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Posts Tagged ‘Ephesians 4:13’

Clarity and Ambiguity

November 10th, 2017

Purity is the spiritual fruit of clarity.

 “Then we will see everything with perfect clarity.”  1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT.

My thoughts and comments today are about,

“Clarity and Ambiguity.”

We live in a world that lacks moral and spiritual clarity. Presently, our country is reeling from the senseless, murderous tragedy of lives taken on this most recent Sunday morning in a Church not far from where I write these thoughts. In vain, our hearts try to understand what our minds cannot explain. Where clarity lacks, confusion fills the void. Opinions pose as facts, but sometimes they are merely opinions. Inevitably, we find some supposed facts to be in dispute. Opinions are as diverse as the people that hold them. Truth is never ambiguous and not lessened by either those who proclaim or disclaim it.

The world longs for clarity yet there is not much that is perfectly clear. Ambiguity seems the norm. Spiritual ambiguity. Moral ambiguity. Political ambiguity. Ambiguity seems to have become the norm. Where there is no clarity there is no truth. When and where you discover truth, you will find clarity. Absolute truth is found in God’s Word and character. Clarity comes from His truth.

The Apostle Paul addressed his problem and ours. We lack clarity. “Now we see things imperfectly as [looking] in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT. Our knowledge is finite; His is infinite. Our comprehension is flawed; His is perfect. Our understanding is partial; His is complete. “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!” Romans 11:33 NIV. Isn’t it foolish, or even arrogant, to assume your experience to be unique or your knowledge to be complete?

The more time you invest in God’s Word, and the more you welcome the Holy Spirit to direct your life, and the more you weave God’s Truth into your daily life, the clearer you will become about direction, relationships, values, integrity, purpose, and destiny. Be clear about your salvation; you are forever sealed by the blood of Jesus. Be clear about your victory in Christ; in Him, you are more than a conqueror. Be clear about your purpose; you are here to advance His Kingdom. Be clear about your identity; you are who God says you are. Be clear about eternal life; Jesus prepared a place with Him for all eternity. All other opinions to the contrary are superfluous.

I have found these words to be clarifying and a promise of what is ahead for us, “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” Prov 4:18 NIV. “When He shall come, we will be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.” Here is God’s goal for you, and should be yours as well. “Until we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:13 NKJV. Clarity about Who God is, what His Word says, and who you are in Christ produces purity of heart and life. Purity is the spiritual fruit of clarity. “Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” Read 1 John 3:2-3 NIV“Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” Read 1 John 3:2-3 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to be clear about your destiny and confident in His promises.

Christian Communications 2017

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Integrity and Skillfulness

December 9th, 2015

Allen Randolph

For any of you living in the St Louis, MO/Granite City, IL area, I will be speaking next Sunday, December 13, 10:45 am, at City Temple, 4751 Maryville Rd, Granite City, IL. I would love to meet you after the service.

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“Bless all his skills, O Lord; be pleased with the work of his hands.” Deuteronomy 33:11 NIV.

The Gifts and anointing of the Holy Spirit are invaluable.

My thoughts and comments today are about “Integrity and Skillfulness.”

You have a potential beyond whatever your natural abilities and talents may be. If you wish to realize your potential and be exceptionally successful, there are skills you will need to acquire – intellectual, social, business, writing, speaking, and other practical skills of everyday life that require your best effort and diligent practice. However well you develop your natural skills, there is a spiritual potential that is important to your becoming all that God has designed you to be. Beyond your own best efforts, God offers something more – His blessing and anointing. The Gifts and anointing of the Holy Spirit are invaluable. Without those, the best of yourself will never be realized. Ephesians 4:13 NIV.

In particular, our current theme of “Integrity” has focused on God’s testimony about David from Psalm 78:72 NKJV, “So David shepherded (fed) them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided (led) them by the skillfulness of his hands.” David’s heart aligned with God’s heart. From his heart and hands, David fulfilled God’s ministry assignment to him; David fed and led Israel with integrity and skills. God is interested in both your inner character and outward skills. To fully achieve God’s calling upon your life, both who you are and what you can do will be required.

