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14
Oct
7 People You Need In Your Life

7 People You Need In Your Life

7 People You Need In Your Life
Who are the seven most influential people in your life?
Let me ask that question a bit differently. . .who are the seven most positive and influential people in your life. . .that you interact with on a daily basis?
Have you seriously thought about the kind of influence they’re exerting in your life? What do they add to your life. . .your goals. . .your dreams?
In June of 2011, I posted a “Friendship Evaluator” where I asked people answer truthfully about the seven people closest to them.
Here are the four questions I posed.
What does this person add to my life?
What's the greatest negative influence this person has on my life?
What's the last positive idea, scripture or thought this person shared with me?
Does this person motivate me to be all I can be in Him?
It might be time to ask those same questions again. In fact, I encourage you to create the list. . .even if you did it two and one-half years ago.
Now let me clarify something right now. I’m talking about the people you choose to be a part of your life.
I’m not talking about the boss, the workplace bully, the guy or gal who’s been assigned to your team and needs a lot of ‘help.” They all have their place but that’s a different teaching.
I’m talking the people who are your friends. Growing up we used to tell our children that real friendship is a mutually positive give and take where both people come out a winner.
However, in this teaching, I’m going to share with you the seven people you need in your life.

1. Paul, a mentor
Yes, you need someone who can speak wisdom into your life. . .someone who keeps you on the cutting edge. . .someone who has a depth of knowledge and understanding beyond your own.
In short, you need a Paul. . .someone who be an encourage, exhort and edify you. . .to be and to become what God intended you to be.
What are the qualifications of a mentor?
Someone who has been there. . .done that. . .knows what you need to do and what you should avoid.
2 Timothy 4:6-7 in the Amplified Bible says:
“For I am already about to be sacrificed [my life is about to be poured out as a drink offering]; the time of my [spirit’s] release [from the body] is at hand and I will soon go free. I have fought the good (worthy, honorable, and noble) fight, I have finished the race, I have kept (firmly held) the faith.”
Paul definitely qualified as a mentor for Timothy and others. . .but through his writings. . .a Paul is definitely someone we need in our lives.
Additionally, in your circle of friends (seven) you need to have a mentor.
As I’ve often said. . .if you’re the smartest person in your circle of seven. . .you need some new friends.
Here are ten strategies for finding a mentor. . .who may be outside your current circle.
1. Identify what area you need mentoring in
2. Create a list of possible mentors.
3. Start with the big dog or top cat and work down.
4. Write down everything you know about that person
5. Research.
6. Who do you know who knows them?
7. Prepare to contact them.
8. Make contact.
9. Follow up with a thank you note.
10. If at first you don’t succeed, try the next one.

2. Timothy, a protégé
Are there people in your circle of friends. . .who look to you for advice. . .instruction and direction?
Perhaps a more important question. . .is whether or not they’re open to your thoughts and perspective.
In our circle. . .we need a protégé like Timothy.
Acts 16:1-2 in the New Living Translation says:
“Paul went first to Derbe and then to Lystra, where there was a young disciple named Timothy. His mother was a Jewish believer, but his father was a Greek. 2 Timothy was well thought of by the believers[a] in Lystra and Iconium.”
Are the people in your group well-thought of because of their family background or strong faith?
Sadly, many people are now from dysfunctional families. . .but those who have given their hearts to Jesus. . .set themselves apart from everyone else because of their testimony and passion.
Acts 16:4-5 in the New Living Translation says:
“Then they went from town to town, instructing the believers to follow the decisions made by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in their faith and grew larger every day.
As you help the protégés in your life. . .whether at work, church or wherever. . .you will begin to experience greater success and a stronger faith.
Exodus 18:20 in the Message Bible says:
“Your job is to teach them the rules and instructions, to show them how to live, what to do.”
In order to be successful in life you must have a successor . . .which means you must train those who work with you to effectively handle the things you need help in achieving.
If you’re learning a new occupation . . .you want to learn from people who have already proven themselves successful.
An effective leader should always be trying to work themselves out of a job . . .by training and developing new leaders who can assume even greater areas of responsibility.
You’d be amazed or maybe not . . .at the number of people who do everything themselves because they illogically figure that if someone else becomes good at their job. . .they may lose it to them.
Now is that faulty logic . . .it’s scripturally unsound. Consider the success principle E68 (Ephesians 6:8).
Whatever good thing you cause to happen to someone else. . .God will do for you.
If you train someone in the workplace and are then dismissed…know this: God keeps the books. Be expectant… you’re being promoted!
If you’re good at developing protégés. . . successful leaders . . .you’ll never be out of a job. . .or friends.

