Thursday, June 07, 2012

2 Corinthians 3:17-21 - day by day

2 Corinthians 3:17-21 (ESV)
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Have you ever seriously read the beginning of this chapter?   Where Paul is SO confident in the work he is doing in the Spirit that he sees the Corinthians church as a letter of recommendation?  "You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all."  I read that and it was like wow... what kinds of letters of recommendation do I have in my life?   Where is my confidence in the work that I do?   Do I even have that confidence that Paul has?  Paul is very clear though, his confidence is confidence not in himself but in the work that GOD himself does.    i have to admit it,... I struggle with that.   Though I am getting better!   The more I learn to trust God more deeply, the more I learn to be confident in the work that God is doing in my life and in my family and in my community.   It feels like a painfully show process though.

As I went on through the chapter, reading to get to the verses of the day it became abundantly clear to me why reading verses in context helps make sense of them.   Today's verses talk about God being spirit, and in the spirit of the Lord there is freedom and we can come with unveiled faces to behold the glory of the Lord and that God is transforming us.

Now the whole unveiled faces thing would NOT have made an impact on me if I hadn't just read through Pauls explanation of the difference in how we can approach God and how MOSES had to approach God.  Moses needed to veil his face before the Glory of God, but we don't need to.
   We have a boldness that Moses didn't have, but we are functioning under a different revelation.For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory.  We live under righteousness.Not death, not condemnation...but under righteousness...that's what Christ's death did for us.     And through it, God is transforming me.   His Spirit moves within me causes me to be someone different than I was years ago.   Isn't that cool?   He is the one helping me to grow and to change, to see more of him than I used to.  

Just consider these verses 12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. 14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.  The veil is removed!   God has given us so much more.    Get to know him folks, see that there is so much more to life than what you've known before.  :)

What does Chuck have to say about these verses?  um.. well.. he talked about his marriage and reaching the stage of transcendent love.   Which didn't resonate with me AT ALL.  it was like what in the world does this have to do with the passage?   ah... Just made a realization... we talking on different passages.. I HATE MY EYES getting old.   I was SUPPOSED to look at 2 Corinthians 5:17-21!17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
    Chucks' words still don't resonate with me in regards to this passage beyond the fact that the Lordship of Christ in their marriage was a pivotal part.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Prayer... when is it important

The other day hubby and I were talking, and he mentioned how he hasn't been sleeping well lately, so I asked him if he'd prayed about it.   His response was that it wasn't a matter of prayer as nothing was bugging him, it was just a pattern he's gotten into lately of not sleeping through the night.

I have to admit to feeling bothered by that.

God has been ramming down my throat lately about the need to trust him more implicitly with EVERYTHING in my life.  He reminds that I often fail to pray about homeschooling, about the rabbits, about my tiredness, about my lack of exercise or willpower with food, my fear of appearing foolish to my friends or neighbours about my growing concern to love them better and to show them God more clearly in my actions and words. 

So when it comes to something as fundamental as our ability to sleep (which affects our relations with family, our ability to work well and clearly) it's like why isn't that a matter to bring before God?

Just because you can't track down why you are in an unhealthy pattern of sleep, doesn't mean that God doesn't want us to talk to him about it.

Even as I write these words I can feel myself convicted of all the times I have taken that same approach, God won't care if I don't talk to him about that.  If I just continue to go my own way and lean on my own understanding of a situation.  But that's not what God wants of me.

he wants me to trust in him, to lean on him, to not just see my own wisdom.

Proverbs 3 tells us
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
     fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
    and refreshment to your bones.

The more I see God, the less I fret.

What in your life causes you to fret?   
How can you learn to lean more on God and less on yourself?
Talk to God more, trust yourself less.

Day by Day - Nehemiah 1-6

day by day by Charles Swindoll

before we get into my take on these chapters I would like to take a moment to point out what Mr. Swindoll had to say.

He points out this is a section that should be required reading for all leaders.
  1. Nehemiah had a passion for the project
  2. He had an unswerving confidence in God.
  3. He had the ability to motivate others
  4. He was resilient and patient through opposition
  5. He had a practical, balanced grip on reality
  6. He had a willingness tow work hard and remain unselfish
  7. He had the discipline to finish  the job.
Good points, good things for those in leadership, or contemplating leadership to consider.

When I read through this section of the bible I was struck by Nehemiah's humbleness before God evidenced in his prayer.

  And I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father's house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’ 10  They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. 11 O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”

Nehemiah hears of the sad state of the temple in Jerusalem and his first thought is to confess the sins of the people to God.    He praises God for being who he is and then says Oh God...Forgive us your wayward people.   I read these words and I stand convicted.   how Often I KNOW that I am in the wrong and I don't want to admit it.   And yet this passage calls me to so much more.   It calls me all the more to trust in God.   To acknowledge him in all my ways.

Having talked with God about the matter he went before the king and asked permission to rebuild the temple.   That permission was given.  Throughout the whole process though, Nehemiah talked with God.    He prayerfully gathered up the workers needed, he dealt with the opposition, and he set to work.   They were threatened while doing so, so they prayed to God, set a guard and got the job done.   Throughout it all Nehemiah took the time to correct bad things the people were doing.   And so Nehemiah did everything in 52 days, talking with God the whole time.

