Tag Archives: journey

A Word to the Wise…we are in this together whether we like it or not.

fellow workers2 cor 62 Cor 6 “A Word to My Fellow Workers”

This is how Paul sees his relationship with the Corinthians. How do you see your relationship with those you partner with at your church; are they your fellow workers as well?

Paul reminds us that as a fellow worker we are not to take or receive God’s grace in vain – that is as something that just came and went like a passing rain shower. No!  God’s grace came at a high price and Christ was the one who paid it.

Stop and ponder that phrase “fellow workers.”  Paul saw these Corinthians as God saw them. Paul had an eternal connection with the Father and in that connection he saw these people made in the image of God. Even in his blustery way, they had developed a connection with him and he wanted them to know how he felt about them; fellow workers in the kingdom. David Staal in his book “Show Up” writes “a one way relationship is after all, no relationship.” That is what Paul knew about his relationship with Christ and he wanted his fellow workers to also experience this one on one, which is why he implored them to “not receive the grace of God  in vain.”

Today look at those about you and consider them  your fellow workers in this journey of life. You won’t be disappointed. We are in this kingdom work together. There is no “him or her, ” no “them or us.” We are fellow workers and each one is gifted to carry this out as Jesus commanded: “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel.” He didn’t qualify it to some and not all. It is a command for all of us.

Preparation for 2017

rooted-in-the-word2aPsalm 1&2 “Rooted in the Word”

Who wants to be blessed or happy? Most would answer “I do!” But our way to happiness and blessedness is fraught with dangers set by our enemy the devil whose intents and purposes are in sharp contrast to the Almighty. Thus to be truly “happy” and “blessed” the psalmist directs our attention to the way of the “righteous”  which is compared to a tree which is nourished and grows in sharp contrast to the chaff, the leftover of the harvest, or ungodly amongst us.

He who has ears to hear should listen was the word of the Lord in Revelation. In doing so the righteous are able to distinguish or discern those that are the “chaff” of the field that walk with us each and every day who seek only their own way or scoff at God and his Word. Their words echo across the centuries; “I’m okay, you are okay” but we know from scripture that we are not for God says “there is none righteous, no not one.” Their philosophy is anti-God and the words of Col 2:7 remind us not to be swept away by their philosophy: “Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty, deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”

 

As you begin this 2017 journey remember these words from Psalm 1 and Malachi 3:10: Earnestly desire to be planted and rooted by the streams of living water which flows from the throne of God. It is then that God will open his windows of heaven and pour forth blessings which cannot be numbered.

Serving Along Sanctification Highway

1cor 4 sanctification3aThe Corinthian church needed an ‘overhaul’ of their priorities and who better than the father of this church, Paul the Apostle. He encourages the Corinthians to imitate him as he follows Christ, the ultimate example of servant-hood as he washed the feet of the disciples.

No man is an island but we journey towards the celestial city as a Body. it is when we have reached our destination that God will reveal what is hidden and as well as the motives of the heart which we are unable to do.  Until then along the highway of life both in and outside the church we are to be servants and stewards of the doctrines that the church upholds.We must offer these gifts in humility not judgment.

Rather than spinning our wheels looking for whom we can judge or elevating one person above another–seek to imitate Christ. Instead of seeking to one-up-man-ship begin to ask how we might help others along Sanctification Highway. We journey not alone but as pilgrims traversing together. Our compatriots have been blessed with every perfect gift from above, for God  is the Father of lights and with him there is no shadow of turning. Thus may we view the leadership over us and the members of our Body as gifts from God. Praise God for those in leadership and pray for them. Pray for those with whom you fellowship. Look and find the gifts they have to enrich your life. Look beyond yourself and follow the model of Jesus as you serve in the Body of Christ for it is God’s will that we be sanctified – set apart for His use.

“Honoring God with the Heart”

ImageWhen you read the word “defilement” what images come to mind? Is it some picture of a far off land and people searching through the dump looking for food? OR Is it some picture of a church with people dressed in their finest taking communion who have yet to take this step: Psa 51:2 Wash away my wrongdoing! Cleanse me of my sin! Or this one: 1Co 11:28 A person should examine himself first, and in this way let him eat the bread and drink of the cup. No matter which picture comes to mind, Jesus has a word for all of us: it is not the outward life but the inward life. If ever there were a picture of outward purity but inward defilement it is the hypocritical Pharisee…note it is not the Pharisees of the time of Jesus but it is the Pharisee within all of us. It is then that the words of Jesus should pierce our hearts and that we begin to look and see what He sees. He sees we have escalated traditions to the above inspired scripture. That was the problem of the first century Pharisees and why Jesus took such offense at them.

Wisely the Pharisees sought to protect Israel from the false prophets and teachers that they may never have to do another “lap around the wilderness” or Babylonian captivity again, but in their quest they had closed eyes to see and closed hearts to hear. Thus Jesus points them to their practices of washing and Corban (which is to set aside a gift to the temple which cannot be touched until an appointed time even if a need arises to care for one’s parents) to show them the true defilement is as Isaiah said: this people honor me with their lips but their heart is far from me. Their outward practices had become so ingrained that the washing of hands superseded the washing of the heart. Both Moses and Jeremiah pleaded with the people to do that step before they began to worship. Deu 10:16 Therefore, cleanse your heart and Jer 4:14 “Oh people of Jerusalem, purify your hearts .”

