Be an Example by Your Life

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I life by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, ESV).


Timothy was a young man in the church in Ephesus, and there were many older people in that church. So Paul tells him not to let anyone look down on him because of his youth (1 Timothy 4:12). A young preacher can feel intimidated by older people in his church, particularly if some of them are rich and influential people. Paul urges Timothy not to allow them to intimidate him, but to be an example by his life, in the godly way he speaks, in the way he conducts himself, in his love for them, by his faith in the midst of all his trials, in the purity he has in his life and in every area. This is in direct contrast to what Paul said in 1 Timothy 4:1-4. False teachers merely teach, whereas true teachers teach by example. False teachers teach theories. True teachers teach by their lives. 1 Timothy 4:13 emphasises public reading of the Scriptures, because in those days, believers did not have Bibles. So the one who had a Bible had to read out large sections of it for the people to hear. Today, believers can read large sections of the Scripture at home.

Then Paul reminds Timothy that he needs something more than a good life and Scripture-knowledge. “Be a good example and give attention to Scripture” (1 Timothy 4:1213). That is good. But “don’t neglect the gifts of the Holy Spirit” (1 Timothy 4:14). Paul reminds Timothy that he had laid hands on him along with other elders to impart a spiritual gift to him. We need the gifts of the Spirit also to serve the Lord. We must “earnestly desire to prophesy” (1 Corinthians 14:1) – that is, to speak in such a way that our words go home to people’s hearts like an arrow, like the words of the prophets in the Old Testament, like the words that go out of God’s mouth that never return empty (Isaiah 55:11). To minister like that, we need the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Jesus needed it and we all need it too – all the time. This is not something we can get once for all. No. We must seek to be anointed at all times.

Young people: Don’t feel that you have to wait until you are 40 years old to serve the Lord. I was born again when I was 19 and baptised when I was 21. And I started preaching immediately. I didn’t know much then. But with the little I knew, I could teach the “A, B, C…” of the Christian life to those who knew less than me. As I grew up I could teach people more. A first-standard student can teach a kindergarten-student. Why do you have to wait until you are old before you start to preach God’s Word? The moment you are converted, start sharing with those who know less than you – especially with those who are not yet converted. Always be ready to share God’s Word and to seek God for the power of His Spirit to share it effectively.

In 1 Timothy 4:15, Paul urges Timothy to “take pains with these things.” A businessman takes a lot of pains to earn money and to establish his business firmly. If you are serious about the Christian life, you will take a lot of pains to study the Scriptures, seek for the gifts of the Spirit and cleanse your life from everything impure. One translation of this verse reads, “Be absorbed in them.” When you are absorbed with these things your progress will become evident to everybody.

Let me give you a negative example of what “being absorbed” with something can mean. A family was watching a popular television programme in their home and totally absorbed with it. Some thieves who knew that the family was thus occupied, quietly got into their house and stole whatever they could! And the family never knew about the theft until the TV programme was over.

In the same way, but in a positive sense, we can be so absorbed with Jesus Christ and His Word that the temptations of this world don’t attract us so much. And we won’t be chasing after the many things that worldly people chase after. If you live an “absorbed” life like that, you will make progress constantly. Every year you will be a better Christian and a more effective servant of the Lord.

In 1 Timothy 4:16, Paul urges Timothy to pay close attention to two areas: his life and his teaching. These are the two areas that we must watch constantly. Our life and our teaching must both be pure. Paul says that if we persevere in these two areas, we will save ourselves and others as well. We first need to save ourselves. Only then can we save others. What that means is: If you yourself have not been saved from some sinful habit, how will you be able to save others from it? If you preach above the level of your life, you will be a hypocrite and God will not bear witness to your words. We must be serious about our Christian life, just as businessmen are serious about the way they run their businesses. They are wholehearted about making profits. In the same way, we must persevere and give ourselves wholly to living for God and serving Him.

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^*Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author at CFC India.com / by sculpies/Shutterstock/

What Is the Love Language of Acts of Service?

God’s love should be reflected in our actions no matter how big or small the action is. So, let us honor God by serving and giving what He has given us. This is a true act of service to all.

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20-35).

In Gary Chapman’s “Five Love Languages” there is one love language that is called “Acts of Service.” On the website, it says that these are the people that seek action rather than hearing words that pertain to affirmation. Even so, this does not mean that love-affirming words do not affect these people, it is that they view acts of service, both received and shown, as love.

For example, when Mary poured the expensive oil called “pure nard” on Jesus’ feet, she was performing an act of service to Jesus by anointing Him (John 12). But an even better example, the most important example is that Jesus came to serve and to give His life for us so that we could be saved.

“Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43-45). 

Faith and Acts of Service

In James 2, the Bible talks about faith and works. The Bible says that “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, ‘Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well’ — but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?” (James 2:14-16).

