Carry Kindness

The Every Day Carry Christian should plan on carrying kindness around with him/her each day. Something we can practice is being kind to others! The following poem captures the idea of being kind – all the time.

“Do all the good you can,

By all the means you can,

In all the ways you can,

In all the places you can,

At all the times you can,

To all the people you can,

As long as ever you can.”

6,000 Plus Illustrations for Communicating Biblical Truths (Act of Kindness and of Love)

Speaking of being kind, Ephesians 4:32 declares, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted (Compassionate), forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

The adventurous missionary the Apostle Paul is teaching the Christians in the church at Ephesus to be kind to each other! This is applicable to us today as well.

“Kindness” escapes us sometimes in the busyness of life. We want to order the food fast. We want to get through the store quick. We have a meeting we are running late for. We have somewhere to go and something to do. Stop for a moment. Be kind to the person in front of you. Set the phone aside. Give your attention. Listen to what they are saying. Respond to their words. Be nice about it.

“Tenderhearted” is an old compound word that simply means “Compassionate.” It has to do with having “inner feelings” for other people and their circumstances. Showing compassion for someone is to show pity and concern. It is being interested in the problems another person is having. Not to gossip, but to lend a hand, offer encouragement, and give a pat on the back saying “It will be OK.” Compassionate people are often the “feelers” in the group who are more sensitive to the relational and emotional needs of others. This verse says each Christian should practice sharing compassion with others.

“Forgiveness” is the 3rd part of this kindness teaching. Christianity is built on the foundation of forgiveness. God the Father forgives us of our sin – because of Jesus, not because of our good works or deeds. That is the whole point of forgiving other people. They may or may not ask you to forgive them, but you can forgive them anyway. They may or may not acknowledge the wrong or hurt they may have caused, but you can forgive them anyway.

Forgiveness is not the same as forgetting. Forgiveness does not mean that you will put yourself in a place to be hurt again. Forgiveness does not mean you trust someone again – it means you have forgiven them. They do not owe you anything, and you do not expect anything from them. Their “Debt” is paid in full and forgiven – not because of them, but because of Jesus.

Once you choose to forgive, and after looking at others with compassion, it sure is easier to be kind to others! Ask the Lord to help you be kind to each person you encounter this week.

One more story about kindness and how it affects our friendships with others.

‘One way we build friendships is by those deeds that poet William Wordsworth called “Those little nameless unremembered acts of kindness and of love.” One such act was performed for a man in a small village who had suffered the loss of his young son. After the funeral he visited the local undertaker and said, “I’ve come to square my account.”“You don’t owe me a penny. You’ve paid your bill on the nail,” the undertaker replied.“But, I’ve had no bill for the funeral of my son.”The old undertaker answered, “If you had to bear the sorrow, surely I can bear the expense.”’

6,000 Plus Illustrations for Communicating Biblical Truths (Act of Kindness and of Love)

Everyday Cash N Carry

Do you have $90,000 in the bank? Do you have $90,000 in collateral? Maybe, maybe not.

According to the Federal Reserve (Fed), U.S. consumer debt is approaching a record-breaking $16 trillion. CNBC says, “While the average American has $90,460 in debt, this includes all types of consumer debt products, from credit cards to personal loans, mortgages and student debt.”

This edition’s Thriving Skill is healthy money management. Poor money management is typical of many people today. Even many Christians do not use Bible principles to manage their finances in ways that please the Lord. They are not good stewards/managers of what God has given them. Money is not something to love, but a tool we use to demonstrate love to God and love to others. We do not trust our money for happiness or health. We use the ability God gives us to earn money and then we use the money we earn to do good in the world, plan for “rainy days,” and advance the Gospel.

Solomon, the wisest and one of the richest men to ever live, said in Proverbs 22:7, “The rich ruleth over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender.”

The rich are the ones who employ other people and who hire others to do their bidding. In this way, they rule over the poor. The rich own the companies, order the products, and have the resources to influence others.

The second part of the verse is fascinating because according to statistics, it is where many if not most people live. “The borrower is servant to the lender.” This is where many people live – in debt. Debt is killing our society and debt is personally hindering millions of people (Christians too) from fulfilling God’s will in their lives.

Debt is not a sin, but it is certainly not a condition that anyone should want to remain in. It means someone else owns your stuff: your car, your phone, your house – your life.

