Sunday, May 25, 2014
On days when we are given peace and blessings, it is God's way of allowing us to re-charge the batteries for the next of our life's battles. Re-charging can take many forms. Some of us just need to sleep. Others may need a day trip to see a good friend, while someone else just needs an hour at Starbucks with a coffee and a good book. There as those of us, like me, a full day of organizing something will energize me!!!! Janell, I know that's not you!! Whatever will re-energize you for the coming challenges, please take time to do it!!!
For Christians, we know that our battle isn't really the things of this earth, "Ephesians 6:12
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens." With all that happens to us, we have to remember where our struggle truly comes from so we also take time to energize our spiritual life. We truly aren't struggling against people, we are struggling against the powers of the evil one that permeate this present age we live in. The Bible tells us that the Word of God is sharper than any two edged sword!!! In order to remain useful, a sword has to be sharpened. This is a time consuming, meticulous process, and if you don't do it, the sword will not function as it was intended.
The same can be said for our "spiritual sword." Our function depends upon a finely sharpened weapon; The Word of God. On those days, when we are recharging, we need to take time in God's Word to remind us of what we really battle, and how to live with it all. God gave us everything that pertains to righteousness and godliness in His Word, and time reading and meditating on it, will empower us each day.
Unfortunately, each day brings more and more evil. God revealed that to us in his word, that the days are waxing worse and worse. Just look at the news. Evil permeates our lives on every corner, but thank God for Jesus Christ, whom he sent to redeem us from this present age and to bring us to the new age where we will all live in harmony with one another. Though we presently struggle with problems, we have the hope of eternal life with Christ Jesus our Lord and our Heavenly Father. Rejoice and be glad!!! Healing and harmony are part of our future with Christ Jesus our Lord!!! Prepare for the battle and look to the rewards of faithfulness in Christ!!
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Passing along, Jesus saw a man at his work collecting taxes. His name was Matthew. Jesus said, "Come along with me." Matthew stood up and followed him.
Later when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew's house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them. When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit, and lit into Jesus' followers. "What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and riff–raff?"
Jesus, overhearing, shot back, "Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: I'm after mercy, not religion. 'I'm here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders."
How many of us have gone to a church where the "insiders" were in constant strife over some doctrine, rule, etc at church? Been there, done that. What outsider would want to be part of a church like that? I am not one for titles concerning churches. Catholic, Baptist, Methodist etc. I want to be part of the church of "Mercy." How many more people do you think would come to Christ if we were truly the church of Mercy?!
Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge:
"Don't begin by traveling to some far–off place to convert unbelievers. And don't try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.
" Don't think you have to put on a fund–raising campaign before you start. You don't need a lot of equipment. You are the equipment, and all you need to keep that going is three meals a day. Travel light.
"When you enter a town or village, don't insist on staying in a luxury inn. Get a modest place with some modest people, and be content there until you leave.
" When you knock on a door, be courteous in your greeting. If they welcome you, be gentle in your conversation. If they don't welcome you, quietly withdraw. Don't make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way. You can be sure that on Judgment Day they'll be mighty sorry––but it's no concern of yours now."
We don't have to go to some far away land to do the work of the Lord. There are many lost in our own back yard. The verse that says "Bring Health to the Sick" just struck me this morning. We don't see a lot of "big" healing miracles this day. God gave men the ability to invent ways to conquer disease. Maybe it is time to look at this verse in a different light other than praying and seeing a "Healing Miracle." Maybe we need to take the poor to the Dr and pay for a Dr appointment so they can get what they need to get better? Maybe more doctors need to do pro-bono work to help the poor. Maybe the churches need to travel less to other countries and spend the cash on the medical needs of the poor in their community! This is true Christianity. True Christianity is all of us in the community pooling together to meet the needs of all. I could do with one less computer and take someone to the doctors instead!!! What could you do without and put the money aside to take someone to the doctors office when in need? I am going to do some thinking about how to better serve my community.
Monday, April 14, 2014
"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt–seasoning that brings out the God–flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You've lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.
" Here's another way to put it:You're here to be light, bringing out the God–colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light–bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand––shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
We are to make this earth more "palatable" by being salt on the earth. Being salt on the earth makes it a better place for all of us to live. We are to bring out all of God's colors on this earth. We are to shine brightly so these colors can be seen. What do we want the world to taste and see? Our "generous" lives.
No more tit–for–tat stuff. Live generously.
"You're familiar with the old written law, 'Love your friend,' and its unwritten companion, 'Hate your enemy.' I'm challenging that. I'm telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God–created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best––the sun to warm and the rain to nourish––to everyone, regardless:the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run–of–the–mill sinner does that.
" In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God–created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.
Wow!!! How generous is God that he even gives good our enemies. What an example. May we all give prayer for our enemies. Enemies aren't people who are trying to kill you necessarily. Enemies are people who may treat you poorly or talk about you behind your back. Whenever someone misuses you, pray for them. Isn't the end result we all want is a restored relationship with God. If we start restoring relationships with those we are out of sorts with, then the relationships with God will fall back not place.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
1 Peter 3:10-12
Whoever wants to embrace life
and see the day fill up with good,
Here's what you do:
Say nothing evil or hurtful;
Snub evil and cultivate good;
run after peace for all you're worth.
God looks on all this with approval,
listening and responding well to what he's asked;
But he turns his back
on those who do evil things.
Wow! Today we need to fill the day with good embracing the life God has given us!! Snub evil and cultivate good. What a challenge some days!
1 Peter 3:13-15
If with heart and soul you're doing good, do you think you can be stopped? Even if you suffer for it, you're still better off. Don't give the opposition a second thought. Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you're living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy.
Telling people why we live the way we live with the utmost courtesy!! I remember the "old" days of witnessing. We were not courteous at all. Too in your face. I must have sounded like a self righteous idiot, Praise God he has brought me out from that!
1 Peter 3:16-18
Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They'll end up realizing that they're the ones who need a bath. It's better to suffer for doing good, if that's what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad. That's what Christ did definitively:suffered because of others 'sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all––was put to death and then made alive––to bring us to God.
Bring on the mud!!! I will just take a bath in Christ Jesus to clean me up!
1 Peter 4:1-2
Learn to Think Like Him
Since Jesus went through everything you're going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you'll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.
That we can all be free to pursue God without sin bogging us down.
1 Peter 4:3-5
You've already put in your time in that God–ignorant way of life, partying night after night, a drunken and profligate life. Now it's time to be done with it for good. Of course, your old friends don't understand why you don't join in with the old gang anymore. But you don't have to give an account to them. They're the ones who will be called on the carpet––and before God himself.
We are held accountable to God and no one else. Remember, people are not held accountable to you for their sins. It is a matter between them and God. Do not judge. We have to remove the plank from our own eye first. Removing that plank is a lifelong chore until Jesus returns.
1 Peter 4:7-11
Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide–awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless––cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God's words; if help, let it be God's hearty help. That way, God's bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he'll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything––encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!
1 Peter 4:19
So if you find life difficult because you're doing what God said, take it in stride. Trust him. He knows what he's doing, and he'll keep on doing it.