Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Heart of a Minister's Wife

     If you were to ask a minister's wife what her life was like, I could almost guarantee it would sound alot like what I am about to write about. First off I am honored to consider myself a minister's wife even if it is not always easy. From a young age, like most girls, I thought I would marry a business man or even a military man but never a pastor.  After meeting my husband he tried his best to explain to me what his life was like and being the daughter of a now associate pastor I thought I knew everything. I was way off. After we were married I quickly learned that our life was going to be much different than I though, not bad but different.
   Many couples that are first married spend there days going to different places on dates or just staying at home enjoying a dinner for two. But for us we opened our doors to the neighborhood youth that needed a place to hang out or a meal to eat. It took me awhile to understand that this was the Lord's way of showing me my ministry. I thought I wanted a quite home where I would have other married couples over for dinner but instead was watching kids hang out in my living room playing video games. Over the years I have come to love these times because I think I would rather them be here than out on the streets doing who knows what.
     Many couples can come home after work and put away their phones and assignments and relax. As a minister it is key that my husband have his phone on him at all times. You never know when you will get a phone call with someone in need.  This too took sometime to adjust to but over the years I have not let it bother me as much. I realized that this was also an important part of his ministry to be available to council those who need a word of encouragement or to know where to pick up someone so they can come and worship at church. I am thankful that I have a husband who can put down the phone so he can help me when I need him or get down on the floor and play with our kids.
    Many couples can go places and not think about who is watching them. As a minister's wife I am called to be set apart not only because I am his wife but because I am to be an example to others. This is a hard thing for me and for several other women out there. Sometimes I would love to just go somewhere and not wonder if the clothes that I am wearing or the expression on my face will be judged later on just because I am a pastor's wife. Even if no one is looking at me I always feel like I am walking with a big sign around my neck that says "pastor's wife."  Please remember that we are sinners saved by grace and just like anyone else we will make mistakes.
     Many couples can spend alot of time as a family. This was the most important thing to me when I accepted my husband hand in marriage. I wanted a family and I wanted to spend alot of time with him. As a minister he sometimes has to spend alot of time away from home. I quickly learned that our family was going to function differently and that I was going to do everything I could to keep us close. We make it appoint to see each other and work together not only because I am his wife but because his ministry is my ministry. We have our own routine that works for us and keeps us connected as a family. Once we had our children some things had to be altered but I make it a point that he gets to spend enough time with them even if it means hold off a little longer on bedtime or staying longer at youth event.  You get out of a relationship what you put in.
     I pray that anyone out there who is also in the ministry won't let it wear you down but that it would be something that glorifies our God. It should be a blessing to serve not a burden. I am honored to be a minister's wife because I have witnessed first hand how God is using my husband to reach out to others and bring them closer to Him.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Acts 6:1-15

Chapter 6:1
    There is really no idea as to how much time passed from now and the previous chapter. The important thing to note is that many were hearing the gospel and becoming believers. This continuous outbreak of believers was starting to overwhelm the disciples. Some of the members of the church, the Hellenistic(Greek) Christians, were not used to the growing number either. The felt like their widows were being neglected because the disciples were so busy.There is no actual evidence to show that they really did suffer.
Chapter 6:2-7
    The twelve disciples seeing an issue arise they called the congregation together and explained the situation. They were not willing to take time out of there preaching to feed people. They wanted a group of men to do this job so they could do theirs. Don't view the disciples as being cold or non caring, they just had a mission from the Lord that came first. They had the congregation nominate men, not women, who the disciples would decide on. In verse 5 the seven men chosen are listed all with Greek names which probably meant they were apart of the Hellenistic Jews. There were hands laid on them and prayer was lifted up to God over them.
Chapter 6:8-15
   In these verses we begin to learn more about one of the men chosen to be the deacon under the disciples. Stephen was a man full of grace and power. He along with many others were performing wonders and healings that were capturing the eye of many. When Jesus commanded to go to all nations, Stephen took this to heart and started venturing out to the Gentiles. They were not happy with this and began to scheme against him. They set up witnesses who told lies against him and his ministry. In verse 15 it is stated that when he began to defend his actions that his face glowed like an angel. I believe that it is safe to say that the glory of the Lord was shining through him and not a coincidence that it would be at the time he was being accused.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Heart for One

      Many of you have heard my testimony when it came to how I met my husband but there is so much more to the story before that. This is for all the girls/women out there who are in the single hood chapter of their life and don't know what the future holds.
      Growing up I never had boyfriends unless you consider having boys who were my friends. I never sat at lunch with a boy or went to the movies on a date. There were a few guys over the years who were interested in me but after praying about them I knew that wasn't what the Lord wanted. Like ever other girl out there I had crushes and when those didn't work out my heart was "broken." Once in high school I thought surely that the Lord was going to give me a boyfriend cause I was a good Christian girl and I "deserved" it. As teenagers we don't know what we deserve. All along God had me in His hand and knew what was best.I never wanted to have a lot of relationships and even went so far as to ask the Lord that only the man who was supposed to be my husband would be the one who asked me out. After graduating from high school with still no dates to speak of I though college would be different. Once I was at college I was once again surrounded by good people and some who were interested but none were who the Lord wanted, except one. I had noticed him at the beginning of my freshman year but quickly dismissed him cause I thought he was out of my league. I went on with my life but I kept hearing things about this one guy. People would talk about how honest and set apart he was. He was one of the most genuine guy they knew. This didn't help my heart because he still didn't know who I was. Months went by and I was still in the same position. Finally I realized the  problem. I was trying to do everything myself instead of giving it to the Lord. He told me to sit and worship with Him everyday and I would be satisfied in Him. So that is what I did. Everyday I sat in our dorm and read my bible. Little did I know that this very act of worship was what made this guy notice me to begin with. Finally after many months of prayer and seeking the Lord, he began to pursue me. That guy is now my husband. He is still a man who is set apart from all the rest and he is the only one who ever asked me out. He is the only one who took the time to get to know me and where my heart was. I can't imagine my life without him.
      After we had been dating for several months we made a big decision about our relationship. We would not kiss until our wedding day. We thought that this would hold us accountable and bring honor to God. This was something that we didn't really share with many so when our wedding day came many were very surprised, especially when they found out it was my very first kiss. In a month we will have been married 3 years and our prayer is that the decisions that we have made and will make in the future will continue to honor God.
     If there is anyone out there who is wondering when their time will come just know that God has His perfect timing and if we let Him take control it will turn out better than we could imagine.

