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Being impulsive is something that many people have a problem with today. The word “impulsive” comes from the word “impulse” which means “a sudden spontaneous inclination or incitement to some usually unpremeditated action” according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The practice of speaking or doing things “before we think” is a common thing among some people. They choose to say or do certain things without thinking of the consequences of their actions. This habit is not viewed favorably by God, and it can cause us a lot of problems if we go through life acting on impulse. In this article, I would like to discuss some ways that a Christian can act on impulse, and the dangers that an impulsive mindset can provide.
First of all, some Christians can have the negative habit of saying hurtful things to others before they think through all of the possible outcomes and consequences that their words will have on themselves and others. James 1:19 is a handy verse to have memorized in such a situation where a person may be tempted to speak negatively on impulse. “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:” It is often in times of anger that a person will “spout off at the mouth” so to speak and say things he or she will most likely regret later. The tongue is the one part of the body that cannot be tamed. “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:8). We can cause a lot of hurt and permanent damage to relationships when we impulsively use our tongue to hurt others. We can also hurt our influence by using our tongues to curse and to take God’s Name in vain. “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. “(Exodus 20:7). We should also not use our tongues to speak about perverted things. “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” (James 3:6).
God tells us to use our tongue wisely, and to not be impulsive in our speech. “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:” (I Peter 3:10). We are to think about what we are going to say before we say them. Anything that we say is a thought before we say it, so we must be sure to guard our thoughts as well. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8). We must guard our thoughts and guard our tongues against any corrupt or evil thing in order to be faithful Christians. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29). If we fail to do so, we will have to answer for our sinful words one day. “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” (Matthew 12:36).
Unrighteous anger is another way that some people can act on impulse and commit sin. Just as we should monitor our speech, we can also learn from James 1:19 that we should be “slow to wrath.” By being “slow to wrath” we must make sure that we do not have unrighteous anger. We can, however, have righteous anger and not sin. What is the difference between righteous and unrighteous anger? Righteous anger occurs when we become angry at sin. Jesus showed righteous anger when He came into the temple and saw the moneychangers selling items to use in animal sacrifices. “And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves;And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Mark 11:15-17).
Jesus showed righteous anger because He became angry with sin. It is acceptable by God to show righteous anger as long as we do it in a way that we do not sin ourselves. For instance, we cannot become angry at sin and use profanity or mistreat the person who is committing the sin. On the contrary, we must treat everyone with respect and love, even when we are rebuking them regarding their sins. “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.” (Leviticus 19:17).
We commit sin when we have unrighteous anger. Unrighteous anger occurs when we become angry over matters of opinion rather than matters of biblical right and wrong in which we become angry about sinful things. For example, when I was a practicing mental health counselor, I saw many clients who were required to attend “anger management” therapy sessions. These sessions were often ineffective because the person who was under state probation often did not want to really change his or her pattern of behavior. The person merely wanted to attend the required number of therapy sessions necessary to please the probation officer and let that be it.
Anyways, I remember one client in particular who was already on state probation for offences that I cannot remember at the moment. He came to me for a certain number of therapy sessions that were centered on “anger management.” His probation officer made attending anger management therapy sessions with me a requirement in order to continue to be on probation and to not have to finish his sentence in jail. Why did this client have to see me for anger management? Because he had thrown an empty, plastic soda bottle at his girlfriend while they were arguing over something to do with the girlfriend’s dog, and she called the police. As you can imagine, the girlfriend was unharmed by the plastic soda bottle, but this client could have avoided the 5 or 6 sessions with me if he had just learned to control his anger. At first, I thought the story could have been made up by the client to cover up what he actually did to his girlfriend, but he brought me a copy of the police report to prove that his story was true. I tried to teach him ways to cope with his anger without doing something wrong, but he was one of those people who did not think he had a problem. This client would have done well to read Ephesians 4:26; “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:”
Finally, some people can do things on impulse that are wrong, when they actually meant to do something good. They mean to do something good, but they do not fully think through the process by which they will do the good as they should, and they end up doing wrong. For instance, I had a client that I had one therapy session with which was comprised of taking down information about him to give to the Nurse Practitioner that would be handling his medications. He was an elderly gentleman who was a member of the church of Christ. He was happy to see me because I was one of two therapists there that was a member of the church of Christ. Prior to seeing me, he had spent a couple of days in jail for breaking into cars that he found parked in the street near the apartment in which he lived. This man did not talk much, so I had to get most of my information from his son-in-law who was present during this session. The son-in-law told me that the reason the elderly man was breaking into cars was because he wanted to leave religious tracts which taught about the churches of Christ on the car’s windshield in hopes of converting the owner, but since it was windy and raining on that particular day, the man was breaking the driver side window and leaving the tracts in the seats on the inside of each of the vehicles. This example shows a person who meant to do something good, but went about it the wrong way
We should always think things through before we say or do anything. We should always work to be more like Christ and less like the world in which we live every day. We can do this by praying every day, many times a day, and studying our Bibles every day.
With a good knowledge of the Bible, we can help ourselves be faithful Christians, as well as teach others to do the same. We can use the Bible to rebuke others as well, in a loving manner. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (II Timothy 3:16). Saying sinful things and having unrighteous anger will cause us to suffer punishment for eternity if we do not repent of these sins before we either die, or the Day of Judgment comes. Acting in an impulsive manner, no matter the motive, is not worth losing our souls over. “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” (Colossians 3:8). If Christ would not say or do it, then we should not say or do it as well. “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:” (Ephesians 4:31). I hope that this lesson shows the importance of thinking things through and not acting out impulsively. We must all be sure to take time to think before we speak or act, so that we can let our Christian light shine before the world. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).
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It is wonderful to hear a little child talk about God. A few days ago, my family and I were riding home from Wednesday night Bible study. On the way, my 6 year old daughter began talking about how wonderful God is. “God is Humble, and God is Love,” she would say. After she had said a few more complimentary things about God, she finished what I call her “Bible lesson” by saying that not only do all lives matter, but God matters the most of all.
