Friday, September 28, 2018

The Fruit of The Spirit - Faithfulness

Faithfulness isn’t an ear mark of this world. Our society is often a display of a lack of commitment, follow-through and corruption.

We see the opposite of faithfulness in the public through people through their financial dealings such as tax evasion, embezzlement and the like. We also see it through the sometimes unfaithful and corrupt behavior of some politicians and other officials as well. 

This is especially true when we see these supposed leaders seeking to tear down others and attempt to malign the character of others. 

We see it in the lives of famous people or everyday people too, as they sometimes aren’t faithful to their wife or husband. We see it in some people with a lack of work ethic. We see it with the lack of follow-through as often people don't do what they say they will do. 

We see it in friendships where someone betrays the trust of others. Like someone shared something confidential with them or they say they promise to keep it a secret and then when it comes down to it, they don’t keep it a secret. Or how about when someone propagates gossip about someone?

None of the above are what faithfulness is. 

The Definition of Faithfulness:

Greek Word: “Pistis” with means: faith, belief, trust, confidence; fidelity

Or some dictionaries and commentaries refer to it as reliable, steadfast and unwavering.

This type of faith is spoken of in at least the 4 following ways in the Bible:

1- As an attribute of God
2- As a gift of the Holy Spirit.
3- As a positive attribute or characteristic that some have.
4- As an attribute or characteristic that many lack.

In Practical terms, faithfulness is marked by things such as loyalty, trustworthiness, reliability, commitment, following through, being a man or woman of your word, perseverance, being a good steward with what God has entrusted you with or others have.

Biblical faith is grounded in a belief that God is who He tells us He. It's also a trust in what His Word says over anything this world tells us and knowing He promises to work everything together for good.

We put our Faith in God and He then grows faithfulness in us.

I’ve heard it well said that faithfulness is the "gluing" fruit that will preserve our faith and the other fruit of the Spirit and identify God's will so we can be dependable and trusting to God and others. Because if you’re not faithful – the rest of the fruit of the spirit cannot grow as well in you.

Examples of Faithfulness:

God’s Faithfulness:
Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
Here are some of the ways God is faithful:

He protects us from evil: 
2 Thessalonians 3:3 - But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.

He forgives our sin: 
1 John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

He Sanctifies us: 
1 Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

He limits our temptations and provides a way of escape: 
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

He sent His Helper: 
John 14:16 - And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever.

John 14:26 - But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

Act 1:8 He promises that the Holy Spirit will come to empower us so we can be His Witnesses…then on The Day of Pentecost – Acts 2 the Holy Spirit was given.

He’s faithful to provide the help we need so we can live out our faith and live a faithful life!

Your calling to be Faithful:

Because God is trustworthy with us we can be faith-worthy in Him! For you and I, faithfulness begins when we put our faith in Jesus Christ.

Walking with Christ is a daily exercise in faith and faithfulness because you are to be committed to who God says He is from cover to cover in His Word.

We walk by faith not sight: 2 Corinthians 5:6-7 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.

Through every experience in life, no matter what your eyes see or tell you…you walk by faith and not by sight.

Furthermore, your life should be driven and motivated by what God says and not by what your eyes see as if you only follow the world…your vision will grow very blurry very quickly.

2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

Be faithful to honor God by rightly studying, representing, interpreting and communicating His Word! 

Portraits of Faithfulness:

Read the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11:1-12  as each of these examples are people God highlights as examples of faith.

As you read it, you'll not He doesn’t mention any of the failures of faith in their lives, rather, He focuses only on the victories.

Noah for example displayed the gift of faithfulness as he lived in a place that didn’t see rain and for 120 years built the ark and warned people of the pending judgment. He remained faithful.

Sarah was in her 90s when God allowed her to be able to conceive. As you read the entire chapter you’ll see examples of people who for one reason or another didn’t get to see God fulfill the promises He’d given them but they remained faithful and God recognized their faithfulness.

Hudson Taylor: Missionary statesman Hudson Taylor had complete trust in God’s faithfulness. In his journal he wrote: 
"Our heavenly Father is a very experienced One. He knows very well that His children wake up with a good appetite every morning … He sustained 3 million Israelite's in the wilderness for 40 years. We do not expect He will send 3 million missionaries to China; but if He did, He would have ample means to sustain them all … Depend on it, God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply."
Practical Ideas For How to Grow in Faithfulness:
"Faith moves, faith takes action, faith does things, faith makes a difference in the way your life is lived." –Pastor Rich Jones
I recommend that you start by asking the Holy Spirit for help in growing in faithfulness.

Practice being faithful and one of the practical ways you can do so is by keeping your commitments.

You also have to be the one who purposes to walk in faith and not by sight. You have to put the faith in the faithfulness. Put your faith into action and keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and not on this world.

Ultimately, it's vital be faithful in the little things and as Luke 16:10 says: “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.  

Be faithful in everything!

As followers of Christ, Faithfulness should be one of the ear marks of our lives as God through His Holy Spirit continues to help us grow in this Fruit of The Spirit. 

Let's pray for one another that God will help us continue to grow in The Fruit of The Spirit of Faithfulness and that we'll strive to be faithful in all we do for His Kingdom and Glory. 

Your Brother and Servant in Christ,

Randolph Koch

Monday, September 17, 2018

Hate is NOT one of the "Fruit of The Spirit".

We're called to speak the truth in love and that doesn't mean we're supposed to speak and act in hate. 

In my observation, some people sling hate as if it's something they'll receive a reward for and this includes some who claim to be followers of Christ, yet, they live in hate!?  You've probably seen them too I'm sure and maybe you're reading this and you're one of them? (Although, I hope you're NOT one of them!)

