Daily Bible Reading

Act out

A person stands on a stage speaking wise words with an eloquent voice. Their words are truth. Their words hold life.

A person sits in the crowd hearing words and, even though they are powerful, this person feels nothing. There is no change. They are hollow.

Then a stranger beside them gently takes their hand. Suddenly the world changes.

Which person is greater—the speaker or the silent hand-holder? Which one has more wisdom and understanding? We might be inclined to say that it’s the person speaking, but if their words have no effect, what use are they?

If you are wise and understand God’s ways, live a life of steady goodness so that only good deeds will pour forth. And if you don’t brag about the good you do, then you will be truly wise.

James 3:13 (NLT)

Telling people what you know and what you can do isn’t the same as showing people what you know and what you can do. In the end, our actions hold far more sway than our words. Words, though they may be right, are empty unless our actions back them up. Words aren’t always necessary to convey a strong message. In fact, they are rarely needed.

We all make many mistakes, but those who control their tongues can also control themselves in every other way.

James 3:2 (NLT)

As Christians, especially as those who may not be in public ministry, we may struggle with ways to share our faith. We can’t find the words. Bringing up God in conversation always seems shallow and contrived. But what if words aren’t what we need to be sharing? I’ve personally had more people ask me about my faith based on my actions than my words.

When we act out Christ’s love and live a life of steady goodness so that good deeds will pour forth, we open doors that our words could never open. We make paths where our words could never go. We affect lives in ways words never could.

Don’t try to find the right words. Try to do the right deeds.

Daily Bible reading: Ezekiel 24-26, James 3

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Daily Bible Reading

What’s in a name?

There are a lot of people in this world who will tell you they’re a Christian. Maybe they were baptized as a kid or they go to church on Christmas and Easter. But is that what makes you a Christian—just calling yourself one? Noah Webster didn’t think so.

CHRISTIAN: A real disciple of Christ; one who believes in the truth of the Christian religion, and studies to follow the example, and obey the precepts, of Christ; a believer in Christ who is characterized by real piety.

There are many who believe that a simple profession of faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God is what makes you a Christian. I believe that profession is what makes you a believer. It’s everything that you do afterward that makes you a Christian.

By definition, being a Christian means that you should be ever striving to act like Christ. It’s right there in the name. Paul wrote an entire letter to Titus discussing how Christians should conduct themselves.

For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with self-control, right conduct, and devotion to God, while we look forward to that wonderful event when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing what is right.

Titus 2:11-14 (NLT)

Christians, true Christians, should turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should talk different. We should act different. And people should notice. If you claim the name of Christ, truly claim it. Live it. Act like him.

Imagine what this world would look like if every single person who claimed the name of Jesus Christ really acted like him. If, instead of churches full of nominal Christians, we went out on the street and actually lived the life we claim to have chosen when we first called on Jesus.

Salvation is free. It’s a gift for all people. But the name of Christ should be reserved for those who follow his example, those who are totally committed to doing what is right.

Daily Bible reading: Jeremiah 31-32, Titus 2

Daily Bible Reading

Judge

No one wants to be judged. Culture has made a mantra out of that fact. We all want to do whatever we want to do, but no one wants to be judged for it—we shouldn’t judge each other for it. Especially not in the church. We’ve latched on to the mantra telling people not to judge us. We can do what we want to do.

Can we? Really?

It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it is certainly your job to judge those inside the church who are sinning in these ways. God will judge those on the outside; but as the scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”

1 Corinthians 5:12-13 (NLT)

As Christians, we often shy away from or even shun our duties and responsibilities. We want to be left alone to live our lives as we please and not be bothered with the difficult or uncomfortable stuff. But that’s not how it works to be a part of a family. That’s not how it works to be a part of a body.

When a body part suffers from sickness, the entire body is affected. Even if it’s just a sniffle, the whole body is weakened while fighting what has affected just one part.

As the body of Christ, we are often remiss in our duties to cast those things out that weaken the body. We say that it’s not our job to judge.

Get out of my life, you evil-minded people,
for I intend to obey the commands of my God.