Makes me think of how little I give of my day to God, how little I fail to talk to him about everything, and how often my prayers seem so dutiful.   May my prayers and conversations with  God be heartfelt and humble, and a good way to show how much he does indeed mean to me.

How much does God mean to you?   Do you know him personally?   Does God really matter to you in your daily life?   Email if you have questions, please. :)  I'd love to help you know him better.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Christian Carnival

this week's christian carnival in random order.

I watched Bill Maher a few times many years ago, so I did not actually watch the show under discussion. Maher, an evangelical atheist, complained about Mitt Romney giving a talk at Liberty University because "a) he's a liar and b) Liberty University isn't really a university." Maher is at some level a comedian, but on another level his speech is often hate-filled toward those he disagrees with. He complains about people of faith who want to spread their ideas and beliefs, yet he does not shy away from sharing his ideas and beliefs.
The Olympic Flame presented by Ridge of Ridge's Blog.
 When I looked at how strategic and important these people believe the Olympic flame is, how carefully they treat it, I began to think how flippant I am about the Holy Spirit."
The Slipping Value of Life shows up via Russ homed at Thinking in Christ
If an alien dropped into one of the super zips today, what would he think about the value we place on life?
 Blood and Death comes to us by way of Greg at InFaith's Mission Blog
While we were studying the life of King David in the Old Testament at Bible club, one girl said to me, “Why are there so many killings and so much blood in these stories?”
Indeed, nearly every story had someone dying a violent death: Goliath and other Philistines, Saul and his sons, Eli’s sons, Amalekites and their king, Uriah the Hittite, Uzzah who touched the Ark of the Covenant, and others that we did not even mention in the stories. I replied, “These are not myths or fairy tales. They are real history. We are telling you truth here, not make believe.” 
Prayers for Meetings is presented by Michael at Prayers for Special Help
Here is a collection of prayers for meetings that I've put together. It is good to have a few prayers prepared if you're hosting a prayer group, bible study, or church get together.
Then sings my soul is brought to us by Charis at Charis: Subject to Change.   
It's a simple message really; Love the Lord, love your neighbour.
Safe Church given by Diane at Crossroads
 Maybe we should look at the old legalism, but do it with a new spirit to make church safer.
Follow these tips to help you be prepared in case you need to file a claim with your home or auto insurance. You can start by making sure you have a...
"While I was reading Robinson I did find some of my efforts to enjoy the sun being thwarted by clouds."
My wife and I have started to get more serious about teaching our children principles of stewardship by providing opportunities for them to earn money and use give, save spend banks.
Does Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist belong in the Christian literary canon?
 Back and forth sayings.   I like these.  :)  Shows the differences between actions and hearts and how they have an affect.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Windows of Wisdom - Proverbs 10:1-6

Windows of Wisdom by Stephen Olford, today's study is on Proverbs 10:1-6.  

 The proverbs of Solomon.
A wise son makes a glad father,
     but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.
Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit,
     but righteousness delivers from death.
The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry,
     but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.
A slack hand causes poverty,
     but the hand of the diligent makes rich.
He who gathers in summer is a prudent son,
    but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.
Blessings are on the head of the righteous,
    but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
 Back and forth sayings.   I like these.  :)  Shows the differences between actions and hearts and how they have an affect.

I wish I could do a chart! but I don't know how to do that in a blog so we'll make do.

Verse one.  I find it interesting that the author not only show the difference in response that a parent would have to a wise or foolish child...but parental gender is also pointed out.   Wise child - glad father, foolish son - sorrowing mother.     

Verse two: long term view on life: wickedness may bring treasures, but no lasting profit.  Righteousness on the other hand keeps one from death.

Verse three: The Lord himself helps the righteous, but thwarts the wicked.

Verse four: The diligent make their way in the world, the lazy don't.

Verse five: One who works and prepares while work is to be done is prudent, one who does not work is shameful.

Verse six: the righteous are blessed, the wicked hide their violence.

The only problem with back and forth verses is finding the continuity between them.   Though the general over-riding theme is the righteous and the wise will prosper in the long run and the wicked and foolish will not.   There is a seeming disconnect in some of these verses.  Verse four speaks to being diligent, but verse three speaks to God helping the righteous.     They are good verses to learn from and to stand by.    God cares for the righteous and the wise, God does not wish us to be wicked or foolish.

Olford's focus in this section is on diligence that being diligent is a person who is busy doing what needs doing and requires a person to discipline themselves to get things accomplished.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

day by day - James 1: 2-4

As a basis for study, using Day by Day with Charles Swindoll.

James 1:2-4
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Have you ever had passages misused or stuck in your face when going through a hard time?  I have.  This has been one used.  But you should be happy that you are going through this.  Means that God thinks you can handle it, and .....

Makes me want to say ARGH!  :)  

But when you stop and think about it for a while...trials are a help to us, even if at times they seem more like a hindrance.

