Thought for Today…

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Please Stop! Just Please Stop!

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22 Things Christians Need To Stop Doing…Now! by Chuch Tate

Christian preachers are often talking about the “mission” of God’s people, and this is absolutely right. Christians have a lot to do in this world, and our task to make disciples and take the gospel to the nations is immediate and apparent. But there are also other things that we should seek to cease in our lives. Here, Chuck Tate gives us 22 key things and attitudes that we need to cut out of our lives.

1. Quit expecting the world to like you. Jesus said it would hate you (John 15:18-27, Matthew 10:22).

2. Quit throwing your own teammates under the bus.

“We’re called to build each other up, not tear each other down. In fact, Jesus said that our love for each other proves to the world that we are really His true disciples (John 13:35, 1 Thessalonians 5:11).”

3. Quit gossiping.

This includes sharing “juicy prayer requests” with no intention of actually praying (Psalms 34:13, Psalms 101:5, Ephesians 4:29).

4. Quit replacing prayer with “good vibes” and “positive thoughts.”

No. Just no. Prayer moves the hand of God and the hand of God moves the world. “Prayer is much more effective than making someone feel warm and fuzzy inside. By the way, I’m not saying positive thoughts and good vibes are wrong (and they do make you feel good), I’m just saying prayer trumps them both (2 Corinthians 1:11, Philippians 1:19, Ephesians 6:18, James 5:16).”

5. Quit saying repentance isn’t necessary. It is. Jesus said so.

“And just so you know, there are 53 references to repentance in the New Testament. Now go repent (Matthew 5:17, Acts 3:19, Romans 2:5, 2 Peter 3:9, 1 John 1:9).”

6. Quit saying that the “portions of the Bible that make you feel uncomfortable” are irrelevant and nothing more than dated writings.

“All 66 books, 1,189 chapters, and 31,102 verse are the inspired Word of God. So the next time you think about throwing out the Old Testament, just remember that Jesus quoted it numerous times in all four gospels (John 1:1-4, John 1:14, 2 Timothy 3:16).”

7. Quit expecting unbelievers/non-Christians to understand the Bible and/or to live like Christ.

“It’s hard enough for Christians to live like Christ and it’s impossible to do so without Him (until the blinders are removed) (2 Corinthians 4:4, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 5:24-25).”

8. Quit acting like the Great Commission (Go into all the world to preach the gospel) is the Great Suggestion.

“It’s a command. Go already (Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:15).”

9. Quit thinking that it’s OK to be silent about your faith.

“Yes, it’s just as important to represent Jesus by how we live, but someone can’t respond to the Good News without hearing it … and they can’t hear it if no one opens their mouth (Matthew 10:27, Romans 10:14-15).”

10. Quit being more passionate about your political affiliation than your relationship with Jesus.

“If 99 percent of what you post on social media consists of bashing government officials and presidential candidates—you’re doing more damage than good (Romans 13:1-7, 2 Chronicles 7:14).”

11. Quit using the Bible to beat the “hell” out of people.

“That doesn’t work. Ever. I don’t care if you’re right—if you’re a jerk, nobody is listening. Love wins! (No, I don’t mean the book by Rob Bell.) (1 Corinthians 13).”

12. Quit your legalistic rants, knee-jerk reactions, and judgmentalism.

“You’re turning people off. You’re making good news bad news. Jesus befriended sinners. Try it and great things will happen (Mark 2:17, Luke 5:27-32, 1 Timothy 1:15-16).”

13. Quit calling yourself a Christian if you believe there are multiple paths that lead to salvation.

“Jesus said that He’s the only way to heaven. If you don’t believe Him, you’re not a Christ-follower (John 14:6, 1 John 2:4).”

14. Quit living like everybody’s going to heaven and nobody’s going to hell.

“Jesus died so the whole world could be saved, but He said the path to heaven is narrow and few find it. And for the record, He preached more about hell than heaven … but He did it without using a bullhorn and manipulative scare tactics. (Matthew 7:13-14).”

