A Sincere Love of the Brethren

May 31, 2022

“Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart…” (1 Peter 1:22 NASB) When we obeyed the truth of the gospel, God purified our souls.  He washed us and cleansed us from our sins through the death of Jesus Christ.  This grand reality should have major effects in our lives!  One of the things that purification of our souls should produce in us is a sincere, fervent love of the brethren.

How do you feel about your brothers and sisters in the Lord?  If there is little love, little care, and little concern for them, it could be (considering the verse above) that there is little obedience to the truth and little striving for purity in your life.  Obedience to the truth and a purified soul naturally lead to a love of God’s people—a real, genuine, unfeigned love.  I think this is because as we walk with the Lord, we begin to realize in deeper ways how precious each member of the church is to Him.  We begin to realize in a greater way that we are in this together.  We begin to realize that we need one another, and fervent love begins to grow.

I want to encourage you today to take steps to build that fervent love for your brothers and sisters in Christ.  Make a renewed effort to reach out and build relationships with the members of your spiritual family.  Reach out today to someone who you may not have met yet, or who you may not know well.  Reach out not only to those who are in a similar stage of life as you, but also to those who may be much older than you, or much younger than you.  Reach out to our new members and show hospitality to them.  Reach out and introduce yourself to those who may be visiting our assembly.  If you sit in the front, try to meet someone who sits in the back, and vice-versa.  Don’t worry about not having anything in common.  We have everything that is important in common!  The love of God and Christ Jesus, and the love of His truth bind us together!  Getting to know one another is a great first step in expressing our brotherly love for one another.   

—Scott Colvin

The Spirit of God in the Heart

May 24, 2022

Do you remember the day that you were baptized into Jesus?  That was the singular most important day of our lives.  Magnificent changes took place on that day.  All our sins were washed away by the blood of Jesus, we received a new life, and we were freed from the reign of sin over our lives.  And one of the most amazing things that happened is this: God Himself came to live in your heart on that day.

God Himself came to live within you!  Think of the enormity of that statement!  If that statement is true (and it is), then there must be enormous consequences that stem from this fact.  What changes are being brought about in your life because of the indwelling of the Spirit of God?  Is He making a difference in you?  Are you allowing Him to make a difference in you?

The Spirit who lives within us gives us the power to overcome sin and to put to death our sinful passions and desires!  As Paul writes, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” (Galatians 5:16-17, NASB)

The Spirit who lives within us changes us from the inside!  He causes wonderful things to be produced in our lives.  Paul continues, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” (Galatians 5:22-23, NASB).

What effect is the Holy Spirit having in your life?  Is He changing you?  Are you growing in holiness in your day-to-day life?  Shouldn’t God Himself dwelling within us make a great difference in our lives?  God wants to make a great difference in your life.  He wants to help you overcome sin.  He wants to cause us to produce fruit for Him.  But we must choose to walk by the Spirit.  If we will, God will work amazing things in our lives!  He will take us to a new plane!  He will abide with us!  May we all renew our commitment to walk by His Spirit today.

—Scott Colvin

The Power of the Tongue

May 17, 2022

What is the most powerful part of the human body?  What would you say?  The brain?  Perhaps the arms or the legs?  Spiritually speaking, the most powerful part of the body is the tongue.  There is tremendous power for good or for evil in our speech.  As Solomon says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” (Proverbs 18:21a, NASB) We must all choose if we are going to use the power of our tongues for death or life, to tear down or to build up, to hurt or to heal. 

Let us carefully consider the following proverbs concerning the power of the tongue.

“There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, But the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (Proverbs 12:18, NASB)

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.  (Proverbs 15:1, NASB)

“A soothing tongue is a tree of life, But perversion in it crushes the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4, NASB)

“The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.” (Proverbs 15:28, NASB)

“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24, NASB)

“A worthless man digs up evil, While his words are as a scorching fire.” (Proverbs 16:26, NASB)

Are your words a fountain of life?  Do they soothe, comfort, and heal?  Or do your words slash, scorch, and set ablaze?  Yes, there is great power for destruction in our tongues, but we must also understand that there is tremendous power for helping and blessing others.  Think of all the good you can accomplish with your tongue today!  Is there someone you can encourage today?  Is there someone to whom you can bring words of comfort?  Is there someone whose spirit you can help to heal?  Death and life are in the power of the tongue!  Let us choose our words carefully.

—Scott Colvin

Making Moves Toward God

May 10, 2022

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” (James 4:8, NASB) What a magnificent promise of God!  That the Creator of all things, our all-powerful God, would even notice us—much less that He would graciously come close to us—is astounding.  Do you want the Lord to move toward you?  If so, we must understand this principle:  the Lord moves toward those who first make a choice to move toward Him.

This is a principle that we see throughout the scriptures.  For example, in Old Testament times, Azariah the prophet brought this message from God to Asa, king of Judah: “The Lord is with you when you are with Him.  And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.” (1 Chronicles 15:2b, NASB) If we want the Lord to be with us, we must first choose to be with Him.  If we want Him to let us find Him, we must first choose to seek Him with all our heart and soul.

We see the principle again when God brings a message of hope to the nation of Judah who were exiled in Babylon.  The Lord says, “Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:12-13, NASB) The Lord will listen to those who call upon Him!  The Lord will allow Himself to be found, but only when He sees His people first put their whole hearts into seeking Him! 

Do you feel far away from the Lord today?  Have you drifted away from Him because of sin in your life, or because of spiritual complacency?  Our God is waiting for you.  He is longing to forgive you.  He is longing to bless you.  He wants you to be near to Himself, but He is waiting for you to make a move toward Him.  If you will take steps to draw near to Him, He has promised to draw near to you!  If we will seek Him diligently, He has promised to let us find Him!  And finding God is the greatest treasure that could ever be.  Let us draw near to Him with all our heart today.

—Scott Colvin

A Difference of Perspective

May 2, 2022

The two men suppressed their laughter. He was joking—wasn’t he? Or was he just a paranoid old man, even if he was about to become their father-in-law.

He pleaded, but the young men had objected, “We live in a fertile area. It’s like a garden. The city is prosperous. Our lives are secure and pleasant. Why would anyone want to move, especially so suddenly? What could happen? Why should we expect tomorrow to be any different from any other day?”

He preached of the dangers of neglecting the poor, arrogance before God, and immorality. He warned of a Day of Judgment—a Day of the Lord!

The young men had countered, “Everybody sins. But aren’t most people good? Do you really think that God would condemn this whole city? Won’t most people be saved?”
He continued about the holiness of God. They needed to know God’s character and His message.

“We don’t like your holier-than-thou attitude!” one of them exclaimed. That ended the conversation, besides they were too busy for this. There was work to be done and deadlines to meet.

With the dawning of the next day, the older man made one more plea, but it fell on deaf ears.
As they watched him walk away, one of them quipped, “I guess this is what we have to put up with when marrying into that family.”

The other agreed, but noted, “Still, it looks like another beautiful day in Sodom!”
P.S. The above dialogue is fiction, but consider reading Genesis 19:1- 29, Ezekiel 16:49-50, 2 Peter 2:4-10.