Are We Comfortable Christians?

What does it mean to be a comfortable Christian?

Does it mean that Christians can’t have certain things? That we have to live a particular lifestyle? Yes and No. As Christians, we are called to live according to God’s Word and what He has called us to do. We are also called to not conform to the ways of the world. However, in my opinion, we are allowed to have things and use them but how we use them does matter and that includes the gifts and abilities we’ve been given by our Heavenly Father.

Revelation 3:15-16 (NKJV): 15. I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”

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Are We Giving Our Gifts to God?

C.S. Lewis stated, “God gives His gifts where He finds the vessel empty enough to receive them.”

How are we utilizing the gifts we’ve been given? Are we using them for our own personal gain? To get recognized by the people around us? Or we are using our gifts to glorify God?

So, how should we as Christians go about giving our gifts to the Lord?

We all have different gifts. Let’s use them to glorify God.

Well, throughout the Bible; we’ve been called to serve God with our spiritual gifts and one such instance is in the Book of Romans. In Romans 12:4-8, it says, “4. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5. so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7. or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8. he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”

As shown within this passage of Scripture, the Apostle Paul, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit speaks on this topic and how we as Christians; despite our differences in how we interpret Biblical Scripture, we are all given gifts in order to bring glory to God and not ourselves. This is something that I continue to struggle with, seeing as how I want to use my gifts the way that I feel they should be used and that is seriously prideful of me.

“Despite our differences in how we interpret Biblical Scripture, we are all given gifts in order to bring glory to God and not ourselves.”

In a recent blog post by T.R. Noble of Inside Cup entitled “I Gave God What I Enjoyed & He Gave Me Something Better” she stated that “Every single one of us has been gifted with talents by God, but that does not mean everyone will use it for Him.” I agree with this quote by T.R. because we all have been given gifts by our Heavenly Father and not judging actors, actresses and famous singers but how we use our gifts can show others where our relationship with God really lies.

Our relationship with God in my opinion truly starts with our willingness to give God everything that we have and that includes the gifts/talents that God has given us.

Some of the other quotes within T.R. Noble’s blog post that I feel truly inspired me and prayerfully encourage you in your walk with God are just stepping stones to continue pursuing Christ.

  • What are we pushing off that we don’t think is a big deal?
  • “He taught me so much about what it meant to deny our flesh. It hurts at first, sometimes a lot. It doesn’t mean we’re a bad Christian for having this reaction.”
    • It means we are saying no to our flesh and selfish desires. It means we are denying what is trying to get us to deny Christ.
  • “… we sometimes see only the big temptations we want to get rid of.”
    • Giving up what is not Christlike helps me be an example, it truly draws me closer to Christ and makes my life all about Him. It gives Him glory and He absolutely deserves it!
  • Is what I am exposing myself to through watching, listening, or even playing, is it truly Christlike, does it stand for what Christ stood for, could it tempt me with deception and sin?
    • “… if anything you watch or listen to does go against Christ please consider how that affects your walk with Him. Even if it seems small… one day a seed becomes a tree. Everything adds up in our life.

T.R. Noble says, “Is what I am exposing myself to through watching, listening, or even playing, is it truly Christlike, does it stand for what Christ stood for, could it tempt me with deception and sin?

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (NKJV) says, “4. There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.”

These verses by the Apostle Paul to the people of Corinth should remind us as Christians today that we are given different gifts by our Heavenly Father and that how we utilize these gifts should bring others to Christ and not to satisfy our own egos.

In a recent article I read by Lizzie Milani of Pocket Fuel entitled “Giving and Receiving – The Receive Series – Part 1” and in the article; Lizzie states that “We take and we earn and we strive and we prove. But seldom do we receive. Seldom do we live in the movement of give and receive.”

What is truly interesting about this quote by Lizzie is that I feel that she is right in the sense that despite our desire to live against the culture of the world; we still take, earn and strive to better ourselves and not about the gift of giving to others and maybe receiving nothing but a “Thank You” in return.

In her article, Lizzie Milani has a couple of quotes that I feel we as Christians can relate to as we go about our own walk with Christ and learn what it means to give to the Lord.

