“When adversity comes, you praise God.”
That was what my friend Terry had always been taught. When those tough times come, you just stand there, stare down the storm, and praise God.
However, on January 8, 2012, praising God was not very high on Terry’s priority list. After experiencing some problems, and noticing a lump that had developed only over a couple of days, and that ran from his chest up toward his shoulder, Terry decided to visit his doctor. His doctor was pretty blunt with the assessment:
“You have extensive small cell carcinoma (a very fast growing and aggressive form of cancer). You probably only have 6 to 12 months to live.”
Here are the four laws of God's blessing:
1. Our blessings should flow to others. The Bible teaches us that we are blessed not just so that we can feel good, not just so we can be happy and comfortable, but so that we will bless others. God told Abraham in Genesis 12:2, “I will bless you ... and you will be a blessing” (NIV). This is the first law of blessing: It must flow outwardly.
How do you bless others? By serving a need, whether it is physical or emotional support, financial help, or practical advice. "Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand" (Philippians 1:4 MSG).
Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with a denominational leader in a different part of the country.
Over the last few years, he’s personally been involved in consulting engagements with about 60 declining churches within his denomination. That grabbed my attention. Honestly, I don’t have a lot of experience working with churches that are in decline.
With that in mind, I was curious to learn if there were any common themes. Within moments, he rattled off these five attributes of churches he’s worked with that are in decline:
“The LORD is my light and my salvation; I will fear no one. The LORD protects me from all danger; I will never be afraid.” (Ps. 27:1, GNT)
The fear of rejection is based on two things. First, we all need to be loved. That’s a fact. We all desperately need massive doses of love in our life to be healthy individuals. God says, “I want to love you.” God is love, and he knows you need to be loved.
But, second, we develop the false idea that our need to be loved is solely dependent upon one person or a group of people. When you expect someone else to meet 100 percent of your need for love, you’re asking for trouble. You’re setting yourself up for hurt and opening the door for the fear of rejection. When you look to any other person besides God to meet all your love needs, he or she can’t. There is no human being alive who can love you as completely and as fully as you need to be loved, and there never will be. Only God can do that.
Are you praying for insight about how your church can impact the unchurched? I remember thinking: If our church ever becomes popular among the unchurched, we'll sure be able to do lots of good. After all, there are lots of people needing redemption in our community.
Think about this: Do you remember who led you to faith in Christ? Numerous surveys say it was probably a relative, friend or co-worker. One survey even claims that 97 percent of people who come to Christ do so through an existing relationship.
“A spiritual gift is given to each of us as so we can help each other.” (1 Cor. 12:7, NLT)
God has a unique role for you to play in his family.
This is your ministry, and God has gifted you for this assignment: “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.” (1 Cor. 12:7, NLT).
Your local fellowship is the place God designed for you to discover, develop and use your gifts. You may also have a wider ministry, but that is in addition to your service in a local body. Jesus has not promised to build your ministry; he has promised to build his church.