GOOD CHRISTIAN CITIZENS

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;  if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. – Romans 12:3-8
INTRODUCTION
When someone is born again, he or she is born into a family of faith for all eternity. This family, God’s people, is the church. Unlike any other earthly, entity, the church is not divided according to physical boundary, race, culture, education or any other reality. Instead, the church is unified because of its member’s common experience with the grace of Jesus Christ.
Unity, however, does not mean uniformity or a lack of diversity. Indeed, the great diversity of the church’s members is one of its unique aspects. Though each member is gifted differently, every member comes together to form the whole church. Furthermore, because of the variety of gifts possessed, every member is integral to the church’s healthy functioning. There is, then, no member greater than another, just as there is no part of the body that would boast over its position. The proper response if the Christian is to love and value the other members of the church because of their essential contributions to the health and well-being of the church worldwide.
Please enjoy these portions of scripture that speak to us directly about being good Christian citizens.
A LIVING SACRIFICE
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:1-2
HUMBLE SERVICE IN THE BODY OF CHRIST
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. – Romans 12:3-8.
LOVE IN ACTION
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:9-21
SUBMISSION TO GOVERNING AUTHORITIES
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour. -Romans 13:1-7

 

LOVE FULFILLS THE LAW
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. – Romans 13:8-10
THE DAY IS NEAR
And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. – Romans 13:11-14
Stay Blessed!

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NEED HELP? GOD IS WAITING FOR YOU TO ASK

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” – Matthew 7:7 (NIV)

MESSAGE

God never closes his storehouse until you close your mouth and stop asking.

God wants to help you, but if you don’t ever ask, that’s a problem. The last time you needed a car, did you ask God for it, or did you just go out and buy it? Before you decided on the best way to do something, did you ask God for wisdom? When you needed help in a relationship, did you pray about it first?
Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” -Matthew 7:7 (NIV).

When you need God’s help, remember to ASK: ask, seek, knock. God spells it out in this verse three ways so that you will get the message. Maybe you never see miracles in your life because you never ask for them. If you want to see God work in your life more, start asking!

One of God’s principles for your finances is that before you pay for it, pray for it. Stop and ask God. Give God a chance to give it to you before you go out and charge it. If you depend more on your credit card than on Jesus Christ, then you’re not going to get God’s blessing on your finances. He wants you to pray about it before you pay for it so that you will have his wisdom and make a decision that pleases him.
God wants you to ask for things in prayer because he’s a loving Father. Like any father who loves to give his kids good things, God loves to bestow gifts on his children. He’s just waiting for you to ask.
“You have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy will be the fullest possible joy” -John 16:24 (NCV).

God wants you to ask so he can give. He wants to give so you can receive. He wants you to receive so you’ll be full of joy. He wants you to be full of joy because it’s a great advertisement for Jesus Christ. Joyful Christians show the world that following Jesus and doing what he commands brings joy, not dread.

Stop worrying about your finances. Start praying about them! When you do, you’ll have a lot less worry and a lot more joy.

Talk About It

What is the biggest thing that you need help with right now? Have you prayed about it?

What people in your life will pray with you about something that you would otherwise worry about? What difference do their prayers make in your life?

How can you still be full of joy when God doesn’t answer your prayers the way you want or expect him to?

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from DAILY HOPE BY PASTOR RICK.