August 2016 - GraceAndWorks

1st Peter 4:1-2

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Therefore since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.

Five Senses For A Strong Church Family

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We sing a song, “God’s Family” when we have worship service. The chorus reads, “And sometimes we laugh together, sometimes we cry; Sometimes we share together, heart-aches and sighs; Sometimes we dream together of how it will be, when we all get to Heaven, God’s Family. We are a family, the “House of God.” Eternity rides on a strong church family. What constitutes a a strong church family? Leadership, Followership and the following five senses.

A) A Sense Of Desire For God’s Word

How much do we want to adhere to what God has to say, determines our desire and capability to do what God says. There are congregations that want try new things in worship to make it more “Fun” or more acceptable to more numbers. They have services on Saturday, add instrumental music to worship and listen to what people want instead of what God wants. God lays out very plainly how He wants His worship service conducted and how He wants His children (Christians) to react. God is the same yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever and so is His word and His instruction. If we adhere to His word our Desire will always be in the right place.

B) Sense Of Dissatisfaction With The World

We can’t become comfortable with the world!! That is exactly what Satan wants. He wants us to be OK with what the world is saying and doing and get involved. That will put us in a situation where we are going to become dissatisfied with God. God says we are to be able to live in the world but not be of the world. That simply means–be followers of God and not of Satan. Do not become satisfied with the world, become satisfied with God. Another song we sometimes sing in worship is, “This World Is Not My Home.” The chorus reads, “O Lord, You know I have no friend like You, if Heaven’s not my home then Lord what will I do; the angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door, and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”

C) Sense Of Determination To Persevere

We have to set a standard for faithfulness. Are we steadfast in our Christian walk? Are we establishing strong roots for our Christianity so we can grow properly? It’s been said that  Christian life is “No Piece Of Cake” and I agree. It takes work and perseverance to stay on the right path. With sin and the work of Satan it is not easy.

D) Sense Of Dedication To Family’s Strength

How much do we care? Do we get angry and throw up our hands and say, “I’m Done” or do we dedicate ourselves to getting along with each other? There is a lot of God’s work that gets done in a congregation. Some of it we see but a lot of it gets done behind the scenes. Some will say that they do more than others and they are tired of it. How do they know? Ephesians 4:14-15 talks about everyone having different talents. Some are set up by God to do more than others, some are leaders and some are followers. Are you a good leader? And maybe more important–Are you a good follower?

E) Sense Of Devotion To The Unity Of The Family

God’s Church is made up of all kinds of people. Different types of jobs, different ethnic backgrounds, different personalities, difference of opinions etc. One of the basic concepts of unity is the ability of all to FORGIVE. If we master that and stick with God’s Word, then unity can be had for all. It is OK to disagree with one another–Just don’t become disagreeable!!

Ephesians 5:5-7

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For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.

Psalm 146:8-9

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The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; The Lord raises those who are bowed down; The Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow; But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.

BRIDGES!! Built-Torn Down OR Repaired?

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When I lived on the farm, we had different types bridges. We had a farm road that ran by our house and just down the hill there was a creek that ran through our property. The county built that bridge out of steel, concrete and planks. We had simple plank bridges on the farm across ditches. Either way they were used to get from one side to the other. Bridging the gap, if you will. The Golden Gate bridge is an example of an engineering marvel. Either way you look at it, life is the same way. Whether it is family, work, friends or church, bridges have to be built. Some are as simple as the planks going across the ditch and some are as complicated to build as the Golden Gate Bridge. For a good relationship to be built, it has to have a bridge built. How simple or how extravagant is up to those that are building the relationship.  That relationship can also depend on how hard we want to work at it.

Sometimes bridges have to be torn down. They become beyond repair. I’m sure most of us have had that occur in our lives. Regular bridges need planks, steel and/or concrete repaired to the point it is not fixable and a new one has to be rebuilt or you just tear it down and leave it with no way to get from one side to the other. The Golden  Gate bridge has been there for years, yet, on occasion it has to be repaired. No one thinks about not repairing it. It was put together with such strength that nothing can destroy it. As we live life are we willing to destroy the bridge we built with someone or are we going to try to fix it? Sometimes it has to be torn down and we just move on. That is tough to do because it leaves us feeling empty and alone. It can be devastating to end a relationship. Yet it must be done. Most of us have been there and don’t want to have to face that kind of challenge again.

Many times bridges can be repaired. It may take a little or a lot of work. Does a simple plank need replaced? Does the steel need replaced? If it has concrete or paving on it, are there holes and the material needs replaced? Most relationships that we have are worth fixing. We may have to work harder at it, than the one we are in the relationship with. Are we willing to do that? Can you replace the plank, steel, concrete or paving without a lot of help? Most times, if you can, that bridge will be stronger than when you first built it. It may be worth doing the repairs. TRY IT!!

There is one bridge that will never have to be repaired or torn down, and that is the bridge that God extends to us. He is the same yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever. That will never change or need repairs. However, the bridge we  build to God, can and probably will, need repaired on occasion. We get off track and do things that can do harm with our relationship with God. He tells us in 1st Corinthians chapter 10 that He will never put more on our shoulders than we can handle and He will always show us a way out. If our bridge with God gets to where it needs repaired, are we going to be able to work and fix what is in need of that repair? Or do we just throw up our hands and tear the bridge down and move on? I would hope we have the energy, understanding, knowledge and wisdom to know that repairing or rebuilding the bridge with Him is for the best.

Proverbs 6:12-15

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A worthless person, a wicked man, walks with a perverse mouth; He winks with his eyes, he shuffles his feet, He points with his fingers; Perversity is in his heart, he devises evil continually, he sows discord. Therefore his calamity shall come suddenly; Suddenly he shall be broken without remedy.