Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"...and we have seen his glory"

August 31, 2010

John 1:6-18

V 14 …and we have seen his glory

Recently in our Sisters class we discussed Martha and Mary. Now this verse has absolutely nothing to do with Martha or Mary I realize that. However, during my studying I discovered how close these two sisters were to Jesus. The Bible says that “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus (John 11:5)”. They knew his glory. They looked at him and knew he was more than a man. They knew that when he spoke his words were more than mere talk but he was speaking from his Father. I often wonder what that might have been like to “have seen his glory.”

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Bright Light in a Dark World...

August 30, 2010

John 1:1-5

V 5 The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.

This is my Savior. He willingly came to earth to a people who would hate and revile Him; in order to offer to those that are His, eternal life. In a world full of darkness, He was the only light, is the only light. What more can I add?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Big Things come in Little Packages...

August 27, 2010

1 Thessalonians 5:20-28

V 28 He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it

There are two little words in this verse that I love. There not the main focus of the verse yet, nevertheless they are very important. Is and Will, can you imagine this verse without those words. Would this verse give to you the same since of confidence, rest and peace if they were missing; I think not. God is faithful; He doesn’t leave us or forsake us. He will complete His will for us in our lives. He doesn’t just bring us to paths and decisions for no reason. There is a plan, His plan and He is always faithful to complete it.

Well, that's it for 1 Thessalonians, I think I'm off to John tomorrow!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Can't have Your Cake and Eat it too....

August 26, 2010

1 Thessalonians 5:18-19

V 19 Do not quench the spirit

To quench is to subdue or destroy. Doesn’t sound too great when your applying it to the Spirits control of your life does it? However, this is the result of habitual unrepentant sin in our lives. Luke 16:13 puts it like this “No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other…”. In a more secular way, “you can’t have your cake and eat it too!” If we desire the Holy Spirits control over our lives then we must be willing to give up the pet sins that plague us. We must be willing to daily evaluate our lives to see if we are in anyway “grieving the Spirit” as a result of our sins. We must be willing to “die” to our flesh daily. Doesn’t sound fun does it? But it is rewarding!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Prayer...A Never Ending Process

August 25, 2010

1 Thessalonians 5:16-17

V 17 pray without ceasing

I was just praying for a specific need in my life this morning. It’s a need that’s dear to me and at the moment sort of consumes me. I was unsure how I should proceed; then I read this verse. “Pray without ceasing” this is how I am to accomplish this task set before me. This is how God answered my prayer. That if I am to be successful at what I have been called to do…I must pray at all time. Ceasing is defined as “to put a stop to or end to”. There is to never be an end to my praying because when I cease to pray I start trying to handle things on my own and that never works out!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Never Having to Wish...

August 24, 2010

“Reckless faith isn’t fake. It doesn’t pretend. It feels deeply and lives fully. It ask questions, cries out, and tests boundaries. It has dynamic conversations with God. It molds its understanding as it encounters new situations. God has a plan is not a cliché. God has a plan is a mantra for a way of life that says you don’t have to have all the answers to proceed. You can throw yourself toward the Red Sea and believe if it parts, praise God you knew it would!” –Beth Guckenberger

I read this in an email this morning sent to me from a family who is on their way to South Korea, simply because God called them to. I was impressed by this quote; then my second thought was “oh, to have that kind of faith”. I was immediately upset with myself because there is no reason why I can’t have that kind of faith. To say that I “wish” is just giving me the excuse not to pursue it. For the truth of the matter is this, it is much easier to “wish” than to pursue because in the wishing there never has to be any change. I can still travel along in my little box and never step out of my comfort zone; never attempt anything that the world would find unusual or strange; there is no fear in the never trying. “He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” Mark 4:40.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Have you Rejoiced lately?

August 23, 2010

1 Thessalonians 5:16

V 16 Rejoice always

For a verse of only two words this is a very difficult one to obey and accomplish. For all this verse says there are some things it doesn’t say. For instance, it doesn’t say: if your happy, if you’re getting your way, if you’re having fun. Nope, no matter how hard we look, we won’t find any qualifiers in this verse. God is saying here, that we are to always rejoice no matter the circumstance. Whether we are happy, sad, mad, or just average we are called to rejoice. Rejoice is defined as to be glad, to take delight in, to make joyful, and gladden. Perhaps we must examine our lives to see if we are rejoicing at all times.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Finding the Pause Button...

August 20, 2010

1 Thessalonians 4:9-5:15

V 5:15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil…

What a battle of the flesh this is? Right. How easy it is to hit first, whether with words or actual physical blows, then ask questions later. Our lives would be so much eaiser if we only had a pause button. We could hit this button; then calm down for a moment, then react biblically. However, this is not how we were designed. Instead, we have the Holy Spirit who is constantly counseling us on how to conduct ourselves in the faith, and through this we can learn how to pause ourselves. We can learn how to stop, then react; no matter what the circumstance. That feeling we all get when we know that we have reacted unbiblicaliy is a terrible one; we are guilty because one we have disobeyed God and for another we have lost an opportunity to be a witness to a lost world. Never doubt that how we react to situations shows others to depth of God’s love for us.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Knowing God More and More...

