Thursday, March 21, 2019

Ephesians 4-6~ Day 80~ You will be able to stand!!

The reading plan left out chapter 4!  Sorry about that ! Let's stick that chapter in our reading today.

I just can't help commenting on Eph. 6:10-18.  I love hearing about the armor God has given us to use in our struggle against the devils schemes!  These verse are worthy of memorizing!
One commentary I read said something profound, "All human life is a warfare; the Christian life is the most so; but the struggle will not last always."
Whew,  for that!😳

The verse that always strikes me anew is, "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand."  (Eph. 6:13)

I love that!!  It does not say that "after you have done everything, you can count the dead demons strewn around your feet', or "count the converts standing with you because of your victory."  NOPE, it just says, "after you have done everything, to stand."

We will be left standing!  That is what the armor is for.  Ultimately, we will be left standing in front of the judge on the final day.  Because of the armor we have, we will be able to stand in front of our righteous king! All others will drop to the ground, shaking in fear, regret, shame, despair......but those who have the armor will be able to stand.  Stand with truth, righteousness, peace and faith, all because of the salvation that was freely given by Christ.
Judgement Day will be a glorious day for us!!! ðŸ™ŒðŸ»

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Ephesians 1-3, Day 79~ Brought near to God.

My husband and I had the opportunity to go to Ephesus on a trip titled, "Footsteps of Paul".  When we arrived in Ephesus, our tour bus took us to the entrance of the gates that guarded ancient streets   uncovered by archeologists.  After paying admission, we made our way down the main street to the stadium, relatively still in tact, that had been built into a hillside.

As a group, we thought it would be cool to have a little worship service.  However,  as we sat, our tour guide said, out of respect to others tourists who may not hold the same beliefs as us, we should be as quite as possible.  We settled into the ancient stone seats, gazed off into the distance at the Aegean Sea and listened to our pastor's devotion. While doing so, we started to hear singing from across the stadium.  We looked over to the group that was a little larger than ours.  They appeared to be Asian (come to find out they were Korean) and were singing in a foreign language.  As we listened closely, we could hear the tune of "Amazing Grace".  We couldn't help ourselves! Spontaneously we all joined in! They heard us signing the same song, but in our language.  They sang louder!   Recognizing fellow brothers and sisters in Christ brought so much joy!   Both groups knew the reality of the words being sung!  The joy brought by the reality of the song and the fact that both groups knew it....well...the singing couldn't be squelched!

It moved me to tears thinking how the Holy Spirit had moved over the years.  First working through Paul to the Gentiles in Ephesus and then spreading out form there....across the globe!  The reality of the scene I was witnessing brought this verse to life for me,

"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ." (Eph. 2:10)

Obviously, we were far from God, spiritually, before accepting Christ.  We are brought close to God spiritually, through Christ, no matter where we live on the planet. But, together, we are all the church, the body of Christ!  My little experience gave me a glimpse of what it will be like when we all come together on judgment day and praise God for what Jesus has done for us.

The Koreans, the Americans, the people form Turkey, were all brought near to God through Christ Jesus!  What a fun way to celebrate-signing together- to the praise and glory of God!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Galatians 5-6~ Day 78~ Carry each others burdens.

I'm getting ready to talk with a group of moms Friday, so my mind is focused on what I am going to say.  (I don't have it completely planned yet.😬)  But, God's word always seems to speak to me at the right time and a new way!

This stood out to me, "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." (6:2)

Since I am focused on moms these days, this verse made me think back to my MOPS days.  MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) was all about this verse!  The leaders encouraged young, new moms to reach out and help fellow, new moms.

