Be Renewed & Be Transformed

More on Being
 Ephesians 4:23; Romans 12:2; Colossians 3:10
As I continue mining God’s Word, I am finding more instructions on being. Ephesians tells me to be renewed in the spirit of my mind. Romans tells me even more, I am not to be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of my mind. Colossians reads that I am to put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created me.
Wow, there is a lot here. I am to be renewed in my mind and be transformed by the renewing of my mind. Renew in the Greek means to replace thought process in error. 
So what thought process is in error? That would have to be the way that I was trained and the way the world wants me to think.
How am I to do this? The word of God. Hebrews 4:12, For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 
God’s word is truth. It sanctifies and cleanses those who love Him. The Word is what will renew and transform my mind and to be like Him. After all, I am a new creation in Him. Though I still contend with my sinful nature and do those things which I know that I should not and not do the things that I should. This is what makes grace so amazing. If I admit my sins and confess then God who is faithful and just will forgive me for all my sins. He is a God of second chances.
My Prayer: Dear God, thank you for loving me and helping to renew and transform my thinking. Forgive for the many times that I fall short. Give me the strength to do better. Amen.
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Continuance on a Theme

Just Be Part 2
Here is a continuance on “just be.” Delving further into God’s word, I came across some more scriptures to help me know how to “be.” Please bear with me on this continuance and you will see the value in it as well.
Hebrews 12:14-15 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
2 Timothy 2:22-24 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
Therefore, with the Lord’s help, I am to be peaceable with everyone and I am not to allow bitterness to take root because it only causes trouble. I am to be a pursuer of righteousness, love and peace and in turn steer clear of foolish and stupid arguments which only lead to quarrels. As a servant of the Lord’s, I am not to be quarrelsome though I am to be kind to everyone, able to teach and not resentful.
With this in mind, at the end of the day, I ought to examine myself to see if and where I have fallen short in my goal to “be” what I have been instructed to “be” according to His word. Then I can seek forgiveness, repent, and seek God’s strength to do better the next day. 
My Prayer: Dear God, hear my prayer, forgive me for when I have fallen short in my effort to be all that You have called me to be and help me to strive to do better tomorrow. Amen.
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Place Your Confidence in Christ!

Walk in Him, Rooted and Built Up in Him!
Again, I like using the Amplified, classic edition. Particularly, the emphasis it puts on faith. In Colossians 2:5, faith in Christ is explained as a leaning of the entire human personality on Jesus in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness. It is more than a mental assent. It is a sold out to Jesus without holding back. 
Verse 6 instructs me to walk in Him; meaning I am to regulate my life and conduct myself in union with and conformity to Jesus. I am to strive to act in accordance to what Jesus would do. 
Verse 7 tells me that the roots of my being are to be firmly and deeply planted in Him, fixed and founded in Him and to overflow with thanksgiving. When I stop to comprehend this all, I see that Jesus has given me all that I need, in order, to place my full confidence in Him and that He can bring about the changes in my life so that all I do and say brings glory to God.
1 Timothy 1:3-7 confirms what was said in Colossians, yet it is this faith in Jesus that keeps me from being mislead by any other doctrine and meaningless arguments. The world is an ever growing hostile place to the Name of Jesus and yet He died for all. I desire to be firmly rooted in Jesus because I know that without Him I would not be where I am today. Jesus has never failed me nor has He forsaken me.
My Prayer: Dear Jesus, Thank You for giving Your life so that I am reconciled to God. Help me to live my life rooted and firmly established in You. May others place their confidence in You. Amen.
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What Does God Take Delight in?

God Delights In or Takes Pleasure In.
Psalm 147-10-11; Micah 7:18-19; Philippians 4:17-19 
AMP, classic edition
 
I thought to myself, “What does God take delight or pleasure in?” So I went in search of what God delights in and I came across the above scriptures. In Psalm 147, I found that God delights in those who fear Him and put their hope in his mercy and loving kindness.In Micah 7:18-19, I found that God takes delight in showing loving kindness and mercy to His people. He also shows compassion and will cast our sins into the depths of the ocean.
In Philippians 4:17-19, Paul mentions that gifts that he received from Epaphroditus that the Philippians had sent him. Paul referred to them as a fragrant offering and sacrifice that God welcomes and in which He delights. Therefore, God delights in offerings given to the benefit of those who are in service to Him.
What does this mean to me? In order to delight my God, I am to reverently and worship fully fear Him and put my hope in His steadfast love and mercy. Receive His loving kindness and the fact that He will remove my sins to the depths of the ocean. In gratitude for what God has done for me, give cheerfully to aid those who serve God. I know that according to Zephaniah 3:17 God takes delight in me and rejoices over with singing. I do desire to bring delight and pleasure to my God and King.
Psalm 147
10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
    nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
11 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
    in those who hope in his steadfast love.
 
