Posts Tagged ‘God’

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Ephesians 1:1 CALLED

October 17, 2011

   Ephesians begins with Paul qualifying himself as an Apostle.  God chose him and he had a personal encounter with Jesus on the road toDamascus.  The other Apostles knew Jesus before he died, but Paul did not.  God had a special purpose for Paul and He has a special purpose for us.  We all have had our road to  Damascus. 

   The Message Bible states “by the divine will—the purpose and the choice of God”.  That goes for us too.  Jesus told us that no one can come to Him unless the Father calls him.  The Father called me and you.  Whether or not we respond to Him is on us. 

    There is a job for each of us to do.  We were called according to His purpose and set on a path to bring others into the kingdom.  We are given specific spiritual gifts to enable us to do the work set before us.  We were not saved to just go to heaven.

    Just as Paul was chosen to serve the risen Christ, so are we.  We are called “saints”, set apart ones.  We are called to be “faithful, loyal and steadfast” in Christ (Message Bible).

Nothing should be more important than our call and no purpose should be higher than God’s purpose for us.   If we keep the Kingdom first, all the rest is gravy.

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Ephesians 1:1,2 CALLED FOR HIS PURPOSE

October 1, 2011

            Today I begin reading Ephesians on my journey with my Lord.  He first took me through 1st and 2nd Timothy, then Romans and now we begin to unwrap the treasures in Ephesians.  I am excited to find out what the Holy Spirit has in store for me.

            The book begins with Paul qualifying himself.  He says that he is an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God.  God’s word proves itself.  We can look back through the book of Acts to see Paul’s story.  It is unique, but then so is mine and so is yours.  The emphasis in this book is to the church, to the “saints who are also faithful in Christ Jesus”.  We are the saints.  It begins with a blessing of grace and peace to us from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

            The first thing that jumped out to me was “by the will of God”.  We have all been chosen by the will of God   (John 6:44).  We have all been called for His purpose (Romans 8:28).

            Paul was called to be an Apostle.  His calling came after Jesus rose from the dead.  So did mine.  God placed him in is position.  God placed me in my position.  He spent time learning from those who had already been called; however his ministry began immediately. (Acts 9: 19:20).

            Look at your life.  What are you doing?  Looking for purpose?  You already have one.  God chose you, enabled you, and equipped you to do certain things.  What are you good at; what is your passion?  Those things are not a mistake or just a part of your personality.  It is your calling.   Do it unto the Lord, do it well, learn to do it better from those in Christ who have gone before you.  Submit your ways to God and let him lead you down His path, ask him to open your eyes just like He did for Paul.  God bless.

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Romans 15:1 TRUE LEADERSHIP

September 15, 2011

  Yesterday, I had to go and meet someone who had gotten lost on her way to my home in order to show her the way.  As I drove ahead of her, I kept the space between my car and hers measured so that she could stay behind me.  She was driving slowly and I would have to slow down to maintain the distance.  We were on our way when I heard the Lord say to me, “This is how to lead.” 

   In today’s verse, we are told that “We who are strong [in our convictions and of robust faith] ought to bear with the failings and the frailties and the tender scruples of the weak. — We ought to help carry the doubts and qualms of others — and not to please ourselves.” (Amplified).

   Yesterday, we were told in the end of Romans 14 that although we are no longer under the law, we must be careful that our freedom does not cause another person to sin and we were reminded that whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

   So, the Lord showed me how I am supposed to lead:  by gauging the needs of the one being taught, and accommodating my guidance to their level.   I cannot teach a six year old the same thing I could share with a 20 year old.  It works the same in the Kingdom.  Jesus spent three years with his disciples, He lived with them, taught them, showed them, loved them and He knew who they were inside and out. 

   I must take the time to discern what the failings, frailties or tender scruples are in the person God has entrusted me to help.  I must take care not to be puffed up or pompous when I share with them.  I must take the time to know them and love them and only then can I be an effective leader.  In all of that, I must rely upon the Holy Spirit for guidance and take care to hear Him instead of me. 

