Bible Study faith Knowing God

1 Timothy: Spiritual Fitness

Tonight we have exercise class at church. I really love the fellowship and fun with my church family, but my body absolutely dreads it.

I realize how important exercise is for my heart and my muscles. I know how necessary exercise is for effective body function. I know how crucial it is, and still…

I don’t like pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I don’t like stretching beyond my limits.  I don’t like being uncomfortable.

My battle for physical fitness wages on.

But I wonder how often you and I consider our spiritual fitness?

But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness.  For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. – 1 Timothy 4:7-8  

Paul urges Timothy to exercise himself towards godliness because godliness is valuable for all areas of life, whether physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual. Godliness strengthens us, not only for this life, but for eternity.

While there are many similarities between physical and spiritual fitness, physical fitness only leads to a physical outward transformation. But spiritual fitness leads to a divine inward transformation which also shines through in our outward speech, attitude, and behavior.

Every person has the exact same number of muscles. However, some have exercised to develop, stretch, and enhance those muscles. Romans 12:3 tells us that God has given every believer a measure of faith. Like our muscles, we are able to exercise, develop, and stretch our God-given gift of faith.  Even the smallest amount of faith is much in the hands of God!

Imagine God’s gym. God’s desire is to train us, strengthen us, and grow us to become more like Jesus. God uses everything in life, every circumstance and every relationship, as the gym equipment to make us fit.

Our fitness trainer is the Holy Spirit. He knows us inside out – our strengths, our weaknesses, and our potential. He knows exactly how much weight we are able to lift and carry. He knows exactly how much potential we have to endure. He knows exactly how much strength we need right now in order to face the trials ahead of us. He motivates us when we are lazy. He encourages us when we are weary.

Our fitness plan includes resistance training. God places us in uncomfortable circumstances that shift us out of our comfort zone in order to purge us of pride, arrogance, and self-reliance.

He also offers strength training, strategically weighing us with burdens that force us to stretch our faith and seek Him in confidence.

God puts us through endurance training – encouraging us to run our individual race at our own pace. We need endurance to keep standing and pressing forward in faith when times are hard.

With diligence, effort, and consistency, in His time, we are being transformed. With physical exercise, our desire is to look like a better us. With spiritual exercise, our desire is to become more like Him.  As we press forward, we gradually shed more and more of ourselves, while we gain more and more of Him.

Godliness does not come easily. It isn’t always comfortable. The path doesn’t always lead to instant gratification. It stretches us in areas we never expected. However, the reward for sacrificing everything for Jesus brings eternal joy and far outweighs the fleeting happiness of anything else this world offers.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – Isaiah 40:29-31

A believer’s greatest privilege is to present our bodies and our lives to God to be used by Him. The key to victory is to simply surrender all that we are and all that we are not to God.

I despise exercise, but I love the Lord. So each day, I choose to surrender all my ‘can’ts’ and ‘won’ts’ to Him. In exchange, He lovingly equips me with new mercy, unlimited power, and increasing strength to remain in His will.

Our battle for spiritual fitness wages on.

In what circumstance is God exercising your faith? How can we pray for you as you passionately pursue godliness?

Bible Study

1 Timothy: Godly Character

When Paul left Timothy as a pastor in the Ephesian church, the young man was forced to deal with some hard issues that had cropped up among the people of God. And even though Paul was planning on visiting soon, his heart was so heavy for the people of this church that he wrote everything down and sent it to Timothy as a letter.

A part of Paul’s concern was how these Christians were conducting themselves as the church. Christian character and conduct mattered to Paul. But have you ever wondered why it is so important? Is it really that big of a deal to follow a bunch of rules?

Whether we follow Jesus or the world, we are held to rules and a standard of living. Murder, stealing, lying, cheating, and abuse of various kinds are universally unacceptable. But for the world they are unacceptable because they cause chaos, disrupting the peaceful life that people long for. Much of the world’s reasoning is driven by self-love instead of God-love.

1 Timothy 6:6-16 New King James Version (NKJV)

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

The Good Confession

11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, 15 which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.

