Christian Life · salvation

Professor or Possessor?

I read about a man who wanted to be a doctor so badly that he decided to impersonate one, and was arrested for doing so! There’s a big difference between someone who says they are something and someone who really is what they claim.

When we read the fourth and fifth chapters of the book of Acts, we read words like, great faith and great power that came over the Christians.  I can just hear their joy as they had all things common and were laying their gifts at the apostles’ feet so that the ministry of the Gospel could press forward. 

How invigorating!  How exciting! 

But in my head, I can almost hear the music of the movie, Jaws beginning to play as Chapter 5 begins.  It’s that eerie music that tells you that something really bad is getting ready to happen.

Sure enough, you turn to chapter 5 and we meet Annanias and Sapphira, a husband and a wife.  The chapter starts with the word, BUT, which tells us that after the joy, fellowship and sacrifice that we read the believers had,  this couple is experiencing something completely different.  What did they experience?  They simply imitate what they saw.

“Oh, others are giving money from land they sold? We will, too!” 

But they connived together to only give part of what they received, but to say that they were giving it ALL. They each came, one at a time and told their lie to Peter.  They were both buried that same day.

Their sin was not that they didn’t give it all – their sin was that they lied about it.  Where did that sin get its root?  In their heart.  Why did they lie?  Because they only professed that they had the same thing these early Christians truly possessed. They didn’t have a true love for God and the risen Savior.

You and I can imitate this dead duo simply by saying with our mouths what is not truly in our heart.  I believe there are many people in the church who profess they are Christians, but they’ve never possessed Christ as their own personal Savior.

We can look at this couple and learn whether or not we are possessors or only professors of a true relationship with Christ  Let’s look at the differences between the two.

  1. Possessors pray.  Professors talk about prayer.  A relationship with the Lord begins with prayer. We confess our need for Christ.  We confess that we are sinful and unable to save ourselves.  We surrender our lives to Him.  People who don’t really know Christ can say a lot about praying, but they don’t have an intimate, close relationship with the Lord so that they are in constant communication with Him.
  2. Possessors give sacrificially.  Professors give sparingly. A true believer realizes that everything he owns came from the Lord, so he opens his hand and gives it back with a thankful, generous heart.  A professor is more concerned about looking like a giver and is fearful of giving away too much, so he gives what he thinks he can afford to give.
  3. Possessors love the fellowship of other believers. Professors isolate themselves. A true believer enjoys the fellowship of the saints.  Time to worship, pray and communicate with other believers invigorates and strengthens him!  A professor gets irritated at the length of time a church service goes.  They complain about “having to pray” in a group.  They can’t wait to get our the door.
  4. Possessors speak out of their own personal witness.  Professors can only say what they have heard someone else say. A true believer has a walk with God that is fresh.  They are constantly learning as they dig into God’s Word.  They share what God taught them today. A professor doesn’t have a continual understanding of the Word of God because He doesn’t have the Holy Spirit in him to teach the Truth.  Therefore, they can only echo things they’ve read or heard from others.
  5. Possessors operate with great grace. Professors operate out of the their flesh. A true believer has God’s grace to be able to give, to pray and to tell others what God has done for them.  A professor has to pull up from their flesh the willing and the doing.  
  6. Possessors have the evidence of spiritual life. Professors show evidence of spiritual death.  True believers produce good works out of the spiritual life – not to gain it, but their works prove their spiritual life.  Professors can only reveal dead works because they are dead people, just as we literally see in Ananias and Sapphira. 

We need to remember that a believer who is out of fellowship with God can imitate an unbeliever.  That means that if we are living with unconfessed sin, we haven’t lost our salvation, but we will look just like the professors that were just described.

I don’t want my “dead corpse” to be my testimony.  I long to live a life that is alive and vibrant, giving, praying, learning, and enjoying fellowship all with great grace! 

Which are you?  A possessor or a professor?  It’s your choice.

Christian Life

Elevate the Monotonous Into the Momentous

Last week I stepped outside my front door on a springlike morning. Ahhhh, so beautiful! Then I looked down at the porch where I was standing and saw a hundred dried up worms that were the residual from the previous day’s rain. I stepped back inside the door and grabbed the broom and began my efforts at ridding the concrete of the crusty creepies.

