Questions To Ask Myself

“When you are tempted to walk toward vanity, look at Christ’s holy walk and ask yourself…

  • Am I like Him in my thoughts and in the way I spend my time?
  • If He were physically living on earth right now, would He do what I am doing?
  • Would He not choose His words more carefully than I do?
  • Would silly speech come from His lips?
  • Would He enjoy my friends?
  • Would He spend a fortune pampering His body, and swallow enough food at one meal to feed hungry people for a week?
  • Would He be fashion-conscious, even if that made His appearance ridiculous and offensive?
  • Would His hands be busy with games that drive time away?
  • Should I do anything that would make me unlike Christ?”

—William Gurnall, in The Christian In Complete Armor

Thursdays With Oswald—The Fight That Builds Strong Character

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

The Fight That Builds Strong Character 

     Morality is not something with which we are gifted, we make morality; it is another word for character. … Morality is not only correct conduct on the outside, but correct thinking within where only God can see. … 

     God gives us a new disposition, the disposition of His Son; then we have to work out what He has worked in, and the way we react in the circumstances God engineers for us produces character. … 

     Remember, morality is produced by fight, not by dreaming, not by shutting our eyes to facts, but by being made right with God; then we can make our morality exactly after the stamp of Jesus Christ. 

From The Fighting Chance

This book focuses on the passage in Romans 8:28-39, in which the Apostle Paul explains that despite any difficulty or uncertainty we face, nothing can separate us from God’s love.

When someone surrenders to God and invites Jesus into their life as Savior and Lord, God gives that person a brand new disposition. This new outlook on life, and this new strength within, allows the Christian to fashion a new morality and strength of character that he was unable to fashion before he was a Christian.

Don’t be afraid of the fight, because in Christ you are a conqueror. Don’t run from the fight, because it builds Christlike character. Don’t despair in the fight, because nothing will ever separate you from the love of God which put His Holy Spirit in you.

Your spiritual fight builds Christlike character in you like nothing else can!

Christlike Wives And Husbands

like-jesusTime after time Peter calls Christians to live a counter-cultural lifestyle. The most countercultural example we have ever seen is Jesus Christ.

Peter shows us how Jesus—in the most excruciating situation possible—lived. Heading into the torture of crucifixion

  • He was submissive to His Father’s will
  • He remained focused on the future glory, not just the immediate pain
  • He continued to be a servant-hearted leader
  • He spoke to those around Him respectfully
  • He extended mercy to His tormentors
  • He prayed for (and purchased with His blood) His tormentors’ forgiveness

Peter then tells Christian wives and husbands they are to behave in the same way as Jesus. Wow!

More specifically Peter challenges Christlike wives to be:

  1. Submissive to their husbands—I like how the Amplified Bible says this in verse 1: “subordinate, not as inferior, but out of respect for the responsibilities entrusted to husbands and their accountability to God, and so partnering with them.
  2. Christlike in their behavior.
  3. Distinctive by their purity.
  4. Reverent to God, by honoring the image of God in their husbands.
  5. Beautiful from the inside out.
  6. Consistently doing what is right
  7. Not swayed by fear—“do what is right without being frightened by any fear [that is, being respectful toward your husband but not giving in to intimidation, nor allowing yourself to be led into sin, nor to be harmed]” (v. 6 AMP).

Likewise Peter challenges Christlike husbands to be:

  1. Submissive to their wives—remember the in the same way phrase? That applies to the men too. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. … Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her (Ephesians 5:21, 24).
  2. Considerate of her—the King James Version says, “dwell with them according to knowledge.” That word for knowledge means to study your wife and know what she likes and doesn’t like.
  3. Respectful in the way he treats his wife.
  4. Treating her as a partner and heir in your spiritual heritage.
  5. Understanding the part she plays in your spiritual development—“The same goes for you husbands: Be good husbands to your wives. Honor them, delight in them. As women they lack some of your advantages. But in the new life of God’s grace, you’re equals. Treat your wives, then, as equals so your prayers don’t run a ground” (v. 7 MSG).

Here are two questions I think Christian wives and husbands need to seriously consider: Are you thinking about your role as a husband or wife in biblical terms or cultural terms? If you are thinking in cultural terms, are you willing to try it God’s way?

Our Christian marriages should be “alien” to the way the world operates; they should be counter-cultural. That kind of marriage is what points people to a relationship with Jesus!

5 Ways To Be A Christlike Employee

Work like JesusHave you ever had a bad boss? One who was harsh, unreasonable, overly demanding, or just a plain meany? Do you think working for a “bad boss” means that you get to lower your standards?

Not if you are a Christian!

Christians are on Earth to represent Jesus. We are aliens and strangers here for a short time, but here to also point people toward Heaven. One place we have tremendous opportunity to do this is on our jobs.

Think about it: most people will work 30-40 hours per week, and probably work 40-50 years of their life. That’s a lot of hours in which to show that living for Jesus makes all the difference in the world. 

Peter addresses our work situation in his first epistle. In essence he says, “You may not be able to control your boss’s actions, but you can control your reactions. A Christian has a different attitude about workplace employers than Earthlings do.”

The two things that set Christian employees apart is their submission and their respect.

Submission means understanding the proper order. This isn’t just showing up on time, wearing the right uniform and checking off the right things on your job description. All of those things can be done with a lousy attitude, with an attitude that’s nothing like Christ’s attitude.

