Bloom Where You Are Planted

1 Corinthians 7:20 “Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.”

Consistency is one of the great character traits of the Lord.  Thankfully He never changes.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  There is no doubt that there are things the Lord does differently, because the times are different.  However; when the Lord gives us an instruction, that instruction will not change.  I also believe that the Lord wants us to live in that same manner.

  • We all have a Special Design:  God designed us so that He could use us.
  • We all have a Specific Duty:  We learn here that God has a job for each of us.
  • We all have a Sovereign Destiny:  God has a unique purpose of all of us.

The Lord has placed a specific calling in each of our lives.  We need not argue with that calling.  We also do not need to try to change that calling.  We must live in our calling.  We must abide right where God called us.  It is important that we realize that we can’t improve on an instruction from the Lord.

Today’s Challenge:  Bloom where the Lord planted you!

And Such Were Some Of You

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?  Be not deceived:  neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, no effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you:  but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Things within these verses start out looking pretty grim and gloomy.  Most of us can honestly say that without verse eleven we would be doomed.  The key phrase in this set of verses lies within verse eleven when the Lord says “And such were some of you…”  At one time or another, we look at people with these sin problems and demonstrate a sense of snobbery.  God humbles us here to remind us of how we were in this boat one day as well.

God uses this to Humble us, but God also uses this to Encourage us.  He reminds of our position in the Lord Jesus Christ.  He encourages us about how we have been cleansed, in the process of being molded, and as well been declared righteous.

We must never forget where we came from, but we can’t help but be encouraged about where we are going!

Today’s Challenge:  When you look at someone today struggling with a sin, or dealing with one of these issues, just remember the phrase “And such were some of you”! 

Just A Little Sin

1 Corinthians 5:6 “You glorying is not good.  Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”

Even the smallest of sins are dangerous, destructive and deadly.  When we allow just a tiny bit of sin into our lives we are flirting with disaster.  God is using the illustration of leaven.  By placing just a small amount of leaven in a lump of bread will cause it to rise.  The same parallel can be seen with sin.  A little sin can cause anyone to fall.

Let be clear… the phrase “little sin” can have more than one meaning.

  • It could be a sin that most people would overlook.  I have always been puzzled as to why we hold different sins to a different standard than others….God don’t.  God looks at all sin the same way.  Please understand, that just because people may overlook your sin does not mean that it is not deadly.  Those are actually the ones that can take root the fastest.
  • It could be sin in small amounts.  Rather than looking at it from a standards issue, we can look at it from a size issue.  We consider flirting with sin, or dabbling in sin as okay.  Give it an inch and it will take much more than a mile.

People use comments all the time like “What a little of ________ going to hurt?”  Well if it is sinful, then it is going to hurt badly.  Maybe not immediately but the more your flirt with it, dabble in it and embrace it the worse it will become.

Today’s Challenge:  Don’t allow “little sins” to take root in your life!  They are just as destructive as all the other ones!

Just Be Faithful

1 Corinthians 4:2 “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”

The key to leadership is faithfulness.  We are all responsible for something.  We have been given a task.  We have all been give charge over something.

It may be a job

It may be children

It may be a family

It could be money.

It also could be a ministry.

Regardless of what our responsibility is, God requires faithfulness to that specific task.  The word faithfulness simply means to that we are able to be trusted.  God wants to give us so much, but there is no way we can be given much if we can’t be trusted first.

If you want to be a great steward then you must be trustworthy.  If you can’t be trusted then you will never be able to lead.  The key to great leadership is that people trust you enough to follow you.  God wants to take us all in a specific direction.  God also wants us to influence someone as we go in that direction.  Just be faithful!

Today’s Challenge:  Be Faithful…that is all!

The Responsibility of Belonging To God

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

This scripture teaches us the importance of holiness.  God teaches us how important our bodies are unto the Lord.  Each one of us has a special design and a unique destiny.  God created us to use us.  However; it is hard for anyone to use damaged goods.  A defiled life is much difficult to use that one that has kept itself pure and holy.  We must realize that we do belong to ourselves.  Some have said “This is my life, my body, and I will do what I want with it.”  The person that decides to operate under those pretenses may be facing certain destruction.  Those that defile God’s temple will face destruction.  Just think about all those that have decided to do something harmful to their own bodies.  Just think about it for a moment.  When we make decisions like these we can see destruction from on different levels:

  • We Lose our Testimony:  A testimony is difficult to create, difficult to maintain.  What can take a lifetime to build; can take a moment to destroy.
  • We Lose our Influence:  When we defile our lives, we lose credibility, and when we lose credibility we lose our influence.
  • We Lose our Impact:  With each bad decision we take away our ability to impact certain lives.  When your life becomes more about what “not to do” that what we “need to do” then we are definitely losing our ability to make an impact on another life.

While these statements may be hard to swallow, deep down, you and I both know they are true.  Mistake happens, bad decisions are a definite, but we need to be careful because a defiled life can truly cause ultimate destruction.

Today’s Challenge:  Remember you belong to God.

The Natural vs. The Spiritual

1 Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God:  for they are foolishness unto him:  neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Reading this verse makes me giggle a little.  This verse basically explains the difference between the natural person, and the spiritual person.  The common everyday person looks at the operation of Christianity and thinks it is the strangest thing in the world.   The reason is simple.  Christians operate with the mind of Christ rather than the mind of the world.  Well, at least they are supposed to operate that way.  What are some traits that Christians do that seem strange to the world?

