Happy New Year, 2018

Good evening everyone. I hope each of you had a very Merry Christmas and enjoyed the time with family and friends. What a wonderful time of the year when we celebrate the birth of our Savior and truly understand why He came to earth. Where would we be without His birth followed closely by His sacrificial death on the cross and ultimately His glorious resurrection? All of this in order to bring to completion God’s marvelous plan for our redemption. Thank you Jesus!

Next week I hope to start a new series which I will simply call “No-Names.” The series will be a focus on a number of people in the Bible that God used in different ways but never revealed the persons by name. That’s why I call them the no-names and I think it will be quite interesting to see how everyday people are certainly included in God’s plan. And it is important to note that it didn’t end with the characters in God’s Word but continues with ordinary people today. So hold on to your seats. It’s going to be a wild ride.

I want to wish each of you a prosperous and Happy New Year. It is my prayer that each one of us experience great spiritual growth and a much closer walk with our Lord. This is what I believe is real prosperity. It is truly more rewarding than material or financial increase although those are important. However, we should use our increase to minister to others and further God’s kingdom. To God be the glory for the things He has done!

May God richly bless you during the remainder of this holiday season.

Christmas, 2017

Good evening everyone. Tonight’s post will be rather limited in content. The rush of the holiday season has finally caught up with me so I’ve decided to do a short post tonight and next week also. We will begin another series the first Saturday of the new year which I believe you will really enjoy. I don’t want to announce the subject just yet but I know you will find it an interesting perspective to the information that I will share. I’m excited about it but still have some research and study to do.

As we all enjoy the festivities of this time of year, I just want us to be reminded of why we celebrate. Let’s remember that God in His infinite wisdom and because of His unconditional love for us sent His Son in His perfect timing to this earth and He became God incarnate. His name was Jesus and as the prophets of old stated, He would be God with us and save His people from their sin. And remember. This was all His plan from the beginning (whenever that was in eternity past) so that man could be reconciled to Him.

What a wonderful story the Christmas story is but keep in mind it does not end with the birth of Jesus. Jesus grew into a man under the care of His mother and the instruction of His earthly father. But more than that, under the leadership of and obedience to God the Father. Then at the appointed time, and after a short earthly ministry, He made His way to the cross where He would be crucified and become sin for us so that we could receive His righteousness. He was then buried in a borrowed tomb but after three days He rose again just as was prophesied not only by the prophets of old, but by Jesus Himself. The final sacrifice had been made because finally God was able to accept a perfect Lamb that He Himself provided. Sin and death had been conquered for all time. That’s the real and complete story. That’s the gospel folks. Don’t listen to what anyone else calls the gospel. This is straight from God’s Word and that’s all we need to know. Man’s knowledge and opinion plays no part whatsoever!

All that remains then, is what have we done with Jesus. Have we accepted or rejected the gift of salvation that He so freely offers? Have we turned to Him by faith and in a spirit of repentance and put our total trust in what He did? God’s grace has made it all possible. Thank you Father! Thank you Jesus! And thank you Holy Spirit for your continued presence in the life of those of us who have placed our faith and trust in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

May God bless each of you and your families during this wonderful season. Merry Christmas!

 

Meeting Spiritual Needs

This evening we are coming to the close of the series we started back in August about how we should have a lifestyle of service and ministry to others. We looked at some of the tools available to us that we can use to help us perform the task of serving . In addition, we discussed the seven motivational spiritual gifts that God has given to us in varying degrees and how they play a major role in our endeavors. Then we looked at the ways that we can meet certain needs of those around us that included bearing another’s burdens and using intercessory prayer on their behalf. Lastly we have looked at the various type of needs that are out there which to this point has included physical and emotional needs. As we close the series tonight, we will end with how we recognize and meet spiritual needs that others may have. Again, we will see how the tools we have available and the spiritual gifts each us have equips us to do the work God has called us to do.

Obviously, the number one spiritual need of any person is salvation. The Bible tells us that we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. In addition, the result of that is the understanding that we have earned spiritual death, i.e eternal separation from Holy God. But He has provided a solution to our dilemma in the form of gift which is eternal salvation. The condition is that we must believe that what He did at the cross paid our sin debt in full and in faith and repentance turn from our ways and begin a new journey with Him. For those we know that are lost, we can help meet their spiritual needs by sharing the good news of the gospel with them. Your verbal witness does not have to include all of the right biblical words, it just needs to be the story of what has happened to you.

Another spiritual need we all have is the need to grow in our walk with Him. If we are to help someone else grow spiritually, we must first be growing ourselves. I believe this starts with a hunger for His Word and the desire to talk with Him on a regular basis. As we grow we become better equipped to come along side someone else and help them do the same. This is where the motivational gifts of prophecy, teaching, and even leadership have a real impact on our success. Of course, we can only help those who have recognized the need to grow spiritually and are willing to study Gods’ Word, develop a regular prayer life and at the same time be teachable when around those who are more spiritually mature. Therefore, we need to do our part by seeing to it that we are growing and then offer our help to others that desire to do the same.

There are other spiritual needs that exist which are usually the result of complacency or indifference, bitterness, loneliness, and even unconfessed sin. These needs are wrapped up in one thing. The loss of proper fellowship with the Lord. When are fellowship with Him is diminished our relationship with those around us certainly suffers. They will have a hard time seeing Jesus in us and therefore lose their motivation to grow. We must be diligent in our efforts to keep this from happening. If we can’t help meet the spiritual needs of others, our attempts at meeting the physical needs and emotional needs of someone else are certainly not as effective as they should be. Our prayer should be that we are prayed up and studied up so that when the opportunity arises for us to help someone else we are well prepared to meet whatever need that exists.

