Monday, March 26, 2012

Same life everywhere....

Week 13:

Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Over the last few years I have been reminded, working on, revealed to, and recognizing God working a theme in my life.  This theme has been that I should no longer live a split or separated life.  What I mean by that is; I should be the same person at work, at home, and at church.  I should act no different character wise in any of the three places (or any other place for that matter).  I should be the same person, all the time.  Now, yes, I have different roles and functions in those three places.  I don’t need to be pushing the preacher out of the pulpit because I’m ready to preach or I don’t become the mother of my children.  But as far as being real, authentic, and in integrity, I need to be the same person everywhere I go. 

This passage reminded me of that today.  The key reminder for me was, “…whatever you do, whether in word or deed…”  It doesn’t matter if I’m working, if I’m playing, if I’m mowing the grass.  I am to be the same and I am to do this in the name of Jesus.  So what does that look like, doing it in the name of Jesus?  Does it mean I have to keep commands and be on guard all the time?  I don’t think so.  I would be wearing a self-righteous mask before long if I did that.  Does it mean that I need to be constantly saying, “In Jesus name…” all the time?  No, that would lose its luster and would wear people out.  So what does this look like?

First, I believe I need to be living out my purpose.  Of course, my number one purpose is to glorify God in what I do and who I am.  In order to do that and be who I am supposed to be, I must be in a state of awareness of His presence and where He is working.  If I am living out my purpose that God has set out for me, I will be the same in every aspect of my life.

Second and closely related to the first, I need to be me.  It takes a lot of energy to be someone I am not.  I believe this is a major area where many lose the ability to be the same.  I catch myself being someone I am not in order to fit in or move up.  Next thing I know, I am not the person I portray myself to be.  I become a poser.  I cease to do everything in word or deed for Jesus when I pose.

Finally, I must take all thoughts captive and submit them to Christ (2Corinthians 10:5).  Until I started doing this, I was split into three different people.  Once I began the process of realizing that Jesus is King and He is Lord of it all, it became clear that wherever I am, I am His, I am the same, and I must do things to His glory.  I fall and become selfish, but the further I get down this path of authenticity, the closer I get to do all an the name of the Lord Jesus.

  1. In what ways have you lived separate lives?
  2. What does your work life look like?  What about home?  What about Church?
  3. What are some steps you can take to be yourself in all those places?
  4. This week, ask Jesus to reveal to you some areas where you can change your words and deeds and then pay attention.  Write down what you see happening.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Yes be yes and no, no...

Week 12:

Matthew 5:37 Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’, and your ‘No’, ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

When I was teaching high school Bible and we were studying the Sermon on the Mount and we arrived at this passage, I used to point out to the teens that many in this society look upon them as immature little kids.  Many adults had forgotten what it was like to be young and now would look down upon the teens and many ways.  I would argue that one of the ways the teens may perpetuate that would be by not keeping their word.  I would use this passage as reference to how many times in their lives they have had to say to an adult, “I promise.” Or say, “I swear…”  I would further instruct them that if our society already did not trust them and they had to say these phrases just to gain an ounce of trust, they were just digging themselves deeper into a hole.  In order to gain trust from adults, they had to live their lives in such a way that their ‘Yes’ would be ‘Yes’, and their ‘No’, ‘No’.  If they lived in this fashion, they may gain some trust.

My question is, “Does this apply to teens only?”  Are we not living in a society now that is full of cynicism and distrust?  Maybe instead of saying, “I promise” or “I swear”, we may be explaining ourselves with more words than we need or want to use.  We also need to live our lives in such a way that our ‘Yes’ would be ‘Yes’, and our ‘No’, ‘No’.  Isn’t that what Jesus is saying?  Furthermore, when I hear someone going beyond the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’, I tend to throw up a wall of distrust myself. 

What really jumps out at me recently is that rest of the passage.  “…anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”  Wow!  If I am living in such a way that I have to make promises and oaths just in order to be trusted, I am not living a life of godliness…at least not in the area of being a trustworthy individual.  When I say I am going to do something, I need to do it.  Not only because it is right, but also so that the next time, my ‘Yes’ will mean ‘Yes’ without question.  And…when I live in such a way that my word needs no explanation, I keep the evil one at bay.  I need to live my life in such a way so that my ‘Yes’ means ‘Yes’, and my ‘No’ means ‘No’.


