Instructions for the Hidden Life: What to Put to Death and What to Put On.

Instructions

What are These Instructions?

Recently, I had the honor of being a guest blogger where I talked about Putting On the New Self. You can read it here https://hispurposeinme.org/2017/04/13/putting-on-the-new-self/. Furthermore, we are given instructions as to what to put to death and what we are to put on.

First Instruction

“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you.”

Colossians 3:5 ESV[1]

There is quite a list as to what we are to put to death. This would include things such as sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire and covetousness. Thus we are put away any bad habits or objects that stir these up. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to us where any of these might exist in our hearts.

Yet, the Apostle Paul goes on to say that we must put away all anger, wrath, malice slander and obscene talk. We are not to lie to one another either. I know that this is not easy. But we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. He does not say that you can’t be angry but what he is saying is not to stay angry thus you will be free of anger. Malice is the desire to inflict, injury, harm or suffering to another. Slander is defamation thus wanting to ruin someone’s reputation. These are heart issues of selfish person.

Second Instruction

“Put on then as God chosen ones, holy and beloved…”

Colossians 3:12a ESV[1]

As a new creations with a hidden life, we are to put on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience. As well, we are to bear with one another and forgive each other. Therefore we are to turn our hearts toward others. I heard it said that humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less and others more. I like to think of meekness as one that is not easily provoked to anger. Compassion is a strong desire to helps those who are suffering. And above all we are to put on love. The key to putting all of this on is letting the peace of Christ rule in our hearts and letting the word of Christ dwell richly in us. He has the power to transform our hearts therefore we are enabled to follow these instructions.

How are you at following instructions?

 

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

[1] The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

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Excruciating Means Out of the Cross or Crucifixion.

excruciating

Excruciating: What is it Origin?

Have you ever wondered about the word excruciating? Or have you pondered on the suffering that Jesus Christ went through for your sins? Well, I learned about it in regards to the crucifixion of Christ in world history in the 8th grade. Where we looked at from a medical perspective.

The origin of the word is “Latin excruciātus, past participle of excruciāre to torment, torture, equivalent to ex- ex-1+ cruciāre to torment, crucify (derivative of crux cross); see -ate[1]. Can you see how it means out of the cross? When you look at the medical aspect of what Jesus went through on the cross, you can understand the word even more.

If you really want to read more about suffering Jesus went through, this check out this link Medical Aspects of the Crucifixion of Christ.

As we are approaching Good Friday, there is a hymn that comes to mind. O Sacred Head Now Wounded brings tears to my eyes when we sing it in church.  Though it is 10 verses long, this hymn sings so mournfully of the woe He went through and that He bore my burden to the cross. In verse 8, I sing of how can I thank Him for this dying sorrow and ask Him to make me His forever. “O Lord, let me never, never out live my love for Thee,” is how this verse ends. The final two verses close with seeking Lord Jesus to be near me when I am at death’s door.

Thus, I pray that you will contemplate His true suffering and how He died on the cross for you. As you do, I hope that you will have a new appreciation for the word excruciating.

In Closing

I leave you with Luke 22:44.

44 And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.[2]

[1] excruciate. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved April 13, 2017 from Dictionary.com website http://www.dictionary.com/browse/excruciate

[2] The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

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O Perfect Life Of Love – Jesus Died to Make us Whole

Perfect Life of Love

O Perfect Life of Love

O perfect life of love!
All, all is finished now;
All that He left His throne above
To do for us below.

No work is left undone
Of all the Father willed;
His toil, His sorrows, one by one,
The Scripture have fulfilled.

No pain that we can share
But He has felt its smart;
All forms of human grief and care
Have pierced that tender heart.

And on His thorn crowned head,
And on His sinless soul,
Our sins in all their guilt were laid,
That He might make us whole.

In perfect love He dies;
For me He dies, for me;
O all atoning Sacrifice,
I cling by faith to Thee.

In every time of need,
Before the judgment throne,
Thy work, O Lamb of God, I’ll plead,
Thy merits, not my own.