I hope everyone has got something out of this series on service. I can tell you that it has made a difference in how I think and act when it comes to serving others. And I pray that He will continue to teach me each day how to better recognize and then help meet the needs of those I come in contact with. And that He receives all the glory and honor.

   

 

Meeting Emotional Needs

Last week we spent a great deal of time talking about how we can serve others by helping to meet their physical needs. And in some of the previous posts, we took a look at the various motivational gifts that God gives to us as believers and how they are so very instrumental in our efforts of service. As a matter of fact, the gift of giving and the gift of serving are the two most used gifts when meeting physical needs. Although any of us can contribute to meeting physical needs, those with the gift of serving or giving are quite adept at this because they seemed to be more aware of the needs than those of us who don’t have either of these gifts. The physical needs of others certainly lends us the opportunity to serve but there are other needs people have that sometimes offer us the same opportunity as well. So let’s take a look at another type of needs and how we can be a part of meeting those needs too.

In addition to physical needs, many people around us have emotional needs that may be hard for us to recognize. But they are just as real and often times much more difficult to assess and address. However, people with emotional needs tend to keep them close at hand and are not willing to share them openly with someone else. A lot of times, we assume that a person’s  attitude and even personality are just them being themselves’ and don’t realize they may really be a cry for help. And on our part, we are hesitant to become involved with someone who has these types of needs. First of all, we may not understand why the need is there and we don’t want to be butting into someone’s business. Helping someone who has an emotional need is a difficult task and most of us shy away from it.

Emotional needs can be embedded in bitterness, negativity, jealousy, complacency, anger, etc. and we easily pass it off as personality. But if we listen carefully, we may be able to pick up on a cause for the attitude and then be in a position to help when the opportunity arises. This is where certain other motivational spiritual gifts may come into play and be used to serve others by helping to meet emotional needs. The gift of exhortation and the gift of mercy are especially useful in these situations. People with these gifts must really understand how and when to use them. We certainly should not be involved in a situation where we are not wanted but when a person with an emotional need asks for our help we should ready and willing. A word of caution here, though. We should avoid any situation where helping to meet an emotional need may lead to a temptation or inappropriate relationship. In particular, where a man or woman is trying to help someone of the opposite sex deal with a divorce or infidelity. Obviously this could easily result in inappropriate behavior on the part of both people and makes matters worse instead of better.

I believe emotional needs are the hardest to deal with by the person with the need and anyone who is trying to help meet the need. It is risky business to be involved and should be approached with caution. However, to serve others by meeting emotional needs can be rewarding and may even be a turning point in someone’s life. Any efforts in this needs area should be bathed in prayer and should not be rushed. And should always be with the approval of the one who has the need. I have the utmost respect for those who can truly help someone else in this area but also realize that sometimes it should be left to someone who has had special training. In either case, the goal is that God gets all of the glory for any successful results.

Next week, we will discuss how we can help meet someone’s spiritual needs.

 

Meeting Physical Needs

We have just celebrated the holiday we know as Thanksgiving and a time to reflect on all the things we have to be thankful for. God has blessed most of us beyond measure and we seldom take the time to thank Him like we should. I’m as guilty as the next person and, when it is brought to my attention, I feel so ashamed because there are so many others out there that are not as fortunate as I am. They have basic physical needs that are not met yet mine are and I take them for granted.

When I look at the life of Jesus during His ministry on earth, I suddenly realize that He was constantly meeting the physical needs of those He came face to face with. Just as we expect, He set the example for us. In all of the miracles He performed this became so evident. He helped make a wedding successful by turning water into wine. He fed thousands when they had no food for themselves. He healed the lame who were helpless and He gave sight to some that had never seen the light of day. He calmed the sea and relieved the fears of his disciples. Our physical needs are important to Him and He often fills those needs more than we deserve. And it follows that we should also be with those around us who have needs we can meet out of the measure of the blessings He has bestowed on us. This is what I call serving others through meeting physical needs. So let’s take a look at some of the ways we can do just that.

Let’s begin by considering different types of situations that other people may be in that could result in physical needs on their part. We are aware that there are homeless in our area. We certainly know that there are folks without food, especially children, and others without the clothes needed to keep them warm. There are elderly folks who are lonely because it appears that their family has abandoned them. There are widows who need repairs done on their homes or their lawns mowed. And of course there are children who have lost their parents and need someone to take them in as their own. Wow! There sure are a lot of needs out there. But this also makes for many opportunities to serve.

We are all aware that there are many secular organizations that attempt to meet the needs we just mentioned. And they certainly do a great job in doing so. However, they can’t operate without funding sources whether from private donations or from governmental assistance. And they also need a large group of volunteers. These groups are necessary to help relieve some of the suffering in our society and especially during times of natural disaster. However, when I speak of serving others I am referring to a lifestyle of giving ourself to putting the needs of someone else ahead of our own. This is true service and often requires sacrifice on our parts. And I am speaking more specifically about those who are our brothers and sisters in Christ because they are truly our family.

A large part of our series on serving others has dealt with the motivational gifts that each of us have. And the fact is, when we recognize a situation where a fellow believer has physical needs to be met, we have the opportunity to use those gifts as God intended. The problem is that often times we are not aware of the needs. This may be because we either are not as involved in our church family as we should be or we are not made aware of the situation by our leaders. The point is that the first step in serving others by meeting physical needs requires that we be able to recognize that the needs exist. We need to discipline ourselves to pay attention to those around us and learn how to tell when there is a need to be met. Then we should be prepared to act to meet the need if our motivational gift and our means are what the situation calls for.

God has given all of us a least one spiritual gift and in most cases more than one. We are to be reminded that He desires and expects us to use them to minister to others. And one of the ways we do that is by meeting physical needs of those around us. Recognize and react. And He will get all the glory!