As Christians we have a code of conduct that we are called to – not because of what we can get out of it – but because of who God is, and who we are as His people.

When God commands us to not steal but share generously, this is because He is a God of generosity who never takes what isn’t His. When God calls us to love sacrificially or forgive completely, it is because this is what He does. 

What God does stems from His very nature. And when God calls us to holy living, it is not only because He is holy, but because we are now His holy people, cleansed and declared to be righteous in God’s sight through the work of His Son, Jesus. 

Once we were people who were driven by self. Now we have been saved to be a people driven by love for God and others. The call to right living according to God’s standards is a call to godliness. Godliness is like God-like-ness. We are called to reflect the God who saved us, provides for us, hears us, loves us, and changes us.

Ultimately, true godliness is seen in Jesus. He is the “mystery of godliness” because once He had been hidden, but now He took on flesh and is godliness personified, and His godliness is credited to us. This is what gives us good standing before our God. And this standing gives us the freedom to obey our Lord.

As Christians and as the Church we are to conduct ourselves in a manner that shows our changed heart, our gratitude for our salvation, and our love for the One who died for us.

Bible Study Knowing God Living in the Spirit

1 Timothy: Leadership Matters

Daniel and I have been married ten years now, but I still remember all the excitement and anxiousness that lead up to the wedding. We were getting close to the day and had completed the marriage counseling program. We were pretty sure we were ready to take on the world. I mean, we had Jesus, each other, and the cutest little ring bearer(Jackson) that you ever did see. I’m sure we should have felt the weight of this monumental undertaking more than we did, but we were young, naive, and mostly too busy gleefully skipping our way to the altar hand-in-hand to notice that we were slightly distracted by the fanfare of it all.

As part of our final preparation before our wedding day, My Grandfather Arlis Banks was going to perform the wedding and wished to counsel us himself. What we originally looked at as a formal counseling requirement ended up being a life-changing model for our marriage.

From the second we entered their home, we could see and feel the love in this household. Immediately we could feel the warmth of their home that overflowed with so much love and life. We were welcomed to their table where we would hang on their every word over a warm pot of stew. The conversation was natural yet intentional, covering the full spectrum of hilarious marriage moments to their deepest trials. They shared how they grew in love and learned to respect each other’s unique roles and gifts; how they constantly ran to God and His Word together to find wisdom in managing everything from their money to their tempers. We listened to their sincere and humble prayers, their gentle instruction to their children, and their honoring words for one another. We heard how they forgave each other, we watched how they served each other, and we took note of all the ways they incorporated Jesus into every aspect of their lives.

And we walked out of that house different people, knowing that we had been led to God.

Time spent with this one church leader and his wife in their home revealed the real-deal gospel at work in their lives – something that they had become solidly known for over the years. It’s no wonder Paul takes great care to instruct Timothy that a church overseer must know how to manage his own home. “If a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?” (1 Timothy 3:5).

Leadership matters, because leadership models. Paul knows that there’s no way a church leader can effectively lead a congregation to God, to holy living, and to reaching the lost for Christ if he is not proven in leading with excellence in his very own home. God’s Word requires that church overseers are “above reproach” – not perfect – but solid in essential character traits that shine first in the most intimate, personal spaces. On the other hand, leaders who live in hypocrisy to the standards outlined in 1 Timothy 3 can quickly compromise the trust and spiritual growth of individual members, as well as the reputation and credibility of the church as a whole. Leadership matters in light of the gospel.

Would you pray and thank God for your church leaders today, and then commit to regularly praying for them as they seek to lead you to God? Let’s also commit to constantly growing in personal godliness, so that we too can impact lives around us by the way we use our God-given gifts and model real, consistent gospel-centered living.

Bible Study faith

1 Timothy: Desire to See People be Saved

We live in a time where the news and those on social media like to tell us we only care about our own. Forcing a narrative that we only care about those who look like us, speak like us and live where we live.  However, we are seeing truth emerging through inspiring stories of people around the world and here at home.

