Sing to One Another

Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.
Ephesians 5:19 
Paul wrote two parallel verses about the use of songs and hymns for the edification of believers: Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16. In Ephesians, Paul wrote, “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” But in Colossians, he used the stronger word “admonish”—“admonishing one another.” “Speaking” in Ephesians, but “admonishing” in Colossians. One thing is the same in both: “one another.” There is great power in spiritual hymns and songs that contain biblical truth. When we sing (speak) together and give attention to the words, they can instruct and admonish us just as they can when we read them in the Bible or biblically-based books.
This is yet another reason to be a singer of spiritual songs, especially when worshiping with others. Let your heart follow the words and be shaped by them.

A debtor to mercy alone, of covenant mercy I sing.
Augustus M. Toplady

  • David Jeremiah

Strength to Comfort

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

These two little verses actually come from the greeting Paul is bringing to the Corinthian church at the beginning of the letter he is sending them. Back in those days, this kind of a flattering and, if I may say so, flowery greeting was customary. Today we might say that it checks a box in the stylebook of that day for a proper letter, and as readers we might just tear through the greeting to get to the meat of the letter. Yet, if we were to simply zip through these verses to get to the good part, we would be doing ourselves a great disservice.

Please, take a minute and read through them again, more slowly this time.

Wow!

Paul is giving praise to the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. Don’t we all need compassion and comfort at times? I think we all do, even if we don’t like to talk about such things. He continues with this little gem: who comforts us in all our troubles. Do you have any troubles that God cannot bring comfort to help you through? Do you have anything troubling you right now as you read this? If so, the God of all comfort is there with you… pretty amazing if you think about it.

 

Read more: https://lifeprojectblog.com/2022/05/02/strength-to-comfort-2/

The People We Christians Have the Hardest Time Loving. Thinking Through John 13:34-35

Becoming a Burden Bearer

God works through us when we bear one another’s burdens.

Romans 15:1-7

Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength, and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. For even Christ did not please Himself, but as it is written: “The taunts of those who taunt You have fallen on Me.” For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another, according to Christ Jesus, so that with one purpose and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us, for the glory of God.

 

Every week churches are filled with people experiencing a wide range of problems, and as believers, we’re to bear one another’s burdens (Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. Gal. 6:2). This isn’t just the job of the pastor—he can’t possibly know about every need in the congregation. That’s why we’re all called to help each other practically and spiritually. But doing this may require some changes on our part.

Awareness. If we’re not sensitive to what people are facing, how can we pray for them or offer some kind of support? Ask the Spirit to help you tune in to the struggles of others.

Acceptance. We’re to accept fellow believers as Christ has accepted us. That means being willing to share the burdens of others, no matter who they are.

Availability. Helping people may not be convenient, but a faith community thrives when we make time to be there for those around us.

The Lord is the ultimately the one who comforts the hurting and helps the weak, but He often does this through His people. Scripture tells us the whole law is fulfilled in one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Gal. 5:14). Do you limit your support to family and friends, or do you show love to all your neighbors?

How to Truly Forgive

The Lord doesn’t want us enslaved by resentment, so He helps us forgive our wrongdoers.

Ephesians 4:25-32

25 So stop lying to each other. Tell the truth to your neighbor. We all belong to the same body. 26 If you are angry, do not let it become sin. Get over your anger before the day is finished. 27 Do not let the devil start working in your life. 28 Anyone who steals must stop it! He must work with his hands so he will have what he needs and can give to those who need help. 29 Watch your talk! No bad words should be coming from your mouth. Say what is good. Your words should help others grow as Christians. 30 Do not make God’s Holy Spirit have sorrow for the way you live. The Holy Spirit has put a mark on you for the day you will be set free. 31 Put out of your life all these things: bad feelings about other people, anger, temper, loud talk, bad talk which hurts other people, and bad feelings which hurt other people. 32 You must be kind to each other. Think of the other person. Forgive other people just as God forgave you because of Christ’s death on the cross.

