Heed Jesus, not people

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Jesus is coming soon. Are you ready?

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Wars and rumors of wars. These things must be.

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God comforts us so we can comfort others

Have you ever thought about how God created a comfort chain?  First He allows you to endure hard times and then comforts you.  He doesn’t stop there, though.  He works through you so that you can comfort others in their affliction.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4(NKJV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

 

Have you ever wondered why God does this?  One reason may be that He wants us to learn to be comforters like He is.  Another reason may be to initiate a spiritual “pay it forward”: that the comfort He gives you will be passed on to someone else who needs it, and so on.  Comfort is part of spiritual love.  It’s spiritual compassion.  That kind of love enables a person to keep moving forward spiritually regardless of what’s going on in life.

Now here’s something to spiritually meditate and focus on as well:  God adds salvation to the comfort mix through Paul.

 

2 Corinthians 1:6 (NKJV)

Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.

 

That’s a wow!  Here’s a spiritual leader letting those he shepherds know that his suffering has a purpose, and that purpose is both to console the brethren and place that comfort towards their salvation.  In other words, it’s not about Paul.  It’s about the brethren.  Your hard times are not about you but about what you can give to others who are hurting.

How, you might ask, does comfort and affliction of others affect my salvation?  Every spiritual leader wants those God places in his care to endure to the end so that they can be saved.  Sometimes, life can be so hard that we become discouraged and need encouragement to move forward spiritually.  It is encouraging to know that others have endured hard times and moved forward.

Spiritual family, Pastor G and I hope that these verses have helped you in your time of affliction.  We pray that these words are comforting and encouraging along with being very real.  Christ told us to take up our cross and follow Him.  He did not promise that life would be easy.  He did promise that he who endures to the end will be saved. We’d truly love it if you will be there with God for all eternity.  Live God’s love.  Be blessed.

 

copyright 2017, Pastors George and Sharon Billington, All Rights Reserved

 

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God, Spiritual leader compensation and you

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There are a number of congregations out there who insist that the needs of the building where they meet are more important than the needs of their spiritual leaders.  Many promise to contribute to the spiritual leader’s necessities after buildings are repaired or improved.  Providing for spiritual leaders’ needs is biblically mandated, as you can plainly see.  If you have been thinking wrong, stop and do what God wants you to do. God forgives those who have made the mistake of doing what seems right to them as opposed to doing His will.

Some misunderstand the following verse and use it as an excuse not to pay their spiritual leaders:

Matthew 10:8(NKJV)

Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

What this verse means is that Jesus doesn’t want us to expect payment for providing the spiritual services mentioned in this scripture.  That said, there’s nothing wrong with asking for donations where appropriate.  This verse in no way absolves believers from their responsibility for providing for spiritual leaders’ needs and giving them double honor.

A few weeks ago, a colleague in Africa shared that a community wanted him to participate in a three day event.  They would provide food and housing but not expenses like travel or time off from work.  My colleague is dedicated to being and doing what God has for him to be and do, so our prayer was that if it were His will, for God to make a way for him to go.  It’s wonderful that these believers saw how powerfully God works through my colleague.  He has delivered those afflicted with demons and healed those who are sick.  They need to value him enough to ensure that his needs, all his needs, surrounding the event have been met.  What if he loses his job? How will he provide for his family?

Just what needs to be the standard for the spiritual leader’s provision?  God values spiritual leaders so highly that He wants them paid doubly.  Does this mean all spiritual leaders should live in mansions, drive current late model cars or have private jet planes? Of course not. Let God the Holy Spirit guide your giving in this and every case.  He knows what is needed.  What these verses mean is that a spiritual leader needs to be free and available to perform his or her role without the stress or distraction of working outside the ministry.  In the Old Testament, God set it up so that the Priests and Levites would be blessed with the financial support of tithes and offerings and all the responsibilities attached to that provision.

Sadly, many spiritual leaders have to be bi-vocational.  Pastor G is one of them.  He works in a major supermarket so that our personal needs and ministry needs can be met.  Do we live lavishly?  No.  We live in a 55+ senior mobile home park and drive a 2002 Buick LeSabre. (That’s a 15 year old car, folks!) We follow God’s lead and support community needs as well as some of the needs of spiritual leaders globally because their congregations have refused to follow God’s mandate.  It is our heartfelt prayer that posts like this will make a huge change in how brethren esteem those God has anointed and ordained to be their spiritual shepherds.

 

copyright 2017, Pastors George and Sharon Billington, All Rights Reserved

 

Posted in Bible Study, Christian Choices, Christian Coping and Living, christian focus, Christian Obedience, Christian Teaching, Following Jesus, spiritual conscience, spiritual leaders | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Jesus, the woman caught in adultery and you

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This morning Pastor G and I were led to these verses and given insights we pass along to you.  It struck us how Romans 8:28 (that God makes all things work out for the good for those that love Him) works in this narrative.  He worked this almost sure physical death sentence for the woman’s good by not condemning her.  Could He do that?  Sure, He was and is God.  He also, along with extending divine grace or forgiveness, told her to move forward with her life and not to sin in that way again.  He set her free and gave her life meaning, purpose and direction.

Luke 4:18-19 has Jesus proclaiming why He came among us in the flesh.  He came to set the captives free, and that includes the spiritual captives.  It is interesting to note that when God frees His people, He gives them parameters within which they are to live and love. He did that for the newly freed Jewish slaves in the Mount Sinai covenant, and He did that for this woman in pointing her towards a sexually sinless life.

For those who wonder, God’s word does say what to do with both male and female adulterers.  We believers know that the wages of sin are death.  The question has always remained as to the whereabouts of the guy in this scenario.  It takes two to commit adultery.

Jesus applied grace to the woman. She walked away an uncondemned person.  Her accusers were nowhere to be found.  Jesus used this opportunity to set an example of grace, mercy and spiritual love to all those who witnessed this event.

Which brings us to, well, us.   We all still sin and receive God’s forgiveness when we repent.  That’s why Jesus died for us.  What do you do once you are set free, forgiven?  Do you walk forward in freedom or do you return to sin’s captivity?  Pastor G and I pray that you choose spiritual freedom and choose to live and love within Godly parameters.  Be blessed.

 

copyright 2017, Pastors George and Sharon Billington, All Rights Reserved

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