This statement really hit home with me because that is exactly what more people in this world need to realize; that God matters most of all. There are many people out there who are so focused on acquiring worldly possessions, worldly praise, fame, fortune, and so forth, that they forget Who matters most: God! “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Matthew 22:37). If we seek God First in our lives, then everything else will fall into place (Matthew 6:33).
Here are some ways that we can show that God matters most in our lives;
New episode "How Do You Want to Be Remembered?" can be heard on the 5 Minutes of Faith on Friday Podcast!!
A new episode on "How Do You Want to Be Remembered"" can be heard on the 5 Minutes of Faith on Friday Podcast! Click the "Play" button in the upper right hand corner of this page to listen!!
There is so much sinfulness in today’s world, just as it has been since Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden. The amount of sin in this world is so prevalent that some people tend to look the other way when it comes to certain sins. For example, homosexuality, which is specifically condemned in Romans chapter 1, is applauded and commended in today’s society. With so much wrongdoing going on in the world today, and this trend is affecting more and more Christians, what authority do the elders in any given congregation of the church of Christ have to discipline Christian members who are persistently living in a spiritually lost state? Can members of the Lord’s church socially distance themselves from unrepentant members of their congregation and still be considered faithful?
CHURCH DISCIPLINE IS ACTUALLY COMMANDED.
Every person who has studied the Word of God and who is strong in his or her faith knows that there are plenty of examples in the Bible which authorize church discipline, namely, the withdrawing of a congregation from an unrepentant sinner. Here are some of these examples:
2.In I Corinthians 5, Paul uses this whole chapter to speak against the church at Corinth for not withdrawing from an erring member who has committed fornication and is unwilling to repent. Here is what God says through Paul to the church at Corinth:
“It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.” (I Corinthians 5:1-13).
Paul is telling the church at Corinth something that we are to observe, even if this involves co-workers, family members, etc. He is saying that in order for the church to stand strong, the leadership of a congregation must withdraw from members who are persistent in living sinful lives and who show no signs of repentance. By allowing these erring members of the church to stay as members of the congregation without consequence is taking a big risk. The risk involves that erring member influencing other members of the congregation to sin, thus weakening the entire flock. Elders are overseers of their flock (I Peter 5:1-4, Hebrews 13:17), and it is their job to separate those who are unapologetically living in open sin from the other members of that flock in order to protect it. They work to protect the purity of the church.
We can see from verse 2 of I Corinthians Chapter 5 that some of the members of that congregation were unwilling to withdraw from the erring member in question. They even seemed upset that they were asked to do such a thing. Sadly, there are many members of the Lord’s church today who profess to be spiritually strong, but who act in the same way as the spiritually weak Christians did at Corinth. Just as the apostle Paul who was inspired by God rebuked those weak members at Corinth who were against the authorized command to withdraw, I Corinthians 5 is also a rebuke to anyone today who goes against the biblically authorized act of withdrawing from persistently unfaithful members.
The two examples that I have just mentioned should be enough to convince any Christian that the act of an eldership commanding the withdrawing of the congregation which they oversee from an unrepentant erring member is fully authorized by the Bible. Both Jesus, the Son of God, and Paul, who was inspired by God, specifically command this act. Paul also speaks in favor of the Lord’s church withdrawing from unfaithful and unrepentant members. The word “withdraw” is actually used by the apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 3:6; “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.” Now, if these words do not make it clear that the act of withdrawing from an unrepentant erring member of the church is authorized by God, then the person reading this article is not facing reality!
WHAT DO WE DO WHEN WE WITHDRAW FROM A FELLOW CHRISTIAN?
Now that the subject of the church withdrawing from unrepentant members has been established to be biblically sound, we will now look at what is required of the faithful members of the church when it comes to the treatment of the member that has been formally withdrawn from.
Paul instructs the faithful members at Corinth not to “keep company” with the person being withdrawn from, nor to even eat with that person. Let’s look at I Corinthians 5:11 again; “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.” These instructions are very clear, and even though this may seem “unloving” by the world, it is not unloving at all.
So, what is the purpose of a congregation withdrawing from an erring member?The purpose of withdrawal is to, hopefully “wake up” that erring member into repentance. This may bring one back to repentance, but if not, it still works to ensure that the church's purity is protected, sometimes it does not, but that is entirely up to the sinning party. The eldership and the other faithful members of a congregation are only accountable for their part, which is to fully withdraw from the sinful party in every way until that person or persons repent.
As Christians, we must make sure that we are judging others in a righteous manner.Christ says in John 7:24, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." This means that we must look at every person’s actions and compare it to the Bible. If a person is committing sin, then we must rebuke them in hopes that they will repent. Galatians 6:1 declares, "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted." Rebuking those who are not committing sin, and who have all authority from the Bible to do what they do, is unrighteous judgment, and we must avoid this. We must also analyze our own lives and make sure that we are faithful in the Lord in all things before we try to help another person improve their spiritual state. Others will be more likely to listen to us if we do not have anything amiss in our lives. All righteous judgment is done out of love. (Matthew 7:1-5).
SATAN WOULD RATHER THE COMMAND TO WITHDRAW BE A COMMAND "FORGOTTEN" BY ALL.
Christians must also remember that Satan does not want anyone to go to Heaven, and he will try to stop any erring member from repenting at all costs, and he will often get other Christians to help him. Whenever I see a Christian speak against an eldership who has withdrawn from an unrepentant member, I know that the devil is truly at work and has influenced that weak Christian to try to place a stumblingblock before the unrepentant person and others in an attempt to keep them from going to Heaven. Some Christians really show how spiritually weak they are when things like this happens.
Just after admonishing Elders on how to feed the flock and in how to take care of the flock, I Peter 5:8-9 says, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world." Remember, they watch for our souls. May we live in such a way that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for us (Hebrews 13:17).