15. Quit acting like you’re better than those who don’t know Jesus.

You’re not (Luke 18:19, Acts 10:34, Romans 2:11-13).

16. Quit criticizing loving believers who take a biblical stand for godly morals.

“Jesus didn’t call us to be politically correct. Develop some backbone. And yes, I said wimp. And yes, I will repent for calling you a wimp (Acts 4-6).”

17. Quit pointing out the speck in your neighbor’s eye while ignoring the plank in your own eye.

“By the way, I can hardly see my computer as I type this because of the log in my own eye (Matthew 7:3-5).”

18. Quit being a jerk, period.

“Whatever your position is (on anything), if you can’t communicate it in love, you’re a clanging cymbal and your message is worthless. So yeah, I probably shouldn’t have called you a wimp in No. 16 (1 Corinthians 13).”

19. Quit defending sin. Quit hating sinners.

“These are equally important. Oh yeah, and lose your critical lens (Psalm 97:10, Matthew 22:37-39).”

20. Quit using the phrase “he who’s without sin cast the first stone” out of context.

“The next thing Jesus said was, “Go and sin no more” (John 8:1-11).”

21. Quit using grace as a license to live however you want.

“Jesus is grace, so don’t trample Him under your feet (Romans 6:1-2, 1 John 2:4, Hebrews 10:26-31).”

22. Quit using the phrase (when inviting people to church) “come as you are” if you’re going to complain when they start showing up (Mark 2:17, Luke 5:27-32).


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Rededicating Your Life to Christ | By S. Michael Houdman

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“Rededicating your life to Christ” is a popular concept in modern Christian culture. It’s a decision made by a Christian who has fallen away from the practices of Christianity to turn back to Christ and strive to follow Him more completely. The act of suddenly returning to Christ is spoken of indirectly in Galatians 6:1, where the church is exhorted to restore sinful believers by gently confronting them. Rededication is popular among older children and young adults who grew up in the church. Christians who were saved at a young age may come to realize that their understanding of what it means to follow Jesus was incomplete. In a desire to consciously choose to adhere to a newfound, deeper understanding of the gospel, believers may “rededicate” themselves to Christ.

However, falling away and returning to God is not how the Christian walk is supposed to look. Romans 12:1–2explains that spiritual maturity is a gradual, ongoing process. Jesus said that to follow Him we should take up our cross daily (Luke 9:23). And 1 Corinthians 9:24 and Hebrews 12:1 speak of the Christian life as a race, meant to be run every day. Many people rededicate after every sin. It’s easy to get caught in a cycle of rededicating, striving to follow Jesus closely, failing, and rededicating again. But habitual sin is not a problem solved by rededicating. It’s a deeper issue that can only be solved with a greater understanding of the grace and love of God.

Still, rededication is a useful tool. It’s a way to deliberately reject sin and renew a love for Christ. The disciples went through a rededication of sorts when they saw the risen Jesus. Their half-hearted devotion turned into a desire to pour out their lives for His service. In the same way, whether because of a conviction about a sinful lifestyle or a greater understanding of the gift of Christ, we can choose to abandon our shallow devotion to Christ and devote ourselves to Him more fully.

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How Can I Be A Good Christian? By S. Michael Houdman

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Wouldn’t it be great if the Christian life had a check list? A recipe of sorts to provide instructions that we could follow to ensure we were being “good Christians”? Few things in life really work that way. In fact, even recipes followed exactly don’t always turn out. They fail to account for effects of the weather, slight differences in ingredients, variance in oven temperatures, or a number of other factors. And “good” is in the taste buds of the eater. So what does it take to be a good Christian?

Many will say that it means reading your Bible daily, praying at least twice a day, serving at church, tithing, supporting a missionary, evangelizing, and the like. These are all great activities for Christians, but they are not what the Christian life is all about.

A Christian is someone who has been made new in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) and restored to relationship with God. The Christian life is about getting to know God, enjoying Him and bringing Him glory (Isaiah 43:7; 2 Corinthians 3:18; John 17:1–5, 22). It is true that when we know God certain actions will naturally result. Jesus said, “You are my friends if you do what I command” (John 15:14). But before that He said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. . . . Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. . . . This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:1–11). Obedience—living the “good Christian” life—flows from a loving relationship. And obedience helps us remain in God’s love and therefore experience His joy.