August 19, 2010

1 Thessalonians 3:13-4:8

V 4:1 …that you do so more and more

I think that Paul is telling the Thessalonians and us that we can never know too much about God. We can never get to a spot where we can say I know enough; I don’t need to do anything else. It’s easy to get into a routine…our time with God can easily become automatic. We get up, we pray the “same” sort of prayer each day and then we read a passage, and we think were set. We think we have enough to deal with all that will be thrown at us that day. It’s been my experience that when my time with God becomes routine, I can no longer deal with my frustrations in a way that’s pleasing to God or me really. I find that I slip into the sins that often plague me. In order to just deal with life, I must seek to know God “…more and more.”

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

To Love or Not to Love...There is No Question....

August 18, 2010

1 Thessalonians 3:4-12

V 12 and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all…

We can’t deny that God wants us to love our fellow man, both the believer and the unbeliever, and how hard that is sometimes. Our heart is a selfish creature that is only and always looking out for itself. This, of course, is contrary to what scripture is calling us to do; God’s word says that the second greatest commandment is to “love one another.” No matter how hard you look you will not find the words “as long as they haven’t done anything to you…”, there just not there. Unfortunately, God didn’t put any stipulations on this commandment; He simply said to love. I assume that’s one of the reasons Paul says “may the Lord make you increase…” because he knew that this wasn’t something that anyone can do on their own.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Shark Attacks and Afflication...

August 17, 2010

1 Thessalonians 2:14-3:3

V 3 For you yourselves know that we are destined for this

I always find those shark attack reports interesting. How people are shocked to hear that there are sharks near the beach and that they will on occasion bite unsuspecting swimmers. I mean, really, the ocean is their natural habitat. Being out in the depths or close to the shore really doesn’t matter; sharks are predators that live in the ocean, and anyone who swims there runs the risk of being bitten just because this is how it’s meant to be. I think that the same could be said for affliction. God’s word tells us that the world will hate us; Jesus said that the world hated Him and it will hate us in the same manner. The believer who is trying to carry out God’s will for their lives, like the unsuspecting swimmer, should consider the possibility of being bitten.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Looking Beyond Personalities...

August 16, 2010

1 Thessalonians 2:10-3:13

I’m just sitting here reading this passage in a sort of awe at Paul and his feelings for the Thessalonians. I mean he genuinely loved these believers. His love comes through with every word. He wasn’t faking it; he wasn’t just saying it but he meant it. He wasn’t allowing whatever petty little problem that may have been there getting in the way of his genuine love for this church. The one thing that is without doubt is this: I’m sure someone at that church was annoying. There is always one and sometimes more than that that will try your patience. However, in this passage Paul never allows any of that to enter into his love for these fellow believers. It’s like Paul is above that, but Paul wasn’t like a super Christian or anything. He is the same before Jesus as me. However, he was giant leaps apart from me in terms of being able to love. It’s hard to remember that to love we must look beyond personalities and see the Holy Spirit in each other.

A Little Time Away...

If anyone noticed that I was missing for a few days here's the reason. Terry and I recently celebrated 13 amazing years together. To commemorate this important event we went on a short vacay...it was fun had a blast!! Now it's back to our day to day life...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Being Different...

August 11, 2010

1 Thessalonians 2:9

V 9 …our labor and toil: we worked day and night, that we might not be a burden to any of you

Apparently the false teachers in Thessalonica were always after money. They didn’t work to make their own way but instead, tried to make money off their religion. In order to show that they were different, to show that their gospel was real, Paul didn’t do this. Instead, he worked and was also sent money from other places. He never asked them for money. This made him different; set him apart from the other “religious” people of his time. Do we, believers today, look different from others? If the lost world where to look at us would they see a mirror image of themselves or something totally different. Paul went out of his way to look different; he not only worked to spread the gospel but worked to support himself monetarily also. This must have been difficult; it would have been much easier to allow the Thessalonica’s to provide him with money. However, the easy isn’t always the path that is best.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Giving Yourself...

August 10, 2010

1 Thessalonians 2:5-8

V 8…we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us

As if sharing the gospel that would save them wasn’t enough Paul cared enough for them that he gave them himself; he put himself out for these believers. As a Mom I can understand his illustration used in verse 4 “like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.” I know what it is to love my children so much I’d be willing to fight anyone, to give them anything that is to their benefit if it’s in my power to do so, even so much as to lay down my live for them. However, what I can’t understand is how Paul was able to feel that way for someone who wasn’t his children; someone who he didn’t have such a deep emotional attachment to. However, in His word God commands us to “love your neighbor as our selves” and really who do we love more than our selves, right? In fact, He calls it the second greatest commandment. Unfortunately, God didn’t say only when they aren’t getting on our nerves, but all the time. We are to be like Paul and look at others as “very dear to us”, just wish that sometimes that wasn’t so hard.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Pleasing God...

