Sunday, July 13, 2014

This is hard!

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:4 NIV)

I'm on my journey to memorize the book of Romans. I am only on verse 3. I have "memorized" the first three verses. It's a shaky start. If I'm put under pressure, I'm not sure I could do it. This is hard! It just proves how terrible my memory is. But here it is, by memory, 

          Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of   
     God, the gospel promised beforehand by his prophets through the holy scriptures regarding 
     his son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, (Romans 1:1-3)

I'm still doing my normal daily bible study, but my focus is on the book of Romans. SA James 1:4 says, I need to persevere. I believe God wants me to take on this task to write his great words on my heart and in my mind. I am determined. 

Listening to the voice of God through the scriptures does not make me a great person. It doesn't set me apart. It's taking those words and using them to change the lives of others, that's the goal. I have just come to realize, I can not change the lives of others through the scriptures if I don't KNOW THE SCRIPTURES! Knowing the scriptures beyond just studying them is a worthy goal. But using that knowledge to change lives, that is the ultimate goal! I must persevere in this challenge.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I need to change that!

Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. (1 Corinthians 14:1 NIV)

To my embarrassment I did not know what each if the gifts of the spirit were. So here is a list I got from Bible . How many of us "eagerly desire" these gifts? I think many would pursue wisdom and knowledge. Very few would pursue gifts of prophecy, faith healings, working miracles, or any of the others.

1. The Word of Knowledge
2. The Word of Wisdom
3. The Gift of Prophecy
4. The Gift of Faith
5. The Gifts of Healings
6. The Working of Miracles
7. The Discerning of Spirits
8. Different Kinds of Tongues
9. The Interpretation of Tongues

I have been a Christian since my early teens. I have attended church, read the Bible, and attended countless Bible Studies or Church education opportunities. I have taught youth, adults, and led studies myself. Yet, I still know very little of God's word. I need to change that. In my study, I found that EVEN pastors do very little bible study outside sermon preparation. It's sad that we don't spend more time in his word. We don't make it a part of us. We aren't prepared to share God's word with the lost. I am included. I need to change that. I'm going to change that. 

I have committed to memorizing the book of Romans. I got the idea from a bible study I'm doing. I feel I need to do this to take my bible study to the next level. I feel led to make scripture more of my thought process and prepare myself to share at any moment, at any place, under any circumstances. Wish me luck!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Real stories of the power of God!

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (John 11:40 NIV)

I have seen the glory of God! Ok, I haven't seen a "Lazarus" brought back to life after four days of death. I have HEARD stories of people coming back to life, but never witnessed it. God's glory can be seen in many other situations. 

I have seen the glory of God through my marriage. He led me to a wonderful wife as a high school student and when no one thought it could work, he gave his blessing. The Lord brought us together and helped us stand up against those that said it could not endure. It is his glory that has forged a wonderful loving family and brought us through life's many struggles.

It's not through my power, but through the glory of God. I have a daughter that wasn't supposed to be able to walk. We were told it would be best to abort her.  Through the Glory of God, she is a beautiful woman, living on her own,( too far for her dad in my opinion), and a miracle as powerful as the resurrection of Lazarus. 

have seen the glory of God through my three daughters and the growth of their families and the trials they have faced.

I have seen the glory of God through a significant career change with months of no real salary, supporting a family, to survive and thrive in the field of education working with young people.

I have been rescued from financial ruin, of my own doing, to live a truly blessed life with no scars of the trauma and truly grew spiritually through the entire experience. That's the glory of God.

I have blown a tire on a motorcycle traveling 75 mph, been able to slow the motorcycle to a safe stop on the side of the road, by no power of my own. That's the glory of a God.

I have been blessed to be a part of ministry throughout my life and see people come to The Lord, first in Youth ministry, then in teaching adult Sunday school, and now being a member of the Christian Motorcyclist Association. All of this through the power of the glory of The Lord. 

I have countless experiences I can point directly to the glory of The Lord. I know similar stories of lives changed through the glory of God. My friends, my family, and my coworkers all have powerful stories of God's glory. I have heard stories from strangers that move me to my knees through the glory of a God. God is alive and active here and now. He has transformed me and continues to do so. I am not finished witnessing his power. I am more aware of his power now than ever before in my life. His glory, his power, his love,is real, it's active, and it's powerful! I love you Lord! Thank you for revealing your glory to me every day of my life.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

My enemy will suffer!

Let death take my enemies by surprise; let them go down alive to the realm of the dead, for evil finds lodging among them. As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. (Psalm 55:15-16 NIV)

Does this verse shock you? It seems pretty harsh. I had to do some work investigating, studying its meaning because it bothered me so much. Really this is not a very good translation of the tone of this verse. It seems harsh but it's not. The wording makes it appear to be a wish by King David. It's meant to be a prediction, not a desire. 

The enemies of God are going to perish and it's not going to be pretty. Death will be sudden. There will be no turning back. It will be forever. It's a fact. You can try to sugar coat it. It's easy to feel sadness and pity for the lost. But the final choice is theirs, not ours. I serve a loving God that does not wish anyone perish, but he will not yield. The choice has been granted to each of us. That choice has dire consequences. 

The harsh feelings we have toward our enemies are normal. But, we can not forget the directions Jesus gives us. We are to love our enemy. Justice will be served. The end will be harsh. God will deal with their sins just like he will deal with ours. Until that time, we are to love them as much as we can, protect ourselves, and protect the message of Christ. Judgment will come!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Serve - Endure - Sacrifice

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, (Philippians 3:10 NIV)

Being an educator, my first thoughts of this verse is ACADEMIC. To know Christ I need to study him, his life, and his messages through the a Bible. Obviously, I need to do that. KNOWING Christ is so much more than studying him. We need to take that knowledge and live it. That really is the struggle. How can I become like Jesus, participate in his sufferings, even unto death. When I think of the suffering of Christ I go right to the Cross. The Cross is the ultimate sacrifice. Not many of us will be in a position to die for someone else. So what does Jesus life mean for us? What are we to do to become like him in his death.

Sacrificial living is the best way to become like Christ in death. Knowing the power of the resurrection should give us strength to overcome the persecution of living a life sharing the gospel message. Participating in his sufferings means serving others when it is not best for us. We can live a daily life that reflects the knowledge of Christ. We need to sacrifice our comfortable lives and share the message openly, we need to prepare ourselves to battle against the powerful opponents of our message and never give in, never surrender.

Being like Christ is an ultimate goal that, frankly, I'm a long way from achieving. I need to continually remind myself how I can live like Christ in THIS particular moment, in THIS particular place. If I'm ever asked  to sacrifice my life, I will. Until then, I will pursue a daily life that serves, endures, and sacrifices for the message of Christ.