Thursday, August 24, 2017

Acts 10

Acts 10:15b: "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean."

Peter was being asked to embrace the Gentiles. They, for most or all of Jewish history, were considered unclean, unworthy of God's favor. Among many things, Jews were not permitted to marry them and, in Peter's time, were not even to enter their houses.

Peter was now, not only being asked to interact with them, but to love them, embrace them, accept them as "clean", and this was before God changed their lives forever,

They were still Gentiles. They still did not truly know God, had not accepted his plan of salvation for them. They were still as they were. Nothing had changed except Peter's attitude toward them and that opened a door for God to do something miraculous. These Gentiles, formerly considered "unclean" and unworthy of God's attention, were now filled with the living, holy Spirit of God, even before they were baptized! (vs 44-48)


Who do I consider unclean? Who do I feel, maybe deep down inside where I might not even admit it, who do I feel does not deserve God's favor or attention? Who is God asking me to notice, to love, to embrace?


Lord God, open my eyes, soften my heart. Help me see, help me love. Purify my heart and refine my attitude so that I may never disdain or reject any that you love and have called me to show your love to.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Jeremiah 1:4-10 (NIV)

4. The word of the Lord came to me, saying,

5.  "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
          before you were born I set you apart;
          I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."

6.  "Alas, Sovereign Lord," I said, "I do not know how to speak; I am too young."

7.  But the Lord said to me, "Do not say, 'I am too young.' You must go to everyone I send you              to and say whatever I command you. 8.  Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and              will rescue you," declares the Lord.

9.  Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me," I have put my               words in your mouth. 10.  See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to                         uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant."



          I love Jeremiah. He and his book resonate with me. I feel that his words, his warnings, his doomsday messages are as pertinent to today and God’s people as they were in his time.

          Israel was the chosen people of God. Sometimes they may have felt that they were privileged, above others, special; maybe that they should be exempt from trouble, able to do what they wanted.

Now, Christ followers are the chosen people of God. Sometimes we may feel that we are privileged, above others, special; maybe that we should be exempt from trouble, able to do what we want.

Jeremiah warned the people of upcoming trouble. When they wanted to know why God was doing this to them, God’s word came reminding them of their rejection of him, their pursuit of other things before him.

I believe that there is trouble coming, more than we already feel that we have. And when we want to know why it is happening to us, God’s word will come, reminding us of our rejection of him by our pursuit of other things before him: like comfort, downtime, safety, and any other thing that we give priority over God’s will for us, because his will might take us out of our comfort zones or might even put us and our families in danger.

You see, I relate to Jeremiah, especially when he’s called the “weeping prophet”, as I can’t seem to say most messages that come from God without crying. J

          I believe that we, God’s people, need to be, as it says in vs 10, “uprooted  and torn down”, our will and desires need to be “destroyed and overthrown”, so that God can “build” us back up and “plant” us where  he needs   us   to   be. And then we are able, with God's help,"to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow" the kingdoms of darkness and evil and "to build and to plant" God's kingdom here on earth.

          Because, as it says in vs 8, “we must go to everyone he sends us to and say whatever he commands” and he also promises in vs 8 that we should “not be afraid of them”, whatever “them” is to you: loss of control, lack of comfort, looking like a fool, risk of hurt or pain, the people that you are sent to, etc. You are “not to be afraid of them, for God is with you and will rescue you!” 


          How is all of this possible? 

          Because in vs 5, “Before God formed you in the womb, he  knew        you, before you were born,  he  set  you   apart.”     

        And, in vs 9, “He has put his words in your mouth.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

love

I love this man, this man that God has gifted me.

I love him...

     through better and worse, through sickness and health, through richer and poorer.

     through laughing together, through yelling at each other.

     through watching a movie together with our family, through sitting in separate chairs reading                        books.

     through wanting to be as close together as possible, through wanting to just be away from each                      other.

     through cherishing each other, through disliking how we are mistreating each other.

     through being together with arms and legs entwined, through being at separate edges of the bed                   wondering why relationship has to be so hard.


I love this man.

Thank you, God, for being so wise, for knowing me and what I need.

I choose to love because you, oh God, are love and you love me.



Thursday, June 30, 2016

when?

When are we going to stop looking to our leaders, government, and nation for help and salvation?

