Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Silent about sin?

Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer. 2 Thessalonians 3:15
It seems no one likes to talk about sin these days. I get it. It’s not fun admitting our flaws, facing our failures, and being honest and transparent about our shortcomings.  If we don’t talk about sin because we’re worried about making a brother or sister in Christ uncomfortable, we’re not really loving them.
Sin is like a big bus with an “S” on the side. If I see it rambling down the street and I notice that a Christian brother or sister is going to run into the road, am I loving them if I just encourage them by saying, “Hey, it’s all going to be okay. You’re doing great” Is it loving to remain silent if I know they are going to do something that will blow up their life, ruin their marriage, destroy their career, hurt their body, devastate their children, or make a mess of their finances? There have been a couple of times in my life when I was making some pretty stupid decisions and had a sinful attitude. Even though it would have been difficult for me, I wish a mature, faithful, Christian friend who loved me would have talked with me. I needed someone to help me work through what I was feeling so I could experience an attitude adjustment. I needed to get my heart right with Christ.
Though I fear being politically incorrect, not offending anyone has become the enemy of morality, Christian virtue, and even loving others. Maybe you’ve heard people say, “It’s not my place to judge.” True, we can’t judge someone’s salvation. But we are to judge, or identify sin, so we won’t be deceived.  In John 7:24 Jesus says we are to make “righteous judgments.” We are to judge by God’s Word. If this was not true, why the 10 Commandments? Why Christ’s words of how to live? The word of God is our plumb line to help us determine right from wrong and to help us judge, or identify sin. It’s our compass for how to live God’s way. Galatians 6:1 says, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. How can we see someone “caught in sin” if we don’t judge sin? Jesus also says in Luke 17:13, “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.”
Now beloved please understand, I am not advocating beating people up with a critical “holier than thou” attitude. We are called to love in humility. We also must realize that loving someone and “rebuking” them as Christ commands if they are caught in sin, are not polar opposites. They are one in the same. It’s helping them so they don’t get flattened by the big “S” bus. It’s helping them avoid destruction and the death caused by sin (See James 1:13-15). We must remember, however, to examine our own hearts and see if there is sin in our own lives before we go to our brother or sister (See Matthew 7:5). We are to speak the truth in love (See Ephesians 4:15); follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, and ask for Christ’s wisdom. We should love them with agape love that has their best interests in mind, and if necessary, we should be willing to walk with them through their trial to help them reconcile to Christ.

Our prayer:  Father gives us the boldness of Spirit to walk in love when addressing the sins of our brothers and sisters.  Show us how to judge sin, but not pronounce judgment on others.  Father let us follow Your example in addressing sin properly amen.

Pastor Todd A. Brown
The greatest ability is availability

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Pray always

Pray continually. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
What do I do continually? I breathe continually, even at night as my body rests, I  breathe with a calm cadence. Breathing is mostly unconscious, unless oxygen to my lungs becomes restricted. If I am underwater too long, instinctively, I bolt to the surface gasping for air. My prayers are like breathing. Sometimes my petitions happen automatically with little effort, other times I am fearful, spiritually smothered with an immediate need to seek heaven’s help. My continual prayers keep me connected to Christ, without which, I drown in self dependence.
What does it mean to pray continually? It is much more than an ongoing verbal barrage toward heaven. Humble, wordless cries to Christ draw us to Him, but prideful words pronounced in a self righteous tone isolate us. The soul’s unspoken requests to Jesus are just as necessary as conversational confessions. When we pray we tend to have a better day. Appointments with people run more smoothly when we keep our appointments with God. When we pray the Spirit shows us the way.  A perilously empty scuba diving air tank resembles a suffocating, prayer-less soul.
Does prayer really save us time? Yes but our agenda needs constant alignment with God’s agenda. Because there is ample time to do the Lord’s will, we require ongoing prayer for us to adjust around divine priorities. Championship teams often audible at the last second to assure victory over their opponent. Perhaps in prayer we discover a gentle, but firm answer of ‘no’ will get us to God’s best ‘yes.’ Faith is not fearful of disappointing people, but is committed to remaining true to Christ. When the Holy Spirit changes our heart, by faith we are wise to change our mind.
Consider employing a prayer list and time as part of your daily routine. Write down a verse, meditate on it and list any reflections and personal applications. See how the Holy Spirit may be speaking to your soul. For example you may pray something like, “Heavenly Father, thank You for giving me all I need. Show me what it means to be content in Christ in my current circumstance.” By faith, pray continually and the Holy Spirit will show you a better way, His ways are not our ways.

Our prayer:  Father ignite in me a heart of prayer, that seeks your face and ways continually.  Help me Lord to have a Proverbs 3:4-5 mentality and soul Amen.

Pastor Todd A. Brown
The greatest ability is availability