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Need to Change Something?  Find an Accountability Partner (Part 1)


“Ok, I am going to hold you accountable to do what you said you were going to do!”  In a tone that never had much grace this is how my friends and I would attempt to “encourage” each other in our walk with Christ and in trying to live out our spiritual disciplines.  I used to think that accountability meant railing on someone for not doing what they said they were going to do but then I read something that changed my way of thinking… dramatically.   Our Community Group at church has been going through a series entitled, “Instruments in the Hands of the Redeemer.”  This Biblically based, gospel-centered study equips people to learn how to minister to others and help them change (i.e. incarnational ministry).  This last week we read about accountability.  Below is an excerpt from our study guide written by Paul Tripp and Tim Lane.  Take a look at it and then see if maybe your understanding of Biblical accountability has changed.  This is Part 1.  In Part 2 we will look at how this actually looks in holding someone accountable for certain actions.  Feel free to leave a comment.


As change is applied to daily living, the Bible gives us two things to remember. First, as we help restore a person to where God wants him to be, we should “carry each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). We are also told that we should “encourage one another daily” (Hebrews 3:13). These passages have much to offer us as we think about accountability

  • Accountability is not about being a private detective.
  • It is not about trying to do the work of the Holy Spirit.
  • It is not about being someone’s conscience.
  • It is not about forcing someone to obey.
  • It is not about chasing someone who is running or looking for someone who is hiding.

    Accountability is about providing loving structure, guidance, assistance, encouragement, and warning to a person who is fully committed to the change God is working in his life. Let’s look at these five elements of accountability.


1. Accountability provides structure. Life is often messy and chaotic. Change seems easier when being discussed than it does when being applied to life. Accountability provides an outside system of structure (“Do these things during this period of time”) that can be immensely helpful to the person attempting something for the first time.

2. Accountability provides guidance. Often a person will want to do what is right but won’t be sure how to do it. At these times it is a great benefit to have someone standing alongside to provide ongoing wisdom as to the “where,” “when,” and “how” of change.

3. Accountability provides assistance. There are times when the person is not able to make the needed changes alone (example: a difficult talk with a wife, friend, child) and he literally needs someone there with him, helping him make the changes that are needed.

4. Accountability provides encouragement. Change is difficult and people get beaten down. They are tempted to question their commitments or even to quit. In these times, they need someone they trust alongside them, who knows their situation and who can encourage them to continue.

5. Accountability provides warning. There are times when people confess the need for change, but then begin to rebel against it when they realize the cost and work involved. These people need to be warned of the consequences that their disobedience and rebellion will bring. They need to be reminded that they will harvest what they have sown (Galatians 6:7).

Accountability is not about chasing a person who does not want to change or trying to do the work of the Holy Spirit. It is the willingness to provide ongoing help to the person who is fully committed to the “put off/put on” process.

There are three questions to ask as you seek to provide ongoing


1. What kinds of ongoing help will this person need?

2. How often will I need to be in contact with him for change to continue?

3. Are there other resources in the Body of Christ that would be helpful during this period of change? How can I connect this person to those resources?

Remember, as the person begins to apply new insights and new commitments to his situations and relationships, it is important to remind him of his identity in Christ and to provide ongoing accountability.

THE BIG QUESTION: Do you help others bear the burden of change by providing biblical accountability and affirming their identity in Christ?


All for Jesus,


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Heaven's Help 24/7

“The man whom heaven helps has friends enough.” (Euripides)


God directs our days—overshadowing when life overwhelms, energizing response-abilities, calming chaos, influencing decisions in puzzling crossroads.


God is our Night Light—inspiring us with nocturnal melodies, illuminating every step by His Word Lamp, protecting us from enemies of our soul lurking in sinister alleys.


God is our Morning Wake-Up Call—igniting enthusiasm for His business.


God is our Shepherd—walking ahead, calling our name, training us to recognize His voice. On the less-traveled way, He teaches us lessons we would never learn on other roads.


God is our Traveling Companion—riding with us on life’s roller coaster, Sun of Righteousness when we’re awake, Bright Morning Star when we’re asleep.


Stepping into tomorrow, there’s no need to let anxiety get the best of us. Round the clock, every second, every hour, every heartbeat, from here to eternity—God travels with us 24/7.


“The Lord guided them by a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night. That way they could travel whether it was day or night.” (Exodus 13:21 NLT)


Johnny R. Almond

Christian preacher and writer

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

[This devotion based on Day 45 of Gentle Whispers from Eternity]

Read blog at http://GentleWhispersFromEternity-ScripturePersonalized

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Invisible Means of Support

“How often we look upon God as our last and feeblest resource!

