Are You Getting Soft?

I like to keep my mind engaged and I also try to stay physically fit. When I read, I like to read things that challenge me. When I work out, I like to do things that are tough and that make me think. A few years ago, I decided that my mind wasn’t getting enough exercise and what I was doing to stay physically fit wasn’t’ working either. One day, instead of dropping my kids off at their martial arts school, I decided to enroll. Although I’ve studied some martial arts before, every style is different, and everybody starts at the bottom. As a white belt, I must say it was quite humbling to call teenage daughters who are black belts “Ma’am!” It was even more humbling to try to do the kicks, stretches and techniques generally learned by someone 40 or more years my junior. I also learned something I never really thought of. I learned the awesome power of encouragement, both individually, and from a group. Whenever I would struggle with something I would hear the voices around me rooting for me. When I would finally master the move or technique my instructor would applaud, and then the whole room would join in! Even at my age I think I blushed a couple of times.

The Christian walk is quite similar in many ways. Although you may have been walking with the Lord for many years, you’ve got to stay alert and “train hard” or you will get soft very quickly. Even if you’ve accomplished much in life, if you’re not humble in your faith you’ll never accomplish anything in the Lord’s arena. Even though you may find Bible reading and prayer second nature, the newer Christians will not-they’ll struggle with it, and with staying away from sin. They’ll need much encouragement, and that encouragement will make all the difference.

In Christ,

PastorJimKilby @Kilbin8er

Jim@JamesKilby.com

Posted in Christian Living

“Unenviable?”

 

I got to thinking about the word “unenviable” today. You know, in a position where nobody could “envy” you. I don’t know why, but my mind was drawn to Jesus and what an unenviable position He found Himself in. Honestly, could anyone stand before Him and say they wished they could have gone through what He went through or suffer how He suffered? Then I began to think, “Why do we spend so much time trying to achieve things, buy things, or control things that we hope will make our peers envy us?” And if they did envy us, would it be us who made them stumble? After all, “envy” is one of the most insidious sins possible. Wouldn’t being in an “unenviable position” be just where the Lord might want us? And if we found ourselves there, wouldn’t we be much closer to the one who we claim to love?

“They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice.” Romans 1:29a

In Christ,

PastorJimKilby @Kilbin8er

Jim@JamesKilby.com

Posted in Christian Living

Even Now?

I get quite a few notes from people who believe they’ve slipped too far into sin to be forgiven. The fact that they are still concerned enough about their sin to write about it is certainly good news! Those who are no longer concerned are the ones who are in more serious trouble. In fact, the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit will convict believers of their sins. Conviction is actually a miracle of God. Accept it now and be renewed!

“Rend your heart… Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave a blessing behind” Joel 2:13-14a

In Christ,

PastorJimKilby @Kilbin8er

Jim@JamesKilby.com

Posted in Grace

“I’ll Get You For That!”

In my work with young people, I see many different motivators come and go, but probably none as strong as the one to “get back” at anyone who is perceived to have wronged them. No doubt we all are born with a sense of self, and a desire for self-preservation, but in my opinion, the “I’ll get you for that” syndrome is reaching epidemic proportions. Whether it’s fueled by TV, music, watching adults, or just the pride that’s in all of us acting out, I don’t know. What I do know is that someone truly submitted to the Spirit of God will not seek revenge, no matter how egregious the act against them. Instead, the Christian should operate in the way Christ acted when treated similarly. He turned the other cheek (and sometimes He thought to put some distance between himself and His would-be attackers).

“Finally, all of you live in harmony with one another, be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:8-9

In Christ,

PastorJimKilby @Kilbin8er

Jim@JamesKilby.com

Posted in Christian Living

Acknowledge Me!

Imagine that you’re sitting in a room with some friends and your best friend walks in. When you stand to greet him, he turns away and pretends he doesn’t know you. Maybe he even says evil things about you while you’re standing right there, or he does wicked things to you and then laughs when others do them too. Cruel as it sounds; my guess is that many of us do the same thing to Jesus–only we’re even crueler to Him. We tell Him that we love Him during prayers, or during a church service, and then we bad-mouth Him and refuse to acknowledge Him by the way we live mere moments later. Occasionally, we put a few bucks in the plate at church and somehow feel we’re “OK” with Him. Truthfully, we’re probably not worth the trouble, but like a REAL friend, He will do all He can to bring us back to a genuine relationship with Himself.