Check your money situation:

  1. Am I living in perpetual debt to others? I understand having a house payment, but I do not understand constant car payments. It is OK to drive an older car and save up to pay for a newer car with cash. After you buy a new car with the money you have, immediately start saving up for your next ride. Make “car payments” to yourself for your future wheels! If you have credit card debt – cut the cards up. Do the moral thing – don’t declare bankruptcy, pay off the debt instead, and then stop living on credit. Only buy what you can afford, which is what money you actually have after all necessary expenses are paid.
  2. Am I living with financial pride? Pride is a primary motivator that drives people to take on debt. They want to have a truck as nice or nicer than the other person. You don’t need to “keep up with the Jones’!” Who cares what they drive?! Personal pride may cause one to want to live in a bigger house than they really need in order to show how important or well off they are. I know of men and women in their 20’s that have more debt than I have had in my entire life. This is not healthy. Debt will affect relationships, it will affect the ability to give to people in need, and it will affect time management because of all the work, all the time, “slaving away,” to pay someone back.

I have known many people that followed Bible principles to get out of housing debt. They make extra payments towards the principal of the mortgage payment, thus paying off their housing loan in a fast time. Once the house is paid for, they have a tremendous leap in wealth accumulation – because they are no longer in debt. Consider these tips:

  • Drive an older car until you can afford to pay cash for a newer one.
  • Have some personal discipline with what you buy. Leave it on the shelf or in the digital cart for 24 hours before making the purchase. Determine if it is really worth it.
  • Develop a budget. Have a giving, saving, and spending plan, in that order. It will free you and enable you to get out of debt.
  • Choose to help people in need. Many would like to help others, but can’t because they have not managed their finances well. I have heard of people literally crying because they want to give to good causes, but can’t, because of their poor financial choices.
  • Use the cash you have, not the money you do not have for everyday life. It is a Spiritual Life Skill. Unless a Christian gains control of his/her money, their debt (lack of money) may be in control of them.
  • Put God in First Place. God should be in front of your money and money choices. Give to Him first which demonstrates that you are really trusting God – not the money – for your everyday life.

Please reach out to our counseling office if you want to get some help about how to get out of debt. Below are good resources that could also be of help.

How to Manage Your Money

The Complete Financial Guide for Young Couples

Business By the Book

Money Before Marriage

Your Money After the Big 50

Master Your Money

Splitting Heirs

Never Enough

The Total Money Makeover

Baby Step Millionaires

Every Day Time Managment

The students arriving at school that day did know that some of them would not leave the building. Some of the staff had great plans for the rest of the day. Parents were looking forward to birthday celebrations and end-of-the-school-year activities. Whether Uvalde, Sandy Hook, or Columbine, we know that as humans, we have no certain idea about how much time we have on this earth.

Life, even if not “cut short” is short already as it is. Like the sand falling in board game minute timers, time flies.

365 days a year.

12 months.

24 hours a day.

7 days a week.

1440 minutes in a day.

How do you manage your time? What plans do you have for each day? We have the same amount of time each day, but we do not all know how much time each of us has living on earth. How can I make the most of the time God gives to me?

I make a list of things I would like to accomplish on a scrap piece of paper each week. I make a list each day. Some days, the daily list is not on paper, but out of routine, it is in my head! By God’s grace, I make plans for family, work, school, church, and play. I have learned and also found in the Bible that planning should account for being flexible. Sometimes God adjusts our expectations – and we should adjust our expectations when things come up that “throw off” our plans.

James the half-brother of Jesus writes about the brevity and uncertainty of life. He says, ” Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” James 4:13-17

If you sleep 8 hours a night, 480 minutes are spent sleeping. Around 90 minutes are spent eating and drinking. With work, school, family time, rest, entertainment, and more to consider, how well are you making the most of your time? Can you find a healthy balance for the time God gives to you? What guidelines do you follow?

Here are 4 Every Day Time Management Thriving Skills as relayed to us from James 4:

Make Flexible Plans. What if the grain is sold out? What if the store’s shelves are empty? What would you do if the tire of your car below out while driving into the shopping area of your town? What if the business deal falls through or the check handed you bounces?

God tells us to be flexible in our planning. Not everything will work out the way that we plan, but it will work out the way that God has designed! Rest and trust the Lord when your plans are changed due to circumstances. We do not fully know what will happen in a day – but God knows!

Know Life is Short. The air you exhale on a cold day when you can see a mist coming from your mouth is a vapor. It is visible for a moment and then it disappears. Why worry about our plans not happening the way that we planned when we can trust that God has better plans? Since life is so short, avoid wasting time about “what is not” and live in the moment of “what is.” Many headaches, heartaches, and sleepless nights may be caused by not accepting the fact that life is short.