Now, I know there are some who have an intellectual belief in "a god", but I'm not speaking about them, rather, I'm speaking to those who know and follow The One True King, as they've received His free gift of salvation through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Who died on our behalf so we might have forgiveness and life. 

Let me remind you that hate does not represent Him. Hate it isn't taught from His Word and it's not part of The Great Commission you're supposed to fulfill. He doesn't say go into all the world and hate them! (Matthew 28:16-20)

It also doesn't matter what political persuasion or social or economic category you might be in, what your favorite sports team is, and it also doesn't matter what your heritage, ancestry or nationality is... if you say you're a follower of Christ, hate is not something you should be known for, period! It's also NOT one of the Fruit of The Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) 
Don't exalt your politics, favorite sports team, your opinion on any topic, or yourself or anything else over The Savior you claim to follow or the people around you who don't deserve your often vial and hateful onslaught. It doesn't mean you can't have or shouldn't have an opinion but it does mean how you communicate that opinion matters! You're actions also matter!

If you hate others, you have a heart problem because we're supposed to be known by our love as He first loved us. People are supposed to know we are His because of our love. 

Now, this doesn't mean we're to condone sin but we are to have a love for mankind because we're all in need of The Savior and if you stop to think about it, when has hate ever won anyone over?!  

Also, God Himself loves each of us and while there's still time, He wants as many to be saved as possible. He sent His Son because He loved us! (Read John 3 sometime)

To love doesn't mean we will like or get along with everyone, but, it does mean we need to strive to love one another. It also doesn't mean you have to water down the truth of God's Word either but it does mean you're supposed to speak the truth in....wait for it....wait for it....LOVE! (Ephesians 4:15) 

I share this because we need to do better in honoring God and here are some thoughts which have helped shape and motivate me to share about this: 
1 - We're supposed to love The Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. (Deuteronomy 6:4-7, Matthew 22:37-40, Mark 12:30-31) We cannot truly love God and hate others. 
2 - The Bible Tells us to love our neighbors.  (Mark 12:30-31)
3 - We're supposed to love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
4 - There are many out there misrepresenting The Lord by their words and actions and they will stand accountable for this. 
5 - We are to be known by our love. (John 13:35) 
6 - I see people claiming to be Christian's hating everyone around them regardless of whether they are inside or outside of the body of Christ!?
7 - Read 1 Corinthians 13 and the 1 John 4:7-12 and 1 John 5:1-5.
8 - I see a lot of so called "follower's of Christ" trying to shred each other online and in person because they've decide hating on each other is somehow OK. Meanwhile their bible's sit somewhere collecting dust because they obviously haven't read it in a while! It's time for that to stop! 

These 8 thoughts or reasons just scratch the surface regarding what God's Word teaches us about love and we need to go back to the school of God's Word and be schooled by His Word and the power and conviction of The Holy Spirit. 

None of us will do this perfectly but we're not alone as we battle to actively take God's Word and live it out. 

So, let's pray and ask The Holy Spirit to help convict us and help us reevaluate our lives in this area in Jesus name!

Lastly, remember this, you will be held accountable for your actions by The One you say you, you better take inventory of your life and realign yourself with God's Will, Word, and Way! 

Your Brother and Servant in Christ,

Randolph Koch

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

September 11, 2001 - May We Never Forget!

I remember getting ready for work on the morning of September 11, 2001 and I received a call from my mom telling me to turn the TV on as there was an accident involving The World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York City. 

As I, like many, watched everything unfold in disbelief, we soon learned it was no accident as shortly after the first plane crashed into one tower, a second plane crashed into the second tower. We then heard about The Pentagon and another plane that crashed as a total of 4 planes were hijacked in a coordinated effort to destroy life using the planes as weapons.

Needless to say it was very difficult to work that day knowing what had transpired or was transpiring. I remember seeing the images of First Responders courageously running into the buildings to climb flight after flight of stairs running toward danger to try to stop the raging fires that resulted from the planes crashing. I also remember the images of people covered in dust, some bleeding from injuries running for their lives as as the towers eventually came crashing down succumbing to the fire that weakened what once held the towers strong and towering over the landscape. We all watched in horror and disbelief as the towers fell. The images are ingrained in my memory including the following days and weeks as coverage of the search and rescue efforts took place at the site where the towers once stood. It was heart wrenching to watch and read about and the memories still bring emotions to the surface at times because of the great tragedy we witness.

Some are of the opinion that we should just forget about it and move on while there are others who vacillate on one conspiracy theory or another and still others are pointing fingers at this or that person.

As for me, I would challenge us to never forget what took place on this horrible day in history. We should never let our guards down and no matter what country we live in, the potential for evil acts such as this still exist so we ought not take life, including the people in it, for granted. We should dwell on it in an unhealthy way but, let's never forget, and in the process of remembering, let us especially honor the memories of those who lost their lives, and may we love our neighbors as much as possible and stand ready to protect others as needed lest we forget and great evil is allowed to repeat itself.


Randolph Koch

20 Day Prayer Challenge!

Hello Friends,

I'd like to encourage you to join me in a 20 day prayer challenge!

20 day prayer challenge! Watch and listen to the following video in this post for the details. (May not be visible via e-Mail as it's embedded in the post)

What: Set aside 30-60 minutes a day to seek God through prayer!

When: Now through October 1st!

Who is with me?!

Let me know via the comments below the post or if you're receiving this via e-Mail, please reply and let me know if you haven't already. :-)

You're brother and servant in Christ,

Randolph Koch