Carol Clemans: Spiritual Growth: Are you Ready for the Coming of the Lord?
The Bible teaches we must be born again of water and spirit – John 3 & Acts 2. The Bible also teaches we must be living a holy, separated life. We are to be holy as God is holy. We are to be Holy-Ghost-controlled. Holiness of the heart is about allowing God to control our thoughts that create our feelings; then, we are to act “God-like” in all situations. This defines being Holy-Ghost-controlled.
To simplify, living for God is to filter all our thoughts, words, and actions through God. Would God be pleased with my thoughts, words, and actions? In my nationwide counseling, many people who have received the Acts 2: 38 salvation, have not had Holy-Ghost-controlled examples. Unfortunately, they do not know how to live every waking hour being accountable to God.
The great commandment in Mark 12 tells us to love God with our whole (all) heart, soul, mind, and strength. What does this mean? Simply, it means to be Holy-Ghost-controlled continually – in all situations of life! We must filter our actions through this question: “God, would You be pleased with this?”
Nothing is secret from God (read Ps. 139). We must make God an intimate part of our daily thoughts, feelings, and actions. What are you listening to and watching? Many people who claim salvation spend many hours every day on the Internet in ungodly pursuits.
I recently unpacked a ceramic depiction of the three monkeys – “monkey no see, monkey no hear, monkey no say.” What are we watching? What are we listening to? What are we saying? If we are not passing our thoughts, feelings, and actions through God first, we are in trouble! God’s truth says we will give an account to God for every idle word spoken!
Palms 19:14 – “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.” I need every thought, word, and deed to be acceptable to God! “Come quickly, Lord Jesus!”
www.carolclemans.org – nationwide counseling, life coaching, teaching, writing God’s truth – (636) 448-0121-read over 500 articles. Join: www.patreon.com/carolclemans. (Holy Ghost 66 years). Mins. Ref: Pastor Daniel Batchelor, Dupo, IL.
Vickie Hodges: Identity and Scripture: Nothing New Under The Sun
We’ve all heard the old adage, “there is nothing new under the sun.” As old as this saying is, it is still full of truth. There is nothing new under the sun. Our God is still fighting battles, and victories are still being won.
But what do our senses and desires gravitate toward while living “under the sun?” Do we seek out the things of the flesh or the things of God? Just like back in the days of old, God healed the blinded eyes, deaf ears, dumb tongues, crippled hands and feet, arms and legs… He is still healing our spiritual senses today. How do we know this? Well, let’s stop a moment and take a reality check.
What do our senses and desires gravitate to? Do they seek out the things of the flesh or the things of God? What do we smell in our environment? Do we seek or smell for drama, contention, strife, manipulation, control, egocentrism, narcissism? Or do we seek for the life-giving attributes and characteristics of God… love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, and faith?
There is still nothing new under the sun. Human nature is still human nature and the Spirit of God is still miraculous and supernatural! The only thing we can change under the sun is how we live under the sun. Do we live a senses-driven life, or do we live a life ignited by the supernatural power of the Holy Ghost? Thank God for giving us choices… for giving us a will. He never forces Himself upon us. He has already chosen us. He says we are fearfully and wonderfully made! He is just waiting for us to get over ourselves!
When does a person begin believing what God’s Word says about him? Most likely, we first must become so exhausted in living a life that is confined and limited in the humanistic dimension. It is not until then that we are able to make the choice of letting impossibilities become realities and devastations become deliverances. So remember, there is nothing new under the sun. The only thing that can change under the sun is how we live under the sun!
Vickie Hodges is a UPCI licensed minister with 35 years experience in Early Childhood Education and Brain Development Research. She is the author of LIFE (Living In Freedom EVERYDAY) Recovery Series. Vickie is a trainer and a speaker at seminars, retreats, conferences and universities. She can be reached at VickieHodgesSharingLIFE@gmail.com or (281) 489-0055.
Daniel Sirstad: Relationships 201: Get Wisdom- Get Understanding!
People recognize the value of pursuing wisdom. Some propagate the benefit of receiving a degree from a college, university, or seminary. Others prefer obtaining a specialized certification from a trade school. Some refer to themselves as self-taught, spending countless hours poring over information designed to help them hone their craft or interest.
However, without being accompanied by understanding, wisdom itself is minimized. Solomon understood this. Proverbs 4:7 says, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” I cannot stress the value of being able to understand. In relationships, people often struggle to understand themselves, their spouse, children, co-workers, preacher, etc.
The word “understand,” is a derivative of a root word meaning “to discern,” referring to the proper application of knowledge. On the surface, you may know yourself, your spouse, or your children reasonably well. However, during a conflict, the impulsive reaction, many times, is lacking in understanding. Generally, the initial response is one of defensive posturing. Wisdom is static and is present at the onset of any situation. But understanding requires taking time. The implementation of patience is the furthest thing from many minds in the heat of the moment. And yet, it is accessing patience that allows us to maintain or protect our soul (Luke 21:19).
How can we increase our understanding? Good question! A significant way to increase our understanding is by actively listening. Rather than listen, many humans tend to formulate what they will say while the other person is talking. It’s hard to hear when you are not listening.
Another way to increase understanding is to reflect deeply on what just happened. There are a few instances that demand immediate attention. However, most situations allow us to take some time and consider not just our perspective but also the other persons. Understanding can be a gift from God, as in Daniel’s case. But it can also be sought for and learned.
Do you want to understand yourself better? Or, your spouse? I can help you do that. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Daniel Sirstad is a UPCI ordained minister and has a PhD in Clinical Pastoral Counseling. As the Executive Director of DayStar Ministries, Dr. Sirstad travels extensively teaching and preaching on relational subjects. He counsels for many congregations throughout North America using HIPAA-compliant video technology. email@example.com
Delano Sherley: Accounting & Tax: Now is the Time
This is a great time of year to spend some extra time on church finances. Things are slowing down after all the camp meetings, and the busy holiday season is still one month away. The year is also far enough along to be able to project how it may end. If you have bank covenants to meet, you should review to see if you will meet them by year-end. If not, what expenses can be reduced now to close the gap?
It is also a good time to begin working on the 2021 budget. As the reality of a world post-COVID settles in, churches are getting used to doing things much differently than they used to. While some in-person events are still smaller, more resources are being used in areas such as live-streaming, including higher costs for internet bandwidth, etc.
Other questions to consider: Do you have any significant capital improvements that you need to plan for next year? If so, will you need to make any special appeals for donations, or are the funds already available?
Time spent now will provide a clearer picture of where you stand and what adjustments, if any, are needed, rather than experiencing an unpleasant surprise after December 31st.
Delano Sherley is a CPA and president of Delano Sherley & Associates, Inc. He can be reached at 513-737-1314. Delano Sherley & Associates, Inc., 8366 Princeton-Glendale Rd., Suite B5, West Chester, OH 45069.