Posts Tagged ‘Fellowship’


Under Gods Command

God wants a relationship with you

Philippians 1:9-11

9I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. 10For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. 11May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation— the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ*— for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

We studied these verses at one of my Bible Studies. It stuck with me for these reasons of my own. The only way to grow in knowledge and understanding is more than going to Church on Sunday. How can you understand what really matters to live a pure and blameless life if you don’t understand the requirements according to Gods standard?

Get involved with a Bible Study or Life Group. Start a reading plan of your own and ask God to give you the wisdom to understand. Read the first 4 books of the Gospel to get to know this Jesus that we always mention and most of us don’t know anything about Him.

Commentary Life Application Study Bible NLT broke it down like this

Often the best way to influence someone is to pray for him or her. Paul’s prayer for the Philippians was that they would be unified in love. Their love was to result in greater knowledge of Christ and deeper understanding (moral discernment). Their love was not based on feelings but on what Christ had done for them. As you grow in Christ’s love, your heart and mind must grow together. Are your love and insight growing?

Paul prayed that the Philippian believers would have the ability to differentiate between right and wrong, good and bad, vital and trivial. We ought to pray for moral discernment so we can maintain our Christian morals and values. Hebrews 5: 14 emphasizes the need for discernment.

“The day of Christ’s return” refers to the time when God will judge the world through Jesus Christ. We should live each day as though he might return at any moment.

The “fruit of your salvation” includes all of the character traits flowing from a right relationship with God. There is no other way for us to gain this fruit of righteousness than through Christ. See Galatians 5: 22-23 for the “fruit of the Spirit.”

Let’s Bring It Home: How many of us can really say we Love the Lord? Jesus said, how can you love me and hate your brother.

 


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 18:13,15,17 – 13) He who answers before listening-that is his folly and his shame
15) The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.
17) The first to present his case seems right , till another comes forward and questions him

In these concise statements, there are three basic principles for making sound decisions:

(1) get the facts before answering;
(2) be open to new ideas;
(3) make sure you hear both sides of the story before judging.

All three principles center around seeking additional information. This is difficult work, but the only alternative is prejudice-judging before getting the facts.


Under Gods Command

(Samuel’s birth and childhood)

1 Samuel 1:12 -17As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. 13Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”
     15“Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD. 16Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
     17Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”

Eli was a Priest, and miss judged this woman at first. But instead of just walking away with that believe of her being drunk with wine, he spoke to her and told her to put away your wine. Then he found out he miss judge her, and listened to her story.

Lets Bring Home: How many times do we miss judge a situation, and walk away with the thought of what we think we saw? When at times if we speak to him or her, we also can find the truth in someone’s situation, and give him or her a word of encouragement that just might change his or her life. How many people have we walked by or came to us and we did not have time which later ended up in a bad situation or Suicide?


Under Gods Command

(Samuel’s birth and childhood)

1 Samuel 1:10-11 In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, “O LORD Al mighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.” 

Be careful what you promise in prayer because God may take you up on it. Hannah so desperately wanted a child that she was willing to strike a bargain with God. God took her up on her promise, and to Hannah’s credit, she did her part, even though it was painful (1:27-28).     Although we are not in a position to negotiate with God, he may still choose to answer a prayer that has an attached promise.

Lets Bring it Home: When you pray, ask yourself, “Will I follow through on any promises I make to God if he grants my request?” It is dishonest and dangerous to ignore a promise, especially to God. God keeps his promises, and he expects you to keep yours.


Under Gods Command

(Samuel’s birth and childhood)

1 Samuel 1:8-10 Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”
     9Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the LORD’s house. 10In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly.

Hannah knew her husband loved her, but even his encouragement could not comfort her. She could not keep from listening to Peninnah’s jeers and letting Peninnah’s words erode her self-confidence. Although we cannot keep others from unjustly criticizing us, we can choose how we will react to their hurtful words.

Hannah had good reason to feel discouraged and bitter. She was unable to bear children; she shared her husband with a woman who ridiculed her (1:7); her loving husband could not solve her problem (1:8); and even the high priest misunderstood her motives (1:14). But instead of retaliating or giving up hope, Hannah prayed. She brought her problem honestly before God.

