Friday, September 29, 2017

To Live as Christ ~ at Peace in the place where you are...

Pray that His Kingdom Come! Live as Christ lived - at peace with himself and others. He was not running around trying to organize people, nor was he out trying to serve people or trying to bring about order and peace nor was He out doing things to make people believe who he was. He was always in the place where He was and all He did was be at peace in the place where He was. And, in that place He lived at peace with Himself and others. Live as He did as the Son of God, Jesus Christ and your life will be full of peace and joy!
Did miracles happen when Jesus was around? Yes, but He was not seeking to perform them to show Himself, He was Not out to 'socially' engineer them. They happened because He was at peace with the knowledge of who He was - The Son of God and we as Christians are Children of God!  Jesus was acting in the place where He was... acting as who He was - The Prince of Peace!

People will pipe up and say "Oh what about feeding the poor, or healing the sick, or all those things He did?" Yes, He did those things always being in the place where He was and at peace with Himself and with others! If He had bread and fish to share, He shared and many times over. If He wanted to get more rest, He calmed the sea simply by being at peace. When Martha was busying herself in the house/kitchen, Mary was at His feet in peace ~ Luke 10:41. When Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead, He did not jump on a horse and ride off to save Him; He stayed where He was for two days ~ John 11:6.  Jesus came in His own time, and He came in peace.

The same story (John 4:49) of the royal officer's sick child... Jesus said, go for he/she is healed. The officer left in peace. Jesus was in the place where He was and at peace, this is how we should live... as Christ lived!

"When Jesus saw this, He was indignant and told them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them! For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And He took the children in His arms, placed His hands on them, and blessed them".…Mark 10:14-16. 

This shows that as children we believe without doubt in His peace, we are drawn to it... we don't need a 'show' of it or even demonstration of it, or government mandate for it, or man-made building/ institution or organization or nation wide event to direct us to His peace! And if you do and you tell the children otherwise... you will never enter it!

"And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers. When His parents saw Him, they were astonished. “Child, why have You done this to us? His mother asked. “- Your father and I have been anxiously searching” for You. “Why were you looking for Me?” He asked, “Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”… Luke 2:47-49. Jesus even as a child in the place where He was...was at peace with Himself and others!

Practice the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ in the place where you are... and may the peace of the Lord be with you always! 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Ephesians 5: 21-33 ~ Spirit-Guided Relationships: Wives and Husbands

For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.

For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish.

Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body.

As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Ephesians 4:17-32 ~ Living as Children of Light!

With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.

But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Ephesians 4: 1-16 ~ Unity in the Body!

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 

There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all. However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ. That is why the Scriptures say,
“When he ascended to the heights, he led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to his people.”

Notice that it says “he ascended.” This clearly means that Christ also descended to our lowly world. And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself.

Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.

Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Ephesians 3 ~ God's Plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who Believe the Good News!

Recalling who is the church ~ "God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself" ~ Ephesians 1:22-23.

And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus. By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News.

Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. I was chosen to explain to every one this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning.

God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. So please don’t lose heart because of my trials here. I am suffering for you, so you should feel honored.

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. 

Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

Friday, September 22, 2017

All Praise, Glory and Honor to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Ephesians 1: 3-14 ~ All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. 8He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.

God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

1 Timothy 5 ~ Lessons for Godly Women

Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 

But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help.

But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame. Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.

As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. 

And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to. So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan.

If any woman who is a believer has widows in her care, she should continue to help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need.
The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.  

For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,”and “The worker deserves his wages.” Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning. I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.

Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.

Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.
The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Who is and where is the church?

Firstly, before answering that question ~ Who is and where is the church.  Let us remember that God did not use a mediator when He gave His promise to Abraham! Galatians 3:20. Why do you want to go back to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world? You are trying to earn favor with God by observing certain days or months or seasons or years. Live as Paul in freedom of these things ~ Galatians 4:9-13.

Remember that a slave woman was man's attempt to bring about the fulfillment of God's promise. But only the son of the freeborn wife could be God's own fulfillment of His promise. Isaac was the child born by the power of the Spirit. We are not children of the slave woman; but children of the free woman. 

Those who want you to keep the law are as Ishmael the child born by human effort ~ Galatians 4:23-30. Yes, and so the Lord says, " These people they are not mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me as their worship of me is but man-made rules learned by rote ~ Isaiah 29:13.

We should then ask - Who/where is the Church? The church is the body of Christ which is as one - a husband and wife united as one ~ Ephesians 5:31. And, where is the church? "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them" ~ Matthew 18:20.

"Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved fellow worker, to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church that meets at your house" ~ Philemon 1:2. "Greet also the church that meets at their house" ~ Romans 16:5.

"...a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one ~ Ephesians 5:31-32. Christ and the church are one and the same, united like a husband to his wife - one! It is not a building built by human hands...For He is not served by man-made rules and human hands ~Isaiah 29:13; Acts 17:25.

"God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself" ~ Ephesians 1: 22-23.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Ministry is about feeding the flock with the Word...

As Christians, our ministry is always and everywhere before us. We are called to feed the flock with the Word of God, who was from the beginning with God and is God - Jesus Christ.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made, and without Him nothing was made that has been made." John 1:1-2.

I read a blog by a Dutch PhD who was raised in Catholic Flanders. He now rejects that religion and all Christianity. It is sad because he has missed who Christ was and what He came to do. Religion is man's achievement; and thus, I can agree with this person on a couple of points including his harsh criticism of Christian missionaries in the Congo and elsewhere in the world. Missionaries in their zeal to do the works of the Lord more often than not forget what those works are and thus they end up causing more problems than they do good 'works'. 

And, that is their problem - works that man thinks he must do! Christ never demanded works from us, only that we depend on and trust in His peace, love, and rest found in His presence the Holy Spirit. In that, which is our 'work' the worshiping and glorifying of God Jesus Christ, we spread the Good News - that Through Jesus Christ (the only way to the Father) we can trust that there is and will be peace, love and rest and most of ~ eternal life! Remember, this world is passing away and all we have is to believe in Him and look forward to His Kingdom Come!

Yes, most important of all is for us to spread the Good News - the Word of God. That in the Word (not by works in this fallen world) we are redeemed, made new through His sacrifice on the cross; so that death and our sin was taken on by Him ... so that we have may eternal life in Him. 

In that realization, people will find their relationship with God not with other men ... that is secondary to a relationship with God. In their new found joy (Jesus Christ), they will in the place where they are do the works of the Holy Spirit  which is the fruit of the Spirit in us: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith ~ Galatians 5:22. And, in this way not only bring others to Christ but help the poor, orphans and widows in the place where they are by giving them the Word and those around them the Word who in their place will seek the Lord and reach out for Him and find Him.

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being ~ Acts 17:24-28.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

If Society/world puts burdens on marriage, what can you do?

What can you do? You as a woman and wife can simply serve your husband. This is a wife's greatest calling in God's hierarchy aside of His greatest commandment "Love the Lord God will all your heart, soul, mind and strength."

Submitting to your husband and not to the world/society, and not to yourself is submitting to God!
Our worst enemy is often ourselves, our own desires. Think about it. "What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up... and in your marriage! 

~ James 4:1-10