Acts 5:1-42

Chapter 5:1-11
    In the first verse it starts out with the word "but." In the previous chapters we had seen how the church was working together and sharing all they had with each other. But when Ananias and Sapphira are mentioned the mood of the book changes. They not acting like the rest of the church. They had wanted to be apart of the community when it came to giving in front of others but they still wanted some for themselves. When Ananias was in front of Peter, he knew somehow that the couple was lying. They had said they had given all but had really only given a part. The sin wasn't that they withheld some of the money but that they lied about it. No one knows why God decided to judge the man instantly but it sure shook up the people in the community. After dropping dead it wasn't much longer that Ananias wife Sapphira after being questioned the same as her husband also dropped dead. Even though she was being loyal to her husband to follow him she still was acting in sin against the Holy Spirit.
Chapter 5:12-16
     Because of the things that the apostles were doing many people admired them but didn't spend time with them personally. I imagine that it was a little had to be around people who were so on fire for the Lord and you weren't doing the same things as them. The people had such admiration for Peter that they would even put sticks in the road hoping that his shadow would be cast on it and heal people. No where in scripture does it say that his shadow actually healed.
Chapter 5:17-42
    The leaders of the main groups didn't like what they were hearing the disciples do among the people. So they quickly had all twelve arrested probably fast so word wouldn't spread. But that night an angel appeared to them and after telling them to go and preach he released them. The doors were never opened and the guards never knew that they had left. After finding out where they were the leaders had them called back in order to question them. They told the disciples again that they were not to preach an the name of Jesus  but all twelve of them agreed that they were to serve the Lord first before man.  The leaders didn't like this at all and if it weren't for the Pharisee named Gamaliel they probably all would have been killed right then. Gamaliel figured that if the movement wasn't anything big it would die off eventually and if it was something from God then he didn't want to receive wrath from God for it. The disciples were told once again not to preach anymore and then were beaten before getting released. The disciples didn't mind the beating because it meant they had suffered for the Lord. As to be expected they continued to preach everyday at the temple.  How often are we willing to suffer for Jesus because of our actions. Too many times we let our lives get too comfortable.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Acts 4:1-37

Chapter 4:1-31
     We see in these verses the very first arrest among the church. They had had a few months to get their minds and hearts ready but now things would get harder. The head leaders wanting to show their authority heard of two men (Peter and John) preaching and healing and thought they should be arrested. After spending the night in jail and probably surprised that it happened Peter began to preach to the men when they came the next day. The leaders couldn't understand how these followers would have more power then the "church."The church had forgotten who had given them their power to begin with. The Holy Spirit had filled these men and they wanted to tell everyone. Not acting out rashly the leaders decided to let the men go with a strict warning not to preach in the name of Jesus anymore. Peter and John quickly disagreed and said they would keep preaching. After being freed the Peter and John return to friends to report what happened. I believe they all started to realize more what they were in store for in their ministries to come.
Chapter 4:32-37
      These verse portray to us I think exactly what the church should be doing now. People were selling everything and donating it to the church for those in need. Many were doing it mainly so they would be free of worldly things and could move around as the Holy Spirit directed. If we weren't so wrapped up in possessions we would see these great things take place in our own communities.

Acts 3:1-26

Chapter 3:1-10
      In these verses where the first recorded healing by the apostles is listed I had always looked at it from Peter and John's perspective. But when I read it this morning I saw through the eyes of the lame man. Here was a man who from birth had never been able to use his legs but had gone and sat at the gates of the temple everyday to beg. Even though he probably went to that spot hoping for some generosity from the members he still sat by the temple everyday. Then one day two men which he probably saw regularly came up to him and instead of giving him what he wanted they gave him what God wanted.In the name of Jesus they told him to walk. Instantly he was healed.  Here he was hoping for a few pieces of silver but instead received a greater reward. God used those Peter to show that man how powerful He really was. I believe that the once lame man realized this or else he wouldn't have gone in the temple to worship.
Chapter 3:11-26
      Because people had gathered around to see the man who could now walk Peter took this time to now preach the reasons behind it. In verses 11-13 he gives the Old Testament foundations that support that Jesus is truly the Savior.Later on in the passage Peter basically accused the whole crowd of being responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus. He urges them to repent of there sins and be forgiven so that the time of refreshing could begin. In verse 25 the Jews realize that Jesus was the fulfillment of the messianic promise. Through Him they could have a personal relationship.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The power of prayer

     I think for most of my life I have realized that prayer was an important thing in your walk with the Lord but it didn't really sink in till later on. The first time I really remember praying for something and immediately seeing the effects of it was when I was in 3rd or 4th grade. I was riding home with my mom after school and I had a bad headache. When I told her about it she said she didn't have any medicine with her but I could pray and see if it went away. Having faith like a child back then I truly believed He would take away the pain. Instantly after I prayed the pain was gone. That was the Lord showing me at that time that if I came to Him with the small things He would also bless me with the big things. Throughout my life He has revealed Himself more and more to me by His faithfulness. It has never failed that the times that I have gotten on my knees and humbled myself before Him that He has showed me His truths.
      With each of my pregnancies as soon as I find out I have prayed for their protection and growth. When I prayed for my first child I  asked the Lord if the baby was healthy and if I would go to full term. I guess in my mind if I knew that something would go wrong I wanted time to prepare. I clearly heard from the Lord that "Yes" the baby was healthy and I would go to full term. And full term it was. I was actually 3 days past my due date when I had her and even though the labor was very hard she was a healthy beautiful girl. So naturally when I found out I was pregnant for the second time I prayed the exact same prayer but this time I got a different answer. I heard that HE was healthy and that I can't wait for you to see My handy work.  I prayed this when I was only 5 weeks along, well before any doctor could tell me what the gender would be. The Lord never said that he would be a full term baby like my previous one was. I delivered my son a month early and he spent the first month of his life in the NICU. That was the hardest time that my husband and I as well as our families had ever been through. But through it all I saw God's "handy work" in the progress my son would go through and the fact that people all over the world were praying just for him. I was in our room one night trying to fight my emotions partially cause I was worried and partially cause I was just tired of hospitals and I prayed that the Lord would heal him soon. The next day I went to see him and he was off of all the machines and was improving drastically. I have so many other times that the Lord has provided when I called out but these are the ones on my heart today. We serve a God who listens and is faithful to complete the work in us that He has begun. If we aren't asking in selfishness He will answer in His timing.