Did you know it’s possible to extend forgiveness to another person and yet still cling to resentment? We might say everything is okay, but our unpardoning spirit remains—and it will linger until we emotionally release the other person from the wrong he or she did. Thankfully, there’s a way to truly move on:

First, assume responsibility for your unforgiving spirit, and choose a change of heart toward the other person. The healing process begins with repentance.

•  Then, release your hold over the debt you feel is owed. 

•  Recognize the other person’s violation has exposed an area of weakness in you—namely, your resentment and desire for vengeance. 

•  Finally, remember how often God forgives you. 

The Lord is grieved to see His children cling to an unforgiving spirit, because emotional debt imprisons us. We become paralyzed by our own distrust, resentment, and insecurity, which only build walls that shut out family and friends. In contrast, God’s goal for us is freedom from bitterness. He wants to see us reconcile with our offender and even show tenderhearted, loving acceptance. We have a calling from God to forgive. Though that can be difficult, it is possible because Christ lives in us (I have been put up on the cross to die with Christ. I no longer live. Christ lives in me. The life I now live in this body, I live by putting my trust in the Son of God. He was the One Who loved me and gave Himself for me. Gal. 2:20).

The Opposite of Love

“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”1


I once asked a class I was teaching, “What would you say was the Christian’s number one sin?” to which a jokester replied, “Apathy, but who cares?” And as the old saying goes, “Many a true word spoken in jest.”

“In the book The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis, a devil briefs his demon nephew, Wormwood, in a series of letters on the subtleties and techniques of tempting people. In his writings, the devil says that the objective is not to make people wicked but to make them indifferent. This higher devil cautions Wormwood that he must keep the patient comfortable at all costs. If he should start thinking about anything of importance, encourage him to think about his luncheon plans and not to worry so much because it could cause indigestion. And then the devil gives this instruction to his nephew: ‘I, the devil, will always see to it that there are bad people. Your job, my dear Wormwood, is to provide me with people who do not care.'”2

The opposite of love is not hate. It’s apathy or indifference that is practiced by people who don’t care enough to care. The fact is that “people don’t care what we know until they know how much we care.”

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please give me a loving heart so that I will truly care about others and care enough to share the love of Jesus in some way with all those you bring into my life. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”

1. John 4:12 (NIV).
2. From http://www.sermonillustrations.com/quoted by Dan Vellinga, “What Would You Do?” (sermon).

 

Is Your Church a Disciplemaking Church?

By Chuck Lawless 

Yesterday in our continuing series on healthy churches, I gave you a quiz about whether your church is an evangelistic church. Today, I ask whether your church is a discipling church.

  1. Can your church leaders describe what a “disciple” looks like in your church? If they can’t describe what you hope to produce in your members, it’s likely that your overall goal is nebulous. That lack of clarity will hinder your church’s discipleship.
  2. Does your church have a required membership class? A membership class begins discipleship early, and it sets expectations for further discipling as a member of a local body.
  3. Does the church have a church covenant that is up-to-date, relevant, and utilized? A covenant that only hangs on the wall is nothing more than a picture in a frame. Churches with legitimate covenants also typically have a strategy to help members fulfill the covenant.
  4. How does the number of additions compare to the church’s increase/decrease in attendance over the past year? If the church gained 25 new members, but the corresponding attendance figures show an increase of only five, further assessment is needed. It’s possible the church’s back door is so wide open you’re losing almost as many people as you’re gaining.
  5. Are new believers discipled immediately? Young believers are sometimes the most teachable members of a church. Healthy churches start discipling them before they figure out they can be members without being discipled.
  6. Are your members growing in godliness? This one’s more difficult to evaluate, but churches that produce disciples produce men and women who reject temptations and follow God fully.
  7. Does the church offer small groups that include equipping and accountability for holy living? If you read yesterday’s post, you know that I recommend small groups that warmly invite the unchurched to participate. At the same time, I also encourage churches to have small groups that allow for significant life-on-life interaction and serious accountability.
  8. Does the church have an intentional strategy for teaching spiritual disciplines? Discipling churches don’t just tell folks to read the Word, pray, fast, and do other spiritual disciplines; instead, they teach and lead them to make disciplines a part of their lives.
  9. Is the pastoral staff mentoring other believers? If the leaders of the church aren’t pouring their lives into other believers, they will lack credibility in asking others to do so. Strong discipleship churches are led by mentor-pastors.
  10. Is the church strategically discipling teens and children?  Discipling congregations recognize that good discipleship begins early. They intentionally connect older members with younger members to promote mutual spiritual growth.

