Sunday, December 28, 2014


"Not that we are adequate in ourselves".  2 Corinthians 3:5

Have you ever watched someone walking a dog on a lead, when the dog does not want to go where its owner is going? The owner is constantly tugging on the lead, pulling the dog from here and there, telling it to "stop that" and "come back here."  That is the way a lot of us live.  We are on a "law lead".  Our lives consist of "Stop that; come back here; do not do that."  Only it is in terms of "Read your Bible; pray; go to church; pay your tithes; witness."  Now, there are certainly the things we should be doing, but God never meant us to do them at the end of a lead.  What a difference when you see a dog and its owner that have a strong relationship.  The dog does not need a lead to go for a walk.  Its owner can just speak a word and the dog responds.  Now, we are not comparing ourselves to dogs, we are comparing performance-based Christian living to relationship-based Christian living.  Big, big difference!

Paul writes: "Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.  "When God redeemed you, He wrote His law in your heart and mind [Hebrews 10:16].  That means He wants to relate to you from the inside.  You should not need an external system rules to "keep you in line," because you have internalized God's Word and you have a desire to obey and please Him from your heart.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


"Be Courteous...That You May Inherit A Blessing."  1 Peter 3:9

Common courtesy is becoming less common every day.  And that is not good, because the Bible says, "Be courteous...that you may inherit a blessing."  Sometimes, we are not sure how to go about pleasing God.  Preachers have made it complicated: a series of long-drawn-out, deeply painful acts designed to appease a God who delights in making us squirm.  The prophet Micah simplifies it: "What does the Lord require of love kindness" [Micah 6:8].  Could language be clearer? Here are ten 'not-so-common' courtesies you should work on every day, and teach your children.  After all, if they do not learn common courtesy from you, where are they going to learn it?

  1. Go out of your way to speak to people.  "Pleasant words are...healing' [Proverbs 16:24].
  2. Try to remember their names.  It shows you value them.
  3. Smile; it increases your 'face value'.
  4. Be friendly and helpful.  If you do, people will return it [Proverbs 16:24].
  5. Show genuine interest.  You can find something good in almost anybody, if you try [Philippians 4:8].
  6. Be generous with your praise and cautious with your criticism.
  7. Be slow to judge.  There are three sides to every story; your side, their side, and the right side.
  8. Instead of 'using' others, serve them: 'By love serve one another' [Galatians 5:13].
  9. Start trusting people.  It builds lasting relationships.
  10. Be humble. Oswald Chambers said, "When a saint becomes conscious of being a saint, something has gone wrong."
Courtesy does two things: 
  • It speaks well of your parents.  Jesus said, "Live so that people will...praise your Father" [Matthew 5:16].
  • It determines your level of blessing. "Be courteous...that you may inherit a blessing."

Monday, January 6, 2014


"Stephanas, Fortunatas and Achaicus...have been a wonderful encouragement to me." 1 Corinthians 16:17 - 18

Most of us have no idea how much other people's emotions, self esteem and hopes are influenced by what we say.  Paul said, "Stephanas, Fortunatas, and Achaicus...have been a wonderful encouragement to me."  If you have never heard of them, it is because most encouragers hate being the centre of attention.  They are happy to work in a supporting role.  But without them very little would get done.  The opposite of giving encouragement is spreading discouragement, and Paul says, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up...that it may benefit those who listen" Ephesians 4:29.  Jesus said..."You will give your words you will be justified, and...condemned" Matthew 12:36 - 37.  What you say can never be taken back and it will be used as evidence for or against you one day.  

Dr. Thomas Blackaby points out, "Words...can leave scars for a life time, and many people will never forget some of the things you have said to them, both good things, such as words of encouragement, and bad things, such as criticism and rebuke...Make the best possible use of words so they bring blessings on others."  So, are your words encouraging? Can it be said that there is...nothing crooked or them" Proverbs 8:8?  Ask God to "set a guard...over your mouth..." Psalm 141:3.  So whatever you say glorifies Him and lifts others up.