Archive for September, 2017

His Message is Our Message

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

In conclusion of our segmented series on the Imitation of Christ, our last lesson is about how Jesus’ message is our message.

Have we ever considered what Jesus’ message was? Do we think about what it is when we’re outside of the church? For some, their message is their home, car, or even the clothes they wear. But, our message needs to be Christ’s Gospel message, and everything we do needs to convey this message.

Repentance

If Christ’s message is going to be our message, repentance must be our first step. The more we get out of the way, the more Jesus has the ability to work inside of us (John 3:30). Paul admonished the church to die daily—to repent to the ways of the flesh and to live in the strength and power of Christ (I Corinthians 15:31).

When Jesus first began to preach, He preached a message of repentance (Matthew 4:17; Luke 24:47). He also instructed His followers to preach repentance to all nations—everywhere we go. This is His message, and it needs to be our message every day we live.

Many time we feel like we’re a failure. We’ve all messed up and fallen short of God’s glory. But, we see great examples in Scripture of disciples who were no different than us today. Peter denied Jesus three times (Luke 22:54–62), even though he had been given the keys to the Kingdom (Matthew 16:18). But, in spite of Peter’s failure, he didn’t allow it to define him.

Scripture tells us we are a chosen people and God wants to do something in our lives. When we mess up, our first step needs to be to repent before we give up. Peter knew this, and even after denying Jesus, found a place of repentance (Luke 22:62). He knew repentance was necessary in his life from what Jesus had taught Him, and this was the same message he delivered on the day of Pentecost, the birth of the church (Acts 2:37–39).

Aspects of Repentance

Godly Sorrow

Like Peter, we must find a place of weeping (Luke 22:62) and godly sorrow (II Corinthians 7:10). Without godly sorrow, any repentance we can claim to experience is just for show.

Repugnance to Sin

Sin cannot be appealing to us in any way shape or form. We must seek to get rid of it, even at the slightest smell (evidence) in our lives. We must abide by Jesus’ words to repent to rid ourselves of the stench of sin and to forgive others who sin as well (Luke 17:3).

Use God’s Endless Mercy

We must remember that we are living in a dispensation (time) when God’s grace is ever-flowing. We cannot let the devil convince us that God’s grace isn’t available to us if/when we repent. He is rich in mercy because of how much God loves us (Ephesians 2:4). God is delaying His return to the earth because His will is that everyone repents so no one will perish (II Peter 3:9).

Conclusion

We can never stop realizing the importance of repentance in our lives. It’s a lifestyle we must live by. Repentance is always going to be relevant and necessary to the believer. This is the message Christ has for us. And, His message is our message.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on September 27, 2017 with Guest Speaker, Brother Josh Linton

See a Need, Fill a Need

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

Every time I take any personality or aptitude assessment—such as Myers-Briggs, PACE Palette, or one very similar—I always get the same results. No matter my age, they’re all the same. The one quality that makes the top of the list each time is the analytical quality of problem-solver.

An analytical brain (or an aptitude for problem-solving) has always been a beneficial skill for me in the workforce. On countless occasions, I’ve overheard a problem a colleague is having. Sometimes, they don’t know how to fix their problem, know how to fix it cost-effectively, or in some cases, they don’t even know they have a problem—and don’t we all run into this from time to time!

God has not only given me the ability to see these problems, but the skillset to fix some of them and/or come up with a solution. God will help me build a tool within a particular platform and in doing so help people save countless hours in a business process. Jesus helps me see a gap and gives me the ability to help fill it.

The truth is, I’m not different from anyone else on this earth in this respect. God has blessed every single one of us with different giftings and abilities to help in this world. This is a business example, but it also applies in God’s church. There are many great examples of this in Scripture.

And the priests waited on their offices: the Levites also with instruments of musick of the LORD, which David the king had made to praise the LORD, because his mercy endureth for ever, when David praised by their ministry; and the priests sounded trumpets before them, and all Israel stood (II Chronicles 7:6, KJV).

King David is one of my favorite men in the Bible. He was a man of strategy, war, faith, and an immense love for God. And, true to this character-study, when he saw a gap, he filled it!