A sickness could take your life. A crazy gunman or a drunk driver could kill you. An unhealthy entertainment/coping choice (drugs) can take your life. We don’t know when or how we will die, but we will all die. This is why the best decision you could ever make is to believe the Gospel of Jesus. Salvation by grace through faith is the only way to be ready to die and to be ready for eternity. Please follow the link here for info about Salvation.

Plan for God’s Will. Just like making flexible plans, we should plan for God to change our plans. God has better plans for us. He knows how much time we really have. And God desires for us to submit to his better plans with grace and humility in our hearts. Asking God for His will to be done is a terrific daily prayer to start the day. Jesus also prayed “Not My will but Thine be done” in Luke 22:42.

Choose to Do Good. With flexible plans, an understanding that life is short, and while adjusting to God’s will, we can and should choose to do what is right. Doing what is right becomes easier when we understand God’s will, time is short, and we can be flexible! It is easier to do what is right in God’s eyes when we are thinking right about life in general. You are able to choose to do good!

Set the vaping stuff down and do something good.

Go to bed at a decent time and wake up earlier looking for people to help.

Turn off the device and spend some time with a senior in need of a friend.

Work hard at work and make a good testimony of the Christian work ethic.

Get off the couch and help in a ministry at church.

Kneel more often while lifting up other people in prayer.

If you really want to manage your time well and to make a difference in life and eternity, then adopt these 4 principles and apply them to your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly life! Be an Everyday Carry Christian who practices healthy and balanced time management.

Planning Ahead

Stock up. Save up. Plan ahead. Weather the storm. Be prepared.

These are all statements that we hear expressed from time to time. It is a good rule of practice to be ready for emergencies or other unforeseen events. Not every event or possible event you may be prepared for will happen. Some of the older readers will remember “Y2K.” The projected problems was that computers would quit working when the year 2000 turned on their internal clocks. Commerce would cease, electric grids would fail, and digital devices (even back then) would stock working. That was the fear. It did not happen, but many people were ready.

But many things that are preventable or can be planned for do happen. Without living with fear of the possibilities, what can one do to be ready? The Everyday Carry Christian plans on being ready for each day. Be prepared.

​Proverbs 6:6–8, are insightful verses about the life of the little insects we call ants. “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; Consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, And gathereth her food in the harvest.”

While small, yet powerful, the ants are also smart. Their wisdom in planning ahead is commended by Solomon. God made these ants this way, and we can learn from their productivity, forward-thinking, and planning.

In a Fox News article the middle of June, 2022, planning ahead is recommended. Observe the following from the former Chief Executive Officer of Home Depot:

“Former Home Depot CEO Bob Nardelli warned on ‘America Reports‘ Wednesday that the Federal Reserve hiking interest rates to cool inflation will have a “devastating impact” on consumers.”

“‘I would tell the consumer, make sure that you’re building up cash reserves,” Nardelli emphasized. “Build up a supply of non-perishables in your home. Make sure that you’re prepared for sustainable inflationary periods.’:

CEO’s of large corporations tend to know what they are talking about when it comes to financial matters. They have real-world experience in commerce, trade, investing and management, unlike many of our political leaders. Combine inflation with “Shrinkflation,” (when product packages become smaller while the sticker price remains the same), and massive amounts of debt, it is apparent we are in a major financial crisis. Be sure this does not alarm you to live with fear, but to respond with good planning~

So with hard economic times happening and perhaps becoming worse, what can we do? Look to the ant! Here are some tips for Everyday Readiness from the ant:

  1. Don’t wait for an emergency. The ant does not have someone telling it what to do – it just does what is needed – ahead of time. Save up now. Save money. Store food. Get a freezer. Fill your pantry.
  2. Cut expenses. Take less trips to the store. Consolidate shopping trips. Eat out less. Make the coffee at home. Buy in bulk.
  3. Keep working hard. The ant stores food up but continues to work into the harvest season. Ants are not sluggards or lazy creatures. Sometimes it takes a while for our work to “pay off.” It is not wise to “coast.” We need occasional breaks and certainly need consistent rest, but keep working hard, doing your best to honor the Lord with your work. Take some positive pride in the work God has called you to do.

Another article I also just read that happened in the middle of June, 2022 is about cows. Beef cows in Kansas have been dying by the thousands. I can’t imagine. Google “Kansas, Cows, Heat, death” and you will find some disturbing pictures of cows all spawled out for mass burial. Too much heat is what they are blaming for these cows dying. More tragedies will come. Prices may go up, soon. It will be OK. The God who made the ant cares for you! He has given you a mind, ability, and clear directions about being ready.

Be an Every Day Carry Christian who is planning ahead.

