words :: books :: ideas

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Teach One Another

"teaching...one another..." - Colossians 3:16
Like instructing, teaching should not come from ignorance, but "in all wisdom." Wise teaching stems from letting "the word of Christ dwell in you richly" (Colossians 3:16).

The verse continues "singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." As the ESV Study Bible explains, these musical components are a means of teaching one another. Doctrinally-sound lyrics are a form of teaching God's truth. Could this then translate into other arts like biblically based literature and visual arts? There are many ways through which we can teach truth.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


This morning I attended church in German. I might not be able to understand everything, but it is wonderful to participate in worshiping God in another language.

I understand just enough to know that we are praising the King of this world and that. I find such delight in having enough comprehension to be able to follow along with well-known passages from the gospels.

Like when I studied Spanish, learning German makes me think about the greatness of the God I serve. He overcomes language barriers and understands any tongue. Worshiping God is not reserved for any one language or people-group.
Ich glaube an Gott den Vater, den Allmächtigen, Schöpfer Himmels und der Erden.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth. - from the Apostles' Creed

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Be Devoted to One Another

"Be devoted to one another..." - Romans 12:10 (NIV)
Being devoted to each other involves what the ESV translates as "lov[ing] one another with brotherly affection." It is faithful dedication. It is committed loyalty. It is sticking together through the colloquial "think and thin." It is loving despite hardships caused by a fellow brother.

The command to be devoted to one another comes in the midst of a passage full of descriptions of the Christian life. This is how we can please God. This is how we are to live.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Be Compassionate toward One Another

"Be...compassionate to one another..." - Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
We are to be others-focused, showing sympathy and kindness. In the ESV and NKJV, "compassionate" is translated as "tenderhearted."

Showing tenderheartedness is something we should all do. After specifically addressing wives, then husbands, Peter broadens his audience to include "all of you," saying "have...a tender heart" (1 Peter 3:8).

Acting compassionately is part of living the new life in Christ. We are to replace wrong living with righteous behavior. Our new lives are to be modeled after Christ; we are “to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). Being compassionate or tenderhearted is just one aspect of this righteousness.

Although living "after the likeness of God" was already instructed, Paul further commands the Ephesians to "be imitators of God" (Ephesians 5:1). Being compassionate toward one another is closely connected with living a life that follows the example of and imitates God.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Be Patient with One Another

"Be patient...with one another..." - Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)
We are to "walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which [we] have been called" (Ephesians 4:1). Patience is an attribute listed in the description of this manner.

In his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul lists three categories of people and explains how to interact with them. "And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all" (1 Thessalonians 5:14). Patience is the key in each of these situations.

Patience is something that we are to "put on" (Colossians 3:12). It is not easy to always be patient; however, we are not alone in this. We receive help from the Spirit "in our weakness" (Romans 8:25): patience is an aspect of the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Our patience reflects our love. "Love is patient" (1 Corinthians 13:4). Part of the way in which we love one another is through being patient toward one another.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Remember, Remember

It's the fifth of November. A day to remember.

One year ago at this time I was in England. At Capernwray last year the fifth of November was a day devoted to prayer. I didn't turn on my computer. I didn't listen to my iPod. I didn't even knit. I had nothing to do but "Be still and know that [He is] God" (Psalm 46:10).

To remember not Guy Fawkes Day but a Day of Prayer, below is an excerpt from my journal.

Thursday afternoon
5 November 2009

I've hardly said anything today. Most of my words have been directed toward God in song and prayer. It's strange to be around so many people, but really not be talking with them. Instead, I'm conversing with the One who is with me at all times.

Today I was stunned once again that God Himself, the Holy Spirit would take up residence inside of me. How awe-inspiring and strange and wondrous. Apart from His grace I am unworthy. He, however, chose to make me His temple and dwelling place. May I be continually amazed by this fact and may it change the way I live my life.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Serve One Another

"...serve one another." - Galatians 5:13
Our service toward each other stems from love. It is "through love" that we serve (Galatians 5:13). The visual imagery of wearing a glove comes into my mind. Although I may touch something while wearing a glove, it is not actually my skin that touches the object. It is the fabric of the glove through which I touch that truly comes into contact with the object. Love should make up the fabric of the proverbial glove of service.

Serving also stems from freedom. Paul emphasizes the importance of how we use our freedom. Although we could easily use it for selfish purposes, Paul encourages the Galatians to seek loving service toward one another. We should follow Paul's example who said, "though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them" (1 Corinthians 9:19). Paul knows that he can be more effective if he uses his freedom to serve rather than be self-seeking.

So how can we serve? As Christians, we have received spiritual gifts; we are to use our gifts as a means of serving each other. Doing so shows that we are being "good stewards of God's varied grace" (1 Peter 4:10). Rather than basing service on our own ability, our serving comes "by the strength that God supplies" (1 Peter 4:11). God gives us the gifts to use and gives us the strength we need to use them. When we use our gifts to serve others, we glorify God, to whom "belong glory and dominion forever and ever" (1 Peter 4:11).