We must all make sure to stand on God’s Side in this matter and every other matter, and to not let Satan skew our view on this topic and everything else in this life. We have to be able to put God in the forefront of our minds and face the Truth without being concerned about what others will think of us. We will be blessed so much more by God by doing so! “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:38-39).
A new Bible lesson on "The Plan of Salvation" can now be heard on the 5 Minutes of Faith on Friday Podcast! Go to https://anchor.fm/brandi-gann to listen, or you can click the "Play" button in the upper right hand corner of this page to listen to this podcast!!
A new Bible lesson on "Angels" can now be heard on the 5 Minutes of Faith on Friday Podcast! Go to https://anchor.fm/brandi-gann to listen, or you can click the "Play" button in the upper right hand corner of this page to listen to this podcast!!
Prayer is essential in the life of every Christian. The apostle Paul tells us to “pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17). I cannot think of how many times a simple prayer has helped me in my times of need. Not only has prayer helped me with what most would consider “big” situations, praying to God has also helped me with small matters as well.
For example, one winter we had a bit of a mouse issue in our house. We had set several traps in the house and had caught at least 6 mice overnight, which is highly unusual at our home. In times past, we would set out a mouse trap and only catch one mouse and then our mouse problem would be gone. However, this time was different. I was becoming concerned about the fact that we were catching so many mice in our house in such a short amount of time, namely because I know how quickly mice reproduce, and that this could become a major issue in the long run. I prayed unto God to help us get rid of these mice before more came and possibly caused an infestation in our home. After that prayer, we went on a vacation for about a week, and I had my mother check the traps periodically while we were gone. When we returned from our trip, not one mouse had been caught, and we never saw another mouse that year. Since that time, we have rarely seen a mouse in the house. It appeared that God heard my prayer and fixed the mouse problem for us before things got out of hand! Of course, this is just a small matter to deal with, but it is a reminder that we should pray to God for everything, no matter how big or small of a matter it may seem to us.
We, as Christians should have a very prayerful attitude at all times, and make time to pray to God many times in a day. With that said, does God hear all of our prayers, and if so, why do some prayers seem to go unanswered?
1. Before we pray, we have to have faith in God that He will give us what we are praying for. A lack of faith in God when we pray, may keep God from answering our prayers. “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”(James 1:6).
2. We must be faithful to God before He will answer our prayers. “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” (I Peter 3:12). God hears everything, including everyone’s prayers. To say that God does not hear everyone’s prayers would mean that the person giving the unheard prayer knows something that God does not know, and that is impossible. What this verse means, however, is that God only hears the prayers of those who are righteous with the intent to answer those prayers! He does not have the intention to answer the prayers of those who are unfaithful and unrighteous. Being able to have your prayers heard by God, and for God to answer those prayers is one of the many perks of being a faithful child of God!
3. We must monitor what we are praying for. God’s thoughts are much greater than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). If we are praying for something superficial (such as a brand new cherry red sports car), God may not answer this request in the way we expect. We must not ask for anything that would be wrong to obtain, such as winning the 1 million dollar lottery! “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:” (I John 5:14). Our prayers often go in the direction that our thoughts are in, so we must make sure that our thoughts are on spiritual things rather than worldly things. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3:2).
4. Sometimes the answer is “No.” Whenever we feel like God is not giving us what we have asked Him for in a prayer, it may be the case that He has answered our prayer with a “No.” God knows everything about us, and He knows all of our past, present, and future. He knows when we will die, how we will die, and what the rest of our life will be like. Based on that information, God will only give us what He knows is best for us, despite how much we want it or think that we need the thing for which we are praying for. Just because we have certain plans for ourselves and for others, this does not mean that God has the same plans. If we suspect that God has answered “No” to a request we have made to Him in prayer, we must always remember that He knows what is best for us. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Please take all of the things mentioned in this article in consideration before asking God for something in prayer. Of course, it is always important to take time to pray and just thank God for all of your blessings. Also, remember to be patient. Not every prayer has to have a request in it. God loves to hear from His children at all times, and like our physical parents, He loves to hear how thankful and appreciative His children are for all that He has done for us. We can be at peace knowing that our Heavenly Father will take care of us no matter what situations this temporal world places us in!
A new episode called "Love" can now be heard on the 5 Minutes of Faith on Friday Podcast! Go to https://anchor.fm/brandi-gann to listen, or you can click the "Play" button in the upper right hand corner of this page to listen to this podcast!!
There is much talk in the world today about living a life of “privilege” here in the United States of America. It is true, that those of us who have grown up in the U. S. live a life of position and privilege compared to the rest of the world. This sense of “privilege” can also carry over into our spiritual lives. How many of us were born and have grown up attending the services of the the church of Christ? How many of us were raised in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4) to attend worship services of the church of Christ and to become Christians when we reached the age of accountability? How many of us are blessed to have grown up and live in what is commonly referred to as the “Bible belt” of the U. S.? All of these factors give Christians a privileged status compared to the rest of the world, however, Christians should not fall into the trap of feeling entitled, especially when it comes to salvation. These feelings may cause some Christians to become apathetic and lazy in living the Christian life.
Just because you are a Christian and a member of the church of Christ, this does not mean that you are going to heaven. Sometimes there is an attitude among members of the church that all Christians are going to heaven. We may have heard many sermons against the denominational belief of “once saved, always saved,” but how many Christians believe the false doctrine of “once baptized always saved?” Those Christians who believe this have a sense of privilege and entitlement that will lead them to eternal punishment if they are not cautious.
Now, let me be clear. Baptism is essential to salvation. I Peter 3:21 says, "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:". A person must hear the Word of God (Romans 10:17), believe the Gospel that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Mark 16:16), repent of sins (Acts 17:30-31), confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Matthew 10:32), and then be baptized in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). Upon baptism, a person is a Christian, a member of the church of Christ, and a person must remain faithful unto death (Revelation 2:10). When a child of God stumbles into sin, he or she must repent and confess sins, and through prayer have forgiveness (Acts 8:22, I John 1:9). Having said this, let me focus with you on the being faithful part of God's Plan to save.