We go to him because we have nowhere else to go.

And then we learn that the storms of life have driven us,

not upon the rocks, but into the desired haven.”

- George Macdonald


God is our best resource for help—sadly, we frequently seek Him only in an emergency.

Our Heavenly Father, who knows us best, is able, willing, and ready to help us.

Yet often we use Him as a spare tire instead of our steering wheel.

In pain, we pray;  in desperation, we cry out for help.

Ultimately we find God our Greatest Friend.


The Lord was with Joseph in a pit, a prison, and a palace.

When all his brothers deserted him, God stayed.

Serving foreigners, God walked with him.

In prison, God was his Cellmate.

Unfailingly God is with us.


We march in a victory parade as servants of the King of kings.

Hearing His future melody, we whistle a hopeful tune now.

Even at midnight, His Spirit inspires hymns of praise.

In the storms of life we are never left alone.

Unreservedly thank God for God!


“He took Joseph and threw him into the prison, where the king’s prisoners were held.

But the Lord was  with Joseph there, too.”

Genesis 39:20, 21 NLT


Johnny R. Almond

                Pastor, Colonial Beach Baptist Church, Virginia

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity—Scripture Personalized

GentleWhispersFromEternity-ScripturePersonalized  (copy and paste to browser)

[This devotion based on/adapted from Day 27 of Gentle Whispers from Eternity]

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Ready For the Road Ahead 2-13-2011

Ready For the Road Ahead

             One time while visiting Cape May, Jeff and I saw a print in a gallery that we just had to have.  It was a photograph of a lighthouse off the coast of France, well known for the stormy waves that crash upon it each day.  A photographer in a helicopter had captured one of those waves as it smashed around the base of the lighthouse while the lighthouse keeper blithely looked skyward  to see what the noise was all about.  One glance at this picture and you want to yell, "Watch out!!  Get inside!!"

            How many times over the years have you been gripped by headlines such as the ones concerning Egypt recently.  As of February 7 the chaos in Cairo had continued for 14 days.   Headlines on that day also proclaimed clashes in Cambodia, protesting in Turkey,  and ships being raided by pirates in India.  It seems that the world is a fearful place to live without a shelter to keep us safe in the storm.  One glance at the headlines and your mind wants to yell, "Watch out!!!  Stay inside!!" 

            No one understood better about how chaotic life could be than the ancient Israelite.  Due to its key location on the path of several major trade routes linking 3 continents, Israel was constantly subjected to attacks and turnovers.   Not only was their little sliver in the fertile crescent valuable for trade, other nations such as Assyria and Egypt, were on a mission to prove that their gods were far more powerful than Yahweh.  They viewed their military victories as a reason to proclaim that Yahweh was weak and undependable.  As threats for another invasion surfaced it was enough to cause any faithful Israelite to yell, "Watch out!!  Don't go outside!!"

            This month Jewish people will celebrate the festival of Purim whose story is found in the book of Esther.   The Israelites had been conquered by Persia and some, like Esther, were now in exile.  Times were unstable and uncertain.  The strange thing about the book of Esther is that God's name is never mentioned.  It appears that God is not involved in the story at all.  Actually, God is very cleverly disguised within the story, and to the faithful there is no doubt that He is the source of Esther's courage and the reason the Jews prevail.

            Sometimes the chaos of the world feels the same way.  No matter what continent, no matter what nation or state, strife and turmoil seem to say that God is not involved in our world at all.  Times are unstable and uncertain.  However, the psalmist encourages us in Psalm 46 that even when mountains shake and the waters roar, God is in the midst of His people acting as an anchor and a source of hope which will see us through the storm safely (Heb. 6:13-20).   We may not see it; we may not sense it, but we know God is at work in our story.

            The Sea of Galilee is often depicted as an idyllic body of water surrounded by pleasant hills.  However, it is not always that peaceful.  Cutting into those rolling hills are gorges called "scarps" and when the wind blows down through the scarps on to the Sea of Galilee it stirs up the water and sailing becomes treacherous.  Such a storm is recorded in Luke 8:22-25.  This storm was so fierce that even the disciples who were seasoned fishermen feared they were about to die.  Whether it is a massive wave off the coast of France, a disturbing headline about our chaotic world, or a storm upon the Sea of Galilee, there is only one thing to do when a storm of that intensity comes your way.  Esther turned to God through fasting and prayer.  The disciples turned to Jesus.  Rather than succumbing to panic or hiding when life seems out of control, our best recourse is to follow in the footsteps of the psalmist and place our trust in the Lord (Ps. 121) for that is where our help comes from.                                                                                 Ann H. LeFevre    2/13/2011


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