All One in Christ

Think about all of the things in this world that seem to divide us: race, gender, sports teams, politics, countries, denominations, money, nationality, language, technology, science, work, age, cities, theology, and the list could surely go on.

When reading the book of Ephesians, I came across the following verse that really spoke to me.

This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Ephesians 3:6

First of all, how incredible is it that the same promises that were once only available to Israel are now available to all. Just like that, by the will of God, Gentiles are now fellow heirs. I can imagine when this mystery was revealed, how shocking it was to both Jews and Gentiles.

And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles.

Acts 10:45

And then to see it in action. When the circumcised (Israel) saw that even the Gentiles received the gift of the Holy Spirit, they stood there in amazement. How incredible is the grace of God? At one time the Gentiles were without hope, without a God. And now they were receiving the most precious gift, the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

Now again think about all of the things that divide us, and then think about the work of Jesus Christ.

Jesus is our only hope, and the only way.

Thank you Lord for your forgiveness, for your gift of the Holy Spirit, for your son Jesus Christ. Even thought it’s hard to comprehend how a sinner like me is worthy or deserving, you have made it freely available to all that believe.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

 

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Wisdom and Understanding

Throughout my life, I have always been one to figure things out on my own. I am a problem solver, one of the reasons why I got into software development. I see a problem, and I find enjoyment in producing a solution. Not only that, but I am determined to find that solution on my own before reaching out for help.

But there are problems in life that we will not be able to solve. We could tirelessly pursue wisdom and understanding in hope to find a solution, but will come out empty handed.

12 “But where shall wisdom be found?
    And where is the place of understanding?
13 Man does not know its worth,
    and it is not found in the land of the living.

Job 28:12-13

Wisdom and understanding to many of our problems are not found on this earth. It rests is in a much higher place.

28 And he said to man,
‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
    and to turn away from evil is understanding.’

Job 28:28

That wisdom and understanding is with our Lord. When we turn to Him for our problems in life, that is where we will find understanding. We must trust in the Lord with all of our hearts, and lean not on our own understanding. We must acknowledge Him in all our ways, and he will make straight our paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Amen!

 

Contentment

I have a confession. I can be prideful, and I can be discontent. I’ll look at the things I have, the things I am wearing, my accomplishments, my savings, and so on, and then my mind begins to compare myself to others.

And it is something I see every day in others. You should see the size of their house. If I didn’t have kids, then I’d be able to have all of these fun toys. I’ve had a lot of cars, but they weren’t nice ones. The grass on your yard is much greener than my yard.

We can believe that all of these things define our worth, define our success, and can make us complete. Only if I had this one thing, then I would be happy. But it never ends with that one thing, does it?

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

– 1 Timothy 6:6-10

One of the things that God has worked on in my life is having me look at everything I have and what others have in a completely different perspective, His perspective. My shortcomings are still here, but it has been a humbling time.

What do I really need? All I need is Christ.

Can You Hear Me?

Yesterday would have been our one year anniversary. That changed a little over four months ago. Through this season I have cried out many times to the Lord, and have often questioned if he hears me. One song in particular that comes to mind, which I heard on the way home today, is by Plum – Need You Now.

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

In times of distress, we become lost. Not knowing what to do. Crying out to God for help. Even in the Psalms we can see these same feeling:

In my distress I called upon the Lord;
    to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
    and my cry to him reached his ears.

– Psalm 18:6

And

28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
29 He made the storm be still,
    and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,
    and he brought them to their desired haven.

– Psalm 107:28-30

And

17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
    and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
    and saves the crushed in spirit.

– Psalm 34:17-18

And

I cried aloud to the Lord,
    and he answered me from his holy hill.

– Psalm 3:4

Just to name a few. But do you see a trend through them all?

He heard my voice.

He delivered them from their distress.

The Lord is near.

He answered me.

We may question if he hears us, but those doubts are lies. Whether you can see it now, He is answering your cries. It may not be at this very moment, but His timing is perfect. In these times, one sure way to hear the Lord is to read his word, which I highly recommend. Turning to the bible in these times of needs has brought comfort beyond measure.

I will not forget Your word. —Psalm 119:16

 

A Daily Decision

Every day when we wake up, we are faced with decisions. Are we going to hit that snooze button one more time before rolling out of bed? What is for breakfast? Do I have enough time to shower? Where are my keys?

It’s easy for us to get in the motion of life, distracted by work, or overwhelmed with things we must accomplish each day.

One recurring and important question that we have to answer is this: Are we going to live this day for ourself, or for Jesus? The incredible thing about this question is that the answer is going to set the tone on all of your decisions throughout the day.

23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

– Luke 9:23

Being a Christian, a follower of Christ, means you are to deny yourself daily, pick up your cross daily, and follow Jesus daily. This is not a one time thing.

Thanks to the grace of God, we are able to wake up every morning and answer this question!

Be Still

Double post Wednesday, this one you get for free!

Yesterday I experienced a full blown anxiety attack. It’s been a long time since I have faced one, and soon realized what is going on. I was overwhelmed. So I tried to “fix” the situation like I had in the past. I walked around, searched the internet for symptoms and cures. Took my pulse, tried to control my breathing. Listened to motivational poems But nothing was working. Then I realized I was responding how I did in the past: relying on myself, my own strength. I can’t do this alone.

I found a quiet corner, and prayed to our Lord. I hardly remember what I prayed, but it felt like I was talking to him forever. As I closed in prayer and walked back to my desk, I pulled out my phone to see the following verse:

10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”

– Psalm 46:10

Be still, and know that I am God.

Wow.

I felt a sense of calm. I was starting to see all of the things I was overwhelmed with from a different perspective. Our Lord is sovereign over all things. He is exalted and above EVERYTHING, even the heavens. He is our comforter. He is our healer. He is our creator. He hears our cries. He knows our thoughts. He doesn’t want us to worry. And as His word tells us: 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

– Philippians 4:6-7

 

A New Day

It doesn’t matter what happened yesterday, or the day before. Whatever troubles you may have faced. The truth is today is a new day!

21 But this I call to mind,
    and therefore I have hope:

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:21-23

We wake up every morning blessed by the Lord, with a fresh start, a new day. We get to sing the songs of our Lord once again! Give thanks and praise to the one who’s love is never ending, and who designed our world to have new mornings full of sunshine. The sun is shining whether you see it or not!