I see people I know and love picking up there lives and family’s lives to move somewhere new and unknown to spread the truth of the Gospel.

I often see reports of fighting and discontentment in the news. And then something happens; a hurricane, flood, earthquake or etc. And you see people helping strangers. Not because they want to be seen as a hero,but because it is the right thing to do.

This past week I’ve seen what a group of people can do when they unite around helping each other. When they focus together to solve problems, save lives and restore what was lost.

Yes, we live in a fallen, evil, painful world. There is no doubt about that, but even in the darkest…God is always there, working through His people.

And I just wonder, what if we all stepped up and united around verses like 1 Timothy 2:4… “who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth…”

What if we united around reaching those in the swirling flood waters of unbelief? What if we purposefully made a point to reach out with our love, our time, and God’s Truth to those who don’t look, sound or live like us?

What if?

Imagine what God could do through a group of women with that focus, with that passion and that desire to reach others with God’s Truth…so that none will perish in the flood waters of unbelief.

“All men” in 1 Timothy 2:4 doesn’t mean only those who look like us, sound like us or have our same citizenship. “All men” means men, women, children from all races, all languages and all nations.

For we know in Revelations 7:9
“…I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb…”

God desires for ALL men and women to be saved through Jesus Christ…not just those who look like us, sound like us and live where we live.

And so I’m reminded of all the stories of these brave men and women in Houston who risked their lives to help save the lives of others…regardless of their differences, as they entered the danger to bring light and hope to those who were perishing.

We are all called to do the same.

Because I don’t want us just to read 1 Timothy 2:4I want us to LIVE this verse out.

Taking 1 Timothy 2:4 to heart and equipping and training these amazing people to go out and be a catalyst of change using God’s Word to reach those who are drowning in their flood waters of unbelief. Sharing the life-saving truth found in 1 Timothy 2:5...that there is only one way to God…through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Pray with us because it takes you and it takes me each working together as the Body of Christ, praying, serving, and giving what we can to accomplish what only He can.

Together let’s work on putting 1 Timothy 2:4 into action and enter the flood waters…arm-in-arm, prayer by prayer, reaching, searching and helping…just like Jesus did for us.

“who gave himself as a ransom for all men…” 1 Timothy 2:6 

Because God desires ALL people, men, women, children from every region of the world to be saved and to know Him. Yet, we live in a world that shouts that there are many ways to God. As children of the King, we know this isn’t true. There is only one way to God: through Jesus Christ. Jesus gave His life for this mission. He is the Rescuer for which our hearts long. His mission needs to become our mission…His desires our own, because no one is outside of God’s mercy.

One woman, one community…one nation at a time. 

Friends, the flood waters are rising and it’s time to jump in and help out!

What are some ways you can put 1 Timothy 2:4 into action in your life? What part of this amazing gospel story has God equipped you to play?

Bible Study faith Fight Like a Girl Freedom

1 Timothy: Fight the Good Fight

Have you ever felt worn out while trying to live the Christian life? I have. There are times when doing what is right, going against the flow of culture, and living by faith is downright exhausting. But this is not how it’s supposed to be, and I can see that my problem is not my own weakness, but my attempt to live this life apart from the wisdom and strength God provides.

1 Timothy 1:18-19 

18 Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.

Paul encourages Timothy, and the rest of us, to fight the good fight and to not shipwreck our faith, as some had done.

It looks like Timothy is a young pastor, possibly just recently ordained. Paul is telling Timothy to remember the truths that were spoken to him during his ordination. While we don’t have a transcript of what was said, we know that it was in accordance with the gospel and that those words gave the strength young Timothy needed during stormy times.

Paul uses two different kinds of metaphors. One is of a military nature and one is nautical. His point is that we need to be good warriors as well as good sailors.


As a warrior we have two jobs. One is to fight against those things that are contrary to God’s Word and His honor. The world calls us to come and rest in her comforts and to amass her fortunes. She tells us to accept her philosophies in order to find joy, and to link arms with those who oppose God. But comfort is not found in stuff, and our value and dignity cannot be found in the world, but only in our relationship with Jesus. We are to fight against lies and injustice, perversion and evil.