Every Day Thankful

When thieves robbed Matthew Henry, he still found something to be thankful for. He wrote these words about this traumatic event in his life: “Let me be thankful first, because I was never robbed before; second, because, although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.” You do not need to be an English author or non-conformist Presbyterian preacher like Matthew Henry to have an attitude of thankfulness. Thankfulness is a choice you can personally carry with you today.

How can a person have something bad happen to him and still have an attitude of thankfulness?

One of the best Thriving Skills to carry with you each day is thankfulness. Our top carry items so far are the Word, Prayer, Fellowship with other Christians, and Witnessing the Gospel to others. Being thankful sets a good pace and perspective for surviving any trauma or evil event that may happen to you. A Thankfulness attitude is something you can carry every day that can help you get through even the most difficult circumstances.

Erwin Lutzer was spot on when he said, “A Christian who walks by faith accepts all circumstances from God. He thanks God when everything goes good, when everything goes bad, and for the “blues” somewhere in-between. He thanks God whether he feels like it or not.”

Colossians 3:15 says, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” Since God’s peace is something the Christian apparently can and should have in his life each day, according to this verse, we can also infer that thankfulness is something that he can have in his heart each day as well. And. Be. Ye. Thankful.

The Apostle Paul is writing this verse while in prison, waiting to see Caesar for his trial. The Book of Colossians is one of the four “Prison Letters“, along with EphesiansPhilippians, and Philemon.  Imagine being in prison, and writing letters to people about the theme of thankfulness. There is always a silver lining; there is always something to be thankful about.

This concept of thankfulness is something that Paul practiced throughout his life. Once, when in prison in the city of Phillipi, Paul and his friend, Silas, were praying and singing praises to God with thankful hearts. They were singing songs at midnight. The Lord showed up, the earth shook, the shackles and prison doors opened, and Paul and Silas sat there. This impressed the prison guard so much that he trusted Christ for salvation, and his whole family turned to Jesus and His gospel. That’s the impact a thankful attitude can have. You can read about the Phillipian Jailor in Acts 16.

Thankfulness Can Calm Your Heart. Learning to trust the Lord, having faith in His sovereign power can calm your anxious heart when things go wrong. God is still God. Nothing can change Him. Nothing can change His love for you. Let God’s peace rule, guide, or control your heart and life. Thankfulness is a part of this “peace.”

Thankfulness Can Guide Your Decisions. Since God’s love is unchanging and your heart is being calmed by reminding yourself of His love for you, your decisions can be thought out more clearly. Instead of being guided by fear, shame, “fate” or guilt, your life is being guided by God’s grace that is embraced more readily, when you have a thankful attitude.

Thankfulness Can Find God’s Plan. When we are trusting God in every circumstance, we can fully discover His plan. When we complain, we miss god’s will. When we criticize we are essentially saying “I can do better than what God is allowing right now.” When we are arrogant, we skip over God’s best for us. Being thankful is being humble enough to trust God, attribute thanksgiving to Him, and then find His “Big Picture” plan for your life.

A thankful Christian will not be a “Johnny Raincloud,” counting only what is wrong. A thankful Christian will embrace the Lord, giving thanks to His name in good times and in bad times.

Make a thanksgiving list if you need to. Don’t wait for the “Thanksgiving Season.” Give thanks to God – Every Day! Ralph Waldo Emerson said it this way:

“For each new morning with its light,
Father, we thank thee,
For rest and shelter of the night,
Father, we thank thee,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything thy goodness sends,
Father, in heaven, we thank thee.”

