Sunday, February 23, 2014

Whatsover things are true............

Philippians 4:8  is a great way to apply the wisdom of God to prayer. A list of things to think about sits like a diamond in a beautiful chapter!
Philippians 4:6 Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
First on the list of 'things' is: 'whatsoever things are true'. It is significant that 'true' is listed first. Truth is very important.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 
In order to really know God and what he has promised, you have to believe God's word belongs to you. It is essential for believing. God's word is the truth. My favorite times in prayer are a result of just thinking through verses and events from the Old and NewTestaments and asking how they apply to various things going on. The Bible on the coffee table is a simply a book. When you enlist God's help, the Bible becomes a breath of life. That is the foundation of prayer and believing. It is more exciting than just having a 'to do' list for God.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Actsodus

God's love is unfailing. In Malachi, it says He 'changes not!' It is not hard to find  parallels in the OT and NT that are examples of His continuing grace. It helps to look at the 'big picture to see the parallels.

On the darker side, the enemy of God never seems to change either. In Exodus there is clear evidence of manipulations by Pharaoh and his doggedness to keep the children of Israel under his thumb. He is really relentless. It seems at one point he recognizes the power of God, yet his arrogance keeps him from backing off all the way to the Red Sea.

Fast forward to the gospel period, Jesus Christ was also 'stalked' by the enemies of God. It is also very apparent in Paul's life. Judaizers were constantly following him around trying to thwart him and destroy him. Why did they expend so much energy into doing all this? What were they thinking? Ask yourself, if you didn't like what someone was teaching, would you follow him around? It all started in Genesis 3 and continues throughout the ages. It's about playing God.

In Acts are the records of Paul and what he went through with people who opposed him. People complained about him, followed him around and some even tried to physically harm him. It wasn't like he could just walk away from them, they wouldn't let him. There were problems outside the church community, but most of the persecution came from people within the  religious community. When people focus on power, self-interest and influence, not to mention money, things go awry,

Paul's understanding in dealing with this type of persecution is the only way to handle it.
2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.  9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
God never changes and His answers are what we must focus on. In Philippians 4 are some great gems that apply to our lives:
Philippians 4:6 Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
It is so easy to take on the negatives, but that spirals us downward. Instead we need to focus on the things of God by valuing those things above thus lifting us up and out of the muck. It is absolutely exciting to watch God's grace play out. It is downright glorious!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Fellowship

Recently, the word 'fellowship' has come up in several conversations. (Link-'fellowship'- word study list in NT) I have run into a wonderful bunch of people who love to study the word. Each of them is committed to studying God's word in depth, but even more importantly they all seem to readily recognize things they know and things they don't know. Some of them write books or blogs, or have websites and some are involved in podcasts. I keep running into them in different places. Even though they are not interconnected by one specific organization, there seems to be a common spirit. 

Yesterday, I was really encouraged by a person's post on facebook, and then got excited when another person shared something on a verse I had been thinking about on a podcast. If that wasn't enough, the next facebook page I went to posted the same verse. Not bad for the 'virtual church'! Here's the verse:
Matthew 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona (Simon, son of Jonah): for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Jesus addressed Peter as Simon, the son of Jonah (Barjonas ='bar' means son of, Jonas was Peter's father), right after Peter addressed Jesus as the son of the living God. The 'rock' Jesus was talking about was himself as 'the Christ, the Son of the Living God'. The church (community of believers) is built on the chief cornerstone, Jesus Christ. Peter recognized who Jesus was because God had showed it to him and Jesus was very blessed about that! We get excited when someone shares something that is obviously from God, so why wouldn't Jesus Christ! It is a great example of one person's relationship with another based on the Word of God.




We Need Some More Pilgrims Not Programs

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of all, partly because it has not been tampered with as much as the other holidays (notwithstanding Blac...