Yet work, O Lord, in me,
As Thou for me hast wrought;
And let my love the answer be
To grace Thy love has brought.*

This hymn is most inspiring to me as we enter Holy week. The first four verses speak to what Jesus came to do for us,  how he did it, and how it pierced his tender heart. Jesus died to make us whole. In verse 5, I especially like how it becomes personal. Jesus died for me and I cling by faith to Him. When my time here on earth is done and I face the judgement throne, it will be on the merits of Jesus and not my own I plead. The last verse is such a beautiful plea that Jesus would work His love in my heart.

*http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/o/p/operfect.htm

Meditation for Your Holy Week

Here is a link to hear the hymn sung.

I encourage you to read and meditate on Psalm 22 as you go through Holy week.

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My Overwhelming Gratitude List

Gratitude List

My Gratitude List

I suffered an injury to my back in March and my world has been different ever since. Despite the pain and inconvenience, I have chosen to compose my gratitude list. This exercise has been most rewarding and uplifting because there is so very much to be thankful for.

God’s Many Blessings!

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

On the night of April 3rd following cortisone shot, I lay in bed trying to go to sleep and my mind was flooded with thankfulness. Here is what I am thankful for:

  • My husband for all that he does for me and for his working from home to look after me.
  • The sound of my husband snoring because it meant that I am not alone
  • My mom’s sound advice and help and having followed it & I benefited
  • Friends that prayed for me and I know that God heard their pleas.
  • Even for the lonely Mockingbird singing after 11:30pm to way past midnight.
  • The doctors and nurses that had to put up with me when I was hurting and complaining
  • The fellow Christian blogger who did not know me but cared enough to send me her book on Help and Hope while You’re Healing; Thank you, Christine Carter
  • The community of fellow Christian bloggers that prayed for me though they did not know me
  • Pastor Crowe who brought me communion
  • Kay Gray who came for a visit
  • Dee who helped me more than once; her kindness is beyond words.
  • Most especially, my brother-in-love who brought my sister and my niece for a visit
  • My two young men who have helped fix and prepare dinners and helped me in many ways to include cleaning house.
  • The one night which I slept well since I injured my back
  • The friends that offer to help in anyway and the emails and Facebook replies.
  • The faith that God has given me through Jesus Christ, His Son

I Give Thanks!

Dear Lord God, I cannot begin to give You enough thanks for the many blessings that You have given to me. You alone are worthy of all my worship and praise. Please bless all my friends and family. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

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Help! My Prayer Life Is Stuck!

Prayer Life

Trouble with Prayer Life?

Ever have times when your prayer life was stuck? I know that I have felt this way more often than I would like to admit. There is a dear friend of mine whose prayer life seems dry. Hence, I thought I would write some words of encouragement about this problem.

First, this is often an attack because Satan wants me to be ineffective. And the best way to do this is to keep me from praying. Prayer is vital to the health of a believer. When I stop communicating with my heavenly Father, there becomes a problem in the relationship. The same thing happens when I fail to keep in touch with my parents and/or friends.

My heavenly Father desires a love relationship with me. 1 Peter 5:6-8 clearly states that He cares for me and wants me to cast all my cares on Him. How can I cast my cares on Him if I am not praying? I need to be in communion with Him for His steadfast loves will never fail me.

Furthermore, when God feels far away, it is I who has moved. For God is constant and never-changing. His love for me is too vast to fully comprehend. In life there has been many let downs by others or betrayals that can make it hard to accept God’s amazing love. But He is faithful and will receive me time and time again if only I turn to Him. His love is like none other.

Here’s Help to Get Unstuck!

Therefore, let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Even when we don’t feel like praying, just offer up a simple prayer. Ask a friend to prayer with/for you. Iron sharpens iron. Use scripture as a basis for your plea.  The Psalms are good place for petitions. I especially like psalm 16.

Psalm 16

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

 

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To Catechize: Is it Relevant Today?

Catechize

Catechize [kat-i-kahyz]: What does it mean?

Here is a word that you don’t hear every day and when you do you probably think of Catholic or Lutheran churches. However, the word catechize is vital for those of us in the Christian faith.

What does it mean? You ask. Well, it means to instruct orally by means of questions and answers, especially in Christian doctrine. I came across this word in a blog titled, “Two Lutherans Elephants: Negligent House Pastors and Divorce.” The author addresses the reasons, the numbers are decreasing in the Lutheran church, have two causalities. One reason is that men are not catechizing their families. I believe that this also includes other Christian churches.

