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Monthly Archives: July 2007

I am so blessed…

AbundanceI’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. -Philippians 4:12-13

This scriptures sure does cut to the heart of what it means to be truly blessed, truly happy. Much of it can be summed up with one word: content. There have been so many times in my life where I have said, “I will be happy when…” And it doesn’t matter what happens, you are just waiting for the next good thing to happen so you can experience joy again.

It seems to me that basing our joy on our present circumstance is an affront to the cross of Jesus, an insult to the sacrifice made on our behalf. Jesus died so that we could experience abundant life, yet there are seasons in everyones life of having little and having much. I believe a true measure of our commitment to the Lord is our ability to be content no matter our current season.

But how? In part, we need to remember not everything is about the physical and earthly realms we live in today. In Ephesians we are reminded that our battles are not against flesh and blood, but rather they are against a whole bunch of ugly stuff in the heavenly realms. Yet it seems we forget this every time things don’t go well… Remember, we have victory NOW over these things because of the cross of calvary… And we also have an impending victory in the final days as well. Let not your heart be troubled. You and I know the past present and future defeat of the enemy. So when things press in, focus on all that God has done in your life thus far and set your mind on all he is yet to do. Don’t let the enemy steal these remembrances from you when you may need to lean on them the most…

be blessed…
pastorj

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2007 in Devotional Thoughts

 

Living for an Audience of One

CredentialsThe very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness.  -Philippians 3:7-9

The one major regret I have so far in my life stems from one thing:  The amount of time I have wasted focused so intently on what others thought of me.  Unfortunately, I can identify with those people waiving around their credentials that Paul speaks about in this text.  I think I even understand their heart.  In part, they are saying, “I have worth, I matter, I am valuable, see this piece of paper proves it!”  And it is partially true, some people will give credence based on credentials and paper, but all these things have one major flaw.  They are all based on one thing: what OTHER people think of you.  A credential is just a piece of paper that says, “We have assessed this person and have found them to be acceptable by us in this particular area.”  Do you see the flaw in this?  If not, let me make it clear:  There is only ONE opinion that should matter to us on this earth – the opinion of God himself.  As the Christians song goes, “Lord, how is it between US?”  That is what matters.

And that is why I am trying to learn how to live my life for an audience of one!

be blessed
-pastorj

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2007 in Uncategorized

 

The Fight to the Finish

FistsGod is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.  -Ephesians 6:10-12

Nobody has to tell our young men and women serving in Iraq that we are in the middle of a war.  Can you imaging how ridiculous it would be to be over there just hanging out with your fellow soldiers, totally oblivious to thew war raging on around you?  It is almost unimaginable!  How could you miss the missiles flying over head, the constant reports of casualties, the daily press against you from the enemy?  It would be impossible right?

Well, if you don’t know this already, we are in the middle of a fierce battle ourselves.  And believe it or not, it is a battle of more eternal value than any earthly war!  I really like the scripture above for a couple reasons.  One, it reminds us we are in a battle where the Devil will be throwing all kinds of things our way.  But it also acknowledges that we have a God that is on our side, equipping us with the weapons needed to DEFEAT the enemy!

So how is the battle manifesting itself in your life today, this week, this month?  Maybe you feel a little war weary, tired of fighting.  Well, let me encourage you.  The Lord is steadfast and committed to our success.  He is going to spare nothing to provide you with that which is necessary to stand against that which the Devil may bring against you.   Remember Jesus told Peter that the gates of Hell would not prevail against His Church!  Be bold; be strong.

be blessed…
-pastorj

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2007 in Devotional Thoughts

 

It’s Time to Break Free!

BFToday, I want to talk about something that nobody else seems to want to talk about…  But first, read Ephesians 4:17-31 (click on link to open).  The first part of this text says this:

And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion. –Ephesians 4:17-19

Paul goes on to urge the churcn in Ephesus to make a clean break from the ways of their past and to go on to imitate a life of love modeled by God himself.  But let’s be honest, many of us Christians have a lot of stuff from the old way of life hanging around.  There are certain things that we have refused to cut off.  It may be an attitude, a way of treating people, or more bluntly put a secret sin that we either can not or will not let go of.  If you live near me, you may have heard about the local youth pastor that was recently arrested in an underage sex sting operation.  What does this kind of say about the body of Christ.  I think that it just reveals that Paul had a basis by which to write these things to the church.  And that need to bring these things to light is just as strong today as it was two thousand years ago!

So what’s the big deal?  Remember when the Lord set before us life and death?  That decision lays before us yet today!  Do we want to sow attitudes and actions of death into our lives or ones of life?  If you think that these things are just little sins that you can lock in a little box and not affect the rest of your life, you couldn’t be more wrong.  One day, you will go to open that box and realize that it has eaten through the exterior and has infected your whole life.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my life to be destroyed because I refused to choose life!

Now don’t think for a moment, I am sitting on some high horse looking down upon all the little sinners around me.  I read texts like this and the Holy Spirit tugs at my heart, saying, “So what about that one thing you have yet to cut off?  What about your wrong attitudes?”  As Christians, can we just start being honest?  But where do we start?  Well, how about we start by being honest with ourselves!  What have you been ignoring in your life?  What little sin is starting to fester into a much bigger one?

Now for the good news!  We have been empowered on high to overcome these things.  In Romans 8:37, we are reminded that we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS in Christ!  He has given us the power to overcome.  Choose life, and for the sake of your own life and hapiness, seek out Christians around you if you need help breaking free of that old man!

 Lord, we desperatley need you in these things.  Please help us to break free of the old things and walk in the new things you have for us!

 be blessed.
-pastorj

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2007 in Devotional Thoughts

 

Time to Get Back in the Race…

ShoesI know, I know, I know….  Where in the world have I been?  Well, I have been taking a little blogging break while Amy and I have enjoyed some time off, but I am getting back into the game today.  So, let me get right back into it…

In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.  -Ephesians 4:1-3

 I don’t know about you, but when I read a text like this I think one thing: “I sure do need the Lord!”  We Christians sure do run the gamut on this road the text speaks about.  Some are trying to be steady and sure footed, while others are sitting on their hands doing nothing.  And there I am somewhere in between.  One of things I have been asking the Lord to help me with this year is to start walking this road in a steady manner.  I have to say, He is showing me how to do this each and every day, but it takes determination.  Each day I have to wake up and be intentional about traveling down this road with Him.  And believe me, you feel the difference as time goes by.  When I have been walking a steady path, my life is steady, my relationships are growing and things are good!  But when I stop and start, it seems every area of my life stops and starts; and everything seems to run hot or cold in those seasons…

So where are you at today?  Have you been running a steady race?  Are you consistent with the Lord?  Or have you been stopping and starting, sprinting and faining?  Lord, help us to be steady on this road with you!

be blessed…
-pastorj

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2007 in Devotional Thoughts