faith as we receive Him
or open the door of our lives to His knocking. In
Revelation 3:20 Jesus says, "Behold, I stand at the door
and knock. If any man hears my voice, and opens the
door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and He
with me. There are few greater joys in the Christian life
afforded the believer than to have a person respond to
Jesus by trusting in Him for forgiveness and inviting Jesus
to be His indwelling Lord. May we be good stewards of
the Gospel: GO AND TELL.
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LOVE ONE ANOTHER (December 1996)
During these months, we are reminding ourselves
who we are as a people of God, why we exists, and where
are heading. Jesus mentioned six characteristics in John
chapter 17, that should be found among His followers.
We have already looked at the characteristics of
joy, holiness and witnessing. This month we want to
consider the mark of LOVE. Jesus prays in His great
prayer to the Father, that we might know and have the love
of God. Without love, all else is for nought. Paul knew this.
After talking about faith, hope and love, he concludes by
saying, "But the greatest of these is love." It is the new
commandment that Jesus gave his disciples to follow: "As I
loved you, so you must love one another."
In verse 26 of John chapter 17: Jesus prays: "I
have made you known to them, and will continue to make
you known in order that the love you have for me may be in
them, and that I myself may be in them." What can we say
about love on the basis of this verse.
1. First of all, we can say that it has its source in
God. It comes from God. James Packer describes God's
love "as an exercise of His goodness towards individual
sinners, whereby, having identified Himself with their
welfare, He has given His son to be their Saviour, and now
brings them to know and enjoy Him in a covenant
relationship." Another person explains the love of God in
writing, "My grace, saith God, shall be yours to pardon you,
and my power shall be yours to protect you, and my
goodness shall be yours to relieve you, and my mercy shall
be yours to supply you, and my glory shall be yours to
crown you." His grace, power, wisdom, goodness, mercy
and glory are exercised and demonstrated out of love.
Such is God's love. And how do we know that God loves
us. By the Old Testament, yes; by the teaching of the New
Testament, yes. But most specifically and clearly through
the cross of Christ. As we understand our position before
God; condemned to eternal separation from God, because
of wilful disobedience, and inspite of this, God intervening
in our history, through the death of Christ, so that our sin
would no longer be held against us, and a bridge to the
Father made so that we can know Him in a personal way,
and have fellowship with Him. This can have only one
result: "Love so amazing, so divine, demands our my soul,
my life, my all."
2. Secondly, we find in our text that Jesus does
not merely show us where can find love, He also shows us
where we can demonstrate love. For He goes on to pray
that "the love you have for me may be in them, and that I
myself may be in them." Love is to be shown in our lives.
Why is Jesus concerned that His love should be seen in us.
He is concerned about it simply because it is only in His
followers that anyone in this age, or in any other age except
His own, can see the love of God. But how do we do it?
How do we love one another? How do we put this great
love of God dwelling in us, into practice?
One way to love one another is by listening to each
other. God listens to us, and in response to our deepest
needs says, "call upon me in the day of trouble," "cast your
burdens upon the Lord," "come unto me all you who labour
and are heavily laden." We need to listen very carefully to
one another, and hear not only the words spoken but the
feelings felt. Resulting from our careful listening, we can
give practical help as needed. We can also give prayer
support, and words of encouragement when needed.
When we love people we will also share with them the
glorious message of the Gospel, that, "God so loved the
world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever
believes in Him shall not perish, but having everlasting life."
3. Thirdly, we must serve. We love by serving. In
the thirteenth chapter of John, we have a demonstration of
what serving means, as Jesus got on His knees and
washed the feet of His disciples. Jesus concluded, "I your
lord and teacher, have just washed your feet. You then,
should wash one another's feet." This is an emphasis, that
is largely forgotten today, even in the church. We are
servants of one another. We are to love one another by
serving each other. You have been given gifts by God, not
for your benefit, but for the benefit of others. As we serve
one another, and move out into the world and love those we
encounter, God will use that testimony of love to draw
people to Himself.
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THAT THEY MAY BE ONE (January 1997)
During the past few months we have been looking at God's
will for Parkwood. We have considered such themes as
"having joy," being holy," "being faithful witnesses". This
month, the beginning of a new year, I want us to consider a
further intercession by Jesus for His disciples,
for us, and that is that we might be "as one;" that we might
have a unity among us. Jesus
prays to the Father and says in verse 20 of St. John's
Gospel chapter 17, "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray
also for those who will believe in me through their message,
that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me
and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world
may believe that you have sent me."
