Friday, April 30, 2010

Farming the Fruit of the Spirit

Since the fall, farming has taken the sweat from the brow of man. We may not all be farmers now but we all know the effort we put in to bring food to the table. The fruits of our labor take great effort to get. But what about the fruit of the Spirit? Does that take effort to get?

I contend that it does. Paul told the Philippians and us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. It is going to take effort to bring forth the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. But thanks be to God that he is right there to help us! Paul continues by saying that it is God who is working in us.

Let's fight to display the fruits of the Spirit. We can praise God now for the desire within us and later when he brings forth fruit for the glory of his name.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Focused Fighting - Bible Reading

In my last post I spoke about fighting distraction and how this is for God's glory. It pierced my heart. Focus is such an important part of the good fight. There is so much that is vying for out attention. So where do we start?

We start with Bible reading. Focused Bible reading will start our minds on the path of spiritual thinking. It can reveal distractions in our hearts and need in the battle for joy. It will give us a place of refuge through out the day. It will keep us focused in the quiet and calm in the chaos.

Focus today on God's word written for your instruction and joy.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Faithful Focus

If you are like me you get distracted. SQUIRREL!! With sound bites and flashing lights everywhere there is plenty to be distracted by. Is this just an inconvenience or is there something deeper?

As I meditated on my own tendencies to drifting I thought about my calling. God calling me from death to life. That life has a focus. It has a drive. Anything that takes my eyes off that focus is antithetical to that focus. What is that focus? To bring glory to my Father who is in heaven!

The task at hand is where my Father desires me to give him that glory. So, if I am drifting off, even to good thoughts, I am taking away from the task at hand. Thus I am not putting all my effort into my focus.

Here is where I'm tempted to make excuses. But I refuse! May God work in my weakness to bring himself glory by showing himself strong through me. Do ALL to the glory of God. Not at the same time but each task in its time.

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Holy and Acceptable? Who is?

This great question came into my mind as I meditated on the thoughts in this post. My heart was then provoked to make this comment:

There is a great balance in the life of the Christian. Jesus paid it all and all to him I owe. Yet sometimes we fall into believing that offering our bodies as living sacrifices will at some point pay God back. In this we imply that the holiness and acceptability of this sacrifice is within us.

May we be alert to all notions that rob Jesus of his glory. Our holiness is an alien holiness which comes from the only sacrifice that is holy in and of itself, Jesus.

Our end is to bring glory to God not to ourselves.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Can See!

Until we know the darkness of blindness we will never know the joy of the blind man who receives his sight! The wonder of what he is seeing will always be foreign to we who have taken for granted the gift of sight. Yet there are many out there who don't even know that they are blind. This is the plight of the sinner. Always he will have blindness he is unaware of. Even for those who receive the grace of sight in this age it is a dim sight. Not until we stand before the face of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will we finally know what it is like to say, "I can see!"

If you want sight from Jesus you need to look in the mirror. Check out this mirror.

Close Your Eyes and Imagine

Imagine all is well. The economy is good. The government fulfills only its purpose. Neighbors laugh together at rotating neighborhood picnics. What's missing? Is there anything better? Wait where is Jesus? If you are like me, it is easy to get caught in a vision of "peace and tranquility." If we settle for this we are falling for yet another of Satan's lies. Jared Wilson does a great job in this post of articulating this common American problem.

Let's remember. It's all about Jesus not "peace and tranquility."

Monday, April 19, 2010

Shame On You?

Do you experience shame when you sin? Before anyone else points it out?

I was struck today by the contrast between Adam and Eve's reaction to their sin and Cain's reaction to his sin. Adam and Eve feared God but Cain did not. Sin had an effect on the hearts of Adam and Eve: hiding. Sin had an effect on the heart of Cain: bold rebellion.

Who do you look more like when you find your guilt before God? We need to keep our hearts tender to the offensiveness of sin. This happens by a fight to get closer and closer to God. In the presence of God is fullness of joy. Cain "went away from the presence of God."

If you don't know what to do if you sin click here.

