Noticing the Change {{POTF}}

I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me, because he considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry— even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man. But I received mercy because I acted out of ignorance in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 1:12-14, CSB).

I needed this truth: our Lord Jesus is the One strengthening us!

While I am a person who struggles with sin, I am absolutely saved by His grace alone. God has shown me His mercy. He has purposely loved me, despite the person I used to be. When my sin nature is in charge, I have the ability to crave being unkind. Yet, the Lord, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, is showing me how I can live a brand new way of life! He continues to deliver me from my old self on a daily, even hourly, basis.

My sin shows me my desperate need for our Lord Jesus who rose from the grave! In Scripture we are given the opportunity to see the difference between drawing nearer to Christ and living for ourselves. Galatians 5 is the number one Scripture that comes to mind on this subject. It shows us the absolute different in our lives when we focus on this relationship with God through our Savior.

For myself, I know our Lord Jesus is the One making the difference! He is doing the work that only He can. Routines, diets, and other things cannot ever change the “inside me.” This is something only our Lord Jesus can do.

The grace of our Lord has been abundantly poured out on me, along with faith and love found in Jesus Christ. The change I need in my personal life is something only Jesus can do. I need the Lord to take my life fully. I need to keep my words and attitude in check, because honestly it is easy to slip up. When life happens, it is easy to fall into the hard place of old ways. Take a look at this encouragement.

take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth (Eph. 4:22-24).”

Friends, let us keep daily putting on Christ.
Let us choose the things of God over this world.
We are given the Holy Spirit to help us in our journey.

How are you making sure you don’t “sober up” from the Holy Spirit? (Just that statement alone, takes a bit to digest – Reading our Bible’s, prayer, and Christian fellowship are all ways to get “drunk on the Spirit”.) Friend, keep drinking in the Lord through coming nearer. We need our Living Water, and drawing nearer is the best way to govern our lives. The Holy Spirit is our tool for every day living, so let us allow Him to strengthen our lives!

Seeking Him,

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Custom Designed Armor {{Week 6}}

Hi friends!

Welcome to week 6 of our study. Hard to believe – we only have a few days left of our Ephesians study. For those who have joined me on this journey, congratulations on this amazing accomplishment of studying through the book of Ephesians this Summer. For those who have popped in, to glean from the blog posts, you are reaping good things in your spirit – as you turn your eyes to Jesus and the bounty He offers to us – as His followers!

I invite you all to join me, as we peek at Ephesians 6:10-13 – which is today’s passage. As you prepare for what I have to share, please get out your Bibles and journals and spend time soaking up His Word (the secondary Scripture, is 1 Cor. 9:24-25). After you spend some time meditating on these treasures, meet me back here.

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The full armor of God is such a gift!

Our reality is this truth – While we face a heavy battle, God is standing by our side equipping us for all we need. He is equipping us to: 1) Fight the battle 2) Victoriously win.

I can stand firm in today’s adversity, because of the gift of God, His love and hope, and the armor He alone provides. The only way to defeat the enemy is, by keeping the armor of God on. Yes, it can get a bit hard – remembering to keep it on. But, this is where the battle is won.

Jesus wants us to win. He wants to help us achieve this victory. But, it only comes – as we stay close and listen to His instructions given to us through the Bible!

He wants to give us strength.

He wants us to win, but this can only happen – as we draw near to our beloved Savior! And, allow Him to help us to put on the armor.

Now, there is something we need to understand: The armor of God is custom designed for our individual fights. His armor is custom designed, so we need not worry that it won’t fit with our lives or struggles.

I know, for my own life, I need to run the winning way – this means putting on God’s armor. This is the living, where it desperately counts.

God is why we can stand firm and overcome.

Lord God, we are tired and our sinful self is raging. We need You to give us, Your followers, clarity on how to put on Your precious armor pieces and to know how they work. Thank You for Your trusted Word and for supplying all we need. Be our strength, today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Dressing Modestly on Halloween

modesty-halloween
Image retrieved from http://www.4freephotos.com.

How do you dress modestly for Halloween? This is a question I am posing at this moment. I don’t want to illicit a response where we post our passionate “yes” and “no” responses when it comes to what we (or you) do on the 31st of October. Nearly every Christian is either passionately “for” or “against” things like holding a Harvest Festival or showing generosity by handing out candy to the children within your God-given community. Halloween is an opportunity to be considerate of one another (see Eph. 4:32), even as we hold different views.

“Those of us who belong to the Anointed One have crucified our old lives and put to death the flesh and all the lusts and desires that plague us. Now since we have chosen to walk with the Spirit, let’s keep each step in perfect sync with God’s Spirit.  This will happen when we set aside our self-interests and work together to create true community instead of a culture consumed by provocation, pride, and envy (Gal. 5:24-26, VOICE).”

