examining self

You do good by thinking of others

“…And so we went toward Rome. And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.” (Acts 28:14-15)

When’s the last you “traveled” to “Appii Forum” and “The Three Inns” to encourage someone who could use the support? Can’t remember? Then it’s time to start traveling!

Many of the church’s worship attendance, giving, volunteering, parenting and forgiveness problems stem from members who never leave the communities of “me” and “I” when it comes to thinking of others. Reality is though, when we fail to think of others, we fail to remember who we’re called to be in Jesus – old fashioned good thinkers and do-gooders (1 Corinthians 13:5).

You see, there are always people traveling on a lonely road to “Rome”, but they don’t have anyone who thinks enough of them to encourage them along the way. But that could change, and you could be the one to do it. EA

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,” (Hebrews 10:24)

Are you a lightning-bug Christian?

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve discovered that catching a lighting-bug after the sun has gone down isn’t as easy as I remember it being as a kid.

Maybe nostalgia has skewed my memories, but the flying light-bulbs just don’t seem to stay lit as long as they used to!

Truth be told, now it seems they act more like some Christians in the church – you see their light shining in the dark, but before you can make your way to them they turn out their light. EA

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” (Matthew 5:14-15)

The Cold Reveals Where The Heat Is Going

One thing I couldn’t help but notice as I drove down the road during these winter months when there was a heavy frost or a light snow is how the cold reveals where a house’s heat is escaping.

And how, you may ask, does it do this? Well, if you look at the roof of a house and the entire thing is covered with a heavy frost or a light snow except “this one spot” towards the ridge line or except for “this spot” right in the middle of the roof about half way up, then you know that’s where the heat is escaping because that part of the roof is warm enough to melt what’s sitting on it.

By all means drive safely, but if you haven’t paid attention to this before then check it out the next time you get a chance.

So what’s my point? My point is maintenance. When someone sees the above happening, it gives the owner a chance to see where their warmth is escaping, and, in doing so, it gives them a chance to see where extra insulation needs to be added. A little extra insulation can a long way for various reasons.

Now I know this isn’t a DIY house maintenance blog, so maybe you’re wondering about the spiritual point– my point is still maintenance. Consider James 1:2-4 and perhaps it’ll help us learn to see the opportunities that allow us to see where our spiritual heat is escaping when we have to deal with the cold-fronts that come our way. EA

Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”                   (Matthew 24:11-13)

Selfies of the Gospel

As the culture around us continues to become more and more stuck on self (and I’m talking pictures here), the gospel calls us to have a different frame of reference.

A lot of selfies are taken to show where we have been, but the gospel calls us to deny our self and focus on where we are going:

  • Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23)

A lot selfies are taken to build up egos, but the gospel calls us to humble our self and to allow God to do the building up:

  • And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12)

A lot of selfies are taken as solo shots, but the gospel calls us to include others by loving our neighbor as our self:

  • So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” (Mark 12:32-33)

A lot of selfies attempt to show how we’re better than others, but the gospel calls us to be more concerned with our own weaknesses before we critique others:

  • Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” (Luke 6:42)

So the question is, what are others seeing when we take a spiritual selfie? EA