3. Barnabus, an encourager
Everyone. . .no matter how self-motivated or focused. . .needs an encourager in their lives. . .someone like Barnabus.
Acts 4:36 in the New Living Translation says:
“For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus.”
What qualities should we look for in an encourager?
Acts 11:24 in the Amplified Bible says:
“For he was a good man [good in himself and also at once for the good and the advantage of other people], full of and controlled by the Holy Spirit and full of faith (of his belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through Whom we obtain eternal salvation). And a large company was added to the Lord.”
Let’s also look at Acts 4:37 in the New Living Translation which says:
“He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles.”
There are seven qualities in Barnabas that we should look for in encouragers who are in our circle of friends.
First, they must be good. . .a good man. . .a good woman.
Second, they must be good on the inside. . .as well as. . .on the outside. Their goodness needs to be real.
Third, the encourager must desire to improve the quality of life for others.
Fourth, they must be wrapped up, tangled up and full of the Holy Spirit.
Fifth, the faith of an encourager must be clearly evident to everyone. . .saint or sinner.
Sixth, by their nature. . .encouragers will bring increase to everyone who comes in contact with them.
Finally, seventh, an encourager gives without a hidden agenda. . .just as Barnabus did when he gave money to the apostles.
Is there anyone of your circle of seven who demonstrate some or all of these character qualities?

4. Stephen, a servant
Every circle of friends. . .need servants. There are so many examples in the scripture like Martha or Mary Magdalene. However, I was lead to Stephen.
Stephen was born a Jew in Greece. He was a man of learning, educated, and refined who trained at the feet of the noted teacher, Gamaliel.
Acts 6:1-7 in the Amplified Bible says:
“So the Twelve [apostles] convened the multitude of the disciples and said, It is not seemly or desirable or right that we should have to give up or neglect [preaching] the Word of God in order to attend to serving at tables and superintending the distribution of food.
3 Therefore select out from among yourselves, brethren, seven men of good and attested character and repute, full of the [Holy] Spirit and wisdom, whom we may assign to look after this business and duty.
4 But we will continue to devote ourselves steadfastly to prayer and the ministry of the Word.
5 And the suggestion pleased the whole assembly, and they selected Stephen, a man full of faith (a strong and welcome belief that Jesus is the Messiah) and full of and controlled by the Holy Spirit. . .”
What happens when you have people with a servant’s heart in your circle of friends?
Acts 6:7 in the Amplified Bible says:
“And the message of God kept on spreading, and the number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem; and [besides] a large number of the priests were obedient to the faith [in Jesus as the Messiah, through Whom is obtained eternal salvation in the kingdom of God].”
Stephen was an humble man. . .even though he was far more educated than his accusers or most everyone else.
A true servant. . .always thinks of. . .blesses and serves others before themselves.
Even in his death. . .Stephen was concerned about his accusers.
Acts 6:59-60 in the Amplified Bible says:
“And while they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, Lord Jesus, receive and accept and welcome my spirit! And falling on his knees, he cried out loudly, Lord, fix not this sin upon them [lay it not to their charge]! And when he had said this, he fell asleep [in death].”
In your circle. . .you want friends who will be with you on the mountaintops as well as in your valleys of distress and disappointment.

