Sunday, July 31, 2011

Landon Playing the Drums

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Take No Offense

"And now, isn’t it wonderful all the ways in which this distress has goaded you closer to God? You’re more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible. Looked at from any angle, you’ve come out of this with purity of heart. And that is what I was hoping for in the first place when I wrote the letter. My primary concern was not for the one who did the wrong or even the one wronged, but for you—that you would realize and act upon the deep, deep ties between us before God." 2 Corinthians 7:11-12
Paul had received word that the Corinthians had been slipping in there faith in Christ and twisting his teachings. In response, he wrote 1 Corinthians to put them back on course in their walk with Christ. Upon arrival of the first letter, the people took offense because Paul passionately corrected them.

In 2 Corinthians 7:11-12, this offense is mentioned and it is refered to as a growing moment or drawing "closer to God." Some of the benefits of this distress or offense is, "you’re [become] more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible." Out of something that might be initially considered an offense, you gain some much more.

As humans, we are easily offended and there are a few negative responses to offense: mad, upset, repeal and rebel to name a few. His letter was taken as a rude, scolding writing and yet his spurring was intended "...that you would realize and act upon the deep, deep ties between us before God."

What is your response to offense or correction? Scripture is clear we should not react negatively, but look at ourselves and begin to ask God to repair you and I in those areas in which we took offense. God is in the business of healing and these offenses can start that process.

Have you been offended lately? Have you gotten mad at someone's words or actions? Have you examined your own heart? Ask yourself these questions and my prayer is instead of you and I being offended we will take an opportunity to grow in Christ.

May you and I be offended for the glory of God and apply it to our lives. God Bless.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wrong Side of the Bed?

"The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I have hope in Him." Lamentations 3:22-24
This morning I was reminded of God's amazing promise, "His compassions never fail. They are new every morning."

What is compassion? Compassion is sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it or to be loved deep or mercy. He knows what side of the bed we are waking up on; He knows what we are going through and wants us to relie on Him. No matter how hard we try to fill ourselves, He does it, not us.

This compassion never fails. We know this to be true, throughout scripture Christ tells us love remains supreme; we wake up every morning and He continue to love us, no matter what.

As He loves us and fills us, we find our hope in Him. He is passionately in love with you and I and we our filled by Him, if we allow Him. Our hearts must allow Him to fill us each morning, we can either accept it or reject it, but it is available to us.

"Oh I'm running to Your arms
I'm running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign."

May we run to Him this morning and every morning being filled and being renewed by His love.

Have a blessed day.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Gospel According to Finding Nemo

" just can't Nemo!...Get back here now...don't touch the boat...," Marlin tells Nemo before he swims out to sea, touches the boat and than encounters humans and is taken.
Landon has recently fell in love with Finding Nemo. I have never watched it all the way through until a few days ago. What a great film of spiritual application.

The above quote comes from the beginning of the film. Nemo disobeys his father and is captured. His capture represents our disobedience or rebellion to God. He swam out to sea in direct opposition to his father. How often do we swim out to sea thinking we are big enough or in control?
Later in the film Nemo cries out, "Dad!" This is the first word or cry from Nemo we hear in the dentist office. How fitting! He knew something was wrong, he was out of place and needed his fathers help. Many times we get ourselves in situations where we are away from God and all we need to do is cry out to Him.

Throughout the film Marlin is looking for his lost son. Interestingly enough, Nemo would have to get himself back to the ocean before he could find His father, but Marlin was right there ready to accept him back. God is ready for you to call on His name. Repentance, restoring things to order by returning to the sea (to Him), put Nemo in a position to be reunited with his father. Do you need to repent and return to the Father? He is there.

Near the end of the film, Marlin is looking at his unconscious son, after escaping being captured a second time by fishermen, and is screaming, "Nemo wake up!" During this scene Landon ran to the TV and helped Marlin yell at Nemo. I think sometimes our Father is yelling at us, "I am here! Wake up and listen to me."

I pray that maybe some of these scenes and thoughts will speak to you. God bless.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Even Brats

"She's a spoiled brat! When is she leaving"

I once heard this statement about a 16 year old girl from a friend of mine. This statement conjured this response:

A brat! That young lady might be a brat, but she probably doesn't know any better and you have an opportunity to show her something different. If you claim to have surrendered to the ministry, than you need to start loving everyone, including spoiled brats. You don't know it, but she is watching your actions and words and you are passing up the opportunity to show her Christ's love!

Who have you written off today or in the past? Are you passing up opportunities to love someone? I encourage you to check out the below passage:

"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms." 1 Peter 4:8-10

I pray that we show others unconditional love, even brats. God bless.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Transformation in Him

"And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:18
Transformation is an on going process. The result of this transformation is becoming more like Christ. We begin to follow Christ, the heart change has happened, but there is still other transforming that occurs over time, from the inside-out.

It's amazing to consider as we follow Christ, He changes you and I.  Sometimes change is hard, but it is truly necessary when we follow Christ.  This change can only come from Christ.  Notice it, "comes from the Lord..." with Him and only Him can we be transformed.  Allow Him to change you.

