Christian Living Tips

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The Heaven Workout Program

Christians can sometimes become confused and despairing when bad things happen to them or people they care about. They see it as punishment or feel that if they had had more faith or been better Christians, these things never would have happened. Some even give up believing.

A better way to see trials in our lives is as a kind of spiritual workout. You don’t expect to do a double-gainer off the diving board or take on the heavyweight champ of the world without practice, do you? Neither should we expect to go to Heaven without practice here on earth. The whole of our lives here is a workout to get our spiritual muscles ready for the afterlife. We can’t stop bad things from happening, but we can control how we react to them. It’s all right to feel sad or angry or frustrated. But a Christian must ultimately choose to act in a Christ-like way, and by doing so, give glory to the Father and prepare ourselves for our lives in the world to come.

   

Fear of God

The Bible often says we should have fear of God, but at the same time says we should love him. How can you love someone you fear?

The key is that "fear"of God is really more like respect and awe. not terror. True, God is unbelievably powerful and we could be cowering before him, but this is not the kind of relationship he wants to have with us. Jesus made it clear that greatest of all the commandment are about love, not fear: love of God and love of neighbor. 1 John says God's love is brought to perfection in us, and "God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God, and God in him...there is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear." (1 John 4:11-18)

   

Faith and Works

Some Christians think all you need is faith to be saved . But that faith has to show itself in works as well . If you claim to be a Christian but do nothing which shows the love and influence of God in your life, then you are not only NOT living a Christian life, you are doing Jesus great harm in the eyes of others . If you lie, cheat others, hurt people, speak badly, and otherwise behave in cruel and immoral ways yet claim to be Christian, think about what kind of example you are showing the world about Jesus .

Zacchaeus the tax collector was a great sinner, but he decided that he wanted to see Jesus so much he climbed a tree to be better able to do so . Jesus rewarded him by recognition and by coming into his house, but Zacchaeus did not stop there . He also promised to give half of his possessions to the poor and repay anyone he had cheated three times over . His new faith showed in works . And Jesus said to him, " Today salvation has come to this house ".

   

Temple of God

Everyone has heard of the idea that their bodies are temples of God. Many understand this in a narcissistic, vain way, devoting themselves to outward appearance. Some take this to mean they are better than others, and look down their noses at them. Both are wrong. Yes, you should take care of your body. Yes, Christians are the adopted children of the Lord and Creator of the universe, which is pretty special. 1 Corinthians says one cannot build a temple to God if the foundation, Jesus, is not there. It also says, " Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" The strength and beauty of the temple comes from God living in you. You don't have a temple if the foundation is not built on Jesus. You show that you are a temple of God by showering the love of God on others.

   

The Good Shepherd

What does it mean to say that Jesus is the Good Shepherd? What do shepherds do, really? Shepherds take care of the sheep. They feed them, watch over them, and protect them from danger. Shepherds guide, showing the flock where the good places are and leading them away from the bad. But the sheep have their responsibilities, too. They have to listen. The sheep have to obey. If the shepherd tries to lead them away from a cliff and they insist on running straight toward it, they will die. They chose to. In John 10:27, Jesus says "My sheep hear my voice...I know them and they follow me." Listen. Do you hear it?

   

I'm Not Good Enough

Sometimes Christians, or those thinking of becoming Christians, feel they are not good enough. They negin to avoid church or helping others because they feel like impostors. Who am I to talk about God? Who am I to help at the church? I'm not perfect.

True, you shouldn't pretend to be something you are not, and true, Christians should always be striving toward holiness. But to say you cannot go to church or become a Christian because you're not good enough is like saying you're not well enough to go to the doctor. That's what they're there for, to help you get better, to become perfect, to become a saint. Saints were not born perfect. Saints are sinners who just never gave up.

   

Because He First Loved Us

Remember, in that you say and in all that you do, you are a child of God. This does not mean you can do whatever you like and get away with it, like some spoiled brat. This means that you are a member of the royal family and you are expected to act like it. What does your behavior, your dress, the way you talk to people tell others about Jesus and about Christianity? Ephesians 2:19 - " So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God."

   

Sometimes It's OK to Say "No"

Christians are called to serve. They should serve each other, their families, their churches, the community, and the world. But too often Christians think that unless they are doing big things, they are not serving. They sign up for every activity at church and then neglect their work and their families. You can't do everything. Take stock of what you can honestly accomplish and still have time for your family and yourself. Burning yourself out will not help anyone. Volunteering for a good cause and then quitting after two weeks because you can't fit everything in is not serving. You don't have to accomplish huge things in your life. You just have to make everything you do, no matter how small, an act of love.

   

House of Prayer or Den of Thieves?

One of the few stories which appears in all four of the Gospels is Jesus removing the moneychangers from the temple. There are many reasons why this story is important, but one aspect many people overlook is that each of us us also a temple of God. Jesus wants us to keep our churches pure, true, but he also wants us to keep ourselves, individual temples of God, pure. What do you have going on in your temple? Is it a house of prayer or a den of thieves?

   
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