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Giving Thanks

As Thanksgiving approaches, I am busy getting ready to host our family for that famous meal. I make special recipes that I don’t make any other time of the year. Most of us have a set menu for our Thanksgiving meal that can’t be changed; like turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie!

It is also a time for remembering all that we have to be grateful for. Our family always goes around the table to say what we are thankful for before we dig in. Family is the overwhelming response at our table. I am so grateful for my family! I miss those who can’t be with us.

But recently I have come across some verses that remind me of other things I have to be so grateful for. Because of Christ, I am blessed beyond all measure. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ Jesus with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 1:3a ESV) God doesn’t give me some blessings, he gives me every spiritual blessing. Later in Ephesians, Paul tells them God gave them the Holy Spirit as a guarantee that he will give us our inheritance he promised. Paul also says in Ephesians 2:6 that we are seated in the heavenly realms with Christ. It is really mind boggling what God has given us in Christ.

Paul also reminds the Corinthians of the same thing. “I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. Through him, God has enriched your church in every way-with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge. This confirms that what I told you about Christ is true. Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 1:4-7 NLT)

I have, you have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Not only can we be thankful for family, our country, but the gifts that God has showered on us. God generously gives to us even though we do not deserve it. We can’t do anything to earn his gifts. We are blessed beyond all measure in Christ Jesus our Lord. As my family goes around the table this Thanksgiving, I will give thanks and praise to God for all his spiritual blessing. How about you?

Scripture blogs

Psalm 42:5,8 Dealing with Discouragement

“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again- my Savior and my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you… But each day the LORD pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life.” (Psalm 42:5,8)

The Psalmist had every reason to be discouraged. His faith was being attacked by his enemies, he was suffering physically, and he was not in Jerusalem where he longed to worship God.

There are many reasons for discouragement today. Hatred is surfacing everywhere. Politically, our nation seems split between party lines and each party is unwilling to work with the other to accomplish anything. There are health issues, money issues, relationship conflicts, work stress and unfulfilled desires and dreams. The list goes on and on. We each have our own circumstances that drain our positive outlook on life.

In my last blog, I related that focusing on God’s promises for my future really helps me. But there are other ways to fight discouragement. The Psalmist tells us how he takes courage. The Psalmist described his miseries and why he was discouraged, but he also remembered what he needed to do in response. He focused on God and his unfailing love. He chose to put his hope in God. He remembered God and his character. He sang his songs in the night, songs of praise.

My biggest take away from this Psalm? I have a choice. I can focus on the depressing stuff or I can focus on God and his character. I can focus on God’s promises. I can focus on my new Identity in Christ.

Shifting my mind to God and the truth is not easy. It is a battle! My mind habitually zeros in on all that is wrong. I begin to feel sorry for myself. I am robbed of joy. As my thoughts continue down that road, I experience depressing feelings that tempt me to quit……to quit believing God’s character because he doesn’t change my circumstances. I stop trying to do anything except make myself feel better. I become self-focused.

What we think about is so important, not because it make us feel better, but because in doing so we are fighting the powers of darkness. Discouragement is one of Satan’s biggest tools to weaken our faith. If he can discourage us enough, we might give up the good fight. This renders us harmless in the battle, and Satan scores a victory.

I don’t know about you, but I do not want Satan to win in my life. I want to fight him with everything I have. And fortunately, I have the Holy Spirit living in me to equip me for battle. When I am blue, I have to remember. When I am blue, I must choose to pray for help to change my focus. I need to pray for a passage or verse to give me hope.

When I have hope despite my unpleasant circumstances, I win against Satan. I am a witness for Christ. I am a light in the darkness. I bring God to glory. Let’s fight the battle together and choose to remember God, his character, and his promises when life presents us with discouraging situations. Let’s remember what the gospel has done for us

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Heaven on Earth

I confess, I was grumbling and complaining last evening, mostly in my mind. But it left me feeling grumpy and blue. Why? Because I was looking at my circumstances. I was counting all the health issues I have going on right now- seven. I was complaining because in my opinion there are so many people around me that aren’t putting God first in their lives. They are making choices contrary to his will. People who I love deeply and want the best for them. I was discouraged because I don’t feel like my writing is going anywhere. I just wanted to give up, no more blogging.