Lets Bring it Home: Each of us may face times of barrenness when nothing “comes to birth” in our work, service, or relationships. It is difficult to pray in faith when we feel so ineffective. But, as Hannah discovered, prayer opens the way for God to work Rather than dwelling upon our problems, we can enjoy the loving relationships God has given us. By so doing, we can exchange self-pity for hope.


Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)
Leviticus 3:1-17
The Fellowship Offering: A person gave a fellowship offering as an expression of gratitude and a means of maintaining fellowship between himself and God. The animal’s sacrificed life emphasized the value of gratitude and maintaining harmony with God. Neither peace with God nor thanks to God was to be considered a cheap or unimportant gift. Because it symbolized peace with God, part of the offering could be eaten by the person presenting it.

1“ ‘If your offering is a fellowship offering, and you offer an animal from the herd, whether male or female, you are to present before the LORD an animal without defect. 2You are to lay your hand on the head of your offering and slaughter it at the entrance to the tent of meeting. Then Aaron’s sons the priests shall splash the blood against the sides of the altar. 3From the fellowship offering you are to bring a food offering to the LORD: the internal organs and all the fat that is connected to them, 4both kidneys with the fat on them near the loins, and the long lobe of the liver, which you will remove with the kidneys. 5Then Aaron’s sons are to burn it on the altar on top of the burnt offering that is lying on the burning wood; it is a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the LORD.

The peace-offerings had regard to God as the giver of all good things. These were divided between the altar, the priest, and the owner. They were called peace-offering, because in them God and his people did, as it were, feast together, in token of friendship. The peace-offerings were offered by way of supplication. If a man were in pursuit of any mercy, he would add a peace-offering to his prayer for it. Christ is our Peace, our Peace-offering; for through him alone it is that we can obtain an answer of peace to our prayers. Or, the peace-offering was offered by way of thanksgiving for some mercy received.

Lets Bring it Home: We must offer to God the sacrifice of praise continually, by Christ our Peace; and then this shall please the Lord better than an ox or bullock.

6“ ‘If you offer an animal from the flock as a fellowship offering to the LORD, you are to offer a male or female without defect. 7If you offer a lamb, you are to present it before the LORD,s 8lay your hand on its head and slaughter it in front of the tent of meeting. Then Aaron’s sons shall splash its blood against the sides of the altar. 9From the fellowship offering you are to bring a food offering to the LORD: its fat, the entire fat tail cut off close to the backbone, the internal organs and all the fat that is connected to them, 10both kidneys with the fat on them near the loins, and the long lobe of the liver, which you will remove with the kidneys. 11The priest shall burn them on the altar as a food offering presented to the LORD.
12“ ‘If your offering is a goat, you are to present it before the LORD, 13lay your hand on its head and slaughter it in front of the tent of meeting. Then Aaron’s sons shall splash its blood against the sides of the altar. 14From what you offer you are to present this food offering to the LORD: the internal organs and all the fat that is connected to them, 15both kidneys with the fat on them near the loins, and the long lobe of the liver, which you will remove with the kidneys. 16The priest shall burn them on the altar as a food offering, a pleasing aroma. All the fat is the LORD’s.
17“ ‘This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live: You must not eat any fat or any blood.’ ”

Here is a law that they should eat neither fat nor blood. As for the fat, it means the fat of the inwards, the suet. The blood was forbidden for the same reason; because it was God’s part of every sacrifice. God would not permit the blood that made atonement to be used as a common thing, Hebrews 10:29; nor will he allow us, though we have the comfort of the atonement made, to claim for ourselves any share in the honour of making it. This taught the Jews to observe distinction between common and sacred things; it kept them separate from idolaters. It would impress them more deeply with the belief of some important mystery in the shedding of the blood and the burning the fat of their solemn sacrifices. Christ, as the Prince of peace, “made peace with the blood of his cross.” Through him the believer is reconciled to God; and having the peace of God in his heart, he is disposed to follow peace with all men.

Lets Bring it Home: May the Lord multiply grace, mercy, and peace, to all who desire to bear the Christian character.