Ready to Run

“I feel the need- the need for speed” is a famous line from Tom Cruise in his breakthrough film, Top Gun, which is popular once again with the newest film, Top Gun: Maverick. With his hair back and sunshades over his eyes, he drives a motorcycle, or with his pilot gear flies a fighter jet at breathtaking speeds. Maverick feels compelled for speed. True fighter jet pilots need fast and agile planes. In addition to precision flying and aeronautical skill, the speed of the jet can help the pilot not only survive, but thrive in battle. The Christian has a need for speed too, but not just for the thrill of the moment or an addiction to an adrenaline rush. Every Day Carry Christians are ready to run away from Temptation. When we stand against the Devil, He runs away from us according to James, the half-brother of Jesus. ​James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” This is good news! Sometimes we need to take a stand, stay in place, and fight the spiritual battle we are in. At other times, we are to flee, to run away from the thing(s) that may be tempting us. Spiritual Survivalist, the Apostle Paul, told young Christian and preacher Timothy, “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”  (2 Timothy 2:22)  Your spiritual survival may count on your speed to run! When I am exercising, building something, going on a trip, or even merely walking through the house, I ensure that I have proper footwear. You never know what dangers there are for a stubbed toe, a punctured heal on the bottom of a foot, or a scratch from a brier when walking a trail. I like to have comfortable walking and running shoes on. Some of the best are the “trail shoes” that many sporting shoe companies make. I like to be ready to run (or at least walk fast) if needed whenever I go to a public space. You never know what dangers may be at the store, school, workplace, or just down the street! It’s good to be ready to move quickly. In a similar way, the Christian is ready to run spiritually. He/she is ready for speed in his/her life to run away from temptation; in particular, youthful lusts. Things we desire, crave, and want in disproportionate ways, can consume us. This “lust” is generally understood to be “things that are forbidden to us.” For example, sex is not forbidden in the Bible, just the opposite! Sex is encouraged. It is encouraged for those who are married to each other. Sex outside of marriage is forbidden and so the word “lusts” makes a lot of sense. Wanting things such as sex is normal and is a legitimate “need” that God instilled in His creation. However, sex becomes sinful when we want, crave, and take what does not belong to us. Temptation itself is not a sin. We are all tempted and even Jesus was directly tempted to sin by Satan. The problem is when we choose to entertain the temptation; then it is more likely to become a sin. I heard one man say, “Temptation becomes sin when we let it become a motion picture and not just a still photo.” When temptation is about to become a motion picture in your mind and you begin to act out on the temptation, run away!  Be fast.  Quick, turn and run!  Replace the things tempting you with the positives that Paul describes for Timothy to follow: righteousness, faith, charity, and peace. Follow What is Right (Righteousness). Most of life is not unknown as to what is right and wrong. You know it is right, or you know it is wrong. Some things are uncertain, on occasion, but in most situations, if lust is not consuming you, you know the answer. Follow Faith. Some people ask: “What Would Jesus Do?” Good question! What does your faith in Jesus say about the temptation? What does Bible Faith say about running away from temptation? What would a faithful man or woman do in your situation? Follow Love. Charity is a Bible term for love. It is the Greek word ἀγάπη (Agape), which is the kind of love God has for people. Agape love is selfless, giving, and sacrificial. It is the same love for humanity that compelled Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. The Christian running from temptation must be following after love. Why would a person want to run from evil in the first place? Because they love God. Why would a person deny what their flesh is screaming for? Because they love God more than they love themselves. Loving God and Loving Others will help anyone run from temptation and choose to do what is right. Follow Peace. While running away from temptation, it is a good idea to not start fights with other people – or start fights with God! Having peace in the heart is a hallmark quality of the Christian. If you are full of anxiety, angry, much of the time, depressed, and constantly discouraged, or if you do not have a clear conscience, you are likely losing some spiritual battles. The temptation may be winning and becoming sin in your life. Think about it. We tend to beat ourselves up when we lose struggles with temptation. Sometimes we take the pain of losing out on other people. Others become depressed and mope about because of the loss. Be encouraged to get back up and run away from the temptation, sin, or being spiritually defeated! Run to peace with God and find peace with others. The Every Day Carry Christian is always ready to run away from temptation. Are your shoes strings tied? You and I both have “a need for speed!” Are you prepared to go? Temptations will come. Be ready to run.

Everyday Witness

Recently our family took a hike in the beautiful Saratoga State Park. We took one of our dogs, and the kids and dog played in the creek. We enjoyed the sunshine and beauty of God’s creation looking at the “Spouters” shooting pressured water out of the ground. It was a fun adventure. One man commented on my wife’s t-shirt and said: “I Like Your Shirt!” She was wearing a gray t-shirt with a white logo. The phrase on the shirt said: “It’s about the Cross” and had a large cross emblem right in the middle.

Someone is watching you. You are being watched! I’m not talking about being paranoid or overly concerned for privacy. People see your actions, hear your words, interact with your social media posts, and observe your life – on a daily basis.

The things you love are evident in your words and actions. The stuff you are involved in reveals qualities about you and your life. The purchases you make, the music you listen to, the style of your hair, and the clothes you wear are all witnessed by other people. Your attitude is on display.

Witnessing is something the Bible speaks of often. A witness sees something happen and is called on in court to reveal under oath what they saw. The witnesses of Jesus’ day saw Jesus and could testify of what they saw and heard. Today, Christians are witnesses of what Jesus has done in their life from the moment they believed the Gospel. A changed life. New values. Authentic purposes.