August 9, 2010

1Thessalonians 2:3-4

V 4…so we speak not to please man, but to please God

How hard this is. For most of us, myself included, the approval of man is a hard thing to battle against. It’s difficult to decide to follow God’s will for your life when you know it will go against what “man” deems appropriate. This seeking approval from man starts very young and becomes something we do almost like second nature. Some, of course, aren’t concerned with what others think of them. These few will make their own paths and not be bothered with the opinions of others. Not all of us are like this. The second half of this verse reads like this “…please God who tests our hearts.” God knows if we are out to please man or Him. God knows if our hearts are turned to him or to pleasing man. There is never any benefit to doing what “man” tells us to do, and there can be only great benefits for doing what God tells us to do. Isn’t it a shame that sometimes that’s a difficult choice to make?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Seeking Boldness...

August 7, 2010

1 Thessalonians 2:1-2

V 2 …we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict

Paul epitomizes preaching the gospel in conflict; to name a few, he suffered beatings, false accusations, and prison. His body was marked by the scares he carried as a result of this conflict and his unwillingness to give up. Yet, he persevered. Of course this was not a testament to his strength but rather, a testament to the sustaining power of the Holy Spirit. We can look in awe at Paul’s ability to share and spread the gospel at any cost, but the same power resides in every believer. Recently I came to the realization that if someone is going to ridicule me for making a decision based on God’s direction why should I feel bad about it. Why should I be the one forced to defend my actions? I need no one’s approval but isn’t it interesting that often my actions reflect my need for approval. God’s word says “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7).” Perhaps, I need to live like I have this “power” within me, and not cower at the least little opposition.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Turning to God Daily...

August 6, 2010

1 Thessalonians 1:8-10

V 9 …turned from God from idols

This verse is specifically speaking of repentance. These Thessalonicaian believers were saved. However as I read this I thought about my own life. An idol doesn’t have to be a golden calf but it can represent anything that takes a part of our lives that should belong to God. For many years issues with my weight have been my idol. It has taken me years and years to even be able to admit this because it’s just so much easier to deny the presence of idols in my life than to confront them. However to truly be who God is calling me to be I must confront them. This has been a long hard journey and to be honest it’s still not complete; I understand that this will probably never be completely out of my life. It is my desire to turn from my idol to God. Anyone else have an idol their struggling with?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Mark of a Believer...

August 5, 2010

1 Thessalonians 1:6-7

V 7 so that you became an example to all believers in Macedonia and Achaia but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything

According to John MacArthur, the word example was the Greek word used to describe the seal that marked wax or a stamp that minted coins. He used this because in both of these instances what was made was the exact representation of the original. These Thessalonican believers had lived lives that reflected Christ. Their lives were “stamped” with the impression of the Holy Spirit. He directed their actions, their choices, their words. I can only assume that the lives of these early believers weren’t easy; both physically and mentally draining, yet they were able to live lives that left no doubt that they loved Christ. Their circumstances did not dictate their devotion to Christ; does mine?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Life of Character...

August 4, 2010

1 Thessalonians 1:4-5

V 5 …you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.

Paul led a life of character. In his life, you would find nothing to refute his claim to being a believer in Jesus Christ. John MacArthur says this “The quality of the message was confirmed by the character of the lives of the preachers.” We aren’t all preachers, of course, but we are all responsible for how our actions reflect Christ. If those around us know we go to church and claim to love Christ, yet our actions seem no different than those who do not, something is wrong. I often wonder what others see when they look at me; do they notice my level of devotion to God. Do they notice the differences in my life lately? I hope so.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Being Steadfast

August 3, 2010

1 Thessalonians 1:3

V 3 remembering before our God and Father you work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ

Steadfast is defined as: fixed in direction, firm in purpose, unwavering. In this verse Paul was referring to the ministry efforts of the believers in the Thessalonica church. They were only able to be faithful because they had faith, hope and love in Jesus Christ. The NKJV uses the word patience instead of steadfastness. I was comparing my attitude about ministry to those of these early church believers to see how I would measure up. Am I patient, or steadfast in my ministry efforts to others? I think that sometimes I could answer that with a Yes, but often the answer would be No. I think that I get tired, worn down and sometimes aggravated this would not reflect and attitude of “steadfast hope”; I often lose sight of the most important aspect of ministry, God is the one who actually changes people. I can only do what He has called me to do. God actually brings about the change and that might not happen in my timetable. Realizing this is always hard for me. I want change to happen NOW!!! Anyone else like that??

Monday, August 2, 2010

Meditate on it day and night....

August 2, 2010

Psalm 119:27 Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works

I’m going through the book of 1 Thessalonians but decided to take a brief detour today.

Meditate is defined as to engage in thought or contemplation, to consider as something to be done. We are called to meditate on God’s word; as Christians this isn’t an option for when we have the time, but a daily habit we must develop. Meditation is the power that allows God’s word to produce results. We must “know” God’s word before it can effect us, change us. I don’t mean a vague general “know” like most who have at least some knowledge of God’s word would “know” John 3:16. The “know” that I’m referring to is the knowledge that goes so deep within you that you couldn’t get it out; God’s word is hammered into your mind. That can bring about within you a desire to do the will of God in your life despite what others might think or say. Joshua 1:8 says “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it…”