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Owe No One Anything Except to Love One Another

August 11, 2011

Romans 13:8 & 10

             Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves his neighbor fulfills the law…love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

             In looking up what it means to “owe” the cross references refer both to debts and to collateral, to holding a security deposit.  I think here that Paul is not referring to a monetary debt, rather a spiritual or moral debt.  We are not to hold back from doing something good for one another.  When we love someone, we will withhold nothing from them.  We will go out of our way to please them, to help them, even to the setting aside of our own personal needs at times.

             I believe that we are not to let an opportunity to show our love to one another slip by.  God considers that a debt.  The Catholic Church calls it a “sin of omission”.

             I pray that my eyes may be opened to see what my brothers and sisters need and, if it is possible, that I might provide for that need.  Many in the church are hurting or in need of help.  If we would help one another the way we are taught by the Word, this present world situation would be of no consequence to believers.

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Romans 13:1-7 Governing Authorities Instituted by God

August 6, 2011

Romans 13: 1-7 “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.  Therefore, he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, those who resist will incur judgment….etc. 

I saw this yesterday and did not address it because I really, really didn’t want to accept this.  Paul goes on to instruct on paying taxes and giving respect and honor.   We are all “subject” to the governing authorities and must obey the laws or receive the consequences.  That part is understandable. 

I can accept this easily if I “accept” the leadership of our Country.  If we have a leader who is not of my persuasion, I surely don’t want to think of him/her as having been instituted by God.  However, I have learned through the study of the Old Testament that God places and uses ungodly leaders over people to accomplish His goals.  In Judges 3, He even says that he kept some enemies in their territories so that they could learn to do warfare!   

I surely pray more when I see the push from the ungodly.  So, I will respect the position, I will respect the authority that comes with it, and I will accept that everything on this planet has a purpose and will ultimately further God’s perfect plan. 

I think I will just keep my mind on God and the Kingdom and let Him sort all this out.  I will, however, continue to vote for and support leaders whose worldview is based on Judeo/Christian principles. 

Is. 26.3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusts in thee.

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“Vengeance is Mine,” says the Lord.

July 29, 2011

Romans 12:19-20.  Beloved, never avenge yourselves but leave it up to the wrath of the Lord; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.  “Therefore, if your enemy is hungry, feed him, if he is thirsty, give him a drink, for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” (2 Thess. 1:6). 

In looking up cross references for these verses, I see they apply to anyone who harms us.  God is our protector and He will take care of it.  We are supposed to be Kingdom dwellers and act in such a way that love is our response, no matter what.  Jesus said to “turn the other cheek”.  That, to me, does not mean…let them slap you again, but that it has no meaning, therefore, it does not matter if you slap me or not-I will love you anyway.  

I am not able to do this yet, but I can imagine the freedom that would come from it.  To be so sure and secure in God’s love that we can look beyond the action and respond with love, knowing that God is in control would be something to strive for.    

I also know that only God knows the other person, understands his or her heart and motivations.  I can trust Him to take care of the issue.  I don’t need to trespass on His territory.  I must remember that my job is to love and bring others into the Kingdom and everything else belongs to God.

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Romans 12:18 continued.

July 26, 2011

   My brother likes to remind me of “context”.  Yesterday, I spoke of Paul’s command to “live peaceably with all, as far as it depends on you”.  I took the concept all the way to include all around us.  My brother reminded me that Paul was speaking to the Church and that the “all” he was referring to only applied to believers. 

  So, this morning, I did a word study and found that in most places, even in the Old Testament, it applied to the Israelites and in the New to the church.  So, he was right. However, Hebrews 12:14 tells us to “pursue peace with all people and holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”  Believers already see the Lord. 

  Jesus was clear that we should be the light and salt to a dying world.  He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.”  We are the sons of God, through Him.    I want everyone to “see the Lord” in me.”

   As our Pastor said the last time context came up, that does not mean the principle does not apply outside the Church as well.

   So, my brother was correct and I love him dearly and appreciate his feedback.  As for me, I will take the command outside to those who don’t understand it so that, maybe, they will see the Lord in me and want what I have. 