5. Nathan, a friend who speaks the truth in love
A true friend is with you during the good times and the bad. If you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing. . .getting off course. . .and away from the Word. . .a true friend will bring correction for re-direction.
A true friend does shy away from telling you the less than pleasant news.
Nathan the Prophet, at God’s direction, did not hesitate to go to King David, his good friend, in 2 Samuel 7:1-17 to tell the King God didn’t want him to build the temple. I strongly encourage you to read the entire passage. . .it’s a beautiful message of re-direction for the King. . .who accepted Nathan’s word without questioning or criticizing what he had to say.
Nathan had an even more difficult assignment when he approached King David in 2 Samuel 12:1-12 to expose his adultery, murder and sin.
No doubt, King David knew Nathan’s character. . .so he respected his words and it goes without saying. . .he knew he had sinned against God.
2 Samuel 12:9 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, doing evil in His sight? You have slain Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife. You have murdered him with the sword of the Ammonites.”
King David knew his friend was speaking the truth to him.
2 Samuel 12:13 in the Amplified Bible says:
“And David said to Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said to David, The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.”
Every person who desires to be successful needs someone like Nathan in their lives and especially, in their circle of friends.
We should never shun friends who speak a truth we may not want to hear. . .but we should embrace them. . .as King David did.
In fact, King David named one of his children. . .Nathan. Read 2 Samuel 5:14; 1 Chronicles 3:5; and 14:4.
Here’s the question for each of us to consider.
Do we have a Nathan in our circle of friends?
Are we a Nathan in someone else’s circle of friends.

6. Ruth, a loyal friend
Without question. . .you should have a Ruth in your life. . .and, of course, they need to be of the appropriate gender.
Throughout my life. . .I have learned the distinction between friends who are loyal and those who are along for the ride.
Everybody needs a Ruth.
Hey, I’ve got one. . .her name is Annie Ruth. . .and she’s my 85-year old anointed mother.
In your circle of friends you need someone who will be loyal to you. . .no matter what may happen.
Let’s see what we can learn from Ruth.
First, she married a foreigner instead of one of her Moabite home boys.
Second, she was probably ostracized from her family. . .because she didn’t marry the one they picked. . .as would have been the custom.
Third, her husband died and she was forced to live with her mother-in-law who according to the scripture was a bitter woman over the loss of her husband and sons.
Fourth, widows with husbands and sons. . .were not the toast of the town. . .that’s why Jesus teaches us to care for the widows and the orphans.
Fifth, now her mother-in-law is returning to her home where Ruth will be a foreigner.
I could go on but I think the message is clear. . .Ruth was loyal and a woman of character and it showed.
Ruth 3:11 in God’s Word translation says:
“Don’t be afraid, my daughter. I will do whatever you say. The whole town knows that you are a woman who has strength of character.”
Ruth’s loyalty to Naomi in the midst of adversity revealed her character. . .sealing her destiny and her place in Biblical history. It also changed her mother in law from bitter to joyful.
Our youngest son Jamie. . .is amazingly loyal to his friends. . .no matter what. . .even when his loyalty is not reciprocated.
At the end of the day. . .Jamie says. . .it’s not what they do. . .but what he does that matters.
While I fully appreciate his friendship fidelity . . . in your inner circle. . .you need friends who are loyal. . .even when it’s not convenient or just plain hard.

