Saturday, October 07, 2006

Colossians 3:1 - 2 (TMSG)

1. So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. 2. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.

Isn't that what life in Christ is supposed to be about; seeing things from Jesus’ perspective? We come to Him admitting that we can’t do it on our own; that we need Him. We ask Him to come into our lives, help us and take over even our thinking!

Once we have admitted that and yielded ourselves to His leading in our daily lives, we’re part way there. We’re still going to make mistakes but we simply confess our sin to Him and accept His forgiveness and cleansing.

To restate the opening sentence:

If you’re going to call yourself a Christian…


Help each other act like a Christian. Love each other.
Let others help you to act like a Christian. Love each other.
Seek First the Kingdom...

Friday, October 06, 2006

We have been blessed to live near beautiful mountains for the past 20 years. I can sit on the porch (front or back) of my house and look at the incredible grandeur and majesty of them as they reach toward the sky. Indeed, much of God’s creation is beautiful, but we must keep in mind that He is the One who created all of the mountains…and more.

How many times have we gone camping, fishing or just sight seeing and become enamored with our incredible surroundings without giving a single thought to the Almighty God that made them and allowed us to take pleasure in them? We become tempted to worship the created rather than the Creator.

Psalms 121:1 - 2 (NLT)
1. I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there?
2. My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth!

If it isn’t nature’s beauty that we get lost in, it might be the accolades of man. We invest much of our lives trying to get others to like us or be proud of us or pay us more attention.


God LOVES you. God MADE you and God will pay as much attention to you and your needs as you will let Him.

Psalms 118:8 - 9 (NLT)
8. It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in people.
9. It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes.

Stop looking to nature and to man for your fulfillment. Look to God that One that created it ALL.

Colossians 1:15 - 17 (NLT)

15. Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, 16. for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. 17. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Here in southeast Arizona there are Mesquite trees everywhere. The larger ones can provide shade to escape from the blistering sun. But they don’t seem to need water. Actually they do, it’s just that the Mesquite tree is vigorous in sending its roots down into the soil to find it.

I was clearing Mesquite from a section of fence one day with my tractor. I came to one that was only about 4-5 feet tall and begin to lift it out with the bucket of my tractor. The bucket went up and up and up until it reached its limit of about 14 feet. The tap root from the Mesquite was still in the ground!! Its main root was over 3 times longer than the tree was tall.

Paul talks about our “roots” in Colossians 2:6 - 7 (NLT),

6. And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. 7. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

The roots of a plant cannot be seen, but they provide the nourishment needed for growth and survival. Similarly, our nourishment comes from “unseen” things. Our nourishment comes from Christ Jesus, but as Paul says we must let our roots grow down into him.

How do we do that? By things which are unseen as roots:

Prayer: simply talking to God!
Reading the Bible: God’s Holy Word.
Faith: the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1 (KJV)

It really starts with faith as we trust that God is Who He says He is.
If you don’t know Him as your God, your Lord, your Savior, won’t you trust Him today?

And those of us that do, let’s make sure our roots are wrapped around the anchor of our hope, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Read Jeremiah 3:11-4:1

God gives us through the prophet Jeremiah three calls in chapter 3 to “come home” to Him; to return to Him.

Come home.
Wherever you are in your life, if it is away from God, He is calling you home. He only asks that you:
Acknowledge your guilt
Admit that you rebelled against Him
Confess that you did not listen

Come home. He promises to give you a shepherd or special friend* who will guide you into knowledge and understanding of Him. That special friend for us that call Him Savior is the Holy Spirit!

Come Home.
He will heal your broken heart.

In chapter four God gives a universal benefit of His people returning home. He says that when we return to Him that we

will be a blessing to the nations of the world,
and all people will come and praise my name.

If you find yourself away from home, the Savior is waiting with open arms to receive you and welcome you home. It doesn’t matter where you are now or what you have done. He wants you to come home.

