Is it Expedient, Helpful or Profitable?

Girl Holding Plant“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any,” (1 Corinthians 6:12, KJV).

What does it mean for something to be expedient? The word expedient gives the idea of something that is helpful, profitable or beneficial. In context the verse is discussing something that is beneficial for more than just one person or individual. The Bible encourages us to seek things that help everyone on the path toward heaven (cf. 1 Cor. 7:35; Heb. 12:10; Matt. 5:29). Some things are described as ‘lawful,’ contextually denoting the idea of something that does not explicitly contradict to the commands of God. Thus, the above verse teaches the idea of following God’s design or purpose for life by exercising self-control and looking toward the benefit of self and others, making sure to remain in control of the action instead of the action controlling us.

No matter what the action is we need seek the things that are practical and appropriate to the situation. Honestly ask these three questions: 1) Is it expedient? 2) Is this helpful or profitable? and 3) Can I be brought under its power? Desires is natural; however, we cannot allow any of those desires to gain the upper hand by controlling us. One may love sports, but what happens when a major or minor sporting event becomes more important than worshiping God or growing spiritually? One may desire financial stability, but when one’s desire or love of money chooses for them it is called the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10). Seek the more excellent way by living life in a way that thinks about the choices we make.

Let us not be enslaved, but be profitable and helpful in all we say and do. “My beloved brother: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger,” (James 1:19), so we may know and discern good from evil.
Categories: Personal Growth, Priorities | Tags: All things, Authorized King James Version, Bible, First Epistle to the Corinthians, First Epistle to Timothy, God, Gospel of Matthew, Law | Leave a comment

Help Yourself, To Help Others

Her illness was terminal and he sat there watching. His thoughts raced focusing on a singular notion, “If only there was a cure I could give it to her, if only I could help.”

In the same way, many watch as those they care about become spiritually sick. They feel they can do nothing as the disease of sin consumes the soul. It is contagious and deadly. We want to help, but sometimes lack the ability. One that is spiritually blind cannot help others until they can see themselves (Luke 6:39). A parent is not able to help their child learn how to tie a shoe, eat their food, act courteously or show respect unless they themselves possess the same qualities and abilities. A Christian, likewise, cannot help others unless they themselves possess the qualities of one who is saved. Can we help those living in sin if we live in sin? For, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Luke 6:41).

Can we expect others to do something we will not? If we remove sin in our own life, then others will see sincerity in our actions. We are instructed to be an example and to practice what we ought “so that all may see your progress,” (1 Timothy 4:12-15). Otherwise, by not taking the “beam” out of your eye you are a hypocrite, unable to help those you claim to love and cherish. If we are separated from God due to our sin (Isa. 59:1ff), how can we help someone else who is separated from God? If we will not take the cure ourselves, others will not want to take it either.

“First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye,” (Luke 6:42). One prevents themselves from helping others by leaving sin unattended, failing to increase their faith. Such a person is described as being “blind, and cannot see afar off,” (2 Peter 1:9). Knowing our own spiritual condition and improving it enables us to “you will save both yourself and your hearers,” (1 Timothy 4:16). How valuable is the eternal soul? How valuable are the souls of those we love? Christ died for our soul and for theirs (Romans 5:8). He is the vaccine! Can we distinguish between right and wrong to help others? (Hebrews. 5:14). Do we know God’s word well enough to prevent sin? (Psalm 119:11).

Let’s be honest with ourselves. Can we help rescue people plagued with sin? When we see others spiritually perishing before our eyes, we need to make sure we can do something about it. Help yourself, that you may help others also. With sin there is a cure and you can help.

Categories: Christian Living, Ministry, Personal Growth, Priorities, Sin | Tags: Christ, Epistle to the Romans, First Epistle to Timothy, Luke, Psalm, Second Epistle of Peter, Sin, Timothy | Leave a comment

As For Me, Then My House

Businessman with Coat and Tie Holding House.Much Joy was present in the house as the new parents introduced their child to its home. As the parents settled down to catch their breath from the recent stresses of the birth, it suddenly hit them. Reality took hold and they realized that the physical and spiritual care for this little precious soul was their responsibility.

As Joshua’s time came to a close, he challenged the people of Israel saying, “if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15). One cannot help but notice that Joshua’s statement emphasizes the personal responsibility (“as for me,”) in the decision to serve the Lord. All individuals must draw the proper conclusion and decide the path they will follow. This decision is so vital because it must be made before that person can help those around them. Unless we are dedicated and determined to serve the Lord we cannot and should not expect our own families to do likewise without our example. “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit?” (Luke 6:39). “Does a spring bring forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.” (James 3:11-12). Can an uncommitted person bring forth a committed family? The honest question we must ask ourselves is, “How determined am I to serve the Lord?”

