Now Comes the Challenge!

Challenge to Reconcile

Being ministers of reconciliation in today’s social environment is not going to be easy. I agree. It will be a challenge but nevertheless, we are called to it. How is the question?

There are several good books that offer help. But first, I think that we can do so especially in these tough times by extending a helping hand or just being with someone in their time of need. God is giving us an opportunity to share His love and grace to a hurting world. We can plant seeds of faith or water where seeds have been sown.

Now, remember that you are not alone in this endeavor. In John 14:26, Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Spirit will teach them all things and bring to remembrance all that He said to them This is true for us as well. Pray and ask God for the wisdom and the words to say to those around you.

Books to Help You with the Challenge.

I am currently studying C.S. Lewis’ book, Mere Christianity. In his day, he was speaking to the people of Britain during World War 2. He approached the topic from a very basic level which is what we will need to do in this time. Because people are resistant to hearing the Bible, preached at them. It might be helpful to hear this book on audio.

In addition to this book is one I highly recommend, Joining Jesus on His Mission, by Greg Finke. He gives great ideas and guidance as to how to be an everyday missionary. In this book, you will learn how to see what Jesus is doing in the lives of others and ways to reach others in a nonthreatening manner. This makes for a great study for any group. Go and make disciples!

Related Link: Minister of Reconciliation

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Minister of Reconciliation: Job Description

Reconciliation

I have been pondering 2 Corinthians 5:17-19. There is a lot in these three verses. Apart from being a new creation, there is a new job description. Through Christ God has entrusted me to be a minister of reconciliation. Let’s break these down into three parts.

Part One: New Creation

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” ESV

Here, we have a therefore so I looked at verses 11-16 to understand what proceeds the, therefore. I conclude that it is for the love of Christ that controls me that I am a new creation and I am no longer the old me. He has made me new. Not anything that I have done.

Part Two: God Made This Happen

“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;” ESV

Alleluia! God made this happen and I had nothing to do with it. God reconciled me to Himself through Christ. But, it comes with a new job assignment. He has given me the ministry of reconciliation. That’s right! I am to tell others about how God has reconciled me to Himself and that He can do the same for them.

Part Three: Message of Reconciliation

“that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” ESV

The message is that God has reconciled the world through Christ to Himself. Christ paid the price for the sins of the world, therefore, God no longer counts their sins against them. As recipients of His grace, we have been entrusted with this message.

So the question is “How are we at getting the message of reconciliation out to the world?”

I leave you with a link to a favorite song. New Lease on Life.

Related link: Heavenly Adoption VS. Earthly Adoption

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A Psalm of Praise unto the Lord, My God!

A Psalm of Praise

Last Sunday, Pastor Crowe encouraged us to read Psalm 18 and then write one of our own. Here is mine that I have composed to tell of His goodness to me. This is my way of giving praise to my Lord and my God who sent His son, Jesus Christ, to die for my sins.

My Psalm of Praise!

A Psalm about the Greatness of the Lord unto Me!

Lord, Your ways are above all others and You desire a heart that is devoted to You.

I praise Your Holy Name for You are slow to anger and filled with compassion to those who love You and are called by Your Name.

Lord, You have sustained me in my darkest hour and restored to me more than what was taken from me.

Your Word restores, guides, and brings hope to the weary and forsaken.

You alone have the power to reconcile broken relationships when all hope was lost.

You equipped me to serve in ways that I would never have imagined before.

Your faithfulness and mercy are beyond description.

Your steadfast love is my mighty fortress and tower of refuge to run to in time of need.

Great is Your compassion and faultless is Your love.

Your patience knows no limit, yet, You will not tolerate sin nor the proud forever.

You will exalt the humble and bring down the haughty for You are sovereign.

You are righteous and just against sin, yet You will not reject a broken and contrite heart.

There is nothing that can be hidden from You.

My finite mind cannot begin to comprehend Your infinite grace and mercy. I need only believe and trust in You. Amen!

 

Therefore, I want to challenge you to write your own psalm of praise. It is a wonderful way to chronicle all the great things He has done in your life.

For a Related Link: Tell of the Goodness of the Lord.

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Are You Ready to Contend for the Faith?

Contend for your faith

Have you ever had to contend for your faith in Christ Jesus? In Jude 3-4, the author appealed to believers to contend for the faith against certain people who are ungodly and perverted the grace of our God and denied the Lord Jesus.

So what does it mean to contend? When used with a subject it means to assert or maintain earnestly. Therefore, one is to be ready to assert and maintain the reason for the hope that is in them.

Why? You Ask.

Because times are upon us that our faith will be challenged. There are several places in the Bible that we are urged to stand firm in our faith. I particularly like where the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians to be “watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love, 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 ESV.”

The Apostle Paul was very good at exhorting believers to stand firm in the faith. One fine example of this is in Philippians 3:17-4:1. He told those in Philippi to imitate him and keep their eyes on those who walked according to the example that he had set. Times were tough because there were enemies of the cross, however, Paul reminded the believers of their citizenship in heaven. Therefore, they were encouraged to stand firm in the Lord.

Likewise, there are enemies of the cross still today and we, too, are to stand firm.

Count It as Joy to Contend for the Faith.

In James 1:2-4, we are to count it joy when we meet various trails. Contending for our faith is definitely a trail. This is a testing of our faith which produces steadfastness. In turn, if we let the steadfastness have its full effect in us we will be complete and lack nothing.