Modesty

… is something to consider. If you serve at your home church on the 31st of October (or do something else), you might dress differently than you would otherwise. It might even add to our Christian witness as we serve during a harvest festival.

While we might opt to dress up, how do we do it?

One important factor is remembering the need for modesty.

You are still you, and a child of God – if you have placed your trust and hope in His beloved Son Jesus Christ (see Galatians 3:26).

If you are one who is considering “dressing up” for Halloween, what are you planning to wear? We need to contemplate our motives in how we choose to honor God through what we wear. There is no question, we will stand out. But, what can we do to maximize the opportunities we are given, on Halloween?

The question is not “if” we will stand out, but how we can shine for Jesus Christ and share His joy in these moments? (see Psalm 100:2; Matthew 5:16)

I am one who doesn’t like to stand out (in terms of attention). But, I do want to maximize my time of serving to impact the Kingdom of God. For a lot of folks, this is why we do what we do on Halloween. A costume might, even become an opportunity to shine brighter – as I interact with those who come to the booth where I am serving.

Halloween, for some, is an opportunity to dress more provocatively than they generally do. If you go to a costume shop, for an overpriced costume, you will likely meet things that might not be considered modest.

A Few Questions…

Before we reach the questions, let’s think about the importance of modesty. What is our goal? Refer back to our opening Scripture – to keep in step with God and focus on our community of believers. We want to honor God, and utilize the opportunities He gives us.

For both sexes, we can relate to the struggle in keeping pure thoughts (see Philippians 4:8). We don’t need anyone’s help in this area. So this Halloween, let’s make wise choices to help each other in our struggles against the flesh. My suggestion questions applies to both sexes – you will find them listed below.

  1. Is it God honoring?
  2. Are the important areas of my body covered up?
  3. Are my clothes tight?
  4. How revealing would my shirt be, if I raised my arms?

When in doubt, ask a Christian brother or sister who can help you stand for modesty – in what you choose to wear.

Galatians Challenge: Week 4

The What If Scripture Challenge Gal 5Recap: A couple weeks ago, I felt led to begin looking intently at Galatians 5:16-26 (see original post). The past week, has just been exhausting. So, I didn’t spend nearly as much time on the Scripture as I should have. When I say that, I mean I would have liked to spend much more time on it. I didn’t get to study it like I have the others.

Each week, I write it out as I remember it. Here is the verse: “If you are led by the Spirit, you are no longer under the law.” – Galatians 5:18

Word for word, there it is. The question is; Will it stay?”


Since today’s post on Galatians 5:19 is a bit longer than my usual blog posts, click the link below for this week’s Scripture, its commentary, and my thoughts on it. This is one Scripture that I am sure I will end up writing on – at least once this week. Sex is a big topic in culture. However, for us as believers in Christ, it’s important to note God’s standard. Sex is for marriage. Sex isn’t all bad. It is how we use it. I love this quote by John Piper that I found about a week ago.

“Not all sexual desire is lust. God made sexual desire.
It has its good place and it can, in fact, become an act of worship
in the temple of marriage. But lust is sexual desire gone wrong.”

God has a lot He wants to teach us. Time to begin listening…

Week 4 of Galatians Challenge

Galatians Challenge: Week 3

The What If Scripture Challenge Gal 5Recap: A couple weeks ago, I felt led to begin looking intently at Galatians 5:16-26 (see original post).  This week, was on Galatians 5:17. I didn’t look as intently at it, as I could have this week. However, God used this Scripture to continue and speak regarding different things in my life. He spoke big time this week, as I begin to unveiled my heart and let Him in on some of my struggles and tried to walk more toward obedience in other things He was leading me to do. That is what it is about: learning to walk by His Spirit… I am thankful for all that He is showing me.

“The sinful nature does what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so you cannot do what you want.” – Galatians 5:17

How often do we see this play out in our lives? Daily… Often times, we aren’t opening our spiritual eyes to take notice.


Week 3:
“But if you are led by the Spirit,
you are not under the Law.” – Galatians 5:18

Clarke’s commentary adds:

“But, if [you] be led of the Spirit – If [you] receive again the Gospel and the grace of Christ, and permit yourselves to be influenced by the Holy Spirit whom you are now grieving, [you] are not under the law – [you] will not feel those evil propensities which now disgrace and torment you; but they must prevail while you are not under the influence of the grace and Spirit of Christ.”

When we come to Christ and allow His Spirit to have control, those fleshly desires begin to fade away. It is by no means an instantaneous transformation, but daily we become more like the character of Christ. Things that used to be a tool of slavery, will become less of a desire and struggle for us, for God will cultivate in us His desires. It all comes by choosing to follow Christ, spend more time in the Word and with the Lord in prayer, and being willing to go where He calls us to go. It is not by our power, but His Spirit, that we can overcome our sinful desires. It is by God alone that we can learn to walk by His Holy Spirit.