The best way to understand witnessing is this: One Christian telling someone else about Jesus and what He has done in their life in saving their soul. It is sharing the life-giving Gospel. Witnessing could start with a t-shirt, a Gospel tract, or a spoken word.

Gospel preacher and traveling adventurer, the Apostle Paul, said: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16). The EDC Christian is not ashamed of his/her faith in Christ.

For our Every Day Carry Christian kit, so far we have looked at: The Bible, Prayer, and Fellowship. Now let’s consider Witnessing. Sharing Jesus with someone can happen every day. Here are 3 ways we can share Christ with others.

The Witness of Language.

Speaking truth to others in a kind and loving way speaks volumes to people living in a confused and corrupt world.

​Acts 1:8 says, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” We have God’s power in our lives and have the ability and enablement of God Himself in us (His Spirit). When we walk in the Spirit of God we can use our words to talk to others about Christ. Even when and especially when things are not going well, your words mixed with a healthy attitude speak of Jesus.

The Witness of Life.

Your life consists of daily choices, routines, and habits. These choices, routines, and habits are a testimony to what you love and serve. If your life is more like Jesus, it will become evident in your lifestyle. Lifestyle speaks volumes about the importance of Christianity in your life.

There are some Christians that behave in such a way that if I were not yet saved and did not know any Christians different than they are – I would not want to become a Christian. That’s harsh, but in reality. If you are reading this post, you are probably not one of those people. You are humble enough to read the Scriptures, read devotionals, and gather with your church to grow and change to be more like Christ. The pride, arrogance, negativity, and judgmental attitude of some have harmed the testimony of Christ. Have a life that honors Jesus.

A Witness of Love.

Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

This clear and concise teaching indicates the value that Jesus places on participation in and harmony among God’s people with their local church. Christians getting along with each other and serving the Lord together is a wonderful witness to the life change that takes place because of the Gospel. Go to church this Sunday, gather with God’s people, be encouraged, encourage others, serve together, and then go live life sharing God’s loving Gospel with others during the week.

Once the conversation about salvation and the Gospel is initiated, the following “Romans Road” can help. After Romans, I then follow up with three keywords from John 1:12, “Believe, Receive, and Become.” I have my Bible marked with these verses and enjoy sharing them in this order:

​Romans 3:23, For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

​Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

​Romans 5:8, But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

​Romans 10:9–10, That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

​John 1:12, But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Will you be a positive witness for Jesus? One person said: “The greatest obstacle for witnessing is the fear of failing. Persons who witness cannot fail. The very act of bearing witness is success!” With God’s grace and help, you can be an EDC Christian who shares Jesus with others each day.

Everyday Fellow(ship)

MRE stands for Meals Ready to Eat. Survivalists have adapted military technology and have meals full of calories and nutrients with the only thing needed to add – water. Just add water and the meal is ready. Companies now sell MRE’s for entire families. Pouches, and buckets of food, all prepared for a moment’s notice to have on hand in the event of an emergency or a life and death situation. Some pouches will even heat the food up for you. It is a good plan – to plan ahead! You can have meals ready to eat with your loved ones.

The earliest Christians had regular interactions with each other that included enjoying a meal together. More than only the Lord’s Supper (just a little cracker and some juice) they would have full meals, sometimes called “Love Feasts” (which indicated their love for God and for one another). You may or may not have an MRE, but every Christian should be having some degree of fellowship with other Believers. We need each other.

Hebrews 10:24–25 says, And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

What is Fellowship? Fellowship is defined by the Bakers Encyclopedia as “The essence of the Christian life—fellowship with God and fellowship with other believers in Christ.” I like that. Because we have fellowship with God the Father through God the Son, we can have fellowship with other Christians. Bakers continues by stating: “The depth of camaraderie among the first Christians is portrayed in the early chapters of Acts. Daily the believers met together in house groups for teaching, fellowship, the Lord’s Supper, and prayer (Acts 2:42, 46).” Essentially, fellowship are the friendships you enjoy on a daily or frequent basis.

​Hebrews 10:24–25 instructs, And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Every Day Carry Christians have fellowship with other believers every day, not just on Sunday.​

Fellowship with Christians starts Sundays. Church Gatherings generally happen on Sunday mornings. The American church in some locations and denominations added several other formal church setting times with Sunday Night and Midweek preaching services. While these may be helpful for some, these are not a requirement in Scripture.