David demonstrated qualifications of both heart and hands. With a shepherd’s sling David evidenced physical skills to protect his father’s sheep against a lion and a bear, which prepared him to defeat Goliath without fear or hesitation. Read 1 Samuel 17:32-37. Equally important, God used David’s spiritual sensitivities and musical skills to soothe Saul’s troubled spirit and refresh the King with rest. David was described as one, “who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him.” Read 1 Samuel 16:16-23. The final phrase is the most important of all that is said about David. That is quite a well-rounded description of attributes.

In matters of ministry and service, a spiritually empty heart results in hands without blessing to God or for man; a heart overflowing with God results in life-giving hands toward others. Jesus was clear, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45 NIV. There must be consistency of your heart and hands. A simple act of touch has the power of spiritual impartation. A hand reaching out to another offers hope and help. Your hand on a shoulder can encourage. A pat on the back can cheer and congratulate. An embrace can express comfort.

As Moses faced the end of his life, he spoke blessings over the twelve tribes, that had arisen from the twelve sons of Jacob. Moses spoke blessing over Levi, the priestly tribe, “Bless all his skills, O Lord; be pleased with the work of his hands.” Deuteronomy 33:11 NI V. It is interesting to read the entire chapter, Deuteronomy 33. God has personal blessings just for you.

Today, I pray for you that your skills would be blessed and useful to God’s purposes.

Reminder: This is the final of three devotionals, “Integrity and Potential, Integrity of Heart, and Integrity and Skillfulness.” All of this series are available at the EDL website, www.allenrandolph.com. If you have not yet listened to my video teaching on Integrity titled, “Heart and Hands,” I encourage you to do so. Just click on the title here . .

Christian Communications

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High Standards

August 28th, 2015

“Whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Colossians 3:17 NIV.

Passionately protest mediocrity.

My thoughts and comments today are about “high standards.”

Standards are important to a worthwhile life. Standards provide a benchmark – a standard of excellence against which similar things must be measured or judged – for what you deem acceptable or unacceptable. Using others as your standard is inadequate. If you don’t establish your standards, your friends or the surrounding culture will. “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 NIV.

A person with low standards ultimately has no standards. The Father’s intention for us is clear: “Until we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a [mature] man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:13 NKJV. That is a high standard, fully achievable in Christ Jesus. Maturity is your destiny in Christ.

Some years ago, while teaching a Pastoral Counseling class to young Bible school students, I needed to define spiritual maturity in practical terms. This is my definition, “Spiritual maturity is rightly responding to life’s situations according to Biblical patterns of behavior.” That defines our Savior and should describe you and me. Christ-likeness should always be your choice. In any and every situation, you are presented with this choice, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 NKJV.

Spiritual conformation is the progression by which the Holy Spirit accomplishes that. “We know that when Jesus is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” 1 John 3:2 NKJV. Meanwhile, “We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV. Maturity is much more than increasing Biblical knowledge. Maturity is the embodiment of Biblical truth woven into the fabric of daily life – how you think, what you will sacrifice, what you believe, how you behave, what you value, how you live.

God’s Word and Christ’s example are high standards, not achievable apart from submission to the Lordship of Christ and dependence upon the indwelling power of the Spirit. Paul applied these high standards in simple, practical terms: bear with each other; forgive grievances; embrace love; let peace rule; be thankful; let the Word dwell in you; admonish with wisdom. Paul’s summary was, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Read Colossians 3:12-17 NIV. Passionately protest mediocrity; for me, that says it all.

Today, I pray for you that Jesus is the high standard to which you aspire.

Christian Communications

EDL PIX and quote standards

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The Grace of Serving

June 9th, 2014

“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.”  Mark 10.45 NKJV.

You are truly a servant when not offended to be treated as one.

Today, my thoughts and comments are about, “the grace of serving.”

Who comes to your mind as having a servant heart? My Mom was like that. I observed her joyfully exercise this practical, spiritual gift of serving throughout her lifetime. For some serving is a God-given gift in their nature. For most of us, serving must become a purposeful development of Godly character and intentional practice. Jesus is your perfect example.

And you and I are called to be like Jesus. Now that is a most staggering goal but there is help. “We know that when He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is.” 1 John 3.2 NIV. But that is then, and this is now. I would describe this as a process, a progressive work of the Holy Spirit that is life-long. None of us is a finished product in this life time. It doesn’t happen naturally, nor very quickly either.  