Being a “good Christian” is not about performing certain actions. It is about growing in love for Christ and allowing His Holy Spirit to transform our hearts and lives. Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), the recipe-writer and taste-tester for our lives. As we seek to know God and glorify Him, we also get to enjoy Him (Psalm 73:25—26). The good Christian knows God, enjoys God, and grows in grace.

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HOW TO MAKE YOUR HOME A LOVING HOME | BY DAYAN MASINDE

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1. “Get married”

In a generation where many are opting to co-habit, and living by the ‘Come-we-stay’ option; choose to get married. There is security in officially getting married, both of you feel most safe to give your all in the home. In a co-habit arrangement it is easy to walk away, easy to sometimes feel threatened, easy for the person who pays the rent or the bills more to make the other feel unwanted.

2. “Keep the bedroom warm”

The bedroom is the epicenter of the home, the mum and dad determine the climate in the house. All the other rooms are a reflection of the bedroom; if the bedroom is warm, the whole house will be warm. Handle your business well in the bedroom.

3. “Hang family photos”

Family photos allows every one in the family to reflect. When things are tough, looking at smiling photos of your family will inspire you to put effort in your valuable family. Sometimes we forget what is important, photos remind us. Display also plaques with loving quotes to remind every one what the family should stand for.

 4. “Eat together”

People connect best when having a meal, that is why most dates happen where eating is involved. Use the same practice as a family. At the dinning table, love happens, people laugh and talk.

5. “Work on communication”

Listen to each other, let no one – mother, father or even the smallest child feel locked out or chocked. Too many children grow quiet and withdrawn when the dad or mum gets home.

6. “Don’t argue in front of the kids”

Yes, you and your spouse will have moments you disagree; but never let the kids witness you two fighting. Shield your children, take these serious conversations and confrontations to the bedroom and solve them there, come out as a united team.

7. “Pray together”

A family that prays together loves together. Prayer softens and warms hearts. Do it together, not alone.

8. “Command your morning”

Start each morning on a high and positive note, speak life and love that sets the tone for the day.

9. “Dance”

Pump up the volume, dance and laugh. Act silly, home should be fun.

10. “Play some good music”

People have different taste in music, but as often as possible, you as the father or mother, play good and positive music. Play love songs, spiritual music, inspirational music; your children will remember you for that. Many people find love through music.

11. “Have movie nights”

Yes, you and your spouse are busy. But set aside at least one night a week or two weeks to sit down as a couple or family and watch a movie; preferably a movie your children will like and you as the adult you make yourself enjoy. The number one thing children long for is time with their parents. Just two hours of watching something together will show a lot of love.

12. “Entertain visitors”

Hosting visitors brings out the best in you, it challenges you to be more alert about your home because when it’s always you and your spouse and children you can get too comfortable. When people visit you, you feel proud of your home and project love. Visitors cause us to analyze our home.

 

13. “Play games”

Play competitive games as a family; whether video games, computer games, outdoor games or board games. Games unite us if we play them together, avoid games played alone.

14. “Decorate the house together”

When giving the house a make over or moving into a new house, let the taste and needs of every one in the family be put into consideration. The house should be a haven for each one.

15. “Kiss as mum and dad”

Kissing is an act of love. Let the children witness mum giving dad a kiss and dad planting kid-friendly kisses on mummy.

16. “Hug often”

As a family, set the tradition of hugging and showing affection. A hugged up person feels at home. Many people are grumpy and a warm hug will calm them.

 

17. “Do house chores together”

Yes man, chores are not for women alone. Do things as a team, divide chores; assign responsibilities to the children too. People feel they are part of something they are responsible for.

19. “Say I love you”

How do you expect your home to be loving if you refuse to say loving words?

20. “Celebrate special days”

Birthdays, Anniversaries, Graduation days, the return home from a long period of travel, the coming back home from being admitted in hospital, holidays; all those are moments you can use to unite the family.