Acts 2:1-47

Chapter 2:1-13
     Pentecost, also know as the Feast of Weeks was one of the feast of the ancient Judaism. In these verses we find that this had begun and the disciples were gathered together one again. Like nothing they had ever experienced a rush of wind comes through with a great noise and fills the house they were in. God had come to them in the form of the Holy Spirit. He rested on each of their head that were present in the form of  a tongue-like fire. No one flame was bigger than another. Everyone was given equal amounts of God's gifts, plan, and mandate. That wasn't all they were given, they also began to speak in tongues. In this context Luke describes this as different dialects that were understood by others. I am not by any means an expert on this topic so please read these passages to better understand what speaking in tongues is and what the boundaries are.(1 Corin 12 & 14) God did all of this in His own time and it is an interesting thing that He brought this about during a festival where all the faithful from the corners of the world would join together. They became excited and while some joined in with them others just thought that they had had to much to drink.
Chapter 2:14-40
    In verse 14 Peter gives the first apology(defense) in the history of the church. In verse 15-21 he quotes what the prophet Joel had spoke on about the day of the Lord was at hand. As Peter begins to preach more people come if not only to see what the commotion was about. He tells them that Jesus was the Messiah they had heard about for so many years and that David had written about. Jesus was the one who they had arrested and crucified. When the people heard this they were hurt and wondered what they should do. Some not wanting to know walked away but for those who stayed Peter quickly gave them an answer. Repent and be baptized in His name.
Chapter 2:41-47
     Those who received what Peter had to say were immediately baptized. That day 3,000 people joined the church. They began to truly fellowship with each other along with selling everything they had to share with others in need. When was the last time we had that same heart for others that we would give up everything for our brothers/sisters in Christ. We are such a selfish generation.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Acts 1:1-26

   Written by Luke, the book of Acts shows us the history of how Christianity spread following the resurrection of Christ. The first half of the book follows Peter and the latter part of the book is focused on Paul. Both men were missionaries spreading the Gospel to the neighboring nations. The book of Acts is considered a part 2 to the book of Luke because he wasn't finished with his story and Jesus wasn't finished after He resurrected.
Chapter 1:1-5
    In verse one Luke brings out the good point about our Lord. He not only taught but He also went about doing what He preached as well. By His actions He sealed His teachings with authority. He gives instructions to His apostles before He ascends to Heaven to wait until the Holy Spirit came upon them before they left Jerusalem to go off on their missions. The Holy Spirit would empower them to do the work they were commanded to do.
Chapter 1:6-11
     There isn't much detail as to what Jesus did the forty days after He was raised from the dead until now. He must have stayed in contact with His disciples because how else did they all know to meet on the Mount of Olives that day. After they asked Him questions about this being His time to prepare His kingdom Jesus didn't give a specific answer to them but reassured them that the Holy Spirit was coming. In verse 8 He tells them to preach to the nations even the ends of the earth. I had never really thought about it but the apostles had no idea just how big this world was. If Jesus wouldn't have told them to reach out they may have just stayed locally and the church wouldn't have spread at that time. After Jesus said all He needed to do He was taken up in the clouds to be seated at the right hand of God until the second coming. The disciples who had watched Him go were greeted by two men, probably angels, who told them He was gone but would return again the way He left. Only Luke talks about the ascension out of all the Gospels. He seemed to keep very detailed accounts of Jesus ministry from beginning to end.
Chapter 1:12-26
     The disciples along with over a hundred others return to the upper room after Jesus' ascension. The upper room was the central place to many of the disciples events previously so it makes sense that they would go there. It was here that Peter stands up and voices the fact that they needed to replace Judas, who had previously hung himself, with a new person. Judas was to be replaced not because he died but because he was defected.There still needed to be twelve disciples to parallel with the twelve tribes. Two men were mentioned, Joseph(Justus) and Mattias. Each of these men needed to be followers of Jesus from the time of John the baptist and must have witnessed the resurrection. After the other disciples had prayed about it and voted they announced it would be Mattias who would fulfill the remaining spot.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Joel 3:1-21

Chapter 3:1-3
     In these first few verses Joel refers back to what he spoke on in chapter 2 about the day of the Lord at hand and how He will would judge the nations around Judah (Israel). The nations are being judged because of how they treated God's chosen. They had divided up the land, casted lots against them, and turned them into slaves.
Chapter 3:4-8
     I love these verses because God is defending His people with a vengeance. He list in verse 4 the actual cities that have wronged His people and then goes into detail in the next verses about He will show judgement. The basic message that is portrayed is that if these people didn't repent and recompense what they had taken God was going to do worse on them. I am thankful that I serve a just God.
Chapter 3:9-17
     In verse 9 Joel is proclaiming to the people to be prepared for war. When things like this are proclaimed from God's messengers the people are to prepare by getting offerings and lifting up prayers. In verse 10, every available person, even the weak, along with anything that can be used as a weapon are called to action. All the people of the nations were then called to go to the valley of Jehoshaphat but while they were thinking it was for battle it really was so that they would all be together for judgement. Based on the how Joel describes all of these events would tell us that he was off in the distance watching all of the signs unfold. God wanted the people of Judah to see that He would protect and take care of them.
Chapter 3:18-21
    These verses are just reiterating the fact that God will replenish the land of Judah and they will be taken care of forever. However Egypt and Edom will be quite different, becoming like wilderness and a waste. In the last verse it concludes with the promise from God that He will avenge their blood which have yet to be avenged.

Joel 2:1-32

Chapter 2:1-11
       In the first two verses Joel speaks out again that the day of the Lord is near because of the massive locust plague. It says that there were so many locusts swarming that they blackened the light. Joel compares this cloud of blackness to an approaching army that would bring great destruction along with it. Joel writes out a picture of what it appears like to him in verses 5-10. But when it comes to verse 11 we see just how strong our God is. He utters His voices and they follow and carry out His word.
Chapter 2:12-17
      Even though all this has happened and it is late it isn't too late for the people to repent and turn to Him. It was a common thing  back then for people to tear their clothes when they were mourning or upset. But in verse 13 God doesn't want their garments, He wants their broken hearts. He is a forgiving, gracious, and a compassionate God. In verse 15 Joel says to blow the trumpet and make preparations for a fast. The priest were supposed to be in charge of getting the congregation together and heading up a group wide fast but back in chapter 1 we found out that the priest had abandoned their duties because of everything going on. In verse 17 all the nations around Judah were mocking them and God because they couldn't see how God could be a God who couldn't take care of His people during this rough time. They like so many didn't understand the ways of our God and just how merciful He was actually being toward them.
Chapter 2:18-27
     In these several verses the land of Judah are about to see just how gracious their God is. He is jealous for His land and has pity for them. He promises them that He will give them food, clear out the locusts, bring refreshing rain, and restore to them the protection over their land. Among many other things God restores to them what they have lost and reminds them that He is, was, and will always be there. His people will never be put to shame.
Chapter 2:28-32
    God would pour His Spirit on ALL the people of Judah to sustain them. Nothing in this contexts indicates that these people would proclaim anything or evangelize to the other nations but instead would have a close relationship with God. In the last verses we see that those who are faithful and call to God will be saved. There will be many signs around us to proclaim that the day of the Lord has come. It isn't a physical membership that brings us deliverance but only when we answer His call. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Joel 1:1-20