There are days when being even a little more like Jesus seems a pretty big task. His goal is clear: “Until we all . . become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:13 NIV. People often have fairly strange ideas of what that might look like. I find that most spiritual things are a lot more practical and simple than you might make them. When people make spiritual development mystical and complex, they can easily excuse themselves from responsibility to even begin the journey.

Here’s where you begin. Commit yourself to find opportunities to serve others, like Jesus did. “Just as the Son did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28 NIV. Jesus didn’t have to serve; He chose to serve. Philippians 2:5-9 NKJV. Serving is a family trait. You choose to serve. You become more like Jesus when you know that serving pleases Jesus most. Pleasing Him is this simple, ”. . through love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13 NKJV. Serving requires grace, and all grace begins with God.

The disciples were shocked when Jesus knelt to wash their feet. See John 13:12-15. Such a thing was culturally unthinkable, cross-grain to their pride of self and station. They had a lot to learn, and it would be a hard lesson for them. They were looking to be heads of state in His new government. Mark 10:35-41 NIV. Servants of God care more for others than themselves.  

Jesus turned the world system upside down so in His Kingdom it would be right side up. Those insisting on being served are the lesser important in His Kingdom. Jesus said those with a humble and caring heart who choose to wrap a servant’s towel around their waist and joyfully give themselves to serve are the great ones. See Luke 22:24-27 NIV. There comes a nobility with a serving heart. Those who serve are not demeaned; in God’s eyes, they are elevated.

My dear friend and spiritual father, Campbell, wisely said, “Allen, if you want to know how well you are doing as a servant, notice your reaction when someone treats you like one.” That is a good and practical measure of your progress, or lack thereof. A strong dose of servanthood is beneficial, producing serving as a lifestyle, rather than an occasional occurrence. When you enjoy serving, you develop a servant-heart and become more like Jesus.

Today, my prayer for you is that you will feel the joy of opportunities to serve God and others.

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Process and Progress

August 26th, 2013

“Be diligent . . so that everyone may see your progress.” 1 Timothy 4:15 NIV

All real progress results from a sound process.

My thoughts and comments today are about “process and progress.”

Sometimes, hurry results in some things – even important things – getting overlooked while other things do not get done at all, minimizing things that were done. Spiritual growth and character development are things that do not happen in a hurry. The same God who stood in the midst of chaos and nothingness and simply commanded, “Let there be . . and there was,” (See Genesis 1) has wisely chosen that His significant work in your heart and life results from a specific, individualized process – rarely immediate, seldom easy, but accomplishing visible progress.

The result is not questionable for God. “I am God . . declaring the end from the beginning.” Isaiah 46:10 NKJV. For your benefit, He is committed to your journey from where you are to where you are going, from what you were to what you are becoming. I admit I am a “point A to point B kind of guy.” I get fixed on a destination and am eager to get there. In a hurry, I have missed a lot of scenery and memories along the way; without my wife, I might have missed a lot more.

As a younger parent, I foolishly assumed that parenting was just doing whatever was necessary whenever it was necessary. Fortunately for our family, Gayle was wiser and more farsighted; she understood that parenting is a process requiring love, forgiveness, attention, effort, instruction, correction, and especially time. My understanding of parenting changed when she said, “I am not just raising children; I am training children to be responsible, Godly adults.” In noticeable and measurable ways, our children and grandchildren’s progress is the fruit of her wise and Godly process.

Nature teaches this principle of process and progress, “The Kingdom of God is like . . planted seeds in a field . . first a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens.” See Mark 4:26-29 NLT. That’s also how the Holy Spirit works in your life, however much you might wish it to be different. What’s your rush? Be patient. When you rush the process you diminish spiritual growth; others will see activity but it won’t be progress.

God invests Himself in your journey as well as your destination. Your destiny is firmly set in grace. His expectation of your cooperation is clear, “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them so that everyone may see your progress.” 1 Timothy 4:15 NIV. Some measure of your achievement of God’s intention for your spiritual growth rests with your cooperation, or lack thereof.

God’s objective is clear; “Until we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:13 NKJV. Growth comes while God perfects your weaknesses, builds your character, develops your gifts, and prevents your mistakes from wrongly affecting others. God’s process may not be evident to others but your progress will be. “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.” Matthew 5:16 NKJV.

My prayer for you this day is: be persuaded of progress and patient with the process.

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