John the Baptist, an inspired man of God, spoke against this attitude of entitlement among the Jews, who were at the time considered the children of God. In Luke 3:7-8, he says, “Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” In these verses, John the Baptist is warning the Jewish sects known as the Sadducees who were false teachers, and also the Pharisees who bound traditions of men upon people, false claiming that these traditions were equal to God's Word that their connection to Abraham alone did not mean they were going to heaven. He goes onto tell them that they needed to repent of their sins and bring forth the fruits of repentance.
Those Christians who believe the false doctrine of “once baptized always saved” will conduct themselves in such a way that they become complacent, or lazy in their Christian living. They are not zealous in living the Christina life. If you cannot see it at other times, this attitude of stagnation and laziness among Christians can most easily be seen when a congregation of the Lord’s church has an extra assembly, such as a Gospel meeting, lectureship, or Vacation Bible School that the Elders have deemed that the members attend. How many Christians will only attend one of these events being hosted by their home congregation on Sunday morning, but choose to just sit at home or do some other secular activity the rest of the week? These types of Christians are showing themselves to have an apathetic attitude towards worshipping the Lord which is not congruent with the life of a faithful Christian. We should have the attitude that King David had in Psalm 122:1,“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.” Friends, it is important to put God First (Matthew 6:33), and support your home congregation and proclamation of the Gospel (Titus 2:14). It is even worthwhile to accept those personal invitations given to attend a Gospel meeting, lectureship, or Vacation Bible School at a nearby congregation.
Christians who follow the false doctrine of “once baptized, always saved” may not study the Bible every day as II Timothy 2:15 commands. They may not attend the assembling of the church of Christ regularly as Hebrews 10:25 tells us to do. They may not be willing to participate in the various works of the church. Also, they may do others things that harm their influence, such as dress immodestly, participate in social drinking, be reluctant to help others as well as behave un-Christ-like in other aspects of their lives, all the while believing that their name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life because they were baptized in the past (I Timothy 2:9-10, I Peter 4:3-5, Matthew 5:41). Those who live their lives in this way must repent just as John the Baptist told the Jewish false teachers to do.
In the past, whenever I would look at the obituaries in the newspaper, I was always glad to read when a deceased person was listed as a member of the church of Christ. Like so many, whenever I saw those words printed in the obituary, I felt a wave of relief, thinking that the deceased person who was listed as a member of the church of Christ in their obituary was already in Paradise. I am still glad to read that a person who has passed away was a member of the Lord’s church, however, the more I study God’s Word, the more I see the importance of being a faithful Christian unto death (Revelation 2:10).
In order to go to Heaven, we are to be Christians who are fruitful and abound in good works (II Corinthians 9:8). We are to present ourselves as a light unto the world, and others should see more of Christ in us than they see ourselves. If we just “blend” in with the rest of the world in our choice of attire or our actions, then we not living the fruitful life of a Christian and we have bought into the false doctrine of “once baptized always saved.” I hope that we Christians will always have an attitude of gratefulness and appreciation toward God for all that He has done for us, and that we show this gratitude in our words and in our actions. Only then can we be the best Christians that we can be, and have the hope of reaching a home in Heaven one day!
A new episode on "Modesty" can now be heard on the 5 Minutes of Faith on Friday Podcast! Go to https://anchor.fm/brandi-gann to listen to the podcast, or hit the "Play" button in the upper right hand corner of this page (just above the "How to Be Saved" section). You can also listen to a 5 minute episode about how to purchase my books on the above link!
^ Photo courtesy the JoJo Siwa Facebook page ^
The apostle John definitely spoke the Truth when he said that “the whole world lieth in wickedness” (I John 5:19). The world has always been wicked, and this wickedness is only growing more and more prevalent as time goes by. The saddest part about this is that this wickedness is not aimed at just adults anymore, but is being exposed to young children via the media. Our society, which once protected young children from sin, is now attempting to “brainwash” our children in believing that certain sinful behavior is “normal” and “acceptable.” This makes our jobs as parents even more important in that we must make sure our children grow up knowing what is normal and what is in actuality, sin.
Most of my little girls love JoJo Siwa. My oldest daughter even classifies JoJo as her favorite singer, and she has even written letters to JoJo in her “diary” that are really sweet. My daughter watches JoJo on television, and loved wearing JoJo hair bows, tennis shoes, and her JoJo backpack to school. It breaks my heart to have to make my little daughter stop wearing her JoJo bows and backpack due to the wrong decisions of someone who she looks up to so much.
Over the weekend, speculations have come out regarding as to whether or not JoJo Siwa was making the choice to become a homosexual due to some posts she made on Instagram. In one post, she is seen wearing a T-shirt with the words “Best Gay Cousin Ever” which she claims was given to her by her cousin. In another post, she is seen in a video lip synching to the song “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga which has a line in it which mentions people who call themselves a part of the “LGBTQ” movement.
When I heard about these posts, I had already thought in my mind that this is her way of “coming out” as a homosexual. I was already upset by the thought that JoJo would choose this lifestyle, but hoped that it was not true. Sadly, she confirmed these rumors on Instagram Live, in which she gushes about how “happy” she is now that she has made her decision to be “gay” public. Here is some of what she said in this video;
“I wanted to come on here and just talk to y'all for a second and say thank you,… For the last 48 hours...72 hours, I have gotten the most endless amount of love and support. I am really, really, I'm really happy. Now that the world gets to see this side of my life... it makes me really, really, really happy” (Source: NBC Today)
Homosexuality is a sin. Moses said in Leviticus 18:22,” Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” Also, in Leviticus 20:13, we see that, under the Old Law, homosexuals were punished by death. Homosexuality was also condemned in the New Testament;
“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Romans 1:26-32).