There are instructions found in God’s word to catechize one’s family. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 clearly states that we are to love the Lord our God with all our being and to teach His statutes to our children. This is to occur at home, when we come and go, and when we go to bed at night. Men are to impart these to their wives and then wives to impart them to the children. One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 22:6, ‘Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

To neglect to instruct one’s family leads to trouble down the road. In the aforementioned article, the author states that it gives children the impression that religion is for women and children only. Therefore, they forsake their beliefs when they grow older. This is a sad state of affairs and no wonder we are in the current spiritual environment.

So I want you to consider how you might take up the idea to catechize your family and inspire your husbands, sons, and son-in-laws to get involved.

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Lord Jesus, Imprint Your Image on My Heart

Imprint Your Image Lord Jesus

Hymn, ‘On My Heart Imprint Your Image’

This was my hymn for meditating on and my prayer this week. I am so moved by how Jesus answered. But first, let’s look at the scriptures that talk to us about being conformed to His image. God alone has the power to imprint the image of His son on my heart.

First, Romans 8:29, For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. I am not going to discuss predestination here. Thus, the point I want to make is that God’s intent for us is to be conformed to the image of His Son. God will not force Himself upon us because He desires an intimate relationship with each person not a robot like follower. Therefore, we must want to be conformed and seek His will through prayer and obedience. He does truly know what is best for us.

Second is one of my favorites in 2 Peter 1:3-4. It addresses the fact that through God’s divine power we have been granted all things that pertain to life and godliness. Knowledge of Him and His great and precious promises are enough to become partakers of the divine nature. Yet, I so often forget this very fact.

Third set of scriptures are Ephesians 23-24 & 2 Corinthians 3:18. Here I am instructed to be renewed in my mind and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God. This is a matter of turning over my will to His. Jesus is the source of the transformation thus He can and will imprint His image on my heart. He will transform me one step at a time.

So What Does This look Like in Me?

The image of Jesus in me can be seen when I serve others and not of selfish motives. It is when I pray for the driver who is in a hurry and appears to be driving recklessly instead of getting upset. Another example is when you spend several minutes on the phone helping someone get to where you are without grumbling. I feel as if someone stepped in and directed all my comings and goings.

Serving others is amazingly so uplifting. Jesus enables me with a do it without thinking and free flowing spirit. I will find myself in the right frame of mind where I do not let my right hand know what my left hand is doing. Now, I may not always function like this for I am human with a sinful nature and I do get self focused. However, from what I have experienced in the just the past couple of days, I hope to allow Jesus to imprint His image on my heart as much as possible.

The Lyrics are as follows:

On my heart imprint Your image, Blessed Jesus, King of grace.

That life’s riches, cares, and pleasures Never may Your work erase;

Let he clear inscription be; Jesus, crucified for me.

Is my life, my hope’s foundation. And my glory and salvation.

Here is the link to hear the Hymn sung. It is just one verse and sung in melody.

In Conclusion, May Jesus Imprint His Image on Your Heart.

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Forty Appears to Be a Significant Number in the Bible

Forty Days and Forty Nights, Etc.

Just out of curiosity, I went to Bible Gateway.com to see how many times the number forty appears in the Bible. Would you believe that it came up 97 times, from Genesis to Revelation? Apparently, it is a number of some significance.

The first mention is, of course, in Genesis (7:4). God said it would rain for 40 days and 40 nights, which it did in verse 12. The flood continued for 40 days (7:17). At the end of 40 days Noah opened the window on the ark.

In chapter 50 verses 2-4, I read that 40 days were required for embalming. In addition to this, both Isaac and Esau were 40 years old when they took a wife (25:20; 32:15).

Furthermore, forty is used in the Exodus in reference to the people of Israel. They ate manna for 40 years in the desert (16:38). Moses spent forty days and nights on the mountain (24:18). 40 is also the number of silver bases used in the building of the temple (26:19). In the book of Numbers, the spies returned after 40 days (13:25) and the Lord was angry with Israel because only Caleb and Joshua believed that God would deliver the Promised Land. Therefore, God sentenced them to 40 years in the desert, one year for each day spent in Canaan (32:13).