Our children and children’s children are affected by the choices we make now. God instructs fathers to “bring them [their children] up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4). The older women are to teach the younger woman to “love their husbands and children” (Titus 2:4). It has been said that during the younger years a boy will cling to his mother to learn about the type of woman he ought to marry and when he gets older he will cling to his father to learn about the man he ought to become. What kind of example are we setting for the future generations? “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6). Do our verbals and non-verbals point our families in the direction they should go?

Whom do we serve? If we serve self it is likely that our family will be selfish in nature. If our worship is without heart, meaning and feeling; our families will follow that example. Likewise, If we do not attend Bible study, worship services, and church activities like you should, neither will our family. If we value money, stuff, and hobbies above God; well, we get the point. In order to spiritually provide for our families we must first be willing to work on our own spiritual lives.

Let us be determined to serve the Lord to the best of our ability; allowing our influence to spread to those we love so we can honestly say, “as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” May God bless our families as we strive for the heavenly goal.

Categories: Family, Obedience, Personal Growth | Tags: Bible, Family, God, Israel, Israelites, Joshua, Joy, Lord | Leave a comment

Working Up Our Spiritual Appetites

Hungry? Why wait? Grab a Bible?

When I was in high school I competed with my friends in eating competitions. Most of the time, we would go to a local pizza buffet to see who could put the true claim on “all you can eat”. If you wanted to do well you had to “work up your appetite”. Some might think that simple withdraw from food would do the trick; however, all that did was shrink your stomach. Expansion of one’s stomach was the desired task. Thus, eating a little here and there before the competition could expand one’s stomach or increase their metabolism. Though this practice is not highly recommended, due to the health problems that accompany it, it demonstrates how we can grow spiritually speaking.

We need to work up our spiritual appetites. Certain spiritual matters can be hard to digest, accept, and/or understand. The expansion of our spiritual metabolism is necessary for us to change the trend of spiritual famine in our lives. To resolve this we need to, first of all, know what our spiritual food is.

Jesus said, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall never hunger,” (John 6:35). In response to Jesus asking if he would leave, Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,” (John 6:68). The Scriptures describe Jesus as being the source of our spiritual nourishment. We find out about Jesus’ teachings and life from the Bible, the word of God. Being described as, “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work,” (2 Tim 3:16-17), we cannot ignore that God’s word is the source of spiritual food and the origin of our faith (Romans 10:17).

If God’s word is our spiritual food then how come we still have problems understanding? Shouldn’t we just be able to read the Bible and come to the proper conclusions? There is a difference between only reading the Bible and studying it. Hebrews 5:12 says, “You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” Our spiritual lives are similar to physical, in that we begin with a basic substance for nourishment. If we want to stomach spiritual steaks then we will need to gradually move from spiritual milk to solid food. This requires practice and training as we work up our spiritual appetites. Casual reading and exposure to God’s word is good and essential to keeping one’s mind immersed in spiritual nourishment. Meditation and study, however, allow the more difficult issues to be pondered and understood in a more effective manner.

Achieving this goal may seem like trying to eat an elephant. How do you, hypothetically, eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Being a Christian is to be a part of a continual development process. 2 Peter 1:5-8 teaches us that we are to “add” to our faith or increase our faith by adding the attributes mentioned in the context. If we exercise our physical bodies for better performance, why not our spiritual bodies? (1 Corinthians 9:26-27).

Are you ready for a spiritual feast? Jesus said,”Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied,” (Matthew 5:6). Your Bible is waiting. Read it. Study it. Obey it. Ask questions and find answers.

Are you hungry yet? Grab your Bible!
Categories: Christian Living, Faith, Personal Growth, Priorities | Tags: Bible, Christianity, Eating, First Epistle to the Corinthians, Food, God, Jesus, Second Epistle of Peter | Leave a comment

What Do You Have?

Followed by a crowd to a secluded location. When the issue of food was brought up, Jesus basically asked his disciples, “What do you have?” Changing the issue from the lack of food or the lack of funds to purchase food for approximately five thousand souls, Jesus focused on the positive. Read the account of Jesus feeding the five thousand in either Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9, or John 6.