  • “Giving and receiving is of one piece. It’s not either or. To do one well, you must learn to do the other.”
    • You can’t give what you’re unwilling to receive.”

Lizzie Milani stated, “You can’t give what you’re unwilling to receive

This actually reminds me of a song by William McDowell entitled “Withholding Nothing.”To me, this song is truly amazing because it captures what it means to surrender everything we have to God: Our gifts/talents, fears, insecurities, weaknesses, and strengths. So, what are we giving to the Lord? Are we giving Him only the things that we want to give Him?

CHORUS

I surrender all to you

Everything I give to you

withholding nothing

withholding nothing

withholding nothing

withholding nothing”

As the chorus of the song says, we surrender all that we have and give everything we have to the Lord God. But are we? In today’s culture it’s so easy for us; proclaiming ourselves be Christians to utilize our God-given gifts for monetary or temporary gain. However, this shouldn’t be our desire. What’s truly interesting about this quote is that as Christians; we must be willing to give up that thing that is keeping us from embracing the gifts God is trying to give us. 

At the beginning of this post, I did a quote by C.S. Lewis and I do think that it’s important that we allow ourselves to be empty of those things that we don’t need so that our Heavenly Father can fill us up with better things.

“… we must be willing to give up that thing that is keeping us from embracing the gifts God is trying to give us.”

In the end, though what are we really doing in terms of our relationship with God? Are we willing to give God everything? For me, I think it’s about time that I do because I know that if I continue on the way I’m going; it’s not going to end well. Everything we do with the gifts we’ve been given should be done to bring honor and glory to the One who gave us these gifts in the first place.

So, what are you doing with the gifts you’ve been given?

Are we giving our gifts to God?

Are we willing to be empty vessels for the Lord?

 

God Bless,

Joshua Reid

 

 

References

Milani, Lizzie. “Giving and Receiving – The Receive Series – Part 1”, pktfuel.com, https://www.pktfuel.com/giving-and-receiving/ . Accessed 7 Jun 2019.

T.R. Noble. “What Is My Talent/Gift | Believer 101”, 10 Aug 2017. Nobledevotionblog.wordpress.com, https://nobledevotionblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/10/what-is-my-talentgift-believer-101/ . Accessed 5 Jun 2019.

“I Gave God What I Enjoyed & He Gave Me Something Better,” 24 Apr 2019, nobledevotionblog.wordpress.com, https://nobledevotionblog.wordpress.com/2019/04/24/i-gave-god-what-i-enjoyed-he-gave-me-something-better/ . Accessed 6 Jun 2019.

“Withholding nothing – William McDowell”. YouTube, uploaded by enyfo7. 6 years ago, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdnV75zIQUA . Accessed 7 Jun 2019.

 

Picture References

Dail, Martha. “HOW LONG HALT YE BETWEEN TWO OPINIONS?”, http://slideplayer.com/slide/3555664/ . Accessed 7 Jun 2019.

Spurgeon, Charles. “God has a way of giving by the cartloads to those who give away by shovelfuls.”, https://quotefancy.com/quote/786350/Charles-H-Spurgeon-God-has-a-way-of-giving-by-the-cartloads-to-those-who-give-away-by . Accessed 7 Jun 2019.

Unknown. “Romans 12:6 (NKJV)”, https://biblepic.com/romans/12-6.htm . Accessed 7 Jun 2019.

 

Resting in God | Building Our Relationship with God

What does it mean to Rest in God?

Well, throughout the Bible, we oftentimes see this word “rest” through the lens of God resting after Creation but what I’m talking about is a different kind of rest. In my opinion, I define resting in God as a state of surrender to Him; being willing to listen to His voice when we are lost.

Are we stopping and listening to God?

Psalms 46:10 (NKJV) says, “10. Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

As Psalms 46:10 says, we are to be still and recognize that He is God. But how can we do this when our own relationship with Him is struggling? Even if we are Christians, we are still human and as such, fall prey to our own devices but despite this, we are called to stand out from the world we are in; being called to renew our minds.

Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV) says, “1. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

We are called to continue to renew our minds in Christ but how can we do this if our minds are constantly active; thinking about what to do next and what other projects or assignments we need to get done? Well, we rest. We take the time to calm our mind and focus on God.