 

21. “Go out on dates”

Leave the house sometimes and go out on a date with your spouse or as a family, when you come back home you will have plenty to remember and smile about. Dates break the monotony of being boxed in the house day after day.

22. “Sometimes turn off technology”

Technology is good, but also a threat to the quality of relationship in the home. Sometimes turn off the TV, the computer, the tablet, the phone and have quality family time.

Photo Credit: Be2

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Truly See the People God Brings into Your Life | Suzanne Davenport Tietjen

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Anyone who holds onto life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal. John 12:25 (MSG)

God has been teaching me about vulnerability, a gift I never wanted. Growing up, we learn to protect ourselves. To never admit certain things. To hold back our tears.

If we didn’t learn this before high school, we were in big trouble. We–sadly, not all of us–survived. Along the way we wore so many masks we don’t remember how to be real.

It’s strange, because I’m touched when others are authentic. They bravely share their unguarded hearts, and I tell myself they can do it because they have their acts together. Unlike me. I am a mess! And I can’t afford for anyone to know.

Until recently, anyway. I’m in an online group of Christians who support each other’s creative efforts along with each other’s efforts to be human. And honest. We gather face to face every year. To keep it real.

Last year’s opening prayer issued this challenge: “Help us to pay attention. Remember, everyone has something to offer.” That resonated with me. I fought my introversion and sat with different people at every meal. I looked at and listened to each person without writing off anyone. I forgot about myself.

I imagine Jesus looked at people like that. The experience of being really seen yet still loved may explain why so many dropped everything and followed Him, why so many still do today.

For me, the experiment is ongoing. People look very precious to me. It’s scary, giving it your all. Being all in. But what are we really here for anyway? Could it be to see and take care of each other? Maybe I’m learning how.

Faith Step: Try it yourself with the people God brings into your life. Hear what they’re saying. Ask questions. Give up the need to make your own point. How does this feel? What do you see.

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What’s in Your Fruit Basket?

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We have a pretty fruit basket that sits on our countertop. It is usually filled with fresh organic fruit. Today, I went to grab a beautiful-looking apple but when I lifted it up, I noticed that it was very light in weight. I looked at the backside and sure enough, it was rotten. It also had corrupted the orange sitting right next to it. Both pieces of fruit had to be thrown away.

The Bible tells us that we are to be careful who we fellowship with. Rotten fruit always corrupts the good fruit. A good piece of fruit never rehabilitates a rotten bunch of fruit. It is always the other way around. Place a good apple in a rotten bunch and it too shall become rotten.

2Cor 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

We, as Christians, are commanded in Scripture to avoid the constant fellowship with unbelievers. We are instead to fellowship with other believers in Christ Jesus.

1Thess 5:5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

Eph 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

We are light in the darkness. We are the salt of the earth and are supposed to be a good example. We are called to show the love of Jesus and to love those who are considered unlovable. But the bible warns us of constant fellowship with the unsaved. We are not called to fellowship with them, lest our own minds become corrupted.

Only Jesus can set men free. Only Jesus can save the unconverted soul. We are to witness, show our light and reach the lost by our love and compassion but ultimately, it is Jesus who will save the soul.

It is not our job to rehabilitate the unsaved…only Jesus can change them—once they get saved. Trying to change your unsaved friend is like trying to patch the hole on the sinking Titanic. If you really want your loved one to change, tell them about Jesus– for He alone can give someone a brand new heart.

Sitting on the phone with your troubled unsaved girlfriend all day long will bring you down spiritually. We are to show the love of Jesus to the unsaved but we are not to grieve the Holy Spirit within us by listening to ungodly conversations.

Eph 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

You will find that as you grow in Christ Jesus, either your unsaved friend will desire Christ Jesus too by the Light they see in you or they will abandon their friendship with you because they desire not the Lord in their own lives. No matter what, we cannot compromise..Jesus must come first in everything we do and say.

Col 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God

Written by Cobblestone Road Ministries

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