Top 10 things in order to be an effective leader

Top 10 things in order to be an effective leader:

  1. You must have a vision (where are we, where are we going and how do we get there)
  2. You must be able to communicate this vision and convey it to your leaders (if you turnaround and not everyone is following refocus your efforts on communication)
  3. You must encourage those around you
  4. You must listen to those who you empower to carryout your vision
  5. You must often refer to #1 (have a vision) and #2 (communicate this vision)
  6. You must be relational (this means that you should comfort, encourage and urge others around you
  7. You must be open to those who you are empowering (give them a voice, because if they believe that they have value then your vision becomes even more invaluable)
  8. You must continually go through this list in order to make sure that you didn’t stray into your own circle of non-communication to your team
  9. You must be a humble leader
  10. You must be an accountable leader

All of this is only possible when your vision is aligned with God’s truth.  This is not about a man, instead it is about God who became man to save you and me!

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

Discipleship: Chronicles through Job (Part 2 of 5)

what-it-means-to-be-a-disciple-of-jesus-2_t_nvThe more that I read through the Bible the more the more I realize that it is reading me instead of me reading it.  There is a wealth of information in this great book and the Holy Spirit truly inspired the writing of this great manual.  Application from stewardship to living to contentment and so much more is find within these pages.  One thing to note, each time you read the Bible, pray that God will continue to reveal His truth for you and what He wants you to glean form this reading.  Pray for wisdom and understanding and take notes on what you read and what thoughts come to you.  When you feel conviction (journal) and when you learn something new, make a note in the margin.  Often, when you journal and re-read it is amazing how the Spirit works in each one of us to build His Kingdom.  Remember:  Less of me, more of God.

In Chronicles we learn to:

Be thankful, Sing Praises to God and Tell of His Good Name (share the Gospel) – 1 Chronicles 16:8-10

Be Strong and fight bravely using the word  of God

Devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord - 1 Chronicles 22-19

Serve God with whole-hearted devotion – 1 Chronicles 28:9

God is good and His love endures forever

Humble yourself before Him - 2 Chronicles 7:14

God will strengthen you when you are fully committed to Him – 2 Chronicles 16:9

Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther

Stand for Truth, Integrity and Justice – The Book of Nehemiah

God is in control, so don’t be afraid to step out in faith for Him – The Book of Esther

God sees it all – Job 7:17-19

Jesus is there for us (from the beginning to the end):  Job 9:33-35, Job 16:19-21, Job 19:25

How to live each day – The Book of Job

How to gain wisdom understanding:  Job 28:28

How to avoid lust – Job 31:1

More to follow on the pathway of being God’s disciple.
What are some of your thoughts?

D

 

 

Discipleship: Genesis through Chronicles (Part 1 of 5)

Do you find yourself often wondering what God’s will is for your life?  Questions like is what I do relevant to God’s Kingdom?  Is what I am doing now where God wants me to be?  Am I the father that God wants me to be?  Am I the husband that God wants me to be (my wife wants me to be)?  Am I the dad that my children and God need me to be?  Do I love the Lord with all my heart mind, body and strength (does my checkbook and actions prove that)?

Dare

So many things matter to men and we are very deep minded creatures.

In Proverbs 20 verse 5 states, “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.” (NIV)

As I was reading through the first fourteen books of the Bible, I was very keen to what discipleship would look like through the “OLD” testament.

 

I found these things to be true, accurate and confirming by the Holy Spirit:  As disciples of Christ we are to:

  1. Master Sin (even in anger):  Genesis 4:6-7; Leviticus 19:18
  2. Master Finances (Give God a tenth of our time, talent and treasure):  Genesis 20:20-22
  3. Obey God Completely:  Exodus 19:5-8; 1 Samuel 15:22
  4. Bless Others:  Numbers 6:24-27
  5. Keep His Word:  Numbers 30:2
  6. Do not fear any man, instead fear God (which is the beginning of wisdom):  Dueteronomy 1:17
  7. Love the Lord (with all of your heart, soul, strength) Deuteronomy 6:5-9
  8. Study and meditate on God’s word:  Joshua 1:8
  9. Serve wholeheartedly:  Joshua 24:15; Joshua 14:14
  10. Know your charge (what are my marching orders):  1 Kings 2:2-3
  11. Sing & Praise God Always:  1 Chronicles 16:8-10

God isn’t asking his disciples to just be fans – he want followers.  He wants men who want to know His Son as more than the God Man, instead He wants us to know him as friend.  Life is hard enough with its daily jaunts and stresses and questions in life.  Instead of pursuing what we think is best, why not pursue the maker of the world and to build community with Him.