Sometimes we forget about our current blessings. We can become so focused on the “have not’s” that we forget about the vary things that God has already given us. Take one of those deep relaxing breaths. No joking, just do it. Who gave you the air you just breathed to sustain your life? Who gave you life in the first place? Jesus’ disciples were so focused on the “have not’s” of their situation they neglected to see what they had.

Failing to see what we have prevents us from sharing it. Focusing on our desire for something we do not have creates a type of “tunnel vision,” that causes us to fixate on selfishness rather than selflessness. Out of five thousand people only one child had food that he was willing to share. Jesus’ disciples were so focused on the “two hundred denarii” cost of providing food for everyone they did not see what they did have until Andrew brought the boy, who was willing to share, to Jesus.

Lack of sharing negates incredible results. Whether it is money, time, skills, possessions, a compassionate ear or a helping hand, we all have something that the Lord has blessed us with. The question is whether or not we are willing to share our blessings with others. This boy is the only one in the crowd willing to share what little food he had. When these blessing were given to Jesus, the incredible happened! Five loaves of bread and two fish were divided and the food multiplied. Jesus provides opportunity for His people to do extraordinary things, but we must first bring it to Jesus.

Where’ your heart? Jesus said, “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” (Matthew 6:20-21). Is your heart focused on what you do not have? Or are we focused on what we can give?

Take another deep relaxing breath, this time clearing your mind of anxieties and personal desires. Now, what do you have? What has God blessed your life with that you can and should share with others? How can you bring that to Jesus?

What do you have?

Categories: Christian Living, Giving, Personal Growth, Priorities | Tags: feeding the five thousand, giving, God, Gospel of Luke, Jesus, John, John 6, Lord, Luke 9, Mark 6, Matthew, Matthew 14 | Leave a comment

Be A Mentor

Posted on October 23, 2013 by Robert Guinn

MP900321209We all have at least one mentor in our lifetime. It it the person we think of when we close our eyes and hit the rewind button on our mental players when asked the question, “Who has significantly impacted your life?” Perhaps we see the face of the person that taught us the Gospel of Jesus. Maybe we see a teacher that not only taught from their lesson plan, but also taught us about life in some fashion. Depending on our field of expertise, we might see the face of the person that took us under their wing to show us the ropes. In all these circumstances, whether briefly or long-term, we see a person that became to us a wise trusted adviser, or a mentor.

Why do we value such people? We value them because at some point in our lives, they took the time to invest in us personally. Mentors are of extreme importance as we develop mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Consider the relationship between Paul and Timothy in the New Testament. Probably one of the first things we notice about a mentor is their encouragement. Paul wrote to Timothy saying, “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:1-2,NKJV). Paul, being Timothy’s mentor, shows this encouragement by:

Emphasizing a personal bond coupled with a supportive spirit (“my son”).
Challenging Timothy (“be strong”).
Reminding Timothy about his blessings (“grace that is in Christ Jesus”).
Reminding Timothy about his training to this point (“things that you have heard from me”).
Emphasizing the challenge to be a mentor to others (“commit these to faithful men”).

How would our lives be if our mentors never took the time to invest in us? The truth is, God has designed the family and the church to be a form of “mentor-ship”, having one generation teach the next. Fathers are supposed to mentor their children in the ways of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Mothers, grandmothers and “older” women are to guide the younger in what it means to love their families (Titus 2:4). This is why children are to show respect to their parents and other authority figures (Colossians 3:20). In the church, ministers are to proclaim God’s word being mindful of the eternal impact their words and actions have on those they are trying to encourage (James 3:1). Elders are responsible for shepherding the flock of God (1 Peter 5:2). All Christians are to help each other spiritually (1 Peter 5:9; Galatians 6:2).

Each of the aforementioned have some type of role that can be considered a type of mentoring. What happens though if we remove one of these mentors from the equation? Numerous groups and organizations have been formed to help those whose parents were/are non-existent as mentors. Many congregational problems can be traced back to the lack of proper “mentor-ship” on the part of the leadership and/or others.

Who was the last person we mentored? Did we encourage them in the direction they need to spiritually go? Do we challenge each other to constantly improve ourselves? Remember what we have been blessed with and how far we have come. Now, it is our responsibility to pass on these blessings to the next generation. Be a mentor for the Lord!

Categories: Christian Living, Family, Ministry, Personal Growth, Priorities | Tags: Christ Jesus, Christian, God, Jesus, mentor, New Testament, Paul, spiritual training, Timothy | Leave a comment