Saturday, August 29, 2015

Words Have Consequences - James 1:17-27

Proclamation of the Word of God

Old Testament Lesson                                                                         Psalm 19

The heavens are telling the glory of God;
    and the firmament[a] proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours forth speech,
    and night to night declares knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
    their voice is not heard;
yet their voice[b] goes out through all the earth,
    and their words to the end of the world.
In the heavens[c] he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
    and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
    and its circuit to the end of them;
    and nothing is hid from its heat.
The law of the Lord is perfect,
    reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure,
    making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
    enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is pure,
    enduring forever;
the ordinances of the Lord are true
    and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
    even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey,
    and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them is your servant warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward.

New Testament Lesson                                                                James 1:17-27

17 Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.[a] 18 In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
19 You must understand this, my beloved:[b] let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. 21 Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.
22 But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.23 For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves[c] in a mirror; 24 for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. 25 But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing.

26 If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Words have consequences.
          Words have meaning. 
Words have power.  They can inspire or discourage.  They can hurt a person in the very core of one’s soul, or they can provide a healing when nothing else can help. 

There are times when I stand in this sanctuary, and two people will look at one another and say, “I take you to be my husband – or wife – in sickness or health, in joy or in sorrow, in plenty or in want, as long as we both shall live,” and with those words two people are bound together in a covenant promise of love and support. 

Words have consequences.

That same couple in a moment of a heated argument may find that one says to the other, “I hate you.”

Words have consequences.

Some words are wonderful.  And others are terrible.

Think back on the great moments in history, and there are great words that had great power to heal, to lead or to inspire.

“Ask not what your country can do for you…”

“Mr. Gorbochev, tear down this wall…”

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself…”
“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

          In our daily lives we have words that we speak that have power and consequences.

          “I love you.”

“I pledge allegiance to the flag…”

“I believe in God the Father almighty…”

But some words are hard words, and hurtful words, and destructive words.

Michael Richards, Mel Gibson, Hulk Hogan; they all have two things in common: They're celebrities and they've achieved notoriety for many things, but also for for inappropriate remarks. Their words caused them and others considerable grief, and are so offensive that we have to quote them by replacing words with letters, so that we find ourselves using euphemisms, such as the “n-word” or the “f-word,” when talking about their mistakes, so that we do not make the same mistake and thus compound the offense.

As Americans we treasure our freedom of speech, and, rightfully so.  It is a precious freedom.  And we bristle at the thought of censorship.

But, while we're free to voice our thoughts and opinions, that doesn't mean every word or thought is appropriate.

Jewish theologian Abraham Heschel said: “Speech has power. Words do not fade. What starts as a sound ends in a deed.”

Indeed, words have consequences, and sometimes these consequences lead us down a road we did not intend to travel.  Words may lead to the loss of friendship. Brothers and sisters may not speak to one another for years, because of what one said to the other.  Marriages may dissolve because of an angry word.  And sometimes violent words may even nurture violent actions.

This is the point of a passage found in the New Testament book of James, which suggests that the tongue is untamable and like a fire that sets a forest ablaze. Having the power to both curse and bless, we're encouraged to keep careful watch over our tongues.

It is, in fact, a theme that James can’t keep from coming back to later in his letter.  Our New Testament lesson is from chapter one of James, but in chapter three James brings up the subject again, saying, “The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. “

Although our tongues don't have a “mind of their own,” it does take considerable discipline to tame our speech. It may seem trite, but the character in the old movie, Bambi, is right when Thumper's father's advice is worth considering: “If you can't say something nice ... don't say nothing at all.”

Or put it in the words of the Bible…  in the New Testament book of James, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.” (James 3:4-11)

          One of the vows that our elders and deacons take when they become officers in our church is to further the peace and unity of the church. 
How can we do that in our community, our family and in our nation?  How can we begin to bring back civility?