Is your church a disciplemaking church? 

Friendship

 

“A friend loves at all times.”1

According to an article in an English magazine, “A true friend is one who has the courage to disagree with us when we are in the wrong, and advise us for our own good, rather than let his sympathy or sentimentality cause him to agree.”

Charles Spurgeon once said, “Friendship is one of the sweetest joys of life. Many might have failed beneath the bitterness of their trial had they not found a friend.”

Dr. Alfred Adler, internationally known psychiatrist, based the following conclusions on a careful analysis of thousands of clients: “The most important task imposed by religion has always been ‘Love thy neighbor.’ It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow man that has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury on others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.”

It may not be the most desirable, but it is true that we can live without romantic love, but we cannot live healthy without at least one loving friend.

As Dinah Craik so eloquently said, “Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.”

And, oh, the priceless value of having at least one such deep abiding friendship. Thank God for the gift of friendship.

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please help me to be a loving friend and be a friend to fellow sinners as you are a loving friend to me. And help me to find at least one loving friend with whom I can be totally open and honest without fear of judgment or rejection. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”

1. Proverbs 17:17 (NIV).

 

10 Reasons Older Women Should Mentor Younger Women in Your Church

By Chuck Lawless on Dec 07, 2021 01:00 am

I believe in mentoring as one component of disciplemaking. My experience, though, is that too few churches challenge their members to invest in others. My goal in this post is to challenge women in the church to mentor younger women (and, many of these reasons for doing so would also apply to older men mentoring younger men).

  1. The Bible requires it. Titus 2:3-5 expects that young women will learn from older women who have lived out their faith in the Lord. If our churches ignore this calling, the next generation suffers.
  2. God never expected us to travel our journey alone. When He said, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen 2:18), His point was not that everyone is to be married; it was that He created us in such a way that we need others in our lives. Younger women especially need older women to walk with them.
  3. Many younger women have had few or no healthy female role models in their life. Mothers have a unique bond with their children, but not every mother is a model of godliness. Some young women are still waiting to become close friends with a godly female.
  4. They will be spouses and moms in a culture ever turning from God’s standards. Young women will be called to live their faith in a world increasingly opposed to Christianity. They shouldn’t be expected to walk that path without an older role model.
  5. They are future leaders of some church ministries. Churches differ in what roles women can play in a congregation, but younger women will lead some types of church ministries in the future. What they see modeled now will help them in the days to come.
  6. Younger women are longing for mentors in the faith. Men have no monopoly on this need. Younger women are equally seeking older women who will give them time.
  7. Even young women face temptations such as pornography. As morals change and sin becomes more acceptable, even young women face issues we once assumed were limited to men. Many women, though, have no place to turn for support and guidance.
  8. Woman-to-woman discipling can prepare younger women for the mission field. In some places of the world, only women have access to minister to other women. Being a disciple now will help younger women prepare for this role.
  9. Even a few minutes of godly attention can change a younger woman’s life.  Investing in a younger woman does not require a seminary degree or a ministry calling. All it requires is an older woman who walks with God – and a younger woman’s life may then never be the same.
  10. Younger women with mentors will someday become older women themselves. That means, of course, they’ll be the next generation to carry on the work of investing in others. Guiding them now will help others in the future.

What would you add to this list? 

Joseph – Impacting Others

by Claude Mariottini

Joseph’s experience in the house of Potiphar was both rewarding and disappointing. His experience was rewarding because he was able to make an impact on the life of Potiphar, to such an extent, that Potiphar put Joseph in charge of all he had. In addition, Potiphar could see that Joseph was a man dedicated to […]

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