Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Christ’

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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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Overwhelm Evil with Good

August 3, 2011

Romans 12:21 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” 

  Since this passage in Romans is written to believers, I find it surprising that Paul refers to “evil” in the brethren.  The parallel passage in 1 Peter 3:8-9 expands on the thought:  “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous, not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”  1 Th. 5:15 also says, “See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all

   One thing also stuck with me in the past few days, which is why I haven’t written.  If the Word tells us we can overcome evil with good…it has to be possible.  To “overcome” means “to conquer, master, suppress, prevail over, to surmount or overwhelm”.  Jesus told us that light dispels darkness.  So, why have we bought the lie of the devil that the darkness is too strong to combat?  Why have we just decided that these times are too far gone?  Why have we let go and given in?

   Christians are afraid of the ACLU and threatened lawsuits.  We are afraid to “offend”.  We have no backbones.  We allow ourselves to be overcome with evil and, for the most part, do not fight back.  Overcoming evil with good is not just to “pray for them”.  It is taking a stand.  What if the Apostles just “prayed about it”…Christianity would never have taken root at all.  And, speaking of darkness, Paul preached during Nero’s reign.

   Once again, I am disappointed in us and in myself.

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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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Rejoice With Those Who Rejoice, Weep With Those Who Weep

July 15, 2011

Romans 13:15  “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” 

There was a time in my life when I had shut off most of my emotions.  I did not allow myself to feel happy or sad.  When I saw someone really happy, I resented them.  When I saw someone sad, I didn’t want to be around them.

 In thinking about this scripture, I am so very grateful that today this is not the case.  God has truly removed my heart of stone and given me a heart of flesh (Ez. 36:26).  This process was not quick and was not easy. The stone had to be chipped away with His chisel and many times was a painful process.  There are still bits of stone hanging on, but I know that God will continue to conform me to the image of my Lord (Ro. 8:29).

 I can truly rejoice with those who rejoice today and I can weep with those who weep.  I am no longer afraid to feel. I am able to become vulnerable and not be threatened.  I can love.  Thank you Jesus Christ for making this possible and giving me Your heart.

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Practice Hospitality

July 12, 2011

In Romans 12:13c, Paul tells us to practice hospitality.  Since he says to “practice”, I would guess it does not come naturally.  I know it did not for me.  It took years for me to develop that trait, and it was my husband’s hospitality that initiated me. 

For most of my life, I did not allow others to get to know me.  I had a very few friends who managed to infiltrate my walled up self, but that was more because of them than because of me.  I was more comfortable by myself-isolating.  I did not invite people to my home because I didn’t know what to do with them, or I was afraid they would judge me as insufficient.  However, my home was open to my son’s friends any time they were in need.  But then, I was in a maternal position and I knew how to do that.

 Today, all of that has changed.  I got into a recovery program, turned my life back to Jesus Christ, and little by little, He changed me into the person I was always supposed to be.  He truly pulled me out of the miry clay and set my feet upon a Rock. (Psalm 40:2)

 In attending recovery meetings, I began to interact with other women and found out that they liked me and didn’t judge me.  I married my wonderful husband and that broadened my world.  He truly has a heart of compassion and hospitality.  We slowly began inviting people that we did not know well over for dinner, a couple at a time.  I started a bi-monthly woman’s group on Saturday mornings so that I could learn to be comfortable around women…it lasted about six years and was a tremendous blessing to all of us.

We now host an open Thursday night dinner followed by Bible Study and a Sunday morning brunch following church.  We’ve opened our home to others in need.  And, guess what?  I love it.  I will continue to “practice”, I hope, for the rest of my life.

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Rejoice in Your Hope (Ro. 12:12a)

July 6, 2011

I often wonder how those without faith can navigate this world.  I also can see the anger and combativeness of those who have chosen not to believe.  Without faith, there is no hope.   There are “wishes”, but no hope.

I often wanted to be able to place into an unbeliever, just for a minute, the experience of faith, hope and love in Christ.  Unfortunately, I cannot.

I listen to those who hate Christianity and am so grateful that I have the Lord, that the Father called me.  I don’t know why, but I am sure because scripture tells me, that He calls all men to Him.

We are being watched (even when vilified).  No matter what happens, we must rejoice in our hope.  God has planned everything out for us (Jer. 29:11) and nothing in His Kingdom happens by chance.  We are placed here to show others the Hope that overcomes all obstacles and by our example to draw others to Christ.   Our hope springs eternal…and is a beacon here in the surrounding darkness.  Let your light shine!

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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…”

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Never Lag in Zeal and Earnestness

July 3, 2011

Romans 12:11 begins, “Not lagging behind in diligence”; some versions say “zeal”.   

I remember when I was first born again in 1975; my passion for the Lord and for sharing the good news was intense.  I could not stop talking about Him, about grace, about freedom.  I drove most people around me crazy; they either ran away from me or accepted the Lord to shut me up.  Thankfully, those who accepted Him are still with Him today. 

I walked away from Him for several years in the 1980s and didn’t fully recommit myself until 1996.  During that time, although my life took a downward spiral, I always had a strong sense that He was just waiting for me to come back.  Even then, if anyone asked me about Him, the fire returned as I witnessed (in word, truly not in action).  The Holy Spirit honored the attempt despite me.  A friend told me during that time that because I had been sealed with the Holy Spirit, I would return to the Lord.

 Well, I did return and He received me back, and blessed me and loved me and forgave me.  What I learned while wandering in my self imposed wilderness has now given me compassion, understanding and a ministry to guide others who need a savior back to Him as well. 

 The zeal and passion has returned, but now in a mature, level-headed, scripture based and guided fashion (by the Holy Spirit, good teaching of the Word and great mentors). 

So, if the zeal has left, do not despair:  “Our misery becomes our ministry” (Mark Shell). Return to Him and He will return to you.

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Continuing Romans 12:10…

July 2, 2011

Well, I spent a lot of time yesterday thinking about this “honor” thing.  I talked about it with friends and looked up the meaning in Strong’s Concordance and, guess what?  It means “honor”, to place in high esteem, to respect.  It means what it means.

If we just back up to Romans 12:3, Paul says “I bid every one among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think…” and if we go ahead to Romans 12:16, Paul says, “Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly, never be conceited,” and there are many more.

So, once again, scripture interprets scripture.

Jesus taught over and over again against pride, taking the Pharisees to task many times and showed his disciples by His own life, how to be humble.  He only looked down on those who were puffed up, never on those who were “meek and lowly of heart.”

So, Lord, help me to always see others as You do and remember that it is only by Your grace that I have been chosen for Your Kingdom, forgive my pride and open my heart and mind.  Let me have eyes to see, ears to hear and courage to act in accordance with the Holy Spirit’s lead.