Submission means viewing our employers differently—

With that in mind, here are five ways to be an “alien employee.” That is, someone who honors God on-the-job…

  1. Work for God.
  2. Trust God to be your Provider, not your employer.
  3. Trust God to keep perfect records of your faithful service.
  4. Pray for God’s blessing on your employer.
  5. Pray for your employer to see Jesus in your work ethic.

Here’s a great question to ask yourself: If Jesus were filling out my employee evaluation, what would He say about my work ethic? 

Thursdays With Oswald—The Value Of Temptation

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

The Value Of Temptation

     Temptation is not sin…. Temptation is something that exactly fits the nature of the one tempted, and is therefore a great revealer of the possibilities of the nature. … A good illustration of temptation is the way steel is tested. Steel can be “tired” in the process of testing, and in this way its strength is measured. … Temptation trains innocence into character or else into corruption. … 

     If the power to disobey were removed, our obedience would be of no value, for we should cease to be morally responsible. It is gloriously possible not to sin, but never impossible to sin, because we are moral agents. Morality must be militant in this order of things, but we can be “more than conquerors” every time. …

     Spiritual life is attained…by moral choices, whereby we test the thing that presents itself to us as being good. … Health is the balance between my physical life and external nature. If the fighting force on the inside begins to dwindle or is impaired, I get diseased, things outside begin to disintegrate my vital force. … The same is true spiritually; if I have enough spiritual fighting capacity, I will produce a character like Jesus Christ’s. Character must be attained, it is never given to us.

From The Philosophy Of Sin

It is interesting to think that what tempts us is a revealer of what’s really inside of us. We need to watch carefully what is enticing us toward sin, because that will help us see the areas of weakness in our lives.

God allows temptation to occur as a means of helping us submit that area of revealed weakness to His control. Lust is wanting something my way, and sin is when I give in to that lust. What I should do instead of giving in is submit that area of weakness to Christ’s Lordship.

I can develop the same character that Jesus Christ exhibited on earth, IF I will allow the Holy Spirit to develop that “vital force” in me. The Holy Spirit doesn’t give me character, but He gives me strength to overcome temptation and thus develop that Christ-like character.

Don’t confuse temptation with sin. But don’t treat temptation lightly either. See temptation for what it really is: (1) a revealer of an area of weakness in your heart, and (2) an opportunity for you to develop Christ-like character.

Lettie Cowman On Prayer

Lettie Cowman“Often it is simply the answers to our prayers that cause many of the difficulties in the Christian life.

“We pray for patience, and our Father sends demanding people our way who test us to the limit, ‘because…suffering produces perseverance’ (Romans 5:3). …

“We pray to be unselfish, and God gives us opportunities to sacrifice by placing other people’s needs first and by laying down our lives for other believers. …

“We pray to the Lord, as His apostles did, saying, ‘Increase our faith!’ (Luke 17:5). Then our money seems to take wings and fly away; our children become critically ill; an employee becomes careless, slow, and wasteful; or some other new trial comes upon us, requiring more faith than we have ever before experienced.

“We pray for a Christlike life that exhibits the humility of a lamb. Then we are asked to perform some lowly task, or we are unjustly accused and given no opportunity to explain….

“We pray for gentleness and quickly face a storm of temptation to be harsh and irritable.

“We pray for quietness, and suddenly every nerve is tested to its limit with tremendous tension so that we may learn that when He sends His peace, no one can disturb it.

“We pray for love for others, and God sends unique suffering by sending people our way who are difficult to love and who say things that get on our nerves and tear at our heart. …

The way to peace and victory is to accept every circumstance and every trial as being straight from the hand of our loving Father.” —Lettie Cowman

Links & Quotes

link quote

“A Christian mind asks questions, probes problems, confesses ignorance, feels perplexity, but does these things within the context of a profound and growing confidence of the reality of God and of his Christ.” —John R.W. Stott

“How can we expect to chase satan out of our churches, our homes, our troubled children, if we don’t pray? How can parents expect God to impart spiritual power to them when they argue, fight and gossip in front of their kids? How can they expect to possess authority when they go out drinking, and then fly into a rage when they learn their kids smoke pot?” —David Wilkerson

“An increase of love, a more perfect apprehension of Christ’s love is one of the best and most infallible gauges whereby we may test ourselves whether we have grown in grace or not. If we have grown in grace, it is absolutely certain that we shall have advanced in our knowledge and reciprocation of the love of Christ.” —Charles Spurgeon

“Actions have consequences! In the book of Genesis we read how Joseph placed his loyalty above lust when he was tempted by Potiphar’s wife. His primary concern was the preference of God when he said, ‘How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God’ (Genesis 39:9)? The lesson we learn from Joseph is surprisingly simple: Do what pleases God. Your co-workers want to include a trip to a gentleman’s club on the evening agenda. What do you do? Do what pleases God. Your date invites you to conclude the evening with drinks at his place. How should you reply? Do what pleases God. You don’t fix a struggling marriage with an affair, a drug problem with more drugs, debt with more debt. You don’t get out of a mess by making another one. You’ll never go wrong doing what is right. Just do what pleases God.” —Max Lucado

Seth Godin has a great point: We usually tell people how to do things, but rarely do we tell them why to do things. Check out Seth’s insight here.

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