Thursday, October 19, 2017

our job

The most important piece of clothing you must wear is love.

Love is what binds us all together.

Colossians 3:14



Well, we're missing the boat on that one these days here in America.


When did we stop being people who are known for the quality of our love?


And when did we start having the street cred as mean spirited, judgemental people


When did it start?


How did it start, & who &/or what started it.


It's gotten to the point whenever I'm asked to quantify who I am with God, I just say I'm a follower of Jesus trying to live our His mandate to love God & love others (LGLO).


(Yeah, that's what those letters mean in my news feed - would make a good tat, dontcha think? ;-) )


It's also gotten to the point where it feels like I spend a tremendous amount of time living down many of those who call themselves "Christians" whose lives don't communicate that they are emulating Jesus.


Of course, I'm sure one or two people feel like they have to live me down, too ;-)


Anyway, let's concentrate on the positive here...


Paul says ti the followers of Jesus in Colossae that the most important characteristic we Jesus followers should manifest is love - God's love for others.


Why don't we focus on allowing God to channel His love through us & leave the judging to God, which is His job anyway?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

scandalous

Colossians 2

13 You were dead because of your sins 

and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. 

Then God made you alive with Christ, 

for he forgave all our sins.

14 He canceled the record of the charges against us 

and took it away by nailing it to the cross.



"He canceled the record of charges against us..."


Can you absorb that sentence?


Everything - like every sin of ours - God simply forgave & forgot.


Canceled the record of all those sins of ours.


All of them...


Think about that...


All those things that the devil & our own self inflicting thinking has been beating our brains out about are simply not valid.


He's canceled the record of them - He's wiped the slate clean...


And we certainly don't deserve that kind of break...


That is the scandal of grace...

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

"But I say..."

In this day & time, what do we do with this?

This is Jesus talking at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount...

Remember that Jesus lived in a far more brutal time - well, maybe, maybe not, now that I think of it.

Anyway, what do we do with these statements of Jesus?



Matthew 5

38 "You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: 

'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.'

39 But I say, do not resist an evil person! 

If someone slaps you on the right cheek, 

offer the other cheek also.

40 If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, 

give your coat, too.

41 If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, 

carry it two miles.

42 Give to those who ask, 

and don't turn away from those who want to borrow.


43 "You have heard the law that says, 'Love your neighbor'* and hate your enemy.


44 But I say, love your enemies! 

Pray for those who persecute you!

45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. 

For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, 

and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.

46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? 

Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.

47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? 

Even pagans do that.

48 But you are to be perfect, 

even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Monday, October 16, 2017

all I got

All I've got today are these words by Paul in the 4th chapter of his letter written to the followers of Jesus in Philippi...


Philippians 4


6 Don't worry about anything; 

instead, pray about everything. 

Tell God what you need, 

and thank him for all he has done.

7 Then you will experience God's peace, 

which exceeds anything we can understand. 

His peace will guard your hearts and minds 

as you live in Christ Jesus.


  8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. 

Fix your thoughts on what is true, 

and honorable, 

and right, 

and pure, 

and lovely, 

and admirable. 

Think about things that are excellent 

and worthy of praise.



13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.



19 And this same God 

who takes care of me 

will supply all your needs 

from his glorious riches, 

which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

"press on"

Philippians 3

13b Forgetting the past 

and looking forward to what lies ahead,

14 I press on to reach the end of the race 

and receive the heavenly prize 

for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.



Sometimes, all we can do is "press on".


When it doesn't seem we're being & doing much, we "press on".


When we're clueless about what's going on, we "press on".


Sometimes, all we can do is "press on". 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

a long time

Sometimes we need to think about the infinite sacrifice Jesus did just in showing up here on earth...



Philippians 2

6 Though he was God,


  (Jesus) did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.

7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;


  he took the humble position of a slave


  and was born as a human being.


When he appeared in human form,


8   he humbled himself in obedience to God


  and died a criminal's death on a cross.


9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor


  and gave him the name above all other names,


10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,


  in heaven and on earth and under the earth,


11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,


  to the glory of God the Father.



"...at the name of Jesus every knee should bow..."


"...every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord..."


Every knee & every tongue...


As I look around our world today, there are going to be a lot of people who are going to have a really hard time with bending a knee to someone they've discounted, demeaned, or disrespected at every turn in their lives.


And there are others who are going to choke on the words "Jesus Christ is Lord".


It is not with glee & gladness that I think of the judgement that some will face.


Why?


As I have said before in this blog, eternity if a very, very long time.


That is one reason we should not to hesitate share from our hearts of Jesus & what He offers....


...because eternity is a very, very long time.

Friday, October 13, 2017

love in any language

God loves us too much to leave us where He found us - a love that transcends any language.


Philippians 1:6


I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (NLT, 2nd ed.)