When are we going to stop placing our hope and trust in them?

When are we going to stop using our leaders, government, and nation to take the place of God in our lives?

The United States of America is not the chosen people of God. Those who have chosen to put God first in their lives, those who display his sacrificial love for the widows, the orphan, the foreigner, the poor, the downtrodden; those are the chosen people of God. (Read Zechariah 7:9-10)

Our future president will not, cannot, save us anymore than the ones before. Only God can be our strength, hope, and salvation.

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus. 
Look full in his wonderful face, 
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, 
In the light of his glory and grace."      Helen Howarth Lemmel

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

maturity

Galatians 3:23-25 (The Message):

"Until the time when we were mature enough to respond freely in faith to the living God, we were carefully surrounded and protected by the Mosaic law. The law was like those Greek tutors, with which you are familiar; who escort children to school and protect them from danger or distraction, making sure the children will really get to the place they set out for.

But now you have arrived at your destination: By faith in Christ you are in direct relationship with God."



Vs 23: We had the law until we were mature enough to respond freely in faith to the living God, the Holy Spirit

We have long been surrounded and protected by the law, the rules and traditions of our churches. It is time to walk in  the maturity given to us by God to respond freely in faith to the living Spirit of
God residing in us. It is time to stop doing things JUST because that is how we have always done them. It is time to stop relying on tradition and rote for our salvation. It is time to look to the living God who is leaning towards us, yearning for relationship with us, wanting us to hear and understand the love, the joy, the forgiveness, the redemption, the salvation, the life that he is speaking to us every minute of every day.

Vs 25: We have arrived at our destination, a direct relationship with God, through faith in Christ.



Rejoice! devotional (June 25, 2016) by Tyler Hartford:

"When our lives are reoriented toward Christ, outward appearances might not change, but our personality is transformed and renewed. Only when we clothe ourselves in Christ and allow him to change our behavior does harmonious unity become possible."



Unity with God and those around us becomes possible when we choose to look beyond our own wisdom, our own preferences, our own wants, and allow the living Spirit of God to transform us into the likeness of Christ.




Rejoice! devotional prayer from the same article as above:

"Holy Spirit, there is so much about me that cannot be changed, but help me clothe myself with you."




Amen.

Friday, October 9, 2015

true freedom

When someone treats me badly or rudely or just not the way that I think they should, I need to acknowledge the pain that I feel, give it to God, and then choose not to walk around with "hurt feelings".

I have treated God callously, ignored him, disregarded his wisdom and direction, sinned against him and in return God has loved me, shown me mercy, forgiven me, and always stayed turned towards me with open arms.



Oh God, help me choose to love, show mercy, forgive and remain turned towards others with open arms.

Christ, you are my example. You reached for the outcasts, the sick, the sexually immoral, all those regarded as sinners of the worst kind. You, also, reacted with strong words and actions against the Pharisees; the religious leaders, those who had grown up in the "church", those who had judged others, those who should have known the Father's heart; me. You called them white-washed tombs, perfect by all appearance on the outside but full or disease, decay, jealousy, anger, judgement, unforgiveness, greed, self-righteousness, death.

Oh God, forgive me for being a Pharisee, sure of my salvation because of my religious upbringing and knowledge, because of my rejection of the "obvious" sins, because of my own self-righteousness.

God, help me be like Jesus, who knew who he was because he was in you, Father, and you were in him. Help me accept your salvation, based not on what I do but on what you did, and share THAT salvation with all others. You yearn for all of your children, sinners and Pharisees, to live in freedom in you. Help me feel the same yearning and choose to love and reach out to all the other Pharisees and sinners around me according to your wisdom.

I praise you, my God, my Saviour, my Guide. You are the Three-in-one and my All-in-all. It is only in you that I live and move and am who you created me to be.

Oh, God, help me to walk in freedom; freedom from sin, pride, condemnation, self-righteousness and "hurt feelings". Freedom to run and dance in love, mercy, grace, joy, humility, with arms open wide to those around me so that they can know your love, forgiveness and salvation.

In you alone. Amen.


Friday, February 20, 2015

the PLAN

If a merciful, loving God put into action a PLAN to have his Son harmed and killed by evil men for my redemption, how can I not be willing to be hurt and mistreated by others, according to God's PLAN, in order to show redemption to others?