Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Reading from the Book of Colossians!

Living as Those Made Alive in Christ ~

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Instructions for Christian Households ~

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Male, female... He created them!

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them ~ Genesis 1:27.

God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth"…Genesis 1:26-28.

Don't be led astray by a fallen 'corrupted' world. If you think you were not created male or female, then God is not the voice you hear. Its the voice of the a fallen world that thinks man has all the answers...

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Jesus Christ is our Blessed Hope ~ In Him, we are Free Indeed!

Yes, even in this fallen world, Jesus Christ is our everything! In Him, we are free indeed ~ John 8:36.

Jesus told us "do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And, why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet, I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here to day and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry saying, "What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or What shall we wear?" For pagans run after all these things and yet your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself " ~ Matthew 6: 25-34.

 " We have born in the likeness of the earthly man, so also shall we bear the likeness of the heavenly man. I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed!" 1 COR 15: 49-51.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Understanding His Will and that His Will Be Done!

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power, love, and self-control. So, do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me, His prisoner. Instead, join me in suffering for the Gospel by the power of God.  He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not because of our own works, but by His own purpose and by the grace He granted us in Christ Jesus before time eternal ~ 2 Timothy 1:7-9.

We read in 2 Timothy 2:3 ~ Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ. Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance ~ Romans 5:3.

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. And, if we are children, then we are heirs; heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ... if indeed we suffer with Him, so that we may also be glorified with Him. I consider that our present sufferings are not comparable to the glory that will be revealed in us ~ Romans 8: 16-18.

This is a fallen world. God sent His Son to redeem us from the sin of death. In Him, we are free indeed. He is our Blessed Hope. We need not ask for the right house, the right car, the right job... for in Him all things possible, in Him we can endure all things.

For those Christians that think they can ask God for a new house, a new car, a new job... are mistaken. There is nothing biblical about such things. Yes, the Bible says that God gives us the desires of our hearts... and that desire is not material things. The true desires of the heart of a child of God is to become closer to God, Jesus Christ.  "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" ~ Matthew 6:21.  God did give us the desire of our hearts ~ Jesus Christ! 

If we think that God has more in store for us here or that he has special plan for us here or that He has a certain direction for us, we are mistaken. He has a way, a path that is certain Jesus Christ. In Him we are free indeed. In Him we can endure all things.

By saying 'we should wait for a sign, wait to see what God has planned, where He will direct us,' we are not only mistaken, we are anti-Christ. How? Because, we detract from why Christ was born and died. The Kingdom of God is within ~ Luke 17:21. By making such such statements/desires we actually make Christ into just a man who was a nice person and who was a good example on how to live. We take away from His great sacrifice by saying that. And worse, we are actually saying that we want the 'this' world: we want and run after the things of this world: good health, wealth and whatever else. Remember, this is a fallen world. "Those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away" ~ 1 COR 7:31.

"For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not from the Father but from the world. The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God remains forever" ~ 1 John 2:16-17.

Though this world gives us an idea of God's original design, it is still fallen, a corrupt version. That is why God does not want us to get too comfortable here nor to be truly 'happy' as man understands 'happy' and runs after 'the pursuit of happiness'. Look around, there is decay and suffering. In that, God wants us to join in the suffering of Christ so that we can overcome this world. Bad things happen so that we can remember that this is a fallen world and remember that our sin was/is so great on the earth that such sin required and still requires a great sacrifice ~ Jesus Christ. In our suffering, we come to know the true bread of life, the real joy and peace that Christ offers. 

By Having the Kingdom within, we can go where He went, we can do what He did. Faith is knowing that we have been empowered to preach the Good News because we are a new creation in Christ. How can you preach the good news if you are too busy waiting for a signal, a green light as to when to go, move and do something. No! " do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed" ~ 1 COR 1:7. So, get up and move out as He empowered you. If you are not welcome in a place, shake the sand and move on. "If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet" ~ Matthew 10:14.  In this fallen world, His will is that we stand as His testimony, a testimony of salvation and resurrection through Jesus Christ. "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day" ~ John 6:44.

What are we to do? Give The Lord God Thanks and Praise to Jesus Christ in all things; and, Rest in Him, know that He is God!

His plans for us are not plans for this world.... this world is passing away ~ 1 COR 7:31.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Christians Overcoming this World!

When you are outside of a social norm, social pitfall, a social harm, and even social harmony, you cannot begin to grasp what it means to be a member of the social norm or under the thumb of the social pitfall, or hurt by a social harm and or even embraced in social harmony.  

Whose job is it to bring an individual into the social norm of things (the way things are done around here) or bring someone out from under a social pitfall or social direct them away from a social harm or bring them into the fold of social harmony? 

Christians... Yes, “We the people”.  Not via a top down government mandate, nor law or ordinance, and not the organized church either; but we can together... “Where two or more are gathered, there I am” ~ Matthew 18:20.  Between us, having the Kingdom within (Luke 17:21), being socially engaged in social interaction aware of the social norms, the pitfalls, the harms, we can bring about social harmony.

Where to begin? We can begin by looking at what is expected of us (love God and our neighbor - Luke 10:27) and what we have been designed to do. For instance, be responsible for the earth, and to procreate (Genesis) and preach the Gospel (Mark 16:15). 

Gender was created to be socially harmonic, a ying and yang which we recognize in all God’s design and harmony.  There is great beauty in masculinity and femininity that come together in the oneness of marriage.  To accept any blurring of that denies God’s design and social harmony.  Men as men and fathers, women as women and mothers build strong families and communities. They build social norms that act as guides for all social well being. 