  • They Love people that are unlovable:  The natural person will only love when that same love is returned.  Christians love those that are the hardest to love.
  • They Work even if they do not make money:  This blows the mind of any natural thinker.  The natural person can only see what is happening today.  The Christian can see the eternal investment.  They serve just because they love Jesus.
  • They go to ChurchThe natural thinkers are those that go when it is convenient.  Give them a trip to the lake, an unclean yard, or any other excuse and you will not find them in God’s House.  However; the Christian makes Church a priority.  This makes no sense to the natural person.
  • They give 10% of their income away to God:  This is really confusing to those that think on a natural level.  They think it is ridiculous to give that much of their hard earned money away.  The Christian sees their money as God’s money and figures it to be a great bargain that God would give us all His money and then only ask for a 10% of it back.  To the Christian is seems like a great deal.

To the Christian, don’t worry when this world does not understand you.  It is because they don’t understand God. We think differently because God operates differently.

To the Natural Thinker, understand that God does do things logically.  Therefore, Christians are not going to operate logically.  They will do things that don’t make sense.  Leave them alone, they are doing what they think is right.

Today’s Challenge:  Don’t get frustrated with the world’s view of your actions.  Just realize they don’t know God.

Do I Qualify

1 Corinthians 1:27-28 “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world and things which are despised hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:”

Over the course of my ministry, I have noticed a large amount of debate on whether a person is qualified for a position of service.  I want us to really consider what we are actually discussing.  If it does not blow you away everyday that God allows us to be used by Him then you obviously think way too much of yourself.  To be honest, I am sick and tired of those that look at someone’s service and start picking it apart because they believe they don’t meet the qualifications.  Here is a news flash:

NONE OF US DO! 

I believe the verses in this scripture describe what God requires of us in order to serve Him.  Here are the qualifications you must meet in order to be used by the Lord:

 

  • You Need To Be Ignorant:  If you are foolish, you qualify.  So far my resume is looking pretty good!
  • You Need To Be Impotent:  If you are weak, you qualify.  It is a blessing to know that God uses those that you would never think could be used.  My resume is getting better.
  • You Need To Be Inadequate:  If you look at the calling, look at your ability and say “there is no way I could do that” then you qualify!  Yep, it is looking like I may get the job! 
  • You Need To Be Invisible:  If you have ever made the statement “I am not…” (filling in the blank of whatever you were not) then you qualify.  In other words, you don’t even have to have what you need to do the task and yet still you qualify.  How about that…I am a confident I will get the job.

Look at your personal resume.  Assess it on a spiritual, emotional, and physical level.  Then realize that God does not care about your ability, he cares about your availability.

Today’s Challenge:  You know what God requires, and by now you realize your resume looks really good!  Apply for the job and what God choose you

People We Should Avoid

Romans 16:17 “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”

The Lord definitely emphasizes the important of unity.  God instructs us to identify the people that cause divisions and offences among the Church and then avoid them.  We are given a warning that there will be folks that will preach and proclaim a doctrine that is contrary to that which we have learned.  However; the problem with today’s society is that they don’t have any doctrine.  The concern that I have is the fact that people will follow anything these days without holding the trend up to the Scriptures.  The Doctrine we hold is what keeps us stable as well as unified.

Every Christian must understand that we are going to encounter people that have different beliefs.  I will go as far as to say no person completely agrees about everything.  So the question arises on where to draw the line?  Well the line is drawn when you can honestly say this person is headed down a path that will cause me harm, and could possibly cost me my life, testimony or purity.  When you identify these people, we must avoid them.

God does command us to avoid people.  Here is a list of people you should avoid:

1.      Avoid People that Gossip:  They will cause division quickly
2.      Avoid People that want to Argue:  A person that desires to argue all the time are more interested in pursuing conflict than harmony.
3.      Avoid People that Bring you down:  If some is always bring you down then avoid them.
4.      Avoid People that refuse to Agree to DisagreeIt is okay to disagree, but if you can’t get past your disagreement then it could cause major division. 

Today’s Challenge:  Identify people in your life that must be avoided.

Going Where Nobody Goes

Romans 15:20 “Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation:”

The desire of Paul was to preach the gospel to a group of people that have not heard the gospel.  America is full of ministries that are built on the fruit of another person’s labor.  While this is not entirely a bad thing, we must make sure our drive is to reach a section of people that have not heard it yet.  It should be our desire to reach the people that do not have a church experience. A ministry that has missionary mentality is going to reach all kinds of people.  A ministry that is driven to reaching the “unchurched” is going to appeal to other Christians.  However; we must remember that we are not going to successfully fulfill the Great Commission if we are reaching people that are already Christian.

Ministries today are full of “church hoppers”.  We need ministries that are filled with people that have only known one church, one ministry, and one method.  Paul wanted to reach those that have not been reached.  Please consider the desire of Paul in this verse.  To preach in a place and to a people that are in desperate need of the Gospel.

Today’s Challenge:  Remember that we have been commissioned by God to reach the lost.

Standing Before God

Romans 14:12 “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”

This is one of the most sobering verses in all of scripture.  We are truly accountable unto God!  We are all going to stand before God and give an account of our lives to him.  God will hold nothing back and will not overlook one detail.  It is a hard thing to fathom the scope of this verse.  However; we must picture ourselves underneath the microscope of God’s eye.  He sees more than our actions.  He sees our intentions, he sees our thoughts, and he sees our attitudes.  Not only will God see these things, we will have to give an account of them.  This means we are going to literally have to explain ourselves before the God of all Glory…shaking yet?  I am!

We are not going to have any excuses, we are not going to be able to justify ourselves, so therefore, we will be completely exposed by the Holiness of God.   I have also have no doubt we are not going to be able to pass blame either.

Yes, that means we will not be getting away with the phrase “we are all sinners”.  The reason is because we will be standing before someone that is sinless.

I think the major principle the Lord is setting before us today is that we are all going to be held accountable.  We will have no excuses, we will be truly exposed!

Today’s Challenge:  What kind of explanation will you have while standing before the Lord!