Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4.
The great apostle Paul was firm where duty and principle were at stake; but courtesy was a marked trait of his character, and this gave him access to the highest class of society. Paul never doubted the ability of God or His willingness to give him the grace he needed to live the life of a Christian.... He does not live under a cloud of doubt, groping his way in the mist and darkness of uncertainty, complaining of hardship and trials. A voice of gladness, strong with hope and courage, sounds all along the line down to our time. Paul had a healthful religious experience. The love of Christ was his grand theme, and the constraining power that governed him.
When in the most discouraging circumstances, which would have had a depressing influence upon half-way Christians, he is firm of heart, full of courage and hope and cheer.... The same hope and cheerfulness is seen when he is upon the deck of the ship, the tempest beating about him, the ship going to pieces. He gives orders to the commander of the ship and preserves the lives of all on board. Although a prisoner, he is really the master of the ship, the freest and happiest man on board....
When before kings and dignitaries of the earth, who held his life in their hands, he quailed not; for he had given his life to God, and it was hid in Christ. He softened, by his courtesy, the hearts of these men in power, men of fierce temper, wicked and corrupt though they were in heart and life.... Propriety of deportment, the grace of true politeness, marked all his conduct. When he stretched out his hand, as was his custom in speaking, the clanking chains caused him no shame or embarrassment. He looked upon them as tokens of honor, and rejoiced that he could suffer for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.... His reasoning was so clear and convincing that it made the profligate king tremble.... Grace, like an angel of mercy, makes his voice heard sweet and clear, repeating the story of the cross, the matchless love of Jesus.23
Up until now you may have considered yourself a fairly humble person. However, this short “Healthy Heart Challenge” is sure to challenge you in new ways, as you seek to go deeper in your walk with Christ. Remember, true revival can’t begin until we recognize how desperately we need Christ to change our hearts. Then as we fall broken at the foot of the Cross, surrendering our pride and self-sufficiency to Him, it is His joy to encircle us in the arms of His love, and make us new creatures that will display His glory!
In a stirring message, Sebastien Braxton challenges young people to step up to the plate and be the generation that will stand for the Lord. It's easy to get lost in the distractions of life, in the spiritual confusion that is taking over the world, but God has called us to rise up and be counted. This is a must-hear message for anyone who loves God's church.
How welcoming is your church? Is it a safe and inviting place for visitors to come? How can you make it even more welcoming for strangers that might walk through the door? In this practical and relevant article from Ministry Magazine, Alan Parker breaks down five keys to help church members be more effective in their welcome and witness.