  1. Explain a situation where you had to give more than a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’.
  2. Why do you think you had to go further than the simple ‘Yes’ and ‘No’?
  3. Where in your life do you need to change in order to be trustworthy?
  4. Spend some time in prayer this week and ask God to reveal where you have fallen short as far as this passage is concerned.  Ask God to help you to restore that situation and rebuild the trust you have broken.

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Unchanged, unaffected...

Week 11:
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
For those who know me and have any correspondence with me know that this verse is the signature line for all my email addresses.  Needless to say, it is one of my favorite verses.  I could write many devotional thoughts off of this verse…for today I will focus on one.
No matter what is going on in the world, no matter how bad things may seem, no matter how corrupt a government may become, no matter what tragedies may happen, no matter what disasters may occur, Jesus is still king and in control.  Jesus is not surprised, his character is unaffected, and he is unchanged.  This is not to say that he is not compassionate, uncaring, and looks the other way.  It is to say that He reigns and will forever.  Jesus is my unmovable rock.

As we deal with the goings on in this world, we are caught up in the emotional power of the situation.  It is in our face and we cannot see anything but the situation.  Things can look bleak and hopeless.  It can look to us like the world is going to “hell in a hand basket”.  One thing we need to realize in those moments is that Jesus is still king and he is still sitting on the throne.  His reign is forever. 
Think for a moment the state of our country.  No matter which side of the aisle you pledge your allegiance to you have to admit that we are a country in a dilemma.  There is a great division between large parts of our country today.  Those of us who follow the Lord need to remember that we have a king to follow first. He is an unchanging king.  Jesus is not affected by governments or politics.  Jesus’ love, commands, teachings, and philosophy supersede any politics going on today, or in the future. 
To me, this is a great comfort.  This reminds me that all is not lost.  I should be concerned about the moral state of our country.  I should be aware of how my government treats and makes decisions as far as my faith goes.  But I have to be reminded that Jesus never changes and his teachings remain intact.  I serve a king and am part of a kingdom that will continue long after our country is gone, I am gone, and this world has passed away.  Jesus is eternal and he plans on taking us into that eternity with him some day.  Praise the Lord!
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
1.       What comes up for you when it is mentioned that Jesus is king?
2.       How do you think Jesus views the current state of our country?
3.       How does knowing Jesus is king bring you comfort?
4.       Ask Jesus to show you this week a part of his comfort according to his kingdom.
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Monday, March 5, 2012

Even the faithful...

Week 10:
Genesis 15:4-6 4Then the word of the Lord came to him:  “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.”  5He took him outside and said, “Look at the heavens and count the stars – if indeed you can count them.”  Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”  6Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Abraham was considered a great man of faith.  In fact he arguably had the strongest faith of any of the characters of the Bible.  However, even in the midst of his great faith, he experienced times where he showed a lack of faith. 
One of my greatest weaknesses in my faith is the lack of patience I have with God “showing up”.  I feel that I have faith in God so far as I know he exists, his son came and died for me, I am forgiven, and that he has great and awesome power.  Where I believe I am weakest is when I cannot wait on him any longer and I take over the situation.  I lose trust that God will come through.  Then I look up and realize, “Wow, I messed this thing up!”  If I would have waited on God, this would have had a better outcome.

Abraham did the same thing.  As we read the verse above, we see that God made a promise to Abraham.  However, in the following verses we see that Abraham and his wife lose patience and Abraham has a son by Hagar which eventually becomes a nation that is a bitter enemy of Israel (Isaac’s line) to this day.  How’s that for consequences for impatience?  I hate to say this, but I take some comfort in the fact that a man that had a direct line with God lacked in faith a time or two in his life. 
One thing that is difficult for me and others ad I discuss this lack of faith with them is this:  When am I weak in faith and taking it on myself and when am I stepping out on faith that I am doing the right thing?  It is hard to determine at times which is which until the whole situation is over.  Then, I realize that it was God pushing me to act or it was me with a lack of patience. 
I do believe that I have gotten a little better at discerning when it is me and when it is God.  However, I still get it wrong.  I thank Him for His grace.  One thing I have learned is to wait and do a little more verifying.  I do have to watch closely as I walk that fine line between waiting on the Lord and procrastination.  A topic for another time I am sure.
Ultimately, faith is something to be worked out and worked on.  As I read about the faithful men of the Bible, I see their mistakes, but I also see their great victories according to their faith.
1.       What is you greatest weakness when it comes to a lack of faith?
2.       Describe a time when have you taken it yourself not waiting on God.
3.       What was the result?
4.       Describe two people in your life that have great faith.
5.       What has God revealed for you in this article today?

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