I knew exactly what my problem was, I was focusing on the wrong stuff. But I allowed myself to wallow for a while in my misery and disappointment with life. Let’s face it, no one ever has a perfect set of circumstances. There are always challenging relationships, trials and difficulties which are a part of everyone’s life. Life is hard a lot of time. Life can be exciting, joyful, fulfilling, satisfying and rewarding too, but it isn’t often enough. At least, that is how I felt last night.

I don’t mean to sound like a pessimist. I just know life never quite turns out how I planned or dreamed it to be. God enlightened me this morning about my problem. I am impatient. I want heaven on earth now! I want life to be perfect. I don’t want life to be disappointing and hard. Every time I place my expectation on this life to be like heaven, I get discouraged. Why do I do that to myself? I need to remember that heaven is coming someday but it is not now.

Jesus warned us about life here on earth. “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NLT) He did not tell his disciples that once they believed in him, his Father would make life comfortable and easy for them. He told them they could have peace despite their circumstances. He told them to take heart, cheer up! He had overcome, he had won the victory over Satan. He wanted them to remember that Satan was already defeated, but he was still going to wreak havoc for a time.

I have to be patient for God’s plan to be fulfilled in his timing. When Satan is finally thrown into the lake of fire, God will create a new heaven and new earth. Literally, heaven will be on earth! The two become one and it will be far greater and better than I could ever plan. Even if all my plans and dreams came true in this life, it would pale in comparison to what God has in store. I can rejoice and have peace, knowing that I get to participate in the new heaven and new earth! I need to keep my focus on that stuff. Join me in focusing on the eternal promises we have, not on life’s imperfections. Then we can experience his peace and his joy, instead of feeling grumpy and blue.

Scripture blogs

Masterpiece

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT) This verse has become one of my favorites. God considers me his masterpiece. Not just a work of art you would see at an art fair, but a precious work that is worthy to be shone in the greatest museum. I think of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci which is enclosed in a glass case at the Louvre Museum in Paris. This painting is protected from anyone touching it or sunlight or temperature variations. It is highly valuable, said to be priceless.

That is how God looks at me. I am priceless to him. I am valuable to the creator of the Universe because he made me. “You made all the delicate inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous- how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.” (Psalm 139:13-15 NLT) David understood God was forming him in his mother’s womb. It wasn’t genes making the decisions about who he would be, but God’s handiwork through genes.

God not only created me physically, but he recreated me spiritually when I placed my faith in Christ. I am a new creation according to II Corinthian 5:17. He made me alive spiritually so I could do good things. Before Christ, I couldn’t do any good things. I could only live by my flesh to satisfy its desires.

I’m not saying before Christ I could never be kind or generous or forgiving, but I was doing it for the wrong reason. I wanted to feel good about myself, not to bring glory to God. Before Christ, I sought my significance in other things, not from how God looked at me. So, is that truly good in God’s eyes? If my motivation was to seek my significance in what I did, leaving God out of the picture then in God’s economy it isn’t all that good. But when I seek to do good things because I understand who I am – I am complete and I am righteous. Then I am motivated for the right reasons and I bring glory to God.

God has created specific good things for me to do personally. He designed me for a particular purpose. He gave me my personality, my talents, my spiritual gifts, my looks, etc. to fulfill his master plan he designed for me long ago. What an adventure to follow God and discover the good things he has planned for me to do!

I don’t have to do great things for God to impress him. He is already enthralled with me. I am to discover those good things he has for me to do. As I follow him, he will guide me and show me. Maybe his plan is for me to write a book (only time will tell) or just drive a friend to a job interview. One is not more important than another in his eyes. God is delighted with both because he is watching me fulfill his plan. All good things are equal in his sight.