Seeing how serious of a sin that homosexuality is, how can JoJo profess to be so “happy” about her choice to partake in this sin? By the way, contrary to the Lady Gaga song “Born This Way,” no one is born being homosexual! It is a choice-and a bad one at that! I believe that JoJo is so “happy” to be “coming out” as a homosexual for two reasons. One reason is that she has been taught to put herself first above God, and to partake in whatever makes her “happy”-even if it is wrong! In the Instagram Live video that she participated in, JoJo talked about her parents’ reaction to her telling them she was homosexual;
“My parents have known," she responded. "My mom said she's known for the last two years. She's like, 'I just know with you!' She's like around two years ago, she was like, 'I don't think you only like boys, that's totally OK.'” (Source: NBC Today)
This quote should make it clear to all parents that we have to teach our kids about God’s Word and make sure that they learn to follow it rather than those who have fallen for the devil’s trickery. Satan has tricked JoJo Siwa into thinking that she is happier being a homosexual.
The second reason that JoJo is so "happy" be be living the sinful life of a homosexual is that the thought of committing sin is making JoJo feel “happy” because sin is pleasurable for a while, but after that is punishment for all eternity. (Hebrews 11:25).
Of course, Satan is never satisfied with just having JoJo Siwa in his grasp, he wants to use her to influence others to commit this same sin and fall into the devil’s trap, also! In her Instagram Live video, JoJo goes on to encourage her young fans to do as she has done, and fall into the trap of Satan by choosing homosexuality;
"But right now what matters is that you guys know that no matter who you love, that it's OK and that it's awesome and the world is there for you," she said. "There are so many people that are there for you. I know that everyone's situation is different and it might be harder for some people and it might be easier for some people to come out or to be themselves but I think coming out has this stigma around it — that it's a really, really scary thing, but it's not anymore."
JoJo was correct when she said that “the world would be there for you” if a person decides to follow her example and become a homosexual, because the world lies in wickedness of the devil, and the devil wants us to follow him rather than God. “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (II Corinthians 4:4). That is why we must make sure that we are following God rather than the world, because we cannot enter into Heaven by following Satan.
Homosexuality is a choice. I Corinthians 6:9-10 says, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” We see from these verses that it is possible for people to leave homosexuality for homosexuality is completely against nature, and must be left by those who are of that persuasion. There is a difference between love and lust, and God is Love, and He has defined love for us. Those who are homosexuals are urged out of love to give up this sin. It is possible to change as some at Corinth had done in the First Century.
Parents, I encourage you to not support JoJo Siwa. This means that I encourage you to do what I am doing with my own children in that I will no longer purchase her products for them, or allow them to attend her concerts, or allow them to watch her videos and shows. I know this can be a challenge because many young girls are like my little girls, and look to JoJo Siwa as a role model. Parents, we cannot allow JoJo Siwa to remain a role model for our little ones because she is not a good role model for children. She is only concerned about gaining fame and attention for herself, and she does not care about how her sinful actions affect her young fans. We must also teach our children the importance of following God rather than other people, no matter how much they like that person or how famous that person is. We, as parents, are the biggest role models our children will have, and we have to show them how to deal with sin in the world. If we teach them that supporting people like JoJo Siwa is OK while they are young, they will grow up to think that certain sinful behaviors are acceptable. May we work every day to teach our children the right path to Heaven, and a simple step in doing this is to say “No-No” to JoJo Siwa!
A new episode called "The Lord Will Find A Way" can now be heard on the 5 Minutes of Faith on Friday Podcast! Go to https://anchor.fm/brandi-gann to listen, or you can click the "Play" button in the upper right hand corner of this page to listen to this podcast!!
“ But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,” (Matthew 23:5).
This verse is a description given by Jesus to His disciples regarding the Jewish sect known as the Pharisees. This verse is a good example of how the Pharisees were very concerned about the praise of men rather than of God, and wanted to show off how religious they thought they were. How many Christians can relate to the description that Christ is giving the Pharisees in this verse? Are some Christians prone to bragging about their service to God?
When Jesus spoke these words, the Old Law was still in effect, however, the Pharisees were wrong in their beliefs because they placed rules that they expected the Jews to follow that were too strict, and that did not go along with Moses’ teachings. Jesus is pointing out in this verse, how that the Pharisees craved the attention and approval of men so much that they would “show off” how that they were worshipping God through their appearance and the things that they did.
For instance, the portion of the verse which says “they make broad their phylacteries” refers to the practice that the Jews would have in which they would carry portions of the Old Testament written on pieces of paper in two small boxes on their clothing. The Pharisees would take this a step further, however, and make these boxes extra large so that others would see how religiously minded they were. Was there any need for others to see that the Pharisees were studying the Scripture? Absolutely not! It is good to encourage others to study God’s Word, but we must be careful about how we approach it. Instead of showing off how much we study, we can talk to others about how much God has helped us and how studying the Bible is so important. We can give verses like II Timothy 2:15 to prove this fact.
A similar situation can be seen in the parable of the Pharisee and the publican in Luke 18:9-14. The Pharisee was boastful of how much he did for the Lord, and he considered himself better than others, including the publican. He prayed to God bragging about how much he fasted in a week, and how much he gave of his money. The publican, however, went to God with a humble heart and prayed for forgiveness of his own sins. Jesus ended this parable by saying that the publican was more righteous than the Pharisee because “every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
We hear little kids sing the song “I Don’t Wanna Be A Pharisee,” and this is a motto that we, as Christians, must remember to practice everyday in our lives here on Earth. I’m afraid that platforms like social media have made it easier for some Christians to behave somewhat like Pharisees. Christians behave like Pharisees when they boast of doing good works for others, and boast of how much they are studying their Bibles, worshipping, or giving to the Lord. All of these things need to be done in secret and without broadcasting it on social media. If we feel the need to have to tell others about the good works we are doing, then we already have our reward here on Earth, rather than having a reward from God. Others do not have to know, nor need to know when we are performing a good work for others, or when we pray. worship, or study God’s Word. That should be known only to us, and to God.