But we also have to fight against all those same things that lurk in our own hearts. We are tempted to disbelieve God and we must fight that impulse. We are tempted to dishonor God by being lazy, unkind, thoughtless, or greedy and we must fight.

The second job we have as warriors is to fight for the gospel; to fight for righteousness and goodness and truth. It is not enough to speak out against what is wrong, but to speak clearly for what is right, and to then follow such words with holy actions.

But we must always fight with love and grace because this is how the Captain of Armies interacts with us and we are to be like our Captain.


The second charge Paul gives us is to make sure we don’t shipwreck our faith. We believe that once you are saved you cannot lose your salvation. The sacrifice of Christ cannot be undone, the pardon cannot be taken back, and our adoption as children of God cannot be made void. Our salvation is secure, but we are capable of weakening and even wrecking our faith to the point of bringing shame on the name of God and earthly consequences to ourselves.

In order to be a good sailor we need knowledge and wisdom. We need to know how to spot false teachings that cause harm to people’s souls. We need to be able to distinguish between truth and error. We need to learn how to sail through different kinds of water, whether still, choppy, or turbulent. All of this knowledge and wisdom can only come through the study of God’s Word and communion with God through prayer.

Through all of this we need to remember that we cannot be strong warriors or smart sailors on our own. If you rely on your own strength you will become overwhelmed, fearful, worn out, and ready to give up very quickly. We must rely on the power and strength that God offers us on a daily basis.

Confess your weaknesses, ask for help, trust that God will answer, and watch him work in your life.

Bible Study Broken faith Knowing God Uncategorized

1 Timothy: It’s Never Too Late to Turn Around and Try Again

Many times I have had a sit down talk with Jackson; made him look into my eyes and said, “God still loves you, buddy. He will never, ever stop loving you.”

This boy of mine has a hard time remembering this. His sin is ever before him – that thorn in his side that has the potential to be his greatest gift when it’s channeled God’s way. But man, that fine line. Sometimes it only takes a split second for his passions to get derailed and take him down a road that he wishes he didn’t travel.

Me too, boy. Me too.

But oh, how he loves Jesus. He’s the same one I found crying in the middle of the night – not sick or scared – but weeping because he couldn’t get over the cross and what Jesus had done for him. Jesus gave for him, the one who loves so much and lives so passionately, but feels like he gets it wrong so often.

You need to know that I get it, Jack. It’s not just you…

He needs to hear that God isn’t looking for perfection. He’s looking for a heart fully surrendered. Jesus came not just for the murderers and thieves. He came for the proud, the gossip, the money lover, and for every last hidden thought and motive that makes us cringe at the thought of exposure. He came for the ones who thought they only needed Him from afar; for the ones who thought that with enough striving they could get by on their own.

You can stop striving, son. 

Instead… abide.Remember that it’s not about the perfect cover up. It’s about exposing our need to His perfect solution. We can search and try and look in a million other places, but nothing else will ever satisfy like Jesus. He loves like no other, He forgives like no other, He provides peace and hope and joy and freedom like no other. No more exhaustion on your own strength, boy. Lean in close and rest in the embrace of the One who has already done it all.

Listen, you’re not too far gone.

Don’t you dare listen to those lies. Jesus’s mercy transforms what the world calls too broken. His grace overflows, smoothing the rough edges and channeling our thorns into great purpose and humble service for Him… if we’ll only let Him. His power equips the weak and strengthens the weary for the task. God uses the most unlikely because our stories reveal His glory.

So son, turn your pride into praise.

It’ll never be about performance. Instead, let your life be marked by worship for the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Worthy is that  Lamb – Friend to sinners; the One who rescued you and refines you; the One who never, ever changes. Embrace His amazing grace, and then make Him the hero of your story.

“I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service,though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Timothy 1:12-14

Girl, now it’s your turn.

You’re not too far gone. Oh, no. In fact, you’re just getting started…

Bible Study

Compassion. Where has it gone?