So, I try to remember who I am in Christ daily so I do not seek my significance from other things. I take great delight knowing that God views me as his masterpiece. I try to listen to his voice to guide me throughout my day to fulfill the good things his has for me to do. Remember you also are his masterpiece, not a mediocre work of art or even a piece of junk. You are priceless!

 

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Oasis

I hiked in the desert yesterday with my husband, just outside of Palm Springs, California. Not only was it beautiful, it was hot! We went in the morning around 8:30 to escape the heat that was sure to come as the day progressed. But even at 9:00 in the morning, the sun was blazing down on us, making us sweat. We were so thankful we had water bottles with us.

It wasn’t a long hike, just a little over a mile. The reward at the end was a tranquil oasis, right in the middle of the desert. It was so calm and peaceful. The water was so still that it acted like a gigantic mirror for all the palms and tall green grass surrounding it. You could feel the cooling effect of the pond just standing at its edge. We didn’t have time to linger, but it was worth the hot trek through the sand and dry bush to gaze on its unexpected splendor.

I have never really been hiking in the desert before. I have a new appreciation for what it must have been like for the Israelites wandering in the desert. I hiked one mile, they hiked for 40 years. I have been very critical of the Israelites in the past for their grumbling and complaining.

They experienced so many miracles as God rescued them from Egypt. How could they not trust him? But as they traveled further and further away from Egypt, and the memory of their slavery grew dimmer and dimmer, they began to grumble. It couldn’t have been easy trekking through the desert with all those people, not knowing where their food and water would come from. I can image being extremely hot and tired from walking all day. I would have been prone to grumbling and complaining myself.

Let’s face it, the Israelites didn’t understand God’s character that well. Yes, he had delivered them, but was he trustworthy? Would God always take care of them? It probably seemed like God forgot about them while they were in slavery all those years. Would he forget them again?

Listen to them, “Give us water to drink!”, they demanded. “Quiet!” Moses replied. “Why are you complaining against me? And why are you testing the LORD?” But tormented by thirst, they continued to argue with Moses. “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Are you trying to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst?” (Exodus 17:2b-3 NLT) I used to point my finger at them in judgement for not trusting God.

Yet, I know that as I have walked through “desert times” in my life, I have done a lot of grumbling and complaining myself. I have doubted God’s care for me and his trustworthiness. I have asked God what he was trying to do to me. I have behaved in the same way as the Israelites.

Yet, unlike the Israelites, I now have Jesus who intercedes for me. I no longer have to face God’s wrath like the Israelites did when they complained. I have the Holy Spirit living in me, God’s guarantee of my eternal destination. I have God’s word to teach me about his character and his ways. I have the history of the Israelites to learn from. These precious gifts were given to me as a result of the gospel.

The message of the gospel is my oasis in the desert, my place of refuge and coolness from the heat when life gets hard. Whenever you are wandering in the desert, remember you have an oasis in the promises of God. “But he also turns deserts into pools of water, the dry land into springs of water.” (Psalm 107:35 NLT)

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Warning, Alien Woman Alert!

“There’s an alien woman driving on the road!” I laughed out loud while driving to my friends, thinking about what people were thinking as they drove past me. Why would they think that? Let me tell you a story. God definitely has a sense of humor.
I had promised a friend I would pick her up and drive her to a job interview at 2:30pm on Tuesday because she didn’t have a car. I doubled checked with her that morning and agreed to pick her up by 2:00pm. She lives 10-15 minutes away. That meant I would need to leave no later than 1:50pm. Okay no problem.

I had talked with my daughter about coloring my hair. I was leaving for California to visit my other daughter in two days. We discussed our schedule and decided to color my hair around noon. Plenty of time I thought. Well noon ended up being about 12:45pm. I knew my daughter had to leave by 2:00pm to pick up my grandson at school. I asked my daughter if she still had enough time to color my hair. However, I failed to communicate that I needed to leave by 1:50pm. She assured me she had enough time.