“It’s when we begin to stop and focus on God and who He is in our lives that we can begin to build our relationship with Him.”

In a recent devotional I read entitled “Seeing With the Eyes of Jesus” I learned so much about just taking the time to interact with the people around us; just like Jesus did when He was on Earth. However, because we are humans, we are always on the move and as such, we don’t always see the needs of the people around us, but Jesus did. He took the time to get to know the hurting, sick and those that were deemed unworthy by the society of His day. Are we doing the same?

“The hustle and bustle of our daily lives can cause us to become so focused on our own needs, agendas, and to-do lists that we don’t have the capacity to see or step into the needs of others.”

I recently read a blog post by Lynn Abbotts of Through Ink and Image entitled Revue: In Stillness and it is amazing; particularly in regard to how it relates to us as Christians in our relationship with God. In the blog post, Lynn Abbotts states that “I don’t believe “being still” has ever been easy for the humanity. We know exactly what needs to be done, what needs to be said, or what needs require filling. And we restlessly plunge ahead without giving our direction much forethought.

However, this wasn’t the only quote that really touched me as a Christian and I feel that there are others that can encourage us as Christians.

  • “He [Saul] turned the wrong way on a one way street. Destruction loomed. His compass needed realignment. And it took more watt-age than mere headlights to stop him.”
    • “During the three days that he waited in darkness, Saul probably did a lot of soul-searching. In the stillness, he listened for word from God.
  • “Paul initially placed his confidence in human wisdom but a genuine encounter with Christ showed him the futility of racing down the wrong avenue.”
  • God’s timing and path are frequently unexpected.”
    • “After all, God’s Word tells me again and again to wait on the Lord.”
  • “And so it is with you and me. When my pace slows, when I stop and listen, I hear my heavenly Father’s gentle whisper. His grace guides me.
  • “I would first consult Abba’s Word, His road map. Abba’s truth helps me recognize those one way streets.”
  • “… even when you and I have gone our own way, Paul’s life demonstrates that our God will gently and graciously redirect us.”
    • “In fact, grace calls me to be still and know that Abba is God. When I slow down in His presence, I willingly allow Him to handle whatever my day entails.

Lynn Abbotts said, “When I am hurried or impatient, I invariably take a wrong turn, and head in a disastrous direction.

Are we stopping and listening to God?

Psalms 37:7 (NKJV) says, “7. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of Him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.”

This also reminds me of a song by Johnny Diaz called Breathe. In this song, I feel it speaks a lot on us as Christians being patient and how because we are so busy in our everyday lives; we never stop to take a breathe and rest at Christ’s feet. What is truly interesting about this song is the fact that I regularly listen to this song when I feel that I am so busy that I never took the time to listen or read God’s Word.

Building a relationship with God requires us to sometimes stop and take a moment to breathe. Like may keep going but our relationship with God can determine where we live eternally.”

It also reminds me of a blog post by Sue Love of Run With It entitled “Dependence on God”. In this blog post, Sue Love talks about what it means to be dependent on God when we are struggling in our lives and when we are weary. She stated that “So, if we are followers of Jesus Christ, we learn to take our burdens to the Lord and to lay them at his feet. And, we learn to rest in him and to not fret.”

Sue Love’s quote about laying our burdens at the feet of Jesus is something that I feel all Christians, new and those who grew up in the faith all have to come to grips with in our own lives and eventually our relationship with God.

Also, within the blog post, Sue Love has several quotes that I feel we as Christians can relate to when it comes to not just our relationship with God but also us as Christians resting in Him.

  • “Even if we feel fear, which we sometimes will, we give it over to the Lord, and we let him fill our hearts with his peace.”
  • “… we have to make this our regular practice to recognize when we are feeling fear, and then to immediately take our fears to the Lord in prayer and to hand them over to him, and to keep handing them over to him, and then to keep turning our hearts to him in prayer and in resting in him.”
    • “So, their [Satan and his fallen angels] lies may be very subtle and may be mixed in with the truth. So, what they say may sound like truth. It may sound good to our ears. So, we need to pray for much discernment so that we don’t get trapped by their lies.”
  • “… if we want to have discernment so that we do not fall into a web of deceit, and get tricked into believing lies, then we need to be grounded in the Word of God.”
    • “… We must not only know what the Word teaches us, but we must be ones who put the Word into practice.”
  • “Jesus has to be our Rock, our solid foundation. And, our trust has to be wholly in him, and our hearts yielded to him, if we are going to walk in victory over darkness and live in the light of truth.

