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Making a Difference...Day by Day!

 

Making a Difference – Refining Hope

Making a Difference

Making a Difference – Refining Hope

November 19, 2014

By Jeff Rybold

 

1 John 3:2-3 – “2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be:  but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.  3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

I have been told that when a silversmith refines silver in a furnace, freeing it of its impurities and preparing it for use, he has a simple test to know when the refining process is complete – when he can see his reflection in the metal.  God’s test for us is to see the reflection of Christ in us.  The purpose of sanctification is for us to prepare ourselves for His use.  As the heat comes in our lives, the impurities come to the surface.  Don’t fight the trial, instead let go of the impurities that God brings to the surface and reflect the Son in your life.

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 instructs us in this way, “12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:  13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.”  One of the qualities observable in the life of a Christian is His love.

You can make a difference today by refining yourself in the fiery trials that come in our lives.  Let the impurities go and reflect your savior today!

Making a Difference – Enduring Truth

Making a Difference

Making a Difference – Enduring Truth

November 18, 2014

By Jeff Rybold

 

Psalms 100:5 – “For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting ; and his truth endureth to all generations.

In 1985, for the first time in more than fifty years, Congress authorized the issue of official US government gold coins. Beginning in 1986 these new coins came on the market. Each of these American Eagles, as they are known, is guaranteed by the US Mint to contain the stated amount of pure 22 karat gold. They come in 1/10, 1/4, 1/2, and 1-ounce sizes, and buyers from around the world trust these coins because they trust the promises of the United States government that the coins are what they claim to be.

When it comes to Scripture, we have something far more reliable than the guarantee of a government—we have the promises of Almighty God that His Word is perfect and pure. God promised to preserve His Word for us. That means that, according to the promise of God, we can have complete faith that every word in the Bible is there on purpose. Psalm 12:7 affirms, “Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.”

With this promise from God in mind, I challenge you today to apply what you read in personal study, what is exhorted unto you from fellow Christians, what correction may be directed toward you from Holy Spirit conviction through the reading of His word, and grow according to His Word as well.  The Bible is the final authority in every Christian’s life.  Knowing this and heeding to its direction will ultimately guide your path in life, and draw others to Him.  Matthew 5:16 tells us to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

You can make a difference today by adhering to God’s true Word.  It isn’t just a book that is for time’s past, but its a living Word that is still applicable today and we should “…give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” (1 Timothy 4:12) and “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Making a Difference – Give Attendance to…

Making a Difference

Making a Difference – Give Attendance to…

October 31, 2014

By Jeff Rybold

 

1 Timothy 4:13 – “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

A door-to-door salesman from a publishing house asked a lady if she owned a copy of the Bible. “I certainly do!” she replied with some pride. To his next question, did she read it regularly, she responded, “Oh, yes!” and sent her little daughter to get the Bible from the table drawer. As she showed it to the salesman, her spectacles fell from between the pages. Without thinking, she exclaimed, “Oh, here are my glasses! I’ve been looking for these for 3 years!”

It’s one thing to claim we read our bibles, its another thing to diligently spend time doing it.  Most Christians understand the importance of daily bible reading and studying God’s word.  However, many of those that know this, do not practice it on a regular basis.  The word “attendance” in this passage means “pay attention to, be cautious about, apply oneself to, adhere to” (according to The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible).  Reading, exhortation, and doctrine aren’t just things we need to be present in doing (like many people’s interpretation of attending school).  Instead, we are to apply and adhere the reading, exhortation and doctrine continually.  God tells us also in 2 Timothy 2:15 further exhorts us to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

You can make a difference today by purposing to apply God’s Word to your life.  Beginning today, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine, and see God’s mighty hand do a mighty work in your life!

Making a Difference – Silence the Voices

Making a Difference

Making a Difference – Silence the Voices

October 30, 2014

By Jeff Rybold

 

1 Kings 19:11-12 – “And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord.  And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind:  and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:  12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire:  and after the fire a still small voice.

Being a youth pastor, I see the choices that enter the lives of teenagers on a constant basis.  Often, even with out heeding or seeking wise counsel, they step into a long term decision without seeking the primary guidance they should be seeking.  God’s.  So many voices are calling for their attention.  An lucrative career, an attractive person, a request for their talents.  All these voices are calling loudly to them, wanting them to choose their way.  In actuality, distracting them altogether.  The lucrative career voice calling, “Pick me!  I will give you all the money you will ever need!”  The attractive person yelling, “I love you!  You need me to complete you!”  The request for their talent saying, “Use me, I will take you further than you ever imagined!”  But something is missing.  There is a still small voice in the background.  Its God.  And He is whispering, “Follow me, and I’ll give you everything according to my riches, in MY timing.  All the money you need, all the talent you need, the relationship you need, AND you’ll be happier because I’m in it.”

