What will keep us united and our faith strong?
The power plant of the Christian is a spiritually transformed mind. There is No Mind like a Christ Mind! Romans 12:2 Say’s do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is that which is good and acceptable and perfect. I don’t want God to have these words with me that he had with the church at Ephesus in revelation 2:4 “I have this against you that you have left your first love.”
I was reminded on the day before preparing this message of how important the word of God is to the development of relationships in the family. I shared openly ,with my wife, what I had been learning from the scriptures about having the mind of Christ. We had an exciting exchange of what scriptures where saying to us. It had a unifying effect on us and it convicted my spirit.
I would like to share with you , in upcoming blog posts“Seven Characteristics of a Christ Centered Mind.”
1. The Mind of Encouragement (verse 1)
“1Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,”
Encouragement is multi-faceted. It at times comforts the sick or emotionally hurting. Encouragement also helps to redirect those that are going in the wrong direction. Christ both healed the sick and turned tables when folks where selling in the Temple .Mat.21:13 “It states “is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a robbers den.” Hebrew 3:13 say’s that we should “encourage one another day after day, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. “
There is a strong urgency to be an encourager in fact it takes courage to be one. I teach art at a local school, one of my students became tired of working on one of my assignments . Half way through, they asked if they could stop and hand in the project the way it was. I thought for a moment, what if in life they didn’t complete their assignments. So I said “Sure give me half of your assignment and I will give you half of your grade.”
That was enough of an incentive to complete the full assignment. They actually relieved an excellent grade for the good work submitted. We are like this at times. We need a little encouragement to do things that will benefit us. Be that encourager; help some along both with a soft word, a helping hand or a firm word to redirect. Ask yourself, how would Christ do it?
The aged are viewed in different ways by diferent cultures. This bible study was discussed on one our Tuesday night sessions.
Unlike today, the elders in Jewish culture were respected, Simeon and Anna were both old so their blessings carried extra weight. Our society values youthfulness over wisdom.
1. How can we encourage our elderly?
2. What age group can we go to for wisdom?
3. What’s the different between great knowledge and wisdom?
What Do We Do With Our Aged?
1 Then the LORD said to Moses, 2 “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts-
(New International Version)
God has given us ability to provide a blessing to His people. Bezalel was filled with the spirit of God to do the work in the sanctuary. God has given us special skills and abilities to minister to people’s lives. Think about what you can do with what God has given you.
As a visual artist, I am always discovering ways that art can be used to enhance the lives of others. One of those ways is to aid in the healing of those mentally or physically ill.
This year I started traveling with a small watercolor kit. The size of the kit is a “4×6” block. I also use the Strathmore blank post cards. The imperial watercolor paper works well for this kind of thing.
I went to a physical rehabilitation facility on a Monday evening equipped with these tools. The woman and friend I was visiting was in her seventies and recovering from surgery on her neck.
After we chatted for a while, I asked her if she would like a picture for her room. Her answer was a resounding YES. I should note that she already had an assortment of my prints in her home. Consequently, it was not a hard to convince her to allow me to paint.
A support while I worked
My wife entertained her with a modern day version of a familiar bible story while I worked. I drew the rose first and completed it with the watercolors in her favorite color-Yellow. This enabled me to complete the work quickly.
When the rose was completed, this woman with hands still fighting for mobility reached out to touch the painting. Her face glowed as she looked with awe at her picture. I signed it and wrote a note of encouragement before I hung it where she could see it at all times.
Her roommate then begged me to paint a picture for her also. I did.
I am convinced, as many artists reading this will agree that artists must constantly work on their craft. Therefore, if you work on your art while visiting someone it can be a win-win situation.
You do not have to give away your masterpieces
Please know that I AM NOT SUGGESTING THAT YOU GIVE AWAY YOUR MASTERPIECES. However, believe that the person who is ill will see what ever you can contribute as a masterpiece. You will also be donating your time and healing concern. Isn’t that what art is all about?
Lets all keep working to bring healing art to the world. May the Lord establish the work of your hands.
Hebrews 10: 19-25
This passage of scripture came to mind when I was trying to work something’s out in my own mind. I went to a class to work on my speaking skills. After the first session I felt defeated because of perceived failure with the assignment. When you begin to think about what you don’t know and don’t have, you forget that God is faithful. We start thinking about ourselves and the negative self-talk starts to play into our minds. God wants to renew that attitude!