   This book was written by Joel, a prophet, who was an eyewitness of the things he writes about. Based on what he writes it would appear that he knew the Judah area personally as well as Jerusalem. He is pleading with the people to repent in their hearts because he thought that the locust plague was a result of God's judgement on them.
Chapter 1:1-4
   The plague of locust that was so destructive is what formed the occasion for the word of the Lord to come to Joel. The plague was followed by a drought which inevitably led to a famine. He addresses the elders mainly because they had seen many plagues in their time. They are to warn their sons and the following generations about these plagues. This particular plague was bad because the locust kept coming in waves, eating what the others had left behind.
    In verse 5 Joel urges the drunkards to wake up so that they will know what is going on around them. The plague was big that there wasn't a number to be put on it. They were so destructive the locust were compared to lions teeth and fangs. In verse 7 he describes the outcome of the fig tree and wine branches which can be compared the outcome of Judah. Verse 8 the image of a bride wailing is mentioned. The distress caused by the plague is compared to a virgin bride who has suddenly lost her future husband and now has wrapped herself in a black sackcloth made out of goat's hair. The remainder of the verse speak on the land and the people who work it.Once again Joel urges the people to repent and turn to the Lord.
Chapter 1:15-18
     Joel strongly believes that all that has happened with the plague was an omen from the Lord. When he said that the day of the Lord was near he was talking about the judgement that would come upon them. Before their eyes lands were dried up, no food was in the sheds, and animals were dying off. The people had lost their gladness and joy. It should have been obvious the lessons that were in front of them.
Chapter 1:19-20
     Joel cries out to the Lord because both man and beast were suffering. In verse 20 it says that even the wild animals of the field pant for God. At that point everything was destroyed by fire and they had nothing else to turn to but God.

* Here in the south, we have had an outbreak of cicadas and now we are going days sometimes weeks without rain. In no way are we suffering like the people of Judah but we are getting a taste of what it might have been like for them during their plague and droughts. I pray that we see what the Lord is trying to teach us so that we may bring Him praise.

Ephesians 6:1-24

Chapter 6:1-4
    In the first verse there is so question as to what Paul is implying on his readers when it comes to obeying your parents in the Lord. Does this mean that children should obey their parents only if they are Christians or does it mean that children should obey no matter what their parents say. This is a topic that I can imagine would be hard for some families who are not equally yoked but that is a whole other topic. My personal believe is that a child should obey their parent Christian or not as long as they are within biblical means. A child shouldn't disrespect a parent if they are not being biblical but as Christians we are called to follow Christ and His teachings. The promise God gives us in verse 3 is that if we honor our parents/elders then we will live long on the earth. Our society as a whole would be so much better if people would apply this commandment to their lives. There is a special note to the parents here in verse 4 as well. They do have authority over their children but they should cause their children to be angry with them. As parents we are to instruct and discipline our children not provoke them.
Chapter 6:5-9
    These verse speak on how a slave and a master should treat each other. It makes you wonder why Christians back then didn't appose slavery but I think that since it was such a large spread action that they didn't realize it could change. Makes you wonder what we are doing now that down the road will be changed because it is wrong.  The slave here was instructed to be devoted to his master and not just do well when his master was looking. The masters were not to overpower his slaves in order to manipulate or intimidate. Even the master has a Master, our heavenly Father.
Chapter 6:10-13
     Paul instructs us to put on the whole armor of God so that we can defend ourselves from the enemy not just humans but also divine. Evil powers are something that we shouldn't take lightly. Paul repeats himself over and over again to stand firm.
Chapter 6:14-17
    The first step a solider must do is to gird his loins. In ancient times men would wear long robes and this would sometimes hinder them from running properly. They would pull up the fabric and tie it around their waist with a Belt. The belt represents truth because a Christian can not be tripped up by any untruth in his own life. The Breastplate, which protected the heart and lungs, represents righteousness. We defend ourselves from evilness when we are obedient to God.  The Shoes of the Gospel of peace was also an important part. A pair of bad shoes would slow down a solider. If we have the Gospel it will not slow us down. The Shield of faith mentioned in this passage was a large one that covered the whole body. Back then they were made of leather and soaked in water to protect the soldier from flaming arrows.  When we have faith in the Lord He will protect us from the enemy.  The Helmet protects the most vulnerable part of the body, the head. This represents salvation and when a person is saved they can hold their head high knowing that they have eternal life.Finally we have a defense against the enemy and that is the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. The bible holds all the answer we would ever need to fight off the enemy.
Chapter 6:18-20
    We are to be in constant prayer especially when we are putting on the armor. Paul also asks for prayer to be bold when he witnesses. He is committed to the Gospel and doesn't ask to be released from prison but to be empowered t speak.
Chapter 6:21-24
    Paul closes the book out by speaking about the messenger Tychicus who would be telling the people the updates about Paul and what he is doing in prison. This man had an important role in Paul's ministry even though we don't hear alot of details about him.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ephesians 5:1-33