Therefore, it is true that actions speak louder than words said. You can have the faith that your spouse will be healed or anything that you are believing in. Prayer is an act of service too. But many times, we believe and do not pray. 

Many times, we have faith and do not serve or act. Jesus’ act of service for us was sacrificing Himself by being tortured, bruised, battered, and dying the most horrible death that we deserved. No one can comprehend the love that God has for us by sending His Son to die for our sins. 

God did not have to do that, and Jesus did not have to go through with it all. But because of His love, His act of sacrificing His life for us is an act of service that no one could ever do again. My point is that serving one another is truly love as we are called to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39).

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40).

Serving Ourselves Vs. Others

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal. Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others (Philippians 2:1-4).

One of the most difficult things to do in life is denying yourself to others. Showing love for others has our pride submitted to humility and service to God. But if we let our pride, our ways, or our own thoughts rule over our humility, then we are a disservice to God and others. We know what to do but do not (James 4:17) because of prideful, selfish reasons. 

Even the smallest acts that are selfish could be that you choose something that you wanted at the supermarket, and you do not ask your spouse if they want something too. That may seem very small and insignificant, but the small actions count too. 

Those small actions can lead to greater actions that could negatively affect the relationship. Hebrews 13:16 says,“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

But knowing that you would rather serve yourself rather than others is not showing God’s love and grace to others. As hard as it may be, we have to learn to be more selfless and show God’s love to others.

The Greatest Mission of All

“Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. Above all, put on love — the perfect bond of unity. 

And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful. Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him (Colossians 3:12-17).

Jesus asks us to go into the world to speak the Good News to all, to make disciples, heal the sick, raise the dead, and much more. He has commissioned us to do His work of saving the lost. This is an act of service. We love because He loves (1 John 4:19). 

We serve because He served us. We sacrifice because Jesus sacrificed His life for our sins. How could we hold back what we have learned from Jesus and not give that knowledge to others? We are chosen because God believes and trusts us to serve Him by speaking the Good News to the world. 

God’s love should be reflected in our actions no matter how big or small the action is. So, let us honor God by serving and giving what He has given us. This is a true act of service to all.

A Closing Prayer

Father, I thank you for giving us these revelations and showing us what true acts of service are. I thank you, God, for giving your Son so that we could live again. I pray for all of us to learn to be selfless and show your love to God to the world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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***By Heather Mashburn at Christianity.com

What Is the Love Language of Receiving Gifts?

Making an intentional effort to regularly bring presents to one’s spouse, family, children, or friend with this love language can tell them “I love you” and strengthen relationships through continued effort and acts of love.

According to Dr. Gary Chapman in his popular bestselling book, The Five Love Languages, there are five “love languages,” which communicate love to another person. Every person has their own “language” through which they feel loved. These different “love languages” include touch, acts of service, quality time, affirming words, and receiving gifts.

Based on the information in Dr. Chapman’s book, couples can invest in the quality of their marriage by being aware of their own primary love language and learning how their spouse feels loved through the five languages of love. While this method has been used by married couples, it also is beneficial in showing love to family, friends, and children.

One of the five love languages is receiving gifts. Those who identify with this “language” feel loved when they receive presents from others. Many people may misunderstand these acts as promoting materialism.

However, individuals who identify with this love language are not necessarily focused on the item they receive, but rather the tangible act of receiving an item that represents the other person’s love for them.

To help provide clarity to this topic, this article will look at what receiving gifts mean in regard to showing love to others, what this looks like in everyday life, how this love language correlates to Scripture, and why this information is important.

Representations of Love

A person whose primary love language is receiving gifts feels most loved when they receive gifts from those they love. These presents may be extravagant or simple, but a person with this “language” appreciates these keepsakes because of what they represent.

To them, the gift is much more than a material item since it reminds them that they are loved and cherished by someone. Oftentimes, people who most enjoy giving gifts to others, for special occasions or spontaneously, are the ones who have the love language of receiving gifts.

Throughout time, people around the world in various cultures have understood that giving and receiving gifts convey love to another person. Whether such gifts are jewelry, flowers, cards, poems, or music, gifts do have the power to tell another person, “I love you.”

Thus, those who know someone who values gifts as an act of love need to be aware of how important this is in their relationship. Regularly giving presents to a person who speaks this language is vital to ensuring they feel loved.

Even small gifts, such as a food item or a handwritten note, can make the other person’s heart fill up with the message that they are cherished. Doing this regularly out of a place of love for the other person will make a major difference in one’s marriage, family, or friendship.

With knowing the power of giving gifts, individuals need to be careful not to misunderstand or misuse this love language. First, the person who requires presents to feel loved is not being selfish or greedy.