7. Andrew, a bringer (witness)
In your circle of friends. . .you need an Andrew.
Now I take particular pleasure in this one as our youngest grand sugar is named Andrew.
Andrew is mentioned three times of substance in the Bible other than being listed with the other disciples. All three times he was doing the same thing. . . bringing people to Jesus.
First, Andrew brought his brother, Simon Peter to Jesus.
John 1:40-42 in the Amplified Bible says:
“40 One of the two who heard what John said and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first sought out and found his own brother Simon and said to him, We have found (discovered) the Messiah!—which translated is the Christ (the Anointed One). 42 Andrew then led (brought) Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, You are Simon son of John. You shall be called Cephas—which translated is Peter [Stone].”
Andrew was a follower of John the Baptist and he also followed Jesus.
No doubt Peter was always the center of everything. . .in fact, he was probably the star quarterback in high school. . .okay, maybe not.
But this much I do know to be true. . .Peter obviously respected his brother Andrew because he immediately followed him to meet Jesus.
The second time Andrew was mentioned in substance was in John 6:5-13 in the New International Version which says:
“Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up, 9"Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?"
I can visualize Andrew walking through the crowed. . .talking with the people. . .when he saw the little boy with the loaves and fishes. . . He brought the lad to Jesus. He was an observer.
The final time. . .Andrew is mentioned is when some Greeks approached Philip wanting to see Jesus. . .who not knowing what to do went to Andrew.
John 12:20-22 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Now among those who went up to worship at the Feast were some Greeks. These came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and they made this request, Sir, we desire to see Jesus. Philip came and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip together [went] and told Jesus.”
All three times. . .Andrew does the same thing. . .he brings people to Jesus.
In our circle of friends. . .we need people who will bring ideas and opportunities. . .people who are loyal to our vision and calling.
Andrew was a bringer. . .by the way, did I tell you that our grandson’s name is Andrew? I’m believing he will grow up to be a mighty man of God like the disciple Andrew.
Now that we’ve been through the 7 people we need… it’s important to remember that we need to be … as much as possible… to exhibit these qualities to our friends as well.

13
Apr
Question: "How should we live our lives in light of our identity in Christ?"

Question: "How should we live our lives in light of our identity in Christ?"

Answer: Our identity in Christ is first and foremost one of newness. We are new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Identity is defined as “the collective aspect of the set of characteristics by which a thing is definitively recognizable or known,” so our new identity in Christ should be recognizable both to ourselves and to others. If we are “in Christ,” that should be evident, just as being “in the world” is equally evident. A further definition of identity is “the quality or condition of being the same as something else.” In the case of our identity in Christ, our lives should indicate that we are the same as Christ. The name “Christians” means literally “followers of Christ.” In our new identity in Christ, we are no longer slaves to sin (Romans 6:6), but we are reconciled to God (Romans 5:10). This new identity completely changes our relationship with God and our families, just as it changes the way we see the world. Our new identity in Christ means we have the same relationship with God that Christ has—we are His children. God has adopted us as sons. We are able to call Him “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15–16). We are both joint heirs (Galatians 3:29) and friends (John 15:15) of Christ. And this relationship is even stronger than those we have with our earthly families (Matthew 10:35–37). Instead of fearing God as judge, we have the great privilege of coming to Him as our Father. We can approach Him with confidence and ask of Him what we need (Hebrews 4:16). We can ask for His guidance and wisdom (James 1:5) and know that nothing will take us from Him (Romans 8:38–39). We also rest in His authority and respond to Him with trusting obedience, knowing that obedience is a key part of remaining close to Him (John 14:23). The family of God encompasses a vast body of believers who strive together to grow closer to God (1 Corinthians 12:13). It’s a family that is stronger for the gifts of each person in it (Romans 12:6–8). Members of this new family seek the best for one another (1 Corinthians 10:24), encourage each other (Galatians 6:1–2), and forgive each other (Matthew 18:21–22). Each member has a specific role, but the roles are acted out with respect and grace (1 Peter 5:1–5). Most of all, we respond to each other in love—not the feeling, but a selfless, conscious act of sacrifice, which is reflective of the agape love of the God who loved us and gave Himself for us (Galatians 2:20). We are no longer citizens of the world but apart from it (2 Corinthians 6:14—7:1). We understand that we are a part of a heavenly, God-ruled kingdom. Things of the earth no longer draw us (Colossians 3:2). We don’t fear or over-emphasize suffering on earth or the trials we face (Colossians 1:24; 1 Peter 3:14; 4:12–14), nor do we place importance on things the world values (1 Timothy 6:9–11). Even our bodies and our actions reflect that our minds are no longer conformed to the world (Romans 12:1–2) but are now instruments of righteousness to God (Romans 6:13). And our new kingdom perspective means we understand that our enemy is not the people around us but the spiritual forces that endeavor to keep the people from knowing God (Ephesians 6:12). All of this is the ideal—the character of a mature follower of Christ. One of the greatest blessings about our identity in Christ is the grace we’re given in order to grow into the spiritual maturity that truly reflects our new identity (Philippians 1:6). Our lives in light of our identity in Christ are filled with a heavenly Father, a large, loving family, and the understanding that we are citizens of another kingdom and not of this earth.
07
Apr
Question: "What does the Bible say about prosperity?"

