Wednesday, November 28, 2012

An example for generations

Stephen is one of my Bible heroes, above all things he was recognized as a man "full of God's grace and power". I think that is a description we should all desire. In one of my Bible college classes we had to write what we would want written on our headstones when we die, I don't remember what I wrote but am guessing it had to do with being a good husband and dad (which is still appropriate). But I think now having been known as "a man full of God's grace and power", would encompass that and more. What do you want to be known for? What is legacy you are leaving for future generations? Are you living your lives in a such a way that 2000 years later some one says "I want to be like this guy"?

Acts 6:8-10 - Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed amazing miracles and signs among the people. But one day some men from the Synagogue of Freed Slaves, as it was called, started to debate with him. They were Jews from Cyrene, Alexandria, Cilicia, and the province of Asia. None of them could stand against the wisdom and the Spirit with which Stephen spoke.

Monday, November 26, 2012

...that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation...

This was very encouraging to me this morning. It would seem that in the season that we are in there is a theme of growing in understanding, spiritual wisdom and revelation. Not that wasn't needed before or even sought after before, but I feel that Abba is leading us deeper that as we move forward in the coming seasons that we need to understand the deep things of Him. We need to realize though that we can't gain this deeper spiritual wisdom simply by just reading your Bible, or having morning devotions or just by praying. It comes from a combination of these things and more its developing your relationship with Him becoming completely open and vulnerable, it means that you need to completely change your lifestyle so that as you go through your everyday life you are walking in step with Abba, you are listening and obediently responding to the prompting a of the Holy Spirit. You don't easily and quickly pickup offenses, but you quickly forgive and keep a short list of accounts of what others have done to you or owe you. He wants to demonstrate His power in and through us so that we can partner with Him in the expansion of His kingdom.

Ephesians 1:17-19 [For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him, By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones), And [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving reflections

Isaiah 12:2-5: See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The Lord God is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.” With joy you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation! In that wonderful day you will sing: “Thank the Lord ! Praise His name! Tell the nations what He has done. Let them know how mighty He is! Sing to The Lord , for He has done wonderful things. Make known His praise around the world.

Today is a day that most of us come together with family and friends to celebrate a day of Thanksgiving. For some today will be about seeing how much turkey and pie can be eaten followed by watching football and hanging out. For some today is a lonely day they are away from friends and family for whatever reason. I encourage you today to reach out to anyone you may know that may be alone on this day of togetherness call them, stop by invite them along to your gatherings.

For many today is a day that many including myself take some time to reflect on the things that they are thankful for. Honestly with how greatly blessed I am the list would be too long, but the highlights are that I have a relationship with the Creator of the universe that has adopted me as His son and I am able to call Him Abba (Daddy), I have a wonderful wife and family including my amazing grandsons, I have wonderful sisters, nephews, nieces, aunts and our spiritual sons and daughters too. And last but not least on this "short" list is the new church family that Abba led us to. As you can see I am truly a blessed and wealthy man.

I want to encourage you today to take some and reflect but more importantly reach out and love someone bless them with kindness let them know they are not alone.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Source of Wisdom

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments . His praise endures forever. (Psalms 111:10 NKJV)

Wisdom is something that just about every culture I have heard of holds in high esteem. Some cultures and religions have made wisdom an idol there are even "christian" churches that will put wisdom above the things of God. Don't get me wrong wisdom is important, in fact words of wisdom are one of the gifts from the Holy Spirit. What we need to recognize is that there is a huge difference between the wisdom of the world and the wisdom that comes from God. We need God to breath on things to show us the true meanings to give us true understanding. Many look to those that are older to glean their wisdom but for many of them all there is to offer is just life experience and knowledge. But if God does not breath on these experiences they are just that, but when He does breath on them it brings life to the experience that brings wisdom. One definition of wisdom is knowing what to do with the knowledge that you have gained. Knowing something with out knowing how God wants you to apply that knowledge is like reading a do it yourself book and without doing what you were instructed you might be able to quote what the book says but until you actually do what it says have you gained the wisdom to really know how it works and comes together. God wants us to be wise in Him not just have knowledge of Him, He wants to give us understanding of Who He is and how much He loves us in that you will find true wisdom.
Then Elihu son of Barachel the Buzite said, I am young, and you are aged; for that reason I was timid and restrained and dared not declare my opinion to you. I said, Age should speak, and a multitude of years should teach wisdom [so let it be heard]. But there is [a vital force] a spirit [of intelligence] in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives men understanding. It is not the great [necessarily] who are wise, nor [always] the aged who understand justice. (Job 32:6-9 AMP)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Have an awesome day with Jesus and the family today!

