Saturday, December 17, 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR

Due to  Grandma responsibilities, I am going to have to take a leave of absence of a few weeks from the blog.  I hope those of you who follow me will take this opportunity to make use of the bible studies on my web site, www.momsbiblejournal.com.  I pray that each of you will have a very blessed Christmas and will find some special time to spend with the Father and thank Him for the gift of His Son.

One of my favorite musicians is Shannon Wexelberg, and I would like to share the words from one of her songs with you since her thoughts mirror my heart----and I pray yours as well.

Becoming 
By Shannon J. Wexelberg

Who am I becoming?
Have I grown to look like You?
Has love been carved into my heart?
Oh, Lord, I pray it’s true.
Do I ache inside to feel your smile
And to gain what I can't lose?
Who am I becoming?
I long to be like You.

Who am I becoming? ?
Would a stranger find You here?
Could they recognize You in my life?
Would my love for You be clear?
Do I treasure all that’s dear to You
See the world through mercy’s eyes?
Who am I becoming?
Can they see Your face in mine?

Lord, I want to look like You
To walk like You
To talk like You
To breathe the air You’re breathing in
To hear You call me "friend."

Who am I becoming?
I am clay within Your hands.
And if You must use fire to form me,
I trust what You have planned.
For beauty shines in purest light
When it’s tested and found true.
I pray I am becoming
Beautiful like You.

That’s who I’m becoming--
Just a child who longs to find
That more with every passing day
Lord, You are magnified.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

OUR LORD IS THE GOD OF ALL COMFORT

I pray that each reader will remember that the best time spent every day is spent investing in your relationship with our Lord and Savior.  (Click on the last picture for a larger image.)




Sunday, December 11, 2011

PATIENCE REAPS REWARD

My life is full to overflowing at this season, so I am not sure when I will get to the next series of posts.  I am still going to post a few more scripture cards in hopes of finding time to do some writing.  May His word bring a smile to your heart.  (Click on last picture for larger image.)




Thursday, December 8, 2011

GOD'S PROMISES ARE SURE

I hope you enjoy these cards as much as I enjoy making them and sharing them.  (Click on last picture for larger view.)






Monday, December 5, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

GOD'S LOVE, STRENGTH & SUSTENANCE

Thought I would share a few more original scripture cards as I ponder the next series of posts.  (Click on last picture for option of bigger view.




Tuesday, November 29, 2011

LET YOUR WALK MATCH YOUR TALK


This post will complete our investigation of Paul’s letter to the Colossians.  I know that if we will embrace its treasure trove of truth, we will become more spiritually discerning in identifying the proliferation of false teachings in these end times.

Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.

In this verse Paul is basically encouraging the Colossians to have a good testimony before the unbelieving world—those outside the family of faith.  Your life needs to back up the message you are sharing to be most effective. 

1 Corinthians 9:14 “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.”

Philippians 1:27 “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ….”

Redeeming time is a reference to making the most of every opportunity (as stated in several other translations), and I would add learning to recognize those opportunities as well.

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Christians are to be prepared to answer why we believe what we believe.

1Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

I think the words from Peter complement the words of Paul.  Our speech should always be gracious—but especially when sharing the gospel and the truth of God’s word.  Again, the word for grace references a divine influence upon the heart, which I relate to being yielded to the Holy Spirit.  We aren’t to try to beat people over the head with the truth or present it in an offensive manner.  I think, however, that the desire not to offend should not prevent our sharing the truth.  Some people will claim offense no matter how “gracefully” we try to share it.  Our duty is to obey God rather than follow the dictates of the culture.  He tells us to share the gospel with everyone.

Mark 16:15 “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

The Greek for the word salt gave reference to prudence, which Webster defines as “wisdom in the way of caution, discretion and carefulness.”  I think this includes Peter’s admonition to speak with meekness and fear (before the Lord).  When salt is added to food it enhances the flavor.  When we season our speech with salt we are speaking so as to make the message more effective—not less.

When looking for extra insight, I came across a good quote from the web at http://www.saltinstitute.org/pubstat/malott.html, from an article written circa 1970 by H.R. Malott, 
Chief Field Representative, 
Salt Institute:  I like to think that seasoning with salt means the salt of truth and that knowing how ye ought to answer every man is answering truthfully.  My father taught me that if I did not tell a lie I did not have to remember what I had said.”

Paul goes on to close his letter with personal greetings and messages.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

GOD DELIGHTS IN OUR PRAYERS


Continuing in our investigation of Paul’s letter to the Colossians…

Colossians 4:2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;

The first thing I notice is that the Colossians evidently have a reputation of being a praying people since Paul is encouraging them to “continue” in prayer.  The Greek for continue made it clear that prayer is worth the effort and energy devoted to it; it also requires a heart commitment (to be earnest).  The Greek for watch is a reference to awareness and vigilance, a desire to discover and avoid danger.  In other words, it shouldn’t be a time of rote repetition.  Your heart and mind should be involved, and your words should have purpose.  

