Baptism at Singles Retreat - 147 Baptized!!!

*******************Baptism at Singles Retreat 147 Baptized!!! ***********************

* Sharing times in the Word and looking for growth. Let's Commune Together!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The great leveler

Scripture Read: Scripture Read: 2 Peter 1:1-4 Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: [2] Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; [3] seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. [4] For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

Application: What a great reminder – the Faith we have received from Him is the same as everyone in the family because it was earned BY Jesus – His righteousness – not ours! Sometimes if we are not careful we begin to believe that we are more deserving than others in the Body of Christ.   We can begin to think that - although saved by grace - we really were looking for Him and He rewarded us. It is a subtle but deadly attitude that many start to believe when they take too much credit for their spiritual growth. This is the great leveler – we are only in the Family because of what Jesus did - all of us! No Hierarchy here! Our only claim to fame is that we all needed Him to do it for us! Thanks God for Your grace!!

* Meditation Questions: When you look in the mirror do you see someone that deserved to be saved because they really wanted God, or do you see someone that God graciously showed His mercy to and you responded in faith? How “saved” do you feel – arrived? Almost there? The worst sinner you know? Knowing your saved should be different than feeling your saved – why?

Friday, May 27, 2011

The peace we should have

Scripture Read: Acts 5:38-39 “So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.”

Application: Do we really believe that God is in control. Many say yes but the anxiety they show when things seem out of control betrays their real belief. Do you try to manipulate circumstances to remain in control. Consider ...

 Overthrown - καταλύω kataluo - AV translates as “destroy” nine times, “throw down” three times, “lodge” once, “guest” once, “come to nought” once, “overthrow” once, and “dissolve” once. 1 to dissolve, disunite - to destroy, demolish - The meaning of κατά (“downward”) is still present in καταλύω, which is a strengthened form of λύω in the sense “to put down - It is used of the destroying of a building,1 e.g., the temple. Mk. 14:58; 15:29 (Mt. 26:61; 27:40); Ac. 6:14  [1]  

How many times do we forget the power behind Your Words – This is a key example – the meaning is quite powerful and clear – when we are doing what You want - Your end will persevere – no matter what man may do. If we claim that what we are doing is Your work – but it is not, then in the end it will be destroyed. If what we are doing is Yours – then the same is true in reverse. Lord why do we get so upset at the evil man does. I understand the grief we should feel, but many times we are aggravated and perturbed by the evil we see so much that we come across angry, and frustrated. Help us to rest in Jesus and know that even if we don’t see it, in the end You will overthrow whatever stands against You. Help us to live in this confidence and peace.

* Meditation Questions: When someone is taking advantage of me what do I feel? When I know someone got away with something that was wrong, how do I feel? Do I lose sleep worrying over things out of my control? What does that show?

[1] Theological dictionary of the New Testament. 1964- (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Remembering where we came from

Scripture Read: Eph 4:17-18 With the Lord’s authority let me say this: Live no longer as the ungodly do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their closed minds are full of darkness; they are far away from the life of God because they have shut their minds and hardened their hearts against him.  

Application: Do we take our closeness to God for granted. Can we remember what it feels to be separated from our Creator. No intimacy and at best a dead system of beliefs to try and make us feel some sort of purpose. Do we think about our family & friends that might still be ...

Excluded -  ἀπαλλοτριόω -apallotrioo Three occurrences; AV translates as “be alienated with" twice, and “be alien” once. 1 to alienate, estrange. 2 to be shut out from one’s fellowship and intimacy.  [1]

This is a great but tragic description. It reminds me somewhat of what it is like in the Philippines as an American. I see my friends talking, laughing and fellowshipping – but I do not understand what is going on all the time because I am not fluent in Tagalog and my culture is different than theirs.  This is what it must be like to be outside of a relationship with God! We have been allowed such intimacy with You Lord for so long is it possible we have forgotten what it is like to be completely outside the understanding of You. We know we still do not understand much when it comes to Who You are – but what can be understood Your Spirit and Your Word have illuminated our eyes, mind and heart. Thank You for Your great love toward us. Burden our hearts for the lost – forbid any arrogance that we have shown toward those outside the Body! Let us be like Jesus - Who understood it all - but still spoke with compassion! Enable us to do the same!

