Be thankful for people

One of the things Jesus does for us is to place the right people in our lives. We need to be thankful for those people because we will get nowhere without them.

Be thankful for the people who love, support, celebrate, and encourage you.

Be thankful for the people who invest their time and resources in you.

Be thankful for the people who lead you.

Be thankful for the people who offer you their perspectives.

Be thankful for the people who challenge you.

Be thankful for the people who force you to bury your offense button in order to maintain your character.

Be thankful for the people who make you consider that maybe you are wrong.

Be thankful for the people who flat-out do not like you.

Be thankful for the people you get to love, support, celebrate, and encourage.

Be thankful for the people you get to sow your time and resources into.

Be thankful for the people you get to lead.

Be thankful for the people who value your perspective.

Be thankful for the people who listen to your challenge, and don’t take offense.

Be thankful for the people who choose to like you even with all of your flaws.

Be thankful for all of these people. These people all play a role in you becoming a better, more complete person. More importantly they all play a role in you becoming a more Christ like person. I would even say this, you may reach the end of your life just fine without people, but you will never become who you are supposed to be before you get there.

God is for you, and I am for you!

 

How to live your life kingdom first series conclusion/summary

If you didn’t get a chance to read part 5 you can read it here.

This series has contained a lot of things that pertain to how we should behave and act towards other people. With that being said, the gospel message has never been about behavior modification. It has always been about Jesus Christ. You can not change people, and I would even say it is very hard to convince people, but Christ transforms people. This transformation is one where He transforms you into His likeness, and through this transformation if you are truly becoming more like Him your behavior towards other people will change because He sees people through the finished work of the cross.

We should offer our complete selves to God, and allow Him to perform an inward transformation, and completely change our minds because the truth is that they need to be changed. We conform to the standards of the world in so many ways, and the church mixes and blends the ways of the world with the ways of the king and His kingdom in so many ways. There is so much around us that is counter to the kingdom yet sounds spiritual that we must let Him do continuous internal transformation in order to avoid the traps and pitfalls.

We have to remember not to think more highly of ourselves than we should, we need His continuous help on our journey through this life He gave us. We also have to remember that our perspective isn’t the only perspective, and to show sincere love to others even when they disagree with us. We should use the gifts God has given us to serve other people, even if they have a different perspective on things. We should work hard in serving the Lord and His people loving them and showing them respect.

Care for people, be concerned for people, bless people, and so on. This is not just for those you agree with, or like. The bible even says to do this for our enemies. Do everything you can do to live in peace with people. One thing I tell people is to always try to do what you know to be right in the Lord, and don’t worry about other people being hateful and trying to make themselves your enemy. Just as the Lord continues to work in you, He will continue to work in them. I have never had anyone apologize to me after I got mad and acted foolishly; however, I have had people apologize to me when I didn’t react and they felt their own conviction later on. (I have also been the one who needed to apologize)

This is the life that we are called to live. One that is humble, and patient. One that shows love, and seeks to maintain unity with our brothers and sisters. We are all one as the body of Christ, none of us more valuable or better than another. There is not a one of us that is no longer in the transformation process. We all have struggles along the way, but we also have unique gifts and abilities to help each other along. We may only know in part, but we should use that part to live a life that reflects Christ, not the world. The world seeks to acquire, gain, and make self bigger. The nature of Christ seeks to give, become less, and make God bigger.

I hope this series has helped you in some way!

Live you life kingdom first!

God is for you, and I am for you!

Scriptures: Romans 12 and Ephesians 4.

 

 

 

How to live your life kingdom first part 5

If you didn’t get a chance to read part 4 you can read it here.

Up to this point I have written about some practical things that we can do to live our daily lives kingdom first. Today I am going to write about a few things we should not do.

We should not pass judgement on one another. I have issues, you have issues, they have issues, we all have issues. With that being said, why do we come to a point where we think it is necessary to judge other people? Regardless of what scriptures you want to use to justify judging others, turning your back, or handing them over to satan it is counter to the new covenant  message of Christ. We should make up our minds to not pass judgement, and decide to help those that stumble. We should do everything we can to ensure that there is mutual edification among us.

We should also not be inconsiderate in our freedom in Christ. If there is a person that regards something as unclean, yet you know in your heart it is not unclean for you, you should put the other person first, and not be a stumbling block to them. In example, Do not be a Jew passing judgement on a Gentile for eating something that is just fine for them to eat. On the other hand do not be an inconsiderate Gentile and scarf it down in front of the Jew. To act either way is to no longer act in love. Now just take that example and apply it to all of your modern scenarios.

This also applies to theology. We as people tend to think we are the theology police. That we are right, and anyone that believes differently is wrong. This is a pretty foolish stance to take, and it is one that will make you eat crow and humble you. (I have been foolish, humbled, and I have owed some apologies) I can say from experience that if you continuously study the word of God, what you believe now may not be what you believe five years from now. We are all on a journey, and we are all wrong about some things. This is certainly no area to be passing judgement. We know in part, and we see through a glass dimly. We don’t know it all.

Romans chapter 14 covers all of these things.