Step 1: Watch your own words!
Our Old Testament lesson has that wonderful passage:  “May these words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
As we think about how uncivil our nation has become, we need to start with ourselves and consider what are we saying that might be hurtful.
This is the first step – what your own words.
And this is not an easy task. It is easier to see the uncivil behavior in others than to see it in ourselves.
In political discussions, one side, right or left, Republican or Democrat, can more easily see the uncivil tone in those words spoken by the other side.
In a marriage, it is easy to understand how absolutely wrong your spouse was to say certain things in a hurtful way, but not easy to see your own errors in your choice of words.
Jesus, in Matthew 7 said, “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? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.”
It is time for us to take the logs out of our own eyes.
This means we must lead the way to a more civil society by being civil ourselves.  Watch what you say.
Or as Psalm 141:3 said in a prayer, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.”
Or as Abraham Lincoln put it, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt.”

So, step 1 is watch your own words.

Step 2:  Encourage others to speak with civility
2 Timothy 2:14 (NIV) says, “Warn others against quarrelling about words. It is of no value and only ruins those who listen."
People need to know that their words have consequences.
When someone at school says something hurtful to someone, other classmates need to hold one another accountable and step in to block bullying words.
When someone says something racist, we need to speak out against that.
When someone says something violent, we should not tolerate that, but we need to speak out.
When a spouse says something hurtful, we need to open up and share how those words made us feel.
We stand up against these hurtful words not with more bitter words, but with gentle and soft words.  If we are not careful, then we may simply add more fuel to the fire.  Our words can so easily become just another part of the vicious circle of anger and hate and uncivil tones. 
Someone says something that hurts us, so we point it out to them in a way that simply hurts that other person.
No – we need to have a humble and loving attitude when we correct another person.
The Bible teaches this about correcting others -
“Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” (Timothy 5:1-2, NIV)
Step 3:  Avoid Situations That Cause Arguments
Finally, sometimes we simply need to step out of those uncivil conversations and remove ourselves from those situations that are part of the cycle of anger.
The Bible says 2 Timothy 2:23-24 (NIV): "Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he or she must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful."
There are certain people or situations that perpetuate the continuing decline of uncivil behaviour in our country.
Do you ever find yourselves being sucked into someone else’s behaviour, so that you become part of the problem?  Maybe you listen too much to some of the talk radio hosts who spend an hour on the air bashing our country and bashing the other side – whatever the other side may be.  Then the radio host’s words and attitudes become your words, and you begin to talk uncivil to another person or about another person.  Maybe it is time to follow the words of Paul to Timothy – “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.”  It might be time to turn off the radio, or at least, listen to it less frequently.
Or did you ever find yourselves being sucked into a family argument, so that instead of one person saying angry and hurtful things, you join in and also say hurtful and angry things.  There are times when you have to have a time out – sometimes the first step in ending an argument is by being quiet for a while.  Let the tempers calm down.  Then talk about the issues when everyone is calm.

We toss words around as if they have little meaning – but they have tremendous weight.

Words have power. They have consequences.
The Old Testament book of Proverbs said it well in chapter 17: “A person of knowledge uses words with restraint.”

Copyright 2015. 
Dr. W. Maynard Pittendreigh
All rights reserved

Ministers may feel free to use some or all of this sermon in their own ministries as long as they do not publish in print or on the Internet without ascribing credit to the author.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Good and Mad - Ephesians 4:25-5:2

New Testament Lesson                                                         Ephesians 4:25-5:2

25 So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not make room for the devil.28 Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. 29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up,[a] as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. 31 Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.[b] Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us[c] and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

I am, by nature, not a very angry person. 

I am, by nature, very, very slow to become angry.

However, we all have our limits.

When I was in college, in my last semester, I worked in restaurant management.  Now, for those of you who have never worked in that line of work, let me tell you that if you work in a restaurant management position, and you work 40 hours a week, then you are working part time.

I know that I usually worked 70 hours a week, which would not have been that bad had it not been for the fact that I was still in college.  I was still struggling through my last two courses.  One was Art, which was easy.  I'd show up for class and draw or paint and then go home.

But the other class was Hebrew.  I think classes in my college were scheduled by an evil sadistic person, because my Hebrew class was scheduled for 8:00 in the morning.

