Sword Fighting Class – We are Set Free!

We are starting on a new journey of memorizing Romans 8.  It’s going to be  a long and difficult journey but we will be blessed.  I am praying more about this chapter than any other I’ve memorized so far because the wording is not easy.Romans 8; 1-9

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus

And we’re adding the rest of that sentence:

” because through Christ Jesus the law of the spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”

The Spirit has set me free!

I love that part!

The law of the Spirit brings us life!  And freedom from sin and death!

Because of what Jesus did for us, we are set free!

Thank you, Jesus!

What is Your Offering?

What are we giving to God that goes beyond just a tithe?

Goes beyond money?

Feb 4 b what is your offeringGoes beyond attending worship every week?

In Numbers 7 & 8 we read about the Israelites leaders bringing their offering to God’s altar as it is being dedicated.  Each person is listed by name in the Bible.

What would my list look like if God did this today?

Judy, from the Glasser clan, brought this offering.  Her offering was….

Are we just giving God a minimum amount of our time?

A minimum amount of our money?

A minimum amount of our attention?

God has gotten more of my attention this last year as he has challenged me with memorizing chapters of his Word.

And he has poured out his blessings on me as he has etched his Word upon my heart and mind.  This amount of memorizing has caused me to go to a whole new level of devotion to God and his Word.

And it’s all good.

Every day we bring our offering plate of attention, love, service and resources to God.

How full is your  plate?

We love you, Abba Father.

 

 

Paying the Consequences

It happens to all of us.

And we don’t like it.

We end up paying the consequences for our bad decisions.

It’s not a happy experience but it can be a growing experience when we learn from our mistakes.  Its a good choice to grow from our mistakes – otherwise we’re just going to keep making them over and over.  And the consequences pile up.

Even when we’ve learned from our consequences and we don’t do it again, we can still pay the price for that first mistake, that in-the-past decision, for a very long time.Jan 31 2016 Paying the Consequences

We see Moses paying the consequences in Exodus 32 for his lack of faith way back when he was standing by the bush that was burning but didn’t burn up.  That was where he was making excuses about not speaking well.  So God added Aaron to Moses’ leadership team.

Now we see how well Aaron leads the people on his own.  He flunks out by buckling under popular pressure and forming a golden calf for the people to worship while Moses is up on the mountain with God.

Moses is able to appeal to God’s mercy and save the lives of the people who didn’t worship the calf.  But when Moses came down the mountain, Aaron didn’t even want to own up to what he had done.  He blamed the people.

Bad leadership.

Bad decisions.

Bad accountability.

Bad consequences for Moses.

Fortunately, our consequences don’t lead to thousands of people getting killed.  Our consequences often cause:

– broken relationships.

– children in trouble.

-lack of income.

-addictions.

-pain

-sorrow.

Our perfect Father in heaven lets us pay the consequences for our actions in order to give us the opportunity to learn and grow and thrive.  He doesn’t protect us from these lessons because his desire if for us to become wise and mature.

God never leaves us alone – he walks through these trials with us.

Guiding us – if we’re listening.

Transforming us – if we’re obeying.

And forever loving us.

Thank you, Abba Father.

When do We Retire?

I’ve often heard pastors say that we never retire from serving God.  And that’s true – we don’t read anything in God’s words that tells us we are ever too old to serve him, to fulfill the reason why we are here.  The fact that we’re still alive proves he still has a purpose for us.

But that purpose changes.Feb 4 2016 It's time to retire

In Numbers 8, God tells Moses that the men must retire from their work in the Tent of Meeting at the age of 50.  That was actually pretty young back when people lived a lot longer than today.  After the men retire, they are to assist their younger brothers who are actually doing the work.

The torch of leadership needs to be passed on to the next generation.  And the older, wiser crowd still works by teaching, mentoring and encouraging those who are now leading.

The responsibilities are passed on to the younger generation.

Some churches really struggle with this.  Because the older crowd doesn’t want to give up control.  They want everything to be like it has been for the last 30 years.

And the younger generation just isn’t going to do that.  They are going to change things!

So the older generation fails to hand over the baton and the younger generation leaves to go to another church or maybe stops going to church at all because there is no place open to them where they can use their strengths to serve God and grow their faith.