Thoughts?

D

 

How to live a pure and peaceful life (a post from my 10 year old son)

treycar1My son has been fanatical about cars and not just any cars, but serious sports cars.  That is all he talks about and that is what he likes to think about.  Don’ t get me wrong, he loves God, loves his Mom and his sisters most of the time, but he constantly has cars in the commentary.    Which leads me to this post, because one day I had finally said to him that I was getting seriously concerned about his focus on materialism and the ways of this world.  I asked him, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”  His response was right on, he said, “Dad, there is nothing that is worthy losing your soul for.”

We then started talking about Abraham and Gideon and David and the Saints of the Bible and why there stories are so important.  I, then, talked about discipleship and what that looks like in our lives (weekly, daily, hourly and so on).  We talked about stewardship and responsibility and what God requires of us.

I love my boy!  He wrote this on a sheet of paper:

How to live a pure and peaceful life

  • Show self-control in every action
  • Do no fear what isn’t to be feared
  • Admit your emotions.  Do not be afraid to share them but be on guard with whom you share them with.
  • Wrath, anger, hatred sloth, fear are not to be shown but to be admitted to if absolute
  • Praise God day and night for faith in Him shall NEVER be feared
  • Obey Him always.

the listJames says to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to be angry.  Paul says that if God is for us then who can be against us.  Paul also says not to become angry.  David was a warrior and a man with emotion and a man after God’s own heart.  The sinful nature is to be put to death daily.  The Psalms tell us to let everything that has breath praise the Lord.  Jesus, God, the Bible and its Apostles tells us to obey and submit.

I am not sure about you, but I am pretty sure that this boy is on the right track.

Dear Lord, give me the wisdom and discernment to guide this boy into a full-fledged relationship with you.  Teach me to teach him to Trust in you with all his heart, mind, body and soul.  Teach me to teach him not to lean on his own understanding.   Teach me to teach him to acknowledge you in everything.

Thank you Lord for your faithfulness (even when I am not faithful!)

Blessings,

D

With Accountability comes great responsibility

Accountability should be at the core of every bible believing ministry – no excuses.   Accountability means the state of being accountable, liable and answerable to those who are before you.  Before we go any further into this blog ask yourself this question, If Hebrews 13:17 tells me to submit to authority, then what does that mean for me if that authority has no accountability on Earth (because they most certainly do by our heavenly father)?  Ask yourself what does that mean for me if the person who I report to doesn’t follow any code of accountability?

You can Google just about any major mega-church and find gossip and lack of accountability in some of the most respected institutions of Growth and spread of the Gospel – what went wrong?  I have some thoughts on this and if any of these current or former leaders read this then my prayer is that truth (in love) will resonate and allow them to hear the Holy Spirit comfort them, encourage them, and urge them to live a life worthy of Jesus Christ.  I will not claim to have all the right answers nor can I say that what I may suggest in the post is the way that everyone should go.  What I will say is to test what Lance and I say through these posts – test them with Scripture and examine them closely and pray on what we say – if they pass this examination and test – well, then, the rest is up to you.

First and foremost, I want to say that whatever I may say, Lance may say, a preacher or elder or teacher or business leader may say – if it is not about Jesus Christ being the first and the last – then it is very unfruitful in the ways of building disciples of Jesus Christ.  Jesus doesn’t want fans – he wants followers.  That means that each and every one of us, who profess the name of Jesus Christ as Savior, we were bought with a price.  Our lives no longer belong to us or our wants, they belong to God.  What we do in this life is how we honor him with our stewardship of His time, talent and treasure that He gives each and every one of us who belong to Him..

Some questions, that we as members of bible believing churches can ask leadership who have accountability:

  • What is their fruit?
  • Who are they accountable to (a church board?  a board of Elders?  A consistory?)?
  • As I test what they say, teach and witness to, does it hold true to Scripture?
  • Is it about Jesus, reaching the disconnected and growing the connected?

both fruitsfollowingWhat is their fruit?  On a piece of paper draw a line down the middle of the page.  On the left side write the subject:  Fruit of the Sinful Nature and on the right side write the subject:  Fruit of the Spirit?  Your list should be based solely on what Scripture says in Galatians Chapter 5.  The Apostle Paul gives the Church a stern warning in this before he gives us the list of each fruit in Galatians 5, “13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.”