Sue Love said, “We can’t be giving the devil a foothold in our lives because we are dabbling in things we know are wrong for us, and then wonder why we don’t have victory. We have to put off the old in order to put on the new. The old has to die for the new, in Christ, to be able to thrive.

As Christians, we have to continue to build our relationship with God with Him, but it has to start with us. We have to begin to rest aside that which we need God to get rid of and give it all to Him. This reminds me of a song by Shana Wilson entitled Press In Your Presence and this song is truly amazing; it focuses a lot on our relationship with God and how we are to press into Him and behold who He is.

Chorus

If I can just press, press in your presence

behold the beauty of your face

If I can just press, press in your presence

and never leave this place again

If I can just press, press in your presence

and leave all my cares behind me

I will behold, I’ll still believe, I will just lay, Lay at your feet

For I will behold I’ll still believe, I

will just praise, Praise at your feet

I will behold, I’ll still believe, I will

just lay, Lay at your feet

For I will behold, I’ll still believe, I

will just praise, Praise at your feet

Right Here In Your Presence

In the end, though, how we learn to build our relationship with God depends on us as Christians. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV) says, “5. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” We are called to trust in God with all of our hearts and as such, we need to let Him direct our paths; but how can we do this if we are still human beings?

So, what will we do as Christians?

Are we continuing to rest in God?

How are we developing our relationship with God?

 

God’s Blessings,

Joshua Reid

 

References

Abbotts, Lynn. “Revue: In Stillness,” April 3, 2019, throughinkandimage.com, https://throughinkandimage.com/2019/04/03/revue-in-stillness/ . Accessed 17, May 2019.

Johnny Diaz. “Breathe”, YouTube, uploaded by Johnny Diaz, 4 years ago, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnjeMwxFuBA . Accessed 23 May 2019.

Love, Sue. “Dependence on God,” March 27, 2018, runwithit.blog, https://runwithit.blog/2018/03/27/dependence-on-god/ . Accessed 20 May 2019.

Shana Wilson. “Press in Your Presence”, YouTube, uploaded by detroitdrummerboy, 10 years ago, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_68EM_Faros . Accessed 23 May 2019.

 

Picture References

Ann, Deborah. “God’s Timing Not Mine” 24 Nov 2018, poetrybydeborahann.wordpress.com, https://poetrybydeborahann.wordpress.com/2018/11/24/gods-timing-not-mine/ . Accessed 23 May 2018.

Author Unknown. “Psalms 46:10 NKJVhttps://biblia.com/bible/nkjv/Ps%2046.10 . Accessed 16 May 2019.

Author Unknown. “Romans 12:1-2 NKJVhttps://cellcode.us/quotes/romans-12-1-2-nkjv.html . Accessed 18 May 2019.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Bearing and Sharing the Burdens of a Christian Life. – Galatians Bible Study Series (Part 6)

Well, it’s here! The final part of our Galatian Bible Study series. In this week’s blog post, we will be discussing what it means to bear and share the burdens of a Christian Life. Throughout the Gospels, the Book of Acts and Paul’s Letters; we as Christians are constantly reminded that as Christians, our walk with God is never going to be easy and that we will face burdens in our lives.

In Psalms 55:22, the author reminds us as Christians today that we are to cast our burdens on the Lord because He sustains us.

Psalms 55:22 (NKJV)

22. Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”Read More »

Heirs to Christ (The Promise of Abraham) – Galatians Bible Study Series (Part 4)

What does it mean to be an Heir to Christ through the Promise of Abraham? This will be the focus of this week’s blog post as we continue our in-depth study of the Book of Galatians. Throughout the New Testament, we see Jesus and later the Apostles speak to us as newborn Christians that we are not only children of God but also joint-heirs with Christ, but how did we become joint-heirs with Christ?

