Mining Psalm 81

Psalm 81:5b-12
What Can We Mine from This for Us Today?
 I heard an unknown voice say:
“I removed the burden from their shoulders;
    their hands were set free from the basket.
In your distress you called and I rescued you,
    I answered you out of a thundercloud;
    I tested you at the waters of Meribah.
Hear me, my people, and I will warn you—
    if you would only listen to me, Israel!
You shall have no foreign god among you;
    you shall not worship any god other than me.
10 I am the Lord your God,
    who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.
11 “But my people would not listen to me;
    Israel would not submit to me.
12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts
    to follow their own devices.
 A couple of weeks ago, I did a post on what if God had a cell phone. Verse 7 mentions that in Israel’s distress they called out to God and He rescued and answered them. As followers of Christ, God hears and answers our prayers. He gives us strength to weather the storms in our lives. It is by His grace that we come through them only made stronger for it. Yet in this Psalm, God warns His people to listen to Him. God is a jealous God and wants know other god to be in His place in our lives. He is our Lord and there is no other. When Israel would not listen to Him, He gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices. He does this today for He wants us to love Him and be devoted to Him because we choose to and not a forced following. 
This is what I find to be so amazing about God. He is so astoundingly patient with us and He so willing lets people choose whom they will follow even though following God is the better choice. He never changes and is always faithful waiting for people to accept His gracious gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, who paid a price that was meant for all man to pay. I am forever thankful for what Jesus did for me. There is  nothing that I could do to earn my way into heaven for Jesus has done it all for me. This is so simple and beautiful yet people can’t seem to accept it for what it is, a gift freely given. May you contemplate on this as Easter is approaching and remember that Jesus died for you so that believing in Him you would be saved and have eternal life. I heard it said that eternal life is a changed life now and living forever with Him in the next.

Rejoice in the Lord today and always for He is good! What do you have to be thankful for this day?
My disclaimer: I know that every believer’s relationship to God is different and unique. You may not have the same experiences and that is okay. I am sharing because I want to bring Him the glory for what He is doing in me and impart to you what I have learned from His word.
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New Self: A Change in Our Hearts

Change in our hearts

Our Hearts are Keys to the New Self.

This is the final part in a series on the New Self of which this makes 5. In part 4 of this series, Characteristics of the New Self, I discussed Colossians 3:11-13. We learned what we were to put on. This part we will discuss the change in our hearts as a result of Jesus in our lives.
“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:14-17 ESV.
Here we are instructed to put on love which binds things together, to let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts and be thankful. In verse 16 we find the how to, through letting word of Christ dwell in us going on to teach and admonish one another.
The key here is that it is a matter of the heart. First, we are to let the peace of Christ and His word rule in our hearts and second being thankful in our hearts to God.

My Personal ExperienceHearts changed

Ephesians 4:21-32 is another passage on putting on the new self. I particularly like verse 29, Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (ESV) This means that one should be mindful of what comes out of one’s mouth as not to hurt or harm others. One ought to think of something to say that would build the other person up instead.
God has often afforded me the grace to hold my tongue at times. He helped me to remember that once words are spoken I cannot take them back. I also think of how I would want to be treated and try my best to be kind. Again, I may not always get it right but I do my best to promptly admit when I do wrong and ask for forgiveness.
In conclusion, as a follower of Christ, I am called to live differently.  By the grace of God, the power of the Holy Spirit and study of God’s word I can be the light in this dark world. I am changed from the inside out and I like who I have become in Christ.
May you grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Tomorrow I will have another acronym for your consideration.
 

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Characteristics of the New Self

Characteristics of a Christian

Characteristics of the New Self.

We are continuing a theme on the Putting of the Old Self and Putting on the New Self. In part three, Put Away Old Habits, I discussed more of what we are to put way. Today, we will look at the Characteristics that we are to put on with the new self.

Colossians 3:11-13, “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”

In Verse 11, Paul is telling us that as believers we are all the same in Christ. There is no distinction between one another for Christ is all and in all.

In verse 12 to the end of the chapter, Paul is telling us what the characteristics of a new life of a believer are. We are going to look at 12 & 13 today.

Let us take a closer look at the word meekness. It is defined in Wikipedia as follows, ‘Meekness is a possible attribute of human nature and behavior. It has been defined in several ways: righteous, humble, teachable, and patient under suffering willing to follow gospel teachings; an attribute of a true disciple.’ There is a lot in just these two verses. We are instructed to put on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, and patience. We are to bear with one another meaning carrying and supporting each other and most important to forgive as the Lord has forgiven us.

