Faith doesn't call attention to itself.

Faith doesn't call attention to itself

Those of us who follow Jesus do good because we want the attention to be given to our Heavenly Father; not to us!

Matthew 6:1-4 says “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” 

Here Jesus is not just talking to the ‘down and out’ and sinners of society. Here He has moved His focus and His attention toward the church goers; toward those that might consider themselves to be religious. What I see Jesus teaching us in this particular passage is that He is warning us not to be like the world. Here, He is saying I need you to examine your motives. Often times the biggest problem that the church has is that we are still trying to be the center of attention. We are still trying to be the ones on our own stage of life.

Jesus asks us to look at our own life and says the best thing that we can possibly do, is to just get over ourselves! He says that the only reward that we are ever going to get by making ourselves the center of attention is a quick pat on the back every once in a while; nothing more, nothing less. 

The world likes to draw attention to itself when it does a good deed. Publicists are hired and people ‘spin’ and they do their best to make themselves look as good as possible; this is the way the world does things. We can even ‘spin’ our own lives on social media now, in the same ways that politicians do and in the same way that Hollywood does; and we are able to be the center of attention all the time. God looks at that and says there is a better way to do life than that; there is a better reward than that! 

There are a lot of civic organizations out there that call themselves churches. But when it’s all said and done, they are just ‘good deed’ doing places. Now, there is nothing wrong with just doing ‘good deeds’. In fact, that’s what Jesus tells us to do; but He wants us to bring glory to Him when we do it! When Jesus gave the command to go forth and to share and to give and to do much, Jesus didn’t just say “I want you to give a cup of water.” Jesus told His disciples, “I want you to give a cup of water, in my name!” (Matthew 10:42) That’s what makes us a church. Faith doesn’t call attention to itself; Faith calls attention to the Father! 

When we do good things we do it in the name of Jesus so that He will be lifted up and glorified; not so that we will look good. Over the course of the next few years, we are going to be one of the most active communities of believers that Maryland has ever seen; we are going to make a difference! But we will not do it for our glory; we will do it so that the name of Jesus will be proclaimed. Not just a cup of water, but a cup of water in Jesus’ name! -Pastor John B. Smith

Posted by Pastor John B. Smith with
Tags: faith, reward

Children of God

Children of God

Some of you are in good places in your family right now, and some of you are in bad places. Some of you are frustrated in your families and I just want to let you know that God cares passionately about your family and what you’re going through, and He’s here to fill your family with a new grace. In Genesis we see how the aftershock of sin and how the struggle begins to work its way through the family structure. Even in the origin of family, sin begins to cause pain. Now, God isn’t saying this is the way it should be, He is saying this is the way it is when I am not the source. We were made for God’s family, you were made for unconditional love, you were made for grace and for acceptance; you were made to be delighted in.

Family should be a place of nurturing, a place where we get our very core identity; where our hearts and hopes are shaped. Family is a place where our vision and understanding of ourselves is formed so very deeply. But so often in this world, all of that is mis-shaped, and we live under what can feel more like a curse than under the grace of God’s love. In families that are curse-full families, long records are kept and stuff is thrown in each other’s faces and there are pointed barbs and humor is used as a tool to wound; passive aggressive so that you don’t have to own your stuff. Here’s the deal, own your stuff! We shame, we embarrass, we guilt, it’s all a form of the curse brought about from separation with God. 

God didn’t place us in earthly families that it might be about us. The message of the curse is to earn love but the message of the cross is to receive love. Jesus knew who He was, He was God’s beloved and He didn’t earn His love, He just lived the love of the Father because God is so loving! Even on earth with all the imperfections, we can become people full of grace, fully dependant on God alone as our source. We can be families made for grace that accomplish God’s purpose on earth. Until we are living full of God and completely dependent on Him as our sole source of life, we will always be living under a curse and never experiencing family as God intended.

I just want to pray for our families…Father God, we’ve got one shot at this journey on planet earth. This planet is spinning fast through space, and time is passing and life is passing. The seasons are turning and in Jesus’ name, we are just asking for help in terms of getting family right. Lord, open our hearts to the depth of your Word, to the eternal truths that are revealed about you and how you made us to be a family. God help us to be willing to change. Father, build our family, bless our family and help us to accept being your family. We pray this in Jesus’ name, as all God’s peoples say, Amen! -Dr. Drew Shofner

Hold on to His promises.

He will wipe away every tear from our eye

This is the heart of God - He will wipe away every tear from our eyes. One day when the curtain rises, and life begins without any mixture of darkness; you will find the hand of God on your face, wiping away all the regret, all the pain, all the rejection, all the abuse, all the hatred, all the brokenness.

Then there's no more mourning, no more death, or crying or pain. For the old order has passed away and He makes everything new; forever perfect. - Dr. Drew Shofner

Posted by Dr. Drew Shofner with
Tags: faith, heart, hope, pain

Faith interprets life in Heaven's light, not in hell's darkness.

Faith interprets life in Heavens light

When we are cynical about people, the future, the church or anything else, we are advancing the agenda of hell and hindering the work of heaven. Negativity can be a word that you speak to somebody, that's just a critical, well-aimed word from hell, to demean and diminish others.

We are negative because it's in our old nature, because it gives us power over other people, because we are frustrated that our will isn't being done. Frustrated people are negative people, and to live frustrated is not to live at all, it's just to wake up everyday and die a little more!

When you make a choice to quit being negative, you have made a choice that is going to change the course of your life. In Christ we have been given a new nature that trumps the old (2Corinthians 5:17), and we have to make a choice of which nature wins? Real faith is about seeing life differently now, and you see it through the filter of an Almighty and all conquering Kingdom of Heaven that has come unstoppable in Christ! - Dr. Drew Shofner

When you live without grace, you have to fake it 'til you make it.

Fake it ti you make it

When you miss grace, you're always going to stay away from God like a stern parent that you can never please. Religion leaves you stuck, and wears you out. It tries to appear perfect, and tries to force a change that always seems to snap back into old patterns. When you live without grace, you have to try until you're good enough. The question is "How good is good enough?" 

What real faith does, is lead you to respond to the grace and truth of God. Life in Jesus is completely different than religion. It doesn't make you toxic or judgmental or arrogant or churchy. Your faith is no longer a 'Sunday ritual' but it is a 'whole life' relationship with a living God who knows who you are, so you don't have to fake it. - Dr. Drew Shofner

 

 
Posted by Dr. Drew Shofner with

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