Thursday, May 30, 2013

Fan the Flame

"For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline."  
1 Timothy 1:6-7

Each of us are called to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to make disciples of nations.  Timothy was called by God and reminded by Paul to fan into the flame the gift of God.  He knew that Timothy would be met with trials, adversity and testing.  So Paul was preparing and instructing Timothy on how to fight the good fight of faith.  Paul himself knew that in order to press on towards the goal and prize of which was set before him, he had to keep his focus on God and his salvation.

He also knew that God would give Timothy boldness and power to move forward in this endeavor.  But that would only come through the love of God and self-discipline on pursuing the things of God.  He knew that Timothy would have to continue to walk in self-discipline, which is a fruit of the spirit.  He knew that self-discipline would continue to lead him in Christ's righteousness.  He also knew that without self-discipline and control that  it is like a city broken into and left without walls.  Self-control is what gives us the ability to exercise our will to do what God has called us to do by the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.  It is what helps us put to death the misdeeds of the flesh.

Love is what causes us to see others and their need for God.  It is the realization that if they do not receive salvation that they are headed in a destination that is not designed for them.  God desires that all men be saved and come to the full-knowledge of him.  We are those who are light and salt.  We are there to bring others to the truth so that they may be set free and entered into the eternal inheritance that God has for them.

How can anyone be saved unless they hear the good news?  We are the feet that go out and share the goodness of God.   Like Timothy we are to fan into the flame the gift of God.  When others see us, they should see the fire of God.  The light that dwells in us.  We are to be the city on the hill that brings life and light to others.  People today are hurting.  They are looking for the streams of living water and are desiring to drink from the fountains of life.  We are the ones to lead them there because of the gracious gift of salvation that we received through Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

You Are the Light of the World

"You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."  
Matthew 5:14-16

You are the light of the world.  God tells us we are to be that ray of hope and that shimmer of light to those who are lost and in need of a Savior.  We are to be the ones to share the good news of the gospel with others.  Jesus tells us that the word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. We are also instructed in 2 Timothy 4:2 to Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct; rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction."

In Romans 10, we read how salvation comes.  We are told: "For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."  As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame...Everyone who call on the name of the Lord will be saved."  Then we read, "How then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one whom they have not heard?  And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  And how can they preach unless they are sent?"  As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"

We are called to be that light and share the good news of the gospel.  We are surrounded by people who are lost and are heading in a destination that they were not made for.  We are the light of the world.  We are not to hide the hope that we have in our hearts and put it under a bowl.   We are to give light (the word of God, the good news of the gospel and hope) to those around us.  We are the ones chosen to go out and preach the good news.  It is not about our speaking abilities but about God's great love.  He loved the world so much that he sent his Son Jesus to die on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins.  He sent his Son to redeem, justify, sanctify, transform and glorify us into his image.  He gave us part of him, the Holy Spirit who will direct our steps and teach us his ways.  We have access to the throne of grace and the power of God to speak.  He is the one who will fill our mouths if we will open it to share his heart.  He desires that all men be saved and the full knowledge of him.  He died so that we may have eternal life.  His plan of salvation is perfect.  Our righteousness comes from what his Son has done not our good deeds.  We need to share this with others so that they may enter too by putting their faith and trust in Jesus Christ, the hope of glory.

So today as you seek him, be the light to those around you.  Start sharing the good news of the gospel.  There is someone out there in need of salvation.  May you partake of the eternal rewards in store for you and have all of heaven rejoice as you preach the good news of the gospel and bring someone to Christ!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Love Never Fails

"Love never fails"  I Corinthians 13:8

Love is the greatest gift.  Jesus came to demonstrate love.  He gave up his life so that we may have eternal life.  He made a way for us to be reconciled back to God.  He died for our sins and took our place.  Jesus said when asked "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"  He replied "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it:  Love your neighbor as yourself."  He then goes on to say that "All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

1 John 1:4-7 tells us "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves have been born of God and knows God."  If we know who God is, our love language would then become more like his.  We would begin to do as he did.  We would be willing to pick up our cross and follow him daily and to love others.  Loving others is not only caring for them, encouraging them and blessing them, but it also consists of disciplining and correcting them if needed.  God disciplines those whom he loves.  He does it ever so gently. The example is this, if you see your brother getting ready to jump off a cliff that would lead to sudden death, would you stop him?  Of course.  This is what we do when we see our brothers or sisters being led astray by  deception or in sin.  When we come to them and show them their error, we too are showing love.  However, keep in mind we have to also remain humble, gentle and kind.

