The one thing most people want in this world is joy. But, sadly, many will go through life and never experience it. Some have made a habit of ruining joy by always looking on the dark side of life. Others have confused joy with fun, and so always seem to come up short. They think that if they are not having fun they cannot be joyful. Somehow they miss the fact that Paul wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice” from the dark, dampness of a Roman prison. (Phil. 4:4). Surely he wasn’t having much fun, but it didn’t stop his joy in the Lord. Genuine joy comes from understanding four things. When we develop these in our lives, joy naturally follows.
1. REALIZE YOU ARE LOVED BY GOD With God on our side, what else do we need? (Romans 8:31)
2. KNOW YOU ARE FORGIVEN Why carry guilt around like a large boulder weighing us down? Learn that God has forgiven and that will restore the joy of salvation. (Psalm 53:12)
3. TRUST GOD’S CARE The world knows no joy because it is overwhelmed by fear. Some are fearing the effects of “global warming” while others fear a coming ice age. But the Christian knows God is in charge, and he’s on our side.
4. LIVE BY GOD’S STANDARDS The Prodigal Son ruined his joy when he left his father’s home, and insisted on living by his own rules. He chose wrong activities and paid the price. Living by God’s rules does not eliminate joy, it creates it. The word “joy” or “rejoice” is used over 600 times in the Bible, about once every two chapters. Our joy and happiness is important to God, and he tells us how to achieve it. “Rejoice always.” (I Thess. 5:16)
What you share online reveals a lot about your thinking. Whether it is angry, passive-aggressive, political, religious, personal, or news-oriented, you’re probably sharing it because you’re thinking about it. Here are 8 questions we all need to ask before we share or post something online.
Paul writes in Philippians 4:8,
Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
If these are the things we should be thinking about, then before hitting the “share” button, we should probably ask ourselves:
1. Is it true?
When we share information that isn’t true, we hurt our credibility. Check it out before you post it. Just because you want it to be true, does not make it true.
2. Is it honorable?
This word can also be translated as “noble” or “dignified.” Anything that has the potential to embarrass you – or embarrass the church – ought not to be posted.
3. Is it just?
This word might also be translated, “righteous” or “right.” Can you post this “by faith” (Romans 14:23), knowing that this is a righteous thing to post? If you’re not sure, don’t post it.
4. Is it pure?
Some of the photos and websites Christians share are absolutely appalling! If it isn’t “G” rated, you probably shouldn’t post it.
5. Is it lovely?
There is far too much “ugliness” going on in the world. Christians certainly don’t need to let their minds dwell on all the ugliness and negativity, much less perpetuate it by sharing words and pictures that are rude and ugly.
6. Is it commendable (admirable)?
Think about the people you’ve admired in your life. Is this something they would share online? More importantly, based on Scripture, can you honestly say the Lord would “commend” you for posting it?
7. Is it excellent?
We live in a busy and distracting world. Many things that pop into our minds or flash across our screens are not helpful, beneficial, or excellent. Don’t waste your time and your energy on these things.
8. Is it praise-worthy?
Is this something you should really be thinking about right now? Is this something for which the Lord would praise you? Would He would say, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” as you share this with your friends and followers?
There is certainly a lot of stuff online that is not worthy of your time and energy. Only let your mind dwell on things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praise-worthy. If you do, it will be reflected in what you share online. - borrowed
While spiritual gifts have ceased and are no longer needed or possessed by Christians today (1 Corinthians 13:8-12), that which is still needed greatly and abiding deeply within all faithful Christians are faith, hope and love (13:13). Have you ever considered how these impact a Christian’s life today, including our attendance at Bible class and worship services?
How does your FAITH impact your church attendance? How strong is your faith? How deep is your faith? In whom have you placed your faith? Is your faith in the Almighty God? Is your faith in the resurrected Lord?
Christians are reminded, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe…” (Hebrews 11:6). What could you do on Sundays and Wednesdays to make your faith stronger? To make your faith deeper? To show the Almighty God and resurrected Lord your faith is truly in them? How is your faith expressed by your attendance?
How does your HOPE impact your church attendance? How firm is your hope? How alive is your hope? In whom is your hope founded? Is your hope steadfastly anchored in God and the heavenly abode? Is the resurrected Christ in you, the hope of your glory?