These times are an invention of the American Church. Depending on who you ask, it could be evening services started because of the invention of the electric light bulb. For others, it was World War 2 and the factory workers, working 7 days a week, could not come to Sunday morning to church so they turned on the lights to come at night. Others suggest it was an agricultural thing where farmers would farm for 6 days, and travel to church and have a morning service, lunch on the grounds, and another church service after lunch. Whatever the origin, evening service practice is not the same in each part of the country or across each of the various denominational churches. Each local church is independent of others and can have quality and quantity of time as it sees fit for itself to host church services. Our church family in Wilton meets more often and for longer periods of time than in the previous American Model we used to follow. We read the Bible and discovered the activity of the First Eventury Church and are trying to follow their example more closely. What we are doing is working for us and our church. No matter what your church chooses to do about church services, start with fellowship with God’s people on Sunday with your local church.

Fellowship Continues Each Day. I have contact with lost and saved people every day. Every day, I am trying to engage and encourage other Christians to be growing in the Lord. In addition, I need the fellowship of other Christians too! As a Christian, husband, father, son, and friend, I am just a regular, everyday fellow who needs Everday Fellow(ship)! I too need other Christians to be involved in my life. Have some Christian friends in your life. Notice the benefits of Christian friends from this passage:

  1. We Can Consider One Another. Thinking of how to bless others clarifies your own thinking and helps you process what is truly important in life. “How can I help? Replaces “What can I get?” It’s one of the 30 plus “One Another’s” in Scripture.
  2. We Can Provoke Others to Love and To Do Good Works. All of us need our hearts affirmed with truth and our minds readjusted with God’s love. Provoking others and being provoked to help, serve, minister, and do good things is something we all need.
  3. We Can Keep Each Other Accountable. The Day of Christ’s return is coming soon. The Rapture can happen anytime! EDC Christians do not want to see others fall by the wayside or to stop following Jesus. We need a positive nudge from time to time and we can receive that nudge of encouragement with consistent fellowship with other Christians.
  4. We Can Live Life Together. This is the greatest summary of these verses in my estimation. We are not alone. God is with us and He has given friends to have fellowship with – through the ups and downs of life.

This week: Go to your church. Makes some friends. Live life with those friends through the week. It’s a Thriving Skill to have in these crazy days we are living in.

Every Day Carry Christians have fellowship with other believers every day, not just on Sunday.​

Everyday Prayers

What would you do if your cell phone stopped recieving signal? What if all the cell towers stopped working? For the few with landlines, what would you do to communicate with others if the telephone lines were down? What if the internet stopped and you could not email, text, or connect with anyone?! Pretty drastic to think about?

Survivalists suggest having satellite phones as a backup for emergencies. Some have 20-mile “Walkie Talkies” to use in the event of a communication blackout. Still, others have designated meeting places should the world get turned upside down to meet up with family and friends. It’s good to have a communication plan, just in case you need it.

What about communication with God? For some people, there is already a “blackout.” Their world is already upside-down, and they have no communication with the One Who can really help. They have not prayed to God ever, or not for a long, long time. Several Christians may only pray occasionally to the Lord.

Keeping the prayer lines open with God is a Thriving Skill the Christian Needs to practice, daily. Gospel preacher and adventure traveler Paul, said in Ephesians 6:18, after describing the “Armor of God, that the prepared Christian is to be: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”

This has been aptly summarized as “watch and pray.”

“Watch” what is happening around you. Have situational awareness. Safety teams, civil peace-keepers, and EDC people have a practice called “Situational Awareness.” They note in their mind every person in the room. When seated, they choose a seat where they can observe the comings and goings to ensure they see any suspicious activity.

In the same way, the Christian is to observe. The Christian life is a battlefield for the the survival of your soul. The Christian must be spiritually aware and have Bible discernment.

The next Thriving Skill Paul lists is prayer. “Praying Always.” This is not impossible! Having a frame of mind that is consistently and constantly talking with God is possible.

There is much to pray about. The “big” and “small” things in life are the very things we can pray about.

God Wants To Hear Your Prayers. Praying demonstrates reliance on God. Prayer is evidence of a Christian not trying to solve life by his/her self, but relying on the power and presence of the Lord. Ask Him. Give thanks to Him. Talk with Him. God wants to hear from you.

God Can Answer Your Prayers. “Yes, no, not now, and something better,” are the four possible responses God may give. No matter the answer to your prayer, the fact that you are praying can change you in the process of whatever situation you are praying about.

The EDC Thriving Skill of prayer is something that you and I need to practice each day. Perhaps start the day by setting aside a few moments to ask God for guidance and provision, thanking Him for His love and grace. And then keep that spirit of prayer with you as you go through the day. Practicing this skill will help you be prepared for whatever challenges you may face.