Who are they accountable to?  If your church leader(s) do not have biblical accountability in their lives, in their work and in their daily regiments, I want to caution you.  In my church, we have a Consistory, which consists of the three offices of the Church:  The Pastoral, Elders and Deacons who oversee the Church.  The Management Team in some churches is set up to “manage” the daily operations of the Church, while the Elders are called to take care of the Spiritual well-being of the church and to make sure that the word of God is preached and to care for the flock.  The Deacons are called to take care of the needs of the church and the pastoral is called to teach and preach and feed God’s sheep through the Word of God.  We have accountability and we encourage each other to live a life worthy of Christ.  We gauge each other on the fruit that we see.  Sometimes we disagree, sometimes we can even argue, but as long as the word of God is consistent in our lives, then we can agree to disagree letting the truth of God’s word reign in our lives.

Examine & Test:  Do we/they pass the test?  2 Corinthians 13:5-9 (ESV) 5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 6 I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. 7 But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for.”  One of the things that makes me cringe, as an Elder in our church, is when individuals say that this is what God is saying to them and what they should be doing (Please don’t take this wrong, because we both know that the Holy Spirit dwells in those who are followers of Christ and the Holy Spirit guides us in the ways that we ought to go.  We also believe that God talks to us through His Spirit, His Word, His preaching and teaching and when the Fruit of the Spirit is pouring over that direction).  What I am talking about here is when someone says that God is telling them something and nothing that I just previously mentioned lines up with that.  One of the things that I see most men struggle with (including me) is submission and obedience.  Hebrews 13:17 (ESV) “17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”  Before you believe that you are giving us leaders a “blank check” read this from Jesus’s brother, James 3:1-2 (ESV) Taming the Tongue, “3 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.” Leaders will be judged at a greater strictness (by whom, you ask, He who will judge all of us – Jesus Christ).

There are two leaders that I really respect and I have come to really appreciate their preaching and teaching.  I appreciate how they challenge each of us to be better in their walks.  I appreciate how they love the church and the body and how they love Jesus.  Are these men perfect?  By no means, they are all mere men and they sin every day (trust me – we all do).  So, than, if they do not have accountability, a board of Elders and Deacons and a Consistory to hold them in that accountability, then what are we to do for the body?

On the other side of this, are those who have been hurt, misguided, victimized and or maligned by lack of this accountability.  Does this allow us, who profess the name of Jesus Christ, to blog about, tear them down, print nasty and bitter words?  What is the fruit in this?  What does this say to the lost (the World) who is watching?  Does that make them want to follow Christ and his teachings?  Does that make them want to believe in the Word of God and the power of His Spirit to overcome the worst of sins in each and every one of us?

Are these words that are printed, recorded and redistributed loving one another?  Are they made to build up the church and to edify its members?  Are they there to love our neighbor as ourselves?  I would like to gently say – NO!  These words are from the pit of hell (not the person writing them or the individuals who have been made victims or the like).  I am talking about the very essence of these words – they are from the pit of hell.  How can I say this?  How can I know this?  How can I believe this?  Please re-read Galatians 5, Ephesians 4 and the very word of God.

These blogs, these news stories, these videos are bearing the fruit of the sinful nature (discord, disunity, factions and the like).  Any fruit that bears the fruit of the sinful nature IS FROM THE PIT OF HELL!

Now that I have probably made some of you uncomfortable, some hurt and some confused, let me re-direct you back to the point of this article – ACCOUNTABILITY.  The last point about accountability is this:

Is it about Jesus? (are we bearing his fruit?  Are we reaching the disconnected?  Are we growing the connected?)  Are church has a few core mission statements and one of the biggest is that it should always be about Jesus (from beginning to the end) and the other that we use a lot is:  Reaching the Disconnected and Growing the Connected.  I love this because Jesus first loved me in all my broken-ness.  His father (God the Father) loved me so much that He gave His only Son for me.  And if that weren’t already enough, when He rose again (Jesus the Christ) and now sits at the right hand of God, He gave His Spirit to each one of us who confess His name.  Talk about love!  Talk about forgiveness!  Talk about the great story ever told.  If you are in a church (which we are called to be in community as God the Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit are in community.  This is healthy and this is the body of Christ.  Therefore, we are to build each other up, to teach each other how to use our gifts.  We are to edify each other in truth with love.

No matter how bad the offense, the leader, the lack of accountability I can clearly promise you (through the very word of God) that every tongue will confess and every knee will bow.  I can promise you that those are teach and lead and direct God’s sheep in the wrong direction – will be held at a higher level of judgement.  All of this belongs to God.  I can also tell you this, without any doubt, that God IS IN CONTROL.  No matter the right or the wrong, God is still in control.  His plans will succeed and he will never fail.