When one considers the unity of the Christian Church, the
truth which surfaces is that the Church is very much
fragmented. There are churches and denominations of all
sorts, often without dialogue with each other. This is true
even in local congregations. And yet we hear Christ
praying for unity of the church, of all who are God's
Now what kind of unity does Christ want us to have? Is it a
great organizational unity, one worldwide church under one
head? Is it unity by conformity, that is, an approach to the
church which would make everyone alike, worshipping,
behaving all in the same way? Surely not. The answer is
that Christ wants us to have a unity, in the way that He was
one with His Father. Jesus speaks of it in these terms:
"that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me
and I am in you.". "That all of them may be one". This
means that the Church or believers are to have a spiritual
unity of oneness. Our oneness comes from the fact that
we have a common Lord. We have all been saved by
God's marvelous grace.
And here we are helped by the various pictures or images
used of the church throughout the New Testament. One of
the most valuable images is that of the family. Christians
belong to the family of God. We are spiritually brothers
and sisters in Christ. There is a love bond between us.
Salvation is explained in the verses that use the term
"family", as God having spiritual children, who are therefore
made members of His spiritual family through His choice
and not through their own. As John in his gospel writes:
"They did not become God's childrne by natural means,
that is, by being born as the children of a human father;
God Himself was the Father." There is a tendency in the
world to talk about all men and women as brothers and
sisters, and while this is true in a certain sociological sense,
it is nevertheless not what the Bible is speaking of, when it
refers to Christian brotherhood. This is something that God
has intervened to establish among those whom He has
brought to Himself.
Becase God has chosen us, and is our Father, there are
several consequences. If the family to which we belong
has been established by God, then we have no choice as to
who will be in it or whether or not we will be his or her sister
or brother. On the contrary, the relationship simply exists,
and we must accept other believers, because they are
God's children, and therefore they and we are brothers and
sisters in Christ. We do not choose them. We accept
them, and we treat them as brothers and sisters as they
are, in the Lord. On the congregational level, as in
Parkwood, this means that we are to celebrate the gift of
others that God has given to us. We are not to make
distinctions of class, or race, or position, talent, or wealth.
Rather, we are to accept them as gifts given to us by God,
and surround them with our love, care, encouragement
and practical help.
The second important image or picture uised to illustrate
the unity of believers is "fellowship", which the New
Testament normally indicates by the greek word "koinonia".
In its original meaning "koinonia" had to do with sharing
something or having something in common. In spiritual
terms, "koinonia" or "fellowshio", is had by those who share
a common Christian experience of the love of God in
Jesus Christ. But fellowship is not only defined in terms of
what we "share in together". it also involves when "share
out together".And this means that it must involve a
community in which Christians actually share their thoughts
and lives with each other. This can be done in many ways,
as we paint a room together, as we sing as a choir, as we
mee in prayer together, as we join in small groups to the
study the Word of God. As we join in fellowship, we
become the living, vibrant, exciting, joyfull Church of
Christ, which we we called to be. This is the unity of
which Christ spoke.
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SLAVE OF JESUS CHRIST (February 1997)
"Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an
apostle." (Romans l:l)
"It's my life. It's my business how I live. Nobody
has the right to butt into my affairs." That is a common
view of life. True, it is your life, but is it, really? You did
not create it. You did not ask to be born. You came into a
world that already existed. So why are you here? What is
the purpose of your life?
Your life is not really your own, to do with as you
please. And if your life is not your own, to whom then
does it belong?
The apostle Paul had a ready answer. He
declared that he was a "servant of Jesus Christ". The
word is not really servant, it is slave. The world of that
day knew what it meant. There were menial slaves who
did the work in the kitchen and stables, and there were
educated slaves who were secretaries, managers of the
estate, and even teachers. But whatever a slave's work
was, he was bought and sold, controlled and
commanded, beaten and even killed at his master's beck
and call. Paul was glad that he was a bond servant of
Christ. He talked about it often, and he was ready to
boast about it. And with joy he sought to do what Christ
J. C. Ryle describes a Christian as a person of
"one thing". "He only sees one thing, he cares for one
thing, he lives for one thing, he is swallowed up in one
thing; and that one thing is to please God. Whether he
lives, or whether he dies; whether he has health, or
whether he has sickness; whether he is rich, or whether
he is poor; whether he pleases man, or whether he gives
offence; whether he is thought wise, or whether he is
thought foolish; whether he gets blame, or whether he gets
praise; whether he gets honour, or whether he gets
shame, for all this, the zealous man cares nothing at all.
He burns for one thing; and that one thing is to please
God, and to advance God's glory. If he is consumed in
the very burning, he cares not for it, he is content. He
feels that, like a lamp, he is made to burn; and if
consumed in burning, he has but done the work for which
God appointed him."
As Christians, we are "slaves of Christ". We are
not our own because we are owned. We are dependent
upon His grace, and we respond to that grace by seeking
to do what pleases Him. We ought to be people who
desire only to please God and to bring Him glory.