This discussion of retiring in order to reach out a hand to others who are leading and learning resonates with me because this is what God has been doing in my life these last several years.  He has changed my purpose within my church family to assisting my brothers and sisters in deepening their faith and growing in their spiritual leadership.

To encourage.

To challenge.

But not to hold the torch myself.

From my perspective, its easy to see that God’s plan in Numbers 8 works very well.

When we listen.

When we obey.

We love you, Abba Father.

 

Details Matter

God cares about the details.

Feb 2 2016 detailsWe see this very clearly as we read through the end of Exodus as the Israelites are building the Tabernacle for God.

It’s definitely not the most interesting part of the Bible. :(

But I lift praise to God today for caring about the details –

*the spectrum of light which gives us such beautiful sunsets.

* how each one of us are so intricately created so differently, yet all in his image.

*my 2 year-old granddaughter’s sparkling blue eyes.

*my 5 year-old grandson’s growing intellect as he figures out where we live on the map.

*the loving smile of my husband for 35 years.

I praise God for he is a God of order and excellence!

Chaos and disorganization do not come from him.

In God’s creation there is a right place for everything, a right color and a right material it needs to be made from.

We can be assured that God cares about all of the details of our lives.  He really does number the hairs on our heads!

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not a Democracy

We are blessed to be living in a country ruled by a democracy.Jan 28 2016 Not a Democracy

Those of us who have chosen to let God be King of our lives are now living in a Theocracy.

It’s all about what God wants.

His desires.

His plans.

His purposes.

How easily we forget that!

If we want God to be Lord of our life, we have to submit our own plans and desires to him.

We have to make the choice each day to take ourselves off the throne of our lives and put God on it.

Each hour.

Of every day.

Please help us make our lives a true theocracy, dear Father.

 

More Than Enough

We can often feel like we don’t have enough –

enough money to buy enough stuff to make us happy.Jan 27 2016 more than enough

So, let’s ask ourselves.  How much stuff will it take to make us happy?

We’ve all experienced that empty feeling a little while after we finally buy something we’ve wanted for a long time.  Something we thought about so often that our want turned into a need.  Something we really thought would make us happy.

Yes, we were happy.  It was great!  For a while.

And then we started to think about something else that we really wanted.  That we needed.  I will be happy when I get this next thing….

We weave a tangled web of discontent when we focus on our desires.

We are reminded of God’s provision as we read the historical account of the daily miracles God gave to the Israelites when he gave them manna in the morning and quail at night after their exodus from Egypt.

In the middle of the desert.

Quail at night.  Manna every morning.  Enough for each day.

He provided for them thousands of years ago.

And he provides for us today.

Just like the Israelites, we are often discontent with God’s provision.

We don’t trust him to take care of tomorrow so we are a workaholic today.

We don’t think he provides enough.

We can’t wait.

So we run up our credit cards, getting deeper and deeper in debt.

My small group Bible study is completing Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey.Jan 27 financial peace university

I’m reminded that it’s never about how much we make, it’s about how much we spend.  These 2 numbers need to match up.

We’ve taken several other financial studies through the years because we know that how we treat our money is important to God.  So we have a lot of it figured out but we’ve gotten a little sloppy in some areas.  I’m looking forward to improving our plan for telling our money where to go.

Avoiding debt is a huge factor is being able to be content with what God has already given us.  Paul reminds us in his letter to the Philippians that we have to learn to be content. He calls it a secret because so few people learn it.  That’s not easy in the midst of our culture which worships the ‘god of More’.

It comes down to trust.

Do we really trust God to provide for us?

Can we learn to be content with what he provides?

I believe that God provides more than enough when we are focused on him.

He provides for us physically and, even more important, he provides the important things that money can’t buy like love, peace, and joy.

How much joy do you have in your life?

We trust you to provide what is best for us, Abba Father.

Sword Fighting Class – No Condemnation

Our Sword Fighting classes are all about helping us to memorize God’s word.  Then he can clearly speak to us when we don’t have a Bible in front of us.  He can also transform our thinking by removing the old lies and etching his words of truth on our minds.

We just finished Proverbs 2 and 3 – what a blessing!Romans 8; 1-9

And now we start Romans 8.  You may have memorized a verse here or there in Romans 8 but we’re going for the whole chapter.  This is definitely a God-sized task because this wording is tough.  I’m glad God has promised he’ll do his part if we do our’s.  Here’s the first verse:

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’.

