Saturday, July 20, 2019

Ephesians 3-4~ Day 81~ Jesus himself teaches us!

“But that is not how you came to know Christ, assuming you heard about him and were taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus, to 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.”  (4:20-24)

That is the longest sentence ever!! But it’s a good one!  I particularly liked, “you heard about him and were taught by him..” Some translations say “taught in him” instead of “ taught by him”.  I liked the version “taught by him”.  What better teacher is there than Jesus himself? We are being taught by Jesus as we take off our old selves and put on the new!  We aren’t just taught to live right by our pastors, youth workers, or other wiser,older Christians. And we aren’t taught he angels.  We have the best teacher of all~Jesus!!
I think that’s pretty cool!!!

Friday, July 19, 2019

Ephesians 1-2~ Day 80~Christians are the holy dwelling of Jesus!

I love Paul's figurative language as he describes Christians growing "into a holy temple in the Lord." (2:21)
He describes this building (Christians) as being "built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone." (2:20)

That language sounded so familiar to me! I remember reading something very similar in Revelation.  John, the author of that book saw "the bride, the wife of the Lamb" (Rev. 21:9), coming down from heaven like, "the holy city, Jerusalem" (vs 10).  The city had 12 gates that were named after the 12 tribes of Israel and the city wall had 12 foundations named after the 12 apostles (21:14).

The word pictures are extremely similar, don't you think?  To me, that is proof that Paul's writing and John's writings are inspired, holy writings!  God gave them the words to describe his bride!

The church, being all Christians, is now the Holy Temple, the bride, the New Jerusalem.  The building of this Holy Bride first began with Abraham's "faith".  That faith was passed on to some of his children, down to the one's who became prophets (who came from the 12 tribes of Israel).  In addition, faith in Jesus grew as a result of the 12 apostles doing as Jesus directed them, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all the I have commanded you." (Matt. 28:19)

Paul was exactly right, we Christians can thank the people of faith who have gone before us, for the foundation they laid to our understanding of the gospel.  Because of the work they did in obedience to God's calling, we today, have the Bible at our finger tips to use in our understanding of God.

"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ." (Romans 10:17)

And a result of our faith, is that we make up the holy temple, the holy city, the bride, the wife of the Lamb!  Woo woo!πŸ™ŒπŸ»  πŸ™ŒπŸ» πŸ™ŒπŸ»

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Galatians 5-6 ~ Day 79~ Only Jesus!

"But as for me, I will never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." (6:14)

This verse reminds me of a great Christian song that is popular right now, by Casting Crowns. Maybe the music group was inspired by this verse!

 If you have 4 minutes, here's the link if you want to hear it!  It's a great reminder of what's important in life!!

Also, they will be playing in concert September 21st in Irvine.  That sounds like a fun night out!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Galatians 3-4~ Day 78~ What work do we need to do?

"You know, then, that those who have faith, these are Abraham's sons." (3:7). There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; since you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, heirs according to the promise." (3:27-29)

This sounds very familiar, doesn't it?  I had to go back in our reading, but I found it!  Paul wrote about the very same idea to the Romans.  "The righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe, since there is no distinction." (Rom 3:21).

There is no distinction in regards to who can have salvation through faith in Jesus.  It's faith that makes us believers, "Abraham's sons".
No wonder Paul had to repeat himself.  His letters were going out to all believers, in particular the Jewish believers who were very comfortable being part of the elite group known as the "Choosen Ones".  They were indeed chosen for one particular reason, to be the people group to usher into the world, the planned Messiah, who was coming for all people.  They were no longer to be a special race unto themselves.

Paul is very clear in this teaching, but the teaching didn't start with him.  Jesus began the clarification process back when he was on the earth.  Paul writings only piggy-back off of what Jesus started.  Remember what Jesus said in John 8:39, when he was speaking to the Jewish leaders?  The people said, "Abraham is our father', Jesus replied, "If you were children of Abraham, you would do the work of Abraham."

What is the "work" of Abraham, you may ask?  Jesus answered that question too!!  "Then they asked him, 'What must we do to do the works God requires?  Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." (John 6:29)

So, Jesus himself, taught that the true seed of Abraham is the one who has faith in Him, not the one's who are merely physical dependents of Abraham.

All I ca say to that is, I am so thankful I have been added to the family!!  Thank you Jesus, for including me!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Galatians 1-2~ Day 77~Remember your freedom!

If you ever feel "enslaved to rules, regulations, people's opinions of you, or your own guilt- remember this verse!!

"This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus in order to enslave us." (2:4)

We have freedom in Christ!!  Remember that when you feel others are putting undue pressure on you!!

I like this cartoon. It's deeper than first glance:

We are not meant to be trying to please others and what they think is right.  The things we do for Christ is out of our love & devotion to him and nothing else!

Remember yesterday's verse? "Examine yourself"  Use that verse as a reminder to examine why you do what you do.  What you do should not be for the accolades of others, but rather, to glorify Christ.  And if you are ever feeling guilty for not "doing" enough, remember, "There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ." (Romans 8:1)

Monday, July 15, 2019

2 Corinthians 12-13~ Day 76~ A changed life for sure!

A few days ago we read "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!" (5:17)

Today, Paul circles back the that idea when he says, "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith.  Examine yourselves. Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you?- unless you fail the test." (13:5) Paul knows his audience.  He is addressing both true believers and some who are frauds.

The bottom line is that a Christian will demonstrate "a new creation" character, a changed life, when Christ "moves in".  It's impossible for a believer to stay as they were before Christ.  I love how Paul says, "examine yourself".  Be honest with yourself.  Only you truly know what you were like before, and what you are like now.
I like the famous quote by Abraham Lincoln.  "You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time."
to add to that, you will never fool God!  So, be honest with yourself!
A new believer won't be perfect, but there will definitely be a change!  Then, fortunately, Jesus keeps working on us so that we can become "fully mature" (13:9).  Yet, none of that can happen if one is not first honest with themselves as to being a "new creation".

Sunday, July 14, 2019

2 Corinthians 10-11~ Day 75~"Nothing improves your aim like having a target."

I have taught sex ed. to kids between 5th and 8th grade over the past 12 years.  In my quest for finding current data, I have come across a variety of curriculum both in the secular and Christian arena.
One common tread that is found in all secular teaching on the subject, is the belief that young people will have sex. Therefore, there is no way to expect abstinence, hence, teach "safe sex".  This counter way of teaching from a Biblical perspective goes so far as to demoralize the idea of abstinence until marriage.

All that being said, I get so inspired when I read Paul's words, "For although we live in the flesh we do not wage war according to the flesh, since the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ." (10:3-5)

Isn't that encouraging to read that is is possible to "take every thought captive to obey Christ?"   We are not at the mercy of doing whatever our flesh wants to do.  We can make a decision that will benefit in the long run!

I get sad for kids today who are not given a standard to reach for. They are told they have no more control over their desires than an animal, and they don't have a brain to weigh the consequences.  The bar is set so low for their moral standard, they reach it every time.

That secular teaching isn't just aimed at young people.  It's an attitude that is prevalent at every stage of life. So, like I said, this section of scripture is inspiring and raises the bar to where it should be, for all believers.  Fortunately, Paul also makes sure to explain how we are able to accomplish this goal when he writes to the Philippians, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (4:13)