Instead, they value gifts because of what the item represents. To them, presents have sentimental qualities and cause them to remember that they are loved by the person from whom they received the gift. In addition to avoiding any misunderstanding about receiving gifts to feel loved, individuals must also be aware of the danger of misusing this love language.

Potentially, a spouse or loved one could use another person’s primary love language against them by deliberately withholding acts of love.

Doing this can cause the other person to feel hurt and neglected, which is not a God-honoring way to act. Individuals should use the knowledge of love languages to strengthen their relationships with others instead of causing hurt.

How Can I Do This?

1. Remembering important days and holidays is essential. A wife whose love language is receiving gifts will eagerly await her anniversary and expect a present as a tangible expression of her husband’s love.

If he fails to remember the date and neglects to bring his wife a present, the message expressed to her will be, “I don’t care about our marriage.” However, if her husband remembers and provides a special gift, she will know that her husband does care about their marriage and still loves her just as much as the day they were married.

2. Giving gifts on ordinary days is also important. These gifts do not have to be lavishly expensive or dramatic. Instead, simple gifts on ordinary days of the week can also have a significant impact in expressing love. For instance, buying a friend a cup of coffee before heading to work can demonstrate one’s care.

Also, a parent can lovingly remind a child that they are thinking of him or her by packing a handwritten note in their lunchbox for school. Such gifts are simple, yet profound because it tells others that someone cares for them.

3. Giving gifts should stem from a heart of love toward the other person. A person whose love language is receiving gifts will benefit the most if they receive presents that are given from the heart. Truly, it is the “thought that counts” and not necessarily the gift.

Handing over items with a bad attitude or irritation will not make a loved one feel cherished. Instead, such an action would cause more damage than good. Thus, people must be careful not to present gifts to others by mere habit or duty, but rather from the sincerity of the heart (Romans 12:9).

The Connection to Scripture

Those who do not have the love language of receiving gifts as their own primary love language may find it challenging to understand how giving and receiving presents can be an expression of love to others.

However, the Bible also connects gifts with love, as shown in God’s loving gift of His Son and eternal life through Him. As John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

God the Father gave His Son to die on behalf of mankind’s sins, which is the ultimate expression of love (Romans 5:8). Furthermore, salvation is a gift based on God’s graceand received by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Based on Scripture, God clearly communicates in the love language of receiving gifts. He has graciously offered the gift of salvation to all who believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection (Romans 10:9-10). Truly, in Christ believers have been given all they need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). The love of God is evident in what He has offered as a gift to all humans.

Christians have been the recipients of the amazing love of Jesus. In discussing the topic of presents, however, receiving gifts must be kept in balance with giving to others. Jesus did say, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

Because of the love He has freely given, followers of Christ can also freely give to others, both in the form of love as well as material needs or gifts.

Since those who value receiving gifts as a form of love are also often the ones who enjoy gifting others to show love, giving can often come naturally. All people, regardless of love language, should strive to give of themselves just as Christ did (John 15:13). In doing so, they can model the wonderful love of God to others.

Why Is This Important?

Generally, Dr. Chapman’s book on love languages has greatly impacted how married couples, families, and friends interact with each other and deepen their relationships.

Both secular and Christian counselors utilize the methods discussed in Dr. Chapman’s numerous books on the topic of love languages for couples, singles, teenagers, and children. Understanding how others feel most loved can enable individuals to love others better in a way that reflects God’s love.

Through knowledge about the love language of receiving gifts, people can be equipped to express love to those who have this primary love language.

Making an intentional effort to regularly bring presents to one’s spouse, family, children, or friend with this love language can tell them “I love you” and strengthen relationships through continued effort and acts of love.

Those who take the time to learn about the “language” their loved ones speak are demonstrating sacrificial love and concern for others, which reflects Christ’s love to a watching world (John 13:34).

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***By Sophia Bricker at Christianity.com

What Is the Love Language of Physical Touch?

Physical touch is more than sex. People who have this as their primary love language express and receive love through hugging, cuddling, holding hands, a back rub, or any other kind of touch that is appropriate in the moment.

Anytime I mention that my love Language is physical touch — it’s assumed that I feel loved through sex. But the love language of physical touch is more than that.

While sex is an important aspect of marriage, physical touch communicates meaningful expressions of love.

In fact, two of my three kids have the same love language I do. Our primary love language is physical touch and quality time together.

What Are Love Languages?

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman became a New York Times #1 bestseller in the early 1990s and has remained popular for its timeless wisdom, practical help, and how it helps us become better at loving those in our family.

Written for married couples, the book and its tips have expanded to help parents understand their children as well.

This book explores the ways people give and receive love. He explains how many of the misunderstandings and problems that arise in marriage is because we don’t know how to communicate love to our spouse.

While words of affirmation may make one spouse feel good, quality time might be the other’s love language. Through his book, individuals in relationships learn to communicate in their partner’s love language, they can strengthen their bond by keeping each other’s “love tank” full of fuel.