She mixed up the color and began the process of coloring my hair two different colors. Most of you women know that requires placing foil in your hair to separate the colors. I periodically glanced at the clock, as she layered my head with foil. About 1:30pm it dawned on me that I have to let the color process a while. I had not taken that time into account. Horror began to creep over my skull.

I casually asked my daughter when she thought she would be done, not wanting to sound worried. ”It’s going to take a while longer.” “Oh, I said, I really need to leave by 1:50pm.” “What! You never told my you needed to leave by then! Mom I will be lucky to be done coloring your hair by 2:00pm.” I panicked. I didn’t want my friend to be late. I also didn’t want to drive around with foil in my hair!

I quickly grabbed my phone and began to pull up my contacts to search for other women who could drive my friend. I located the first one and frantically called her number. “Please, please pick up,” I thought to myself. No answer. I called the next gal. No answer. I called the third gal. No answer. I began to pray. “Oh, Lord please let one of them call me back and drive her.” I decided to call each of them again. I got the same response. No answer. So, I texted the most likely gal to take my place. She responded a few minutes later with “Sorry, I ‘m shopping with an elderly lady right now.” My heart sunk.

Now I was worried that I would be late. I didn’t want to make my friend late to her interview. My daughter finished my hair at 2:05pm. I rushed out the door, head full of foil, and jumped in my car. Can you picture it? I have foil sticking out everywhere on my head. I looked like an alien with silver antennae ready to blurt out, “take me to your leader.” I can’t imagine what the other drivers thought as I passed them by. I admit it, I drove a little fast at times. Not only to get my friend to her job interview on time, but hoping I might be just a blur to the other drivers and passengers. Getting caught at stoplights was a killer.

I got my friend to her interview at 2:30pm on the dot. Now I had to hurry home and rinse out my hair before my color was ruined and all my hair fell out. I drove as fast as I thought I could. Last thing I needed was to get pulled over by a cop looking like an alien. They might have sent me off to Area 51!

I say God has a sense of humor because my last blog was about not being a slave to my outward appearance. He was testing me to make sure I live what I write. Hope you had a good laugh! I know I did.

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Clothes, clothes, I want more clothes!

I have been a slave to my outward appearance for most of my life. My mother, excited to have a girl, would dress me up in cute little outfits. “Tammy, don’t get your clothes dirty.” At an early age, I understood it was very important to my mother how I appeared to others. I also realized clothes, cute clothes, fashionable clothes, brought me attention. “Oh, don’t you look cute.” I remember being fashionable became a huge goal, as far back as elementary school. I had to have white go-go boots. And I was the first to sport gaucho pants in sixth grade. Clothes became my idol.

I remember looking in the mirror in my early teens. I gave myself an honest evaluation. “Well, you will never be beautiful or gorgeous. You don’t have beautiful eyes or luxurious hair. But at least you can dress well, wear make-up to improve what you have, keep your hair in the latest style and you will pass. You won’t be ugly at least.” Hair and make-up became just as important as clothes.

The world sends that message to women. “Your outward appearance is the most important thing about you.” The number of commercials for make-up, hair care products and clothes reveals the significant emphasis the world places on the image we portray to others. The world trains us that we have to be beautiful to be desirable. That is what all those commercials are driving at, we must look good to attract the opposite sex.

I bought into all of it. I wanted to appear fashionable and put together, so others would approve of me. So, I could eventually snag a husband, a good-looking husband. But once I captivated and subsequently married my good-looking husband, I still felt the burden to look good. I still had women to impress.