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21 NASB)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Coming in the opposite spirit

So this morning I thought it would be good to wrap up Romans 12. I think for many Christ followers these verses are some of the hardest to live by, partly I think because we think that we have a responsibility to ourselves to standup to and defend against those who do us wrong, hurt us, lie about us and curse us. Many times we give these folks way too much or our head space and time. We had a special speaker at church last night one of things he said was "that he would much rather count his allies than his enemies." I personally have been a big fan of coming in the opposite spirit, these verses are a prime example of how that works. When you continue to bless and be nice to those that are trying to come against you it confuses them and ultimately it gives you control over the relationship. When you allow them to suck you into being negative and defensive you are giving them control. In Matthew 5 Jesus says "“But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also." He isn't telling us to let others beat us or to be whipping posts, He is telling us to not let others (especially the evil ones) to control our reactions. Even though in the natural we could probably really hurt them, if we turn it to the spiritual and bless them the natural will be overcome.

Romans 12:14-21 - Bless those who persecute you [who are cruel in their attitude toward you]; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief]. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty (snobbish, high-minded, exclusive), but readily adjust yourself to [people, things] and give yourselves to humble tasks. Never overestimate yourself or be wise in your own conceits. Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is honest and proper and noble [aiming to be above reproach] in the sight of everyone. If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for [God’s] wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay (requite), says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head. Do not let yourself be overcome by evil, but overcome (master) evil with good.

Friday, November 16, 2012

It's all about love

In case you were wondering Jesus wants us to love one another, take care of and support one another. We as the church should present a united front of love regardless of denomination or social status. I believe there is a significant reason this passage talking about love is follows the list of gifts and different parts of Christ's body. Every member needs to love and be loved for how and who Abba made them to be.

Romans 12:9-13 - [Let your] love be sincere (a real thing); hate what is evil [loathe all ungodliness, turn in horror from wickedness], but hold fast to that which is good. Love one another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honor to one another. Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord. Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of God’s people [sharing in the necessities of the saints]; pursue the practice of hospitality.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Romans 12 part II

Ok so it's time to get back to Romans. In the first 3 verses we saw that Gods will is that our minds be transformed to be aligned with His and not with the worlds. Now lets look at verses 4-8. This first part of this addresses that we are all one body in Christ and just like in your bodies each part of the body has its own function and each of these functions is necessary for the body to function as designed, we need to find our identity in the body and fully embrace it and not try to be something we weren't designed to be. Sometimes when we are finding where we fit we may experiment and try to be other things but once we identify our place in the body we need to be the best at what we were designed to be and need to stop being something we are not.

In the New Testament there are three lists of gifts, the two we hear the most about are the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12) and the gifts that Jesus gave to the church (Eph. 4:11,12) which is referred too by many as the 5-fold ministry. Here in Romans we have the third list which are the gifts that come from the Father some call these our redemptive gifts, essentially these gifts are how He made us to function in our everyday lives. These gifts define who we are and how we fit in the body. So wether you are a finger, an ear or an elbow fully accept how He made you. Abba doesn't make mistakes He has a plan and a vision and a mission for you and when you function per His design these things will be fulfilled and so will you.

Romans 12:4-8 - For as in one physical body we have many parts (organs, members) and all of these parts do not have the same function or use, So we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ (the Messiah) and individually we are parts one of another [mutually dependent on one another]. Having gifts (faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them: [He whose gift is] prophecy, [let him prophesy] according to the proportion of his faith; [He whose gift is] practical service, let him give himself to serving; he who teaches, to his teaching; He who exhorts (encourages), to his exhortation; he who contributes, let him do it in simplicity and liberality; he who gives aid and superintends, with zeal and singleness of mind; he who does acts of mercy, with genuine cheerfulness and joyful eagerness.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Love is not divisive

So this morning my plan was to continue on in Romans 12, but I ended up reading 1 John 3. As I was reading this I kept having a thought; "I know that everyone calls 1 Corinthians 13 the love chapter, but about this one?" So then I had to go read that chapter (I know there could be worse rabbit trails, right?). At first I was thinking well one is Paul's love chapter the other John's, but then thought that was divisive and God's love isn't divisive. So I looked at each chapter for their message. Corinthians connects love with the gifts and the heart of how we function in them and also gives a clear description of what love is. Then in 1 John 3 it shows how we should live and treat others and our obligation to love as children of God and as a response for what Jesus did for us. So now you see that His Word is complete it doesn't divide or separate among His body it all works together to give us a clearer complete picture of His love and how we are to live and function in it.

