UNSEEN PROBLEMS


Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. —Galatians 6:1

Recently Barb and I were traveling in California in our Airstream travel trailer.  We are “newbies” when it comes to pulling a travel trailer.  After spending a restful night at Vernalis, CA, we pulled onto south I-5 heading to Lancaster, CA.  About 10 miles down the road a guy pulls up next to me and honks his horn.  I looked over at him to see what he was honking about.  He held up a piece of paper with something written on it.   I couldn’t read it, but I thought I’d better pull over to see what was wrong.  Sure enough, I forgot to put up the steps to the door of our trailer. They were still hanging out.  If they hit something, it would have caused a lot of damage
and maybe hurt someone.  After retracting the steps back under the trailer, I thanked the Lord for that man calling the problem to my attention.

 

As I thought about this, I considered how some Christians are oblivious    to potential problems in their life. They don’t see them. But, thank God for those spiritual Christians who bring these “faults” to our attention so we can correct them before they cause some damage.

I think of Abagail who intercepted David who was on his way to murder her husband, Nabal (1 Samuel 25).  David was so incensed by the way Nabel treated his men, David’s anger blinded his eye from the sin he was about to commit. Abagail advised David about his dangerous intentions and saved him from damaging conduct.

So, the next time someone admonishes you about a potential problem in your life, stop and make the necessary correction and thank God for  someone who “has your back!”

Get Real!

Let love be without dissimulation. —Romans 12:9

Dissimulation means “to disguise or conceal under a false appearance.”   It is “putting on an act.”  Award winning actor, Richard Dreyfuss noted acting is, “based entirely on pretense. The clothes you’re wearing are not yours, the words you’re saying are not yours, you pretend that you don’t see the stagehand and you pretend you don’t see the audience—and the audience pretends you’re not actors, that you’re real life.”  It’s all FAKE!  Nothing is real.

Another word would for “dissimulation” is hypocrisy—Pretending to be what you are not. That is what Hollywood actors are paid big bucks to do.

A biblical example of this is Ananias and Sapphira who gave an amount of money to the church under the pretense that it was more than it actually was (Acts 5:1-11).  They were giving the impression that they were more spiritual than they were.  But they didn’t fool God! God ripped off their mask of pretense to show they were not being honest.

You may put on a convincing act and have a lot of people fooled, but God sees our true motives. He knows when you are putting on an act.  Therefore, don’t be a phony—Get real!

CONTROLLERS

Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, received us not… prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.” —3 John 9-10

I’m sure you have met those in the church like Diotrephes who seek to control everything that goes on and everyone who is involved. Everything must revolve around them. They are like “miniature Popes” who love to “lord it over” others in the body of Christ. One might expect this of leaders in a cult, but not among Christians.  Jesus told His disciples that “princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over” others, but it should “not be so among you” (Mt. 20:25-26).

Martin Luther once wrote, “I am not as concerned with the Pope that resides at Rome as the one that lives within me.”

Beware of becoming like Martha and try to control every aspect of the lives of others. The Bible is clear on this matter—No believer, including a pastor, is to have supremacy over another person’s faith. The Apostle Paul writes, “Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand” (2 Cor. 1:24). Amen!

Safety Within the Flock

“…come together… that Satan tempt you not…” —1 Corinthians 7:5

While the context of this verse refers to a marital relationship, it also applies to our relationship to each other in a local church. It is vital for us to stay close and stick together as a church.  As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:25, “That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.”

In the May, 1987 issue of National Geographic there was an article about the arctic wolf.  It described how a pack of seven wolves had targeted several musk-oxen calves who were guarded by eleven mature oxen.  As the wolves approached their prey, the musk-oxen bunched together in a impenetrable semicircle, while the calves remained safe during the long standoff.

But suddenly one ox broke rank, and the herd scattered.  A skirmish ensued, and the other adult oxen fled in panic, leaving the young calves at the mercy of the wolves. Not a single calf survived.

Paul warned of “wolves” that attack the church today (Acts 20:29).  As long as we stick close together and watch each other’s back, we are safe.  But, when believers break ranks they become easy prey for the enemy.  An isolated sheep usually ends up the victim of our adversary, who is “seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).

We need to stick together as God’s flock.  There is safety in numbers! Lets embrace the concept of “we” rather than “me” in our church. With Christ as our Shepherd and fellow believers surrounding us, we find safety in the flock.

Petty Cash???

 “Who hath despised the day of small things?” —Zechariah 4:10

God is interested in “little” things (Micah 5:2).  The smallest fragment is important to God. Jesus instructed His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost (John 6:12).

Most organizations have a stash they call “petty cash.”  I really dislike that term.  The word petty means “small; trivial; insignificant; of little importance.” The word petty suggests something that is inferior and doesn’t matter much.   In most cases “petty cash” is treated accordingly and is wasted.  However, in God’s work there is no such thing as “petty cash.”  There are only petty purposes, petty motives, and petty excuses.  Every second… every penny… every effort… and every person is important to God.

God’s money should be used and invested, and He expects a return.  It is sad that often our investment in God’s work is no larger than our “petty cash” stash.  If you are really concerned about lost souls, shouldn’t your budget reflect it?

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