These five categories are how we all express our love for another and how we need to receive love. In the book, Chapman suggests that everyone receives love in at least one of five ways:

1. Quality time: Giving your partner your undivided attention like going on a date or going for walks. It’s all about giving the other person your attention.

2. Physical touch: People who have physical touch as their primary love language have a deep-felt need for appropriate touch.

3. Words of affirmation: This love language means these people need to hear how much they are loved, cherished, and appreciated.

4. Acts of service: For these people, the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words,” equals love.

5. Gifts: For some people, what makes them feel loved and cherished is to receive a gift.

The Gift of Physical Touch

Physical touch is more than sex. People who have this as their primary love language express and receive love through hugging, cuddling, holding hands, a back rub, or any other kind of touch that is appropriate in the moment.

Physical touch is the most direct way to communicate love. It is essential for the health and well-being of every human being.

Experts say the first hour of a child’s life is crucial to have skin-to-skin contact. This helps regulate their heart rate, temperature, and breathing. At the same time, a mother’s hormones are regulated as well. As the infant grows, physical touch boosts early child development.

Other studies have proven how detrimental physical touch is through intuitional isolation that is prevalent in orphanages around the world. These children often grow up in environments where touch and emotional engagement are lacking.

Many children who have not had ample physical and emotional attention are at higher risk for behavioral, emotional, and social problems. It’s clear, God created physical touch to be a powerful force of love.

What Is the Love Language of Physical Touch?

Jesus used physical touch often and made it a point even though He could heal people with just His Words. When the children came to Jesus, we see that “he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying hands on them” (Mark 10:15-16).

In Matthew 18:14-15, we read, “He touched her hand and the fever left her.”

When Jesus saw Simon’s mother-in-law lying ill, he “took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her” (Mark 1:31).

Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him (John 13:5).

In Matthew 17:7, we read, “Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.”

These are just a few passages of Jesus’ time on earth when He chose to use His hands to show His love for the world.

God created us to enjoy skin-to-skin contact because it triggers the release of certain hormones associated with pleasure and bonding as a couple.

Oxytocin is the bonding hormone, and it is released along with the rest of the feel-good hormones like serotonin and dopamine.

To some degree, we all need physical touch in our marriages but for those whose love language is physical touch — it’s critical.

But this type of love comes down to timing because it is primarily made up of small gestures like having your spouse put his arm around in public. It could be a hug before leaving for work, a kiss when you get home.

How to Love Someone Whose Love Language Is Physical Touch

When you hug, use both arms and your whole body, and linger for a moment in the embrace. A rule of thumb is 30 seconds, 60 is heavenly!

Give them kisses often. Whenever your spouse is feeling blue, holding them closely can make tears disappear. Cuddle in bed together. Snuggle on the couch or hold their hand. Take them dancing for date night.

Make a point of maintaining physical contact when you’re both out for events. Kiss them hello and goodbye. Kiss them in places besides the lips, like her forehead, collarbone, the back of her neck or hand. Rub her shoulders when she is stressed out.

When you hug, use both arms and your whole body, and linger for an extra moment in the embrace. Spontaneously give them a little back rub or back scratch. Always hold hands when you’re out and about. Enjoy the public displays of affection, holding hands, cuddling, and kissing!

If you’re in a marriage or dating someone who has physical touch as their love language, be sure to ask what touch makes them feel most loved and what annoys them.

These physical displays of affection are a gift and matter more than words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, and gifts.

Remember Jesus modeled physical touch and used His hands to heal. In the same way, this is an immense gift to give to your spouse.

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**By Heather Riggleman at Christianity.com

5 Steps to Become a Prayer Warrior

The title “prayer warrior” describes a Christian who has a strong affinity for and gifting in this area. Though all believers are called to pray, certain people turn to God more quickly and confidently in response to the ups and the downs of life. And they are willing to ask for others as well as themselves.

I’ve been blessed to know several prayer warriors in churches I’ve attended over the years. Each of them made lifting up praises and concerns a priority and a habit that was as natural as breathing. They all ended up doing a unique kind of ministry in and beyond the church walls.

What Does it Mean to Be a Prayer Warrior?

The word “warrior” usually conjures up an image of someone in a military uniform of some type, whether armor or fatigues. We picture them carrying offensive and defensive weapons. And we assume the person has been trained in fighting and hopefully in strategic thinking as well.

It might not seem like this image could be associated with prayer. But the Apostle Paul dedicated a section of his letter to the Ephesians to this analogy. He wanted us as followers of Christ to understand that we are indeed engaged in a war.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Ephesians 6:10-13).

Paul goes on to list the pieces of armor and the weapons we have in Christ to overcome the enemy’s attacks. Then he finishes with an appeal for us to use prayer as a way to gain victory in battle.