Question: "What does the Bible say about prosperity?"

06
Apr
Why should I forgive?

Why should I forgive?

Question: "Why should I forgive?" Answer: Forgiveness is a familiar topic in the Bible. In fact, God’s plan to forgive mankind of their sins is the major theme of the Bible (1 Peter 1:20; John 17:24). So, when wondering why we should forgive those who sin against us, we need look no further than the example God gave us. Christians must forgive others because God has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32). Jesus gave a parable in Matthew 18:21–35 about why we should forgive. He tells the story from the perspective of a king who has forgiven a servant of tremendous debt. But then that servant encounters another servant who owed him a few dollars, and the forgiven servant deals harshly with his fellow servant and demands instant repayment. When the king learns what had happened, he is furious and orders the one he had forgiven to be punished until the huge debt was paid in full. Jesus ends the parable with these chilling words: “That is how My Heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart” (verse 35). Forgiveness is mandatory for all those who have experienced the forgiveness of God (Ephesians 4:32). Jesus taught us to pray, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12), reminding us that God holds us accountable for paying forward what He has done for us. Refusing to forgive those who wrong us is an insult to the Lord who has forgiven us much more. We forgive as an act of gratitude for all we have been forgiven. Those who have been forgiven by God are transformed into forgiving people. To approach the Lord and ask for His forgiveness while at the same time refusing to forgive our brothers and sisters is the height of hypocrisy. If a person who claims to be a Christian refuses to extend forgiveness to others, that person is showing evidence that he or she is not truly born again. We forgive others because it is in our (new) nature to forgive (see 1 John 3:9). Forgiveness is not letting an unrepentant sinner off the hook. Rather, it is an eager readiness to extend mercy to those who have wronged us. When we forgive, we free ourselves from the bondage someone’s wrong has created for us. It is impossible to live in complete obedience to God when someone else controls our emotions. Followers of Jesus are to be controlled by nothing but the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). In order to grow spiritually and live in submission to God’s Word, we must obey even the difficult commands about forgiveness (Luke 6:46). Forgiveness is often a window through which the world glimpses the mercy of God. As the popular slogan goes, “You may be the only Bible some people ever read.” When we forgive, we model God’s teachings on kindness, mercy, love, and humility. People cannot see Jesus in us when we are walking in bitterness and anger. When all we can talk about is how we were wronged, how someone betrayed us, or the wounds we are carrying, we lose sight of our primary mission, which is to make disciples (Matthew 28:19). Unforgiveness makes us self-focused instead of God-focused and steals our love, peace, and joy (see Galatians 5:22). Forgiveness comes more easily for some than it does for others, but we are all required to forgive if we want to walk in fellowship with God. Some find it hard to forgive because they have a misunderstanding of what it means to forgive. Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation. We can forgive from the heart while keeping betrayers at a distance. Forgiveness does not allow unrepentant abusers back into our lives, but it does allow the peace of God back into our lives. From the cross, Jesus prayed for His murderers: “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34). We are never more like Jesus than when we forgive the ones who wronged us, and for believers that is the ultimate goal (Romans 8:29).
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