David saw the awesome responsibility and privilege he had to worship and praise the Lord. However, there weren’t many musical instruments to do so. With the Lord’s help, David created and furbished musical instruments to be used in worship. It’s not just mentioned once in Scripture, but many times throughout the Old Testament. And, even after David was long gone, people were still using the instruments he made to praise the Lord!

Raymond Woodward, pastor of Capital Community Church in Fredericton, New Brunswick, has coined a particular saying. If you see a gap, God has most likely gifted you with the ability to fill it.

King David may have been taken aback at first at the concept of making a musical instrument. But, he soon realized if he noticed a gap, God had given him the gifting and ability to fill it. We don’t know a lot of details around what types of instruments he made, how long it took him, or if he struggled at all. The end of the story is what we see—David made musical instruments used to praise God.

It’s important we all realize God isn’t going to put us forth in this world without giving us the ability to succeed. He doesn’t create any of us for a particular purpose and then leave us to figure it out. If God’s opened up our eyes to a gap in His Kingdom, placed a burden on our hearts, or spoken to us in prayer, He’s going to help us complete the work and bless our hands to do it.

Take a look around you today. Do you see any gaps? Is there a ministry missing in your church? Are their people you see every day that have never heard the Gospel message? Is there a leaky sink that needs to be fixed? If God has opened your eyes to a need, you might just be the one who’s going to fill it.

His Authority Should be Our Authority

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Last week, we continued our series on the Imitation of Christ. We learned how Jesus’ role—loving like no other, having a humble spirit, and being a transformed vessel—should be our role. This week, we turn our focus to the authority of Christ and how His authority should be our authority.

Jesus’ Authority and Power

We see many examples in Scripture where Jesus demonstrates the nature of His power. In one specific example in Luke 4, we see Jesus exhibiting His power through His very words (Luke 4:32); He was commanding unclean spirits to depart from a man with His authority (Luke 4:36). God wants to invest this same authority and power in those who are obedient to Him.

God’s Power in Us

There are many powerful people and institutions in this world; however, all power and authority belongs to God (Psalms 62:11; Matthew 28:18; Romans 13:1). God is in charge, no matter the circumstance. It’s important to note power in the wrong hands is dangerous. But, power in the right hands, yielded righteously, is a tool God wants to use in His people to accomplish His will (His glory) on this earth.

God desires for His people to live and walk in His authority. This means our lifestyle (thought-life, values, and mind) becomes like Christ’s, and our daily walk (actions, decision, and behaviors) utilize the authority of Jesus Christ, especially in the spiritual realm.

The Plan to Walk in Authority

God intended for His children to live in His authority long before Jesus Christ walked upon the earth. God is the Almighty God (Genesis 17:1) and promised Abraham He was going to invest Himself in all nations of the world (Galatians 3:8–9). God would make a covenant with His people and write His laws in their mind and hearts (Hebrews 8:10). Additionally, Joel prophesied God would pour out His Spirit upon all flesh—no one would be excluded (Joel 2:28–29). God will invest in us if we can be His people.

How to Receive Power

Satan (Lucifer) tried to usurp God’s authority, but fell from Heaven. Even afterward, he continued to challenge Jesus’ authority on earth, especially when He was in the wilderness. What’s strange is that God has always wanted to share His power and authority, but the devil didn’t like the way God did it. God administers His power only through submission.

Scripture admonishes the church to submit ourselves to God. Only after we do this can we walk in authority over the devil (James 4:7–10). God gives us the ability to walk in power, but it’s His power, not our own (Zechariah 4:6). God will give us a new heart and a new spirit when we submit to Him. It is only when we’re truly submitted to Christ when we can fully imitate Him (Ezekiel 36:26–27).

Under Authority

To have authority, we must be under authority. We see an example of a man in Scripture who understood the power of authority and submission (Matthew 8:9–10). There is a covering (protection) when we’re under authority. If we resist and rebel against God, we will not see His authority invested in our lives.