The word compassion means: a deep awareness and sympathy of the sufferings of another. I n addition to having the sorrow that is felt for the suffering of others, it is a willingness and an urge to assist them. The word actually means to do something about feeling sorry, to be affected by their situation. It is to enter into one’s sorrow and pain. When we feel true compassion, we will be moved inwardly. Having empathy; to have one’s heart reach out toward the needs of others. To be compassionate, to pity; to be kindhearted. It means to be tenderhearted; to be sensitive and affectionate, to be moved with tender feelings over the pain and sufferings of others.

We are told by Peter to be united in brotherly love. He means there should be no fussing and arguing within the Lord’s body. Also in Mark 5:21-43 we read of Jesus healing the woman with the issue of blood and raising to life again the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue. The Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated His great power with His enormous compassion. His death was motivated by compassion, as was His power over nature and evil spirits.

I Peter 3:8-9(NKJV)

All of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.

There are many examples given in the Bible where we read of Jesus’ compassion. His compassion was shown for a demon-possessed man who lived among tombs. People such as He were considered unclean by rabbis of the day. Polite society avoided them. Our Lord reached out and helped those he encountered who were in need. He had compassion for a diseased woman, and for a dead girl’s family.

In Job 6:1-30 we are told how compassion can go beyond words. Job said that his friend Eliphaz’s advice was like eating the tasteless white of an egg. This shows us how bad counsel is distasteful when someone is going through a severe trial. Inside they are upset, even though they may listen quietly and politely. We should be slow in giving advice to those who are hurting. Many times they often need compassion more than they need advice.

In Mark 2:1-12 we read of the paralytic’s need and how it moved his friends to action. The action they took was to bring their friend to Jesus. There are many people who have both physical and spiritual needs you can meet or help meet. This can be done by yourself or with others who also are concerned. We see how the human need moved his four friends to action, may it also move you to an action that is compassionate.

Our Lord God is compassionate. A ray of hope was seen in all of the sin and sorrow surrounding him by Jeremiah. Lamentations 3:22 “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.” When we ask, the Lord will willingly respond. God’s steadfast love and mercy are greater than any sin in your life, and the Lord promises forgiveness. We sing a song that contains words that apply here. Some of the words are – “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end….”

Jesus Christ took the term a step further. He used it to help illustrate the attitude that should capture the life of every believer. In the parable of the unforgiving servant, the master had compassion and forgave the servant’s debt. This is told in Matthew 18:27. We also see where the prodigal son’ s father had compassion on him ( Luke 15: 20 ). The parable of the Good Samaritan who had compassion on the injured traveler is told in Luke 10:33. The Lord had compassion on the crowd (Mark 6:34).

This compassion will stand ready to assist the one who is sorrowing. Paul preached that God is the source of all the believer’s ability for showing true compassion. In Colossians. 3:12 we see “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering.”

There has been so much mercy that God has had upon us. The one thing we need do is to show mercy unto others. Pity and compassion should overflow our hearts for the poor, aged, lost, lonely, wayward, hungry, empty, orphaned, diseased, hungry, unclothed and hurting. The list could go on and on, of course. The important point is for us to see is that the believer no longer has a right to overlook the needy of the world.

We as Christians should reach out and try to help others through their suffering.

Our Lord God is revealed clearly as a God full of compassion. This extends to the entire human race, which He effected not only a temporal, but a spiritual and eternal deliverance by giving up His own Son to the death of the cross. This was done in order to save us from sin, with its consequences. It is seen in that Jesus Christ died for the sins of all mankind. Therefore, all who are Christians must necessarily cultivate compassion and show mercy. This is to be shown just as He is merciful. Christianity needs to always be compassionate

There is also the compassion of humans told of in the Scriptures. In Matthew 18:27 we read of human compassion being shown. I Peter 3:8 the apostle Peter tells us “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:” The world that we live in desperately needs pity. It is a world of tremendous suffering.