That was only ONE of the many not so glamorous tasks I did that day. My work also included cleaning out the kitty litter box, doing laundry, cleaning the bathrooms….well, you get the idea. It was a day full of dirty jobs, but it was my day and also my delight to serve the Lord in my home – in this quiet corner of my world.

For the last several months, in between my chores, I’ve been studying in preparation for a Ladies’ Prayer Advance where I was to speak. I always feel the heavy weight of responsibility of giving out God’s Word.
It MUST be accurate.
It must be in context.
It must be applied.

The day after sweeping up the dried worms, I made my way to that conference where for the next several days I had the blessing of speaking, but also gleaning from the other speakers. .

I had the joy of gathering with about 300 women to worship, pray and pour over Scripture. I had the delight of meeting so many ladies, of listening to their hearts as they introduced themselves to me. It was a blessing to stop and pray with each one who shared a burden or need.

It was exhilarating. It was a far cry from sweeping up dead worms!

But as all wonderful weekends do, the conference came to a close and we headed home. Monday morning I stepped out to take my daily walk and I was greeted once again with…dead worms. When I returned home from my exercise, I got the broom and got back to the task of trying to sweep them away.

As I swept I thought about the invigorating days that came between my lowly task of sweeping the porch. I was reminded that THIS is what life is. It’s full of high’s and low’s. It’s not always worship songs and wondrous events – it’s also worms and work.

But every day, every task, every moment belongs to the Lord. He has called us to this moment. We must be faithful whether we’re on a platform or the front porch. How are we to push through on the days that are not so glamorous or fun? The difference is our worship.

Personal worship of God each day can elevate the mundane into the momentous.

Where does today find you? On the day when it’s not your birthday, you’re not on vacation or headed to a Ladies’ conference, but you find yourself doing the monotonous, turn your heart to our great God. Open His Word and find the wonder of Him throughout the pages of Scripture. Bow at His feet and adore Him. That act will turn your heart into a sanctuary of praise.

Some verses that remind us of this truth:
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. Co. 3:23

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Ps. 103:1

For from him and through him and for him are all things.To him be the glory forever! Amen. Romans 11:36

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?Put your hope in God,f or I will yet praise him,my Savior and my God. Ps. 42:11

It won’t matter that you’re “just at home” or “on your way to work.” You will be filled with the Spirit of the One that created you as much for this moment as He did for the “more holy” tasks. Worship makes those worms momentous. Sound silly? Try it and see how worshiping God elevates your mundane into the momentous!

Christian Life · Christlikeness

Reckless Christians

Yesterday I went to our local Ingles to do my grocery shopping.  When I had finished and returned to my car, I looked up and saw the car pictured here.  That car is not in motion!  It’s parked like that!  I laughed out loud, then I had to snap a picture.  It was too unbelievable not to share.  

When my husband sees a car parked like that he’ll say, “For heaven’s sake, if they’d just take five seconds…”  It’s true.  How much longer would it have taken for them to actually get their car all the way into their space before they jumped out?  About five seconds.

When I got home and was thinking about the driver, I thought, “If they get the tail of their car hit, they surely asked for it.”  A person who has a license knows the rules of driving.  They know what is expected of them when they call themselves a driver, yet so many drivers don’t take the time to do the right thing.

I call myself a Christian.  Do I take the extra time to:

  • Share the Gospel with a stranger?
  • Stop and pray with a friend who just shared her burden with me?
  • Write a get well card to someone at church and add a favorite Bible verse?
  • Volunteer to serve at my church?
  • Invite an unsaved family to my home for a snack or meal?

None of the things I just mentioned really take that much extra time from our day.  Just like the careless driver, we can tend to recklessly plunder our way through our day without slowing down for “five seconds” to just do the right thing.  

Don’t allow yourself to be the target for someone’s photo of a careless Christian.  Slow down.  Consider where you’re parked, then look around to see if you need to straighten things up a bit.  

Think about what have you done recently that showed that you were taking the time to do the right thing as a child of God. Ask the Lord to reveal any areas that need to be “straightened out” in your life.

Oh, and take those extra five seconds to park your car in the lines. =)