The 7 sons of Sceva were a perfect example of this—they tried to act in God’s authority by attempting to cast out devils, but they were beat up and robbed of their clothing (Acts 19:14–16). When we fail to have spiritual authority in our lives, resist God, or don’t have the proper relationship with Him, we won’t have the authority we need. When we’re obedient to Him, we get His protection, power, and authority.

Our Authority Today

Jesus gave the disciples power against unclean spirits and power to heal all manner of sickness and disease (Matthew 10:1). This wasn’t something the disciples earned; Jesus freely gave it to them. Jesus has given all of us power over every enemy and unclean spirits (Luke 10:17–20). There are signs of power that follow those that believe in Him (Mark 16:17–18, 20). These signs are our badge of authority in God; however, our greatest power is the name of Jesus.

We’re told in Scripture all things must be done in the name of Jesus because His name carries power (Colossians 3:17). Miracles demonstrated in Scripture after Jesus’ ascension into Heaven were all completed in His name (Acts 3:6, 4:7–9, 12). The natural realm is not where we have authority—it is in the spiritual realm. When people come to us with natural issues, we need to have the insight, sensitivity, and resources to respond with spiritual means. We need God’s power to truly help them where they’re at.

Conclusion

God’s authority is going to release His potential in us. When we get ahold of His power and authority in our lives, we’ll be able to exercise that power to do exceeding and abundantly above all we could ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). Greater is the God in us than anything else in this world (I John 4:4).

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on September 20, 2017 with Pastor Nave

The Trip Before the Fall

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

Have you ever looked at your child, spouse, parent, or friend and thought, “I’m proud of them.” S/he may have just completed a marvellous feat, won a game, conquered a fight, survived a trial, and you looked at them in a sense of awe and wonder. If fact, you may have felt yourself beaming with pride for them.

I’ll be the first person to admit it. I’ve had a sense of pride when my husband spent hours on a project at work and had an amazing final product; when my nephew won a medal for Bible Quizzing; when my mom passed a test she spent hours studying for.

My feelings are hard to describe at the moment of inception—a strange joy or a tingling warmth overcomes me. It feels good, and I’m happy. But, I recently heard a wise Brother share a piece of advice. He said, “Let’s be careful we aren’t lifted up in pride in our celebration.”

And, those words hit me like a ton of bricks.

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:1, KJV).

Pride is one of those elements in our Christian walk we say we understand, but do we really? I thought I did, but I didn’t.

In studying out this Scripture, I learned a few things. Pride is a sense of majesty, pomp, swelling, excellency, or exaltation. And, a haughty spirit is a lofty sense of being, grandeur, or elation. For me, when I thought about the concept of pride, I knew we should avoid the common “I’m proud of myself” moments. But, what about being proud of others? I’m pretty sure the tingling/glowy sensation I feel falls in line with this “swelling” concept of pride, as well as elation in a haughty spirit.

The more I prayed and thought about this, the more I believe the phrase, “I’m proud of…” shouldn’t even be in our vocabulary, come out of our mouths, or even cross our minds when we gaze upon a loved one. Because the truth is, that person—spouse, child, parent, friend, acquaintance, etc.—didn’t do anything. God did, and therefore, we couldn’t possibly be proud of something they didn’t do. And, are we truthfully going to be proud of God?

Any accomplishment we see occur in this life is all attributed to God. We can do nothing without God (John 15:5). He is to receive the glory, honor, and praise in all things (Ephesians 5:20; I Thessalonians 5:18). The moment I’m proud materializes anywhere, God no longer is the recipient of the praise—we or someone we dearly love becomes the beneficiary.

What we do impacts others more than we think. There’s an assurance pride in our lives will dictate a fall. And, there’s a strong possibility our prideful moments of someone else will bring failure in their lives. Let someone know we’re proud of them, and see how many times it takes before that individual starts walking around with a puffed up spirit. Consider how they wouldn’t have ever adopted that mentality if we hadn’t said anything, thought anything, or felt anything.

The prideful moments we feel for others may be a wonderful experience—a trip down the merry lane or a flight to cloud 9. But, let’s pray today we don’t even provide the allowance of pride in our hearts. Let’s pray God keeps our focus on Him, and our feelings restricted to just godly love for others.