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No More Land for Peace!

July 22, 2011

Yesterday, I touched a spiritual level I had never experienced before, a place where God’s heart lives.  I was overwhelmed with the weight of it.   I tried to explain it, but I could not.  His heart is heavy.  We Christians have ceded His territory just like the modern day Israelis…for peace…for “political correctness”.  Satan knows how to take territory, little by little, ever chipping away at land, at faith, at courage and finally at hope.  We have allowed it, stayed silent, kept out of controversy, safely hidden in our little church fellowship groups where the “world” cannot touch us. 

What is wrong with us!  Who are we?  Who do we belong to?  What do we believe!  People are being led to the slaughter day by day and we do nothing!  We let the Lord, the Holy One, the One and Only God be removed from the public square and we do nothing!

We are called the “silent majority”, yet Jesus called us to Preach the Good News!  Silent! Silent?  Do we belong to the Almighty?  Are we Ambassadors for Christ?  Do they “know us by our love?”   Did Jesus die in vain? 

I am ashamed.  God is watching and we are not doing what He called us to do.  “Well done, good and faithful servants”?  I think not. 

I declare this day, in the Name of my Lord Jesus Christ, with the power of the Holy Spirit, that I will serve my Father in Heaven and establish a beachhead wherever He leads me and, once established, I will hold it!   All the armies of Heaven go before me and surround me as I do the will of my Father…no more land for peace, no more hiding in my comfort zone.  Here Am I, Lord…Send Me!.

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Bless those who Persecute You

July 13, 2011

Romans 13:14     Bless Those Who Persecute You, Bless and Curse Not.

   To be sure, I looked up the word “bless” in the Second Edition of Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary.  The root of the word is “blood” and signifies something holy, set apart or consecrated for God.  It goes on in the lesser meanings to declare “to make happy” or “wish happiness to”.  I think, here in Romans 13:14, Paul means the first definition.

   In recovery, we are taught to pray for those against whom we carry resentment and to pray a blessing.  That was a difficult task for me in my early recovery years.  In later years, we joked among ourselves with the phrase “Don’t make me bless you!” because of Romans 13:14.

  To be persecuted in this instance, I am sure, is in reference to our Christianity.  We are to bless, call upon the blood of Jesus to cover that person, those who attack us because we are Christians.  This is another place I would like our Pastor to give us a teaching.  Jesus never cursed anyone, even demons if I recall correctly.  He honestly described the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, but never cursed them.

  When I listen to the atheists denigrate Christianity, it upsets and angers me.  I try and pray for them, but not wholeheartedly.  This is an area where I need clarification and some work on my self.  Are we to plead the blood and pray that they be set apart as holy to God?  If so, I have a lot to “practice” and learn.  But if that is the case, that is really cool…like “pouring burning coals on their heads” (Ro. 12:20), only these “coals” could convict to righteousness.  Hmmm..

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Be Aglow with The Spirit

July 5, 2011

Romans 12:11 continues… “be aglow (burning) with the Spirit, serving the Lord.” 

Since Paul exhorts us to “be aglow with the Spirit”, this must be something we can do.  I have always prayed that I would be filled with the Spirit, only to find out that Paul said, “Stir up your gift” and “be filled.”  So, again, this is something we must be able to do within ourselves. 

I became born again the in the Charismatic Movement of the 70s.  That was something.  People were being saved and baptized in the Spirit everywhere.  We were all on fire for the Lord.  It was an exciting time.   But, although it was a real movement of God, it was experiential.  I had a thirst for the Word of God, but did not have a strong teacher.  We all just prayed, praised and witnessed.  We gathered together at God’s party. 

I now know that a foundation on the Word of God, good mentors and teachers are necessary to continue in the faith.  When I know the promises of God, when I remember the urgency of the Gospel…when I hear my Lord say “Tell them!” and I know what to say, then I can stir up my gift and “be aglow”. 

 

When I share my Lord with others, my spirit burns within me.   If I want to be aglow, I have to do what He commanded:   “Go into all the world and preach the gospel…”