What if we go through these very trials and tribulations to build us up and to test our faith in order for God to use us for greater things for His Kingdom.  Can we pass the test?  Can we forgive as Christ has forgiven us?  Can we love the Lord our God with all of heart, mind, body and soul and just like this commandment, can we love our neighbor as our selves?

This is the Gospel.  This is the truth.

If you are a leader and have no accountability then repent, turn from these ways and make it all about God.  Love!  If you are a follower or a member of a body of the church, then submit and obey and trust that God is in control.  Ask the right questions to those who truly have biblical accountability because when do ask these leaders they will pray, reflect and repent because it shouldn’t be about them, rather, it is always about God and His Kingdom.  If you find yourself speaking for God and no one else confirms this, nor scripture nor the fruit of the Spirit THEN REPENT, turn the other way and love!  Love one another thus fulfilling the command of Jesus.

If you are a leader and a denomination that says that you have accountability and you and your church are trying to justify sin (that is clearly listed and labeled truth in Scripture) then REPENT and turn away from these wicked practices.  God will forgive and his church will restore you as we are called to do.  If you are a member and you are living in sin and/or trying to justify sinful (hypocritical) behavior then REPENT and turn away from these evil practices.

When the body comes together in unity and loves one another, NOT EVEN THE GATES OF HELL can prevail.

Thoughts?

D

How to be a man – part 2

In the Book of Job, we read the following text:

Job 29 English Standard Version (ESV)

 

Job’s Summary Defense

29 And Job again took up his discourse, and said:

 

2 “Oh, that I were as in the months of old,

as in the days when God watched over me,

3 when his lamp shone upon my head,

and by his light I walked through darkness,

4 as I was in my prime,[a]

when the friendship of God was upon my tent,

5 when the Almighty was yet with me,

when my children were all around me,

6 when my steps were washed with butter,

and the rock poured out for me streams of oil!

7 When I went out to the gate of the city,

when I prepared my seat in the square,

8 the young men saw me and withdrew,

and the aged rose and stood;

9 the princes refrained from talking

and laid their hand on their mouth;

10 the voice of the nobles was hushed,

and their tongue stuck to the roof of their mouth.

11 When the ear heard, it called me blessed,

    and when the eye saw, it approved,

12 because I delivered the poor who cried for help,

    and the fatherless who had none to help him.

13 The blessing of him who was about to perish came upon me,

    and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.

14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me;

    my justice was like a robe and a turban.

15 I was eyes to the blind

    and feet to the lame.

16 I was a father to the needy,

    and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know.

17 I broke the fangs of the unrighteous

    and made him drop his prey from his teeth.

18 Then I thought, ‘I shall die in my nest,

and I shall multiply my days as the sand,

19 my roots spread out to the waters,

with the dew all night on my branches,

20 my glory fresh with me,

and my bow ever new in my hand.’

21 “Men listened to me and waited

and kept silence for my counsel.

22 After I spoke they did not speak again,

and my word dropped upon them.

23 They waited for me as for the rain,

and they opened their mouths as for the spring rain.

24 I smiled on them when they had no confidence,

and the light of my face they did not cast down.

25 I chose their way and sat as chief,

and I lived like a king among his troops,

like one who comforts mourners.

———

imagesFollowing up on a previous post that I wrote about manhood, we discussed the following in our Men of Faith Group this morning:  What does biblical manhood look like for a disciple of Christ.  How does God want us to be true men:

DIVINE PURPOSE
Jeremiah 29:11-12 (ESV)11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.

1 Thessalonians 4:3- (ESV) 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification:[a] that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body[b] in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;

UNDIVIDED HEART

1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV) 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.

Psalm 119[a] א Aleph 1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord.

STRONG AND COURAGEOUS

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV) 6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (ESV) 13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love.

1 Kings 2:2 (ESV) 2 “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man,

ABOVE REPROACH

1 Timothy 3:2-7 (ESV) 2 Therefore an overseer[a] must be above reproach, the husband of one wife,[b] sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

————–

Welcome-to-ManhoodWherever you are in your journey as Christ’s disciple, it is never too late to fear the Lord (in awe of Him) and confess and repent and move toward the man that he wants you to be.  For me, on vacation recently, I realized that one of the things that I was struggling with was a divided heart.  I love the Lord and I read His word and pray everyday, but the Lord revealed to me that I was not pursuing him, rather I was be routine with Him instead of relational.

 

God doesn’t just want a part of us, he wants all of us including our attention and focus (He wants a relationship with each of us).

 

 

Are there any things that you have to let go of and/or repent of to be the man that God wants you to be?