Of course, when we do good works for others, then more than God and ourselves know about the act, but let us be sure that we do not speak of the good work ourselves. Let others speak of our good works rather than ourselves! (Proverbs 27:2). We must not let our pride sabotage our goal of entering into Heaven one day!
“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:1-6).
A new episode called "New Years Resolutions" can now be heard on the 5 Minutes of Faith on Fridays podcast! You can either go here https://anchor.fm/brandi-gann to listen, or hit the "Play" button on the upper right hand corner of this page, just above the "How to Be Saved" section. I hope you enjoy this podcast!
A new episode on "Prayer" can now be heard on the 5 Minutes of Faith on Friday podcast!! Click on https://anchor.fm/brandi-gann to reach the podcast page,
You can also click the "Play" button in the upper right hand corner of this page, just above the section on "How to Be Saved" and listen to the episode on "Prayer" here! Hope you enjoy
"Pray without ceasing" (I Thessalonians 5:17)
At times, I cannot help but notice how some people in the world today are growing colder and less friendly to their fellow man than in years gone by. Living in the South, it is a common occurrence to see strangers say “Hello” to one another on the street, but I have noticed that the small gestures of kindness that used to be so prevalent in our society 50 years ago are slowly fading away. So, I have decided to focus this article on a list that I have put together of things that it doesn’t hurt anyone to do:
1. It doesn’t hurt anyone to say “Hello” in response to someone else’s greeting, or, dare I say it, be the first to say “Hello!” Verbalizing a greeting to one another should be one of the easiest things to do. You don’t have to be an extrovert to just say “Hello” to someone. You also do not have to wait for the other person to say “Hello” to you first. All you have to do is have enough love in your heart for others to want to show your love and friendliness towards them. Whether we see someone in town, or we have guests over at our home, we should ALWAYS greet them, even if they do not initiate the greeting themselves. “Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.”(I Peter 5:14).
2. It doesn’t hurt anyone to be encouraging to others: We should always try to say and do things to make others feel good. We never know what another person is facing in his or her life, even if that person seems to be happy and to “have it all.” We should always try to find ways to lift the spirits of others, which will in turn, lift our spirits up as well! We do not have to wait until people are upset or facing challenges in order to be encouraging to them. We can encourage others during their good times and challenging times! “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24).
3. It doesn’t hurt anyone to go out of their way to help others. This is something that is on the decline, even in the church. It used to be the case that people would go out of their way to help someone in need, whether it be to help them fix something, give them money or food, or even give them a way to attend church services. Today, there are some people out there, even Christians, who are only willing to help others when it is convenient for them (i.e. they get something in return, or it doesn’t require too much effort on their part). Jesus tells us to do MORE than what is asked of us for those in need. “And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.”(Matthew 5:41).
4. It doesn’t hurt anyone to say, “I’m Sorry.” This is a big issue for some people who do not want to apologize for anything. When we have made a mistake or have done something wrong, we must be willing to apologize to anyone involved. I have seen it be the case in recent years that more people are less willing to show humility and apologize. We are to be humble servants of God rather than live with pride in our hearts. Those who are unwilling to apologize for their mistakes are doing so out of pride. “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble”. (James 4:6). In order for us to be faithful Christians, we must resist the urge to be prideful, but rather, embrace a meek and humble spirit. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4:10).
These are just a few examples of ways that I think some people in our world today can improve on the way they think, feel, and act. Our lives are temporary and “like a vapor” (James 4:14). Therefore, we should do all we can to help others and to serve God faithfully while we are still here on the earth. No matter what we have to give up or how much energy we have to use in order to serve God and help others, we will know that all of our efforts were worth it when we reach our home in Heaven! “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” (Revelation 22:12-14).
IT'S HERE!! You can now listen to the first episode of the 5 Minutes of Faith on Friday podcast! Go to https://anchor.fm/brandi-gann to listen!! This episode discusses the topic of Faith!
The episode on "Faith" can be listened to by clicking the "Play" button on upper right hand side of this page, above the section entitled "How to Be Saved."
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
NEW PODCAST ANNOUNCEMENT!!! On January 1, 2021, I will launch my new podcast called "5 Minutes of Faith on Friday!" As the title implies, this podcast will feature episodes that will only be around 5 minutes in length and will air every Friday! In this podcast, for Ladies, I will be teaching short lessons from the Bible on various topics that I hope will be relatable to the lives of all women! On January 1, 2021, go to https://anchor.fm/brandi-gann to hear the first episode which will be posted at 6 o'clock that morning! As I said before, all episodes are around 5 minutes, so, Ladies, please take that brief amount of time out of your busy day to spend with me studying the Bible!
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Timothy 2:15)
With Christmas fast approaching, I have often seen the phrase “Jesus is the reason for the season” at various times in reference to this holiday. Christmas is seen by many as Christ’s birthday, and many celebrate this holiday as such. The truth is, however, we do not know the actual time and date of Christ’s birth, and there is no reference in the Bible that tells us to celebrate this event at Christmas. What the Bible does tell us is to honor Jesus and celebrate everything He has done for us ALL the time and during EVERY season!
Jesus created us and created all of the universe, and we owe everything that we are and everything that we have to Him. Not only did He create us, but he died a cruel death on the cross so we could have forgiveness of sins and the opportunity for Everlasting Life! “Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him” (Isaiah 43:7). “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God” (Romans 13:1). With that being said, it is vitally important that we worship and honor Jesus during all seasons of the year, and not just during Christmas. We should honor and praise God every single day of our lives, and many times during the day. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:31).