There are so many people who suffer and keep on suffering never having their needs met. Thus many in the world have become hardened to others’ sufferings. Many hoard and build up assets when they could be sacrificing and reaching out so that they can meet the world’s needs. This should not be said of the believer. It is not being said that believers should be without the necessities of life. All believers need to have pity when they see the sufferings of others. Pity is to be felt by believers to the point they are moved to act. These actions will include sacrificing and reaching out to meet others’ needs.

Notice how compassion will not leave any room for selfishness. True compassion will have a person deny himself so he can help others in their grim needs and sufferings. As people impart and assist others, they are drawn together. People being united can be done by compassion – when a person shows a feeling for another and sacrifices – reaching out to help each other. A great bond is formed between the believer and the ones that he ministers unto.

Matthew 25:40 (NKJV)

And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

John 15:13 (NKJV)

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

Discussion and study questions:
(1) How important is it to practice compassion?
(2) Do you act when you see someone’s need?

Bible Study

An Attitude Adjustment

Growing up I frequently heard, “Missy, you need an attitude adjustment.” Which meant if I didn’t straighten up and act right, I was about to get in serious trouble. As an a adult, God has also reminded me from time to time that I need to adjust my attitude and get back to bringing glory to Him.

Philippians 2: 5- 11

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

If as we go through life, we have an attitude as that of Christ, just think how much easier life would be. When we are faced with temptations, if we have the mind of Christ, we will handle all situations as our Lord Jesus Christ would. All of our conduct will be affected. We need to be humble as Christ was. We are to have the same character, thus identifying us. Jesus: he was humble, loving, hard working, and patient. When he was twelve and in the temple, he said he needed to do the will of his Father. That should be our wish, to do His will.

Philippians 2:5-7 New International Version (NIV)

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.

How is our association with God influenced by our negative attitudes?

Often we become too engrossed with other things to utilize our time to the work of the Lord. If we became too dismal and then in turn have a negative attitude. Satan would be ecstatic, but it would cause destruction to the work of God. If you have a negative attitude you would not be prone to work for the Lord. Do you know of anyone who would want someone with an unhappy attitude trying to teach others about God?

What are the benefits of a positive attitude?

By having a positive attitude, we willingly will do God’s work. Are you countering a seemingly hopeless dilemma at work, at home, or at school, by performing each small task and doing your best? We have many Biblical examples describing to us how a person’s positive attitude helped them.

Two stories come to mind when I think about how God turned odds around for two men: The Lord turned Joseph’s situation around. He will see your endeavors and can reverse even overpowering odds.

Positive attitudes can impact others. The people were belligerent and hopeless, but Moses assured them that God would rescue them. Moses had a positive attitude! When it seemed as if they were trapped, Moses called upon God to intercede. Instead of giving in to despair, we should borrow Moses’ attitude to “stand firm” and see the deliverance that the Lord will achieve.

A circumstance occurs in which our life is altered. This could be a catastrophe within our family or friends or a loss of a job or the loss of good health. Our perspective at any event that we encounter either helps us or hinders us. If an unpleasant incident occurs, we need to stop and consider our blessings. Positive attitudes will help overcome adversity. What is your approach when the task you have been given is not up to your true capability? The task at hand may be all you can do, or it may be the work God wants you to do.

Everything that you do is affected by the attitude that you possess. When someone has a negative attitude, it could turn them away from God. All that you do and say is being observed by others.

The observation is being done when you are unaware. Someone is always watching you. Your example is so significant. Negative attitudes lead to wrong choices. So many times our attitudes and conduct are formed by the values and actions of others. Have you ever made an incorrect choice because you desired to be like everyone else? We need to be cautious that the standards of our friends or heroes don’t pull us away from what God has said in His Word. Anytime God’s family wants to be like unbelievers, they are on the path leading to spiritual disaster.

In high school, many years ago, I had to study Ben Franklin. I came across one of his writings that has helped me with my attitude adjustments.

“The sentence which has most influenced my life is, ‘Some persons grumble because God placed thorns among roses. Why not thank God because He placed roses among thorns?’ I first read it when but a mere lad. Since that day it has occupied a front room in my life and has given it an optimistic trend.” (Benjamin Franklin)

To be meek is to have a disposition to see the roses among the thorns, rather than to complain about the thorns among the roses. Which do you see? Your answer will help you to judge whether you possess that meekness of which our Savior spoke.