I John 3:22, 23 - And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Time to sing and give thanks to Abba

Isaiah 12 just seems so appropriate for the day. Time to sing and give thanks to Abba for all He has done and to share our current testimonies. What is God doing for, in and through you? Remember Rev. 12, our testimonies are part of what defeats the enemy.

Isaiah 12:2-6 - Behold, God, my salvation! I will trust and not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and song; yes, He has become my salvation. Therefore with joy will you draw water from the wells of salvation. And in that day you will say, Give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name and by means of His name [in solemn entreaty]; declare and make known His deeds among the peoples of the earth, proclaim that His name is exalted! Sing praises to the Lord, for He has done excellent things [gloriously]; let this be made known to all the earth. Cry aloud and shout joyfully, you women and inhabitants of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Feel free to comment and share so others faith can be strengthened.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Time to decide

So have you ever gone to read one verse in the middle of a chapter and end up reading the whole thing? Don't worry even though I was tempted to I didn't copy the whole chapter. But I think I might break it into chunks and dig into it a little.

Romans 12, falls into the specific instructions for living the life of a Christ follower. The chapter starts by telling that we need to decide to dedicate our entire selves to God, He doesn't force us to but His desire is for us to be fully in relationship with Him. In the times that I have been able to minister to others and ask them what they need and they say "I want to know the will of God for my life". Here it tells you that God's perfect will for your life is that you don't let your mind be conformed to the ways of the world but to have it transformed so that it is in alignment with the mind of Christ. This transformation comes from deciding to set yourself apart and investing yourself and your time in Him. Paul also gives us a warning here, he tells us not to let ourselves get cocky and conceited in our abilities. But he also doesn't tell us that we need to be self effacing either. We need to have a clear vision of who He has created us to be, recognize that He is the source of our abilities and have a confidence in both of those.

Romans 12:1-3 AMP - I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thank You Jesus

So church this last Sunday was very encouraging to us not just because we feel very welcome there but because of the direction things are going. I never thought I would see a Sunday morning (traditional style) church be so open and interactive allowing the saints to minister to each other being guided by the senior leader (apostle) in such away that it kept on track without manipulating the flow to reach a predetermined goal. I'm super glad that Abba directed us here He is stirring stuff up and there is a group of folks here willing to be stirred. This Scripture in Hebrews pretty much sums up our gathering this last Sunday and what was talked about.

Hebrews 10:19-25 NLT - And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting Him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Breaking down the walls....

There are many times when God starts moving and stirring stuff up that people in the church will start clinging to the traditions of "we've all done it this way it must be right way". Fear of change opens the door for a religious spirit to come in that will try and block the change the God is provoking. When we stand on the law that denies the moving of faith in what Abba is doing we deny the grace provided to us through Jesus. Abba is up to something, He is causing a stirring that is provoking some much needed change not only in our country but more specifically in His churches. You will be able to recognize those who belong to Him because they are faithfully following Him, doing what they see Him doing, going where they see Him going and saying what they hear Him saying. They are leaving the walls of religion behind and are no longer held back by the traditions of man. Ultimately they will be recognized because they are spreading His love and His kingdom is expanded wherever they go!
Galatians 5:4-6-If you seek to be justified and declared righteous and to be given a right standing with God through the Law, you are brought to nothing and so separated (severed) from Christ. You have fallen away from grace (from God’s gracious favor and unmerited blessing). For we, [not relying on the Law but] through the [Holy] Spirit’s [help], by faith anticipate and wait for the blessing and good for which our righteousness and right standing with God [our conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action, causes us] to hope. For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love.

Friday, November 2, 2012

No longer obligated

So set yourselves apart to be holy, for I am the LORD your God. Keep all my decrees by putting them into practice, for I am the LORD who makes you holy. Leviticus 20:7, 8 NLT

So one of the things that really frustrates me is people that say that they have accepted Christ as their Savior yet deny all that He has done for them. They walk around saying that they are still lowly sinners and the have no worth, and that is a lie straight from the pit of hell. You are either a Christ follower that is saved by grace, that has been made new or you aren't. Jesus would not tell us to be holy as He is holy if we could not do it, He does not contradict Himself. We however can contradict Him if we choose to believe our old dead flesh has dominance over the new hearts that Christ has given us. I'm not saying that we will never struggle with things of the past, I'm saying that we have been given victory over those things and we are no longer obligated to engage them. So walk in victory as He intended you too, set yourself apart for Him and see what happens.

1 Peter 1:13-16 NKJV Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”