One thing you need to purpose to do is silence those other voices.  Don’t let them choose your path for you.  Instead of submitting to the loudest, most attractive voice, submit your heart to the Lord and follow him.  How?  By seeking Hiim (Matthew 6:33 – “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.“).  Elijah could have easily been distracted by the events occurring, strong wind, earthquakes, and fire, but he was seeking the still small voice of the Lord.  That doesn’t mean these other paths aren’t the right things, but have you sought the Lord and His leading to that path?  Let Him bring you to the right choice, whether it be career, talent, a relationship or anything.  Let God bring you there in His timing.  Anything else is out of His will.  Surrender your heart to Him and he will direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6)!

You can make a difference today by seeking the still small voice of the Lord, and silencing the loud voices of distraction.  Make the wise choice, seek godly counsel, pray and submit your heart to Him BEFORE you know His will.  That’s what true surrender is.  Then, let Him guide you to the right choices in your life.

Making a Difference – Not for Preachers Only

Making a Difference

Making a Difference – Not for Preachers Only

October 28, 2014

By Paul Chappell (www.dailyintheword.org)

 

*I had to share this daily devotion I received today in light of what God laid on my heart from yesterday, it seems God is trying to tell us something.

 

2 Timothy 4:1–3 – “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers having itching ears;”

One of the greatest truths of the Christian life is that the Lord is coming back. Knowing that we will one day give an account to Him of what we have done, we should be motivated to serve him. The instruction that Paul gave to Timothy regarding his response to this truth is applicable to all of us. Each of God’s children should be ready to present a clear and compelling case for the gospel at a moment’s notice. We need to recognize that we live in a world that more and more hates the truth. That does not mean that we should give up and retreat but that we should increase our efforts to proclaim the gospel.

We see this pattern in the early church. When leaders like James were martyred, laymen like Stephen and Philip took up the challenge and confronted Jews, Samaritans, and foreigners with the Good News. Because it was the different members of the church who were presenting the gospel everywhere they went, those who opposed the church found it impossible to stamp out the message, no matter what they did to the leaders. While it is possible that in the future we will face great persecution even in America if we are faithful to the truth, the best way to prepare for such an event is to be faithful now. God’s plan is for each member of the church, not just those in leadership roles, to be a witness.

Today’s Renewal Principle:

God’s calling to be witnesses of the gospel is for every believer, not just those in full time ministry.

Making a Difference – Do the work of an evangelist

Making a Difference

Making a Difference – Do the work of an evangelist

October 27, 2014

By Jeff Rybold

 

2 Timothy 4:5 – “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

D. L. Moody visited a prison called “The Tombs” to preach to the inmates. After he had finished speaking, Moody talked with a number of men in their cells. He asked each prisoner this question, “What brought you here?” Again and again he received replies like this: “I don’t deserve to be here.” “I was framed.” “I was falsely accused.” “I was given an unfair trial.” Not one inmate would admit he was guilty. Finally, Moody found a man with his face buried in his hands, weeping. “And what’s wrong, my friend?” he inquired. The prisoner responded, “My sins are more than I can bear.” Relieved to find at least one man who would recognize his guilt and his need of forgiveness, the evangelist exclaimed, “Thank God for that!” Moody then had the joy of pointing him to a saving knowledge of Christ—a knowledge that released him from his shackles of sin.

How often do we frustrate ourselves in an effort to inform others of their sinful condition?  How many times do we point out that breaking God’s law is a sin against a Holy God, only to see them walk away with never choosing the one true gift of salvation?  I pray we never lose sight of our calling, to do the work of an evangelist.  Press on my brother, keep on keeping on my sister.  Do the work, fight the fight, keep the faith, press toward the mark, run the race.  But don’t forget to Preach the Word of God!

Every Christian is called to Preach the word.  Not everyone is called to be a pastor or a preacher.  Not everyone fits those qualifications.  But everyone can do the work of an evangelist.  2 Timothy 4:2 says “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”  Every born again believer can do that.  Our purpose is to do that.  To preach the gospel, to live the gospel, to be an example of the gospel.  Being a light that is shining forth that others will be drawn to it in this dark world.  We aren’t called to point at this persons sin, or that persons sin specifically, but to declare the truth that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God and need a savior.  Not only that, but the penalty of death has been paid by Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary.  He died and rose again.  Lead them to Him, show them the light and truth.  Guide them to the only Way to God, which is Christ Jesus alone.