Psalm 119:115 (NLT)

It is not our job to judge unbelievers—they are held to a different standard than we are as believers. Sinners are supposed to sin, after all. But Christians, on the other hand, are supposed to act like Christ. We are a new creation. The old man is gone.  And, when there are members of the body who fail to act like the new creation we’re supposed to be, it should not go unaddressed. That one part of the body that isn’t acting like it’s supposed to needs to be dealt with before the sickness spreads to the rest of the body unchecked. Either the behaviour must be corrected or that part of the body removed.

It is our responsibility, our job, as believers to help maintain the integrity of the entire body—it’s not just the job of our pastors and leaders. We are all accountable to each other as members of the same body, as brothers and sisters in Christ.

If you don’t allow sickness to continue in your physical body, why would you allow it to continue in the spiritual body? As we keep our physical bodies healthy and in shape, we should all be working together to accomplish the same thing as the body of Christ.

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 119:105-176, 1 Corinthians 5

Daily Bible Reading

Act like it!

Christians should be the happiest, most joyful people on the plant. There are some who call themselves Christians that may balk at that statement, but it’s the truth. There are no scriptures in the Bible that would indicate that Christians must be a solemn people, prone to frowns and fits of self-deprecation.

So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God’s very own children, adopted into his family—calling him “Father, dear Father.”

Romans 8:15 (NLT)

Everything that I’ve found in scripture that speaks of how we should act as children of God indicates that we should stand out from the crowd—not because we are miserable, but because we have something that everyone else does not. Our faces, our actions, our attitudes, our responses should reflect the Spirit of God that lives on the inside of us.

But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them are not Christians at all.)

Romans 8:9 (NLT)

2017-08-05 15.17.05
Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver #89, Duron Carter, tossing a pass to my nephew.

I was recently at a CFL football game with my sister and her two boys. We had passes that allowed us down on the field before the game while the players were warming up. Even though our team doesn’t win nearly as often as we would like them to, we’re still big fans and cheer them on. So there we were cheering on some warm-up catches when one of the best receivers in the league tossed a pass to my nephew. My nephew (who plays football) managed to throw back a decent spiral, got a smile and a wave from the player. It was a special moment. We made sure everyone knew he’d caught the only pass from that player that day. Both our words and our actions indicated that this kid was something special.

If a single pass from a professional football player can make our day, how much more should the fact that we have been made heirs with Christ reflect in our lives?

With all the noise and distraction around us, it can get difficult to remember who we really are. That’s why it is so important to take the time to listen to the voice of the Spirit within us.

For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God’s children.

Romans 8:16 (NLT)

God hasn’t left us on our own. Just like your last name is a perpetual reminder of who you are, who you belong to, and where you came from, the Holy Spirit within us is there to also remind us of who we are, who we belong to, and where we came from.

Listen to that voice that God put in you. You are a child of God. A child of the King. Brothers and sister of Christ. Heirs of the Promise and so much more. And it’s okay to act like it. Our membership in the Kingdom of God is something to be celebrated and shared.

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 78-81, Romans 8:1-18

Daily Bible Reading

Different

Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.

John 13:35 (NLT)

When you’re not with other Christians, do you act differently from everyone else? Is there something about you that separates you from them?

Yesterday we talked about God leaving His mark on us—the evidence of His mark is love.

If you obey the commands of the Lord your God and walk in his ways, the Lord will establish you as his holy people as he solemnly promised to do. Then all the nations of the world will see that you are a people claimed by the Lord, and they will stand in awe of you.

Deuteronomy 28:9-10 (NLT)

Israel wasn’t different just because they were a different nation. Their actions and traditions made them stand out over every other nation in the area. They didn’t have to tell people they were set apart, they really were set apart.

The Church should be the same. We shouldn’t have to go around telling everyone we’re Christians, it should be plainly evident in the way we act. If we have to tell people we’re different, are we really different?

If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth, but didn’t love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging symbol.

1 Corinthians 13:1 (NLT)

I’m going to challenge you today—when you go about your daily business, love. Don’t be stingy with it. Be audacious with it. Greet people warmly (without being awkward about it), give generously, smile at the person who scowls at you. Act differently and see if anyone takes notice. The responses you get might even surprise you.

Daily Bible reading: Deuteronomy 28, Mark 15:27-47