However, God has set me free from my slavery to my outward appearance. How? He helped me understand that my outward appearance was a part of my old identity. I have a new identity in Christ. I literally will tell myself in the mirror, “it doesn’t matter what you look like, Tammy, because you are a child of God. You are a beloved disciple. You are an ambassador of Christ.” Then the pressure to look good fades into the background. My perspective changes and I desire to look like Christ not the latest fashion trend.
What freedom I experience when I no longer worry about what I see in the mirror! Clothes are no longer an idol. Do I walk around in gunny sacks? No, I still like clothes and like to have some fashionable items. It is my attitude toward them that is different. I find I’m more content with my closet. I can wear “old” clothes and think nothing of it. I don’t have to have new clothes to make me feel good. I don’t have to look good to know I am valuable to God and others.

I must be honest, I can sometimes slip back into my old thought patterns. “I wonder what she thinks of my outfit?” “I hope I look okay.” “You look awful, change your clothes or put on some make-up!” The heaviness returns and I become a slave once again. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit comes to my rescue most times and reminds me who I am. I am a princess of the King of Kings! I am God’s masterpiece. That identity seems much more significant than any fashion statement I could ever make. Praise be to God, he has set me free!

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Terror in Las Vegas

We woke up today to shocking news about another crazy gunman. This gunman aimed an automatic weapon on a huge crowd in Las Vegas. According to the Washington Post, “A gunman in a high-rise hotel opened fire on a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip late Sunday, killing at least 50 people and wounding more than 200 in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.”

I can’t imagine attending a concert and then being blasted with gunfire that rains down like hail. Navigating through mass confusion, scrambling to safety, terrified that I would be next sounds like a horrible, horrible nightmare. Does this mean we all stay home and never venture out because we might run into a similar situation? Some of us could respond that way.

But how should we respond as Christians to this news? We typically respond with prayer. We pray for comfort of the victims’ families. We pray for both physical and emotional healing for the wounded. We pray for protection from future attacks. What else can we pray? We can pray God will use this tragedy, Satan meant for evil, for good in the lives of those directly affected by it. We can pray God will make himself known to these individuals and he will draw them to himself. We can pray for a renewed spiritual awakening in our towns and cities all across America.

We can also respond with courage, not the courage to face a crazy gunman without fear. I’m talking about a different kind of bravery, one that gives us boldness to share our faith with others. Let’s take our conversations with unbelievers about our scary world and share the confidence we have in Christ. In a world spinning out of control, where people aren’t even safe attending a movie or a concert, running in a marathon, frequenting a restaurant or a bar. We have a great opportunity to share the hope we have in Jesus.

We can share with them how we experience peace despite all the troubling news that bombards us daily. “They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the LORD to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly.” (Psalm 112:7,8 NLT) We can recount to them how God has cared for and loved us. We can relate how we know he is trustworthy. With enough spiritual discussions, we can eventually share the Good News with our unbelieving friends, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NLT)

Just like God, we can turn what Satan meant for evil, into something good in the lives of those around us. We can turn our everyday conversations to spiritual matters. We can testify to God’s love for the world and his desire to grant everyone eternal life. Let’s not fear if bad news will come tomorrow, let’s be confident in God, confident enough to share our faith.

 

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“You chicken!”

“You chicken!” “You didn’t share the gospel with her.” “When are you ever going to get the guts to share the gospel with her?” “God is probably so disappointed with you. You are such a lousy Christian.” Does any of that sound familiar? Have you had those types of conversations with yourself? I have learned over the years those type of thoughts do not come from the Holy Spirit.

How can I know? Because those thoughts aren’t based on the truth of God’s word. Yes, we are commanded to make disciples of all nations. We are to spread the gospel so others can believe. However, God does not call us a lousy Christian. God doesn’t shake his head in disappointment. The Holy Spirit points out sin and convicts us of our guilt, but he does not attack us. His conviction leads us to repentance, not wishing we could crawl under a rock.

Satan has the opposite goal. He wants us to crawl under a rock to render us harmless. He isn’t called the great accuser for grins and giggles. One of his tactics is to attack us with lies once we have sinned. He will use our sin against us, by lying about who we are and God’s response to us. He accuses us with generalities attacking our character and God’s. He wants us to forget that all our sin, past, present and future has already been paid for. He wants us to forget who we are in Christ. He knows the great potential a guilty conscience contains. It can paralyze us, confuse us, defeat us and estrange us from God, if we don’t take care of it properly.

