God Uses The Flawed and Inexperienced:
Have you ever thought something along the lines of, “I can’t do it” or “I’m not good enough” whenever you are asked to do evangelism or a simple task? Well, so did many Christians before you (including me). A biblical example of such a person was Moses.
Exodus chapter 4:10-12 says,
“And Moses said unto the Lord, ‘O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.’ And the Lord said unto him, ‘Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.’ “
Now Moses may or may not have worked out his speech impediment, but that didn’t determine whether or not he could do great things for God. He lead God’s people out of Pharaoh’s hands and to the Promised Land. In the face of great adversity he managed to succeed with God by his side. God can enable us to do His work.
You may feel out of place to tell your friends about Jesus because you are a flawed sinner. That is NOT the point because through the blood of Jesus our sins are forgiven. Moses had another character flaw that led him to sin, ANGER ISSUES! Moses had two notable outbursts, the first during the time when God told Moses to speak to the rock for water. Moses, in his frustration with the Israelites, struck the rock. The second act was that in which Moses broke the tablets which had God had written the 10 commandments upon. He broke God’s Word (pun intended) in his anger but despite that he is remembered to this day as one of the heroes of the Bible and a devout follower of God.
Having the matter of inability and sin out of the way, you may now say, “I am too young and inexperienced” or something along those lines to avoid the situation. Well, according to his own words, so was the prophet Jeremiah.
In Jeremiah 1:6-8 the prophet said,
“’Alas, Sovereign Lord,’ I said, ‘I do not know how to speak; I am too young.’
But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,”
The end result is that Jeremiah successfully acted as a prophet for God in doing difficult ministry, a ministry that still serves to this day.
Everyone has flaws, and nobody may be perfect, yet the next time God urges you into ministry, take the chance and see the great paths God opens for you to do to the glory of His Name, remembering that “I can do all through Him who strengthens me.” Phillipians 4:13.
What You Should Know About Tithing:
What is tithing?
Tithing is giving of what the Lord blesses you with, commonly 10% or more of what you earn back to God (Genesis 14:19-20 and Leviticus 27:30).
Why do we tithe?
God ordained for us to support the pastor and for the service of the church according to 1 Corinthians 9 (Read it before continuing). Although it is not explicitly stated to give a tithe of 10% many OT rules and practices can be applied to our living nowadays with good reason, and giving to God is one of the practices seen throughout the Bible. In the OT the money, food and materials given by the Israelites were used to sustain the Levites and seen in creating a place of worship. In the same way our churches have to allocate money for the maintenance and creation of the church building, use amenities like electricity, and also support the Pastor. Many Pastors are full-time workers of the church meaning that their livelihood may very well depend on how much the church gives. We need to support the church in any way possible, through time, materials or money in the same way the Levites lived on tithes. Do not withhold what a brother has need of, James 4:17
How Much do I tithe?
Give what you can, as the widow in Mark 12:41-44 gave all that she had despite it amounting to very little but it is permissible if you cannot as the willingness to give is the more important matter here, 2 Corinthians 8:12. With the majority of people having regulated paycheck you can give the portion the week you receive it but for those who don’t Paul spoke of giving weekly out of what “God hath prospered him” (1 Corinthians 16). It’s not necessarily what you tithe either, Leviticus 27 also records land and animals being dedicated but nowadays the most common way to give is by giving 10% (or more) of your wages like Abraham and Jacob (Genesis 14:20). Something you need to consider about your money is that all of it is God’s blessing to you and you need to think of it not as “How much do I give?” but “How much do I need to retain?” (See 1 Cor. 6:20, 1 Chron. 29:14). Many places in the NT shows believers giving not just 10% but their property, time, money, abilities. To those unable to give or don’t have jobs but have time, here is a suggestion, “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” – 1 Cor. 15:58. Money isn’t all that you can give to God. We can give Him our time and our skills but most importantly, our hearts.
*Give blessings, not just gifts. For further reading I recommend reading “Tithing – The Privilege of Christian Stewardship” by Peter Masters.
Our Body Is A Temple:
“Your body is a temple.” Now this is a rather common saying, especially when people are being questioned about their diets (at least in my case). Well is it true that our bodies are temples? To figure this out let’s see 1 Corinthians 6:19-20,
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
What does this mean? First read from verse 12 and you’ll probably see a bit of a truth bomb about yourself. “It’s my body” we often think, but no, we have been bought by Christ to live for Him. This chapter warns us from sexual immorality like premarital sex, but what else should we avoid?
