Tag Archives: talk

God’s Words: Self-Control

Life-transforming words

Written by Gary Fleetwood on 10/04/2018
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: God, Self Control
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23
Have you ever met a really physically strong person? Well, I have a son and a son-in-law who are both very, very strong. They lift weights and work out a lot to strengthen their body. So, when I have some really heavy things to move, you can just imagine who I call to help me. The word “self-control” comes from a word that means “strength” or “to be strong”. However, it is not a physical strength that is referred to here, but a spiritual strength. When someone is exercising “self-control” they are allowing their life to be controlled by the Spirit of God. There will always be things that happen in our lives that will make us angry, this will cause us to react in a way that is not pleasing to God. This is the attribute of “self-control” really helps us. It keeps us from saying something or doing something that we might regret.

Sometimes I feel a little helpless, so what can help me to have this self-control?
Have you ever seen a really good athlete? What helps them to perform at a high level from game to game is that they are constantly training, always keeping their body in shape, and always practicing their sport to keep developing their skills. They watch what they eat and how late they stay up at night.  To be a good athlete takes a lot of hard work and self-discipline. It requires staying really focused on what they are doing. Developing self-control is no different. It comes from developing self-discipline in our lives. I have a grandson who is a great athlete. He practices for nearly 4 hours every day after school to develop his skills. He is very good. In the same way, self-control is something that we have to work at every day. We guard our words. We discipline ourselves to make the most of our time and our opportunities. We do not overreact to things. We read our Bibles and meet with other Christians regularly.

So what does all of that do for me?
It’s simple. It builds spiritual strength into our lives. Proverbs 25:28 says this about a man without “self-control”,

"A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls."

What a great picture! It is a picture of a city that has had all of its walls broken down. That is what a person without “self-control” is like. They have no defense against the difficult moments which will happen in their life. They will find themselves just reacting to things and then trying to just pick up the pieces of their bad decisions. Over the years I have had to do a lot of marriage counseling, and one of the things that has become obvious to me is that the marriages that ultimately fail generally do so because either one or both of the marriage partners failed to exercise self-control in their life. They just yelled at their partner or their children. They were willing to hurt people. They would become angry and say very hurtful things. They made quick and bad decisions. Why? It is because they simply lacked “self-control”.

Can you give me an example of how this can work out in a practical way in my life?
One of the greatest areas that needs to be worked on is that of guarding what we say. Our tongue is always the first place that we fail because it is so easy to say something when we are frustrated or have been hurt. We just react, and generally without thinking. It is almost our way of getting back at someone.  James 3:5-6 speaks to this so clearly when it says,

So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 

So, guarding what we say is a great way to develop the quality of “self-control” in our lives. We have to constantly keep reminding ourselves that as we exercise “self-control” in one area of our life, that it will strengthen other areas as well. My wife has always had great “self-control”. I cannot remember the last time that I saw her over-react to something. So, over the many years of our marriage, her strength has become my strength. How good is that – to know that as we are strong in the Lord that God will use that strength to help others in their areas of weakness as well.

Pray this week:
Father, will you please help me to guard my words and the attitudes that cause those words to come out of my mouth?  Please help me to reflect Christ in everything that I say.
 

Would someone think that you were a Christian by the way that you talk?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Never Talk to Strangers?

God wants us to share His good news with everyone

Written by Gary Schneider on 27/11/2018

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: EvangelismGospelJesus


And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water."

John 4:4-10

Though most of our personal evangelism probably happens in the context of some kind of relationship (friend, family member, coworker, neighbor, classmate, teammate, etc.) there are countless opportunities we have throughout our lives to engage complete strangers with the Good News, just like Jesus did with the Samaritan woman in John 4.

To miss those opportunities is to miss the hand of God in our everyday lives. I believe that He is constantly orchestrating moments where intentional Gospel conversations can take place.

The gospel has power

After the woman at the well went back to town to proclaim her newfound faith in Christ, He told his astounded disciples (a rabbi would never talk to a woman in this culture, let alone a Samaritan woman like Jesus did) this: “You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest” (John 4:35). In the same way we must wake up and look around to see the ripe harvest field around us every day… at the restaurant we frequent, in the grocery store we shop at, at the gym we work out in.

One of the biggest blessings this brings is a reminder of the power of the Gospel. Romans 1:16 tells us, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”

There’s something inherently powerful about the message of Jesus, so much so that most of the evangelism you read about in the New Testament centers around Jesus and the disciples reaching complete strangers with the Good News. These are people they bumped into along the way. They were fishermen, tax collectors, everyday Harrys and Sherrys who needed that message of hope.

Those kinds of people are all around us today. In this high-stress, low-hope culture, people need the Gospel message now more than ever.

I know that we’re called to make disciples (not just converts) and I’m convinced that disciples can best be made in the context of a relationship, so I believe that a huge part of our evangelistic efforts should center around people we know and are getting to know. Because once they come to Christ we can help them grow in Christ so they can make more disciples.

A story of a changed heart

Several years ago I lived in northern Quebec, Canada for the purpose of learning the French language. During the very early stages of that difficult task, I met a fellow student named Raul who came from Colombia to learn French. God distinctly nudged me to share the Gospel with Raul. Over breakfast one day, I struggled and strained to share the basic truths of the Gospel with Raul. We had a very limited number of French words in common to communicate with as his native language was Spanish. With the help of a napkin, a pen, and the Holy Spirit, I could tell Raul was understanding the message.  My very first prayer ever in French was to lead Raul to Christ. After the prayer he reached into his wallet as if to pay me for the prayer.  I said, “no, no it’s not like that.” He was actually pulling a picture of Jesus out of his wallet.  He then said that all his life he has wanted to know the Jesus in his wallet. Now, Raul said, “this Jesus is not just in my wallet, now He’s in my heart.”

I would have totally missed that opportunity if only shared the Gospel with those I have a relationship with. The only reason I shared the message is because God put him on my heart.  Even with very limited vocabulary and ability to communicate, the Holy Spirit made the message understandable and Raul’s life was changed. We met every week for a year after that breakfast and he became a great friend and a reproducing disciple of Christ back in Colombia.

Let’s share Jesus with those we know. Let’s invest in them and introduce them to the Lord. But let’s lift up our eyes and look around at the harvest all around us all the time.  Divine appointments are waiting for YOU!


Pray this week:

Lord, forgive me for the opportunities I haven’t taken advantage of to share the good news of your Gospel with those I come in contact with. I pray that you will give me more of these opportunities, and that you’ll give me the correct words to say to share your love with those around me. Amen.


Why do you think you don’t share the gospel with those around you – even if they are your friends? What should you do to feel more comfortable sharing the good news with others?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member