We should not provoke each other. This entails a lot of different things with the most obvious probably being that we should not provoke each other to anger. But there are many more things to consider in this. We should not provoke each other to envy. We should not provoke others to do something we are doing that we know we are called to do if it is not what they are called to do, this will only hinder them. We should only provoke each other to good works. We have all been commissioned to disciple nations; however, we are not all called to do it the same way. (Hint: do not pass judgement in this area either)

Do not grumble, and complain against one another. This is a big one in the church world. People grumbling, complaining, and gossiping about each other all the time. Acting this way is not acting in love. We are supposed to be hospitable. We are supposed to be excited about and for others. The bible even tells us to greet each other with love, excitement, and joy. All the grumbling, complaining, and gossiping usually comes from the root of us placing ourselves as judge. What would happen if we just made up our minds that we were not going to say anything bad about other people? What would happen if we looked inward and said you know what I’m messed up enough that I don’t even have time to worry about where they’re messed up? There’s a challenge we can all take away from this post.

So we know there are some things we should be doing to live a kingdom first life, but there are also some things we should not be doing.

God is for you, and I am for you!

Scriptures: Romans 14, Romans 16, 1 Corinthians 16, 2 Corinthians 13, Galatians 5, Colossians 3, James 4 and 5, 1 Peter 4 and 5.

Vacation is officially over…..so it’s time for How to live your life kingdom first part 3.

If you didn’t get a chance to read part 2 you can read it here.

The fourth practical thing we can do to live our lives kingdom first is to humbly serve one another. This may be the thing that will stand out the most as counter to American culture. American culture is driven by chasing the dream, climbing the ladder, becoming the boss or the buck stops with me person, building bigger houses, creating personal empires, and achieving culture defined success. Furthermore, it’s done at the expense of other people, and getting creative on how you justify it. Humbly serving others goes in the opposite direction, you set aside becoming the ‘man’. Achieving the ‘highest’ rank in the kingdom if you will is to become the greatest servant. It’s not about how high you can climb the ladder or what kind of title you can get people to call you, it’s about how low you can go in order to serve others, and lift them higher. In addition to that, this is not sitting on your perch calling people higher, this is you getting down in the mud with them, and helping them out of the pit without ever asking them how they got their because the truth is it doesn’t matter. You are not their judge, you should be a servant with a heart for people. When you see those people who are struggling, and we all struggle from time to time, your heart shouldn’t be looking at how they got there, but how you can help them get out. This ties in with loving others, and accepting others. I should look at others with the love of Christ, accept them wherever they are at, and serve them wherever they are at.

Christ gives us the ultimate example in John 13:1-17. Furthermore, He commands us to do the same. Here we see the creator of all things, the king of kings, and the lord of lords come down from His position as the most high and wash some dirty stinky feet, and ultimately die for us. He said that if He washed their feet then they should wash each others feet, and He said I gave you this example and you should do as I have done to you. The truth is that you could never be higher than the one who sent you, and we are all sent by Him. To act like you are better than anyone else, or to even think it is a huge statement of pride. Furthermore, you will never be any higher than the one whose feet you are washing, we are a flawed, we are just flawed in different ways.

The word tells us in Galatians 5 to use our new covenant freedom to serve one another, not ourselves. I think Galatians 6 gives us a good picture of how we can do that, here is an excerpt: 6 “Brethren, even if [a]anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” This is a picture of humbly and gently helping someone who has fallen all the while recognizing that you too are flawed and could be tempted yourself. This is recognizing that sometimes things happen to people who cause them to have more of a load than they can carry on their own. This isn’t ‘calling’ people higher in order to sound spiritual when you really just don’t want to get dirty. This is jumping in and helping because you know that you are no better, and you may need help with your own burdens someday. We often carry way more than we could ever make it to the end of the race with, more than we could ever handle. Why do we do that? I would venture to say it is because we have been judged before, we’ve been told we won’t be blessed until we get it right, that we no longer have God’s favor simply because life happened to us.  I would venture to say we don’t want that kind of help. If He was willing to die for me when I was completely lost, then I would think He is willing to continue blessing me while I’m doing my best to live my life for Him. Human faults and stumbles don’t break eternal God promises. We should humbly submit to one another, and serve one another out of deep respect for Christ, not out of what a person has or has not done.

We should use our gifts to serve others. It is through doing this that we show ourselves to be good stewards of God’s grace. We should remain humble, and always carry a servants heart toward others.

I think Philippians 2 sums this up pretty well. Here is an excerpt: 2 “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any [a]affection and compassion, make my joy complete [b]by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing [c]from [d]selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude [e]in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be [f]grasped, but [g]emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” Look at others as better than you, look out for their interests first, and don’t do things out of selfish ambition. Sounds like the opposite of what we experience everyday. We’ve been conditioned to think it is ok to use others for our own gain, and profit. However, that is not who we are supposed to be. We should serve others in a way that we make sure they get a higher value from us than what we get from them.