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Blessings,

D

 

 

Your way versus God’s way

Joseph Reassures His Brothers

download15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died:17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.

18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,”they said.

19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

———

I am not sure about the rest of you, but I truly love the story of Joseph.  When I think about God’s faithfulness, I am completely amazed at how life and history have unfolded into ways that can only be explained by God.  That is, to say, that left on our own accord, life would be hopeless.  I have seen musicals and the movie, but each time that I read Genesis I glean more and more through the years.  To give you a background in this story, for all intensive purposes Joseph:

  • Was spoiled
  • Was not liked by his brothers
  • Was mistreated
  • Was betrayed
  • Was falsely accused
  • Was put in prison (he was innocent)
  • Was neglected
  • Was a dreamer

Through all of this God’s provision and sovereignty reigned through and through this true story.  Through Joseph’s rough life, he encountered pain and distress and anxiety and the like.  He probably felt very alone a lot of times and felt depression along the way.  Right up until the point that God gave him the interpretations of men’s dreams.  God enabled him to be the second man in command under just Pharoh.  Because of this, God’s promise to Abraham was sustained and His way went on to present day – Jesus is alive and sits at the right hand of the Father.

When we start to think that this world is about us and what we want and how it can best serve us – we miss the whole enchilada, that is, we miss God’s plans and blessing for our lives.  When we live in a secular world that becomes more hell bent on the world’s form of truth versus biblical truth (we have grave problems).  Life is never supposed to be easy nor should we expect that if we are professing Christ.  God loves us!  Jesus said that if we bear his name that we will be persecuted.

God knows the plans for us because He is the I AM!

We are not in control, God is.

If God is for us, then who can really be against us?

We need to learn the secret to life:  Contentment

What are some ways that you need to give up?

Let Go and Let God!

Blessings,

Dante

 

Faith without works…

In Genesis 22, we read the following passage:

Genesis 22 New International Version (NIV)

faith-without-works-is-deadAbraham Tested

22 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram[a] caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring[b] all nations on earth will be blessed,[c] because you have obeyed me.”

19 Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba. And Abraham stayed in Beersheba.

—–

BELIEVEFor many of Christians (true Jesus is the only way Christians) we have a hard time with this.  That is, to say, that we believe in Jesus.   We believe that he was born of a virgin, that he fulfilled all the prophesies about him (every one of them), that he was crucified (and died) and that on the third day he was brought back to life and that he now sits at the right hand of God.  Here is where the issue or problem may occur for us as Christians – the without works part of our faith.  Do not misunderstand me here, there is no works that we could possibly do in order to save ourselves – only God can save us through His Son Jesus Christ.  The point being that our bodies are living temples to God’s Spirit who resides in our temples.  How can we expect the Holy Spirit (who resides in each follower and believer in Jesus Christ) not to bring good works out of us?

If then we are raised by Jesus Christ (from being dead in spirit to life) then why do we not expect to see the fruit of the Spirit?  Sometimes this is difficult in that God lays before us trials and tribulations (tests) that for some can be painful or could stretch us in ways that we never wanted to be stretched.  In sacrifice that we never wanted to make, in works that we never wanted to work out.

Abraham had Isaac at the ripe old age of 100 years.  God then called him to take his son and sacrifice him.  Many of us read this story as blind faith (I don’t).  Abraham believed in the Lord and his works (by his faith in God) was counted to him as righteouness).  Abraham believed for years that God would give his barren wife a son (God did).  Abraham believed in the power of the living God (because he witnessed time and time again).  As you read the story in Genesis 22, we see that Abraham did all that the Lord required of him (even binding his one and only son) and he was even going to sacrifice him to the one true God (he trusted God because he knew God and what he did and could do).  Because of this work (Abraham had to work – do the action – that the Lord required of him before the blessing could occur).  Does the Lord have the power to bless us without action (of course), does the Lord bless us with the fruit of His Spirit (of course, he can do as he pleases).

Most of the time God calls us to action (as you read in James 1), in order to build us and strengthen us to who He knows we can become (disciples of His).  I want to end this post with words from the Book of James:

James 2:14-26New International Version (NIV)

Faith and Deeds

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[a]? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”[b] and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

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When it is in our power to do good and we don’t – shame on us.

When it is in our power to do good and we do – God smiles on us.

When we can do good to others – it is better for us (not expecting anything in return)

The blessing in this is that we truly get blessed more than the one(s) who we are blessing.

When you give, do not let the left hand see what the right hand is doing (because God knows and watches the actions of our hearts).

Blessings,

D