Today as we continue our journey to the cross let’s take time to do a spiritual heart check. Will you examine your hypocrisy as I also have to do? Where have I or you set aside what is good as Corban but have yet to set aside our sin?

“Honoring God with the Heart”

ImageWhen you read the word “defilement” what images come to mind? Is it some picture of a far off land and people searching through the dump looking for food? OR Is it some picture of a church with people dressed in their finest taking communion who have yet to take this step: Psa 51:2 Wash away my wrongdoing! Cleanse me of my sin! Or this one: 1Co 11:28 A person should examine himself first, and in this way let him eat the bread and drink of the cup. No matter which picture comes to mind, Jesus has a word for all of us: it is not the outward life but the inward life. If ever there were a picture of outward purity but inward defilement it is the hypocritical Pharisee…note it is not the Pharisees of the time of Jesus but it is the Pharisee within all of us. It is then that the words of Jesus should pierce our hearts and that we begin to look and see what He sees. He sees we have escalated traditions to the above inspired scripture. That was the problem of the first century Pharisees and why Jesus took such offense at them.

Wisely the Pharisees sought to protect Israel from the false prophets and teachers that they may never have to do another “lap around the wilderness” or Babylonian captivity again, but in their quest they had closed eyes to see and closed hearts to hear. Thus Jesus points them to their practices of washing and Corban (which is to set aside a gift to the temple which cannot be touched until an appointed time even if a need arises to care for one’s parents) to show them the true defilement is as Isaiah said: this people honor me with their lips but their heart is far from me. Their outward practices had become so ingrained that the washing of hands superseded the washing of the heart. Both Moses and Jeremiah pleaded with the people to do that step before they began to worship. Deu 10:16 Therefore, cleanse your heart and Jer 4:14 “Oh people of Jerusalem, purify your hearts .”

Today as we continue our journey to the cross let’s take time to do a spiritual heart check. Will you examine your hypocrisy as I also have to do? Where have I or you set aside what is good as Corban but have yet to set aside our sin?

Me n’ Jesus makes a Majority…Matthew 10

ImageDid you ever see the Apostle Matthew as humble and unassuming? Yep, he was and in chapter 9 we see a short snippet of his calling. Here he was minding his own business…the tax business that is and along comes this radical preacher dude and says “Follow Me.”. Hmmmm Choices! Choices! Yet, this humble man who was wealthy beyond all the others around him not only followed him but had a banquet to celebrate his new “calling.” No longer would he catch tax evaders but he would catch men to do the same thing as he did. No longer would he gather $$ to fill his coffers but he would gather souls for the kingdom.

So what has he been doing in these past few months or even short years? He has been listening and watching, observing and memorizing passages of scripture, been eating with the other dudes who were also called. Let’s see, there were fishermen, and zealots. There was the sweet Andrew who loved kids and his brother Peter the big and burly guy who thought he knew better but often had “foot in mouth disease.” Yet all had heard the call “Follow Me ” and they had made the choice. And now? Now the mentor who has lived shoulder to shoulder, life on life, in close proximity with them moment by moment has chosen to challenge them in the only way He knew they would know the way of the Master. He chose to send them out two by two. And look at who his partner is going to be…Thomas. Yep the one and only: Doubting Thomas. Wonder what their diary read after being together for a week or more? But, then the greatest diary read had to be Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot. Wonder what their time as a team was like.

So into this motley mix of “dudes” Jesus summons them and says I am sending you on a mission. And this is what he said and how he prepared them:

I am giving you My authority…heavenly authority. As such you will now bear the emblem of the heavenly to do heavenly work. You now will have power over the unclean spirits, power to heal and to touch the lepers and make them clean. You will have the anointing power of the Spirit to preach the word to Israel that were like sheep without a shepherd. You have the good news and My authority to share it with all of Israel.

Then Jesus  instructed them prior to their being sent out. He said: stay in Israel, preach the message that the kingdom is at hand, heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Trust God for all of your daily provisions just as you have seen me do with you. Even though I have had no place to lay my head, my Father has provided for my every meal, my place of rest when I am weary, my every need and He shall do the same for you.

And lastly, Jesus also warned them of what lay ahead for discipleship is costly. You will  meet unsavory characters, the enemy’s servants, and those who will persecute you for your message and lifestyle. So you must be as wise as a serpent…that is prudent and shrewd, and yet innocent or inoffensive as a dove. Your character must have both sides of the coin to meet all and any situation you will meet. Three times he told them “do not fear” thus reminding them that although they were men the enemy is the fallen archangel, Satan, and he will set traps to cause even grown men to become fearful.

But the chapter does not end there. Tucked at the end is this verse: Matt 10:42 “whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple, I tell you the truth, he will never lose his reward.” I wonder if they remembered that as they walked the dusty roads of Israel? I wonder if they talked about the authority, the instructions, the warnings or concentrated on this verse? It is at times like this I want to be a fly on the wall and see and hear and experience what they did…but *sigh* that was then and this is now. It is really up to “Me n’ Jesus” to get this job done. Will you join us? Where two or three are gathered in His name we are truly a majority. Come join me on this journey!