For me, I know that I will always be able to improve in this area. With marriage, fatherhood, family, friends, ministry, strangers, and so on it is hard to always keep the right attitude and be the servant of all. However, I know that this is who I, and who we are supposed to be.

Make it a point to humbly serve others today, and everyday.

God is for you, and I am for you!

 

 

 

How to live your life kingdom first part 2.

If you didn’t get a chance to read part 1 you can read it here.

The third practical thing we can do to live our lives kingdom first is to accept one another. This is not the same thing as the current move we see in the world right now where hateful people are demanding others to accept them. This is us deciding that we know other people are flawed just like we are, and we are going to be patient with them.

We should be willing to associate with the “lowly”, and care for those that receive less honor in the body of Christ.

The word of God says that we should be at peace with one another, that we should live in harmony, and accept one another. It says that we should bear with one another being kind, compassionate, sympathetic, and forgiving. It also says that we should be hospitable without grumbling, but with joy.

God even tells us in His word to confess our sins to one another so that we can pray for each other. There is a really good reason why nobody does this, and it’s because we don’t accept each other. For too long we have been doing things the opposite way. Instead of patience, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness, we have jumped to conclusions, been hateful, condemned people, and judged people. Furthermore, we have been this way to people based on things as simple as how they look, or dress. So we now have a built-in fear about sharing our struggles with others. We may even want to share our struggle to ease our burden, but we won’t risk the response we might get.

We have to shift in this area not only as the body of Christ, but individually in our own minds. We need to accept others, but we also need to be willing to share our struggles with others. I myself, I struggle with sharing my burdens with others, but I’m getting better about it.

This isn’t a hard thing, it should not be hard for us to be patient, kind, compassionate, and forgiving toward others in their struggles if we are honest with ourselves about our own. When you know you have a log in your own eye, it’s easy to look past the toothpick in someone else’s eye.

Don’t kick people while they are down, choose to accept them, and help them back up. If you live long enough you will need help yourself someday.

Live your life kingdom first!

God is for you, and I am for you!

 

Scriptures I used for this post:

Matthew 7, Mark 9, Romans 12, Romans 15, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, Colossians 3, 1 Peter 3, 1 Peter 4, and James 5.

 

How to live your life Kingdom first part 1

This will be the first of many posts on how to live your life kingdom first. This is a journey for all of us, and just like you, I have yet to arrive. Let us be thankful we have a good, loving Father who is full of patience, grace, and favor toward His kids. With so many theological arguments out there, and thoughts about what’s most important, I just want to know God, His ways, and how I should live this life for Him. I believe the Lord revealed this series to me because He knows my Heart for it, and He knows my heart for you.

Most of you that read this blog know that number one we should love God with every part of our being, and seek first His kingdom, and His righteousness. I have already written several things that give us some practical things we can do to put Him first, such as not being autonomous in our life plan, but allowing His plan for us to be our plan.

But outside of this number one thing, how do I live my life kingdom first? What should I be doing in practical terms? Over the next several posts, I am going to present 6 other practical things we can do. In my thoughts, it is out of doing these things that your individual gifts begin to flow out of you.

So much is written and talked about in things such as eschatology, finances, authority, how to interpret, and so on. That is fine, and I like some of those conversations; however, it seems to me that so much of what God is trying to get through to us is our own internal transformation through Christ, and how we treat and deal with other people.

If loving God, and putting Him first is number 1, then the second thing we can do is to love other people.

The commandment that Jesus gave to his disciples in an intimate moment was to love each other as He loved them, and that this love is what would prove to the world that they were His followers. In John chapters 13 and 15, He gave them this command three different times.

In Romans 13:8-10 we see that it is an obligation to love others, that love does no wrong to others, and so it fulfills all requirements. If you love other people you will want to take the gifts that God put in you, and give them to others. This is why I say that your gifts will begin to flow in doing these things.

In 1 Thessalonians 3:12 we see Paul out of his own great love for these people ask the Lord to make their love for each other, and for all people not only grow, but even overflow. In chapter 4 he tells them he really doesn’t even need to tell them to love each other because they already do as the Lord Himself has taught them, but even then he urges them to love even more.

In 1 Peter 3:8 we see that we should love each other like siblings, and be compassionate towards others while at the same time being humble ourselves. Then in chapter 4:8 he tells them that most importantly they should continue to love each other deeply as love covers all.

In 1 John 3:11 we see that the message from the very beginning was that we should love one another. It says this same thing in 2 John verses 5 and 6.

In 1 John 4:7-12 we see that love is from God, that we should love others, and that this is what proves we Know God. If God loves us as much as He does, then we ought to love others. It goes on to say that if we will love others then His love will be perfected in us.

So this not only speaks to how we treat other people, but also our own internal transformation in becoming more like Christ. Loving other people perfects things within ourselves.

It is His command to us, it is evidence that we know Him, it lets the world know that we are His, it fulfills all, and it covers all.

If you want to live a kingdom first life, love others. Even if it is hard. Love covers all including you, for example, if you choose to love rather than hold a grudge, your own soul (mind, will, and emotions) will remain healthy.

Live your life kingdom first!

God is for you, and I am for you!