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 22:01 A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

Your reputation is an asset far more important than anything you can buy. The respect of others and their affection for you is an asset you should pursue with great zeal. Your character is a precious treasure that you should enhance each day by wise choices.

What do people think, when they hear your name? Do they think graciousness, godliness, diligence, and faithfulness? Is your name sweet to their ears and thoughts? How do they speak of you to others? Are you often praised in your absence? Do others crave your company? Do they want to honor you with affection, gifts, and service?

Or is your name a bitter thought? Do they think harshness, selfishness, stubbornness, pride, moodiness, or indiscretion? Do they try to avoid you? Do they avoid you? When others talk about you, do they have to make excuses for your conduct? Do they pass over you for invitations or assignments, because you are more irritating than pleasing?

You cannot ignore these questions and be wise. Your reputation and relationships are a great measure of your life. Stop and examine your reputation with others. What others think of you is a far more accurate picture of your life than what you think about yourself, for you have an obvious bias to distort facts in your favor, and you have a deceitful heart that is deeply infatuated with yourself (Pr 16:2; 20:6; 21:2; Jer 17:9; Gal 6:3).

Some people are used as well known examples of specific virtues or all virtues. Others are used as examples of poor character and problems. How is your name used? Are you spoken about affectionately and respectfully, or critically and negatively? Many have no outstanding virtues at all, so they pass through life without any honor or favor, which shows a lack of diligence and priority in pursuing godliness and virtue.

What is a good name? It is not your parents’ choice of a distinguished combination of syllables that sounds sophisticated, classy, or pleasant. It is not merely being named after a respected ancestor. Your bare name has no value at all. Solomon used “good name” as a metonym for a good reputation. He exhorted his son to emphasize having a good reputation with God and good men as one of the chief goals of life (Pr 3:4).

What is loving favour here? It is not giving love and favour to others, but rather receiving love and favour from others. It is obtaining affection and respect from other virtuous persons. It is obtaining their acceptance and approval of your life. Of course, reaching such a position requires you to carefully rule your conduct to please others. It requires consistent righteous behavior to hold the esteem and trust of others (Eccl 10:1).

The proverb has an ellipsis, which is missing words that shorten the sentence and give it boldness. The second clause may be read, “And loving favour is to be chosen rather than silver and gold.” These words taken from the first clause are important to fill out the whole sense of the proverb. A comparison and choice is being taught in both clauses.

In each case it is your choice. You can choose a good reputation and the loving approval of others. It is your choice. Both should be a priority. Both are more important than other measures of success. Circumstances or discrimination are excuses for foolish or lazy men who have not properly pursued these important goals. A wise man will pursue both.

What is the lesson? You should put great emphasis on your reputation and relationships. While many men chase financial and professional success with all their might, Solomon exhorted his son to value his reputation and relationships higher than these other goals. He wanted his son to grow in favor with God and men, and he ranked the importance of this achievement as more valuable than great riches (Pr 3:4; I Sam 2:26; Luke 2:52).

How do you measure by Solomon’s lesson? How important is your reputation to you? Is it more important than any amount of money or success? Do you work harder to improve your name than to get ahead financially? How much do you value the esteem and respect of good men? Do you regularly examine your conduct to be without offence? Do you go out of your way to make sure each thing you do is done very well for all concerned?

God measures you by what others think. You cannot please God and offend good men at the same time. It is impossible. If you are pleasing God and keeping His commandments, you will please others (I Sam 18:14-16; I John 5:2). And your family and close friends do not count, for it is your reputation before good men that is the key. You can easily tell a person’s character by the number and kind of friends he has. These facts do not lie.

Of course, others’ opinions are not your only measure, or the most important (John 5:44). But they are a measure. You foolishly deceive yourself to approve your life and conduct, if good men and women have a low regard of you. Joseph and Daniel were highly regarded even as captives in foreign lands by their excellent spirits and blameless lives.

Demetrius had a great name and reputation of the apostles and all men (III John 1:12); Timothy was highly regarded both before and after he met Paul (Acts 16:1-2; Phil 2:19-22). This high measure of a good reputation in the world is a necessary qualification for the bishops of Jesus Christ’s churches (I Tim 3:7). How do you measure up?

