Those with whom we fellowship the most, influences the person we become. Yes, it's true, our attitude and behavior takes on the personality of those with which we associate the most. Regardless of our age, it happens! Children that play, day after day, with the same playmates, will develop like characteristics. It's natural to take on the persona of our friends, mainly because we like them. Therefore, we begin to imitate, things they do, or the traits we admire. And the more we keep company, the more we're influenced. A married couple, that has spent many years together, often begin to look alike and even act like. They can complete each others sentences and automatically know how the other one will respond.
If fellowship with natural individuals can have that kind of effect on us, what do you think will happen if we spend more time with God? Of course the more time devoted with Him, will inevitably, begin to be revealed in our characteristics. We will develop the same attitude and behavior qualities. What a concept, to become like Him! Paul said, "Imitate me, as I imitate Christ.." 1 Cor. 11:1 and Eph. 5:1 "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children."
Most people find fellowship with Him to be a bother. In this life of ours, there is much to do, work, family, chores, and recreation. Some say there's not enough time in the day to set aside even 15 minutes to fellowship with our Lord. It's been noted that many tend to regulate devotionals to time, rather than have a life of devotion to Him. If we live in fellowship with Him throughout each moment of our life, we shall become more like Him. The qualities of God are more to be desired than that of ourself. Paul wrote, John 3:30 "He must increase, but I must decrease." A famous minister once said, "If we would spend more time with God, people would sense more of God, when they are with us."
With whomever our time is spent, at work; an entertainment medium such as t.v., movies, games, worldly music; worry, fret or fear; reading and meditating on God's Word, or in prayer, that's who we will be like! 1 Cor. 15:33 "Do not be so deceived and misled! Evil companionships (communion, associations) corrupt and deprave good manners and morals and character." We will automatically think like them, talk like them, and act like them. Our way of thinking and life, is influenced by who or what we are around the most.
Instead of choosing not to be affected by others, chose to allow God to influence your life, so that you can be an instrument of His grace and love. Choose to be the light of the world or the salt of the earth. Pour forth the flavor of the Spirit of God into the lives of others so they may know Christ. Ps. 17:15 (Amp) "As for me, I will continue beholding Your face in righteousness (rightness, justice, and right standing with You); I shall be fully satisfied, when I awake (to find myself) beholding Your form [and having sweet communion with You]." Who are you going to hang out with?
We've probably all heard, "When a teapot is up to its neck in hot water, it still sings." That was a popular quote from the 1920's during the Great Depression. But today, too often, when things get 'hot', our singing is crying, wailing and complaining. Are you the kind of person when dealing with adverse circumstances, the first thing you do is post it on Facebook? Or maybe you send out group texts, if somehow 'sharing' our suffering will bring about comfort. There are multiple ways to react when feeling squeezed. What do you do?
How we respond to hard times, reveals what's really within us. Truth be known, if we squeeze an orange and grape juice flows out, we'd think it peculiar. We should also think it unnatural when anything but Christ comes out when we're squeezed, as a Christian! However, some people get angry, cuss, go drinking, hide in their bedroom, and the like when in a 'press'.
James 1:2 Amp says, "Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations." Instead of having an emotional reaction, we should deliberately, appraise the situation from God's perspective! Face it, this didn't take God by surprise. He has made every provision for every type of problem. And even given us a way of escape. (1 Cor.10:13)
What comes out of something, when it's squeezed, depends on what's been put inside. For instance, compress a tube of toothpaste, toothpaste will come out. Likewise, when we are under the press, what we put in, is what's going to come out. If we've spent more time watching movies, playing wild and crazy music, hanging with friends of the world, then Christ isn't going to be coming out! In order to express the Word of God, we've got to spend time IN the Word, renewing our mind. (Rom. 12:2)
As a believer, we are the spout, where His glory comes out! Spending time in the glory, fills our pot, which allows us to pour it out. 2 Cor. 4:6-7 Amp " For God Who said, Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts so as [to beam forth] the Light for the illumination of the knowledge of the majesty and glory of God [as it is manifest in the Person and is revealed] in the face of Jesus Christ (the Messiah). However, we possess this precious treasure [the divine Light of the Gospel] in [frail, human] vessels of earth, that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves."
So that when we are "hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted", or even "struck down" we can know our inward man is being renewed! And these momentary afflictions are preparing, producing, and achieving an ever lasting glory and blessings. (2 Cor. 4) That way we can give glory, honor and praise to our God because we know that in these things, they WILL work out for our greater good. (Rom. 8:28)
If you're being squeezed by circumstances, we encourage you to read the Word, pray the Word, and fill up on the Word of God. Then begin to praise Him, thank Him and glorify Him for answering your prayers. Remember, John 15:7 "If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, You will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you."
Matthew 28: 1-9 "Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen. As He said, Come see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold I have told you. So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring the disciples word. And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, "Rejoice" So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him."
On this wonderful day, we wish you a JOYous celebration of our Risen Lord! We thank God for the 'work' of the cross and the power of His Resurrection! Rejoice and worship the Lamb of God, our Saviour, Jesus Christ the Lord! Happy Resurrection Sunday to you all from Pastors Michael & Virginia Gulotta and Living JOY staff! Celebrate Jesus!
Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
Pro. 11:25 "The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself."