Monday, February 20, 2017

She wears feathers - but she can teach us!


Our "lady of the Bible" for this week is a little unusual . . . we've looked at animals before, in our series, but this week's lady is for the birds. (Grin)

Remember the story of Noah? (That's where we find our friend the dove.) Did you know that many, many of the cultures across our globe remember his story? Well, in slightly different form, perhaps, but there are some striking similarities . . .

In Aztec legend, a man named Tapi was very pious, and received a message from the creator to build a boat that he could live in. He was also told that he should take his wife with him, along with a pair of every animal that was alive. Of course, all of his neighbors thought he was nuts. But he obeyed, and then the rain started, and the flood came. Even though they climbed the mountains to escape the waters, men and animals perished because the mountains were flooded, too. When the rain finally ended, Tapi let a dove loose from the boat, and when she didn't return, Tapi decided it was safe to go out.
If you travel to China there is an ancient temple where you can see a painting on one wall, showing a man called Fuhi in his large boat on the raging floods. There are dolphins swimming around his boat, and a dove with an olive branch is flying toward Fuhi.
Online research will net you about thirty-five countries that have "flood stories." East Africa, Australia, Bolivia, Egypt, Iceland and India  . . . these are just some of them. Thirty-two of these include humans being saved by being on a boat, and twenty-four of them include animals being spared. Last but not least, six of those include references to a dove!

Something must have happened on a world-wide scale, don't you think? (Grin) Of course, we know what happened! It was a flood that destroyed almost all of mankind (just Noah and his family were spared) because of their wickedness.
Let's look at the verses that we will focus on, shall we?
After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. 10 He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. 11 When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. 12 He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him. (Genesis 8:6-12)
Scholars tell us that this was not the 40th day of the flood itself; the ark would have been afloat for months as the waters subsided and then began to recede.
Noah released the raven, and the Bible tells us that the bird never came back into the ark itself . . .it could have rested on the top of the ark, or perhaps it found a mountain top uncovered by the receding waters. But it never returned to the safety of the ark.

Our friend the dove was sent out three separate times -- the first time, she finds no place to rest her feet, so she returns to the ark and Noah. The second time, she returns with an olive branch in her beak, indicating that something is growing -- progress! Then, the third time, she flies away and does not return.

Why should we study this dove, and try to find lessons here for us?
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (II Timothy 3:16-17)
That's why! All of the scriptures, not just the parts we find enjoyable, or likable, but all scripture is God-breathed and useful. So this week, let's study the dove!



Friday, February 17, 2017

Fruits of the Spirit, conclusion


We're finishing up our collaborative study of the fruits of the Spirit this week. I so appreciate those who have invested their time in preparing posts for us to read and study. I would like for everyone to join me in praying for the improved health of all of our sisters who study here; there were several who would have liked to participate and provide a post, but their ill health prevented them. I pray that God will bless them with strength and much better health, and I send my love to them.

Today will be a sort of "round up" of the fruits that we've not studied yet: kindness, goodness, peace, and patience. (Oh, boy, that last one!)

First, let's endeavor always to show kindness to others; it is a trait that Jesus modeled for us, and we can look to His example as we strive to show kindness to all.

A kindhearted woman gains honor, but ruthless men gain only wealth. Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves. (Proverbs 11:16-17)
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12)
Goodness. Not just to our believing friends, but even to our enemies . . .
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Galatians 6:10)
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. (Luke 6:35)
Another fruit of the Holy Spirit is peace. Inner peace that He gives us, and a peace that we share with the world, as instruments of His peace. . .
Blessed are the peacemakers,    for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9)
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.
19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.  (Romans 14:17-19)


Finally, let us try to cultivate and utilize patience. Oy vey. That's a tough one for me sometimes. Are we guilty of taking in the things that irritate and tax our patience, and just internalizing that stress? How much we miss, when we do not ask for His help in handling these things. Do we "take all we can" and then flare up at someone, and cause hurt feelings, or a tarnished testimony? Take it to our Father in prayer, and He will help us do better.
Be still before the Lord    and wait patiently for him;do not fret when people succeed in their ways,    when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;    do not fret—it leads only to evil. (Psalm 37:7-8)
This has been a wonderful week of study! Many thanks to all who "tuned in" here this week. Join us next week as we resume our "women of the Bible" series!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Fruits of the Spirit, continued


Belinda has provided our thoughts for today . . .

Self-Control

To have self-control, we must restrain ourselves in action and word.
Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city. Proverbs 16:32

What does having self-control mean for us personally?
We are to:
·         Resist the temptation to break God's law.
·         Say no to lust and infatuation.
·         Make peace instead of adding to conflict.
·         Patiently bear with others.
·         Not automatically look out for self.
·         Be faithful and not have that faith shattered by mockers.
·         Go through the narrow gate toward good.

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men. Titus 3: 1-2

As the song says, Jesus could have called ten thousand angels to rescue him from the horror to come. But He rebuked the devil's temptations and followed through.  With the exception of the money lenders, Jesus was never harsh in His pointing out sin. He was never mean when someone begged him to help. And as he was beaten and tortured, he never lashed out those who were hurting him.  Talk about self-control--He defined it!


So why do WE need to have self-control anyway??? I believe it is part of our witness. Living a life as the Lord commanded, showing others that we are not conditioned to this world, but are set apart. In our response to aggravation, fear, anger, temptation, we show others where we stand with God. That is what we are meant to do. That is furthering the gospel. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Fruits of the Spirit, continued


Our post today is from Belinda . . .

Gentleness
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Col 3:12
What exactly is Gentleness? According to one commentary, it is the humble and meek attitude of wanting to help others instead of being superior to them.  Dictionary.com describes it as kindly and amiable.
The word gentleness immediately brings to my mind a mother stroking her child's head. And someone who is always moving carefully and is slow to harsh action. I remember a former coworker who was so gentle, everything she touched seemed to be made of marshmallow. I never saw her "grab" anything. I envied her soft touch.
My dear brothers, take note of this; Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry... James 1:9
I take this passage to be an instruction to not let your temper get the best of you. Being gentle means not flying off the handle at the least little offense and attacking others verbally. Does that mean being weak and letting others mistreat you?  I believe it means strength with control. It allows us to be tender, caring and nurturing to others. We can stay calm and not escalate problems or conflict.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov 15:1
There were times in my working years that I would receive a phone call from someone who was extremely angry, and looking for someone to take it out on. Did it upset me? Oh yes! But I knew that professionally, I couldn't attack back or be disrespectful. More often than not, calm and gentle words on my part diffused the situation. In my personal life, I have reacted the same way (MOST of the time) and it usually smooths ruffled feathers. I am a person who avoids conflict as much as possible, so it was a natural response for me. Sometimes with my family however, I wasn't so calm with my responses. Just ask my kids. *grin*

While reading about Jesus' time on earth, I realize how gentle he was. He was soft spoken, kind, quick to listen and always understanding. We ask ourselves what would Jesus do? He would be gentle. And so should we. Gentle words, gentle actions, gentle hearts. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Fruits of the Spirit - our readers speak, part II


Our series continues today with Cindy's thoughts on "faithfulness."
When asked to write a post about faithfulness as one of the fruits of the spirit, I immediately felt that I should try; even though I sometimes think I'm very na├»ve when it comes to my understanding of the Bible.  Faithfulness to me means trusting in God as much as humanly possible.  That's not to say that I don't worry, and I know that's a sin.  But because of His faithfulness to me, I can ask for forgiveness and resume with my faith in him.  The song "Great is Thy Faithfulness" immediately comes to mind when I think of faithfulness too. The Lord is faithful to us even when we aren't faithful to Him.  I think that my favorite verse about faithfulness doesn't even have the word in it.  That verse would be Proverbs 3:5 - Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths. I try to live by this daily! 

Thank you, Cindy, and let's gather again tomorrow for our next post in this series!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Fruits of the Spirit - our readers speak


This week, I've asked you, the readers of this study blog, to contribute! I was re-reading the passage concerning the fruits of the Spirit, and wanted to include all of you.

I'm so grateful for each and every one of you. You encourage and inspire me, and I'm so happy with the responses I received!

Here is the first in our series, from our dear friend "Katie Isabella."
Once upon a time when I was struggling to get to sleep after a 16 hour shift, I was saying my prayers.  I ended them with the as-always  plea that He, The Lord, might use me in any way He wished.  I deeply and sincerely wanted to serve, and I wanted to do things for others that might lead them to The Lord.
I laid there at the end of my prayers and asked yet again that I be used to serve Him.   And this next statement is completely and unerringly accurate.  I “heard” the words “Mercy and Compassion”. I do not know to this second if it was aloud that I heard it or if it was heard in my head.  The voice was sexless, neither male nor female neither loud nor soft.  Perfect pitch.  Those were the only words I “heard”. Mercy and Compassion.
 I shot straight up in bed and said aloud “Mercy and compassion??  I HAVE mercy and compassion”!  To the second I sit here typing this I still cannot believe I rose up to a sitting position and disputed The Lord.  I laid back down quickly in the dark of the night and pondered what I had done and why He had told me those two things.  I told myself again that I had mercy and compassion.  How could He say otherwise?  This was in 2004. I told my supervisor the next night as he is a strong Christian. The upshot of what he said was, then that was what I needed no matter what I thought otherwise.  I continued to tell this happening and I continued to ponder it and why when I thought I had them.
Fellow bloggers who may read this; in January 2012 I discovered what it is to have real, genuine God fearing and God loving mercy and compassion.  No, I did NOT have them the way The Lord meant me to!  Oh,but then, in 2012, I learned it deep into my flesh and bones and heart and brain.  I have NO doubt since then how much I lacked those two qualities when The Lord told me I needed those two gifts in order to serve Him.  But I gained them through the years following till this second in time that I write of it, with much pleading to The Lord, deeply praying many times in the day and night for the strength that was needed to care for my son who suffered terribly.  This trial for my son and for me continued for four years.  I have relied on The Lord for strength, and He upheld me those years despite that I had a heart anomaly that could have killed me suddenly.  The Lord let me get through everything until I myself could be helped.  
I have been steadfast in my true gratitude for Him allowing me to grow and be of service.  I try to let my new found gifts serve others that I come across now as well as my family.  And I pray with through and through gratitude for His chastening and for helping me through the fiery furnace as I learned and served. 

Please join us tomorrow as we continue our series!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday slowdown




Looking forward to next week, when we pause to study the fruits of the Spirit....

Each day we will feature a different viewpoint from readers of this study blog. We welcome them to share, and eagerly anticipate their posts!

To end this week of study, here is a song from Chris Tomlin:

There is a truth older than the ages
There is a promise of things yet to come
There is one, born for our salvation
Jesus
There is a light that overwhelms the darkness
There is a kingdom that forever reigns
There is freedom from the chains that bind us
Jesus, Jesus
Who walks on the waters
Who speaks to the sea
Who stands in the fire beside me
He roars like a lion
He bled as the lamb
He carries my healing in his hands
Jesus
There is a name I call in times of trouble
There is a song that comforts in the night
There is a voice that calms the storm that rages
He is Jesus, Jesus
Who walks on the waters
Who speaks to the sea
Who stands in the fire beside me
He roars like a lion
He bled as the lamb
He carries my healing in his hands
Jesus
Messiah, my Savior
There is


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Mary Magdalene, conclusion


When we stopped yesterday, we saw Mary Magdalene, sadly remaining at the tomb. How disappointed she must have been; she didn't have our knowledge of what happened. It was "here and now" for her. The One she had followed and supported and believed in for many months had been killed, and now for all she knew, the soldiers had stolen His body. Reality was setting in.

Have we been in a similar situation before?  Have we poured our energy and time into things and found that they just won't go anywhere? Have we wondered why we keep on trying? Do we wonder if we are, as my grandma used to say, beating a dead horse? Mary Magdalene weeps from her disappointment. And she is frustrated, too. Things are happening that she doesn't understand. She knew the tomb was empty. She knew the angels said Jesus wasn't there. But she may have felt like things were just happening around her, and she couldn't make sense of them.

Frustrated, helpless, and alone. All she could do was cry. She was so overcome by her emotions that she didn't realize someone was there with her.

"Why are you crying? Who are you looking for?" said the voice.
She might not have even looked up, or she might have not been able to see well, through her tears.
"Please just tell me where you have taken Him."
Then that voice . . .
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her. (John 20:16-18)
What pure joy must have filled her heart!
Once she realized that it was not the gardner, but Jesus, and once He told her to go and share the news, nothing could stop her. She brought the news to the disciples: "I have seen the Lord!"

Mary Magdalene told them what she had seen, what she had experienced. She was the only one who had stayed at the tomb -- she was the only one who had seen Jesus. She was so excited that there was no way she could keep her excitement to herself! She was bubbling over with joy. It was the best news she had ever heard.

Are we like Mary? Are we enthusiastic about telling people about our Lord?
Mary Magdalene and Thomas both had to see the risen Lord in order to fully understand, and to believe. But we have a promise today:
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (I Peter 1:8-9)
The resurrection that Mary Magdalene told others about is the foundation of our faith. We serve a Savior that is risen! Do we take that for granted? Is it "old hat"?

Let's be more like Mary Magdalene. Let's bubble over with the joy we have -- the knowledge that Jesus is alive! Let's be eager to tell others!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Mary Magdalene, part II


This week, we are studying Mary Magdalene, and how she went from a demon-possessed woman to being a wonderful evangelist.

Let's start with the passage in Luke that describes her devotion to Jesus' ministry and gives us a peek into her past:
After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means. (Luke 8:1-3)
Wow. Seven demons. When we read in the Bible of others who have been possessed, they have been horrific stories of people being tossed about, their bodies torn and convulsed, and more -- and she had been possessed by seven demons, not just one. What kind of an existence had she had? Tormented.

Jesus had cast out the demons, and in return, she was devoted to His ministry. She followed Him like a disciple, along with the other women who supported His ministry monetarily. Mary Magdalene and the others gave of their own means to support the One Who had healed them. We don't see a clue in the Bible to tell us if she was married, and her husband was wealthy, or if perhaps she had inherited a large sum of money. But somehow she was able to support herself, and to give to Jesus' ministry as well.
Her devotion to Him didn't stop there.
She followed Him from Galilee to the cross.
The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”
40 Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome. 41 In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.......
So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid. (Mark 15:38-41,46-47)

Even after the death of Jesus, her devotion to Him continued, as they accompanied Joseph of Arimethea to place His body in the borrowed tomb.
And she was one of the first to go to the tomb on the morning of the third day. And that is when she made an astonishing discovery!
The gospel of Mark says that she and the other women were wondering (perhaps talking about) how they would get past the soldiers guarding the tomb, in order to use their oils and spices for the ritual. How could they convince them to roll away the stone, and let them in?

Then they reached their destination. And to their shock, the huge stone was rolled back from the opening. In one gospel, it says that the other women left and went for help, thinking the body had been stolen. After the disciples came and saw things for themselves, they went back. Only Mary Magdalene remained at the tomb. Somehow she just couldn't leave. Her devotion to the Man Who cast seven demons out of her wouldn't let her leave.
He was gone. The soldiers were gone.
The disappointment and the sadness must have been overwhelming.

But praise God, the story doesn't end there!
Join us next time!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Verses that inspire

This week we are studying Mary Magdalene, and her role as an evangelist; she told the good news of the resurrection.

Whether it's to unbelievers or to members of different faiths, it's our job as Christians to witness and spread the Word, to push forward in the kingdom of our Father. We need to be fearless and also to present the truth in a loving fashion, because people need to know about Jesus!

There's someone at work who doesn't know Him. There is someone in our family, and there's someone at the gym, or the library, or the grocery store. Let's not be afraid to share. We should be humble, quiet, kind, and loving. But we should share. People's souls are in the crossfire of the devil and it's our good news of the gospel that will turn their lives around for eternity!

It's not hard to tell others what Christ has done for us. And often that simple testimony is the most effective witness ever.
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.  (Mark 16:15-16)
As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:11-15)

We don't need fancy words. We don't need to be Bible professors. We just need to ask the Spirit to guide us, and then share our Lord with others!

I found these verses inspiring this week . . . have you a verse or a passage to share?

Monday, February 6, 2017

Mary Magdalene - what an evangelist!