As I discussed in last week’s blog post, it’s through the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that we have been reconciled back to God and have thus become heirs to Christ but through the promise of Abraham. The Apostle Paul even wrote about us as Christians being children of God and heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ in Romans 8:15-17; where he speaks to the Christians in Rome about how they no longer have a “spirit of bondage”, but received the “Spirit of adoption”.

The Holy Spirit witnesses to our spirit that we are children of God and joint heirs with Christ.

Romans 8:15-17 (NKJV)

“15. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father” 16. The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17. and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.Read More »

Justified by Faith – Galatians Bible Study Series (Part 3)

As we go into the third week in our in-depth Bible Study on the Book of Galatians, we’ve talked so much about God’s grace and our redemption because of His grace, and how we as Christians are to defend our faith in Jesus Christ and it only gets better from here.

In this week’s post, we will be discussing chapter 3 of Galatians where Paul is speaking to the people of Galatia about how they are justified by faith and NOT by their adherence to the Law of Moses about being justified by works in order to be saved and how this chapter can be applied to us as Christians today.

We know that the word justification means to “declare righteous” and so; as we dive into this chapter, we will begin to see that we as Christians are justified by our faith in Christ Jesus and have been saved from the wrath of God.

As Christians, we have been justified by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:9-10 (NKJV)

9. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10. For if we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”Read More »

Defending the Gospel – Galatians Bible Study Series (Part 2)

Welcome back to the Galatians Bible Study Series! In last week’s post, we discussed how even though we as human beings have sinned repeatedly; it’s through God’s grace that we are called sons and daughters of the King through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This week, we will be talking about how we as Christians are to defend the gospel by reading through Paul’s interaction with the Galatians and Peter. In 1 Peter 3:15-16, the Apostle Peter talks about how we as Christians should always be ready to give a defense for our faith in Jesus Christ.

We as Christians should always be ready to defend our faith in Jesus Christ with humility.

1 Peter 3:15-16 (NKJV)

15. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16. having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.”Read More »

Galatians Bible Study Series (Part 1) – God’s Grace, Our Redemption.

During these next few weeks, I’ll be doing an in-depth study on the Book of Galatians and how from the letter to the people of Galatia; we as Christians today can apply what was said into our everyday lives. 

In the Book of Galatians chapter 1, we see Paul as an apostle of Christ; who describes the grace of God to the Galatians and how; even when he was Saul, hunting down Christians; God’s grace still found him. Within chapter 1, we as Christians can see what it means to be an apostle and disciple of Christ; but also, how, even when we have fallen short of God; His grace still finds us in our darkest moments.

In Romans 3:23-24, Paul writes on how; we as human beings, ALL have fallen short of God’s glory and how; through His grace, we’ve been declared righteous by Jesus through His death and resurrection.

Romans 3:23-24

23. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24. being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…”Read More »

The Importance of Reading the Bible (Part 3)

In this blog post, we will be discussing the final aspect of why we as Christians, it’s important for us to read the Bible; particularly how by reading the Bible, the Holy Spirit will be able to convict us on what is contrary to God’s Word. In 1 Corinthians 5:7, the Apostle Paul is telling the people of Corinth of their sexual immorality and how they have sexual immorality within the church.

1 Corinthians 5:7

7. Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened…”Read More »

His Unending Love for Sinful People

Sorry, for not posting last week. As the month of February comes to a close, I can’t help but be amazed at how much God’s love for humanity is never-changing and He still waits for us to come back to Him. God’s love for humanity and its people is more than we can imagine and we should all feel grateful that we have a God that loves us and is always ready to receive us in our times of need.

What does God’s Unending Love look like for us as sinners?

Well, God’s unending love for sinful people is beyond imagination, so much so that nothing on Earth can keep us from His love as described in Romans 8:38-39. As the Apostle Paul said there is nothing, even the sins that we committed in the past, are committing or will commit in the future that can separate us as fallen people from God’s marvelous love.

To me, the fact that there is nothing physical or even death itself that can separate us from God’s love is amazing because that should show us as Christians and as people how much we mean to the Creator.

Romans 8:38-39

“38. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39. nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”Read More »