Chapter 5:1-2
      We are to be imitators of the Lord. If we are to walk in love the only way to come close would be to act like Him. I love verse 2 because it is something that I can picture clearly in my head. The verse ends by saying that "a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma". I think of the times when I have a candle burning in my house and how wonderful it makes the house smell. It is pleasing to me that the candle has a nice smell and changes the atmosphere of my house. "A fragrant aroma here means pleasing to God. Christ was the sacrifice and His actions and obedience was pleasing to God and changed to atmosphere of the world.
Chapter 5: 3-14
     In these several verses Paul begins to warn against immorality.  He talks about how the very word shouldn't even be named in their presence but they should act like the saints. The basic point that he wanted to get across is that if we are spending our time talking about perverse things or even just foolishness then we are not praising our Lord. In verse 5 when he lists these people who will not inherit the kingdom it isn't because their sin is worse than any other but because they have allowed their sin/lifestyle to control them instead of God. If God isn't in control of your life than you can't have His kingdom. The latter part of these verses speaks on not following the darkness but to stay in the light. If we are in the light then fruit will be seen and this glorifies God.
Chapter 5:15-21
    We are to take advantage of the time we have because the end is getting closer and closer and the world is getting worse and worse. We need to use the light that we have to get rid of the darkness in the world. We need to be constantly praising the Father for what He has done and what He will do. When we gather with other Christians it need to be a nice of encouragement and praise. This doesn't mean you have to always sit around singing hymns but it does mean don't act foolishly so as to ruin your name/testimony. 
Chapter 5:22-24
     When we are married there are several things we need to learn in order to respect our spouse and ultimately bring honor to God. The big one is submissiveness. This isn't an independent act by one but is mutual action. When it comes to the wife's role this submission isn't forced on you but instead it should be your desire. If the husband is the head of the house like Christ over the church then alot of the same principles apply. No one forced you to accept Christ but rather it was a decision that wanted to act on, same is with marriage. As women we are to want to let the husband be in charge of our family because God has hand picked that man out specifically for you. In our house we discuss things together but in the end the decision made is what my husband feels like the Lord is telling him to do.
Chapter 5:25-33
     For the husbands they are to love their wives as Christ loves His church. No where in this chapter does it tell the husbands to overpower or show authority over their wives but instead it tells them to love. He is to cherish her and to want to see her pure. When they are married they are to become one flesh with more regard to the other than themselves. They are not to depend on the people around them even the parents but on each other and God. If Christ is the center of the relationship then the two will be closer and work together better as a one with love and respect.

* I feel like we as Christians don't act with readiness for the Lord and let so much time pass before we do anything in His name. What are you doing for His kingdom or even better, how long has it been since you did something for His kingdom?

Ephesians 4:1-32

Chapter 4:1-3
     With most of Paul's letters the first half are spent telling us about the truths of redemption and the last half tell us how to apply those truths to our lives. These first few verses start us off on the second half. The Christian faith doesn't just end with God's grace. It is a lifestyle that we must walk daily to reach the goal. We are to love others and to ultimately bring glory to God. Love is the background to all the qualities listed in verse 2 which are supposed to be used toward uniting the church.
Chapter 4:4-6
     There are several things that are facts when it comes to the unity of Christians. 1) that we are one body of believers with Christ as the head. 2) is that there is one Spirit at work in each of our lives. The same power throughout all believers. 3) there is one Lord who brings together the believers. If we are united with Christ then we can't be opposed to our "brother." 4) is that there is one faith which equals a unite of hope. 5) there is one baptism that marks the beginning of each believers walk. 6) and finally there is one God. We were all created by one God, saved by one God, protected by one God. Our faith is not divided among many which would lead to hopelessness.He is active in all of us.
Chapter 4:7-16
     In these verses Paul speaks on the diversity within the body. He has a gift that He gives to all without holding back but that is personally fitted to each believer. The main gift He gives us is the Holy Spirit but within the Holy Spirit there is a variety of gifts that are to be used within the church. 1)apostles-they were to give true accounts of the gospel and start the missionary movement. 2) Prophets- known as speaking with authority 3)Evangelist (missionaries) are capable of communicating with people outside of the church 4) Pastors- to sheppard over the body. We as a whole are to build up the church and not bring it down by our immaturity in the faith. When we act childish we are not glorifying Him and His kingdom.
Chapter 4: 17-24
     Paul with a urgent manner tells us not to walk in the ways of the Gentiles but rather in knowledge and wisdom. Gentiles walked in dark places and with harden hearts. We are to take off our old ways as if it were like a coat that we no longer want to wear or even have. When we do this a new person is revealed, one who want to follow after Him.
Chapter 4:25-32
     Each of these last verses represent examples of a new way of life.  (vs 25) speaking the truth, (vs 26-27) dealing with anger, (vs 28) honest work, (vs 29) gracious speech, (vs 30) harmony with the Spirit, (vs 31-32) Christlike relationships- not a dating relationship but everyone. Look at each of these categories and if there is one or more that you feel you need to pray about please do so that God can continue His work in you to completion. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ephesians 3:1-21

Chapter 3:1-6
    Paul opens up by identifying himself as a prisoner for Christ. He felt so strongly toward the Jews and the Gentiles uniting that he even went to prison. As the verses go on, Paul continues to elaborate the role of God in our lives for the Gentile Christians who may have not known the background. The next few verse are just referring back to what Paul had once said about the Gentiles now knowing the "mystery" because they were apart of the body. In verse 6 the Gentiles Christians are now put in the "line up" alongside other believers. They are heirs, members, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ.
Chapter 3:7-13
    Paul speaks on how he was made a minister not because he chose it but because it was a gift from God. He received his strength from God who was not distant but right there with him.God's grace in verse 8 is simply stated as "unfathomable." We can not measure, out reach, or see the end of His grace. If that isn't hope I don't know what is. God has a plan for us and through Jesus Christ we receive it. He uses us as a church body to tell of His wisdom to those who do not know. This plan that He gives us also brings about boldness and faith and because of that we should stay strong when hard times come.
Chapter 3:14-19
     These verses are a prayer that Paul had started in verse 1 but decided to wait to finish until now. The main focus on the prayer was about the inner life of a believer and their personal relationship with God. The following are the request that Paul seeks in his prayer; 1) inner strength through God and 2) that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith. In verses 18 and 19 the prayer is more focused on the people having spiritual understanding. He wanted them/us to be filled with the fullness of God. As Christian we sometimes know the unknowable because we have God who gives us wisdom.
Chapter 3:20-21
     God is going to continue to reveal new things to us through Christ. He has been faithful to do so from the beginning and will continue to do so till the end of time.

* May we seek to find new things through His word daily and let Him use us as a church to glorify His Kingdom.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ephesians 2:1-22

Chapter 2:1-3
    Paul focuses on the work of Christ in the lives of His followers. In verse 1 it refers to to Christians who realize that they were once dead but now that they are follower of Christ they have a new life. They were dead because they lived in sin and followed the ways of the world.
Chapter 2:4-7
    These verses start out the best way, "But God." God has intervened and with His mercy and love He shows He is not only a God of wrath. Paul portrays the picture of us as believers being right there with Jesus at His resurrection, ascension, and enthronement. How much more of a personal relationship can there be. In verse 7 he says that "He will show us the riches of His grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus." The future is bright and His kindness is love in action.
Chapter 2:8-10
     These few verses best sum up the Gospel in the New Testament. Please read these verses because the Bible states it better than I can. Our God is generous, a Savior, and a Redeemer. He uses the word "faith" which is easily put as having the total openness to let God in and take control. God expresses how His plan for our lives includes a walk, a course of living.
Chapter 2:11-18
    Now Paul is not speaking just to one Christian but to a group of believers. He speaks to those who are Gentiles about how they disobeyed the covenant that Moses had made with God when it came to circumcision. By that act of disobedience they had separated themselves from God, but now by the blood of Christ are brought closer to Him. By His grace He broke the barriers between the Jews and the Gentiles and formed a union which had not been there previously.
Chapter 2:19-22
     The Gentiles were now official citizens of the area they were living in but also members of the family of God. This family was to be a structure that God could dwell in and be the cornerstone (the main support). The base of the structure were the apostles and the prophets. Together we dwell as one with Jesus right in the middle. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ephesians 1:1-23

     Ephesus was the most important city in Asia Minor (now Turkey) because it was the center of the trade routes. Because of this increase in population Paul focused alot on this city for about three years. The main theme of this book was to show God's eternal purpose and grace along with speaking on unity of all believers in the family of God. It is said that Paul probably wrote this letter during his two year imprisonment in Rome.