I am sure that the good work God began in you will continue until he completes it on the day when Jesus Christ comes again. (ERV)


And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (ESV)


 I feel sure that the one who has begun his good work in you will go on developing it until the day of Jesus Christ. (J B Phillips)


I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world. (The Voice)


God began to do a good work in you. And I am sure that he will keep on doing it until he has finished it. He will keep on until the day Jesus Christ comes again. (WE)


 Nina hakika kwamba, yeye aliyeianza kazi yake njema mioyoni mwenu, ataiendeleza na kuikamilisha siku ile ataka porudi Yesu Kristo. (SNT)


 我深信,上帝既然在你们心里开始了这美好的工作,祂必在耶稣基督再来的时候完成这工作。(CCB)


Confiando de esto: que el que comenzó en vosotros la buena obra, laperfeccionará hasta el día de Jesús el Cristo; (JBS)


Et, j’en suis fermement persuadé: celui qui a commencé en vous son œuvre bonne la poursuivra jusqu’à son achèvement au jour de Jésus-Christ. (BDS)


لِأنَّكُمْ شارَكتُمْ فِي نَشرِ البِشارَةِ مِنْ أوَّلِ يَومٍ قَبِلتُموها فيهِ وَإلَى الآَنَ. وَأنا مُتَيَقِّنٌ مِنْ هَذِهِ الحَقِيقَةِ: أنَّ اللهَ الَّذِي بَدَأ 
مَعَكُمْ هَذا العَمَلِ الصّالِحِ، سَيُتَمِّمُهُ حَتَّى عَودَةِ المَسِيحِ يَسُوعَ.
يَصِحُّ لِيْ أنْ أُفَكِّرَ فِيكُمْ عَلَى هَذا النَّحوِ، لِأنَّنِي أسكَنتُكُمْ فِي قَلبِي. فَأنتُمْ شُرَكائِي فِي هَذِهِ النِّعمَةِ، الآنَ وَأنا فِي السِّجنِ، وَكَذَلِكَ وَأنا أُدافِعُ عَنِ البِشارَةِ وَأُبَرهِنُها. (ERV-AR)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

resisting the devil

This is Paul speaking here, to the followers of Jesus in Ephesus...

He gives some advice in resisting the devil, using body armor of the time as examples.

I know it's not all that cache to believe in the devil.

Having experienced his activity in & around my life, particularly in the last 7 years, I would say that he is an entity with whom to be reckoned.

And I figure Paul had some pretty strong experiences with him, too.



Ephesians 6

10 A final word: 

Be strong in the Lord 

and in his mighty power.

11 Put on all of God's armor 

so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.

12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, 

but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, 

against mighty powers in this dark world, 

and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.


  13 Therefore, put on every piece of God's armor 


so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. 

Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.

14 Stand your ground, 

putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness.

15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News 

so that you will be fully prepared.

16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.

17 Put on salvation as your helmet, 

and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.



  18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. 

Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

prophesy?

Could this psalm be a prophetic word about the evil people that are rampant in our world right now, as well as those who choose to live a holy life?



Psalm 37

1 Don't worry about the wicked


  or envy those who do wrong.


2 For like grass, they soon fade away.


  Like spring flowers, they soon wither.


3 Trust in the LORD and do good.


  Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.


4 Take delight in the LORD,


  and he will give you your heart's desires.

5 Commit everything you do to the LORD.


  Trust him, and he will help you.


6 He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,


  and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.


7 Be still in the presence of the LORD,


  and wait patiently for him to act.


Don't worry about evil people who prosper


  or fret about their wicked schemes.


8 Stop being angry!


  Turn from your rage!


Do not lose your temper—


  it only leads to harm.


9 For the wicked will be destroyed,


  but those who trust in the LORD will possess the land.


10 Soon the wicked will disappear.


  Though you look for them, they will be gone.


11 The lowly will possess the land


  and will live in peace and prosperity.



12 The wicked plot against the godly;


  they snarl at them in defiance.


13 But the Lord just laughs,


  for he sees their day of judgment coming.


14 The wicked draw their swords


  and string their bows


to kill the poor and the oppressed,


  to slaughter those who do right.


15 But their swords will stab their own hearts,


  and their bows will be broken.


16 It is better to be godly and have little


  than to be evil and rich.


17 For the strength of the wicked will be shattered,


  but the LORD takes care of the godly.


18 Day by day the LORD takes care of the innocent,


  and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever.


19 They will not be disgraced in hard times;


  even in famine they will have more than enough.


20 But the wicked will die.


  The LORD's enemies are like flowers in a field—


  they will disappear like smoke.


21 The wicked borrow and never repay,


  but the godly are generous givers.


22 Those the LORD blesses will possess the land,


  but those he curses will die.


23 The LORD directs the steps of the godly.


  He delights in every detail of their lives.


24 Though they stumble, they will never fall,

  for the LORD holds them by the hand.



25 Once I was young, and now I am old.


  Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned


  or their children begging for bread.


26 The godly always give generous loans to others,


  and their children are a blessing.


27 Turn from evil and do good,


  and you will live in the land forever.


28 For the LORD loves justice,


  and he will never abandon the godly.


He will keep them safe forever,


  but the children of the wicked will die.


29 The godly will possess the land


  and will live there forever.


30 The godly offer good counsel;


  they teach right from wrong.


31 They have made God's law their own,


  so they will never slip from his path.


32 The wicked wait in ambush for the godly,


  looking for an excuse to kill them.


33 But the LORD will not let the wicked succeed


  or let the godly be condemned when they are put on trial.


34 Put your hope in the LORD.


  Travel steadily along his path.

He will honor you by giving you the land.


  You will see the wicked destroyed.


35 I have seen wicked and ruthless people


  flourishing like a tree in its native soil.


36 But when I looked again, they were gone!


  Though I searched for them, I could not find them!


37 Look at those who are honest and good,


  for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace.


38 But the rebellious will be destroyed;


  they have no future.


39 The LORD rescues the godly;


  he is their fortress in times of trouble.


40 The LORD helps them,


  rescuing them from the wicked.


He saves them,


  and they find shelter in him.