Something that is often seen close to Christmas is higher rates of worship service attendance. It is sometimes the case where people who do not attend worship services any other time of the year will show up around Christmas time. It is good that these people attend worship service at this time, but it is more important that they are in regular attendance all year round. By regular attendance, I mean that a person should attend every worship service on the first day of the week and at any other time that the leaders of their home congregation set aside for assembling (Acts 20:7, Hebrews 13:17). “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:23-25).
It is certainly not wrong to glorify Christ and be to mindful of all the things He has done for us during Christmas, but we should make it a point to always have our minds on God and to work each and every day to be faithful servants of Him. The Holy Scriptures do not authorize us to celebrate December 25 as the date of the birth of Christ, but we should honor Christ every day and be thankful for His birth every day (Colossians 3:17, II Peter 3:18). I hope that this article helps to show the importance of remembering that Jesus is “the Reason for every season,” not just the Christmas season!
My family and I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!!!
In the aftermath of the 2020 Presidential Election, many people from all political parties and sentiments seem still confused about who would be the next Commander in Chief of the United States. No matter which party you align yourself with, or which candidate you voted for, the person who becomes President of the United States every four years is given that distinguished title because God is allowing him to have it!
No matter who is leading our country, we are to subject ourselves to their authority, because that person who is in a position of power, has been given authority by God. “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” (Romans 13:1-2). We are to subject ourselves to the rule of the President, so long as he is not telling us to do wrongfully. If a leader is telling us to do wrong, then we are not required to do these things. Even the apostles of Jesus went against their rulers who commanded them not to preach the Gospel, and even threatened them to not speak at all nor teach in the Name of Jesus (Acts 4:18-20). We should work to change laws that promote sin. This applies to anyone in authority, whether it is a President, king, emperor, etc. God is the ultimate authority of everyone, including those who derive their authority from Him. “For the kingdom is the LORD'S: and he is the governor among the nations” (Psalm 22:28).
Those who are set as rulers over a country are “ministers” or “servants’ of God (Romans 13:4). Those who rule all nations are placed there by God for a specific purpose, to either help the people being ruled over, to punish them, or to bring about a specific result. Presidents, kings, and other rulers throughout the years who have been corrupt and evildoers were still placed in their positions by God to punish the people for the wrongdoing they have done. For example, King Nebuchadrezzar was a wicked man who was placed in his position as king of Babylon to punish the people of Judah for their own sins against God (Jeremiah 25:8-9). Although King Nebuchadrezzar carried out God’s Will, he was still punished himself for his wickedness (Daniel 4:1-34). God still picks certain people to be in positions of authority through His Divine Providence to either reward or punish the people. God does this to maintain order in a world that is prone to rebellion against Him.
After the recent Presidential election, it is important to remember, that no matter who is inaugurated as the new President of the United States, God is ALWAYS in control! That person is President because God gave him that authority, and he is there for a reason. God tells us in Daniel 4:17, “This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.” We, as Christians, do not need to worry when a person who supports sin comes into office, because God will work all things together for good to those who love the Lord and to those who are the called according to His Purpose (Romans 8:28). God is still in control. He sets up those who come to power. We do not always understand in the moment why one is in power, rather than another. It may be that we will come to an understanding of this later in life or it may be that farther along in eternity we will understand why, but in all cases, God is still in control.
What takes place in this life is only temporary, and evil rulers will be punished with the rest of the wicked world. God always has our best interest in mind, and He will take care of us, even through trials and tribulations! We just have to be sure that we are being faithful to Him and following His Word, even when a President or some other ruler tells us not to do so (I Peter 2:13-16). Philippians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” It is only through living the faithful Christian life that we can have the “peace that passeth all understanding."
“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Hebrews 9:27).
Death is a subject about which very few people enjoy thinking or talking. Everyone will die a physical death unless the Day of Judgment comes beforehand.
Death is something that all of us will face, although the majority of the population express a fear of it. Even in Bible times, some people feared death. Bildad, the friend of Job, described death as the “king of terrors” (Job 18:14). Death is viewed as an unknown by many today, but it does not have to be an unknown. The Bible describes in great detail about what death will be like for both the faithful and unfaithful in Christ. For those who are faithful, death is a wonderful event; a passage to a place of rest from pain and suffering. For the unfaithful, however, the outcome is devastating. Here is what the Bible tells us about what death will be like for all of us.
The world sees death as something unknown and scary, but to Christians, death is a wonderful time of reuniting with loved ones, and being in the presence of God Almighty. Those who are in the world and those who do not follow God will find death to be indeed a scary place. The Bible makes it very clear as to what happens to both the faithful and unfaithful after death, and no one can make it to Heaven by accident. “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” (Hebrews 4:1). It takes a conscious effort to do God’s Will throughout one’s life to be rewarded with Heaven. May we all work to reach our Heavenly home each and every day, and may we work to bring as many souls as we can to Heaven with us! “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15).
The topic that I am about to cover in this article is one that I do not hear spoken about very often, and that is the subject of Christians exhorting one another. In Hebrews 3:13, we are told, “But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” This verse means that Christians are to encourage other Christians to talk about spiritual things among themselves as well as to speak of spiritual things to non-Christians. It is so often the case that Christians will be around one another and talk about everything under the sun except anything to do with spiritual matters. What does Hebrews 3:13 say about this?
First off, the writer of Hebrews says that we are to “exhort one another daily, while it is called To day.” What does this mean? This means that Christians are to encourage one another by talking about spiritual things (i.e. God, Jesus, the Bible, the church, saving the lost, etc.) EVERY DAY! By every day, this means that we should have spiritual matters on our minds so much that we have to talk about them every day to not only other Christians, but to non-Christians as well. We should feel compelled to teach others how to be saved through the teachings of the Bible, because the Bible is God’s Word, and the final authority! “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (II Timothy 3:16).
