Archive for the ‘influence’ Category

The last book of the Old Testament is rich with relevant counsel for Christians.

A couple of verses in chapter 2 of Malachi are of particular interest since they describe what I know God has called me to do.

And not just because I’m a pastor.

These are words that describe the ministry to which God as called every Christian:

The purpose of my covenant with the Levites was to bring life and peace, and that is what I gave them. This required reverence from them, and they greatly revered Me and stood in awe of My name. They passed on to the people the truth of the instructions they received from Me. They did not lie or cheat; they walked with Me, living good and righteous lives, and they turned many from lives of sin.” (vv. 5-6)

Wow. What a wonderful legacy that the Levites had left as described by Malachi 2.

I want to live this kind of life.

I want to leave a legacy like this.

And so I need to live with reverence and worship with awe, passing onto others the truths of the Bible as I commit myself to righteous living.

It is then that I will be more effective in turning others’ lives from sin.

Please…. join with me in this call from God as we head into a new year.

So many need to experience His grace and peace and power as part of a new life.

As always, I love you

Read Full Post »

If you have a spiritual mentor who is still living, please consider sending him or her a note of thanks for the influence he or she has had in your life.

It will definitely make the day into a rich blessing for him or her.

After all, if you received a note of appreciation from someone you pointed toward the Lord many years ago, wouldn’t you rejoice and praise the Lord who used you?

I’m thinking now of a pastor who influenced me many years ago and who is in the final chapters of his earthly life. I need to send him a thank you note and tell him that I’m praying for him and his mentally fading bride.

It’s the right thing for me to do.

I pray that you’ll do the right thing for one who led you closer to the Lord and His purposes for your life.

What prompted this idea this morning?

Check out what the Apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Thessalonica, people he had led to the Lord and whom he had taught the Word of God.

“It gives us new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord.” (I Thessalonians 3:8)

Paul was thrilled when he heard that some of his spiritual children were tight with God.

Your mentor will be thrilled and renewed, as well, when he or she hears that you’re tight with God.

As always, I love you

Read Full Post »

If you had a several kids in your car and, because of recurring nausea, you weren’t able to finish driving the curvy, mountainous roads between your destination, would you pull into a restaurant and ask just anybody to get behind the wheel while you rode with eyes closed and stomach in knots?

Of course not. If you had to resort to such a desparate move to get home for the evening, you’d certainly be careful to make sure that the person was a competent driver who took instructions well.

Failure to be careful could lead to tragedy for all.

You see, we have to be careful about how our lives are steered.

If we’re not, bad things can — and sometimes do — happen.

This is particularly true with respect to who is steering our hearts.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (Proverbs 4:23)

Who influences your heart?

Who do you allow to steer your values on issues of morality? Of theology? Of patterns for emotional intimacy?

Who do you turn to for advice on family relationships?

Who is your mentor when it comes to workplace attitudes and behaviors?

Is there a role model for you who is plugged into the Word of God?

You’ve heard the phrase, “Garbage in, garbage out.”

This is absolutely true with respect to the heart.

We’ve all seen it in others’ lives and we’ve unfortunately experienced it periodically in our own.

Let’s be careful to allow only those people surrendered to the Lord to be on the list of those allowed to give us directions for the journey of life.

Test everything.

If it’s something Jesus would allow into His heart, then it’s something that we can allow into ours.

If He wouldn’t accept an idea or behavior because it’s ungodly, then we shouldn’t, either.

How can you know what Jesus would allow into His heart?

Read the gospels.

It will do your heart good.

And the course of your life just might change for the better.

As always, I love you

Read Full Post »

We can lead a horse to water but we can’t make him drink.

It’s a fact-based figure of speech that some of us have have literally experienced.

How many times have we given advice to a person that would make their lives easier, but they just won’t accept it?

Too many.

But, of course, God can say the same thing about us.

The fact is that our love for others should stir us to steer others toward the Living Water of God’s Word.

We can’t make them drink, but perhaps we can prompt them to think.

The confluence of the Holy Spirit’s convicting influence, the self-evident truth of scripture and the integrity-based example that we portray just might lead our unsaved relative or friend to genuinely consider his or her need for repentance and Jesus as Savior.

As Paul wrote in I Corinthians, one person plants the gospel seed, another waters it with loving encouragement and personal example, but it is only God who triggers spiritual transformation as in “providing the increase.”

This is the point of Jesus’ words to Peter recorded in today’s reading from the One-Year Bible.

“Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

“Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.’ (Matthew 16:16-17)

Let’s do our best to provide Gospel seeds. Let’s provide good spiritual examples.

Let’s remember, though, to pray for conversions as our best strategy. Why? Because the spiritual awakening of the heart to the reality of Christ as Messiah is something that only God can bring about, not us.

As always, I love you

Read Full Post »