How can we learn to deal with our sin in a healthy manner and combat Satan’s lies? We must remember the truth of the gospel. We have to filter out Satan’s attacks and listen to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Paul commends the Corinthians for their proper response to his rebuke in a previous letter. “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” (2Corinthians 7:10 NIV) Paul was afraid he might have been too harsh in his letter when he rebuked them, but he said they responded with godly sorrow. What did godly sorrow look like? They repented and were motivated to live godly lives. What else does godly sorrow lead to? No regrets. When we live with regret, we live facing the past. It is hard to move forward staring at what’s behind us. We are to live looking forward, to the future.

Paul wrote to the Philippians concerning his attitude about his past and his goals, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13,14 NIV) Paul did not dwell on his past as a Christian persecutor. He understood he was completely forgiven for his past. Paul purposely strained toward the future God had for him.

When the Holy Spirit convicts me of sin, he is specific about the sin. He wants me to deal with the sin, not beat myself up. I usually respond with great sorrow. I am broken-hearted that my sin violates my holy God. I confess it and ask for forgiveness. Once I am forgiven, I can move on without regret. I know that I can ask God for his help so I learn to obey. I pray the Holy Spirit will alert me when I start to go down that same sinful path, so I can immediately stop in my tracks.

Let’s remember the truth of the gospel. We are completely forgiven and face no condemnation. When we hear condemning words in our heads, we won’t believe it! We will acknowledge they come from the pit of hell. Let’s respond when the Holy Spirit points out our sin with godly sorrow, including repentance and pressing on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus.

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Good Job!

“You did such a good job singing today, thank you.” That sounds innocent enough. How many times have you complimented a soloist in a similar manner? I say things like that all the time. What is my motive? To encourage them, at least that’s what I think I am doing. But I have begun to wonder if my compliments are accomplishing what I intend?
Do compliments really encourage others? Since God’s revelation of my glory-stealing tendencies, I question if the way we compliment fellow Christians isn’t problematic. Do our kudos and admiration only tempt others to steal a little glory for themselves? Shouldn’t we redirect our praise and thanksgiving back to God? He is the one who gave the soloist their ability to sing. He is also the one who probably calmed their nerves so they could sing in front of everyone.

Why do we turn our attention to the recipient of the gift instead of the one who gave it? I’m not discounting all the practice it took to sing the song well. I’m not ignoring that fact they used their gift for God’s glory. Those aspects are important. However, we usually leave God completely out of our praise, like in the example above.

We can learn a lot from Paul’s style of mentoring and encouraging others. There are two principles, we see in his letters. First, who Paul thanked and secondly, what he was thankful for. “We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Thessalonians 1:2,3 NIV) “Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly.” (Ephesians 1:15,16 NLT)

Paul didn’t write to these early churches thanking them for their strong faith and love. He thanked God for their growth and let them know about it. What if I told the soloist, “I thank God for the beautiful voice he gave you and your willingness to glorify him through song.” Redirecting the attention back to God helps alleviate the soloist’s temptation to keep some of the praise for themselves. In addition, the soloist is encouraged because God used their gift to bring forth thankfulness in the heart of someone else.

I don’t know if Paul ever complimented someone for their singing, but in his letters, he focuses on signs of spiritual growth. He thanks God for their faith, their good works, their love for others, and endurance. Paul is more interested in encouraging others to keep growing. I have rarely acknowledged someone for their growth in love or endurance during a trial. And I know that I have never told them I thanked God for those things. So, I am preaching to myself.

Following Paul’s example would change the way I encourage others. How about you? Let’s change who we thank and what we thank God for. Let’s look for signs of spiritual growth in others. Let’s not focus on their talents or gifts alone. Let’s not tempt glory-stealing in another believer by complimenting them. Let’s bring glory to God and encourage each other at the same time.