Sunday, November 22, 2015
Sunday, November 15, 2015
Monday, November 9, 2015
Matthew 16:6-12; Mark 8:15; Luke 12:1.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Monday, October 26, 2015
We also get to look to a future when He returns again to bring about resurrection for life in a new heaven and a new earth. Isaiah first uses that phrase, as we see recorded in chapter 65, verse 17. “Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore.” (NLT)
We see that John was given the same understanding. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”” (Revelation 21:1-4 NLT)
What wonderful things to look forward to!!! Praise be to God!
But Advent is a season, just a month out of twelve. And we should be living with eyes firmly set on the Promise all year long. How can we keep such focus?
Again, we look to Christ's example on how to do that. He gave us this gift we call communion and commanded we engage in this physical act as a church to center our minds and hearts on Him.
I find this amazing. First, Jesus gives instruction, like “... “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’””Luke 10:27 NLT.
Then, He gives us the method to carry it out! “He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.” Luke 22:19-20 NLT
We read again: “For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this to remember me as often as you drink it.” For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 NLT
Here we see that we are to love with every facet of ourselves and love one another. And then we see a way of engaging in a regular act to remind ourselves just what this life is all about: communion! A word for communion is the Greek word koinōnía and it means fellowship or mutual sharing that results in needing nothing more. It is a oneness of many parts. We see it in the Trinity, in marriage and in the church.
The church manifests koinōnía during the sharing of the one Body and Blood. As we engage in it regularly, according to Scripture, it spills into the rest of our lives.
This is a two-fold act of communion. The first is inward, involving our bodies, souls, minds, and hearts; we experience a communion of self, being in full agreement. Our bodies are doing what our hearts desire and our minds find reasonable.
The second is involving each other. We come together in peace with forgiveness, wanting good for each other. We share intimately and fully, agreeing that there is no better thing for us to be doing.
We go through these motions--fully engaged and alert--and doing so aligns us to Jesus' death, resurrection and coming again. We serve each other, look into one another's eyes. This says, 'Hold on. The end is not here yet, but when it comes, we will be ready and Christ wins! Do not give up.'
We have talked about the word communion and the depth that the word has. I have another one for you. 'Thee' is a cool word. It means you. But, more. 'You' existed right alongside the word 'thee' and people chose which to use in each interaction. Originally, 'you' was plural and 'thee' was singular. But by the times of Shakespeare and the writing of the King James Bible, people used 'you' to speak with someone who was an acquaintance or stranger. It was used formally, keeping the receiver at arm's length. 'Thee', on the other hand, was for the closest of friends and family. There are people groups who continue to use these terms today. Pretty neat to read in the KJV people choosing to talk with God using 'thee', huh?
So, just as we do Advent each year, we do communion each week. Just as with Advent, we choose how to experience it, as well. It is a steady diet of truth when we take part in this holy time together as Bride and Groom. Or, not. We get to choose. Will we go through the motions of a mindless ritual? Heaven forbid! Let us choose to involve our entire selves as we serve each other the "Body, broken for thee" and the "Blood, poured out for thee."
Sunday, October 18, 2015
Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.c
“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.'
"Did you realize that you will find about 800 Scriptures that deal with money in the Bible?
Jesus talked about money more than He did Heaven and Hell combined. He talked about money more than anything else except the Kingdom of God. 11 of 39 parables talk about money. 1 of every 7 verses in the Gospel of Luke talks about money."
Sunday, February 15, 2015
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
The concept that hurting people hurt people is not a new one. I have read more than one devotion teaching this idea—I most remember Joyce Meyer and Max Lucado. Even so, I think it bears repeating. This morning I read two blogs here and here that touched on the topic and how it relates to body image. Both of these bloggers were speaking more specifically about how the marketed ‘ideal body’ doesn’t buy the happiness it promises. They did a terrific job on that topic and I recommend reading both posts.
I’d like to focus on one point both articles touched on that they used to help explain that all the hate for heavy people has to come from somewhere—and it ain’t happiness!
This is important: if you are fielding ugliness from others, ask yourself why. Happy people are typically too busy being happy to go out of their way to dump a heap of hate on anyone. This makes sense because, like I said, hate comes from somewhere. How can anyone with enough hate to spare ever be happy? They simply cannot. Hate is corrosive, it destroys the holder. Why is this important? Because it can help you know how to react most effectively; it can save you from perpetuating the hate.
Knowing the mean person is actually injured cuts through the chaos and affords you two invaluable pieces of information. First, the obvious: there is someone injured in front of you. That dictates a far different reaction than that of being attacked. You can respond with compassion, and maybe even a little first aid. This totally changes the balance of the interaction and it puts you in charge, instead of putting you on the defensive.
That leads me to the other piece of info: the crap they spew isn’t true! Yeah, baby! Read that again. The hate and condemnation isn’t true AND… listen up! It isn’t even about you! Hate destroys the hater. You don’t have any obligation to pick up what they drop. Imagine injured animals. They can get pretty nasty, but a caregiver would never imagine taking the snarls and teeth gnashing personally; they merely signify need.
So, next time some troll comes after you—on the internet or in the flesh, remember to keep your head. This hater is carrying around poison as a constant companion. That is sad. Be compassionate. Be kind. Be different. Just as important, don’t own any of that poison. Look at what is doing to the hater! Do you want to turn into that? I don’t think so!