Chapter 1:1-2
    In the first verse Paul calls himself an apostle meaning one who is sent. This term was usually used by the 12 disciples but Paul often referred to himself as one.  He also states the main theme in this verse as well, "the will of God". We serve a God of purpose and we are sent out to fulfill this purpose.
Chapter 1:3-6
    Verse 3 speaks on the blessings that we receive from God through Jesus. Blessings here on earth are just a small taste of what we will receive once we are in His presence. In verse 4,  Paul speaks in awe that he was hand picked by the Father before the world was even created. This verse and verse 5 speak on predestination. These verse do not state anything about others not being picked by God because God desires us all to be His, but it is mainly Paul just speaking out of excitement that he is serving a great God. We have nothing to do but praise Him when it comes to the grace He has given us through His Son.
Chapter 1:7-10
     "Redemption" to give his life as a ransom for many. Through His blood on the cross we have been "bought" and set free. Imagine being a slave to someone for years and years and then one day out of nowhere someone comes and buys you and then sets you free. Wouldn't you be overjoyed with gratitude? So should we be toward our Buyer, Redeemer, Savior. In verse 9 he talks about the "mystery that He has made known to us." Before Christ was on earth God's will was a mystery in a sense to believers other than to trust and believe in Him. Now we have Christ and He constantly reveals new things to us. God has an ultimate plan that we all be united toward Him as a body of believers.
Chapter 1:11-14
      These verses show us the promise we have in Christ. We were given the Holy Spirit as a seal or promise that we will have eternal life with Him and by that promise we should praise Him because we have hope.
Chapter 1:15-19
      In ancient times it was customary to include a prayer in letters. It is thought that Paul did not know these people very well and even so he said he prayed continuously for them because he had heard of their great faith. He prayed for a spirit of wisdom and knowledge of Him. In verse 18 it says that "you may know the hope of His calling."  Back then when they said hope it was out of confidence where as today we say it when we are not sure if something will come to pass.
Chapter 1:20-23
      These verses demonstrate just how powerful God is. He not only raises Jesus from the dead but He seats Him at His right hand to have authority over EVERY name from then till the end of time. That includes not just us but also the false gods and idols. In Hebrews 2:8-9 it refers to this passage and says that we have not yet seen all the things that are subject to Him yet. There is still so much that we do not know about His power but in time it will all come to pass.

*This chapter had so much information on it that I felt like I had to just hit the highlights so please study these verses and see what else He reveals to you.

Monday, June 13, 2011

3 John 1:1-15

Background-  John is writing to his friend, Gaius, who is a leader in the church. He praises and encourages him on the good work he is doing along with condemning another man by the name of Diotrephes for going against his (John) teachings.

Chapter 1:1-4
   Gaius that John speaks of was probably the pastor of the church or if not the main layman. He is not fully identified as to which Gaius he is. There are a few mentioned in the following passages; Acts 19:29, Acts 20:4, 1 Cor 1:14, and Romans 16:23. Whoever he was John was very excited to hear that he was a man of integrity and following the truth. John also showed great admiration that the church members were walking in truth as well.
Chapter 1:5-8
   Even though in 2 John John spoke warnings against being hospitable to travelers, here he is praising Gaius for doing that very thing. I am assuming that Gaius had a reputation for discernment to know who was really a true believer. It says in verse 6 that these strangers would testify in front of the church about his hospitality and godly manner.
Chapter 1:9-10
   John calls out Diotrephes for being a man of pride and putting his own interests before the church. Like Gaius it is unclear as to what role Diotrephes really has in the church. It is thought that both men were probably head pastors over this particular church. In verse 10 it is said that he doesn't show hospitality toward any of the missionary travelers and even forbids them in a way from attending their church. He has made himself a dictator over the congregation according to what he thinks is right.
Chapter 1:11-15
    John praises Demetrius for his moral integrity like that of Gaius. Demetrius was probably the one who delivered the letter to Gaius. As in 2 John, John doesn't want to write anymore because he hopes to visit them soon in person. The way John words his final remarks in verse 15, "the friends greet you", he was probably surrounded by Christian friends who want to say hello to Gaius as well.

* It stood out to me the most in this passage that when two men with very different approaches  toward the church take charge of the church how unstable a church can be. Even though there were members who were following the truth, there were probably just as many doing the opposite like Diotrephes. My prayer is that we follow the ways of the Lord and not man.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

2 John 1:1-13

This book/chapter is short and sweet but it carries a big message.

     The background to this book is that in the early centuries after Christ, the gospel was taken from place to place by traveling evangelists. People would take these men into their homes and give them a place to stay and provisions for the rest of their journey. Gnostic teachers (which we studied about in 1 John) also relied on this practice as well. 2 John was written to urge discernment by these homes when it came to supporting these travelers.
Chapter 1:1-3
    John opens by calling himself and "elder." This could either be an official title that the disciples used to be called or because he was speaking to a group of younger people. It is not very clear which though. The same goes for the phrase "the chosen lady and her children." This could either be because he was actually speaking to a woman and her children of that the church is the woman and the members her children. Based on the rest of the passage it would seem that the church and its members fits best. In verse 3 he speaks on three very important words Grace, Mercy, and Peace.  Grace means having favor and Peace means wholeness(physical, mental, and spiritual). Mercy is a combination of love and pity to which it always seeks the best for its objects.
Chapter 1:4-6
    John was so excited to hear what the members of the church had been doing for those around them. They were following the love commandment that was mentioned previously in 1 John.  They were truly acting out on what they were been taught.
Chapter 1:7-11
    John really speaks against the false teachers in these verse. It can be said that he was referring to the Gnostic teachers that he spoke on in 1 John. He is warning the people not to open their doors to them or even give them a greeting. Back then when people invited guest into their homes it was a big gesture. It involved fellowship and acceptance. John doesn't want the people to push aside the teachings of Christ  that they have learned in order to accommodate a false teacher.
Chapter 1:12-13
     John seemed to be a very personal man and would rather speak face to face with someone then on paper. This shows me that he had a boldness about him and that he was easily intimidated. In verse 13 he speaks of a "chosen sister" which he probably meant a sister church to the one that they were members of.