A good reputation before the world is possible, but some ungodly men will not appreciate your righteousness (I Thess 4:12; I Pet 2:12; Dan 6:3-5; Luke 6:26). Solomon primarily intended good and wise men, who know the heart and will of God and measure other men by godliness. Compromise or friendship with the world is a trait of sinners (Jas 4:4).

Your opinion of yourself is quite worthless. It is usually contrary to fact. People with good reputations generally think poorly of themselves, which keeps them humble and sensitive to others; but those with bad reputations think themselves quite desirable, leading to offensive arrogance. The difference between humble modesty and self-righteousness is a large part of a good name, which is built on low self-esteem.

Your great goal is to grow in “loving favour” with God and men, as did Samuel and the Lord Jesus Christ (3:4; I Sam 2:26; Luke 2:52). This happens when you keep the two great commandments – love of God and love of neighbor. The “loving favour” of the proverb is how God and others treat you, which you can choose by living a consistent life of godliness and love toward them. An excellent spirit will cause others to love you.

So great are these goals – your reputation and esteem by others – they should exceed any other goal. Men work long days of hard labor for many years to get rich, but building a good name and reputation are more important. If you had a choice between a good reputation and precious ointment, which was of great value in Israel’s very dry climate and provided much personal pleasure, you should choose the good name (Eccl 7:1).

Consider your funeral (Pr 10:7). The memory of just men is blessed, but the name of the wicked shall rot. How will you be remembered? How long will you be remembered? Will your memory bring pleasant thoughts to hearts? Or will most cringe and be relieved? The number of persons, and their character, and their reaction at a funeral say a great deal.

You have two names. Your first name is your personal name, a unique identifier among the billions on earth. How you live and treat others creates the reputation of your first name. God gave you that name at birth with a blank reputation. What have you done with it since? You have either enhanced it or damaged it. With a single word, your name, reactions and thoughts are triggered in others. What are those thoughts?

Your second name is your surname or family name. How your family lives and treats others creates its reputation. Do you promote your family name? Or are you letting it decay? Do others desire to be with your family? Or have they been offended enough to back away? Do others want to marry into your family to obtain an interest in a good name? A good surname takes consistent godliness from many different persons.

David had a great name in the Bible. His name was much set by in Israel (I Sam 16:18; 18:30). Though Saul was king with a princely son, Jonathan and the nation loved David, for he was better than any other (I Sam 18:1-16). Everyone wanted to be with David, be like David, or be married to David. He earned this by being gracious, humble, and wise at all times. God chose this man, though a sinner, as an example of a great name in Israel.

Blessings at Solomon’s coronation included having a name greater than his father David’s name, which was easily the greatest in Israel (I Kings 1:47). Even God compared all later kings to David, and he was described as a man after God’s own heart. What a goal! How do you measure up, reader? Good fathers will want their sons to exceed them in reputation and loving favour, for they will know the many mistakes they have made.

Nabal was the opposite. He was churlish – overbearing, harsh, and difficult (I Sam 25:2). His name meant fool, and even his wife said he was a fool (I Sam 25:25). He was a man of Belial – wicked and profane. The Lord let him think about dying for ten days before killing him, so David could marry his beautiful wife right after his funeral (I Sam 25:39).

Consider Joseph. Though a slave, he earned the loving favour of God and Potiphar by his exemplary conduct (Gen 39:1-6). Though charged with attempted rape, he earned the loving favour of God and the jailor (Gen 39:19-23). Though a long-term prisoner, he earned the loving favour of God and Pharaoh (Gen 41:38-45; Acts 7:10). Anyone who says their circumstances or past have poorly affected their name is just making excuses.

Consider Daniel. Though a captive eunuch from a strange, small country, he earned the loving favour of God and Ashpenaz, the prince of the eunuchs in Babylon (Dan 1:9). Though living a public life for many decades, his enemies could not find a single error or fault by which to accuse him to the king (Dan 6:1-5). What a role model for young men!

What can you do to build your name and reputation and win the loving favour of others?