For instance: I never put much effort into understanding people who deal with migraines...until I suffered one, and now all I do is feel empathy for those who have to live with a head that is filled with that much discomfort regularly.   It's like OUCH.   They are worse than regular headaches.      So that suffering brought about understanding, and that understanding brings about the knowledge that this too at some point shall end.   Knowing there is an end in sight means that someone can bear up under it.

And ultimately in life, there is an end to everything.

If you are a believer in God the end is glory in heaven with God himself.   Ah.. sometimes that thought makes me smile.

If you are not a believer, that end is simple... death and torment with Satan.  Not an end I would wish for anyone.

One of the sadness things I've ever read was a comment from an atheist.   Someone in her family died and so she wrote words to the effect: "we don't believe in God so there is no hope for the future.   Just dead."    All I could think was .. how sad is that.  To not have any hope?   It's like live life, die. the end.   What's the point of that?   I want to know there is something more, and I know there is something more and that gives me a reason to strive to be something more.  I really really want to LIVE.. not just exist like atheists do.. but I really want to live.

Don't you?   Won't you join me in really living?
In knowing that there is something more that is beyond us.  
That the one who created us is calling us to something bigger?   And it starts with just knowing that he is real and then seeking after him.
Have hope.
Know that what you go through in life is preparing you for something more.
You will lack nothing in Glory with God. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Windows of Wisdom - Proverbs 9:1-12

Today's devotional comes from Windows of Wisdom by Olford.

Proverbs 9:1-12

Wisdom has built her house;
    she has hewn her seven pillars.
She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine;
    she has also set her table.
She has sent out her young women to call
    from the highest places in the town,
“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
     To him who lacks sense she says,
“Come, eat of my bread
    and drink of the wine I have mixed.
Leave your simple ways, and live,
     and walk in the way of insight.”
Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,
    and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
     reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
    teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
10  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
11 For by me your days will be multiplied,
    and years will be added to your life.
12  If you are wise, you are wise for yourself;
    if you scoff, you alone will bear it.

Wisdom ...the whole of Proverbs is about gaining wisdom and living in a way that pleases God.

I have to admit, I do have problems seeing wisdom and something that calls and beckons to folk.   Making it like a person.   It's hard imagery for me.

Though I know that being seen as a wise person beckons to me.    I just don't see wisdom as doing the beckoning...more like me seeking after it.   And most of the time thinking that I am failing in it.

So with that understanding, note that I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of wisdom preparing a place for folk to come and become wise.  :)

as the author writes:
Wisdom has built her house;
    she has hewn her seven pillars.
She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine;
    she has also set her table.
She has sent out her young women to call
    from the highest places in the town,
“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
Regardless of the struggle the picture is placed in front of us, of wisdom wanting to be shared/learned.   That the simple are called to come and learn.

These words speak to me, they say learn to to be wise, learn a better way to live.   Learn more about how to live for God.    
Leave your simple ways, and live,
     and walk in the way of insight.”
     reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
    teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
10  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
11 For by me your days will be multiplied,
    and years will be added to your life.
12  If you are wise, you are wise for yourself;
 Though I have to admit to wondering about the last line.. of being wise for yourself.    To me what's the point of being wise if you don't share that wisdom?   But then again, one can't truly gain wisdom for others can they?   If you are wise you are wise in yourself, not wise in others and your wisdom can be used for the benefit of others.  (if that makes any sense at all).  :)

I often don't feel wise.
I often feel like I'm blundering about life.
I need wisdom.  I need to fear the Lord.  I need to truly live my life. 
Is that not what the author says?     "Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.” (ESV)  the new international version says it this way "Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding."   I want to truly live.

The more I know something, and the more I think on it, the wiser I will be and less blundering through life I will do.   And the place to start with all that is with the fear of the Lord.  I can only fear the Lord properly if I know who he is.

God keeps telling me... TRUST in me with ALL your heart.  Don't lean on your own understanding.   See me in EVERYTHING and I will direct the way you should go.     It's not an easy thing to be hearing all the time because all I see are my own thoughts and plans and how often I leave God out of them and I feel like an abject failure.   I see how I try to teach my boy, but I think too often I try to do so under my own strength and abilities and I am seeing more and more how I need to spend more and more time in prayer just talking with God about everything I do, and think and setting aside more time to just be with him.  (perhaps I am becoming more wise in this hmm?)

It's hard to balance it out you know.. living life and loving up on God and learning from him.   God is helping me learn to be more heavenly minded.

I do have this fear though.....what if I become so heavenly minded that I am no earthly good?   I so want to live a good practical life.  Meeting the needs of others is where my heart lies.  But I also need to meet the needs and demands of God in my life.   God is the more important of the two and I need to trust him to make it all work.   Trusting God is sometimes difficult.

Ah...brain wave... my son lately is worrying about his bedtime and I keep telling him to trust me to make sure he's in bed on time...and he's finding that difficult...hmm...and now I have more understanding into his heart.   This a good thing.   It gives me more empathy for how he is feeling which will help me to help him more.   Cool!   God is good.  

What is God doing  in your life lately?