I have learned, by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, to be content in every state.

Hebrews 5:7-10 New International Version (NIV)

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

Unflappable to the serenity of the Christian, whose adequacy isn’t in itself, but in God.

2 Corinthians 3:5 New International Version (NIV)

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.

To keep my heart searching and longing for God. And to
Keep my heart with all diligence, for out of it flow the issues of life.

Proverbs 4:23 New International Version (NIV)

23 Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.

To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Romans 8:6 New International Version (NIV)

The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

In this last verse, we are told that the worldly person is alive in the physical sense, but he is spiritually dead. The inner person is dead to God in all that he does and says. Even though someone might be moral, even religious, he lacks the spiritual life. We find in Romans 8:2 he needs the life we have in Christ Jesus.

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I am Broken: Jesus was Broken for You

Over the course of the last few weeks, we have seen that if you are human, you are broken. The result of sin is brokenness. Brokenness is something we can’t escape and it manifests itself in various ways, from pride to pain, loss, fear and much much more.

So with Paul, we cry “who can save us from this body of death” and all the brokenness found around us?


He is the beautiful answer to all of the ruined, fragmented pieces of our lives. But the only way he could heal us is by becoming broken for us.

Isaiah 53:4-5 New International Version (NIV)

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.

John 19:28-30 New International Version (NIV)

28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Hebrews 12:1-3 New International Version (NIV)

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

These are just a few verses that are well-known verses, that show the great length Jesus went in order to become our salvation and our healer.

He could have left us to our brokenness and sin, but instead, he became one of us. He experienced hunger, thirst, and fatigue. He knew first hand what it was like to be rejected and mocked, to be treated unfairly and even let down by those closest to him. He knew what it was like to have all sorts of evil done against him though he deserved none of it.

Ultimately he was punished for lies, unkindnesses, adulteries, murders, slanders, complaints, perversions, and all other forms of sin that weren’t even his.

And he did this for you and for me!

1. Through his punishments, we receive peace. His punishments should have been ours! We are the ones who sinned and our sin separated us from God. Instead of peace, there was enmity. But Jesus took it all. He took our sins, our punishments, our separation from God, and gave us his peace and righteousness.

Now we can draw near to God, now we can be confident in his love, now we have divine help at all times. Now we have a glorious future.

2. By his wounds, we are healed. Jesus died so we could have peace with God, but his death also brought us healing. It brought us life. Our brokenness was so severe that it affected every part of our being, from our heart to our soul.

If you know yourself at all, you know you can’t fix yourself. But through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we now have the power to fight. We can fight temptation and actually win, we can declare war on the sins that lurk in us and begin to have victory, not because we are strong enough, but because the strength of Jesus has been given to us.

Let’s never take for granted Christ’s work on the cross on our behalf.

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I am Broken: I am Free

For His unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear Him.” – Psalm 103:11-13 

A broken life that had truly been redeemed is free. I have often talked about how my shame is planted by guilt, nourished by memories, and watered by secrecy.  My heart has many times needed full healing, plain and simple. As you deal with the brokenness of your life you often find the roots of your pain are much deeper than you thought. The Master Gardener was the only One who could truly tend to the roots you dig up.  Although I have experienced a lot of victory and breakthrough, certain triggers still occur, and shame seems to always try to rear its ugly head in my life.

I came to know Christ at an early age, but life…well, life happened.  I rebelled in my 20’s that while I loved God and wanted to serve God, I didn’t. I was tired, my heart felt heavy…I was exhausted. When I had returned to God’s will around age 28 or so; the Lord’s mercy had once again went before me and as a good Father does, He wanted to deal with an area of my life that was full of guilt and shame. I was carrying a heavy suitcase and didn’t feel I was fully cultivating a good relationship with God, like He had intended.  The bag was weighing me down because it contained past regrets, old memories, and fears about my future.

