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!

Friday, July 8, 2011

The joy is not is serving others

Scripture Read: 3 Jn 5 Beloved, you are acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brethren, and especially when they are strangers; 6 and they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. 7 For they went out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. 8 Therefore we ought to support such men, so that we may be fellow workers with the truth.
Application: What drives us? Do we do things in the end for our own benefit or is there something or Someone greater in the picture? Motive is a very important factor in our walk with You Lord. You do test and weigh what’s in the heart. Should our own welfare even be in the picture, or is that selfish? Consider …

“For the sake” - ὑπέρ hupér - Meaning for, in behalf of, for the sake of [1]

 This is the same word used in describing why Jesus sacrificed Himself for us. We know it was unconditional and He did it based on His love, not ours,  so when John speaks like he does here I believe he is stating the obvious. Because of what Jesus did, we do for Him,  not trying to earn love or approval, because He loves us already with His love. Instead we are more motivated by His sacrificial love. Seeing His sacrifice should motivate us to do the same for His name’s sake. What does that really mean? I have found that trying to live like He did in this world for any other reason than Him will fail. There is real pain in discipleship because I – a sinner – is Discipling other sinners and we will inevitably disappoint each other if our confidence is in each other. But if my confidence is in Him and my debt is to Him – that well never runs dry! We want to do what we do and be what we are for His name! Not even in our own name – for our heart can lie to us. As we enjoy serving others for Him, it does end up working for our welfare, BUT that is not the driving factor! That’s the difference in finishing the race. When we serve for others based on others we will quite when they go south! But because He is forever the same when we serve others for Him, even if they betray us we retain the joy we have of serving the person we love the most! Lord – we need your Name to fan the flame of our service! 1 John 3:16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. Thanks Lord! 

* Meditation Questions: Do I allow others attitudes affect whether I serve or not? If no one notices my service how does that affect me? What does that say? Can I focus on pleasing the Lord only, and even though my emotions may get hurt, still sense His joy in my service?

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

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bringing God Joy

Scripture Read: 3 Jn 1 The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth. 2 Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. 3 For I was very glad when brethren came and testified to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth. 4 I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.

Application: What brings our God joy? I think John shares his heart which is patterned after his Lord’s. What’s interesting is … μειζοτέραν (“greater”) appears only here in the New Testament (1, 2, 3 John) It is interesting that this particular form of μέγας megas appears only here in the NT and makes clear that John is being emphatic in his statement. So John is emphatically his most joyful when he learns that those he has shepherded are remaining in the truth. This does not mean only know it but practice it!  How much I wish we all could say we live there all the time. If we know You we really do know the truth – because You have opened Your Word to us and have honored every moment we have spent studying it – yet Lord we find too many times what we know in our brain does not seem to make it to our hands, feet and especially lips! We love when we are walking in Your truth – we love how we feel toward You, how we feel toward others and even how we feel toward ourselves. Lord grant Your grace to us and fill our heart with that same drive and desire our Lord Jesus had to walk in truth, not just think it. We know You understand our weakness and that we are made of flesh saved by Your grace – that fact encourages us to know You are so longsuffering and patient with us. Yet we believe that through that same grace we can see greater personal victories toward holiness until we lay this flesh down. God grant us Your strength!

* Meditation Questions: How much time do you MAKE to spend with God in His Word? Do you believe that when you do what is true – God holds back His judgment or actually makes God feel pleasure? What do you think it means to “walk in truth”? How hard should it be for a child of God to know the truth? 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I want to get personal!

Scripture Read: 2 Jn 12-13  Though I have many things to write to you, I do not want to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, so that your joy may be made full. 13 The children of your chosen sister greet you.

Application:  Relationship, how important is it? In this day and age what does it really mean? We text people in words that only texters can understand? (Even the word texter is not a word, but we use it.) We say we have 1000 “friends” on face book – some of those friends do not even have their face on face book and we really don’t know them, but they have “friended” us. (Another non-word)  The Bible seems to emphasize a different kind of relationship… “face to face”.  So much is made of the need for real relationship. Connecting at a deeper level than just an acquaintance.  This term is used 13 times and it is clear that the key is a personal connection that is emphasized.  In every case close connection is the issue.