Let us remember that we belong to God. Let us
seek to be His instruments. Let us be willing to do those
things that please and honour Him.
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ATTITUDE CHECK * (March 1997)
One of the reasons so many of us are unhappy much of the time, is our attitude
toward those around us. We react with bitterness to the slurs, the gossip, the
lack of love and concern from others. And our lives become so filled with resentment
that we are miserable with others and within ourselves.
One person prayed:
Thou hast commanded me to forgive,
Seventy times seven.
I say I have forgiven,
Yet cannot forget the
I have absorbed my wounds
and unable to take another,
even though I know I must.
(I know they will not stop.)
Saturate me with Thy loving presence
That I may understand
as I would be understood;
treat as I would be treated,
love as I would be loved;
forgive as I would be forgiven.
Help me to be gracious as Thou art gracious."
The secret to forgiving others, loving them and being kind to them, in spite
of themselves, is to first remember the extent to which God went in forgiving us.
The Bible says that "For God so loved the world that he gave
his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal
life." Jesus died so that God could forgive us our sins. Remember that, and receive
His forgiveness. Secondly, as we remember how God forgave, and actively forgives us,
we find it easy, indeed, we are eager to share His love by forgiving others. We would
do well to follow the words of Jesus to the unfaithful wife: "Your sins are forgiven.
Your faith has saved you. Go and sin no more."
(* webservant's note: original letter had no title)
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A POSITIVE ATTITUDE (April 1997)
There is a very interesting passage in the Bible found in Philippians , chapter 2. It goes like this: "Is there any such thing as Christians cheering each other up? Do you love me enough to want to help me? Does it mean anything to you that we are brothers in the Lord, sharing the same Spirit? Are your hearts tender and sympathetic at all? Then make me truly happy by loving each other and agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, working together with one heart and mind and purpose." (The Living bible) I would like to ask you four questions based on this reading.
1. DO YOU LOOK FOR SOMETHING TO CRITICIZE, OR DO YOU LOOK FOR SOMETHING TO PRAISE? For instance, if in our church, the choir, the Session, the Finance and Maintenance Committee, or some other group or individual attempts to do something, are you quick to criticize the shortcomings or mistakes, rather than notice and commend what is worthy of praisel?
2. DO YOU ENCOURAGE, OR DISCOURAGE? When some course of action is suggested, do you promptly see all the difficulties which make it impossible, or do you see the possibilities which make it well worth trying?
3. DO YOU COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS, OR DO YOU COUNT YOUR MISFORTUNES? Adler, the famous psychologist, tells somewhere of two men each of whom lost an arm. At the end of a year, one of them was so discouraged that he decided that life was not worth living with a handicap like that. The other was so triumphant that he went about saying that he really did not know why nature had given us two arms when he could get along perfectly well with one. DO YOU THANK GOD FOR WHAT YOU HAVE, OR DO YOU CURSE GOD FOR WHAT YOU HAVE LOST?
4. DO YOU LOOK ON DIFFICULT SITUATION AS A DISASTER, OR AN OPPORTUNITY? One person has said, "I do not like crises, but I do like the opportunities they provide." Do you regard a crisis as a time to sit down and wail, or a time to rise up and act?
Let us begin today by the grace of God to
praise rather than tear down,
encourage, rather than discourage,
count our blessings, rather than our losses,
recognize our problems and difficult situations as opportunities.
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CHRISTIAN PARENTING (May 1997)
Just as marriages are in trouble in North America,
so are families. The family is becoming increasingly
fragmented and broken. The results of this are all around
us. The problem is, what to do about it. What principles
ought we to have which will help us in parenting.
Christians have different ways of looking at the issue. For
example: if children are viewed primarily as sinful,
parents are led logically to an authoritarian view of family
government. Since children, according to this point of
view, are basically rebels or bad, they need to be
controlled or punished. And this forms the basis of a
parenting style. Someone else may say, "well, children
are essentially good, therefore parents ought to be fairly
permissive." If left to their own devices, and given
ample love, according to this outlook, children will
develop in positive directions, and there is no need for the
v parental exercise of authority. Someone else may come
down the middle, and say that the biblical alternative to
the extremes of the authoritarian and permissive
approaches is to be a "loving or benevolent authority."
This thinking states, that although a child is made in the
image of God, he is also a sinner, so he or she needs to
be raised within a climate of authority and love. I think
this is basically the style we need to adopt.
But I want to suggest a different way of deciding
on a philosophy or theology of raising children. That is to
look at God as a parent, and understand how He deals
with us, modelling the way we ought to deal with our
children. The basic truth about God is that God is Love.
