Your Joy Shall Be Full

Your Joy Shall Be Full

Darkness brings sin and heartache (Psalm 107:10–12), but God is light (1 John 1:5) and brings joy to all those who walk in his light (v. 7). The key to faithful Christian living is to walk in His light. This doesn’t mean that we will not sin, for all have sinned and continue to fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23), but it means that we do not give ourselves over to sin (Romans 6:12–14). Every day we give in to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, or the pride of life (1 John 2:16). But do not get up in the morning and say, “Well, I am going to sin anyway so I might as well do it.” No! The faithful Christian realizes that he has a Savior who paid the price for our sins and when we sin we acknowledge it, repent, and ask God, through His Son, to forgive us.

Every morning we ask God to help us be faithful to Him today and when we lay down at night we ask Him to give us the strength to be more like His Son and to live faithfully for Him tomorrow. Knowing Him means keeping his commandments and walking even as He walked.

Walking with God as Enoch did, being obedient and walking by faith (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5–6), on a daily basis, is the only way to ensure that Jesus take us home to live with Him for eternity when He returns. What does that look like? Con-tinuing to study and grow in your knowledge of His Word, being ever vigilant in prayer, worshipping regularly, associating yourself with other faithful brethren, loving God and each other, sharing the Good News with those who are lost. How are you doing in these areas. Where is there room for improvement? Are you faithful?

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Matthew 13 – Salt of the Earth

Matthew 13 – Salt of the Earth

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

Matthew 5:13

Are you the preservative, the flavor,  the distinction of the Church of Christ?

Are you the preservative, the flavor, the distinction of the Church of Christ?

Salt is basically good for two things:  enhancing the flavor of food and preservation.  If Jesus considers his disciples to be “the salt of the earth,” that basically means that we make the world flavorful for God, and thus preserve it (keep it in existence longer.)

Think about this, Christian.  Your obedience to the gospel helps make this world more tasteful to God.  He has delayed ending the world in order to give you and everyone else around you time to repent (2 Pet. 3:9-10).  That’s how much he loves you.

There’s something else to consider, however.  What do we do with food that has a taste of which we don’t approve?  We first spit it out of our mouths, and then we throw it out.  Do we want God to do that with us?  If you are “lukewarm,” that is, a Christian-In-Name-Only, a so-called “disciple” who shows up at church on Sunday and lives a sinful, worldly life throughout the rest of the week, God will do exactly that:  “spit you out of my mouth” (Rev. 3:15-16).  That’s why Jesus gives us that warning about being “thrown out” (Matt. 5:13b).

What kind of salt are you?  The kind that makes this world tasteful to God and thus preserves it…or the kind that has lost its taste and is about to be thrown out?  The choice is yours (Josh. 24:15).

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Snow White and the Church of Christ

Snow White and the “Seven Churches”

In a recent conversation, a friend described his experience in visiting a congregation as attending the “Sleepy” Church of Christ. As I thought about this, I thought how so many of the names of the seven dwarfs could be applied to congregations today. Those seven dwarfs are: Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy and Dopey. Think about how many of these names could be applied to some Christians you know.

Do you attend the Sleepy Church of Christ?

Do you attend the Sleepy Church of Christ?

First impressions are so important. I do not know when during the visit my friend began thinking of that congregation as a sleepy church, but each of us should always be aware that the first impression made on visitors can impact the impression they have of a congregation as they leave. What is the impression this church makes on visitors? More importantly, what impression do they form of this church when they first meet you?

God did not intend for the church to be “sleepy.” When the church assembles for worship, there should be an air of joy, excitement and anticipation that something special is about to happen. Every person should realize that the attention of heaven is about to be focused on worshipers. There should be prayers which exalt God. There should be singing that comes from the hearts and brings visual joy to faces of those who are praising Jehovah. There should be an atmosphere of deep reverence as every member focuses together on Christ and the cross during communion.  As we give, we should reflect the fact that we are cheerfully seeing how our offerings are used by God to do His work. Then, there should be preaching that shows the genuine sincerity of those who preach and those who listen. Worship must never be “sleepy.”

Which name of which dwarf describes you? The list is not exhaustive by any means, for there are many positive words which describe most Christians I know. However, have you ever known a Christian or visited a congregation which could be described as “Grumpy”? What about a Christian or congregation who were so “Bashful” they never revealed the glorious family of God? What about a Christian or church whose failure to study His word caused them to be “Dopey”?

I am not sure exactly what happened or did not happen which caused my friend to visit with the bride of Jesus and walk away with the impression he did. I am sure that each of us needs to see that we do our part of revealing true Christianity in all we do when we assemble.

The words of Paul seem so appropriate. “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep…” (Rom. 13:11).

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