Monday, November 10, 2014

The More We Know Him...

Colossians 1: 15-20

15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 19For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”

I hope as we have gone through this study that you are getting to the point that you are getting to know God as is described by the, “That I May Know Him.”  The more we pour ourselves into scripture- 
The more we get to know God.  
The more we get to know Him as our creator.  
The more we get to see others through the eyes of Christ.  
The more we begin to be humbled.  
The more we are able to forgive others and even ourselves.  
The more we seek to find our kingdom purpose in this thing we call life.  

Looking at this passage of scripture today we see the Supremacy of Christ.  We see that by “Him all things were created.”  We see that He is the one who “holds all thing together.”  Christ is the beginning and the end.  He is and should be first in everything we do.  I pray that you find comfort in knowing this about Jesus.  If you do not find comfort in this, my prayer is that you will begin to heal from your hurts so that you will begin to see, “He has rescued us from the dominions of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Col.1:13-14).”   

Because of Jesus’ shed blood, He is the only one who can make peace between us and God.  Without this we are a lost people.  That feeling of being lost is one like no other.  In the worldly sense, we all have experienced that feeling of being lost.  As we were driving at dusk in the Northern Autonomous Region of Nicaragua, I found myself relying on my faith.  I was at a point where I could not see as far ahead and around me as I wanted, which took me WAY out of my comfort zone.  We were not lost but I was experiencing some of those same feelings that you experience when you are lost.  

Not being in control  

But I found myself praying for safety and traveling mercies.  I had to begin to practice my controlled breathing that I learned twenty years prior.  These same breathing exercises that I was taught after experiencing the severe trauma of being raped.  My senses were heightened and the only thing that would ease my fears was the creator of the universe.  It is amazing to see the power of prayer work around you but then when you get to see it first hand in your own life is pretty spectacular.  But those same feelings of being lost in the kingdom perceptive are far more severe.  If we do not have that personal relationship with Christ and have asked Jesus to be Lord over our life, then we will experience the sense of lost in an eternal sense.  Once this happens there is no turning back once Christ Returns.  

Seek God today.  When you seek Him you will find Him.  He will bring comfort to your hurting heart and ease your fears.  Let Him be the one who brings peace to your life today.  Let Him be Lord over your life.  

Prayer: Father, Thank You for sending your son to die on the cross for my sins.  Thank you for the gift of prayer, that I may come to you at any moment to seek your guidance, to praise you, to worship you and to just be still and hear you speak to me.  In those quiet moments, help me to  be still and know that YOU ARE GOD!  

Friday, November 7, 2014

Hook, Line & Sinker

Colossians 2:4
4I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument.”

In light of the midterm elections that took place this week, I feel this particular scripture rings true, even today.  Not just in the world of politics but sadly enough we still find this in our workplaces and our own churches.  We see leaders in the church preaching a false doctrine.  The Gospel + something else.  It is the Gospel alone.  

Do you know the kind of person I am speaking of?  You do.  You know the ones.  The ones who are smooth talkers.  The ones who can persuade you to do things that you would not normally do.  This person is the one who is a leader but they are leading people down the wrong path.

Let’s take a walk down memory lane….

When you were growing up in school, did you have someone in your class or school that fit this description?  Maybe they were the brains in the class.  They could get you to believe anything they said because they must know what they are talking about.  They are the smartest ones in the class.  Or, they were the class jock.  The reason they could get you to believe anything they said was because of their popularity.  Everyone was drawn to this type of person.  Through the ages we have seen this type of person in every scene.  The walk in to the room with a presence about them and we are drawn to them.  At first we don’t quite know why but they have a presence about them that we like.  

It is a slow fade.  

After a little time we are hooked
…by their charm
…by the way they carry themselves
…by their words

Then, BAM!  
We have fallen for what they have said.  Hook.  Line.  And Sinker

It’s a slow fade.  

We have given everything we believed away.  
We have been persuaded to believe a lie. 

This lie has been taught to us from someone we thought knew what they were talking about because of their brains, their charm or because of their popularity.  What ever the reason that we put their word over God’s word does not matter.  When we allow others to creep into our heads with a false teaching or persuasive argument they pull us away from the truth.  They pull us further away from God.  They begin to change us from the outside in.  Why?  Because we were not in the word daily, allowing God to speak His truth into us,  we let someone else tell us what His word says.  We let someone else tell us what we should believe.  

The next time you go to church, to a bible study, go into a meeting at work or go vote make sure you have done your part.  You have taken time preparing for the task at hand.  You have read your bible and bible study.  You have done your research so you are prepared to be an active participant at the meeting.  You have researched the candidates that are up for election.  

We must get back to putting forth the effort into everything we do.  
We must have that desire to bring Glory and Honor to God in everything we do.  
We must spend time daily with God allowing Him to speak His truths in us.  
We must allow God to use us to bring others to Christ.   