How have we changed? Are you blooming the "the fruit[s] of the Spirit"... "love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control..." Galatians 5:22-23.  These are outward signs that the Lord is transforming you.

My prayer is that each day you and I will be completely filled with fruit and be transformed by and through Christ!  God Bless.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Made Complete in Him

"For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority." Colossians 2:9-10
Some days are such rush, I didn't even have enough time to spiritually focus.  Taking a few moments to slow down, pray and read over scripture I found Colossians 2:9-10.

Christ is God and man.  Scripture reveals the Jesus was both God and man.  In this passage, it is very clear Christ is not only human, but God.  God walked, lived and experienced the same things you and I do; He knows what we experience first hand.  Sometimes we think He is too distant or some figurehead, but He has been among us, not far far away.

The author and creator is, the same who has made you and I complete is, "...the head over every ruler and authority," which includes the physical and spiritual world.  In our completion He is in control of all these things, our sovereign Lord.  Isn't amazing to know that He is sovereign over every detail in our lives?

We have been made complete in Christ.  Often we think of ourselves as mere sinners, but once He rules in your life you have been made complete.  We no longer need to live or dwell in the past, but rather realize you have been redeemed and made anew.  As we continue becoming more like Christ, we draw nearer to perfection.  It is easy to forget, but we must remember He has made us complete. 

I pray that we will continue to submit ourselves to His authority and daily bask in our completion through Him.  God Bless.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sowing Righteousness

"Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness." 2 Corinthians 9:10
His righteousness is the seeds we sow. Who is righteousness? Christ. When we sow righteousness, we are sowing Christ.

"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously." 2 Corinthians 9:6

When we are dying to self and allowing Christ to live through us we are sowing Christ to everyone around us. We can choose how much to sow. 

Sowing continues even in hardship.  Christ says in Matthew 5:39, "But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also."

It's never about you and me; it's about Christ. Christ comes first and teaches that even in hard times; He must rule. It's not about us; it is Christ living in us.

I pray that we continue to surrender all to Him and sow righteousness, Christ, to everyone around us.

God Bless.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

More of Him

"He must become greater; I must become less." John 3:30
We are called to a radical faith which is counter to everything the American Dream teaches you and I. Passages like this one go against popular culture and social norms. Most of the time we are worried about ourselves, how to make more money and how to take care of "me."

Christ calls us to become less; forfeiting our lives to Him. This surrender comes at a price: we give our hearts to those who will crush it, we move hundreds of miles from loved ones, we sacrifice earth treasures for Him.

Christ wants less of you and I and more of Him. Where do you and I stand?
Let Him rule today; no one else. More of Him, less of Me.

God Bless.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Purified by Light

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." 1 John 1:7

The blood of Christ purifies you and I. We gain sanctification from our deepest darkest secrets, sin. We sometimes play these sins over and over again and such things our foolish because His blood has already taken care of your sin.  His blood was shed for you and I; once was enough.

Once you have accepted Christ, Jesus makes us priority as we should make Him priority. Through that priority, we begin to carryout what He wants to do through our lives, share His name among all humanity. Our priorities become secondary when we become purified by the light.

Walking with Christ is in the light. As we walk in the light we draw closer to light and those around us. With those around us, our love of and for Christ should be spilling over to everyone.  Are you walking in the light?

What a powerful relationship you and I have in Christ. We are purified and we need to share it. Walk in the light and be a tool of righteousness.  May you be surrounded by light and dance in the freedom of purification.

God Bless.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Handicapping Yourself with Worry

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?...For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:25-27 & 32-34
I read this passage yesterday and it's amazing how God puts the right scripture in front of us at the right time (go figure).  He is going to take care of your school, your job situation, your relationships...Jesus is going to take care of EVERYTHING.  When we begin to stress about silly things we effectively hurt our ministry.

Imagining me being consumed by thoughts of worry and stress, when someone across the room needs to be loved on; I am held hostage by worry.  I have listened to many students talk about a multitude of worries and over and over again I remind them, "If you believe in Jesus, let Him take care of it and He will."

We should rely only on Jesus Christ or we become pagans chasing after pointless things.  Think about the time you waste over worry!  Adding our stress to today and tomorrow only makes you and I ineffective.  An ineffective minister of the gospel is a winner for the other team, not Christ.  Allowing to be controlled by these thoughts handicaps you and I from sharing Christ love.

Jesus takes care of it all.  Kari and I have seen Him take care of us over and over again. We have seen Him take care of others; how easy is it to forget! We need to remember and live it.  We can know the scripture by heart, even share it with others, but if we don't believe it, we remain handicapped.

My prayer is that you and I become more effective ministers and be freed from worry and stress.  Christ takes care of you; no need to worry.  It might sound crazy, but you need to dive head-first into His arms.

God Bless.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Romans 6:5-7

"For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin - because anyone who has died has been set free from sin." Romans 6:5-7