Do you have a good story about answered prayer? Please share it below in the comments:

Everyday Read(y)

One of the best things I did to spiritually survive high school was read a chapter of Proverbs each day. I did that for one or two years when attending my local public school. Today, I encourage teenagers to read a chapter of Proverbs each day, as well. Proverbs can really instill the common sense needed for everyday life.

Survival Experts tell us to have “A Carry Kit.” There are also emergency carry kits called “Go Bags.” We may look at the emergency concept in a later edition. For now, what are you carrying with you every day? Do you have hand sanitizer? How about a pen or pencil? Most people have a phone and a set of keys. Others have wallets while some keep all their money on their phone (digital currency) or in their phone case, (credit cards and cash).

What are some other items you may carry? Band-aids? Nail clippers? Tissues? I carry what is considered an EDC knife. I do not feel prepared for a day in the office, in the woods, or on a trip – without my knife.

In the same way that I am not prepared for the day without my knife, the Christian is not prepared for the day without his/her Bible. The Bible is what keeps the faith and love growing in the Christian. The Scriptures help us to know God, and learn how to have salvation through the finished work of Christ. Every day read, so you will be ready.

The Psalmist indicates that we can carry the Bible around with us everywhere we go. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, That I might not sin against thee. Psalm 119:11

Here are several EDC helps in the relationship of the Word of God to your daily life.

Carry a Bible with you in your hand or in your heart. Print editions, digital editions on phones and tablets, audio mp3’s on the phone or disk, coins with scripture stamped on them, and even rings with God’s word in fine print wrapped around your finger. The best and most enduring place to carry the Scriptures is in your head. That’s right, the more we read and study and purpose to learn the Bible, the more we can memorize it, hiding or keeping it in our hearts.

Read the Bible You Have. More important than what Bible you use is actually using your Bible! Read the Bible you have. Avoid the unnecessary debate about preferred Bible translations. Some people only “know about the Bible” when they really need to read and understand the Bible itself.

There are Study Bibles, Reference Bibles, and even Paragraph Bibles. I prefer the Ryrie Study Bible from Moody for study and I am presently enjoying reading a Cambridge Clarion which is a paragraph Bible. Holman, Thomas Nelson, Tyndale, Cambridge, Humble Lamb, and Schuyler all offer wonderful copies of Scripture. Our church Bookstore can help you choose a Bible if you are looking for one. See the links below if you want to order a Bible from Amazon.

Learn to Study the Bible. Much of what people believe is not even in the Bible. They heard a convincing orator or preacher say something that sounded good but may or may not be in the Bible itself. Learn what the Bible really says. Knowing the background of a Bible book and the contextual setting in history will help a lot. We do not speak or think like the average person did 400 years ago or 2000 years ago. I find a lot of clarity in learning the original languages and knowing what has changed in the last 400 and 2000 years by way of definitions, phrases, and word usage. For example, “Corn” like we enjoy in North America was not known by the Bible writers. Corn was developed in North and South America from a grain called “maize.” It was not known to English-speaking people until AD 1492 when Columbus… well you know the song and the story. When the Pharisees criticized the disciples in Luke 6 (the year would have been around AD 33), the disciples were eating what we know of as either wheat or barley. Learning to study the Bible helps us to know what the Lord is actually saying!

One more thing, learn to CROSS-REFERENCE. The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself.

Participate in Bible Classes. In our church, we have Bible study in small groups that we call “Scatter Groups.” We also have AWANA for youth. These are discipleship and spiritual formation activities that will help you know the WORD. and the Lord of the WORD.

Hear Bible preaching faithfully each Sunday with your local church. When our church gathers, we equip and encourage one another with the Scriptures. Your church needs you and you need the Bible preaching and teaching that occurs when gathered.

Learning to apply the Bible to your daily life is a spiritual thriving skill! Make the words of the Bible real to you. Practical. Applicable. Great doctrines are terrific, but unless they affect daily life, they will not help your spiritual survival. Creeds and “life verses” can be OK, but if they do not guide your decisions then you are not letting the Bible help your SOUL THRIVE. Every Day, Carry the Bible in your heart or in your hand reading it into your soul! Faithful Bible reading will help the Christian thrive. Reading the Bible every day will help you be ready for the day!

Here are some Bibles I use or recommend:

Clarion Bible: https://amzn.to/3lnN1Za

Ryrie Study Bible: https://amzn.to/3MyK3Ny

Life Application Study Bible: https://amzn.to/3MEaQaU

Preaching Bible: https://amzn.to/3sF7xIz

Sovereign Collection: https://amzn.to/3yQcvXb

McClaren Edition: https://amzn.to/3PrColL