  • If a mom had a baby-"What day would you like to bring her a meal?'
  • If a husband was hurt or illness struck- "What day would you like to bring a meal?" 
  • If a mom is newly pregnant, sick as a dog, and needs to deal with the other sibling-"Stay in bed and tell me what time you want me to come get little Johnny to get him to his basketball practice...and what time do you want me to deliver the meal?
  • "Your husband and you need some bonding time?  I do too!  How about you watch my kids one night this week and I'll watch yours next week so we can both get that alone time with our husbands?"
  • "Your birthday cake didn't turn out the way you wanted it for Johnny's party? Well, take a look at my Pinterest fail, you'll feel better!"
  • "You were up all night with a teething baby and now feel worn out?  Come have breakfast with us and let your baby be in the care of our wonderful workers.  Enjoy some "me" time at MOPS!
MOPS was all about carrying each others burdens!  And in this way the law of Christ was fulfilled!  The moms felt loved and wanted more.  Then they encountered Christ!  It was and is a beautiful model of how to be Christ to others.  Needless to say, the new found friends back then became life long, life supporters to me.  We still carry each others burdens.  The model isn't to be used only in those baby years!  Paul is telling all Christians- this is how you do life!  Share your burdens, receive help, give help- this is how you fulfill the law of Christ!

Are you burdened?  Others can't read your mind.  They can't see behind closed doors.  You need to share your burden with others.  Allow them in!  Be vulnerable.  Likewise when one is vulnerable with you, do something!  "Carry " is an action word!  Praying for them is doing something! can never go wrong with a meal!!😋

Monday, March 18, 2019

Galatians 3-4 ~ Day 77~ The Nanny

Mary Poppins was a darn good nanny!  She guided those Bank's children into right living when they were young and later in their adult years!  (Mary Poppins Returns was a great sequel!  You should see it, if you haven't already!)

The lesson we can learn form Mary Poppins is that she was the nanny, not the parent and she knew her role.   Thinking of her helped me to understand Paul's analogy, "the law was our guardian until Christ came.." (3:24)
"Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God?  Absolutely not!" (3:21)
Was Mary Poppins opposed to the parents?  Absolutely not! She was put in place until Mr. Banks was able to be with his children.

Well, that's as far as the Mary Poppins analogy goes...unlike Mr. Banks who finally steps into his role as an active father, God had a perfect plan and knew exactly when Christ would step into the role of our redeemer (4:4).

The beauty of the Mary Poppins analogy (if you know the story), is that the kids were elated to go off with their parents at the end of the movie.  They didn't even look back at Mary Poppins.  Their parents were their first choice, their future and their hope!   with that in mind,  I understand Paul's question..."But now that you know God- or rather are known by God- how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces?  Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?" (4:9)  That would be like the Bank's kids turning back to Mary Poppins care rather than their beloved father and mother.  Mary Poppins care was always supposed to be temporary.

If I were to say a prayer regarding this reading it would be,
Lord, I want to be like the Bank's children!  I know who my Heaven Father is. I want to be with him and like him!  I would rather go with Him any day, then to stay with the nanny!!  So, thank you for sending Christ when you did!!!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Galatians 1-2~ Day 76~ Skip to my Lou!

Do you remember the movie Big from the 80's?  I love the character that Tom Hanks play!  A teenage boy, named Josh,  finds himself in an adult body after he makes a wish.  There is a scene where Josh is walking along in his new adult body with a strut in his step and a smile on his face, like he didn't have a care in the world.  It looked strange or comical for the viewer because....well....adults don't walk like that!  Adults are burdened with the worries of the world, so their gait is more sober and purposeful. (Don't think anymore of the movie, I'm just referring to the child like strut in the adult.)
Anyway, I was thinking about the freedom we have in Christ, the gospel that Paul was preaching, and thought, we Christians should be strutting around with that lighthearted skip!!  Life should be exhilarating and fun when we truly feel free from the burden of sin!!

Paul knew that!  He felt that freedom and wanted everyone else to experience it!  So, I understand why he said, "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel- which is really no gospel at all."(1:6)

The different teaching he was referring to taught that the people had to "do" something in order to get their salvation (2:16).  This 'works' thing became a tool of Satan's from the very beginning!! Adding to my opposite list from the other day, Satan was teaching, "Keep the circumcision thing.  Then you are true Jewish Christians.  Yes, Jesus did most of the work.  But you need to do one little thing as well!"  Paul was reminding these Christians of the true, great, good news,  message, "Only Jesus is required!"

