John Longwell's Blog
John Longwell Media - Sermons, Devotions and Writings
05/06/2019 11:53 AM
There have been recent reports in the news about an upswing in persecution against Christians around the world, primarily in China and the Middle East. Even in the United States the government is considering extending funding for churches to enhance security, due to the recent rise of violence. However, we as believers have always known that the we are under attack. So what can we do to protect ourselves?
1 Peter 5:8-10 (ESV) advises, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
We should be alert and when we identify our enemy we need to be on our guard against him remembering we do not fight our foe on our own but with a strong throng of fellow believers. For enduring we will be restored, strengthened, confirmed and established by our loving Father.
2 Thessalonians 3:3 (ESV) encourages us, “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.”[Prayer]: Lord, make me wise to the schemes of my adversary and strengthen me to resist him firm in my faith. Protect my persecuted brothers and sisters around the world who are living their lives for you in the midst of great peril. Preserve your people and establish your church. In the mighty name of Jesus I pray, amen.
05/03/2019 12:39 AM
|Take Time to Train|
Listen to this Ministry Message Moment
About six months ago, I started going to the gym, after nearly 3 decades without a fitness regime. It is quite inspiring and a little intimidating how dedicated some individuals (even older than me) are about maintaining their physical form. This truly is good for both a healthy body and mind, however 1 Timothy 4:8 (ESV) reminds us, “for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”
So godliness is of greater value than even our physical exercise, but like going to the gym we also need to train our minds in order to better walk the walk of faith. 2 Timothy 3:16 (ESV) outlines that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,”
In order to truly excel in our Christian faith we need to pursue training in righteousness. This includes daily time in the Word for personal edification as well as some sort of organized group Bible study to both learn from and share your insights with others.
My muscles don’t get stronger just because I have a gym membership, but because I go there three times a week and lift heavy weights. It’s not always fun but the benefits, like regular prayer and time in the scriptures, provide a blessing I can enjoy every day.
[Prayer]: Father, help me to become a better student of Your Word. Teach me and train me daily to learn your ways so that I may grow stronger and better able to mentor others. In Jesus, mighty name, amen.
04/29/2019 05:54 PM
|Let Things Settle|
Click here to listen to this Ministry Message Moment
If you take a jar and fill it nearly to the top with small rocks, then pour in sand, the sand will quickly overflow out the opening. However, if you take and gently shake the glass, the sand that pooled at the top will settle between the rocks to the bottom. In much the same way, we can often be tempted to react too quickly to an event because it seems overwhelming. In kind, if we allow the emotion and intensity of the initial situation to subside, we will find that the glass truly is only half full.
The other day I woke up feeling very angry with my wife. Wisely, I gave myself some time and space to process the situation. It took the better part of the day for the intense emotions of the early morning to finally settle down. My wife and eventually discussed things and resolved the issues that bothered me.
James 1:19 (ESV) instructs, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;” and Proverbs 15:18 (ESV) also adds, “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.”
When we take time to assess our circumstances before we act or speak, we exhibit great wisdom and mirror the very character of God our Father. Psalm 103:8 (ESV) extols, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”
Great regrets can be avoided by simply giving yourself the gift of time whenever faced with overwhelming strife or struggles.
[Prayer]: Father, help me to plan now for how I will respond in the heat of the moment later, so that my patient reply will be practiced and perfected. Allow me to reflect your demeanor of mercy and grace to all I encounter in every circumstance. In Jesus mighty name, amen.