What an awesome promise!  Jesus paid the price so we didn’t have to.  Because  we can’t.  Only he could.

If we are ever in a dark place, smothered by guilt, this is a great verse to say over and over.  Because the Evil One uses guilt to keep us down, to keep us focused on our failures.  If he can keep us feeling guilty, we aren’t living in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Guilt comes from Satan.  Conviction and the desire to repent – turn away from the sin – comes from the Holy Spirit.

Thank you for your power and grace, Dear Father.

 

We Live in the Light

As believers, we don’t walk in the darkness.Jan 25 2015we live in the light

God’s light of love, grace and peace shines on us day and night.

Unless we make a choice to move into the darkness.

It’s always our choice.

Yet, even in the darkness, God is waiting for us to choose to move back into his light.

We are never separated from his love.

But it can feel like it.

It can feel like we’re all alone in the darkness.

It can feel like God’s not there when we are paying the consequences for things we’ve done when we’ve strayed.

That’s how it feels, but it’s not the truth.

As we read through the plagues God brought upon Egypt, I start feeling a little sick.

Boils.

Hoards of bugs.

Fields of dead animals.

A river of blood.

And then there was the plague of darkness.  A darkness so deep that it was ‘felt’.

Have you ever ‘felt’ darkness like that?

The closest I ever got to that feeling was camping out on a side of a road on the top of a mountain in a forest outside of Flagstaff.  After we turned off our lanterns and put out the campfire, the trees and clouds covered the moon and it was hard to see my hand in front of my face.

I ‘felt’ the deep darkness.

It makes me question the popular view that hell is full of fire and heat.  That night I wondered if hell could be more like this….. black…. cold….nothing.  Complete separation from the Light.

Total darkness covered all of Egypt for 3 days.

But then we read that God shown his light down on where the Israelites lived!

The Egyptians were living in this deepest darkness while the Israelites living next to them had light.

How awesome!

I imagine giant spotlights shining down from heaven just where the Israelites lived.

And that is how we, as believers, live today.  God’s spotlight of love and grace and truth shines down on us each day.

When we choose God, we choose to live in his light.

Thank you for the wonderful gift of your light, Abba Father.

 

Faltering Faith

Do I really believe that God can do anything?

Really?

Anything?

I might say that because it’s in the Bible so I know its true.

Yes, I know it’s true.

But do my actions show that I really believe it?

God is teaching us in the historical account of Moses leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt that he really can do anything.Jan 23 2016 faltering faith c

It’s the same lesson he had to teach Moses thousands of years ago.  Because Moses’ faith and trust in God needed to grow if he was to become the great leader God knew he could be.  The great leader his people needed him to be.

As we read the account, we get clear glimpses of Moses’ lack of faith.  In Exodus 6, Moses starts bring up excuses for not doing what God wants him to do because of his ‘faltering lips”.

It wasn’t his lips that were faltering – it was his faith.

At this point, he didn’t really believe God could use him to free the Israelites.Jan 23 2016 faltering in faith

And that lack of faith shows.  It shows up in his words.  It shows up in his actions.

God had told Moses that he was going to use Pharoah’s hardened heart, his stubbornness, his pride.  God was going to strike the Egyptians with wonders so Pharoah would know Who is was dealing with.  God even told Moses that he was going to kill Pharoah’s first-born son.Jan 23 2016 faltering faith b

God laid it all out for Moses but Moses just didn’t have enough faith at this time to believe and act on that belief.

Not yet.

One of the great lessons we can learn from the Exodus story is that our faith can grow just like Moses’ did.

Yes, his faltering faith was pretty evident in the beginning.

But that changed.

Moses let his interactions with God transform him.  The better he knew God, the more his faith grew.

Later, whenever the people of Israel were afraid, Moses was the one reassuring them – loudly proclaiming a rock solid faith that God would deliver them.  Moses’ old faltering faith had been replaced with a close relationship with God which made Moses one of our famous patriarchs of faith.

So – – do we really believe that nothing is impossible with God?

And, if we believe this, how does it show up in our actions?  Our decisions?  Our choices?

How solid is our faith?

We love you, Abba Father.