Unified in Christ

I saw a couple arguing this morning. It was the quietest argument I’ve ever experienced, but very heated. They were deaf. I’m not sure this ties in with my journal entry, so I won’t try, just wanted to get your attention.

Scripture

Acts 2:42    42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.

Observation

These ‘Believers’ were about three things: The Bible, Spending Meaningful Time Together (as they shared together in what Christ had done in their lives), and they Prayed.

What does this is all mean? Was this a little book club? Was it a clique or some kind of exclusive ‘if you believe how we believe you can be with us‘ – group.

No. It says later in Acts that there was a deep sense of awe in the people over what God was doing. Verses 46-47 say that as “They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity- all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.”

They grew! God did amazing things in their lives. Transforming them and adding to them. Other places in the bible Jesus says that people will know that we truly belong to Him by how we love one another. People are attracted to authentic, genuine,

Application

On top of all the ‘Stuff’ we have to do: Careers, Marriage, Kids, Family, Homes, Maintaining the CRAZY Pace we live. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO DO THIS? In order to “follow Jesus effectively.

My only response to that is this;

Living in Community, Learning what Jesus has done and is doing, and being in constant prayer — that speaks into every facet of the latter. Living in Community allows me to continually be in check of how I love my family and the direction we take. Learning continually from God’s Word allows me to know the will of God in my life and speaks into how I live: manage family, time, resources, and relationships. His word gives me a vantage point that I can lean on. As I pray continually; I’m surrendering to His will for my life and depending on Him to provide, protect and help me persevere through the storms of life and to give me joy in the good and bad times that come.

Prayer

Jesus, help me to live a life of genuine love towards others, give me strength to order my days that I place my trust in your word and your will, and give me wisdom to seek you always in prayer. I love you God, help me to honor you is all I say, think and do. I know that if I do that, I can love and honor others more than if I depended on my own strength. Amen.

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Abraham, the Great Sinner of Omission!

Many stories in the bible reveal so much about the greatest men of faith that ever lived. Genesis chapter 16 is one of those stories. Abraham doesn’t step up!

Scripture

Genesis 16:6 “but Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Saria dealt harshly with her and she fled from her.”

Observation

Abram, not yet Abraham commits a great error in this story. An act of faithlessness to the promises God has declared to him about him and his role in human history. Abram, not yet Abraham is still trying to figure out what it means to walk by faith. He allows his desperate housewife Sarai not yet Sarah to impregnate her servant Hagar because she did not have the faith of seeing a son born from her own womb. Although old in age, she stopped believing that God would come through with His promise of her becoming pregnant.

So Sarai, not yet Sarah, takes matters into her own hands. Abram, not yet Abraham, doesn’t seem to mind, “sure I’ll impregnate your young servant.” The mighty error and lesson to learn.

They should have continued to wait it out and trust in God’s sovereignty and power. That He can make all things possible.

Application

Abram’s role as a man is to continue to inspire and encourage the people of his home toward a strong faith. Instead of praying for and with his wife, he quickly concedes to her own limited understanding. “Maybe we have to figure this one out,” ‘what ever you say honey.” The Great Sinner of Omission. Instead of being vigilant in their lack of faith and praying through the decision or simply taking God’s word on the matter that through Sarah an heir would ‘be a blessing to the nation,’ Abram acquiesced without thinking through the consequences.  Read through the rest of Genesis and you’ll see devastating effects to their lack of faith.

My goal is to minimize the number of sins of omission I might be held responsible for. I must remain vigilant of what I say and don’t say, what I do and do not do. I must be aware of what I strategize and what I do not strategize; for my family and for the family of God I’m responsible to and for.

Prayer

Jesus, give me wisdom. Give me perspective and understanding beyond my years. Help me to serve and lead well beyond my experience. Father, do not allow me to miss decisions that will have devastating outcomes because of my lack in presence. Give me strength and courage to confront any and all issue that warrant it. Give me the foresight and insight to deal with all issues as you would. Give me grace God to be the man you are calling me to be, in my home, to my family, to my friends and neighbors and to our church. Amen

When Tempted, You…

I really love this fourth chapter of Luke! Not only does it continue to validate Jesus and His ministry, but also His divinity and authority. Here is what stood out to me.

SOAP

Scripture

The three times that Jesus responds with ‘The Scriptures Say…’ to the temptations that satan brings.

Observation

Imagine being tempted with the things you want most in a time of such need. He hadn’t eaten in forty days, so satan tempts Him with food. Satan knew that Jesus is called the King of kings, yet it is not time for Jesus to reign, again Jesus declines with Scripture [Even the right thing at the wrong time … is still the wrong thing]. He didn’t use will power or some kind of Jesus power to decline satan. He gave us an example of what we must do — when tempted, we must use Scripture.

Application

I need to apply this to my life everyday! When I’m tempted to react in anger, I have to remind myself what the Bible says about that, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 or “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.” Proverbs 15:18. Two of many helpful verses for me. I need to apply Jesus’ example in many areas of my life; decision making (don’t be too hasty), handling money, making the best use of my time, etc.

When satan tempts us, there is ALWAYS a way out. The devil is powerless to make us do anything, we are just too weak and acquiesce, but Jesus provides a way out through His Word.

Prayer

Father, remind me daily of Your ways and direction. Help me to always choose You over myself or anything else. Give me strength to honor You in all I say think and do.

Journal for reading Luke 2 and Genesis 2

If you’re following along with our reading plan, we’ve started with Genesis and Luke. Reading a little bit from both Old Testament and New Testament might give us a broader view of God, His character, historical work of God, and help set a foundation for a well rounded and sound theology. Here we go!

SOAP

Scripture

I had a tough time picking out a passage or verse that best applies to my life. As I read, I asked God to show me something about me. He gently reminded me, “Wake up! It’s not about you.” The Bible is a letter to humanity about God’s love and grace for us. So my passage is one that I picked about Christ.

Luke 2:52

And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.

Observation

Sometimes we can be so heavenly minded, we are no earthly good. Jesus grew in wisdom  and stature and in favor with God AND man. People liked Him! So often we live as if people are already predisposed against us because we are Christian. I’m sure there are some out there but, most people are probably not focused on you and I. People are looking at their own situations, at their own short comings, pain, at their own success, happiness, goals. Most people don’t spend too much time worried about how you and I worship.

Application

How does this apply to my life? I need to allow God to help me increase in wisdom and be confident that I can have favor from God and people around me. As I connect with God on a daily basis (prayer, scripture, and with people who love me and can keep me accountable), this will allow me to live in the grace that God intends for others, not just me. He pours into me, so I may pour into others. I’m not Jesus, but He lives in me through the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is the one who empowers, gives hope, joy, perspective, wisdom and if I surrender daily to Him, He’ll guide my steps as I grow in stature and in favor with God and man.

Prayer

Jesus, help me to be more like you. Lord, give me grace so I can give grace to others, give me joy so that my joy can be intoxicating, give me wisdom that I may lead my family well and lead Newlife well, give me strength, that in all I say, think and do, I bring glory to You. Amen.