It is the love of God that calls us to him.  God demonstrated his love by sending his only Son as an atoning sacrifice for us.  He gave his most precious gift of all.  He was willing to give it all for us so that we may be able to walk according to his will and way.  He came to give us not only salvation, but the promised gift and seal of eternal life, the Holy Spirit whom is part of Himself, the Trinity.

When we see his goodness and taste his glory, we can only love others.  We begin to walk around with an awareness.  We begin to see those lost in need of a Savior and we see those who are saved, our brothers and sisters who have been led astray.  We desire to bring into the sheepfold by love by doing as Jesus did himself.  We share the good news of the gospel and being an example of humility.  Love does conquer all.  It never fails, for God is love.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Humility is the Way

"All of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."  1 Peter 5:5b

Humility can best defined as:  "A quality by which a person considering his own defects has a humble opinion of himself and willingly submits himself to God and to others for the God's sake."  God tells us that he gives grace to the humble.  When we are humble we realize the poor condition of which we came from and that we need God.

Paul tells us in Philippians 2:3 "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves."  When we walk in humility we are able to walk not in self-centeredness, but we will become God centered.  We will be able to be conscious of our weaknesses and quick to give credit to God and others for what we accomplish.  We can become dependent on God for our worth and fruitfulness in this life knowing that we could do nothing apart from God.

Jesus is our example.  Although he was part God and part man, he was willing to submit himself to God and to lay down his life for God's plan and purposes.  He did not exalt himself here on earth.  He being God was willing to come in the form of his creation man, so that we may receive reconciliation back to God through his plan of salvation.

When we see that we were destined for destruction and death and realize that we are wicked above all things, we become a vessel of humility.  When we realize we need a Savior, we realize that it is not about what we can do, but all about what he can do for us.  When we submit to his Lordship, we no longer rely on our abilities and strengths, but we rely on God.

When we see others and willing give greater honor to them and we clothe ourselves with humility, we become the vessels of grace for God understanding his goodness reaching out and extending it to others.  Humility is what leads us to Jesus and the cross.  So today, may we reflect and remember the goodness of God and walk in humility.

A Proverbs 31 M.O.T.H.E.R.

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.  
Proverbs 31:10
By Pastor Brian Moore, Crosspointe Church, Yorba Linda

M entor
     Proverbs 31:26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

O rganizer

     Proverbs 31:27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat of the bread of idleness.

T rustworthy

     Proverbs 31:11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.

H elper

     Proverbs 31:20  She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.

E xample

     Proverbs 31:17  She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.

R eflection of Jesus

     Proverbs 31:28  Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.

Happy Mother's Day!  You are far more precious than rubies!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Divine Appointments

"The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples.  When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.  Now he had to go through Samaria."  John 4:1-4

Jesus had learned that the Pharisees were observing what he was doing.  He knowing the will of God knew he was to leave Judea and head back to Galilee.  This would take him through Samaria.  God had a divine appointment waiting for Jesus.  Jesus went and arrived at a well in Samaria at the sixth hour.  A divine appointment was about to occur.  He encounters the Samaritan woman.

"The Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" The Samaritan woman said to him, "You being a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman.  How can you ask me for a drink?"  (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans).  Jesus said to her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." John 4:7, 10

She then being curious tells him that he has nothing to draw water with and the well is deep.  She wanted to know about this living water and how to get it.  Seeing her thirst for truth, he then tells her: "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

As she pondered his promise, she then asks him for this water so that she will never thirst again and keep having to come to the well to draw water.  Seeing her determination, God then gives Jesus wisdom.  He tells her, "Go, call your husband and come back".  She then replies, "I have no husband.  Jesus then tells her, "You are right when you say you have no husband.  The fact is you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband.  What you have said is quite true."  He meets her where she is at.  Although her lifestyle is not acceptable based upon the law, out of God's great mercy he sees her need for a Savior.