Everything you do every day contributes toward your reputation and the favour of others. No matter how small or large, the accumulated effect of your words and actions combine to give God and men an appraisal of your character and faithfulness. Therefore, it is your solemn duty and privilege to keep your heart, lips, and feet with all prudent diligence.

Graciousness is the greatest trait for a good name and the loving favour of others, for it can win the friendship of kings and cause women to be always honored (Pr 22:11; 11:16). It is the perfect combination of gentleness, kindness, humility, and cheerfulness that makes men and women charming and delightful. How gracious are you?

Men love those who help build their lives (Pr 27:9,17; Ps 141:3). Are you a tree of life to others (Pr 11:30; 15:4)? Do they benefit by being around you (Pr 9:8; 25:12; 28:23)? Do they seek you for help? Would you help fellow prisoners like Joseph did? Or your captors like Daniel did? Or a lustful king like Esther did? Or many widows like Dorcas did?

Is your speech a healing balm, a sarcastic whip, or a foolish noise? Men love pleasant and good words that are kind, gentle, friendly, and helpful (Pr 12:18; 16:24; 18:21; 25:11). Is your speech always gracious with only a slight saltiness of rebuke to it (Col 4:6)?

Charity never fails! If you learn and apply the fifteen phrases describing true love (I Cor 13:4-7), your name will blossom as a beautiful flower. If your name is not great and your friends are few, it is evidence you have not learned true love. Charity never fails!

Just a little folly can spoil a reputation quickly (Eccl 10:1), so you must avoid even the appearance of evil (I Thess 5:22). And you must quickly make amends for offences (Matt 5:23-24). Ruling your spirit constantly is necessary to stay virtuous (Pr 16:32). Paul took extra measures to make sure he could never be accused of dishonesty (II Cor 8:21).

Warren Buffet, one of the world’s richest men and well received most anywhere, knows the wisdom of this proverb. He teaches others, “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you will do things differently.”

John D. Rockefeller, one of the wealthiest men in human history, said, “The most important thing for a young man is to establish a credit – a reputation, character.” He also said, “Next to doing the right thing, the most important thing is to let people know you are doing the right thing.” This latter idea agrees well with Paul (Ro 12:17; II Cor 8:21).

If you are young, you have an advantage.  Your reputation is still being formed, and you should apply yourself with all diligence to make it the very best before God and men. If you are young, you have not made as many mistakes as older persons, meaning you have less to live down. Choose today to make this proverb a high goal and live according to it.

Have you blown your reputation already? Do you think it is too late? It is never too late, if you will repent before God, confess your sins to him, confess your faults to others, and make amends or restitution for any wrongs you have done. David recovered his reputation after terrible sins, and so did Zacchaeus and Peter (Luke 19:1-9; Gal 2:9).

Your name and reputation are daily choices, and you should choose to build them and preserve them more than any other project or goal. You can change your name and reputation, so consider it a blessed privilege, duty, and a high priority for your life. Rather than emphasizing exercise, diet, and sleep to build your body, which has little value to God or men, exercise yourself unto godliness and loving others (I Tim 4:7).

Husband, do you love your wife enough to help build her name and loving favour with others? Parent, do you understand the importance of this proverb as a goal for your children? Diligent efforts should be made every day to make sure your family name and that of each family member is clear of offence. What a wonderful family objective!

If you have taken the name of Jesus Christ as a Christian, it is important that your name and reputation give honor to your religion and its Leader (II Tim 2:19). Be like those of Pentecost, who grew in favor with all the people (Acts 2:47; Phil 2:14-16). Let your life adorn the doctrine of God with glory and beauty (Titus 2:5,8,10). Be like those nameless brethren endorsed by Paul as “the glory of Christ” (II Cor 8:23).

Jesus of Nazareth grew in favour with God and men during his youth (Luke 2:52). He was most gracious in conduct and speech (Ps 45:2; Luke 4:22). Because He loved righteousness and hated wickedness, God’s loving favour blessed Him with the oil of gladness above His fellows (Heb 1:9). His name is above every name by many measures. Choose to have a perfect name, even as His name is perfect in heaven and in earth.