Phillipians 2 – Imitating Christ

Good morning. This is the last day of our journey with Paul. Next week, we will start a 30 days through the bible series.

 

Scripture: Once again, lots to choose from in this chapter, but I will pick vs 3-4

“do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.”

Observation:  This is always quite the challenging reminder. As I pondered this today, I realized that I really value my own time doing my own thing. Now, I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing to sometimes focus on yourself for a bit. But does it become priority over “others”?  Especially when the “others” could be your own family. What about friends, neighbors, and strangers?

Application: One of the greatest ways to grow in our faith is to focus on and serve others. The challenge for myself today is to really check my own spirit to ensure I am doing this in humility. Am I truly valuing others interests?

Prayer: Lord, your truths are so challenging and inspiring. God, today I ask once again to search my heart. Show me if there are areas where my interests are clearly outweighing the interests of others. God, help me to never neglect my own family or those around me. Thank you Jesus for another beautiful day of life. Amen.

Ephesians 3- Pauls summary of his mission

Scripture: vs. 18, 19  “and may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how deep his love is. may you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fulness of life and power that comes from God.”

 

Observation : this is a well known and very often quoted piece of scripture. It feels to me that Paul is using irony to get his point across here. He wants us all to understand God’s love, then in the next breath he says we will never fully understand. THEN we will be made complete. It’s a never ending journey. We will not ever fully get there in this life. Paul is saying, I think, keep seeking. Keep searching. Keep learning. Keep praying.  We will experience and do amazing things now, but there is always more to discover and experience.

Application: question to myself, how much do I comprehend the vastness of God’s love for me? My mission, keep seeking God’s truth. Keep learning. I should never catch myself saying I know enough.

 

Prayer: God, what an awesome reminder today. Your love is greater than I could ever comprehend. Thank you again for the sacrifice of Jesus for me. I ask for a greater understanding of all this, Lord show me today something new that will help me on this journey. In Jesus name, amen.

Galatians 5

Scripture : wow, tough to narrow it down to a verse or two for today. But I will choose vs. 13 “you my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use you freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”

Observation: Such a powerful statement here. How often do we here of a criminal being released from jail only to commit another crime and wind up back where he was. He abused the freedom he was granted and went right back into custody. Don’t we often do the same thing with our walk with the Lord? We have received freedom from sin, from bondage. But we push the limits, start dabbling in things that are questionable, and the next thing you know we get snared. And I think Paul is really emphasizing using God’s grace to get away with not treating others honestly or in love. God will forgive me. God has to forgive me. Dangerous ground to walk on.

But Paul gives the solution to this self seeking desire, “serve one another humbly in love”. Wow, so powerful!

 

Application:  Always check my own spirit. what is my motivation for doing what i’m doing? Am I doing it in love? Am I serving one another humbly, in love?”

 

Prayer: Lord, thank you for this reminder today. Your ways are so simple, yet we often find them so hard to do. Help me Lord today to truly love my neighbor. Show me if my motives are not pure and my desire is satisfying the flesh. Thank you Lord for this great day, thank you for your many blessings. in Jesus name, amen.

1 Corinthians 15- thoughts on Christ’s resurrection

Good morning, time to start another week! Our journey with the Apostles Paul is nearly complete. I will be announcing our next blogging challenge very shortly.

Time for me to go back to the SOAP method.

 

Scripture: 2 verses stood out to me today, first vs. 33 ” do not be mislead “bad company corrupts good character.”  and vs. 58 “therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

 

Observation:  we are definitely in a time in our country that God’s word is under attack like never before. There are so many different things being preached out there, so many lies being very subtly inserted, so much hatred for those disagreeing with the opinion of the world. We do need to stand firm. We see over and over people not engaging in a church, not having that support around them, not willing to be accountable to anyone, not being grounded in the Word of God, and then falling away because of something that sounded right, but wasn’t.