Are there pitfalls in social norms? Yes, this is a fallen world (Isaiah 26:18); therefore, we can expect that even in our most determined endeavor to build strong families and communities that are the main components of/for social norms and act as guides for social well being, that there will still be social pitfalls and social harms. People are sinful... this is still a fallen world. But, thank God Jesus Christ died for our sins so that we may be forgiven and thereby given salvation...”for He is the way, truth and the Life” ~ John 14:6.

In this fallen world, in our yet sinful condition, it is only by being born again in the Holy Spirit that we are able to overcome the world. Not always in every instance; after all, this is still a fallen world. Paul said I do what I hate and not what I want (Romans 7:15).  However, we, together in Christ, can overcome this world spiritually ... though in baby steps or inch by inch. 

In our sinfulness, perhaps even pointed out by a fellow Christian (as it should be) we come to repent; and thus, we can come to a greater understanding of what it means to truly reach out to the Lord God Jesus Christ Creator of heaven and earth, to fully embrace His social harmony ... thus, overcoming this world.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Blessing is Jesus Christ!

 "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits..." ~ Psalm 103. 

"Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praises to my God as long as I live. Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, who cannot save. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in he Lord his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them, the Lord who remains faithful forever..." ~ Psalm 146.

So often we hear people saying "I have God's favor or I have His Blessing". This is not untrue if we mean that His favor, His Blessing is Jesus Christ. There is no other favor or blessing in this fallen world. We do not have good health or wealth or a new house or new car or new job or any good thing as a 'special' blessing or favor in our life in this world. 

Thinking that and teaching that would be blasphemy, that would be against the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ is our blessing, He is our favor. Our prosperity is salvation in Him. As we read in Matthew or Peter or in many other scriptures of both the Old and New Testament, this world will come to an end, this we know. It is God's plan. It not His plan to keep this world going, blessing it and favoring anything in it ...except those in Christ the Lord. 

Many well intentioned Christians refer to Jeremiah 29:11 ~ "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future". They think that prosper means to get wealth and whatever they want in this world. It does not. The prosper spoken of here and throughout the Bible is Jesus Christ. For only in Him, do we as Christians have hope and a future. In Him, we have our prosperity. This is a fallen world and the only way to overcome it is through the blood of the Lamb ~ Jesus Christ, He is our Blessing and in Him we find favor!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

1 COR 3:10-23, 1 COR 4: 1-17 ~ Servants of Christ!

1 COR 3: 10-23
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light.

It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.

Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness ...“The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.

1 COR 4: 1-17
This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.

Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other. For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have begun to reign—and that without us! How I wish that you really had begun to reign so that we also might reign with you! For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.

Paul’s Appeal and Warning
I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Bible ~ It is the Word of God = Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life!

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God for the Word was God! So, the Word became human and made His home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen His glory, the glory of the Father's one and only Son. ~ John 1:1-28.

The Lord Jesus Christ is concealed (subtly introduced) in the Old Testament. He is revealed in the New Testament. One can read about Him from Genesis on. Even in Judges, we read about Jesus in the story of Gideon, "Mighty hero, the Lord is with you"..."Go with the strength you have and rescue Israel...I am sending you", The Lord said to Gideon, "I will be with you. And, you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man" (Satan) ..."Bring out your son, ... He must die for" ~ Judges 6:12-32.

What are we called to do? Be like Gideon, overcome the world as Christ did through Him who is with and in us. We have been empowered by the blood of the Lamb, the Kingdom is within us ~ Luke 17:21. God no longer intervenes as He did in the Old Testament. For, Christ entered in, "For God so loved the world, He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the World not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him" John 3: 16-17.

Christ died for us, and yet He lives in us. "The one who keeps God's commands lives in Him, and He in them. And this is how we know that He lives in us: We know it by the Spirit He gave us"  1 John 3:24.
"The Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you" ~ John 14:17.
In this way, we are overcomers of this fallen world. We give thanks and praise to the Lord in all things for He gives us strength in all things to overcome this fallen world which will come to an end. "That is the way it will be at the end of the world. The angels will come and separate the wicked people from the righteous" ~ Matthew 13:49.

We are overcomers of this fallen world, "For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith", ~ 1 John 5:4. For He is with us, He is the bread of our life" ~ John 6:35.

We do not pray for the things of this fallen world: new houses, new cars, new jobs, good health, more money. For that kind of prayer would be anti-Christ. What are we to pray for? In our prayer, we are to give thanks and praise to God our Lord Jesus Christ for all things we have in us which is the true desire of our heart ~ His will! In this way, through Him we overcome this fallen world. We are not to wish for anything greater than that. And, not pray for anything more than that.

Can you give thanks and praise for a new house, for a new job, for good health? Yes, shout it out loud! The difference is in our prayer. We don't pray for things to be ours, in Christ they already are. Be mindful, by praying for and telling ourselves that God has the best for us (as if expecting it) and that He will bless us here and now makes us anti-Christ. We have already been blessed!

Yes, God does have the best for us, ...He already gave it. We have been blessed! In this blessing, God is in control because of His Son, who He freely gave and in Him we have the best, the path to the Father which is to get us through and out of this fallen world.

God did find a way for us to get through, He gave His Son. By giving thanks and praise to Jesus Christ for what we have means that we seek no other means in this life but to worship and glorify His name. In this way, we are for Christ. He was born for us, He suffered for us and He was resurrected for us. In the way, we overcome this fallen world which Satan has rule over and by praising and thanking our Lord Jesus Christ we give Satan no authority, no credit for what we have and will have ~ eternal life.

"...rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me" ~ Acts 26: 17-18.