Christians are encouraged, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering…firm to the end” (Hebrews 10:23; 3:6). What could you do on Sundays and Wednesdays to revive your hope? To strengthen the hold of your hope? To ground your hope more firmly and more deeply in your Savior’s love? How is your hope expressed by your attendance?
How does your LOVE impact your church attendance? How fervent is your love for the Lord? How committed is your love? Does your love for the Lord engulf your entire being/life?
Christians are commanded, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27). What could you do on Sundays and Wednesdays to make your love more fervent? More committed? How is your love expressed by your attendance?
Church attendance is not about you...it’s not about the church...it’s not about who else is there. Church attendance is, like every other Christian endeavor and Christian responsibility, about one’s faith, hope and love in God!
One cannot read the book of Acts without being impressed with the rapid growth of the church after her establishment. We see the church growing spiritually and numerically. Both are important! God wants His church to grow. The purpose of this article is to not to promote a particular method, but to suggest a couple of areas on which we must focus if we want to see the church grow. Let me suggest first that we must develop a mind to grow. I am afraid that Satan has convinced us that people aren’t interested and there is little or nothing that we can do to change that. If the church is going to grow we must truly believe that it can. We must believe that God is still able to do amazing things through His church. Do we still believe Rom. 1:16? Do we still believe Matt. 11:28-30? Do we believe that Jesus is the answer to the problems of life? Do we really believe that people are lost without the gospel? We need to develop the passion that Christ, the Apostles and the early church had for the lost. Secondly, we must have the proper message: It was a message that included the whole counsel of God. (Acts 20:27) The message of the early church was Christ centered, convicted men of sin, called them to repentance and then provided the solution for sin. Furthermore, it challenged false religions. It challenged people to make sacrifices for the cause of Christ. It was an uncompromising message. It did not reach out and embrace every religious vies and lifestyle. There was an exclusiveness about the message that made it appear “narrow minded” to many who heard it (Acts 4:12). It was a message of good news centering on Christ and especially the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. People need the good news. They need to know that Jesus loves us, left the glories of heaven, died a horrible death on the cross and conquered death that we might have the good life now and eternal life in the end. Finally; It was a proclaimed message. Early Christians went everywhere preaching the word (Acts 8:4) They had the “good news” and they wanted the world to hear it! They felt compelled to proclaim it (Acts 4:19-20; 8:4). We live in difficult times and reaching people with the gospel is not easy, but if we will develop the mind to grow taking the message of Christ to all who will listen, the church can still grow! May God help to not allow Satan to discourage us and convince us not to grow, but to practice these biblical principles and allow God to work through us and His Word.
-Steve Snyder (edited for space)
I once baptized a 70 year-old man who had learned the truth as a teen but had never obeyed the gospel. For more than 50 years he had lived a life of guilt, anxiety and fear - knowing that he was lost. So many people believe they can postpone their decision to follow Jesus. You will never find peace in your life until you resolve the matter of your soul’s salvation. Postponing important decisions often leads to tragic results. A person who is sick can put off going to the doctor until it is too late to be cured. A person who is lost can put off coming to Christ until it is too late to be saved. Many will be lost because of indecision. You may say “I haven’t yet decided about becoming a Christian.” But in reality, you have already decided - you’ve said no. The fact that you don’t want to admit it, shows that you know that your decision is wrong. There are many reasons why you should become a Christian - Today.
BECAUSE LIFE IS SHORT Those who put off their obedience make a dangerous assumption - that they will have more opportunities. But, “we know not what will be tomorrow. For, what is your life? It is a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:14)
BECAUSE DEATH IS CERTAIN Solomon said “the living know that they shall die.” So do we - we just don’t know when.
BECAUSE HEAVEN AWAITS THOSE WHO ARE SAVED “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for those that love Him.” (I Cor. 2:19)
BECAUSE HELL AWAITS THOSE WHO ARE NOT God does not wish for anyone to perish, but for all to repent. (II Peter 3:9) He will, however, take vengeance on those who do not obey the gospel. (II Thes. 1:8)
BECAUSE THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS THE BEST LIFE ONE CAN LIVE Follow Jesus and you will know true joy, peace, and happiness. The choice is yours, “but for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)