If we can’t keep pride out, we’re not going to enjoy the eventual fall.

Stop Resisting

Sunday, September 17th, 2017

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7, KJV).

We forget far too often that without God, we can do nothing by ourselves. This also applies to our ability to resist the devil. We cannot resist without God! When we begin our walk with God, we trust Him in all things and lean on Him immensely. But, after a while, we get to a point where we think we can try to do something on our own. We stop submitting ourselves to God and to His plan. And, the moment we do, we open ourselves up to allow the devil to creep in and to start to wear us down.

Submission to God is the key to resisting the devil. We think we might be resisting the devil, but we’re actually resisting God when we don’t submit ourselves to Him. If we don’t make serving God a priority—reading the Word and staying faithful to prayer and fasting—we’ll be cut down by the devil. Paul reminded the church to die daily and submit ourselves to God (I Corinthians 15:31).

We cannot serve two masters in this life. If we aren’t serving God, we’re serving something else. If we’re not connected to God and His Spirit, we won’t complete the tasks God wants us to do and follow the will He has for our lives. We need to position ourselves through submission to be a conduit His Spirit can flow through. If we’re not submitting to Him, we’re resisting His Spirit (Acts 7:51).

Paul tells the church to put on the whole armor of God so we can stand (resist) the devil (Ephesians 6:13). Our own armor isn’t capable of resistance—we have to put on God’s armor. We cannot go into the battle on our own accord and with our own abilities. We must have the Spirit of God and allow His presence, His power, and His ability to resist and come against the devil.

If we’re going to be able to resist, we must decrease so God can increase in our lives. When we’re fully submitted to God, there isn’t room for us. When we’re full of God, revival will happen. Are we ready today to submit ourselves to God and stop resisting?

His Role and Our Role

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

Last week, we started our series on the Imitation of Christ. We learned how Christ is our example and we should imitate Him in every part of our life. This week, we turn our focus to the role of Christ and how His role should be our role.

We all have roles we fill on a daily basis—spouse, parent, employee, etc. And, in various ways, these roles define an aspect of who we are. In the same way, when we look to Jesus, and the roles He occupied while on this earth, we can see how the elements of the roles He filled should all be in our lives as well.

A Love Like No Other

There is no love that we’ve ever witnessed or experience like the love of our Father. He loved us enough to lay His life down. But, His love continues to pick us up and teaches us to love others (Psalms 27:10, I John 4:8, 11).

The love Jesus has is a different love than we truly know today. His love (agape) is a higher love that loves the soul and not the characteristics or personality of a person. There are 2 other types of love in the world today: phileo—brotherly love and eros—lustful love. However, what the “world” defines as love, isn’t really love. Real love never fails and loves regardless (I Corinthians 13:8).

To understand the love of Christ and the role it should have in our lives, we must read His Word and see examples of it demonstrated in Scripture. We see a great illustration of God’s love in the story of the Prodigal son (Luke 15:17–20).

A Humble Spirit

Jesus also was a beautiful example (role) of humility. He humbled Himself and became a servant to all of us. At the Last Supper, He robed Himself in a towel, and washed His disciple’s feet (John 13). And, in His greatest act of humility, He became obedient to death and died on the cross (Philippians 2:5–8).

The prophet Isaiah depicts the true role of humility Jesus had on this earth (Isaiah 53:2–5). He teaches us that we must clothe ourselves with the garment of humility in this life; to don this role in everything. This means we must walk this earth without taking advantage to ourselves. If we can change our role to a servant, we will change the world.

Jesus was the exact opposite of everything the devil was (Isaiah 14:11–15). Humans—who are naturally revengeful, rebellious, selfish, and have a sinful nature—fit the same category. We’ve got to learn to put on the role of humility. Scripture teaches that our sinful nature shouldn’t stay that way but become a new creature in Christ (II Corinthians 5:17).

A Transformed Vessel

We are instructed to let the mind of Christ be in us. We can only have God’s mind if we have His Spirit living in us (Galatians 2:20, John 14:16–17). If we don’t have the Spirit of God, we’re not like God—we need the Holy Ghost (Romans 8:9–11).