You see the problem was I forgot for a moment that my God is alive and well. I also forgot that he is not finished with me yet. We have access to the Father because of what Jesus did at the cross. Just like the Psalmist said in Psalms 73:17 “…until I went into the sanctuary of God; — then I discerned their end.” Not only their end but my demise that we have verse 20 a new and living way that was opened up for us by Christ Jesus Himself. And as long as I keep my view on the things from my own small negative prospective I won’t see the beauty of His majesty and will miss the big picture. That God is He who promises and He is faithful. And He will not deny His Church of what it needs. God is faithful, but it is our faith that needs strengthening.
That is why I believe that God wrote this word for the Church that there are some truths here for us. The first truth is in verse 21 we have a great priest, over this house, and He isn’t finished with us yet until the Day of His return. And until that Day there are some things that we need to do. verse 22 keep drawing near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith Christ when to Cross of Calvary and His Blood Still cleanses us of our sins. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins He is faithful to forgive of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness Lord hind me behind the drippings of your blood and cleanse me. There was a time when animal sacrifices had to be made once a year for sins but Christ paid the price for us at Calvary, so now, we have permanent access to the throne room of God. The wall His veil of partition is down, we need to keep going in and getting our marching orders form God. Because He is Faithful! Just like the curtain’s between bed’s in the hospital – it’s thin – but it’s a barrier between you and the other person – before visiting on the other side we should cleanup so we don’t bring germ’s to the other side. Jesus has provided a continual cleaning for us so we can go over to other side. We live in a troubled world with all of the killings even our universities are not safe Verse 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering trusting in the Lord continually with all our hearts and not leaning on our own understanding. why? Because He who promised is faithful. Our hope is in Jesus Christ who is at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. If God says in Hebrews 13: 5 I will never desert you nor will I ever forsake you -he won’t desert you!
If God says in psalm 30:5, For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning. It will!
If God says in psalm 34:19, Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all. -He does!
If God says in Psalm 41:3 The LORD will sustain him upon his sickbed; In his illness, You restore him to health. He will
If God says in John 14:1-2 “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. -He will!
If God says in John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name period. That’s a guarantee!
If God says in Romans 8:28, and we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. –That’s a fact!
If God says in John 12:46, I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. -No doubt about it!
If God says in Luke 14:11, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” -We need to take this to heart!
If God says in James 1:5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. Make it your point to ask God for wisdom!
If God says in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. If you haven’t asked Him, you need to be about doing it now!
We need keep reminding each other that God is Faithful and this is just a few of His promises, – there are over 3,000 more in His word. And Verse 24 let us consider how to stimulate [or stir up] one another to love and good deeds what is important in the Church is love and it needs to be stirred up in the church. It also needs to be expressed to each other in deeds. The word for love here is the Christ type of love. The word for good is the type that is expressed outwardly so as we see it working in another we should stir them up in whatever way we can. You don’t need to be an officer to do God’s will. You were created in Christ Jesus to do good works. And finally Verse 25 I like the NIV for this verse “Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as the Day approaching.” Folks gathering together is stronger than standing alone. Satan likes to attack a person alone, but the righteous assembled in masses are very strong against the attacks of the enemy. When we continually meet together and encourage one another in the faith we are strengthened. In Hebrews 3:13 it states also that we should encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Never give up on the assembly of believers don’t give up on the good things that God has you doing. Don’t give up visiting the sick. Don’t give up praying for each other. Don’t give up speaking words of encouragement. Don’t give up sharing the biblical word with each other. Don’t give up breaking bread with each other. Don’t give up sharing with the poor. Don’t give up ministering to the youth Don’t give up on what God has designed for you. Because when folks around you, are filling your mind with negative thoughts, you have a body of believers, who care around you, to stir you up. so that you be all that God wants you to be. And Jesus is coming back. So don’t give and stir it up!
Extra notes: We need to be sprinkled in; the Blood of Christ it cleanses us. This one act at cross only needed to be done once for sin. And it has a lingering effect.
• [Sanctified meaning set apart for Gods use.]
• In the church our faith our hope our love is build on nothing less than Christ Himself.
Our hope rest on faith in knowing that Jesus is coming back!