You can make a difference today by doing the work of an evangelist.  It’s time to break out of your comfort zone and preach the word of God!  Acts 5:42 “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

Making a Difference – Holding Faith

Making a Difference

Making a Difference – Holding Faith

October 24, 2014

By Jeff Rybold

 

1 Timothy 1:18-20 – “18 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightiest war a good warfare; 19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:  20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Some years ago a bargeman and a collier were in a boat above the rapids of a cataract, and found themselves unable to manage it, being carried so swiftly down the current that they must both inevitably be borne down and dashed to pieces. One was saved by grasping a rope that was thrown to him. The same instant that the rope came into his hand, a log floated by the other man. The thoughtless and confused bargeman, instead of seizing the rope, laid hold on the log. It was a fatal mistake; they were both in imminent peril; but one was drawn to shore, because he had a connection with the people on the land, while the other, clinging to the loose, floating log, was borne irresistibly along, and never heard of afterwards. Faith has a saving connection with Christ. Faith is on the shore, holding the rope, and, as we lay hold of it with the hand of our confidence, He pulls us to the shore; but our good works, having no connection with Christ, are drifted along down to the gulf of despair.

Paul charged Timothy, as a commander charges his troops, saying to him essentially, that he wanted him to war a good warfare, fight a good fight.  In doing so, he must hold (not past tense, but present) faith, and a good conscience.  Imagine being in the middle of a fight, the army with the best line of communication with the field commander will win the battle.  One of the reasons the United States military is so effective and so precise isn’t because we use advanced tactics, its not because we have the best technology in weapons, its not because we have the most people.  Its because the stress of communication, both visual and verbal, is the most stressed quality to successfully win a campaign.  “Effective communication equals effective combat.”  That’s the phrase I used to tell my students when I was a Combat Readiness Instructor at Robins AFB.  Its a phrase I use today to train teenagers to be Godly young men and women.  Its very true in every aspect of life.  Much more so in our walk with God.

Like the bargemen grabbing the rope, holding tight to his safety to the shore.  You must grab hold of your faith in God and safety by effectively communicating with the Lord.  Don’t look back and say “I held faith.”  Look forward and say “I’m holding faith.”  Presently, strong, faithfully, hold faith.  Hymenaeus and Alexander in verse 20 are said to have “put away” their faith and were not holding it.  Like an anchor for a ship, they drifted away from God and became shipwreck, delivered unto Satan.  Not to say that they lost their salvation and went to Hell, but what it says in 1 Corinthians 5:5 “To deliver such an one unto Satan for destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”  Where the body has been destroyed by the god of this world, but the spirit of that saved person, still is with the Lord.

To put your faith away is a dangerous thing.  Letting go of the anchor, turning off the communication, releasing the rope, whatever illustration you want to use, is a dangerous step for you as a believer and can lead you to a physical destruction.  You are going to go through trials.  You are going to go through temptations, tribulations, persecutions and the like.  Without holding faith, you can not, on your own, succeed.  1 Corinthians 10:12-13 “12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.  13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:  but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

You can make a difference today by holding faith.  Only God can bring you victory in your life.  John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have tribulation:  but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Making a Difference – Being counted on as faithful

Making a Difference

Making a Difference – Being counted on as faithful

October 22, 2014

By Jeff Rybold

 

1 Timothy 1:12 – “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;

When he was appointed as the pastor a church in Cambridge, England, in 1783 Charles Simeon was delighted. The people of the church did not share his joy. Many of the prominent members of the church opposed his convictions on reaching the lost with the gospel. To show their displeasure they locked their pew boxes during the service and left them empty so that those who came to hear Simeon preach had to stand or sit in the aisles. Eventually God began to work, and Simeon’s ministry had a powerful influence on the nation of England and the world through his efforts to encourage missionary work.

During the dark days of opposition Simeon wrote: “In this state of things I saw no remedy but faith and patience…. It was painful indeed to see the church, with the exception of the aisles, almost forsaken; but I thought that if God would only give a double blessing to the congregation that did attend, there would on the whole be as much good done as if the congregation were doubled and the blessing limited to only half the amount. This comforted me many, many times, when without such a reflection, I should have sunk under my burden.”

Opposition does not mean that we are doing things wrong—often it is evidence that we are doing things right. If we allow ourselves to be deterred from doing anything unless we have complete approval, it is certain that we will never accomplish anything of value. Rather than being discouraged by opposition, we should take comfort in God’s faithfulness and keep on doing what is right.

What must be remembered most of all, God has enabled you.  God has put you in the ministry.  God is in control.  God gives the increase.  God, through you, a weak, frail, earthly vessel, still wants to use you to reach the world with His Good News!  Jesus Christ has come, died and risen again.  Believe in Him and thou shalt be saved!  I am so thankful for the enabling power of God, but even more so, that God Himself will count you as faithful if you are faithful, and put you in your ministry.