I can remember one day, leaving the restaurant at 2 in the morning.  I made the 30 minute trip home and got into bed for a nap.  Got up 4 hours later and studied for my class, and then struggled to my 8:00 Hebrew class.

Right after Hebrew, I went to another class, and when it was over, it was time to rush back to the restaurant to get it ready to open for lunch.

Now on the way to the restaurant, I stopped at a traffic light.  It was red, and so I stopped.

Sitting at that red light, I realized that that was the first time in two or three days that I had been able to stop, literally, and to relax.

I had my window down, and the air was so warm and pleasant.  It was so relaxing, sitting there at that light.

Suddenly, the car behind me hit my back bumper.

I was furious!

I jumped out of the car and looked at back bumper to see how bad it had been damaged.  No damage.  I got back into my car, slammed the door and sat there, absolutely furious that the driver of the other car had had the nerve to hit MY car.

I got so mad, that I decided I wasn't going to let him get away with it.

I got out of my car and walked over to his car.  He had his window down, which made it easy for me to start having a loud conversation at him. I don’t remember what I said to him, but I remember it must have been quite eloquent, because he just sat in his car speechless.
And finally I told him, "Don't you ever even think of hitting MY car again."   (As if we were ever going to even see each other again).

I went back to my car, very pleased.  I had told him a thing or two.  And I felt so satisfied.

        Until, the other driver got his wits together, got out of his car, and came to pay me a visit.

He looked at me and asked, "What in the world is wrong with you?  You ran into me."

And then I remembered how relaxed I had been at that traffic light, which happened to be located at a slight hill.

And I couldn't remember whether I had kept my foot on the brake while enjoying my relaxing state of mind.  And suddenly, I knew he was right, I had rolled backward into him.  Fortunately, by this time the light had turned green, so I told him I didn't have time to discuss it, and so I drove away, leaving him standing there.

I suppose that there are times when all of us become angry.   The question is, what do you do with that anger.  When you hold it up against the backdrop of the Christian Gospel, what do you do with that anger?

If you’ve ever read a comic book or if you’ve been to the movies in recent years, you know the character of the incredible Hulk.  He is a scientist who was subjected to an unusual form of radiation, the result being that whenever he became angry, he would become an uncontrollable, giant, green,,, Hulk of a creature who would then vent uncontrollable rage. 

Sort of a symbol of all of us actually.  After all, who does not have within him or her the potential for blowing the stack.  For becoming angry. 

None of us is immune from anger.  We all find that there are times when our patience runs thin, or we have had all we are going to take from somebody.  If it is not our boss, then it is our wife or husband, and if not our spouse, then it is our children.  And if it is not our children, then it is the Internal Revenue Service.  Somebody, sometime comes along and does something, and we feel within us an anger.

        Anger is a terrible thing.  It makes fools of us sometimes.  We say and do things that are out of character for us.  We sometimes say or do things in anger that drives a wedge between us and those we love the most.

Dr. Low, an eminent American psychiatrist, has developed a therapy which has proven to be very successful in working with ex-psychiatric hospital patients with emotional problems.  The program is called Recovery, Inc., and it deals primarily with human temperament.  According to Dr. Low, anger is the greatest single problem in life.

What a bold statement for a psychiatrist to make!  "Anger is the greatest single problem in life."  But the Bible is no less candid in its evaluation of this destructive human emotion:  "A wise man controls his temper," says Proverbs (14:29), He knows that anger causes mistakes." (Pulpit Helps Oct 87,Vol13,#1)

        There is a great deal of self destruction about anger.

It eats away at us, it eats away at our soul.

And sometimes – you need to be angry.

Janet Pfeiffer is the author of the book “The Secret Side of Anger,” and as a certified violence counselor and motivational speaker she says that anger is not inherently negative.
It is an important and useful emotion that can be used as a motivating force to bring about positive change.
If I witness an injustice in society, my anger can serve as a fuel to create new laws. Just think of the positive use of anger over social injustice that was used during the Civil Rights Movement in this nation. 
Anger can help you stand up for the oppressed or the abused. 
And if you are the abused, anger can provide the energy for you to say, “No more!”
Time and again, we see the anger of God in the Bible.  In the Psalms, we continually see this, one example is in Psalm 7, which says that "God judges the righteous and is angry with the wicked everyday."