Carrying this around had almost become a habit to me, and I couldn’t even remember the exact time or spot I chose to pick it up.  I was moving, but just creeping forward. All this baggage kept me from running the race. To every fruit in our lives, good or bad, there is always a root and I knew this was a deep root God needed to tend to.  It was time to drop the bag and run.  I sat with God and wept. I told Him I wanted to hand over the shame, every part of it and walk in the life-giving freedom Jesus had died for me to have. I knew God sent His son, a gift, and He was enough.  What He did was big enough for me, and brokenness and shame were no longer calling the shots.

This battle I was facing in my mind could only be fought and overcome through applying His Word to every single moment as they came. 

2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.  

John 8:10-11 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you? 11 “No, Lord,” she said,…And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

John 8 is one of my favorite New Testament stories.  When I read I visualize what I am reading.  If we’re honest, we all in a sense can relate to the woman in John 8.  While we don’t deal with physical accusers necessarily, many people deal with mental accusations.  In this passage, she is caught and exposed in the act of sin by many accusers and brought to center stage for the punishment the law states she deserves. She must have felt so hopeless, embarrassed, so alone.

This exposure was actually her gateway to Grace as she was thrown at the very feet of the One who could not only save her life but save her soul. As the people gathered to stone her, Jesus takes the way of compassion by coming down to her level and writing in the dirt.  Here, he quiets her accusers and tells her she is fully forgiven and to go and sin no more.  As thoughts of condemnation from your accusers come into your mind come to taunt you, follow the model of Jesus.  Answer them with the Word, know you’re forgiven and move forward to live your life with Christ.

The antidote to shame is TRUTH.   A formula for shame breaking is found in Psalm 103.  David sets the stage and opens up the Psalm acknowledging truth and proclaiming it.  He says “Bless the Lord, Oh My Soul, and all the deepest parts of me, BLESS HIS NAME!” And forget not all His benefits. He, who FORGIVES all of your sins and who heals ALL of your diseases. He, who redeems your life from the pit and corruption, who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies.”

Psalm 103:11 “For His unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. 12 He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.”

This scripture proclaims the LIMITLESS love of God toward us. I once heard a pastor say, “How do you describe a rose to a blind person? How do you describe Handle’s Hallelujah Chorus to a deaf person? How do you describe the thrill of down hill skiing to one who has never walked? How do you describe the impeccable, infinite love of God to impure, finite humans?”

Psalm 103 speaks of this Love. David attempts to portray it with a visual, stating that its higher than the Heavens.  He says your sins have been completely removed as far as the East is from the West, meaning they’re untraceable, gone, forgiven. Life changes when instead of running for forgiveness, you run from a place of forgiveness. His Love is unfailing and will chase us all the days of our lives. I’m so grateful for this Love that doesn’t give up! May we accept and receive this free gift today and truly walk in it’s benefits.

Psalm 103:13 “The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. Knowing the nature of God is so vital in our walk with Him. We live in the overflow of who we really believe God to be. 

This is why it is so important we walk in the Word and believe the Truth. In Matthew Henry’s commentary, he says, “The Scripture says a great deal of the mercy of God, and we all have experienced it. The father pities his children that are weak in knowledge, and teaches them; pities them when they are froward, and bears with them; pities them when they are sick, and comforts them; pities them when they are fallen, and helps them to rise; pities them when they have offended, and, upon their submission, forgives them; pities them when wronged, and rights them: thus the Lord pities those that fear him. See why he pities. He considers the frailty of our bodies, and the folly of our souls, how little we can do, how little we can bear; in all which his compassion appears.”

His mercy and compassion toward us is great, like a father to a child. I want to say, walking without the suitcase has been so much greater.  A beautiful exchange took place and I not only put the suitcase down but traded it for better things, like joy, hope, peace, and forgiveness.  I pray you receive this Love today, and walk in the fruit that comes from it…true identity, rest and acceptance in Christ.  He is for you, He loves you with a love that cannot be measured, and He says to you today, too, BE FREE + GO + RUN and sin no more.” He is for you!