Characteristics of a Prayer Warrior

The prayer warriors that I have known share a few similar traits:

– They are worshipful, seeking to glorify the Lord.

– They are God-centered, focused on His greatness and mercy.

– They are empathetic, able to meet and accept people where they are.

– They are persevering, determined to repeatedly lift up requests.

– They are loving, wanting to help bring about God’s will for others.

I’ve also noticed a mindset that these warriors tend to have:

They are alert and ready, being sensitive to needs and acting quickly.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Ephesians 6:18).

They trust in God’s goodness, lifting up requests knowing He always answers.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15).

They submit to God, calling on Him with a sense of awe and expectation.

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).

Prayer Warriors in the Bible

King David

“Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God” (Psalm 4:1).

King Jehoshaphat

“Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chronicles 20:12).

Jeremiah

“You who are my Comforter in sorrow, my heart is faint within me. Listen to the cry of my people from a land far away: ‘Is the Lord not in Zion? Is her King no longer there?’” (Jeremiah 8:18-19).

Jesus

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35).

Paul

“…we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:11-12).

5 Ways to Become a Prayer Warrior

God may be calling you to become more of a prayer warrior in your church or family. Ask Him to confirm that in your heart. Let Him change your spirit and shift your attitudes to align with Him. Then, be obedient to do your part in the process:

1. Have More of a Hunger for God

“‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know’” (Jeremiah 33:3).

Warriors I’ve known absolutely love being in God’s Word and seek to be in His presence daily. They want to gain knowledge of Scripture to be able to speak it in their prayers. And they base their confidence partly on their own experiences with the Lord.

2. Have a Greater Desire to Be Used by God

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Colossians 4:2).

I’ve seen people who were natural prayer warriors, and people who in time grew into the role. But all of them started with a love of prayer, and an eagerness to serve God. They didn’t have to know everything – they just had a stirring in their spirit to follow the Lord’s call.

3. Seek More of God’s Holy Spirit

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (Romans 8:26).

Even the most seasoned Christians find themselves not knowing what or how to pray on occasion. Warriors rely on the Holy Spirit to lead them. Even when they do have something in mind to lift up, they have the wisdom to ask the Spirit to join with them.

4. Feel a Greater Sense of Concern for Others

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7).

Prayers are impactful when they are motivated by love. True warriors approach every request with care and respect. And they see the value in lifting up needs, whether they know the person being prayed for or not.

5. Learn How to Rely More on God for Strength and Endurance

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).

A former pastor used to call prayer one of the “front line ministries” of our church. Those who become warriors learn quickly that it is both satisfying and demanding. So, to avoid burnout, they acknowledge God as the source for their ability and energy to do the work, and lean on Him rather than themselves.

God calls us to see prayer as a powerful tool – a way to relate with our Heavenly Father, a way to express our need for Him, a way to show the Lord devotion and trust, and as a tangible way to support others.

In addition, prayer warriors learn how to use prayer as an effective weapon in spiritual warfare. They make a lifestyle of turning to God, lifting up requests, waiting in expectation.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

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***By Heather Adams at Bible Study Tools. Her book, Bow Down: The Heart of a True Worshipper is a practical, 30-day devotional about worship based on the writings of King David. Heather’s blog, Worship Walk Ministries, offers weekly Scripture passages and insights to ponder. A native New Englander, Heather is settling into her home in the South, trying out local foods and watching for the alligators that live nearby! You can connect with her on her website: heatheradamsworshipwalk.com

Stop Hurrying Away from Service

“But as for me, I have not hurried away from being a shepherd after You…”
‭‭~ Jeremiah‬ ‭17:16‬

My recent experience at a major tech conference highlighted the vast difference between the ways of this world, the tendencies of the flesh, and the ways of God’s kingdom.

One of the things that has blessed and challenged me most in the last decade of church life is seeing brothers and sisters who are willing to give, and give, and keep giving, to build up the church.

In the world, folks are always thinking of the end of the shift, of when they can clock out; and I’ve noticed that attitude can creep into the church as well: there can be a subtle tendency to think in terms of enough, or “I’ve done my part.” And in my heart, I begin “hurrying away,” as the verse in Jeremiah above says.

We have heard of the tremendous difference between the minimum Christian, who thinks of “what’s the least I can do to be a member in good standing,” and the maximum Christian, who says, “what else can I do to show my gratitude to the Lord for all He’s done for me?”

Especially when the pressures of this life weigh upon me, I have found that it’s good to consider the verse above: “Am I hurrying away from the church, in my heart?”

Jesus Is Our Example of Not Hurrying Away

We find an illuminating incident in the life of the Lord, when He heard about His cousin being murdered in Matthew 14. At the very time of mourning, He is called upon to serve. And rather than hurry away from the crowds who ignored His grief, Jesus faithfully healed the many who interrupted his time of mourning (Matthew 14:13-14).