And His love has been shown most completely and
profoundly in the "Incarnation" the coming into the world
by Jesus Christ. God's love was embodied in the life and
death of Jesus. Once we understand God's love, it then
becomes our task as parents to incarnate that love in our
relationships with our children. What, then, are some of
the characteristics of God's incarnate love that can serve
as a model for parenting?
Care, response, discipline, giving, respect,
knowing, and forgiveness; these are ways that God deals
with us. It is the model for us in dealing with our children.
Is there a simple and practical pattern for daily
living, whereby we might honour Christ on a daily basis?
Indeed there is. Scripture makes clear that if we are to be
effective Christians, radiant in life and effective and
powerful in witness, there are certain things we must do
every day. In order to do these things we must have
resolution or determination; we must be able to say like
the Apostle Paul, "But one thing I do." As we consider
these points let us resolve that with God's help we will try
to fit our lives into this pattern.
1. EVERY DAY I WILL OFFER MYSELF
AFRESH TO THE LORD. In Numbers 29:6 we are told
that the priests were instructed to offer the Lord "daily
burnt offerings". When we wake up in the morning let this
be our first act: present ourselves wholly to the Lord. Say
to Him, "Lord, I give myself afresh to You for this day so
that You may live Your life in me. Take possession of my
hear and control all my loving; fill my mind and guide my
thinking; motivate my will and direct all my choosing." In
this way we will make ourselves a daily burnt offering",
and we will be available to Him for Him to do His work in
us and through us during the whole of each day.
2. EVERY DAY I WILL CALL UPON HE LORD IN
PRAYER In Psalm 86:3 the psalmist says, "I call to you
all day long." It is very significant to note that all those
men and women who have been a power for God have
known what it is to be faithful in this matter of the "the
Quiet Time". To spend time alone with God means
sacrifice, and we must resolve that we will make the
sacrifice and that we will make our time alone with the
Lord a priority matter. If we are successful in achieving
this objective we will experience poise and power
throughout each day, and our lives will be joyful and a
blessing to others.
3. EVERY DAY I WILL SEARCH AND FEED
UPON THE WORD OF GOD. In Acts 17:11 we read of
the Bereans, that they "examined the Scriptures every
day". It is a bad thing to start the day's work without any
nourishing food, without any breakfast; and it is an equally
bad thing to try to live the Christian life with insufficient
nourishment and sustenance. Do not expect to be a
healthy, vibrant Christian if you are starving yourself. Get
alone regularly with your Bible and feed upon the Word,
and you will become strong spiritually.
4. EVERY DAY I WILL SEEK TO DIE TO SIN
AND SELF. In 1 Corinthians 15:31, the Apostle Paul says
a very remarkable thing. He says, "I die every day." But
surely, we as Christians, want to live? The Lord Jesus
said that He had come to give us life, abundant life - This
is true, but it is also true that the way to live is to die. This
means a daily funeral service where we are the deceased;
this means a voluntary willingness to be die to pride,
flattery, envy and resentment, for the measure in which
Christ can live and reveal His life in us is exactly in
proportion to our willingness to die to ourselves.
5. EVERY DAY I WILL SPEAK TO OTHERS OF
MY LORD. In Acts 5:42 we are told that this is exactly
what Peter and John did. The great evangelist D. L
Moody made the vow that he would speak about the Lord
Jesus to at least one person every day. If you have
never done so, why not consecrate your conversation to
the Lord? If we will do so we will see Him working in
wonderful ways in the hearts of those to whom we speak.
6. EVERY DAY I WILL HELP SOMEONE ELSE
WHO IS IN NEED. In Hebrews 3:13 the apostle says,
"Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called
Today." There is a great ministry here, in which every
Christian can engage. It is the ministry of encouragement
and support that we give to others when they are in
trouble or in any kind of need. As Christians, we should
be the first people to offer help to those who are in any
kind of distress, and while we have a special ministry to
our brothers and sisters in Christ, we also have a
responsibility to help those who are not believers.
7. EVERY DAY I WILL LIVE AND WORK IN THE
LIGHT OF THE SAVOUR'S COMING AGAIN. In
Proverbs 8:34 we read the words, "Blessed is the man
who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at
my doorway." Here is the whole idea of vigilance, of
being on the watch. We do not know when the Lord will
return; therefore we will want to live carefully and
prayerfully in the light of His return.
A daily offering of ourselves to the Lord, a daily
prayer time, a daily meeting with Him to feed upon His
Word, a daily dying to self, a daily endeavour to witness in
the power of the Holy Spirit, a daily ministry of
compassion and encouragement to others, and a daily
watchfulness, remembering that He may return at any
moment - this is a Scriptural pattern for living for the Lord
day by day.