1 Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God”. We can take this in the sense of consuming anything, including drugs. Who gets drunk or abuses drugs to glorify God? We are called to be sober minded Titus 2:6, and thus shouldn’t cloud our judgement with drugs. Yes, alcohol is technically a drug but was allowed back then (wine) because drinking water wasn’t widely available 24/7 and was commonly used to aid ailments such as Timothy’s stomach ache in one of Paul’s letters, but we have Gravol and controlled medications for such issues now (so no hard liquor).
Do these passages also mean it is a sin to be not eat properly, or perhaps be obese? Well if the reason is gluttony, then most likely the answer is yes considering the many passages viewing gluttony as negative. See Paul’s message in 1 Cor. 9:27, Proverbs 23:21 and Galatians 5’s spirit of self-control. I was and sometimes still am subject to gluttony but I learned that you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it, now that you understand why not to do it figure out how you want to improve on this behaviour.
Another “deviant behaviour” argued by many is the matter of tattoos. We can still apply a law from Leviticus to this subject. Leviticus 19:28 “And a cutting for the dead you will not make in your flesh; and writing marks you will not make on you; I am the Lord.”. It is argued that this was directed more to slashing not tattoos but if we do permanently ink ourselves what image do people form of us? There is a negative portrayal of tattoos in many cultures/subcultures. But why was this law given in the OT? Well, these were pagan practices for starters (to honour pagan gods) and carried risk of disease as we now know. Consider these other points: Did your parents forbid it? Then don’t do it (Ephesians 6:1-3 stresses this). Is this a wise use of your time and money? Will your employability suffer? Are you getting tattoos for looks? If yes, don’t do it for it says in 1 Peter 3:3–4:
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
If any of this has caused you to doubt the subject of tattoos then I again advise to not do it whether or not it is a sin or simply deviant for Romans 14:23 says “But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”. Simply meaning, if it makes you doubt your conscience, don’t do it.
Guard your tongue! (Written by Samuel V. and Matthias J.)
“The tongue has the power of life and death”- Proverbs 18:21 You can say this in both spiritual and physical senses. Will your words bring people to Christ by sharing the gospel and through your behaviour? (see 1 Timothy 4:12) Will you turn people away from a life with Christ? In your physical realm do your words build people up rather than drive them towards death? The power of a single voice has proven powerful many times throughout history. John the baptist’s preaching, Martin Luther King’s reform, the voice of a political leader (good or bad).
The Bible says, by the fruit of their lips people will be filled with good things (Proverbs 12:14). It also confirms that the evildoers are trapped by their sinful speech. The tongue is the little thing that corrupts the whole body as illustrated in James 3:3-12,
“If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well.
Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.
So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.
How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!
And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life,and set on fire by hell.
For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind,
but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.
From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and saltwater?
Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.”
No man alone can tame the tongue but God can help us improve in ourselves. Evaluate yourself, is what I did in line with God’s Word? If not, change your approach and apologize. For 1 Timothy 5:1-2 says “You should not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.”. Consider the elderly men and women’s experience but also how culture may be different now versus then, consider the younger men’s lack of insight and help them in kindness for you were once like that young man, and the younger women are alike but also have a very different position in life so empathize with them. If problems persist and to avoid future problems consider Titus 3:9-10. In the end, stay away from foolish talk, crude jokes, and deceitful speech (Proverbs 4:24) . Let our words be filled with grace and truth so it can build up those who hear, not tear them down (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
Here is a prayer you can say when you find guarding your tongue difficult,
“Set a guard over my mouth O Lord. Keep watch over the door of my lips (Psalm 141:3). Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:4)”
Settling Disputes (According to 1 Corinthians 6:1-8)
Now what is the first thing you think of when you picture a christian? Definitely not someone having a petty argument (I hope). We are all sinners who make mistakes but as followers of God we need to emulate Christ’s righteous behaviour, which does not include lawsuits against your brothers in Christ. Take a look at 1 Corinthians Chapter 6:1-8 here if you haven’t already,
“Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?
Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
Know ye not that we shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life?
If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? No, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?
But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.
Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?
Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren”
Paul pretty much lays down his expectations here, to be sensible and know when to pick your battles. But when we can’t (or won’t) give up the argument for whatever reason, instead of escalating the situation, start by prayerfully seeking God’s help before involving someone to serve as an intermediary. It would help if we recognized that Most of these arguments are a result of our sinful natures and if we were to follow Colossians 3:11-15 from the start, we would be much better off.
For a similar topic see “Guard your tongue”.