To allow the role of the Holy Ghost have His way in our lives, we must be careful not to quench it, but to allow it to rule us (Ephesians 4:30–32). If we let the Holy Ghost reign in us, signs will follow us in our Christ-like role (Mark 16:17–18). Christ must dwell in our hearts to help us to be rooted and grounded in Him (Ephesians 3:17–19).

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on September 13, 2017 with Guest Speaker, Brother Jonathan Pierce

A Garden of Cucumbers

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

I don’t have a green thumb, toe, earlobe, or elbow on my body. I kill things instead of helping them grow and thrive. That is all.

This is why I scratch my head at gardeners; those who have the innate ability to make things prosper in the dirt. They cultivate such wonderful florae—fresh vegetables, lovely flowers, and other lush vegetation that attracts all kinds of insects…

Okay, this may be why I can’t make things grow…I don’t like bugs, getting dirty, and I occasionally forget to water things. But, my shortcomings aside, I tip my hat to those who were born “green,” and who share their garden creations with me—especially cucumbers.

Due to my love of cucumbers (it’s a healthy obsession), I was interested in what God had to say about them when I read this Scripture:

And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city (Isaiah 1:8, KJV).

Needless to say, I was a bit disturbed. In this context, the prophet Isaiah is chastising Israel because they had become rebellious to the things of God. They were a sinful Nation, had forsaken the Lord, lived in a desolate city, and all that was left of Zion was likened unto a hut in a cucumber field (Isaiah 1:1–8).

That’s quite a bash against my beloved cucumbers.

But, I started digging to understand more of this analogy. Cucumbers in this context refers to different kinds of melons and gourds, but does encompass cucumbers. They were highly desired in that region of the world because of their “cooling” qualities. While today we might grab for an iced-cold drink on a hot day, Palestinians went for the next best thing—a cool cucumber.

Gardens were typically unfenced, and these succulent vegetables were planted in open fields. A small shelter would be in the center of the cucumber field (just large enough for 1 person) to till and guard it from folks who wanted to “help themselves.”

The key here is that the little “cottage” was only temporary. The structural integrity was not solid. When Isaiah likened the rebellious Israel to a “lodge in a garden of cucumbers,” he didn’t have anything against the cucumbers. He just noted Israel would soon be destroyed for their disobedience—just as the temporary shelter would be in a real garden of cucumbers.

The cucumbers weren’t bad themselves, but they did play a role in this analogy. The cucumbers are a warning as they represent worldliness: earthly pleasures, worship of idols, disobedience, unrighteousness, and every other thing God hates. If we plant ourselves in the middle of that field, till it, and take care of its crop, we’re just like Israel. We won’t find ourselves under a green thumb, but God’s—and He’s not going to help us grow at that point, but will destroy us.

We can’t take up residence in the middle of a cucumber garden. Don’t care for or protect the things of this world. Follow after God, His Word, and His plans. If that involves forsaking a cucumber, then do it. It’s not worth enduring His judgment and destruction.

Let’s be cautious we don’t find ourselves surrounded by cucumbers. If we do, it’s time to get out of the garden and find something else to eat.

Let it Go

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1–2, KJV).

Every day we need to ask ourselves a question: are we living our best life or a just-to-get-by life? Those of us who can admit that we’re living a just-to-get-by life have one problem. We cannot let go. Letting go is the key to having a good life, and living a life that God’s designed for us.

God has equipped His people with the power to let go of anything in life that God never designed for us to have, endure, etc. If we are too focused with “holding on,” we won’t be able to find the joy, peace, and other blessings God has already poured out in our life. If we let go, and follow the pathway God has outlined for our life, we can life the best life (Psalms 37:23).

God didn’t design us to carry things that bear us down. We’re designed to carry the anointing God has in our lives. If we would let go and give our cares to Jesus, we’ll be able to take upon His yoke; we’ll find out soon enough that it’s light (Matthew 11:28–30)!

A lot of times we get impatient with God and we want Him to take our weights from us, and do it now. But, we need to let go and let God complete His perfect work in our lives according to His time (Isaiah 49:8). The virtuous woman mentioned in Proverbs 31 rejoices in the future (Proverbs 31:25). When was the last time we gave our tomorrow to God? Just let go, and let God move as He sees fit.