Genesis 32:30 So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.”
Exodus 33:11 Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.

Deuteronomy 5:4 “The Lord spoke to you face to face at the mountain from the midst of the fire,

Judges 6:22 When Gideon saw that he was the angel of the Lord, he said, “Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.”

Jeremiah 34:3 ‘You will not escape from his hand, for you will surely be captured and delivered into his hand; and you will see the king of Babylon eye to eye, and he will speak with you face to face, and you will go to Babylon.’ ” ’

Jeremiah 32:4 and Zedekiah king of Judah will not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans, but he will surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he will speak with him face to face and see him eye to eye;

Ezekiel 20:35  and I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face.

Acts 25:16 “I answered them that it is not the custom of the Romans to hand over any man before the accused meets his accusers face to face and has an opportunity to make his defense against the charges.

1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. [1]

2 Corinthians 10:1 Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent!

2 John 12 Though I have many things to write to you, I do not want to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, so that your joy may be made full.

3 John 14 but I hope to see you shortly, and we will speak face to face.

How true this needs to be for all of us as we connect with individuals we want to have a relationship with You Lord. That is why religion can enlist the masses so easily – no commitment or connection. We “sold” someone on our brand and they bought it. Not so with the relationship You desire Oh Lord. You are not calling people to a religion but a living, changing and growing relationship. We are suppose to model that. It is not always possible but we should try to make our interactions with people “face to face”. That will cost us time, but especially in this age we need to show those we care about, that we do care about them. Speding time sharing there life makes a greater statement than any text, post or email can ever do. Father, our world is so busy and we must exist in it, guide us to balance Father so we help those we love know that You love them also!

* Meditation Questions: When was the last time you set time aside to pray for those you love? How often to you MAKE time to be with friends and family? If we asked a friend what you are like how well could they describe you? What does that say?

[1] New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Ge 32:30). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Monday, July 4, 2011

There are limits to the Word

Scripture Read: 2 Jn 8-11 Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. 9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.

Application: In our desire to get out of the Word of God all that we can, we must be careful to not become so zealous that we actually become disobedient. How can that happen? Is it really a big deal? Some take the teaching of Christ and go even further with it. 
Consider -  proago προάγω - to go beyond established bounds of teaching or instruction, with the implication of failure to obey properly—‘to go beyond bounds, to fail to obey.’ πᾶς ὁ προάγων καὶ μὴ μένων ἐν τῇ διδαχῇ τοῦ Χριστοῦ ‘anyone who does not remain in the teaching of Christ but goes beyond it’ 

This is used to warn about becoming so arrogant that you think you can move ahead of what the Lord has taught and in reality you are moving away from truth and disobeying. There were those during this time that considered themselves “more enlightened” than others. They were quite self-adsorbed and in love with themselves, sadly this is still true today.  The higher critics that take from the Word what they desire and then add, twist, change the truth. Any of us could do that if we are not careful. I believe many believers do this without realizing it – though it usually has to do with liberty issues. John was warning about going beyond scripture, but he was speaking directly about the doctrine of Christ which is far more dangerous than liberty issues. Teaching Who Christ is wrongly will leave the soul in condemnation. Clear doctrine is non-negotiable and non-debatable – but liberty issues are between God and the individual – yet many try and make their personal conviction solid doctrine. Liberty issues wrongly taught may divide and bring bondage. A lot of damage can be done in the Body through this mistake. The Word teaches that each of us should have a conviction on all we do, but that conviction is between us and the Lord when it comes to issues that are not black & white commands.  Lord thank You for Your Word, please help us to not go beyond what it teaches.

* Meditation Questions: Can you allow the plain sense of scripture make common sense? Are you ever trying to find something in scripture or just allowing it to say what it says? Can you see that when it comes to liberty issues each person can hold a different conviction?