Father, for those that may feel hopeless and hurting; for those who feel they have hurt you and cannot be forgiven, I pray that you will shine your light into their lives through your Holy Word and give them comfort. Draw them to yourself, Father. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

12b. (NLT, second edition) “O Israel, my faithless people, come home to me again, for I am merciful. I will not be angry with you forever. 13. Only acknowledge your guilt. Admit that you rebelled against the LORD your God and committed adultery against him by worshiping idols under every green tree. Confess that you refused to listen to my voice. I, the LORD, have spoken! 14. “Return home, you wayward children,” says the LORD, “for I am your master. I will bring you back to the land of Israel— one from this town and two from that family—from wherever you are scattered. 15. And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will guide you with knowledge and understanding.

22. “My wayward children,” says the LORD, “come back to me, and I will heal your wayward hearts.”

4:1 “O Israel, come back to me,” says the LORD. “If you will throw away your detestable idols and go astray no more, 2. and if you will swear by my name alone, and begin to live good, honest lives and uphold justice, then you will be a blessing to the nations of the world, and all people will come and praise my name.
(NLT, first edition) (Emphases and italics are mine)

*Browns-Driver-Brigg’s Hebrew definitions

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Philippians 4:8 (NASB) Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Turn on the news, any channel, and see how much of it lines up with the above paragraph. Listen to the political posturing going on around us today and see if any of it fits into these categories.

I guess that's just not how the world thinks, is it? Human nature wants to hear the "dirt" and wants to read about the scandal. But we are not to operate in our "human nature, human though we are. We that claim Christ as Savior are to operate in the Spirit nature that He has given us.

Romans 8:13 - 14 (NASB) For if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

That's not to say that we run around "happy, happy" and ignore all the problems in our lives and the lives of others. But it means we try to see those problems through God's eyes and learn to deal with them in His power.

Colossians 3:2 (NASB) Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

Seek first the Kingdom!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Ecclesiastes 1:3 - 4 (NASB) 3. What advantage does man have in all his work which he does under the sun? 4. A generation goes and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.

I have been going through the process of closing out the estate of Stella and Lupe, a dear couple that lived down the street from me. They were in their mid to late seventies and had lived good lives when they went to be with the Lord. They were not wealthy by earthly standards. Going through all the possessions they had and selling them at a garage sale we may bring in as much as $750, counting the old van and small trailer that they owned. Not much to show for an entire lifetime of “work” is it? But they believed in God and His Holy Word.

Matthew 6:19 - 21 (NLT) 19. “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

Lupe was a very talented wood carver. Even His best carving, if the house were to burn down would be gone; just a memory.

1 Corinthians 3:11 - 13 (KJV) 11. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13. Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

Both of these dear souls were kind, loved God and loved to serve others for God. That’s the kind of thing that will last forever. They are the epitome of the poem by C. T. Studd which says,

"Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
only what's done for Christ will last.
And when I am dying, how happy I'll be,
if the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee."

Jesus was trying to get the young man to understand this same principal in Matthew 19:21 (NLT) when he said,

“If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

I don’t think that he was saying that everyone has to sell everything that they have to please God. But I do think that if we have even one possession that comes between us and God and the fulfillment of His task for us here on this earth, that we should get rid of it. He knows our heart.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Isaiah 62:6 - 7 (NLT) 6. O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray day and night, continually. Take no rest, all you who pray to the LORD. 7. Give the LORD no rest until he completes his work, until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth.

Can we apply this same principal to our lives today? I believe that we can. Verse 7 says, “until he (God) completes his work.” In Philippians 1:6 (NLT) it says,

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

God is at work in your life even today. He is trying to get your attention. He is trying to form you into that person that you were created to be; made in the image of God. Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) that God will keep working on you as he promised. Pray that he won’t give up on you despite your failure or even your refusal to follow his ways. With God all things are possible (Mark 9:23).

As today’s scripture says, “Give the Lord no rest until he completes His work,” in you and in the hearts and lives of the rest of His children. God loves you and wants to hear from you today and tomorrow and the next day and the next and...

Other reading: Luke 18:1-8