Too many times we try to figure out what the weight is in our life instead of dropping it. It seems easier to carry the weight rather than let it go. But, today is the time to stop overcommitting our time, letting others make our decisions, seeking affirmation from others, comparing ourselves to other people, and a gambit of other reasons that bear significant weight in our lives. Let’s open the door for God to come in and transform us!

Through God, we can live the best life. He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). We all have a different weight that we try to carry, but until we get rid of it, we can’t have the relationship with Jesus we’re supposed to have. Are you ready to let go?

His Mission Should be Our Mission

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

Introduction

Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ (I Corinthians 11:1, KJV).

This week earmarks the start of a new series: The Imitation of Christ. The world is full of imitators—at the introduction of a successful invention or technology, immediately many people try to copy it. They share in the success of the invention if the original inventor didn’t patent it. Unlike the world, Jesus didn’t put a patent on being like Him.

Those who followed Christ in the book of Acts were known as Christians (Acts 11:26). This was a derogatory term, which Paul acknowledges, but goes on to speak the following regardless of what the world thought: Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ (I Corinthians 11:1). Paul wanted the church to imitate him as he imitated Christ. The goal of a Christian was to replicate Jesus (and not the world) until we become completely like Him (Ephesians 4:13).

His Mission Should be Our Mission

His Mission

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10, KJV).

Many of us don’t have a true understanding of what it means to be lost. God has a purpose and plan for every individual, which was in the mind of God long before the foundation of the world. When we don’t live out our spiritual purpose (function), we’re lost in God’s eyes. When God speaks of those who are lost, they are lost to Him.

Jesus aims to teach the church about caring for the lost in the story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1–10). Zacchaeus was a tax collector, and like his kind, took advantage of those from whom he collected a tax—charging extra and pocketing the rest. But, it was in the object-lesson of Zacchaeus when Jesus chose to reveal His mission for being on earth: to seek and save that which was lost.

A Powerful Mission

Jesus’ mission was so great we’re still talking about it some 2,000 years later. There were many great men and women in our history who had great and successful missions. But, years later, there aren’t too many people still trying to mimic him/her and/or carry out their mission. However, there are scores of people all across the globe still trying to carry out Jesus’ mission.

Jesus’ mission was so powerful because it was a transformational mission. It wasn’t just a change in an agenda, it transformed people’s lives. His mission is the only thing that transforms people into something else. If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creature (II Corinthians 5:17). Our new birth (life) experience comes through repentance, baptism in Jesus name, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost (Romans 6:4). All of these aspects literally change us into a new creature: someone who can have a relationship with God.

Fulfilling His Mission

The name Zacchaeus means righteous one. When Zacchaeus encountered Jesus, he was anything but righteous. However, Jesus believed his destiny could be fulfilled that day. This is why He walked into a specific place to save a soul. We need to have the same attitude when we look at the lost world today. Our purpose wasn’t just to be saved and transformed in Him, but to be used by Him to manifest His glory to the world. We must be a witness to him locally, regionally, nationally, and globally (Acts 1:8). He chose us long before the world began to fulfill His mission (Ephesians 1:4), and He’s given us His power to do it (Ephesians 1:13–14).

Seeing His Mission

In order to fulfill His mission, we must understand it. Jesus was teaching us, through His love of Zacchaeus, to value the one. There is more joy in Heaven over one sinner that repents than over 99 people who don’t need to repent (Luke 15:4–7). The mission of Christ is to take the time, and recognize the necessity of going after the one. We must pray God helps to change our mind and our vision to mimic His actions, plans, and priorities in this life. Our heart has to become His heart.

How to Value One Soul

Learn to Love

Love isn’t felt, it’s learned—it’s a decision we make. If we are to fulfill Jesus’ mission, we need to learn to love the lost. To practice love, we need to place ourselves in positions for God to teach us how to love the lost. We love through emulating compassion. We know our God is full of compassion (Psalms 78:38; 86:15; 112:4; 145:8), but are we? Do we have room in our lives to be compassionate toward others? Compassion needs to overtake our thoughts, actions, and priorities.

