Sunday, July 27, 2014

Every time without fail

Every time I open a bible and read; a little bit, a big chunk; reading for pleasure or reading for comfort or seeking an answer; even when I open this enduring Book just casually - 

the words on the page cease to be ink forming letters forming words forming sentences

and it becomes LIFE to me.


II Peter 1-3 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

ALL things pertaining to life ~ everything we NEED to know to live the abundant life Jesus came and sacrificed Himself to give us

ALL things pertaining to godliness ~ so we can fulfill our purpose, giving glory to the God who created us


The attitude I see portrayed around me, that of "why should I give glory to God?  What has He done for me?" saddens me so deeply, for that is an attitude that hurts no one quite so much as it hurts the person who is holding it in their hearts.


They THINK they are doing what "they" want to do!  They aren't!  They are pawns used by satan, the devil, the god of this world.  They are fulfilling his deceitful, selfish desires, having been deceived into thinking these are their own desires!


Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is LIBERTY.  Through Christ we find our sufficiency, our hope, our very lives!  Going "our own way" or doing our own thing is a way that simply leads to destruction.  Proverbs tells us rightly when its words instruct us "There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is a way of death."  This idea is so important it is repeated in Proverbs 14 and again in Proverbs 16.

Our hearts might think they know and understand what is best for us.  The truth is, God has plans and purposes for each and every one of us which ARE BEST FOR EACH OF US.


Reading His words on a regular basis, daily even, will give us the information we need to live lives that are full.  Full of joy, and blessing and purpose and happiness and peace and strength and overcoming power of the Holy Spirit.  Full of true worth, true value and true abundance that never fades away.


READ the words of life.  I dare you.  I double dare you to commit to just 30 days of daily reading.  Read along with us, read on your own schedule.  Read a paragraph, a chapter or a book.  Read from the Old Testament or read from the New Testament.


30 days is the challenge.  Read EVERY DAY without fail, and if you do not find that your life is changed for the better, I will be shocked for certain.  Because I know, if you do it, every day, for even 30 days, something in your life will change for the better.

Perhaps you will feel happier, calmer or stronger.  Perhaps you will forgive an old hurt.  Perhaps you will behave a little gentler and kinder with others.

We'd really LOVE to hear how reading the word of God daily changes your life!  Be sure to write and tell us!  
Meanwhile, we'll be praying for you!!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Every piece to make a whole...

A puzzle won't ever look or BE right until EVERY PIECE is in the place it belongs, adding what only IT can add to the whole picture, completing what all the pieces around it could only start on their own.
No one of us can ever possibly think of and DO everything that every one of us needs.
That's why God called us to a FAMILY and made us members in particular of a BODY, with each individual piece making ONE WHOLE.

That's why He gave us ability, because we have none in and of ourselves.
Then He put us all together, because we need what the other has.
And made it work BEST when we work together, because He made us to be relational.

Simple.  Straightforward.  Spiritual.

ONE HEAD:  Jesus

Each member: you and I

If you get this, you will be blessed!  Rugged individualism is valued in America, but UNITY is valued in the Kingdom of our Living God

12 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: You know that[a] you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led. Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profitof all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same[b] Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
Unity and Diversity in One Body
12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into[c] one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.
15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?
20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty,24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 29 Are all apostles?Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the best[d]gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

BE PREPARED

An excellent motto the Boy Scouts of America adopted, and one very appropriate for we who call ourselves  Christians as well.

BE PREPARED

A timely reminder is surely not out of line, as I watch and pray and wrestle against spiritual wickedness on high.  At times I even find myself needing to be sternly reminded what it is I am to be prepared for!

Let me use a story from our lives as an example of what I mean.

Jesus made it clear that the "work of the ministry"  is when you are reaching out in the love of Christ to one in need.  Sharing His precious words of life to encourage others.  Sharing tangible things like food, drink and clothing.  Praying for those in need is a wonderful and powerful action, but providing for those needs is what James was addressing in  James 2:16 when he told us

"If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food and one of you says to them 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled' but you do not give them the things that are needed for the body, what does it profit?"

What good is it to have good intentions but to take no useful action?  But even so, in taking useful action, are we PREPARED to follow through?  Which brings us to the story.....

We met a young man while out walking the dog.  (Even JackDog is useful in ministry!)  After greetings and salutations, we invited him to our Thursday evening Praise & Prayer service.  A couple of weeks later, he did come; and enjoyed himself.  As we were breaking up it became evident (once in a while we do manage to LISTEN when the Spirit speaks!) that this young man had no where to live.  Since the Lord put us in a house a year ago, our Missionary Mobile was parked, empty, in the back.

We insisted he stay in the RV while he looked for work and a place to live.

We clothed him, fed him, and met all his needs.

And the time dragged on.  Past a few days. Past a few weeks.  Past a few months.

He was indeed seeking work, but not finding any.  Turns out he had a disability that made his employment possibilities extremely limited coupled with already limited employment opportunities in this area.

As the time stretched out, we discovered that so was our patience and kindness feeling very stretched. (Quit gasping in disbelief and admit, we are all human and must deal with the reality of our "feelings"!)

And grapple with our feelings we did!  We kept reminding ourselves that nothing we had was ours, but all came from the Lord.

But we further discovered that as months passed and headed toward a year, even these reminders began to wear thin.  We prayed for strength and patience and the ability to be obedient to the Lord and gracious to this young man.  We made another discovery as a result.  In numerous ways, as often as we needed, God strengthened us.

For some people, this may not have posed any struggle to them at all.  Their personality and character make up might fit naturally with this up close and personal "giving" of oneself.  For others, like we found in ourselves, it became a struggle to "die daily" to ourselves and the infringement on our privacy. Daily, we had to choose to live for the Lord in this area, doing His will and not our own.  In its way, this became our suffering for Christ.  Dieing to our desire for privacy in this area produced far greater than our suffering.  It produced GLORY to the Lord, and that is the end product we strive for.  Glorifying the Lord our God, who is worthy of all praise and glory.

Talking about biblical principle and living out biblical principle are two very distinctly different animals.  You can talk all day.  You can preach til you are blue in the face.  Living it out, where the rubber meets the road, there is where you discover the truth found in Romans 12:1!  Actually living out your daily life as living sacrifices brings great blessing!  We discovered that as we gained our victory through Christ we also bore worthy FRUIT to the glory of God the Father.

It isn't easy or pleasant by any means, and it's never fun to admit that you aren't quite as loving and giving as you'd like to believe you are!  Daily life can be a real struggle and its much harder, I think, to pretend it isn't.  By admitting our need for the strength only the Spirit can provide and crying out to the Lord for the help we desperately need we become much more beneficial to the Body of Christ as we walk more fully by the Spirit and not by our sight or strength.  In ourselves, we really aren't PREPARED to see this Christian life through to the end, but through Christ, we can and will succeed!

Happy "daily self death" to all, and to all the JOY of the Lord be your strength!

p.s.
Thanks to my "little brother" for inspiring this post!