Why should we talk of spiritual things EVERY DAY to both Christians and non-Christians? One reason is that, if Christians are encouraged to keep their minds on God, they may be tempted to focus too much on the temporary things of this world, and as a result, become spiritually weak. Those who have become spiritually weak have had their hearts hardened by the “deceitfulness of sin” as Hebrews 3:13 later says. Those Christians who have had their hearts hardened against sin must be rebuked in a loving way so that they can get their priorities back on track. As Christians, we can always benefit greatly from the positive influence of other faithful Christians by talking about the various aspects of the Christian life.
Another reason why we should discuss spiritual matters every day is to help non-Christians learn how to be faithful Christians. It is not just the preacher’s job to teach and preach God’s Word, to both Christians and non-Christians, it is every Christian’s job to do so! “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23). Christians need to be around other Christians and need to talk about spiritual things every day. These talks can take place anywhere; at work, at school, at home, while shopping, on social media, on blogs/websites, by letter, by phone, etc. We should always take the opportunity to talk about God’s Word whenever possible!
It is amazing to see how some Christians who are not used to talking about spiritual matters on a daily basis will sometimes act less spiritually minded than non-Christians! An example of this took place the other day when I was talking to a long-time Christian and member of the church of Christ about two non-Christians who were said to have been working all day and night at their secular jobs and building things. I had told the Christian that the non-Christians should put their focus on being converted to Christ rather than on the temporary things of this world and that she would be a great source of encouragement to them to do so. This Christian lady was surprised that I had even brought up the fact that these two non-Christians needed to be converted. It appeared that, although this lady attends worship services of the church of Christ regularly, she was not used to thinking about their lost spiritual state, but rather was focused on the worldly things that they were doing.
This is a common occurrence among Christians, and that is why the penman of Hebrews speaks against it. Many Christians place more focus on the temporary things of this world such as obtaining material possessions, having secular careers, being “people pleasers”, and so on. They place less emphasis on worldly matters and less emphasis on talking to others about God and the life of a Christian. Christians should care enough about their own spiritual state and the spiritual state of others that they feel compelled to teach and speak about the Word of God daily to at least one person. By doing this, their hearts will be firmly planted in the Lord! “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
Of course, Hebrews 3:13 does not mean that we cannot focus on the things of this world that are good, but we should try to make it a point to talk about God, Jesus, the Bible, and other spiritual matters every day. That way, we can keep our priorities straight, as well as be an encouragement to others! “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24). We must focus on spiritual matters first, and make that our priority. If God and spiritual matters are our main focus in life, this will be reflected in our actions and in our speech. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3:2). Our job as Christians is to help one another in our journey through life so that we may be with each other for eternity in Heaven. We also want to take as many souls with us to Heaven as well, so let us all make it a point to talk about spiritual subjects to at least one person every day! If we do this, that will help us get into the habit of keeping our hearts and minds on the Eternal God rather than this wicked world that will soon pass away!
When we think about ourselves, we tend to see ourselves in a certain light. For example, we may see ourselves as attractive, smart, witty, loving, caring, the list goes on. We also tend to view ourselves in a certain way as compared to others. We may see ourselves as better or worse than someone else, as well as having or lacking certain skills that others either do or do not have. All of these things make up our self-image that determines our self-worth. Our self-worth will determine how we feel about ourselves and the world around us. Our self-image will also help determine what kind of life we will live. Our self-image is often subjective, however, because we look at ourselves and others through our own lenses that are often skewed by our thoughts and experiences that we have in life. If we view ourselves in a more negative light, then we may be more inclined to become withdrawn, depressed, and have an overall negative view of the world. Conversely, if we have a more positive view of self, then we are more likely to have a positive view of the world and interact with others more positively
A problem that can arise from our own self-image is when we view ourselves in an overly positive or negative way. This happens when we either discount, or ignore, our true worthiness and God-given abilities, or we esteem ourselves and our abilities too highly, without giving God the proper credit. It is often the case that most people have a skewed view of themselves, whether it be too negative or too positive. The apostle Paul, himself, cautions us not to think too highly of ourselves. “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3).
What about how others view us? Can we get a more accurate view of ourselves from others? We should always strive to set forth good examples before others. “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,” (Titus 2:7). If we are obedient to God’s Word, and following in His Footsteps, then what others think of us does not matter. It is often the case that those who are the most faithful will get the most criticism from others who are not faithful to God. Jesus Christ, who was the only sinless Person who will ever walk the Earth, was accused falsely by His enemies (John 8:41, 48; Matt 12:24).
Likewise, a person who works to make others think she is faithful to God when she really is not is a hypocrite. There are some people, especially celebrities, who are elevated far beyond what they should be by society. Sometimes, even certain members of the church are elevated by other members due to their pious and faithful appearance, when in actuality, they hide a multitude of sins.
For example, there were a group of Jews in the New Testament known as the Pharisees. The Pharisees not only considered themselves as holier than those about them, but others also viewed them in the same way. The Pharisees would make their acts of worship public so that they would be noticed and viewed favorably by others. They would stand in the streets when they prayed, and make their faces disfigured when they fasted (Matthew 6:1-18).
Since how we see ourselves and how we are seen in the eyes of others can be deceiving, we should put our focus on how we are viewed in God’s Eyes. God sees us as we truly are, because He made us. We cannot hide our true selves from Him, no matter how much money we have, what possessions we have, how we are dressed, or how faithful we pretend to be. If we are not “the real deal” in our spiritual lives, God knows it! We can be pleasing in God’s Eyes by studying our Bibles every day, and doing all that God wants us to do. If we are pretentious in any way, God sees this, and it is an abomination to Him. “And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:15). God saw through people like King Saul, who was admired by many, but inwardly he was not as he should have been. “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7).
If we compare ourselves with how God sees us, then we will have a truly honest view of who we are, and who we should strive to be. The world sees us by what is on the outside and values that the most. God sees us from what is on the inside and values that the most. We should return the favor and value what God values the most, also! “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).
“Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's.” (II Corinthians 10:7).