Another thing to consider is that we are not left helpless. According to Luke 12:11-13, we don’t need to be anxious in defending ourselves or worry about what to say for the Holy Spirit will teach us what we ought to say.

Nor are we to turn away for Jesus said that if we deny Him He will deny us before the Father. Turning away can be seen as denying Him because one is not standing firm in the faith and acknowledging Jesus before others.

How We Ought to Answer.

Just tell your story! No one can refute it because it is your testimony. In gentleness, love, and truth, give the reason for the hope that is in you. For greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. You have an opportunity to plant a seed in someone else’s heart that only the Holy Spirit can cause to grow and hopefully take root.

Therefore, do not be afraid to speak, for God is with you wherever you go!

How have you had to contend for your faith? Please leave me a comment.

Related link: Be Ready to Give a Reason

If you want to read more on the subject, check out Kate’s link, 15 tips to help win arguments re Christian Faith on social media.

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The Greatest Gift Ever Given!

Gift of faith

What is the greatest gift you ever received?

If you were asked what is the greatest gift that you ever received, what would be your answer? I am sure that there are a number of things that come to mind. Such as a car or maybe a baby would be your answer. How did you respond to the person who gave you that special present?

Well, we have been given the greatest gift ever given. It is a freely given. There are no strings attached. You can’t earn nor can you pay for it. Once received you cannot lose it. This special freely given treasure is referenced several times in the New Testament.Gift

What is it? You Ask.

It is the gift of faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.

Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

How do I know that it is Freely Given?

I find that answer in Romans.

Romans 3:23-25 ESV, 23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.”

Romans 5:15 ESV, “But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.”

Don’t you appreciate a free gift? We all do. But yet, this one is often rejected. This is sad but true.

Nevertheless, when someone receives something of great value as a present there is much excitement and they want to tell everyone about it.

So What are We to do About the Gift that We have Received?

We are to go tell others about it. After all, if you were forgiven a large debt, would you not want to shout it out from the mountaintop? This is what has been done for us through Jesus Christ. Therefore, we should respond as the Apostle Paul did.

2 Corinthians 9:15 ESV, “Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!”[i]

 

 

[i] Scripture references: English Standard Version (ESV)

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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Share of God’s Grace in Your Life!

Share

I Am Called to Share of His Grace.

Well, Community Bible Study has come to an end of another great study in God’s word. Though I missed out on almost two months, God did not leave me void of something to take from it. My take home is His amazing grace and the need to share it with others. We closed out with Share day where we were invited to tell our story of God’s grace.

I was blessed by each woman’s story but especially by the young mothers who stepped up with their babies wrapped close to them. They, too, shared of God’s grace. One told of how she did not grow up with a mother or grandmother and was blessed by the older women in her core group. Another mother told of her 2 year old who was in the children’s program. Her two year old knows of Jesus and encourages her family to prayer before meals. Therefore, this blesses my heart to see young mother’s coming and bringing their children with them so that they will grow up knowing that Jesus is Lord.

Then the Lord inspired me to climb the mountain of stairs to the podium to share of His grace in my life. Our study in Titus has been so encouraging. The last lesson was titled Amazing Grace. I read our memory verses Titus 2:11-12. I spoke of how I was there by the grace of God following the injury to my back. However, the story of His grace in my life was how He transformed me to be able to have an improved relationship with my sister who was blessed with a beautiful little girl, Joanna, almost two years ago.

There is a lot to a Name.

Her name means God is gracious. Two years ago, I feared that I would not be able to connect with her. Yet, God is greater and has blessed me by helping me to reconnect me with my sister. Not only do I have a better relationship with her but my niece has stolen my heart. I am not sure when I will get my heart back. But that’s okay with me.

Yet, there is something more to this last lesson for me. God wants me to share of His grace in my life with others in a tangible way. I am not sure of how just yet but I pray that He will reveal it to me before CBS starts up again in the fall.

Is God calling you to share of His Grace with others?

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How, Lord, Am I to Be Patient in Affliction?

Affliction

What Does It Mean to be Patient in Affliction?

While reading Finding Purpose, Kelsey used Romans 12:11-13 as her verses for reference. What stuck out to me in verse 12 is the patient in affliction, which is defined as a state of pain, distress, or grief: misery. It can also be a cause of mental or bodily pain, as sickness, loss, calamity, or persecution.[2]

Therefore, I pose the question as to how can I be patient in my affliction? First, let’s define patient. Patient as an adjective is defined as bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain, etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger, or the like.[3] Thus I am to endure my state of pain, distress or persecution with fortitude, calm, and without complaining, anger or the like.

However, I am a contradiction to this. I have not endured my pain and discomfort without complaint or anger. As time has progressed, I have gotten accustomed to my pain. Yet, last night, I sadly mistreated my family and I attributed it to my pain. So I want to know how I can refrain from using my pain as an excuse to be unkind and impatient with my family?

Be that as it may, there is hope because with Christ all things are possible. The key is being faithful in prayer. On my own, I am not able to bear my pain and misery with fortitude and calm. Yet, I am enabled to do so through fervent prayer. I don’t know how it happens but God is faithful and will hear me when I pray. Hence, He alone has the power to help me.

Here is My Prayer.

Dear Lord God, I come to You to ask for help in my affliction. On my own, I am not patient and I have been unkind to my family. Please forgive me and help me to be patient and to refrain from using my pain as an excuse. Lord have mercy. Hear my Prayer. Amen.

 

 

 

[2] http://www.dictionary.com/browse/affliction?s=t

[3] http://www.dictionary.com/browse/patient?s=t

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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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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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