What Christ did on the cross is our good news!  Period! Focus on anything else causes confusion and perverts the gospel. (1:7)  Once that fact is truly understood, I think we will be seeing more adults strutting around with a skip in their step!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

2 Corinthians 12-13~ Day 75~ Examine yourself!

I'm going to the dentist today. 😣Not my favorite thing! I go because I need a check up to see if I am taking care of my teeth.  I think I will pass the test!  I brush a couple times a day and I floss every night, so my teeth should be pretty good. There might be a few places that need scraping, but over all, I usually get a good report.
But, there are some who finally go to the dentist to be examined, and the hygienist finds the patient has not been flossing and gum disease abounds!!  Those people may think their teeth look good, but those teeth are actually getting ready to fall out!

OK, that was a long analogy, but it was what I thought about when I read, "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.   Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you -unless of course, you fail the test? (2 Cor. 13:5)

Just like a bright smile that can fool others, a person can fool others and themselves into thinking he/she is a Christian.  Yet, deep down, the person knows they haven't been flossing, right? Partial belief works right?  Well, to go with the teeth analogy, does flossing once a year work?

"Examine yourselves"! Do you bleed when you floss because you rarely, if ever, floss?  Do you stay stressed even though God says, "Give me your burden" (Psalm 55:22, Isaiah 41:13, Matt 6:25, 11:28-29, Phil 4:6-7, 1 Peter 5:7), because you don't truly believe in God or put your trust in Him?

The beauty with this dental analogy is that it works in the regard of testing of one's faith.  If you fail the test, just start flossing!! Your gums start getting stronger immediately!  It's the same with your faith!  God gives you more/or better quality, when you turn to Him! (Matt. 13:12, Luke 17:5-10, Rom. 10:17, James 1:2-3)

Before I finish up on this topic of faith, I thought I would clearly state what faith is.  I like what my Bible commentary said, "Faith is a total dependency on God and a willingness to do his will.  Faith is not something we use to put on a show for others.  It is complete and humble obedience to God's will, readiness to do whatever he calls us to do.  The amount of faith isn't as important as the right kind of faith-genuine."

Friday, March 15, 2019

2 Cor. 10-11~ Day 74~ Satan vs. God

You have heard me say this before, it's becoming my mantra, "Satan teaches the exact opposite to what God teaches on every point!"

Where do I get that?  Well, John 8:44 says that Satan is the father of lies.  And I know he goes around teaching those lies by what Paul says in Ephesians 6:12 and our reading today, "For though we live in the world we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (10:3-5)

Satan's lies are the strongholds Paul is referring to and the arguments and pretensions that "sets itself up against the knowledge of God" (that's were I get my word "opposite" from)  If God's word says one thing, the father of lies will set himself up against that.

I can list a thousand examples of what Satan teaches that is in direct contrast to what Gods' word says.   I'll just list a few that we deal with in our society today:
Satan:  Security is in money.                                          
God:   Give us this day our daily bread (Matt 6:11)

Satan: Security is in being liked by others.            
God: If the world hates you, they hated me first. (Jn.15:18) 

Satan: I can never change.                          
God: The old has passed away, the new has come. (2 Cor. 5:17)

Satan: I can never say I am becoming perfect.                                   
God: Let us purify ourselves...perfecting holiness. (2 Cor. 7:1)

Satan:I know I'm forgiven, but I can't forget my baggage.                            
God: Forgetting what is behind, and straining toward what is ahead (Phil. 13:13)                                                                              

Satan: It's my body, I can do what I want.                  
God: You are not your own, you have been bought at price. (1 Cor. 6:19)

Praise the Lord, we have divine power to demolish the strongholds!!!  We can take captive every thought that is opposite to Christ's teaching and make it obedient!! What we must do first, however, is to identify the strongholds, realize we have the weapons to combat Satan and learn how to use them!!  That is why I am doing my daily reading plan; I'm learning how to use one of my weapons!  I'm glad you are learning how to use your weapon as well!!