My Prayer: Dear God, may all I do and say bring pleasure to You. I give You praise for Your loving kindness and mercy for You have removed my sins to the depths of the ocean. Forgive me, Father, when I fall short. Amen.
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Be Merciful and Judge Not One Another

To Forgive is More than Mere Words
When I came upon this passage in the Amplified, I was struck by two things.
1.) I am not to judge others self-righteously nor condemn others when I am guilty and unrepentant and I will not be condemned for my hypocrisy. 
2.) I am to pardon (forgive) others when they are truly repent and change and I will be pardoned (forgiven) when I truly repent and change. 
Repent means to change direction; to turn from what I was doing wrong. Change is to do that which is right in the sight of God. God is merciful (responsive, compassionate, tender) and desires that I am merciful too. As I do unto others it will be done unto me. 
For if you forgive people their trespasses [their [a]reckless and willful sins, [b]leaving them, letting them go, and [c]giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
Amplified Bible, Classic Edition
 
Here, I am instructed that in forgiving others I am to leave their reckless and willful sins, letting them go, and giving up the resentment. This I cannot do on my own but is possible with the help of the Holy Spirit. It is a process and a willful choice on my part to let go of the resentment. With God’s help, I can choose not to remember someone’s sin against me when I am with that person. I can honestly say that I have experienced this and it is so liberating and I know that it is a God thing. By the grace of God, I am able to be merciful to those around me. God makes it all happen and all that is required of me is to be open to His work in my life. In times like these, I stand amazed at what God has done in me. 
 
 
My Prayer: Dear God, I am forever grateful for Your forgiveness of my sins. Thank You for helping me to forgive others as You have instructed me to. May this help others to see that the power to forgive comes from You. Continue to give me the desire to do Your will. Amen
 

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 6:14 Marvin Vincent, Word Studies.
  2. Matthew 6:14 James Moulton and George Milligan, The Vocabulary.
  3. Matthew 6:14 Webster’s New International Dictionary offers this phrase as a definition of the word “forgive.”

 

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In Times of Persecution

To Have the Faith of 
Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego
First, I want to apologize for not writing in a long while. Life has gotten hectic but God is faithful and has brought me through it all. In light of recent events and what God has shown me in His word, I think it is appropriate to talk about persecution and the faith to persevere.
In the passages from Daniel, I found examples of faith and trust in God that I desire and want to share with you. King Nebuchadnezzar was a fine example of persecution.  First one is the faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when faced with the fiery furnace. They trusted God to deliver them and if not they still would not serve the gods of the King or the golden image. Their trust was in God and they were committed to Him no matter the cost to themselves. God delivered them from them from the fiery furnace untouched.
The second one is Daniel’s faith when the satraps set out to trap Daniel and have him thrown into the lion’s den. The satraps also were examples of persecution when they tricked King Darius into writing a decree that could not be revoked that if anyone did not worship the King for 30 days they would be thrown to the lion’s den. When Daniel heard of this he did not throw a fit or make a fuss. He just did what he always did and left the results to God. To King Darius’ credit, he did not want to throw Daniel to the lion’s den. However, he had to follow the edict. The next morning, King Darius found Daniel unharmed for Daniel told him that God sent an angel to shut the mouths of the lions.
In the Hebrews passage, I find three ways to strengthen my faith. One, I am to draw near to God with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with my heart sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and washed with pure water (baptism). Two, I am to hold fast to the confession of my hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. Third, I am to consider how I can stir up others to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together and encourage one another.
Psalm 112:6-8, talks of the righteous and that they will not be moved nor are they afraid of bad news for their hearts are firm, trusting in the Lord. Their hearts are steady; they will not be afraid.
So in conclusion, I will put my trust in God and do what I have always done when my rights are challenged leaving the results to God. I need not fear for my God is faithful and mighty to save.
 Memory Verse: Daniel 2
 20 Daniel answered and said:“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
to whom belong wisdom and might.
21 He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding;
22 he reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with him.
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No Matter How Bad It Gets, God is in Control!

God is in Control

God is in Control from Daniel 7 & 8

As I have been studying Daniel in a group setting, I have learned a lot about how God is in control. Daniel, in his time, was an interpreter of dreams, yet, he did not try to interpret his own dreams (7:16; 8:15-17). He was wise not to try to interpret such awe-inspiring and yet terrifying dreams. He looked to God for answers. Even still, he had an emotional response to both dreams with the second making him physically sick (7:15; 8:27).  
After a time Daniel was able to get up and go about the king’s business (8:27). In Daniel’s second dream (8:23-25), there was a description of a king of bold face who shall cause fearful destruction with great power that was not his own. What strikes me in this passage is the last part of verse 25, “And he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes, and he shall be broken—but by no human hand.” Though this king was great and powerful, he was brought down not by human hand, meaning that God brings him down. This tells me that God is sovereign and nothing is beyond His control. 