This week, we are studying Mary Magdalene. Among other things, she was the first one that Jesus revealed Himself to, after He arose from the dead.

There are several boatloads of legends about her. In fact, Mary Magdalene may be more well known for the unproven details and the false stories about her life, than she is for what we actually see in the Word! She is often identified as a former prostitute, but I couldn't find anything truly concrete to base that on when I studied. People frequently identify her with the sinful woman from the city, who washed Jesus' feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair -- but we discussed that before, and you can go back if you like and re-read those posts. Some people even confuse her with Mary of Bethany, Martha and Lazarus' sister, but they are two different people.

Who was she really? And why did Jesus appear to her first? Doesn't it make more sense that He would appear to Peter first, perhaps? Since He said Peter would be the rock the church was built on?

Let's look at one of the passages we'll focus on:
Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed— for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. 10 Then they went home.11 Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. 12 She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her.“Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”14 She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. 15 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”16 “Mary!” Jesus said.She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”).17 “Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”18 Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message. (John 20:1-18)

Awesome!
Just like at the birth of Jesus, when the angels announced His birth to the shepherds, we can see here that God is no "respecter of persons." He doesn't look at people the way we humans do!
At His birth, the angels didn't tell the wealthy and powerful people. They told the news to the lowly and poor people of the day.
And here, when He's risen from the dead, it's announced to the lowly again. We know that women in that day were considered second-class citizens, at best. Women were not permitted to do many things that men routinely did. They were looked down upon, and treated as property. (Take a look at many countries today that practice what is called "sharia" law, and women are still treated in this way.)  It was so bad that a woman's testimony in a court of law wasn't even permitted -- they couldn't vouch for, or testify about, anything. And yet, Jesus went against all of this, and appeared to Mary Magdalene, and said to go tell the others . . .

Mary Magdalene loved her Savior and Teacher deeply, and she held an important place in His life and ministry. She was one of the women who traveled with the disciples and Jesus, and supported their ministry and efforts. She was present at His crucifixion and at His burial. And she had come early in the morning to the empty tomb. She was the first to see the resurrected Lord.

I think we need to know more about her . . . I'm thinking we can learn from her. Join me this week, if you will, to study Mary Magdalene.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Friday slowdown

Untied.

Unchained.

To work for Him, Who saved us by His grace, mercy, and love.

AMEN!!

Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Was blind, but now I see

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures

My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, Who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.
Will be forever mine.
You are forever mine.



Thursday, February 2, 2017

Untied to do a job for Him


When we paused yesterday, we were considering this question: are we tied up, and prevented from doing a job for Jesus?

If we are honest with ourselves, we are tied down by many things. Things that hurt us. And that hurt our ability to do a work, great or small, for His glory. (And don't forget, there really are no "small" works for His glory. All of the jobs that we do are precious in His sight!)

Let's look at our own lives, and see if we can see some ropes that are holding us back . . .

There are several ropes that come first to my mind -- guilt, anxiety, and unforgiving spirits. Our Father will forgive our sins, replace our anxiety with peace, and enable us to forgive:
I, even I, am he who blots out    your transgressions, for my own sake,
    and remembers your sins no more. (Isaiah 43:25)
 So we say with confidence,“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.    What can mere mortals do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6)
 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13)

Some of us are tied down with the need to give up an obsession, or a chemical dependency. Others may be tied to our smartphones or tablets, and be unable to put those down to focus on the more important things. Some need to let go and show others the love, peace, faith, joy, and kindness that He has shown to us.

As believers, we need to be untied from what weighs us down. From what stops us from doing a job for Him. We need to be free to experience Jesus in our lives, to love God, and to love each other. We can't fully commit to Him, or to bringing glory to Him, when we are tied up. We must surrender our burdens and weights to Him, just as the owner of the momma donkey and colt surrendered them to be used by Christ.

When we are untied from our guilt, our sins, and the other issues that hold us back, we can live a life of faith without the pressure of "what if someone finds out?" and without the guilt of "I've let Him down."  We will be able to praise and honor God. We can be set loose to do the work He has for us, to fulfill the purpose He has planned for us.

Let's pray today to be untied from the problems and "sins that so easily beset us" and let's get to work for Him!