Meditation Questions: Do I ever think I know so much compared to others in an arrogant way? Do I understand that what I do understand is because of You and not accomplished by my own intellect? Do I understand that there is a big difference between knowing a lot of data about You and knowing You? Do I recall who called for the crucifixion of Christ? What should that teach me?

Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sharing the truth is a partnership!

Scripture Read: Romans 12:3-8 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness

Application: We all know faith is the essential trait that we must have to walk close to God. This verse seems to say that different people have different levels of faith - is that possible? What does this mean - "according to the proportion"  ... We need to understand this –

Proportion -  ἀναλογία analogía; from aná denoting distribution, and lógos account. According to the prophet’s power of faith to be receptive of this special gift, and to apprehend it if granted to him, would be the intensity and truth of its manifestation. It would seem that prophets might be in danger of mistaking their own ideas for a true Divine revelation (cf. Jer. 23:28): and also that they might speak hastily and with a view to self-display (see 1 Cor. 14:29–33), and that there was a further gift of διάκρισις πνευμάτων required for distinguishing between true and imagined inspiration [1]  

What does this do to our thoughts about whatvand how we share the truth of God with those who want to learn. The ability to share is clearly a gift directly from Him we need to handle this with care and a deep sense of responsibility. We must continue to share His Word in Love – but we must also share it in Truth – no matter how unpopular. We must continue to do our part through study to be good stewards of Your Word Lord while at the same time keep before us that because this is a gift we must depend on You to work when we teach or share. We need to "package it well" so people will want to listen – but that is all we can do – to touch the heart and spirit of man we need You – Lord speak through us until the day we die. Let us never stop learning how to share Your truth in the way You want it shared. 

Meditation Questions: When we share with others about Christ, do they hear a sales pitch or a connection from you about your best friend? Is our goal to save someone or tell them that their Creator loves them and has given them a choice to make? Do we sound like we are talking about “stuff” we have memorized or about a Person (Jesus) we know and love?

[1] Theological dictionary of the New Testament. 1964- (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Connection is KEY

Scripture Read: Romans 12:1-2 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Application: This passage not only tells us how to live but also how to finish well. No matter what else we do or how we do it, we need to continue to be renewed and transformed...

Transformed: μεταμορφόω metamorphóō;  from metá -denoting change of place or condition, and morphóō - to form. To transform, transfigure, change one’s form. In the NT, only in the mid., metamorphóomai, to be transfigured. Used of the Lord’s transfiguration on the mount (Matt. 17:2; Mark 9:2) involving the miracle of transformation from an earthly form into a supernatural form which was externally denoted by the radiance of His garments and countenance. This suggests what the bodies of the righteous may be like as a result of the resurrection of our bodies (1 Cor. 15:51f.). In Rom. 12:2 and 2 Cor. 3:18, the idea of transformation refers to an invisible process in Christians which takes place or begins to take place during their life in this age.

Renewing: άνακαίνωσις anakaínōsis to renew qualitatively. μεταμορφοῦσθε τῇ ἀνακαινώσει τοῦ νοός, refers to the renewal of thought and will which Christians constantly need if they are to show by their moral conduct that they belong to the new aeon and are members of the new humanity  [1] [2]

This is really what we need to make our focus if we desire to finish well. Renewal and transformation are the key to finishing well.  In both words used here the real issue is our connection to the Holy Spirit. He is the One that renews and transforms us. He uses the Word and all circumstances in our life to bring that about. Lord we should be amazed how often we can hear Your Spirit and yet still ignore Him. We are sorry Comforter – We insult, resist, quench You far too often.  Father You know what is in our heart – We do not desire to live in the weakness of our flesh – grant us Your strength to finish well. Help us to be honest and deal the fears we have concerning our future: disease, family, finances and death will try to get a grip in our life. Let us give these to You and ask that You fill us today.  Help us continue in our disciplines that are used by You to enable us to remain focused. To finish well we need You Lord Jesus. Guide us!

Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
[2] Theological dictionary of the New Testament. 1964- (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.