Our time of prayer should always include expressions of thanksgiving.  This is an area in which I have grown through the years.  When you talk about prayer, most people think about asking God for things.  Prayer is a time of fellowship with the Lord.  As a loving Father, He definitely wants to hear our burdens and requests, but He also wants to hear words of love, appreciation and thanksgiving for the many blessings He gives us as well as for the amazing love and forgiveness which He so freely and unceasingly gives us. 

Colossians 4:3-4 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.

Paul does not hesitate to request prayer for himself and those ministering to and with him.  Scripture is full of references to the Lord hearing and responding to the prayers of His people.  There are many scriptures that encourage us to pray and let us know that our prayers delight the Lord.

Proverbs 15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.

Proverbs 15:29 The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.

Matthew 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

James 5:16 ….The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Paul’s desire was to be able to continue sharing the gospel with the Gentiles, the very thing that had led to his imprisonment at the time of writing this letter.  Paul had already defined this “mystery” in chapter 1 as the truth that salvation was meant for Gentiles as well as Jews.  He is also asking for prayer to share the message clearly and in the right way.  It’s interesting to me that although he was very well spoken, Paul didn’t depend on natural abilities in sharing the gospel message, he wanted supernatural provision and empowerment.

(to be continued...)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

INSTRUCTIONS FOR CHRISTIAN MASTERS/BOSSES


This chapter continues seamlessly in context with the previous chapter.  This verse is very similar to a verse from Ephesians quoted in the last chapter.

Colossians 4:1 Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.

Ephesians 6:9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.

I have to keep reminding myself that Paul is addressing these letters to Christians.  My first thought is that what he is saying is a “no brainer.”  Then all I have to do is remember my own personal failures, and I realize that we all have a continual struggle with the sin nature and need encouragement and reminders to do what is right.  He is giving Christian “masters” instruction to treat their servants with justice (according to what is right morally and ethically) and equality (without respect to persons, neither inferior nor superior to each other).  The prime motivation—You have a Master in heaven and are servants to Him.  There is no doubt that He deals with His servants justly and without respect to persons.  Your treatment of those under your authority falls under the disciplining authority of your Master—the Lord Jesus.

I think that although the context is referencing servant/slave-master relationships, it is obvious that the principles are directly applicable to employee-employer relationships as well.  As a Christian employee or employer our primary concern should be focused on how our actions reflect on our Savior.

(to be continued…)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

THE CHRISTIAN SERVANT


Paul is directing his words in this section of his letter to Christian servants.  He reminds the believer that his service is to be done “as unto the Lord.”

Colossians 3:22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:

The Greek for servants is a reference to someone who is a slave, whether willingly or unwillingly.  In the whole of biblical times, slavery was a part of society.  I can find nowhere in scripture that prohibits the practice.  There are verses in Deuteronomy and Jeremiah, however, that indicate that the Lord would that all men be free.

Deuteronomy 23:15–16 “Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee: He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him.”

Jeremiah 34:13-16 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondmen, saying, At the end of seven years let ye go every man his brother an Hebrew, which hath been sold unto thee; and when he hath served thee six years, thou shalt let him go free from thee: but your fathers hearkened not unto me, neither inclined their ear. And ye were now turned, and had done right in my sight, in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbour; and ye had made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name: But ye turned and polluted my name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom ye had set at liberty at their pleasure, to return, and brought them into subjection, to be unto you for servants and for handmaids.

There are, however, many guidelines as to proper treatment of slaves.  Paul gives a clear statement regarding the treatment of slaves in his letter to the Ephesians.

Ephesians 6:5-9 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.  And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.

Having said all that, Paul is instructing Christians who are slaves.  He is clear that they are to be obedient to their masters in every way—whether they are being watched or not.  They are to serve their masters with the heart that they are serving God in the process.  Verse 8 from Ephesians (above) gives the best motivation.  You can’t outgive the Lord.  The Lord will reward you for your good service (the implication being even if your master doesn’t).

Colossians 3:23-24 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

Verse 23 begins with a repeat of the instruction in verse 17.  I think the key truth that keeps jumping out in this chapter is that we are to live “as to the Lord.”  I am sure that a slave would especially need these words of encouragement—especially if serving a hard master.  He/she would need to be focused on the fact that the Lord looks at his/her service to their master as though they are serving Him.  Again, their work will not go unrewarded; they have a heavenly inheritance awaiting them.

Our culture is so full of pleasing self and earning the accolades of people.  As Christians, the only One we should worry about pleasing is the Lord.  Why?  Because we are joint-heirs with Christ, and our eternal inheritance will far surpass any earthly treasure or accolades we may accumulate.  We serve the “Lord Christ,” the Messiah, the Savior, THE Supreme Authority. 

Colossians 3:25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

In context, this statement seems connected to the instruction to “servants.”  God will not let those who claim His name go unpunished for wrongdoing.  There is no valid excuse before the Lord for doing wrong.  Scripture is clear that you will reap what you sow.

Job 4:8 Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. 

Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

The Lord is a righteous judge; He is no respecter of persons.

2Chronicles 19:7 Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.   

Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

Romans 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

1Peter 1:17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

Though in context this instruction is to servants, it is applicable to every believer.   



(to be continued...)