Discussion Question: Did anyone have a righteous reaction to sin?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Ever-Present Good Shepherd

Jesus is always there. There to celebrate your greatest victory or weep over your greatest defeat. He is the Good Shepherd and he will never leave you. Sometimes you may have to seek him. Once you find him never take you eyes off. Be comforted and encouraged as I was by this prayer by Scotty Smith.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Fighter Verse Friday: Matthew 5:31-32

Matthew 5:31-32

31 It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Matthew 5:31-32

This is my first attempt at controversy. This verse does not give a reason to get a divorce. It gives an exception to when the person it not making their spouse commit adultery.

This verse also does not give an instance in which remarriage is acceptable. It seems to be clear that the person who marries a divorced person is committing adultery.

Marriage is until death. Period. Singles, this does not mean you should be afraid to get married. It means you need to seek first the kingdom of God. Then a spouse will be added to you.

Marrieds, fear God, seek wisdom, love your spouse. (If you have an extreme circumstance I would love to pray for you. If you have a hypothetical I will gladly engage with love.)

Divorced people, seek God, find fellowship with a group of your gender, don't remarry. (Unless you are released by death.) I think divorced people are very under ministered. Start you own group. (Not for dating purposes!)

Whatever group you fit in God has grace to help your faithfulness. He also has rewards that will make you forget this momentary affliction. This life is a fight. Fight for godliness! And people will see you good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

What a World. What a World.

Sometimes I hear the question, "Why would anyone want to bring kids into this world?" As I meditate on that question I see a glaring assumption: This is all there is. If that assumption were true, it would be crazy to bring kids into this world. But rejoice! It is not true! The Lord Jesus Christ is risen! There is so much more! There is a God who sent his Son to die for you and me, his enemies! There is hope because of the resurrection for change! (Pray for President Obama.) God is in control working ALL things for the good those who love him!

If we hear this question again let's rejoice and proclaim the hope of the resurrection.

If you don't know the hope of the resurrection click here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What is Your Stomach Growling For?

This is the question that hits me when I think of the following verse:

Matthew 5:6
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

When you here about growling stomachs what it the first thing that comes to mind? Hunger? What are you hungry for? Righteousness? If we are looking to be truly satisfied this is what we need to be hungering.

Righteousness is reflecting Jesus. The more our hearts are like his the more we will feel like he feels. Hope will grow. Peace will grow. Joy will grow.

I think I am starting to feel the hunger. Jesus, mold my heart to be more like yours!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Don't Hold Your Breath

I am slowly reading "Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life" by Don Whitney. It is full of great quotes. This one from D.L. Moody struck me:
A man can no more take in a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough for the next six months, or take sufficient air into his lungs at one time to sustain life for a week. We must draw upon God's boundless store of grace from day to day as we need it.

I find in my heart a mix up of priorities. It seems that I struggle to miss a meal yet I can totally forget to read my Bible. Thus the necessity for me reading this book.

If we are to renew our minds we need to overcome the great deceitfulness of our hearts. It is a part of the battle. If we are to become skilled in using the sword of the Spirit we first need to learn how to put our armor on. So take up and read! The battle is on!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Lord is Risen Indeed! Now What?

Luke gives a great answer. Witness!

Luke 24:44-49
44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

First we need to have Jesus "open [our] minds to understand the Scriptures." Which obviously takes Bible reading and prayer. Then we need to proclaim the message Jesus allows us to understand. The central message need to be "repentance and the forgiveness of sins." The Gospel needs to be proclaimed. First to our own hearts and then to the hearts of others.

Rejoice! The Lord is risen indeed! It is truly finished! Proclaim the message that those who repent can have the forgiveness of sins because the sacrifice of the risen Christ!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Fighter Verse Friday: Matthew 5:29-30

Matthew 5:29-30
29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

Matthew 5:29-30

What causes you to sin? Jesus says to cut it off or tear it out and throw it away! But what really causes you to sin? Is it you eye? Is it your hand? No and no! It is your heart. So cut it out and throw it away. This is better than going to hell. Yes I know you can't. You will die. But that's the weird part you are dead already. So what are we to do? Repent and believe the Gospel! On this Good Friday let's remember that Jesus has made it just for God to make us alive in him. And Sunday's coming!

If you are unaware of what Jesus did start here. Then leave a comment.