For Further Thought

I like to think of this as thinking outside of ourselves and being other-minded. Again we find the word must in verse 13 which implies that we are to take action and not hold back. Luke 6:31 comes to my mind, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (NIV).’ Of ourselves, it is not possible but through prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit, it is possible. God gives us the grace to put these on especially when one stops to consider how much He has forgiven you. I have seen this in my own life and it has surprised me what He has given me the strength to do. 

For instance, I have been able to be gracious when someone made an attempt to push my buttons in order to get a certain response out of me. I saw it for what it was and did not overreact. God helps me to see what is really going on and respond rather than react to the situation. I may not always get it right but God gives me grace when I fall short.

In the final part of this series, we will look at verse 14-17. Until then rejoice in the Lord; again I say rejoice.

What can you ask God to help you put on as you draw closer to Him?

 

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Anger: The Match versus The Gunny Sack

There are Two Types of Anger

I thought that I would take a moment here to talk about the two types of  anger from the Greek that the Bible talks about. There is a big difference in the two and it is the one translated from the Greek word orge that one is to forsake. I am going to quote it from Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words pg. 26 Notes (1), copyright 1984, 1996.

Thumos Versus Orge

“Thumos, “wrath” (not translated “anger”), is to be distinguished from orge, in this respect, that thumos indicates a more agitated condition of the feelings, an outburst of wrath from inward indignation, while orge suggests a more settled or abiding condition of mind frequently with a view to taking revenge. Orge is less sudden in its rise than thumos, but more lasting in its nature. Thumos expresses more the inward feeling, orge the more active emotion. Thumos may issue in revenge, though it does not necessarily include it. It is characteristic that it quickly blazes up and subsides, though that is not necessarily implied in each case.”

I like to look at it this way, thumos is like a match which quickly lights but does not last.

Orge, on the other hand, I refer to as a gunny sack where one stores up grudges only to use them against someone when the time is right. It is also this type of anger that one is not to let the sun go down on (Ephesians 4:26).

Personally

For me, I have learned that thumos is a signal that something is not right. This gives me the energy to make a change for the better. Nor am I to provoke others to anger nor be quick to become angry (Ephesians 6:4; Ecclesiastes 7:9; James 1:19). One more thought, orge is the one that someone chooses to stay mad about a hurt or wrong done to them.

Which anger do you identify with and how do you handle it? Ask God to show you ways to better cope with your anger as well as that of others.

My disclaimer: I know that every believer’s relationship to God is different and unique. You may not have the same experiences and that is okay. I am sharing because I want to bring Him the glory for what He is doing in me. I wish to impart to you what I have learned from His word.

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New Self: Put Away Old Habits

Old Habits

Put Away the Old Habits.

 In my post titled A Paradigm Shift, I discussed what we were called to put to death. Apostle Paul continues to tells us to put away old habits of the sinful nature. Therefore, we continue on a theme.
Colossians 3:8-10, “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
In verse 8, look at the contraction here. It is a turning point. You were once living in sin BUT now you must put them all away. Your action is required. There is no and, if, or but about it. The rest of the verse lists those things that one is to put away. These are the old habits of our sinful nature.
In verse 9, we are told that we are not to lie to one another because we have put off the old self with its practices. Lying is to be a thing of the past, in with the new and out with the old. After all, Christ has made you a new creation.
In verse 10, we are to put on the new self which is being renewed in the knowledge after the image of its creator.  How is this done? We are to be transformed by the renewal of our minds through God’s Word.  Renewal in the Greek means to replace thought process in error. God’s word replaces that error in us. This is what makes us different from the world and what should draw others to Christ as they see that difference in us.

Look for the Next Post on this Theme.

In part 4, we will look at the characteristics of the new self in verses 11-17. In my next post, I will share with you God’s cell number.
 
What efforts are you making to replace the thought process in error in order to put off the old self and embrace the new self?
 
 
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New Self: A Paradigm Shift is Needed

Paradigm Shift

What is a Paradigm Shift?

A paradigm is a framework of basic assumptions and ways of thinking about something, for example, a worldview. A paradigm shift is a change in those assumptions and ways of thinking to another point of view. Often it is not easy to make the change. However, this shift is exactly what the Apostle Paul is wanting believers to do. Think of it like crossing a bridge to the other side of a great chasm.

Put to Death What is Earthly in you.

We pick up the post on Put on the New Self, part 1. We are focusing on Colossians chapter 3. In part 1, we covered Colossians 3:1-4. Today’s passage is verse 5-7. 
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these, you too once walked, when you were living in them,” (ESV).

You might ask, how does one put to death that which is earthly in us?  Good question! This is where the paradigm shift begins. Here we will use scripture to interpret scripture. Romans 6:13a reads, “Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness.” We are to choose not to sin.