Prayer: Father, Hear our cry.  Heal our land.  As your word says in 2 Chronicles 7:14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  May the hearts of your people turn back to you.  May we seek You first!  May we look to Your word for the truth.  In Jesus Name I Pray, Amen.  

Listen to the song: If We’ve Ever Needed You by Casting Crowns.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Christ Alone

Colossians 2:1-4

1For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, 2that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument.

Christ ALONE

Reflecting over my last month here in the states I have encountered many different perspectives of our life in Nicaragua.  At times it has been humorous to hear peoples comments but on the other hand those same comments make my heart hurt for them.  

We are not saints for what we have done.  We are just being obedient to what God has called us to do.

We did not go just for a year to experience life in another country.  We went with a heart desiring to serve the Lord for as long as He calls us there.  

We are not stronger than you.  We have come to rely on God’s strength each and everyday.

We have the same needs.  We have the same desires.  And, what we have found is that we have to get back to the truth of scripture as a “church” which is called a BODY OF BELIEVERS.  

Reading through Colossians today, I have the same feelings feel as Paul.  I struggle with the hearts of the people here in the US and all over the world.  My greatest desire is for them, even you who is reading this, to be encouraged in Christ ALONE.  Christ ALONE is the one who walks with us each and everyday.  Christ ALONE is the one who gives who the assurance of a tomorrow.  Not a tomorrow guaranteed to live in this place we call “home” but if it is our time to leave this world then a guarantee that tomorrow you will be in your eternal home.  

No matter where you live, so easily we can get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life.  But is this what Christ called us to get caught up in?  NO!  He wants us to get caught up in the life of doing His business.  What is His business you may ask?  His business is loving the Lord your God and loving others.  You may say what about making disciples.  We are supposed to do this as well but Christ summed up the 10 commandments into these two and when you love the Lord and your love others (Matthew 22:36-40) you are obeying what he commands in Matthew 28 for the great commission.  In my opinion you can’t make disciples if you don’t love the Lord and love others.  So we must be filled with His wisdom and knowledge in order to do His business.  We cannot be deceived any longer with the false teachers that are unfortunately so prevalent in our churches today.  Just turn on the tv or visit a church in your area that is preaching a feel good message.  I know my heart hurts for those who are sitting under preachers, teachers, etc who are not preaching God’s word and His word alone.  God Word + anything else is false teaching.  It is God’s Word ALONE that we are to share.  

Don’t think that just because our family has been called to a foreign land that we are any different from you.  We are no different.  We experience a lot of the same things from getting frustrated with school work with our children, driving and the person in the other lane swerves into our lane, to being distracted by the things of this world.  But I am grateful to be where God has called us to be because our family has learned over the last year of our life what is truly important…..Christ ALONE.  

Prayer: Father, turn our hearts back to You.  Take the distractions out of our lives so that we can serve You more.  I know not everyone is called to the foreign mission field but we are all called to be missionaries in our own home, workplace, neighborhoods.  Make me more mission minded wherever You have me today.  In Jesus Name I Pray. Amen. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Living The Story

Living The Story

What is your story?  When did your story begin?  We all have a story to tell but the real question is, are you willing to tell your story?  

I personally believe our story begins the day we are conceived.  Even though we can’t really share about that time in the womb, our story began.  During those first 40 weeks, +/- a few weeks, God was weaving our story to life.  This part of your story may be difficult to bear because of choices your mother made (i.e. drinking, drugs, etc) while you were in the womb but no matter what it is still part of your story.  But we can find in scripture God’s love for us, even then.  

We see this in Psalms 139:13-17, 

13For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother's womb.
14I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
16Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
17How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!”

God’s word is filled with so many stories that gives us hope for a new tomorrow.  God’s word is filled with wisdom and instruction.  But we must learn to open God’s word daily.  By reading it daily the words 
          life and become a part of our everyday life.  

When we let God’s word live through us, then we allow it to 
  life for those around us to bear witness.  

When we share the story of our life that God wrote, it helps others come to know Christ.  We all have a story to tell but again are you willing to tell that story.  

That story of brokenness. 
That story of healing.
That story of forgiveness.
That story of redemption.  

All of it is God’s story for us to tell to the world, in order, 

…to bring hope to the brokenhearted,
…to bring healing to the hurt,
…to bring forgiveness to those who have hurt us and 
…to bring redemption to a lost world.  

So, what is your story?  Are you willing to share your story with others?  Are you willing to put it all out there to bring 
Glory and Honor to God?  
What is your redemption Story?

Prayer: Father, Thank you for my story!  Thank you that you have used all of me to share your story of brokenness, of healing, of forgiveness and redemption.  Thank you that you have used my story to bring hope to the brokenhearted, to bring healing to the hurt and to bring forgiveness to those who have hurt me.  Father, each our stories have the ability to bring glory and honor to you, let it begin today!  I pray for my friends who have not shared their story.  Give the strength to be able to share their story with others.  In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.