Last but not least, the number 40 is found nineteen times in the New Testament. Jesus also appeared to people for forty days after His resurrection. Let’s not forget the temptation of Jesus found in both Matthew and Luke chapters 4. I do believe that this is where we get the forty days for Lent. I cannot begin to imagine fasting that long.

Something to Consider

Have you ever tried to do the same thing for 40 days and nights? It takes a good bit of will and determination.

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A Sermon in the Form of a Hymn

The Sermon, My Song of Love Unknown

While I grew up attending a Baptist church and there are several hymns that I love; yet, what I, particularly, love about a Lutheran hymn is the fact that it is often a sermon put to music.

As I begin to read and meditate on different Lenten hymns during this season. I have come across one of my most favorites, “My Song of Love Unknown.” I, particularly, like this hymn because it sings of so much about Jesus and His suffering. The song is a sung in a melody as opposed to four part harmony. The music is so moving to my heart and soul. It often brings tears to my eyes when we sing it in church.

In the hymn, “My Song of Love Unknown,” there is a sermon and so much more. It sings of why Jesus came, what He did and how He was rejected and crucified. I usually begin to cry in verses 5 and 6. These verses tell of Jesus going to the cross to set even His foes free; He did not have a place to call His own and He died a death that was meant for me. Therefore, I will gladly sing His praise as in verse 7.

  1. They rise and needs will have
    My dear Lord made away;
    A murderer they saved,
    The Prince of life they slay,
    Yet cheerful He to suffering goes,
    That He His foes from thence might free
    .
  2. In life, no house, no home
    My Lord on earth might have;
    In death no friendly tomb
    But what a stranger gave.
    What may I say? Heav’n was His home;
    But mine the tomb wherein He lay
    .

For Your Benefit

I have added 2 links to this beautiful and inspiring hymn. One is a You-tube video and the other is where you can find all the verses to this sweet hymn (see above). This song is a great one to meditate on and help you to focus on what Christ did for you and me. I do hope that you will take the time to listen and meditate on it. I am sure that you will come to love this one as much as I do.

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Lent: Give Up or Take Up?

For This Season of Lent

I was reading my church newsletter for March and I came upon Pastor Crowe’s article, “What are you doing for Lent?” In which, he discusses whether or not Lutherans give up something for Lent. During this season, other churches may give up things like meat or even chocolate, however, the LCMS position on this is quite different. Pastor Crowe goes on to encourage us to take up something for Lent to help us remember and personalize the great sacrifice that Christ made on the cross for us.

This in turn lead me to consider taking up the focus on Lenten hymns during this season. Therefore, it is my aim to focus on one Lenten hymn each week during these 40 days and what better hymn than the one we sang for Ash Wednesday service, titled O Lord, Throughout These Forty Days. The lyrics are as follows:

  1. O Lord, throughout theses forty days

You prayed and kept fast;

Inspire repentance for our sins,

And free form our past.

 2. You Strove with Satan, and you won;

Your faithfulness endured:

Lend us Your nerve, Your skill and trust

In God’s eternal Word.

  1. Though parched and hungry, yet You prayed

And fixed Your mind above;

So teach us to deny ourselves,

Since we have known God’s Love.

  1. Be with us through this season, Lord

And all our earthly days,

That when the final Easter dawns,

We join in heaven’s praise.

In conclusion, there is a link to a You tube video of this beautiful hymn. I found it quite appropriate as the season of Lent begins. In it, I see the reason one might give something up in order to deny one’s self. Yet, I still like the idea of taking something up. What will you take up this season?

The Lutheran Perspective

QUESTION: Do Lutherans have to give up something for Lent as some other denominations require?

ANSWER: From the perspective of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, “giving something up for Lent” is entirely a matter of Christian freedom. It would be wrong, from our perspective, for the church to make some sort of “law” requiring its members to “give something up for Lent,” since the Scriptures themselves do not require this.

If, on the other hand, a Christian wants to give something up for Lent as a way of remembering and personalizing the great sacrifice that Christ made on the cross for our sins, then that Christian is certainly free to do so — as long as he or she does not “judge” or “look down on” other Christians who do not choose to do this. (This is taken from the lcms.org web page.)

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