She then tells him "I see that you are a prophet and asks about the worship of God.  Jesus then tells her: "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.  You Samaritans worship what you do not know, we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.  Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.  After sharing this, she then says to Jesus, "I know that the Messiah (the Christ) is coming.  When he comes, he will explain everything to us.  Then Jesus declared to her I who speak to you am he."  He reveals himself to her.  He wants her to know that her hope has arrived.  

Jesus came to Samaria for a reason.  The Samaritan woman was about to encounter the living God and his plan of salvation that Jesus was about to bring for all.  She was about to find out how much God loved her despite her shortcomings, sin and failures in life.  Jesus being Jew and a man was not only not to associate with the Samaritans, but he was not to associate with women.   Back in their time, this was not acceptable.  But God loving the lost reached out.  He wanted to offer her hope and to confirm the truth that the Messiah is coming and has come.

God desires for us like Jesus to have divine appointments.  Someone along the way you may encounter need hope and reconciliation back to God.  They may be thirsty for the living water and seeking truth.  We are the light of the world and God wants us to share with others the good news.  He has a plan for you and that plan is to go out to preach the gospel to the world and to make disciples of nations.  The harvest is white and God is looking for those who are willing like Jesus to do his will.  Be looking for your divine appointment today!  The gospel is the power of God!

I Call You Friends

"You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business.  Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you."  John 15:14-15

When the Lord brought both my husband and I back to him 13 years ago, we were willing to surrender our lives to him.  Jesus not only was our Savior, but he became our Lord.  He began to prune sin and the world out of our lives.  Out of his great mercy for us and his goodness, we both were changed.  We encountered the living God and his power.

When this happened, we could not contain the good news.  We began to share with many to include our family.  However, my in-laws were not happy about our transformation.   Although they were of Lutheran background, they did not approve of our sharing the gospel or our faith with them.  They could not handle how we were being changed radically for him.  Because of this, they chose not to be actively involved in our lives. We are now going on  13 years.

They have probably seen our kids about less than 6 times in the last 13 years.  We call them periodically to have the kids talk to them which is somewhat awkward.  They believe that they have a good relationship with our kids.  Our kids really don't know who they are and when they have seen them they are really uncomfortable because of how they act.  They don't engage the kids, but prefer to talk about themselves.  It is really difficult.  They wanted our oldest daughter to go on a trip with them a few years back and tried to work in out with her behind our back.  However, she said she did not want to because she doesn't know them.  They live only 9 miles from us, yet they cannot take time to get to know their grandchildren. They believe that they have a personal relationship with our kids, but they don't.  They know who are kids are.  They may know some basic information about them, but they do know really know them.

Relationships are developed when we take time getting to know another person.  We will spend time listening to them to find out what they desire.  We also come to know who they are and begin to identify how they respond as we are with them.  The more time we spend with them, the more we become intimate with them personally.  This can only come by investing our time and energy into their lives.

We too can fall into this trap believing we can have a personal relationship with God without putting in the effort.  We only seek him when needed or when Christmas and Easter come around.   We are busy doing our own thing and enjoying life.  We only call upstairs when we are going through a problem in life and need a bailout.  We want to live our own lives doing what we enjoy and not being bothered by accommodating someone else.   We are too busy thinking about ourselves.  We aren't really interested in the things of God or his will because we are too busy doing what we want.

Jesus tells us we are his friends if we do what he commands.  He also then calls him friends because he spent time with them showing them the will of his Father.  He knew that in order for them to know God, they needed to know Jesus.  Jesus is the way to the Father.  Jesus died so that we could be reconciled back to God.  His blood atoned for our sin and we are forgiven because of what he has done.

In Hebrews, we are told that he is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek him.  He wants us to come and learn from him.  He has laid out his will and plan.  He wants us to see who he is and what is will is for our lives.  We cannot come to know this if we don't spend time daily with him.  We need to not only be in prayer, but we need to read the word.  He tells us that the word of God is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.  His word gives life to us.  His word washes and cleanses us.  He word gives us instruction for daily living.  He also gives us his promises in his word.  This is what keeps us firm in our faith because our faith comes by hearing the word of God.  He desires that we come to know him and the power of his resurrection.