Application: i’m going to sound like a broken record soon, but God has just been showing me this year the need for His Word. That we need to be immersed in His word. This is how we will be able to stand firm. This is how we will be able to not be mislead. This is how we will want to give ourselves fully to the work of Lord. It’s such a simple solution.  I want to know so much more, and I want everyone around me to have that same desire. Why is it so hard to do sometimes?

Prayer: God your Word is amazing! God we are in a time when your Word is under attack, when it’s being questioned, seeds of doubt are being planted over and over. God give me an even greater desire to know your laws. God show me how to help others have that same desire. thank you Jesus, amen!

1 Corinthians 13- Pauls description of love

Paul just finished talking about spiritual gifts in chapter 12, and now what he is saying is these spiritual gifts are great to seek after and desire, but using them without love really gains you nothing. When I read this today, I thought to myself do people really “give my body over to hardship that I may boast”? Then I thought, of course. It’s the Pharisee syndrome. Woe is me, look at me. I’m so spiritual. Such an easy trap to fall into. We may be giving sacrificially, or volunteering every night in the church, or reading our bible 8 hours a day, but if we are doing it and making sure everyone else around us know about it, this is what Paul is warning us of. We have all been given gifts, we are to use them in love for the kingdom of God. We shouldn’t feel a need to tell the world what we’re doing, but rather your good deeds should begin to speak for themselves. Do less if you need to, but put your whole heart into it. Our earthly mission is all about loving others.

Today is a heart test. Am I willing to do things for the kingdom of God even if no one else knows about it? Or do I need to be re-affirmed and needing a slap on the back for my efforts?

Lord, thank you for another day of life. Thank you for the challenge of this chapter. Lord, search my heart, reveal to me if I have places in my life where I may do things without love as my motivation. Give me a new joy for others and for serving You. May the joy of the Lord fill each on reading this today. in Jesus name, amen.

Romans 8-Life in the Spirit

Wow, what a chapter! So encouraging and powerful. God knows our flesh is weak. He knows our mind tends to focus on the flesh rather than the spirit. And He gave us His spirit, to any and all of us willing to accept it. “because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” vs2

But Paul explains we have an obligation to live according to the Spirit. Not with the expectation that we will be perfect, but rather with hearts that desire to do what is right and seek after holiness.

with the Spirit of God in us, we are children of God. The implications of this are huge, bigger than we can fathom I think. We are heirs of God, co-heirs with Christ. Wow! How do you even begin to wrap your mind around that?

This should excite us all beyond words. We have the Spirit of God in us, interceding on our behalf because we simply are too weak to do it ourselves. We are heirs to a kingdom. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ, children of God. Amazing!

 

Let me end today with vs. 38 &39 “for I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Thank you Father for loving us, for sending your Son, for giving us your Spirit. Thank you Lord for interceding when I am weak. In Jesus name, amen.

Romans 7- struggle with sin

Good morning. Very sorry you did not receive a blog yesterday. All straightened out.

 

What an interesting chapter. Paul really explains the struggle of being sinful verses being holy really well. “I do not understand what I do. for what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” vs 15.  This is the battle. Our sinful nature plays havoc with our mind and heart. But there is hope! Jesus died for these sins. we are no longer slaves to it, however we will always fight with it. So what do we do?

I had an incredible discussion this morning with some guys, question was asked “how do I know I’m putting God first in my life?”   Seemed like a simple question, but is it? How do we know? What is our response when God seemingly isn’t answering our prayer, or at least not answering it fast enough? Are we trying to steer God in the direction we want or are we waiting on him? Are we recognizing when truth is being compromised, when sin is slipping in through the cracks?

I was reminded again when I say verse 4.    “……that you might belong to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.” We are part of God’s kingdom with the earthly purpose to bear fruit. In order to bear fruit for God, we need to know what He desires. We find His will and desires in His Word.  We must be soaking in the Word. We must be excited about it. We must make it huge priority in our lives. Our lives and our children and grandchildrens lives depend on it.