My Take on This

Thus, my take home on this is that though times be tough and fearful, I need not fear for God is, without doubt, in control. He removes kings and sets up kings. Jesus has been given a dominion that is everlasting and His kingdom shall not pass away (7:13-14). Come what may I will be okay for God is in control and knows all things. Hence, it is like knowing that outcome of the game before it is even played. God wins!
All praise and glory be His now and forevermore!
My Prayer: Dear God in heaven, I praise Your Holy name for You are indeed in control and there is nothing to fear. Thank You for Your Son, Jesus, who reigns forevermore. Amen. 
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Prinicples of Conscience: Romans 14

Let Us Not Criticize One Another Anymore.
Romans 14:13 AMP
There are several good messages in this chapter of Romans. I want to pull out a few verses.
 Verse 1,  
As for the [a]one whose faith is weak, accept him [into your fellowship], but not for [the purpose of] quarreling over his opinions. 
I know from my own experience how easy it is to get caught up in arguments with other believers over trivial matters. This does not do any good for the body of believers. It also turns away unbelievers.
Verse 4 reads,  
 Who are you to judge the servant of another? Before his own master he stands [approved] or falls [out of favor]. And he [who serves the Master—the Lord] will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 
It is not my place to judge another believer, however, if someone sins I am to speak the truth in love to win the person back.
Verse 10,
But you, why do you criticize your brother? Or you again, why do you look down on your [believing] brother or regard him with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God [who alone is judge]. 
I am thankful that there is only one judge. I am often guilty of judging others, therefore, I have to ask God to help me see them as He does and to forgive me of my critical spirit. 
Verse 13,
Then let us not criticize one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block or a source of temptation in another believer’s way.  
This is how I am to live among my fellow believers. On my own it is not possible but with Jesus all things are possible. It is by my actions and being like Jesus that I can influence another to grow spiritually. I am to be considerate and not do something to cause another to stumble.
Verse 19,
So then, let us pursue [with enthusiasm] the things which make for peace and the building up of one another [things which lead to spiritual growth]. 
It is by my example and the words that I use that others are encouraged to good works or drawn to Christ. All the time speaking the truth in love and living out Jesus’s words to me.
In conclusion, I, with the Lord’s help, am to be a living example of Jesus, to speak the truth in love, to encourage others on to good works, and live in peace with other believers. Most importantly, I am to no longer criticize my fellow believers for God is the only judge.
My Prayer: Dear Jesus, please forgive me of my critical spirit. Give me eyes to see others as You do. Help me to speak the truth in love and to encourage others on to good works. Amen.

Footnotes:

  1. Romans 14:1 Some Jewish believers may have struggled with abandoning all the old requirements of the Law regarding eating things considered unclean, while some Gentile believers may have been overly sensitive to anything associated with paganism, such as eating meat offered to idols.
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God Searches All Hearts and…

Understands Every Plan & Thought.
1 Chronicles 28:9b
Here I am reminded that there is nothing hidden from my God. He knows my heart and my thoughts. He searches the heart and test the mind to give to every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds, Jeremiah 17:10. The rest 1 Chronicles 28:9 reads, If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever. I know that if I seek Him, I will find Him. He desires an interactive relationship with me. Yet if I forsake Him, He will cast me off.  There is no other place I would rather be than in a relationship with my God. I seek Him and He is found and He cares for me. He provides for me, He comforts me, He gives me strength, He is my hope and everlasting refuge and most importantly He saved me through His Son, Jesus Christ. My self worth comes from knowing Him and His opinion of me matters more than anyone’s. Apart from Him I can do nothing, I am selfish, I am uncaring and hurtful, and lost. 
He can be trusted after all He made all that there is and ever shall be. Great and mighty is He.
My Prayer: Dear God, merciful and mighty are You. I give You praise that You know my heart. Search me and know me. Amen. 
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God Can Humble the Proud;

All His Works are Right and His Ways are Just!
Daniel 4:37; 19-33
 It took a heck of lot to humble King Nebuchadnezzar before he realized the God rules over the kingdom of men and gives it to whom He will. Daniel had told the King how he was going to be humbled and advised him to turn from his evil ways. Yet, after 12 months, the king did not change his ways. He boasted that “he” had built his kingdom by “his” power and might. Minutes later God spoke and humbled the king as was foretold in his dream. This helps me to be mindful of how I look at things in my own life and to try to stay humble before God and to thank Him for all that I have and for what He has done in me.
There have been a number of times in my life that God has had to humble me. They were not pleasant memories but looking back I now see them in a different light. I would not be where I am today without those tough times in my life. After all God disciplines those He loves. I know that there will be times ahead where I am need to be reminded that God is greater and in control. Having been disciplined before I can hopefully learn quicker and the lesson not be so unpleasant. Staying humble is remembering that God is God and I am not; it is focusing more on Him and less on me. I heard it put this way; humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less and thinking of God and others more. God has made all the good in my life possible. 
I am greatly blessed and thankful for all that I have; friends, family, and ministry involvement. As God has worked on my hurts, hang ups, and habits, He has filled my heart with His great love for me. It is out of this that I am help to love myself in order to love others as myself. I can treat them as I would want to be treat; with respect, forgiveness, grace, and mercy. On my own, I cannot do anything apart from Him.
It is my hope and prayer that you are able to find encouragement in what God has given me to share with you. 
My Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, I give You thanks for the 50 years of life that You have so blessed me with. I praise Your name for all the many blessings that You have given me. Help me to remain humble before You and be a light for others to come to know You more. Amen!
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