In the New Testament, Jesus has several instances of being angry.  Most of the time, he expresses his anger in the form of a harsh rebuke toward Peter or another disciple who is not behaving or believing the way a disciple should.

Once, however, while in the temple, Jesus became so angry that he turned over the tables of the money changers and with hastily made whips, drove out all of the commercialism from the sacred area.

In the New Testament, Jesus faces a desecrated temple, and in anger, cleanses it, restoring its holiness.

There are times when we need to channel our anger to fight for justice.  Anger can have a destructive side, but it can also be used for constructive energy.

And we still need people who are angry.

People who will look at the drugs in our community and school, and in their anger, effect change.

People who will look at child abuse, and in their anger, protect the children of our community.

There is a sense in which we NEED to get good and mad at the things around us.

Here’s the thing – anger can be a positive energy that helps bring about changes that are needed, but it is also a dangerous substance that can get out of hand. 
Anger becomes a negative force when it controls you, and you do not control your emotion.
Anger can, if it is allowed to grow unchecked, can lead to resentment and bitterness and can damage one’s relationships, health, careers, and overall enjoyment of life.

In our New Testament lesson, Ephesians tells us to be angry, but not to let the sun set on our anger, and he warns us of the spiritual dangers of anger.  In other words, anger should not be allowed to fester forever or to become a destructive force.
You have to control your anger, and set limits on it.  You can never let your anger become the controlling force in your life. 
You can let yourself be angry – for a time – but if you let anger become a permanent resident in your soul, it will lose its positive contribution and become only destructive.

We become angry because of our very human natures.

And there are times when we see the world around us and we OUGHT to be angry.

But anger is a dangerous force, with the potential for destruction.
So go ahead.  Be angry, but always within limits, and never without control.
Frederick Beuchner says that anger, of all the seven deadly sins, is the one that is perhaps the most fun.  

"To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last
toothsome morsel both the pain that you are given, and the pain you are giving back, in many ways it is a feast fit for a king.  The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself.  The skeleton at the feast is you." (Wishful Thinking p.2)

And now unto God the Father,
God the Son,
And God the Holy Spirit be ascribed all might, power, dominion and glory, today and forever, Amen.
Copyright 2015. 
Dr. W. Maynard Pittendreigh
All rights reserved

Ministers may feel free to use some or all of this sermon in their own ministries as long as they do not publish in print or on the Internet without ascribing credit to the author.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Are You Being Spiritually Fed? Ephesians 4:1-16

 Ehpesians I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift.Therefore it is said,
“When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive;
    he gave gifts to his people.”
(When it says, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended[a] into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) 11 The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. 14 We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. 15 But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.
        Are you being spiritually fed?

        I want to share several things that you can do to make sure you are being spiritually fed.

        First, love.  As simple as that. 

        Now that makes sense – we all want to be loved.  And being loved makes us feel good.  We feel supported by others when they love us.

But that is not exactly what the author of Ephesians has in mind.

He is not talking about the love you receive, but the love you give.

In our New Testament lesson for today, the writer says, "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."

        Love is central to everything written in the Gospels.

It is foundational to everything else in the Christian experience.  If you want to grow in your faith, if you want to feed and nurture your spiritual life, then learn to love others.

        In Matthew (Matt 22:36-40), a man approaches Jesus and asks, "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."


        Is this boring?

        Don’t answer that!

        It’s just that we are always talking about love in the church, and maybe sometimes it gets a bit boring.

        I mean, if there is one thing we know how to do in the Christian Church, it is love.



        Maybe not.

        Have you heard about the fellow who sold his soul on ebay?  Hemant Mehta offered his soul on ebay.  Actually, he didn’t sell his soul – he rented it.  For every $10 the winning bid paid, Mehta would spend one hour in a church of the buyer’s choice.  He promised to go with an open mind and he promised to conduct himself in a respectful manner.