 

Lord, we recognize there is a war on for our souls. We ask for discernment to recognize when sin is trying to slip into our daily routine. God give me a passion for reading your word so that I may recognize sin, and not do the things I hate, and do the things I want to do. Thank you for dying on the cross and taking sins authority away. God may you greatly bless each one reading here today. thank you Jesus, amen.

Romans 3- Pauls Theology

What an interesting chapter. I get a kick out of Pauls “human point of view”.  We shouldn’t be punished because our sinfulness shows others God righteousness. We can justify anything, can’t we? I remember hearing a speaker say one time (jokingly) that “we all have a purpose to serve in some way on this earth. Even the worst Christian can serve as a bad example”.  What an unfortunate truth this turns out to be sometimes.

What really stood out to me today was vs.20 “for no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.” NLT

We simply cannot achieve righteousness on our own. How often do we try and earn it ourselves? Only to fail at some point along the way, and feel frustrated and guilty and want to give up. We needed Jesus to step in for us, to be the sacrifice. The law was there to point out where we fall short, but we could never fully fix it. None of us, “for we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” NLT

It’s only by putting our faith in Jesus are we saved, not by earning it, not by trying to obey every small detail of the law, not by being a good person. Only Jesus. Wow, what a great passage of scripture to read this morning!

 

Lord, we thank you for your incredible sacrifice  for us all. God we thank you that we don’t need to earn it, we don’t need to work for it, but rather, you did all the work required on the cross. Thank you for this gift. However, Lord, may our desire  be to live Holy lives, striving to obey your laws, not to earn our righteousness, but because of Yours. Help me to do your will, and forgive me where I fall short today. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.

Acts 28- Paul arrives in Rome

Happy Monday!  Time to continue our look at the Apostle Paul. Also time to try a different approach to my journaling.  For this week, I am just going to journal thoughts without a particular method to follow. Random. Lets see how it goes.

One thing that struck me in this chapter is the length of time this chapter covers. Paul was in this area preaching the Word in this area for almost 2 1/2 years. Often I’ve thought that Paul or any of the Apostles, were just constantly on the move. Preach the gospel, move on. Preach the Word, move on. But we can see that this was not the case. Not only did he preach the word, but he stuck around. Discipling them, getting them well grounded. Interesting and challenging to me. Sometimes I have been involved in some ministry or task and I see another need elsewhere, and now my attention is being pulled that way. Focus on one thing, do it well.

Interesting that once in Rome, some of the Jews once again really didn’t believe Paul.

It seemed in all circumstances though, Paul achieved great respect by all those he encountered, as evidenced by the treatment he got while he was travelling around and preaching the word. There is great wisdom in being able to disagree with others in a respectful way.

 

God, thank for your Word this morning. Thank you for the lessons from Paul. Help me Lord to always be focused and content with the task at hand. Help me always to be respectful with those who disagree or oppose me. Lord, guide and direct my words and actions today. Lord, use me to bring your Word to those who don’t know. Thank you Jesus, amen.

Acts 27 – Paul Sails to Rome

Good morning everyone! I will be away for the weekend so there will be no blog entries until Monday again. Have a great weekend!

Scripture: Vs. 36 “then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves”

Observation: This feels like a very unique type of chapter in the bible. Really detailed account of the journey, made me wonder why this is important enough for us to know all these years later. interestingly, though, Paul was a prisoner but continued to pray and hear God, and was the one to encourage the other prisoners and their captors. Fascinating how they continually listened to his advice and warnings he received from God. He was incredibly bold to speak up throughout the journey, I wonder how many others would have gotten away with that?

Application: in my own life, remember to be bold and have faith, even when the storms hit. Pauls faith did not waiver because everything was not perfect, but rather kept seeking God’s direction and guidance. There is a lot to learn from this chapter.

Prayer: God thank you for another day. Thank you for your blessings. Thank you for the lesson in your word today. Lord, help me to stay strong when the storms in life strike. Help me to not complain and question why, but rather that I seek your will through it all. God, today as I face another very full busy day, give me words of life to speak into those I will see in the hospital today. Give us wisdom how to help encourage the families. God thank you, you are amazing! In Jesus name, amen.