Understandably, given all they knew of the situation, the disciples were ready for a break.

“When it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, ‘This place is desolate and the hour is already late; so send the crowds away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.’”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭14:15‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬

They were ready to clock out! But Jesus wasn’t.

“But Jesus said to them, ‘They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!’”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭14:16‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬

It’s at this inconvenient time — when Jesus was serving amidst life’s challenges, when the disciples were ready to call it a day and hurry away — that we see one of the greatest miracles Jesus performed: the feeding of the five thousand.

Jesus Calls Disciples to Keep Working With Him

What’s remarkable is how deeply Jesus required the participation of His disciples in the miracle. They had to pass out food by hand to several thousand people! And then, even after the meal, the disciples had work to do:

“When the crowds were filled, Jesus told His disciples, ‘Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.’”
‭‭John‬ ‭6:12‬ ‭‬‬

It challenged me to see that there’s no command to the crowd. They just got to enjoy the Lord’s bounty. The crowd may recline. Those only interested in healing and a meal may relax.

But Jesus calls His disciples to keep serving until the job is done.

Jesus Always Goes Above And Beyond

It’s easy to read this story and begin to think that the disciples were somehow disadvantaged or burdened by their service. Far from it! They were the ones with front row seats to His power and love!

And furthermore, lest we ever think that we are the ones working longest or hardest, may we never forget that Jesus works longest.

After challenging the disciples to “not hurry away,” and asking for them to work beyond the window of convenience, Jesus dismisses them from duty, but He keeps working:

“Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭14:22‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬

Jesus, not the disciples, took responsibility for dispatching the crowd! Having just attended a large conference, I have renewed appreciation for this statement. I watched a lot of noteworthy presenters end their presentations only to be whisked away through a back door, never to be seen again or troubled by questions of the adoring crowd. One of the most generous of the famous speakers I observed did sign one book, “but this is the only one!” she said, even while she did it.

Crowds were regularly requested to remain seated until after the presenters left, so as to not inconvenience them, handlers working the crowd and helping them find exits.

Imagine how the scene must have been that day on the shores of Galilee. Approximately 15,000 people, who have not only been healed, but have also just been miraculously fed, surely didn’t disperse easily.

Jesus took that job Himself.

He did not employ handlers to do the job; not even His disciples. After asking much of them, Jesus is the One Who stuck around, who went above and beyond.

Jesus Christ is so completely opposite to what we see in this world.

“But Jesus called them to Himself and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles Lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.’”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭20:25-28‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬

May the Lord enable us as disciples to follow His example of overflowing service, and give us strength by the power of the Holy Spirit to deny the worldly, fleshly tendency to “hurry away” from being poured out on behalf of His body.

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**By Jeremy Utley © Copyright – Jeremy Utley. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author at NCCF Church / J

Everyone Is A Christian Until It Gets Biblical!

Everyone is a Christian until it gets Biblical. What do I mean?

Everyone claims to be a Christian until you start preaching the Biblical teachings from the word of God that shakes you to the core. The real substance, the real stuff. The things that Jesus said and showed his disciples that was scary. People get mad when you present their God as powerful and someone to fear when that’s who he is!

We are supposed to love God and fear God, but all we want to do is love God and believe some of the washed up teachings of today’s church. Today’s church teaches you that, the God that destroys cities for sinning and who is coming back to destroy the world, is not the god you serve because He loves, and is too merciful to do that.

Our God is righteous and doesn’t change! The church teaches you its okay to sin, just repent when you do. My Saviour said my people take my grace as a licence to sin and will perish for a lack of knowledge! Be sure you serve the GOD of Abraham! That you serve the GOD of the Bible! NOT the God your church has taught you because its a deception! You cannot trust ANY other man to teach you the true Word! You must read it for yourself and ask the Lord for understanding! He will always teach you the RIGHT word! The RIGHT understanding! The RIGHT interpretation! Put all your faith in the Lord and put on the FULL ARMOUR of God for the enemies fiery darts are flying fast and hit hard.

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** Random Christian at Reddit / Picture by Wendy V Zyl at Pexels

The Need for Revelation and Power

In Ephesians 1:17, 18, Paul had prayed that the Christians at Ephesus might receive revelation from the Holy Spirit. At the end of this first half of Ephesians, in chapter 3:16, Paul prays that they might receive power from the Holy Spirit. These are our two greatest needs – revelation and power. The Holy Spirit alone can give us both. The entire Christian life is dependent on the Holy Spirit. First of all, the Spirit gives us revelation on what God has done for us in Christ. Then, He gives us power to walk in a manner worthy of our calling, obeying all that the Lord has taught us.

