December 12, 2010
December 11, 2010
November 30, 2010
November 24, 2010
November 20, 2010
November 14, 2010
October 26, 2010
1Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? 4For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not mere men?
11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
October 1, 2010
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways," declares the LORD. "
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."Isaiah 55:8-9Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will not let the righteous fall.Psalm 55:22Cast your anxiety on him because he cares for you.1 Peter 5:7
"Do not lay a hand on the boy!" he [the Angel of the Lord] said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son."
But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept. [Genesis 33:4]
I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
September 18, 2010
September 13, 2010
Our doubts are traitors, making us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.-Measure for Measure, Act I Scene iv
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of power, of love and of self-discipline.
But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.2 Corinthians 7:6-7
August 4, 2010
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God- that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.1 Corinthians 1:30So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.1 Corinthians 10:31Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.John 3:5-6
July 26, 2010
July 23, 2010
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.-2 Corinthians 7:10
See what this Godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
July 12, 2010
32"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. 34It's like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
35"Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. 36If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. 37What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!' "
I'm living the next five minutes
Like these are my last five minutes
Cause I know the next five minutes
May be all I have
And after the next five minutes
Turn into the last five minutes
I'm taking the next five minutes
And start it all over again
-Next 5 Minutes by Steven Curtis Chapman
June 23, 2010
At the top of this list, write "Situations that God will bring victory through." Worry not, I did this myself a few minutes ago. And I have some of the same feelings you probably have; I want to let my negative feelings about these situations have priority in how I think about them. But there's a better way.
My tears have been my food
day and night,
while men say to me all day long,
"Where is your God?"
These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go with the multitude,
leading the procession to the house of God,
with shouts of joy and thanksgiving
among the festive throng.
Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
June 19, 2010
22Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.
24"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'
29"Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man's design and skill. 30In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."
Like Jesus did with the Samaritan woman at the well and with Nicodemus, Paul meets the Athenians where they are. He has a great way to start the speech, too: the altar labeled “To an unknown god,” and even quotes poetry that the Athenians are familiar with to help his point. He tells them that there is one true God (not their multiple gods) who does not live in human temples (like theirs) and is not made of gold or silver or stone (like the idols they worship). He also includes several, more universal points: God is the Creator, has determined all our steps, and is bringing a day of judgment. My favorite point, however, is this in verse 27: “God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far away from each one of us.”
Not that this speech is a template to use like a witnessing mad-lib, but we can take away some good practical points about talking to people about Jesus. Speak the language of the people, know their context; if you don’t know anything about who they are, you don’t know where they are spiritually. Relate to them.
Don’t take this too far and use it as an excuse not to witness, because it’s a lot easier than it sounds. Jesus and the woman were at a well and in Samaria, so he talked about water and the now arbitrary nature of being a Jew or a Samaritan. Nicodemus was a Pharisee, so Jesus talked about Jewish theology. The Athenians were highly intellectual, so Paul talked about their religion and quoted their poets. There’s common ground everywhere, whether it’s place, experience, or just our humanity. Find that common ground and plant some seeds in it.
June 18, 2010
In Acts 16, Paul and Silas are thrown in prison in Phillipi. After they are beaten they’re thrown in prison, and around midnight an earthquake sent from God that opened the prison doors and loosed the chains from around their hand and feet. The jailer was woken up by this noise, and saw the prison doors opened; naturally, he assumed that Paul and Silas had escaped. The penalty for allowing a prisoner to escape on your watch was death (according to my NIV footnotes). The jailer was so distressed by this that he drew his sword to commit suicide… when jailers earlier in Acts were given the slip by Paul, they waited around to be executed. This guy (who has a family, we find out) was going to end it then and there. The funny thing, though, is that Paul and Silas didn’t leave when the chains came off but instead stayed and spared this man’s life.
The jailer knew they were Christians, because that’s why they were thrown in prison; besides that, they had been singing songs of praise the whole night. Seeing the connection between their faith and the act of love they had just shown him (and realizing more readily his own mortality, I’m sure) he throws himself at their feet and asks “What must I do to be saved?” “Believe in the Lord Jesus,” they reply. The Jailer takes them to his house in the middle of the night, feeds them, and his entire family is saved and baptized. Then, Paul and Silas go back to the prison so that they are there in the morning and the guard’s life is spared.
After being beaten and thrown in prison, the Paul and Silas are still so focused on Christ that their first action when their path to freedom is open is not “Let’s get out of here,” but “Let’s witness to the jailer.” This imprisonment was all about the Jailer and his family, because it turns out that Paul and Silas were being wrongfully held anyways because there were Roman citizens, and thus should not have been beaten and should have been given a trial.
Physical freedom is in no way important to the Christian. When it is needed, it will be provided (Acts 12). When they were captured, thrown in jail, and then the doors were miraculously opened, it was all about the Jailer’s freedom from sin and becoming a Child of God, along with his family. All this to say: take advantage of negative situations. Face them with praise and a great attitude, pointing to Jesus in word and deed, because it will affect someone for Christ; I guarantee it. We might not get to see the effects immediately (or in this life… but what a blessing when we do!), but regardless, it not only affects others when we do but fulfills our purpose in life and brings us a deep joy and peace.
So get out there, sing some chains off, praise some doors open, and then talk to the first surprised person you see about Jesus.
May 28, 2010
39One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"
40But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? 41We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."
42Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
43Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."
Has anyone ever heard anything happier? Think about where this guys is coming from. He's a criminal, one poor enough and disliked enough to get death by crucifixion; and he knows it. We don't know about this guy's life before he was put on a cross, except that he was recently a criminal. Regardless, he's not happy with how life is going.
Then, as he's being killed for his crime, while the blood is leaving his body and the pain is increasing rapidly, he meets Jesus. For whatever reason, he believes that Jesus is who he said he is; whether this decision was made a while ago or just before he spoke is unknown, but he expresses it now in rebuking the harsh words of the other criminal being crucified.
While they are both dying, the man on the cross asks Jesus "...remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus responds with "Today you will be with me in paradise."
"Today" is pretty soon. Most Christians, nowadays, have no idea when they're going to die and go to heaven. This guy is told that very, very soon, he's going to be with Jesus, in Paradise. And all this right at the end of a very bad time in his life, that ends it! He's a criminal who was sentenced to death, and this is what he finds. He finds Jesus, faith, and a promise that very very soon there will be no more pain, no more frustration, and that he'll be with Jesus forever.
I love to imagine what it's like for God to plan out our lives. When he creating the world, he knew that this man would be a believer, and that they way to make it happen was to have him end up on the cross next to God himself. The way to get to his heart was to put him on a cross next to Jesus. God' got just as powerful a story for you... just love him and walk in obedience to him, and he'll begin to unfold his awesome plan for your life.
May 21, 2010
May 19, 2010
...surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.-Jesus, in Matthew 28:20
April 30, 2010
25During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.
27But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
28"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
29"Come," he said.
April 16, 2010
As I came across this passage in Revelation 21, it hit me with a new significance; this is our promised home with God. We will be there one day.
My favorite part is the last paragraph.
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. 14The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
15The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. 16The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadiain length, and as wide and high as it is long. 17He measured its wall and it was 144 cubits thick, by man's measurement, which the angel was using. 18The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. 19The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. 21The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.
22I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.25On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.