Today, we are rapidly slipping into a mindset where we are losing our conscious over souls who are lost. God is holding back His return so that no one should perish; His heart is still reaching (II Peter 3:9). God knows the end for people is an eternity away from Him in torment (II Thessalonians 1:7–9). We need to see the end for lost souls and have compassion on them. Our compassion will make a difference in their lives and in their eternal resting place (Jude 1:22–23)! We need to hate sin so badly and understand its effect on the human race. Sin is what separates us from God, and we need to actively help people get away from it. One way Jesus did this is by through love and compassion, and we need to do the same.

Seek Them Out

We need to look to ways to find and reach people—we must pay attention! Many of us are too focused on our own agendas and timetables that we disregard and/or don’t see those who are drowning in sin. Jesus was on His way to Jericho with His disciples when he came to the place where Zacchaeus was (Luke 19:5). The disciples didn’t initially understand the disruption of their journey, but Jesus had a plan. Jesus saw an opportunity and felt an obligation to reach Zacchaeus and save him from his sin. The stop wasn’t a distraction to Jesus. He tried to save a soul. We need to imitate Jesus and love people where they’re at and find them where they’re at in life. Helping a lost soul shouldn’t be a distraction to us, but an obligation as well.

Conclusion

We have no idea how many people will be impacted when we imitate Jesus and understand the value of reaching just one soul. After Zacchaeus’ encounter with Jesus, he promised to repay anyone he had cheated four times over (Luke 19:8–10). We don’t know the details of his next steps, but we can imagine the hundreds and possibly thousands of people he had cheated to whom he reconciled with. They saw a change in him after encountering Jesus. How were their lives changed because of it? We must imitate Christ and imitate His mission. It’s up to us if we’re going to follow.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on September 06, 2017 with Pastor Nave

Your Genetic Footprint

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

In our journey about spiritual footprints, we’ve learned how our footprints can leave lasting impressions for future generations, be a marker for ourselves indicating what we believe in, and can span out into a large surface area with much power and authority. As we close this series, we’ll see how our spiritual footprint is something that identifies: a genetic footprint.

We all have a genetic footprint known as our DNA. It identifies our personality, characteristics, strengths, weaknesses and feeds into what we look like, our height, and even how large our footprints will be. We get some of that DNA from each of our parents, and somehow, God decides which genetic DNA will be the dominant trait that manifests in our lives.

But, there’s another genetic footprint on us. Once it becomes imprinted on our lives, it will change us forever. That spiritual footprint, or genetic DNA, is of our Heavenly Father.

When we repent for our sins (die out to our flesh) and are buried in the name of Jesus in baptism, we rise from the water a new creature in Christ. But, we don’t just come forth with a new life, we arise from the water with His name (II Corinthians 5:17)!

Our new birth experience is the first step of entering God’s Kingdom and becoming a part of the Bride of Christ—the church. Just as an earthly bride takes on the name of her groom, the church takes on the name of her Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, in baptism.

And, when we complete our salvation’s promise and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38), being born of the water and Spirit (John 3:5), our Father’s DNA gets imprinted on us with the infilling of His Spirit:

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father (Romans 8:15, KJV, emphasis added).

When we have the Spirit of God living in us, He changes our spiritual footprint. He helps us to look like Him, talk like Him, walk like Him, and be like Him in every way. We emulate characteristics from our Spiritual Father because we have His DNA!

When we have this experience in Jesus, we’ll never be the same. His touch will change us forever: on earth from a sinner to a child of God, and eventually from mortal to immortality with Him in Heaven (I Corinthians 15:51–52).

The most important spiritual footprint we can have in life is the one that lives inside of us. It is the spiritual (genetic) footprint that directs all other footprints we make in this life—it will determine the impressions we make, the lasting effects/impacts, the surfaces we reach, and the power we have.

Before we take another step, before we consider any impacts, let’s start at the core of our spiritual footprint. We need God’s DNA—the Holy Ghost—in our lives to accomplish anything, and to be what He wants us to be.

What’s your next footprint going to be?