In Ephesians 3: 18 & 19, we see that we can experience the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ (there are four dimensions there and that itself goes beyond human knowledge!!) – only along with ALL the saints. We can never grasp the love of Christ all by ourselves. We need the other members of Christ’s Body. And further, we need ALL the members of Christ’s Body, not just those in our own little group. That is why our hearts should always be open to ALL believers, even to those who don’t agree with us, and even to those whom we would consider a bit extreme. We may not be able to work with all of them, and we certainly will not be able to meet all of them on this earth. But our hearts should be open to all of God’s children. Our hearts must have room for as many brothers and sisters as God has children – both barbarian and cultured.

That is why we need to be open to read the writings of ALL godly people – and not just to the writings of our favourite authors. Let me warn you, in advance, that in my lifetime, I have found very, very few believers who have such an open heart. But those are the few who are truly spiritually wealthy. The remainder carry on with their poverty-stricken, sectarian attitudes and live and die as Pharisees, missing out on the wealth that could have been theirs if they had been humble enough to accept all whom God had accepted.

Let us meditate carefully on the first three chapters of Ephesians and ask the Holy Spirit to give us revelation on these glorious truths. Once you have got revelation, you will be ready to seek the Spirit for His power to live an overcoming life, full of purity, humility and love. Then we will be able to put away ALL unwholesome words from our speech, and ALL anger and ALL bitterness from our hearts (Eph.4:29, 31).

Then wives will be able to submit to their husbands as the church is to Christ, and husbands will be able to love their wives as Christ loved the church (Eph.5:22, 25). Then we will be able to overcome Satan at all times (Eph.6:11-13). And then we will have the power to “become imitators of God” (Eph.5:1).

God is able to do far more in us and through us than we can ask or think.

To Him alone be all the glory (Eph.3:20, 21).

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** Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author at CFC India.com / Photo by Avery Nielsen-Webb at Pexels

12 Wonderful Responsibilities God Has Given to Women

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Gen. 1:27).

Countless millions of women around the world faithfully strive to honor God in all their vocations in life. Here are twelve wonderful responsibilities God has given to women:

1. To Love, Believe, and Respect the Lord

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates. (Prov. 31:30-31)

And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. (1 Cor. 7:34)

2. To Support the Gospel Work of the Church

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well. (Rom. 16:1-2)

Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. (Phil. 4:3)

3. To Be Diligent in Her Vocations

And every skillful woman spun with her hands, and they all brought what they had spun in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen. (Exod. 35:25)

She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. (Prov. 31:16)

She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy. (Prov. 31:20)

Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity. (Acts 9:36)

One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. (Acts 16:14)

4. To Be a Wife

And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
    because she was taken out of Man.”

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Gen. 2:22-24)

He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matt. 19:4-6)

5. To Be a Mother

And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.” And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.” (Gen. 21:6-7)

Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice. (Prov. 23:25)

Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. (1 Tim. 5:9-10)

6. To Care for Her Household

The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down. (Prov. 14:1)

She rises while it is yet night
    and provides food for her household
    and portions for her maidens. (Prov. 31:15)

So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. (1 Tim. 5:14)

7. To Be a Helper to Her Husband

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (Gen. 2:18)

Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.” (Prov. 31:28-29)

For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. (1 Cor. 11:8-9)

8. To Love and Respect Her Husband

However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Eph. 5:33)

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. (1 Pet. 3:1-2)

So train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:4-5)

9. To Submit to Her Husband

But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. (1 Cor. 11:3)

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. (Eph. 5:22-24)

10. To Be Respectable

“And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.” (Ruth 3:11)

Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. (1 Tim. 2:9-10)

Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. (1 Tim. 3:11)

Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. (1 Pet. 3:4-6)

11. To Learn Quietly in Church

The women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. (1 Cor. 14:34)

Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. (1 Tim. 2:11-13)

12. To Teach What Is Good

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. (Prov. 31:26)

He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and explained to him the way of God more accurately. (Acts 18:26)

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:3-5)

————

** By Beautiful Christian Life

Are the 5 Love Languages in a Marriage Biblical?

These five categories are how we all give and receive love, which can greatly affect relationships. When we understand the love language of another person, we can more effectively communicate our respect and affection.

A year into joining a church, my husband and I were sitting in a small couple’s group when the leader asked what our love languages were. Perplexed, we had no idea. The leader went on to explain the book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman.

The 5 Love Languages became a New York Times #1 bestseller in the early 1990s and has remained popular for its timeless wisdom and practical help.

This book explores the ways people give and receive love. In the book, Chapman suggests that everyone receives love in at least one of five ways: Quality time, physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, and gifts.

The way we love our spouse is how we naturally express it but if our loved one does not receive love in the same way we do, he or she can feel unloved.

These five categories are how we all give and receive love, which can greatly affect relationships. When we understand the love language of another person, we can more effectively communicate our respect and affection to our spouse.

