Too many pastors have been measured by worldly standards of success in this past year in the midst of all the distractions life and culture have brought our way. The real measure of successful ministry is what the all-powerful grace of God is doing in people's lives. Only Jesus Christ can transform a life so completely.
We’ve all delighted in new things—new things that ultimately God has gifted to us. But our delight in new things quickly fades. New becomes old. The universal, unescapable truth is that nothing stays new—not things, people, or relationships. Psalm 49 addresses this readily apparent yet rarely apprehended truth.
God’s nature is unity (Deuteronomy 6:4). When we are baptized into Christ, we are one with Him and with each other spiritually (John 17:11, 20-22). David and Solomon both praised the importance of unity among God’s people (Psalm 133:1, Proverbs 6:17-19). Anyone who dismisses the unity God has created and spreads strife unnecessarily is considered an abomination. The job of believers in the church is to maintain the unity of the Spirit in peace (Ephesians 4:3, Philippians 4:2). God’s people love what God has provided and persevere in unity.
Neither popularity nor position are permanent. Ecclesiastes 4:13-16 teaches us to avoid unrealistic expectations regarding both.
Psalm 73:3 expresses a feeling that most Christians experience after they have been saved for a while: "I was envious of the arrogant as I saw the prosperity of the wicked." Job expressed the same thought in Job 21:7-20. This is especially challenging in a culture where sinful lifestyles are celebrated.
Psalm 73 addresses the issue of why the wicked prosper, but without answering the question. It answers the deeper question of why the righteous envy the wicked and what the solution is for that.
Prayer and Bible study are essential to the development of our spirit, that part of us that communicates with God. We are studying Jesus' prayer in John 17 to find the purpose of His life and how we can imitate it. In the second section, Jesus prays for His disciples at that time. His specific request in verse 11 is that they would be kept in the Father's name.
According to statistics, about 5% of people across the globe suffer from depression, and over 10% of Americans are depressed. Sometimes depression has a physical cause; sometimes it is caused by circumstances. When our circumstances threaten to discourage us, God’s remedy is spiritual. Though you might not guess on the first read, Joseph’s story in Genesis 40 tells us how to avoid depression and discouragement in our Christian walk.
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