        Retired pastor Jim Henderson won the soul – but instead of selecting his own church, he asked Mehta to pick a different place of worship every week.  The plan was they would go together and Mehta would share his impressions with the retired pastor.

        Mehta said he was surprised at what he discovered in the churches.  They were energetic and dynamic places.  People cared about each other.  The preaching was interesting.  He loved the live music.

        What he didn’t like, however, was how Christians talk so badly about other people.  Christians regarded all Muslims as terrorists.  When Christians talked about gays, they talked with hatred.  There was racist talk in the Sunday School discussions.  (Leadership Magazine, Summer 2006)  And when they talked about the preacher or the bishop or one of the church leaders – some of them sounded so full of hate and anger!

        Maybe love is easier to talk about, than to do.

        It’s time we begin to do more than talk about love.  It is time for us to do it.

        If you come to church and think, “My soul isn’t being fed” – maybe it is because you aren’t loving others.

        Notice, what is important is not so much that we find someone to love us.  What is important is that we love others. 

        In the motion picture, Marvin's Room, there are two sisters who have been estranged for many years.  When one of them is diagnosed with cancer, the other sister arrives to help take care of her.  In one of the final scenes of the movie, the two sisters are talking about their lives, and the one with cancer says, "I'm so lucky.  I'm so lucky.  I've had so much love in my life."

        "Yes, yes," the other sister agrees, barely looking at her sister while she cleans the kitchen.  "You've always had people around you who loved you."

        "Oh no," the other sister says with a look of surprise.  "I'm lucky because I've been able to love so many people."

        It is the loving of others that nurtures and feeds our souls.

        John said in one of his letters (I Jn 3:10), "This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother or sister."

        Whenever someone says, "I'm not being fed," I wonder if that person is trying to love others.

        You want to nurture your soul? 

Then renew your vow to God that you will love others.

        A second step to spiritual nurture is to study the Word of God. 

        In the New Testament lesson, the author wrote about how we should work toward spiritual growth "until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature..." 

        On the front of our bulletin covers we list Seven Marks of Discipleship.  Your elders have approved a list this list a few years ago in the hopes that every elder and every member of our church should be demonstrating and living out these 7 marks.  One of these marks is reading the Bible on a daily basis.

And that mark of discipleship can be clearly seen in this New Testament text.

Becoming spiritually mature is dependent on building up a knowledge of the Son of God through the study of Scripture.

        In the Old Testament, the Psalmist says (Ps 119:11), "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."

        If you want to grow spiritually, then study and read the Word of God. 

        In the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, there is a wonderful imagery of the study of God's Word.  In chapter 11, the writer says, (Deut 11:18-20), "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." 

        Imagine that imagery being practiced.  You wake up in the morning, and you leave the house, and there on the doorframe is a Scripture verse.  As you drive out of your community, there is a sign on the gate that has  a Bible verse.  While you are riding in your car, you are talking with others about the Bible.  As you type on your computer, you see the Word of God because you have, as Deuteronomy said, "tied them on you hands and bound them on your forehead."  At the end of the day, you return home and as you enter the house, there is the Bible verse on your doorframe.  The Bible saturates your whole day -- your life.

        If you want to grow spiritually, then renew your commitment to study God's Word.

        The third step in spiritual growth is practice what is preached! 

        Don't just study God's Word.  Live God's Word.

        Jesus said in Matthew's Gospel (Matt 7:24), "Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock."

        St. Paul wrote to the Phillipians (Phil 4:9), "Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

        If you want to grow physically, then you must exercise.  The same is true with the spiritual life.  If you want to grow spiritually, then you must exercise and practice the lifestyle of the Christian.

        In our New Testament lesson, the writer says that we are to "live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."

        You want to grow spiritually?  Then renew your commitment to act like a spiritually grown up by putting into practice the things you learn from Scripture.

So are you being spiritually fed?

You will be if you love others,

Study God’s Word,

And practice in your life what you learn in Scripture.

Copyright 2015. 
Dr. W. Maynard Pittendreigh

All rights reserved