What Are the 5 Love Languages?

1. Words of affirmation. Some people are more attuned than others to hear both positive and negative words from those whose opinions they cherish.

While negative, critical words can tear them down, positive, encouraging words make them flourish. According to Chapman, people with this love language need to hear their partner say, “I love you.”

Even better is including the reasons behind the love through leaving them a voice message or a written note or talking to them directly with sincere words of kindness and affirmation.

2. Quality time. This language, says Chapman, is all about giving your partner your undivided attention. That means dropping everything to give them your full attention, in other words, no chores, no TV, no cell phone, etc.

Other ways to spend time together could include, going for a walk, preparing dinner together and talking while preparing and eating it, sharing plans for the future, making love, and/or creating something together.

Take time every day to do this to fill up their love tank.

3. Acts of service. When acts of service is a person’s primary language, he or she interprets help as a sign of someone’s love.

This language includes anything you do to ease the burden of responsibility, like picking kids up from school, vacuuming, running errands, going grocery shopping, or filling up the car with gas.

4. Receiving gifts. The person who loves this language thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. In short, actions speak louder than words.

These people thrive on gift-giving, and when they are given a gift, it fills their love tank. A single rosebud, a candle, or a note can go a long way toward filling the love tank of someone who understands love as giving gifts.

The act of giving a gift tells your spouse you cared enough to think about him or her in advance and go out of your way to get something to make your partner smile

5. Physical touch. People who speak this love language thrive on any type of physical touch: Handholding, hugs, and snuggling. It is not about sex.

Those actions spell love to those with this primary language. Physical touch is the most direct way to communicate love. It is crucial for the health and well-being of every human being.

Are Love Languages Biblical?

What makes the love languages unique is that they are one of the few methods of extending love that is not self-serving because the giver isn’t looking for anything in return.

It simply means they’ve studied their partner and they want them to feel loved, but if you’re looking for the term love languages in the Bible, you’re not going to find it.

But the concepts are there, and Jesus did an incredible job demonstrating how we are to use them.

1. Acts of service: Jesus’ first love language. “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, because I am. So if I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I’ve given you an example, that you should do just as I have done to you. . . If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:12-15,17).

2. Quality time. Jesus lived with his disciples for three years when he began his ministry. They traveled together, ate together, worshiped together. Do you get the picture?

They were together for daily life. Not only did he spend time with the 12 disciples, but he also often spent even more quality time with Peter, James, and John (Matthew 17:1-9).

The quality time was even broken down to one on one quality time with Peter. A look at Mark 9:30-31 shows that Jesus carefully guarded his time.

3. Words of affirmation. Jesus often spoke words of affirmation over individuals. We first see this when he spoke about his cousin, John the Baptist when he said that John was “more than a prophet,” and “among those born of women there has arisen no one greater.” These words are powerful because they are indirect words of affirmation.

Other examples of this love language happen in Matthew 12:49 when Jesus outstretches his hand toward his disciples and tells the crowd they are his family or in the book of Mark when Jesus tells a dinner party that the questionable woman “has done a beautiful thing” when she anointed his feet with her tears and expensive perfume.

He also said, “Wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her” (Mark 14:6-9).

4. Giving gifts. Perhaps this one was one of Jesus’ favorites. We see throughout the New Testament Jesus loved to give good things to his people.

  • Jesus gave the 4,000 the gift of food to eat in Matthew 15.
  • Jesus gave the 5,000 the gift of bread and fish in Luke 9.
  • Jesus gives sight to a blind man in John 9
  • Jesus gave the gift of healing and a new name to the woman who bled for years in Mark 5
  • He gave children to women who suffered from infertility like Hannah, Sarah, and even Samson’s mother. 

This list could go on and on. Jesus was a giver of gifts but the biggest gift he gave us was our salvation through his death on the cross. This was his ultimate love language and gift.

5. Physical touch. Jesus touched often and he made it a point, even though he never needed to touch anyone, to heal them or offer comfort as we see in Luke 7 when the centurion asked for healing for one of his servants.

We see in Mark 1:31, Jesus took Simon’s mother-in-law by the hand “and lifted her up and the fever left her.”

When the children came to Jesus, we see that “he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying hands on them.” (Mark 10:15-16).

What Does This Mean?

Jesus used all five love languages and undoubtedly, he was a master at matching them with people appropriately.

He is the creator of all things and he teaches us how to love well by example throughout the Old and New Testaments.

Most of us pick up Chapman’s book and think, “If I get this right for my spouse, maybe he will love me how I want to be loved.” But a word of caution, learning someone’s love language is sacrificial like Christ.

He never asked for anything in return, even as he poured out his life. He gave freely with no strings attached. We are to follow his example and love well.

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** By Heather Riggleman at Christianity Today / Website: http://www.heatherriggleman.com/