* After studying this passage I thought about how many people we have had stay at our home over the years, each with their own stories and testaments. My prayer is that we have never allowed or will allow someone who is going against the teachings of the Lord to come in and corrupt our hearts.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

1 John 5:1-21

Chapter 5:1-5
   The theme of love continues by John speaking on ultimately whoever believes in God is His child and He loves His children. The term "child of God" literally means "has been begotten by God." In verse 2 it talks about how if we are children of God then we need to love all children of God. By doing this act of love it is necessary that we keep His commandments because they are not burdensome for us. Even though no one is able to keep the commandments perfectly He still enables us to try. Verse 5 speaks about "faith that overcomes the world". This isn't just any kind of faith, but faith in Jesus as the Son of God.
Chapter 5:6-12
   There is some dispute about what verse 6 is actually talking about when it says "came by water and blood". The 1st theory is that it refers to baptism and the Lord's Supper (these don't really fit with John's words). The 2nd is that it is symbolic for the water and blood that came from Jesus' side on the cross after He was speared. The 3rd which fits the context of the passage the best is that the water refers to when Jesus was baptized and the Holy Spirit came down on Him and the blood is when Jesus died on the cross. The second part of verse 6, John is  once again disputing the Gnostic doctrine. They taught that Jesus was born an ordinary man, God "adopted" Him at baptism, and dismissed Him at the cross. So when it says "not with water only" this is what John is referring to. In verse 12 the scripture is written in an either or matter when it comes to salvation. You either have life with Jesus or you don't, there is no neutral ground.
Chapter 5:13-15
    Verse 13 is the main theme of 1 John and what he really wanted the readers to remember. That Christians would have assurance that they are a child of God and with this assurance they would have encouragement and boldness to pray to Him for anything.(14)  There are two main things to remember when we pray; not to  ask in selfish demand and not to ask timidly with no real expectancy that God will answer.
Chapter 5:16-17
   These verse are surrounded by alot of questions as to what John actually was talking about when he says "sin leading to death and sin not leading to death" We are not sure if he was speaking on spiritual or physical death. Within each of those topics there are even more questions but to continue on I am afraid that I will either confuse you more or just bring up unneeded questioning. To the best of my knowledge it would seem that he is speaking on blasphemy against the Holy Spirit by an unbeliever. It would be best if you looked at these verses and thought about them yourselves. (Hebrews 6:4-8;10:26-31  James 5:19-20  Acts 5:1-11  1 Cor 11:30)
Chapter 5:18-21
    These verses are mainly focused on assurance again in the Lord. In verse 18 when it says that "the evil one does not touch him" these doesn't mean that we won't ever be tempted but that Satan can never cause permanent harm to us. (John 10:28) The ending of this epistle is very strange if you just read the words and don't think about it. John closes by saying "guard yourselves from idols." If you really think about it, anything we put in front of God is considered an idol. This isn't just talking about material things but could also be geared toward false teachings and other mental things. By having any form of an idol would be breaking the first commandment and we would be going against what John has spoken about throughout these past five chapters.

* I am so thankful that I have assurance in Him and know that He is always with me. I will start 2 John and 3 John tomorrow.

1 John 4:1-21

Chapter 4:1-6
    John warns against evil spirits that are out in the world. In verse 2 we are given a promise that if we have the Holy Spirit in us then no evil spirit can be within us either. He is mainly just warning the people to open their eyes to what is around them. In verse 6 he brings out the point that since we have communication with God then we will notice the evil spirits by who listens to us and who doesn't. "By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error."
Chapter 4:7-12
    Again he speaks on love in these verses from now till the end of the chapter. God is the source of love and expects us to be proper channels of love to those around us.  In verse 10 and 19 it talks about God taking the initative not us because of His love to send us His only Son. When we love one another, God's love is more and more perfected in us.
    Paul continues to reassure the people that they are saved because the Holy Spirit is within them. He also brings out the big point that not only he but also several others have actually seen Jesus. He knew that Jesus was really sent to save us from our sins. John walked beside Jesus for three years, watch His miracles, listened to His words and then stood at His feet when He died. Because of this assurance and promise we as Christians can have confidence when Christ comes again that we will not perish.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

1 John 3:1-24

~So I had an extra burst of energy tonight and was able to study through another chapter.
 Chapter 3:1-3 Children of God 
     We are blessed to have such a great title given to us when we come to know the Lord. We become children of God. What a comfort that is in itself. For the people who do not have a personal relationship with Him they can not understand what this feels like. Peter states this truth in the passage of Acts 5:29-32. In verse 3 it talks about purifying ourselves so that we will be pure like Christ. The is also call sanctification. As Christians we should be constantly growing closer to the Lord. By us doing this He will continue to make us more complete in Him till the day He returns.
 Chapter 3: 4-10
    The word "lawlessness" in vs 4 is another term for antinomianism. Yeah I know big, crazy word. This is another form of the Gnostic teachings if I understood correctly. They believed that there were certain people who were not subject to the moral law. I guess they thought that they could live in sin and not have the consequences for it. If we are Christians we shouldn't have sin be a main characteristic of our lives since it was not that way in Christ's life.
 Chapter 3:11-18
    These verses speak on how we should love one another. The example of Cain and Able is listed because it portrays the perfect setting of how a brother who had hatred in his heart was willing to murder his brother who was seen a man who was righteous. In verse 15 when it says that a murder doesn't have eternal life within him, this doesn't mean that murder is an unforgivable sin. Our God forgives if we repent. John is just making the point that if there is hatred in our hearts than how can we say we are a child of God.
 Chapter 3:19-24
     These verses really stuck out to me cause it talks about the power of prayer.  In vs 22 it says that He will give what we ask if we keep His commandments and do what is pleasing to Him. Now this doesn't mean that He will gives us every little thing we ask for. It all depends on our hearts and motives. James 4:3 says that, "if you ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may not spend it on your pleasures."  We can't be selfish with our prayers. God will give us just what we need exactly when we need it.  And lastly in verse 24 it gives us proof that we are true believers if the presence of the Holy Spirit is in our lives. (Romans 5:5, 8:16)