The earthly things that we are to put to death are listed in the second half of verse 5 above. Ephesians 5:3 tells us that sexual impurity and all impurity or covetousness must not even be mentioned among us as is proper among the saints. Covetousness is referred to as idolatry (Eph. 5:5). Idolatry is the worship of an idol or a physical object as a representation of a god. So when one desires what someone else has, one is putting that desire before God in one’s life.

Paradigm

We are not Helpless. We have a Helper.

However, we are not left helpless. 1 Corinthians 10:13 reads, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Therefore, as followers of Christ, we have a way to avoid the temptation to sin and God will provide that way out. God gives us the power to put to death that which is earthly in us through the study of His word, prayer, and the power of the Holy Spirit.
To summarize, the paradigm shift is not only to see our sins as God does but to have a desire to put them to death.  The Holy Spirit enables us to resist temptation and will convict us when we have a need for it.

Next in the series: Put Away Old Habits.

 

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Put on the New Self Part 1

Put on the New Self

Putting on the New Self

My focus is on putting on the new self as mentioned in Colossians 3:10.
This week, I will be mining Colossians chapter 3:1-17. Let’s begin with verses 1-4,If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (ESV).

There is a lot here. First, take a look at the ‘If then.’ I think of this the same way I do the ‘therefore.’ It implies a connection with what came before this chapter. Looking back at chapter 2 it is verses 5 -7 that grab my focus. Colossians 2:5-6,For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” 

To clarify, Paul is expressing to the Colossians his feelings for them as they persevere in faith.  They are rooted and built up in Christ for this Paul rejoices. This is what brings us to the ‘If then.’ Being rooted and established in our faith in Christ, we are to seek things that above and set our minds on higher things. For our lives are hidden in Christ with God. Hidden means kept out of sight; concealed. Set means put, lay, or stand (something) in a specified place or position.

Our Part

In conclusion, we are to put, lay, or stand our minds on things that are above (higher things, Isaiah 55:8-9) because we are concealed in Christ with God. Christ is our life. In Him we move and have our being (Acts 17:28).

It takes discipline to set our minds on things above but we are not helpless. For we have the help of the Holy Spirit to become disciplined disciples of Jesus. In doing so all things will grow strangely dim. And through our trials we will prevail for greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.

Next in the series: A Paradigm Shift.

So what do you need to do to set your mind on things above and not on earthly things? What things are your setting your mind on?

 

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Sacrifice of Thanksgiving? Meaning?

sacrifice

What is a Sacrifice of Thanksgiving?

Let us look at Psalm 50:14-15, 23 “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God (ESV)!”

What does it mean to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving?

I believe this is when I offer God thanksgiving when my world seems to be caving in. My sacrifice of thanksgiving brings Him glory and He hears my prayers and delivers me from my trouble. To the one who orders his/her way rightly God will show His salvation. I understand this to be that He will provide a way out and carry me through it all. In all situations I am to give thanks, not for all situations. Something that I have often given thanks for are accidents that could have happened but didn’t while driving here and there. I give Him thanks for life itself. Hence, an attitude of gratitude changes one’s outlook on life. I am thankful for new friends and the changes God is making in my life.

However, I know this is easier said than done but it is most rewarding and what I am called to do.
When have you had the opportunity to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving?

In my next post, I will focus on Colossians 3:5-17; Putting off the Old Self and Putting on the New Self.

 

My disclaimer: I know that every believer’s relationship to God is different and unique. You may not have the same experiences and that is okay. I am sharing because I want to bring Him the glory for what He is doing in me.

 

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Mining God’s Word for Understanding

Understanding

Mining Proverbs 2:3-5, 10-11 for Understanding.

You can find the word understanding in several places in God’s Word. Have you ever taken the time to contemplate its meaning? I want to explore it in the above passage.

Let us first define it. It is the ability to understand something; comprehension. We find the word in verse 3, ‘…and raise your voice for understanding.’ Thus, we are to raise our voices to God for comprehension of His word. Verse 4 tells us ‘to seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures.’ Seek is defined as an attempt to find.

Therefore, we are to make every effort to seek insight and understanding as if we were searching for silver and hidden treasures. This is not a passive action but active and sought after with purpose and intent on finding it. God gives wisdom to those who ask without finding fault. He wants us to cry out to Him for understanding.

Furthermore, there is a reason we call out for it. This is given in verses 10-11. “For wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant for your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you,” ESV.

This being said seeking insight, understanding, and wisdom from God is good. It benefits the heart and soul but one has to mine it as one would for silver and hidden treasure. But this will take time and determination. And I know it is well worth it.

Mine His Word for Yourself.

I pray that your mining God’s Word, as if for silver, will be rewarding.

Each person’s walk with Gods is different and unique. Hence, I am just sharing with you what I have learned because I want to give God the glory for what He is doing in my life.


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