You can make a difference today by faithfully stewarding your life for God.  As you faithfully contend for the faith, He will enable you and put you in directly in the ministry He has called you to serve!

Making a Difference – Purpose to pray for others

Making a DifferenceMaking a Difference – Purpose to pray for others

October 21, 2014

By Jeff Rybold

 

1 Timothy 2:1-2 – “1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” 

“I’d rather be able to pray than be a great preacher; Jesus Christ never taught His disciples how to preach, but only how to pray.”—D. L. Moody

There is far more instruction in God’s Word about praying than there is about preaching.  You don’t see Christ say “When ye preach, do in like manner.”  But He does say, “After this manner therefore pray ye…” (Matthew 6:9).  Examples abound about the impact of Spirit filled prayer, from the influence Hezekiah had in 2 Kings 20:1-7 when he was about to die (then God heard his prayer and gave him 15 more years) to Elijah’s prayer for no rain (and God granted his request and rain didn’t come for 3 1/2 years in 1 Kings 17:1 – 18:2 and mentioned in James 5:17).  Even to the simple instruction of praying without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

If there is one area of life that a Christian (including the author of this blog) needs to purpose more fervently, its in their prayer life.  In the passage of scripture for today, Paul exhorts us to improve our prayer life.  Not by having us pray for our own needs, but to purpose to pray for others.  A close friend of mine has a prayer ministry called S.P.I.T.  Kind of a silly acronym, but it helped me remember what to pray for others.  Supplications, Prayers, Intercessions, and Thanksgiving for others.  If every Christian could remember to pray in accordance to God’s model for others, I believe quiet and peaceable lives would follow, just as God’s Word says.

Its no accident that God entered these verses into the Bible.  It’s divine inspiration for you and me to apply this biblical concept of prayer.  Instead of thinking about the negatives of people, when you pray for others, including your enemies, you pray for God’s purpose for them.  That God’s purpose will be done.  Praying for the authorities in our lives, praying for (and being thankful for) your friends, praying for the decision makers, all of those will give opportunity for a peaceable life here on earth.  If all the leaders of the nations of the world would submit to God and tune their hearts to God, peace could come to earth.  You may say, “That’ll never happen!”  And you know what, as long as we don’t make it a matter of purposeful prayer, you are absolutely correct.  But if Christians will do as God instructs and purpose to pray for others, I believe God will do exactly that.  Bring Peace through salvation to the entire world.  But its up to us to communicate with God.  1 Timothy 2:3-4 “3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

You can make a difference today by purposing to pray for others.  Not just general prayers, but specific prayers for supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving!

“What the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use—men of prayer, men mighty in prayer.”—E.M. Bounds

Making a Difference – Set Free by Truth

Making a Difference

Making a Difference – Set Free by Truth

October 20, 2014

By Jeff Rybold

 

John 8:31-32 – “31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

 

I remember when tolerance was respecting another persons position, even when you disagreed.  Every belief system is exclusive.  Secular society says everyone is right, and anyone that disagrees is wrong.  Kind of hypocritical don’t you think?  Every exclusive belief system has a basis of authority, a foundation in which it is built off of.  Tolerance is based off of a feeling in the gut of what is right and wrong (or what is right in their own eyes).  As Christians, the basis of our belief is the written Word of God.  When someone comes up and mocks you about standing firm on God’s word, I wonder, where do they get their basis of belief?  Their feelings?  That is often the answer, “it just feels like the right thing.”  Gee, what ground breaking developments!  I hope you sense the sarcasm.

God’s truths (or doctrine) are something I love, but I love it for what it produces, not just because of what it is.  Like a window, you can look at it or look through it.  Many people look at the window and see the glass, they see the beauty of it, they see the detail in its construction, they notice the attributes of how it was made and who made it.  But they don’t look through it and what the purpose of that window is, to see what is on the other side, to see the results of that window.  God’s truth isn’t just there for us to look at it, its there to conform us into the image of Christ, its there to allow us to see things from a certain perspective.  God’s perspective.  The truths of God will set us free if we are willing to apply it to our lives instead of just reading it and knowing it.  The truths from God are far more than just a knowledge, but a lifestyle.

You can make a difference today by looking through the window of God’s truth.  Seeing things from God’s perspective, His Word, will fortify and establish us on the one true authority that will for the foundation of all of our decisions.  Much better to build your belief system on The God that knows all, then on your feelings and your understanding, especially if you can’t even remember where you put your keys this morning.

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