*First today, please check your hearts and see if there is any hatred towards your fellow believers. If there is repent of it and give it all to the Lord. Ask that He will take this struggle away.
*Second, as you begin to pray next time see if your heart is in the right place. Don't let selfishness hinder you from receiving God's blessings. From personal experience, whenever I have truly asked the Lord for something on my knees, He has always been faithful to bless me and usually in ways I hadn't imagined.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

1 John 2:1-29

     Alright this chapter has alot of info in it so I hope I don't loose anyone.
Chapter 2: 1-6    Christ is our Advocate (helper, comforter, called alongside)
          In John's opening statement when he refers to little children he is not really talking to a group of kids but rather is showing a sincere side or concern for the people. He keeps mentioning the word sin throughout the passage and this I believe is more geared towards the "acts" of sin than someone having a sinful lifestyle. Because Christ is our Advocate He then steps in and completes us. We ourselves will never be perfect and that is why through Christ and only Him we are able to have eternity with God. In verse 4 it begins to talks about "His Commandments." This isn't referring to the 10 Commandments that God gave Moses but instead it talking about the passage John 13:35 that commands us to love and then also in Matthew 28:19-20 where we are to share His Word (bear witness to Him).
 Chapter 2: 7-11   In verse 7 it is stated that he is not writing a new commandment but an old one that they already knew about. This is talking about how usually the first thing most Christians learn first is to love. Not only God but your neighbor as well. Look at  Deut. 6:5 and Lev. 19:18. John also writes about a new commandment as well seen in John 13:34, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another." John continues to say later on in the passage that if we hate our brother that we are in darkness and does not know what he is doing. Hate =self-destruction.
 Chapter 2: 12-17  In verse 12 it mentions little children again like in the opening but this time it is not determined if it is referring to actual children or the beginning stage of Christianity. There are three levels that are talked about each illustrates a different level of knowledge or strength. The "children" know that there is a God and that they are forgiven, the "fathers" are mature in their knowledge, and the young men are strong and have overcome struggles. You will have to read these verses closely to see which area you believe John is talking about. In 15 it states that we are not to love the world. This isn't talking about not loving the people in the world but not to love any opposition against God.  Read Romans 8: 19-20-23 to better understand what John is talking about when he says the world will pass away. The earth awaits purification and renewal.
 Chapter 2:18-23  In this part of the Scripture John writes about the last hour is near. He truly thought that the Lord would return during his lifetime. We have to remember that John was an eyewitness to all the things Jesus did during his ministry. Not only was Jesus His teacher but He was also his close friend. Why wouldn't John not want Jesus to return soon. The big topic in this group of verses is the appearance of the Antichrist (against Christ). Yes one day there will be a main Antichrist that will come but this is not what John is referring to. He is stating that the Gnostic teachers were all around them then and they were denying Christ and God of their power. He is asking the people to acknowledge that these teachers are spreading lies and are not of truth.
 Chapter 2:24-29   When we are anointed by Him, He will teach us all the things that are truth we need. When we learn these things we then need to follow what He says. This will give us boldness and we won't back away when He returns. By knowing these things we will recognize righteousness in others and know that they are also believers in Him.

* As Christian we need to be on  constant alert that we are not letting false teachers fill our minds and hearts with wrong doctrine. If you question something you hear from someone, please take the time to sit down and research it in the Scriptures for yourself.

1 John 1: 1-10

    After talking with my husband I decided to dig into 1 John. My goal is to do at least a chapter a day maybe more depending on how long my kids let me study.
    Theme and Message   written by the apostle John he has two key things he wants to share 1) to reveal false teachers and  2) to help believers be assured of their salvation.
     Chapter 1: 1-4  John is very excited to share the Word with those around him, so excited he repeats himself alot. He was an eyewitness to the life of Jesus and knew that He was truly the Son of God. There were many people during that time who said they were believers but in reality didn't believe that Jesus was really God in man form (manifested).  These people were known as Gnostics and John spends the first verse here trying to dispute what they believe.  In verse 4 he talks about wanting to have complete joy. When we are truly fellowshipping with one another in the Lord there is no way that we can't have joy. Joy shouldn't be based on things that are going on around us but what we know for sure in our hearts. Good example would be Paul rejoicing while he was in prison, "Rejoice in the Lord always." ( Phil. 4:4)
    Chapter 1: 5-10   Throughout Scripture Jesus is constantly referred to as "the Light". When we are in an area that is well lite we are going to be able to see what is going on and know where to go. When we walk with the Lord He is going to show us where we need to go every step of the way. The problem is that so many people say they are walking with the Lord but really are going against Him. The scripture says that when we say we have not sinned or that there is no sin in our hearts that we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. (vs8) By saying we have no sin we are in effect making God out to be a liar, which in no way is this possible. To put it even more simply, to say we have no sin in our lives would be like saying we were just as good as God and that is self-righteousness. Thankfully we serve a forgiving God and when we repent to Him are sins He is faithful and righteous to forgive and cleanse us.

* Please take time now to see if there is any sin that you are denying that you have in your life. When you  allow Jesus to show you what those sins are ask Him to cleanse you from them.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How I came to be a Follower

At age six I came to know the Lord as my Savior. Throughout grade school I was the poster child of a good Christian. Now don't get me wrong I wasn't doing bad things but I also wasn't doing anything to glorify Him either. I was just living my life without picking up my cross. It wasn't until I was 17 that I realize how off the path I really was. I had being going through what I would consider a depression and honestly thought that no one really loved or even liked me other than my parents and close family. I didn't want to live the rest of my life in this lonely state that I was in. One night I guess I just hit rock bottom and in the middle of my bedroom floor I fell to my knees and cried out to Him. I kept asking Him why He would give me this life but not give me the desires of my heart. After a long night of crying I feel asleep on the floor and had a few dreams. Each dream was a glimpse of a scene, each with me in the middle them. The first was me walking down the isle on my wedding day to my groom. I only saw the back of  his head not his face. The next I was in the hospital holding a dark haired baby in my arms. And the last, I was in the middle of a field of a foreign land surrounded by children of different nationalities. When I woke up I asked the Lord what He was trying to tell me. He told me that one day I would have the desires of my heart but that I had to wait on HIS timing. He gave me those dreams to reassure me that they would come. I am very grateful to say that as of today each of those dreams has come to pass, each in their own time. I met my husband in college but only after the Lord had me go through several years of depending on Him and falling in love with Him first. I have two children who are both healthy and beautiful. Over the last few years between my husband and myself we have been to every continent (except Antarctica) and seen countless come to know the Lord. I continue to wait patiently on the Lord to see what else He has in store for me.