Friday, January 11, 2013

Guaranteed Key to Effectiveness

I have to confess, it 's hard to write what’s on my heart without sounding like a motivational seminar.  Bravo to John Maxwell, Zig Ziglar and so many others who have inspired and motivated us to be better at work, home and even in our spiritual lives.  My wife worked 10 years for the largest Success Motivational company in the world, so I have been exposed to heavy doses of the success motivational community.  However, what I am about to share is not hype, it is not a prelude to sell a book and it will not require you to pull out your wallet.  But, if you adopt these seven qualities I can guarantee success.  Better yet, the guarantee is not mine, it is from the only One who can make such a promise and deliver, almighty God.    

That being said, I have come across seven qualities that can be so life-changing that I must share them with you.  These qualities guarantee you will be effective and fruitful.  The key to these qualities is that you must keep them and you must continue to increase in them.  Otherwise, you will become ineffective and unfruitful.  You would be compared to one who is so nearsighted that they are in effect, blind.  That’s how critical these seven qualities are to your Christian life. 

Ready? Here they are.

1) Virtue
2) Knowledge
3) Self-control
4) Steadfastness
5) Godliness
6) Brotherly affection
7) Love

"So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.  
So, friends, confirm God’s invitation to you, his choice of you. Don’t put it off; do it now. Do this, and you’ll have your life on a firm footing, the streets paved and the way wide open into the eternal kingdom of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ."1

“Faith must express itself in action (goodness) and this experience deepens our knowledge of God. Knowing him will deepen our knowledge of ourselves and where we need to exercise self-control. This in turn calls for perseverance, which is developed by keeping in view the worthwhile goal of v 4—godliness. This attitude to God facilitates a new openness to our fellow-Christians (brotherly kindness), and this in turn blossoms into unreserved and unrestricted love—the coping-stone of the whole edifice (cf. Col. 3:14).”2

The choice is yours.  Increasing in these qualities will grow your relationship with Jesus and produce fruit.  Ignoring these qualities will make you forget from where you have fallen (Rev. 2:4-5) and render your Christian life ineffective.  It seems so obvious, so simple, yet Peter reminds us because just like the Church of Ephesus, we quickly forget what Christ saved us from and abandon the love we had.  It is epidemic.  It takes ongoing effort and conscious choice to add or keep growing these qualities in your daily life.  But here’s the reward, “if you keep these qualities you will never fall.” 2 Peter 1:10

How will you implement these qualities in your life today?  How will you remind yourself of these qualities a week from now?  Who can you share this with to keep you accountable a month from today?  Keep increasing in these qualities!

Read 2 Peter 1 today and make plans how to keep these qualities alive.

1  2 Peter 1:5-11, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language by Eugene H. Peterson.
2  New Bible commentary: 21st century edition. 1994 (D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer & G. J. Wenham, Ed.) (4th ed.) (2 Pe 1:5–9). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Great quotes on Faith

Great faith trusts God when there is nothing in the cupboard to eat and no money to buy food. Great faith trusts in God when health is gone, work is gone, reputation is gone, or family is gone. Great faith trusts God while the windstorm is still howling and persecution continues.

Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man's power ends. ~ George Muller

The Bible recognizes no faith that does not lead to obedience, nor does it recognize any obedience that does not spring from faith. The two are opposite sides of the same coin. ~ A.W. Tozer

Faith is to believe what we do not see; and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe. ~ Augustine

The true, living faith, which the Holy Spirit instills into the heart, simply cannot be idle. ~ Martin Luther

God does not expect us to submit our faith to him without reason, but the very limits of our reason make faith a necessity. ~ Augustine

Faith is a voluntary anticipation. ~ Clement of Alexandria

Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore seek not to understand that thou mayest believe, but believe that thou mayest understand. ~ Augustine

Faith has to do with things that are not seen and hope with things that are not at hand.  ~ Thomas Aquinas

God our Father has made all things depend on faith so that whoever has faith will have everything, and whoever does not have faith will have nothing. ~ Martin Luther

"Most of us go through life praying a little, planning a little, jockeying for position, hoping but never being quite certain of anything, and always secretly afraid that we will miss the way. This is a tragic waste of truth and never gives rest to the heart.  There is a better way. It is to repudiate our own wisdom and take instead the infinite wisdom of God. Our insistence upon seeing ahead is natural enough, but it is a real hindrance to our spiritual progress. God has charged Himself with full responsibility for our eternal happiness and stands ready to take over the management of our lives the moment we turn in faith to Him....
With the goodness of God to desire our highest welfare, the wisdom of God to plan it, and the power of God to achieve it, what do we lack? Surely we are the most favored of all creatures."  A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, 97, 99

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A story of Faith

  "Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man's power ends." ~ George Muller

 This story is told by the captain of a ship on which George Muller of Bristol was traveling.

 “We had George Muller of Bristol on board,” said the captain. “I had been on the bridge for twenty-four hours and never left it and George Muller came to me and said, “Captain, I have come to tell you I must be in Quebec on Saturday afternoon.” “It is impossible,” I said. “Then very well, if your ship cannot take me, God will find some other way. I have never broken an engagement in fifty-seven years; let us go down into the chart room and pray.”
 “I looked at that man of God and thought to myself, “What lunatic asylum can that man have come from, for I never heard of such a thing as this?” “Mr. Muller,” I said, “do you know how dense this fog is?”
 ““No,” he replied, “my eye is not on the density of the fog, but on the living God who controls every circumstance of my life.” He knelt down and he prayed one of the most simple prayers. When he had finished I was going to pray, but he put his hand on my shoulder and told me not to pray. “As you do not believe He will answer, and as I believe He has, there is no need whatever for you to pray about it.”
 “I looked at him and George Muller said, “Captain, I have known my Lord for fifty-seven years and there has never been a single day when I have failed to get an audience with the King. Get up, Captain, and open the door and you will find the fog has gone.”
 “I got up and the fog indeed was gone, and on that Saturday afternoon George Muller kept his promised engagement.”