“What can I do with you Ephraim? What can I do with you Judah? Your love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears. Therefore I cut you into pieces with my prophets, I killed you with the words of my mouth; my judgments flashed like lightning upon you. For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:4-6

In Christ,

PastorJimKilby @Kilbin8er

Jim@JamesKilby.com

Posted in Christian Living

Encouragement?

Encouragement is an incredible thing! It can rejuvenate a tired body is a nanosecond. On some occasions, one simple word of encouragement can last an entire lifetime. Our heavenly Father knows how powerful it is and even commanded us to provide it to one another. Still, it seems like even the Church can be void of it. This week, consider giving a heartfelt “thank you” to someone close to you.  No…. consider two or three. I think you’ll find it encourages you too. Let your heart meditate on these words of encouragement from an imprisoned Paul to his friend Philemon. Imagine how they made him feel as they were read in front of the congregation he led.

“I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints. I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.” Philemon 1:4-7

In Christ,

PastorJimKilby @Kilbin8er

Jim@JamesKilby.com

Posted in Encouragement

Pride?

Pride is one of the most destructive forces inside a human being.  At it’s root, it’s the opposite of humility and frankly, it’s just plain old sin.  What’s weird is that we live in a culture where we admire pride.  Showboating, talking down to others, “one-upmanship”, and “I’m better than you because…” are more than just common–they’re rampant.  But in the end, God is always proved right.  No matter how great pride may seem, it has already driven a wedge between us and God, and in some instances, even worse things can happen.

“When Ahithopel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddles his donkey and set out for his house in his hometown.  He put his house in order and then hanged himself.  So he died and was buried in his father’s tomb.” 2 Samuel 17:23

Ahithopel had once been a proud man, having kings consider his advice on par with God’s word.  When his words became less important, his pride just couldn’t handle it.

In Christ,

PastorJimKilby @Kilbin8er

Jim@JamesKilby.com

Posted in Christian Living

Yoke of Slavery?

Humans have all kinds of fateful traits, but probably none as destructive as our pride.  Pride causes us to be judgmental of others, to think more highly of ourselves than we should, and it increases the divide between us and our Maker.  Those who think of themselves as “religious” are often the worst.  They “get up on their high-horse” as the saying goes, and then start making it harder for anyone else to get as high as them.  Those who are “lower” can often be prompted by their pride to actually try to jump all the hurdles to “prove their worth” to God.  It happens in youth groups, and it happens in “big church” too.  In fact, it happened throughout the years the Bible was penned (both New Testament and Old).  I think Paul probably dealt with it as well as anyone when the Lord prompted him to write these words to some people on both sides of the “high horse”.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”  Galatians 5:1

In Christ,

PastorJimKilby @Kilbin8er

Jim@JamesKilby.com

 

Posted in Christian Living

Blessed?

Is it an incredible blessing to know the Gospel of Jesus Christ?  How much more would it be a blessing to actually have walked the streets with Jesus, maybe even having intimate conversation with Him about the Kingdom of God?

Or would those things be blessings at all…

The truth is that neither of them are a blessing, unless of course the person “believed” the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and trusted in the Lord and actually acted on what they heard from His lips.  One day someone told Jesus that his mother must have been blessed to have nursed Him.  Surely she was blessed, but not because she nursed the God-child, but rather because she believed He was the Christ and followed Him only!  The question really is not whether you think it’s neat to be near Jesus, but whether or not you are His alone.

“As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”  He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”  Luke 11:27-28

In Christ,

PastorJimKilby @Kilbin8er

Jim@JamesKilby.com

Posted in Abundant life

Boasting?

Often those who say they are Christians can get big-headed, even looking down on those who are not Christians.  I believe this comes from a serious misunderstanding of who’s responsible for their salvation.  Friends, if we are born again, we’re about as responsible for that as we were for our original birth! We are saved from our sins by faith alone, in Christ alone-and even that faith is a gift from God.  When we are truly saved, it will be obvious by fruit alone.  None of it has anything to do with us, and all of it has to do with the sovereign workings of our Lord and Savior.  What part of that would suggest a need for a prideful heart?  Truly, no man can boast in anything other than the Lord’s work.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9

In Christ,

PastorJimKilby @Kilbin8er

Jim@JamesKilby.com

Posted in Faith, Grace