dailybiblereader2012

Putting God's Word into Practice…

More Lessons from Henry

Peace and contentment flooded my kitchen as I sat feeding Henry this morning.  His needs were being satisfied…finally.  As I sat in the peace of the moment, I heard the Holy Spirit speak to my heart.  I had gone against my very life verses.

Do NOTHING out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should not only look to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

You see, minutes before the peace, the house was filled with hungry wailing.  I had heard Henry rousing and thought, “Let ME FIRST fold this laundry.”  Halfway through the task, his rousing had turned to crying and quickly escalated to wailing.  I thought again, “I’M almost finished.  Let ME FIRST fold these clothes.”  Peace never comes by way of selfishness–peace comes through serving others in humility.

How often do we put our needs, agendas and interests before others and sometimes at the expense of others?  It is so un-Christlike!  He gave up everything to put our needs–our greatest need of salvation–first. Verse 5 says, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”

Lord, help me to serve like Jesus today.  Give me His attitude and perspective toward others.  Give me humility.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Revelation 6 ~ No More Hiding

I’ve been working on 1 John curriculum for a new ladies’ study at our church, so it has been a while since I’ve read in Revelation.  Here’s a recap of chapters 1-5:

John was in exile on the Island of Patmos and was given a revelation–an unveiling–of the ruling, reign Christ.  Jesus gave John letters filled with appreciation, encouragement, warnings and rewards to send to seven churches.  Next John saw the throne room of God–where He is glorified and worshiped without end. All of this lays the foundation and gives justification for the future wrath and judgment that the Lord reveals to John.

In chapter 6, Jesus begins to open the seven seals from the scroll in the hand of God the Father.

  1. War
  2. Violence–no peace
  3. Famine
  4. Death of 1/4 of mankind
  5. Death of Christians by persecution
  6. Destruction of the earth

All of these are permitted and commanded by the Lord as judgment on the earth.  Only one is committed at the hands of earthly men–the persecution of Christians.  However, it is important to note that this is also held in God’s hand and part of His perfect plan.

The people tried to “hide themselves” (15) from God during this time.  They acknowledge God and Jesus, but they do not call on Him for salvation from their sin and its effects.  They call on “things” to save them from facing God.  Mountains and rocks cannot save, but Jesus can!  And He wants to! That is why this revelation was given to John.  It states that there is a sovereign, living, holy God–the Creator of all things and worthy of all worship.  It reminds us that there is a perfect, spotless Lamb that was sacrificed for the sins of all mankind–Christ the Lord.  It also warns that ignoring Him, living apart from Him, and loving ourselves and our sin makes us His enemies.  Each day that He gives us to come out of hiding and embrace Him as Lord is grace!  His judgment and wrath are sure–come out from hiding and ask Him to save you before it is too late.

Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, HID THEMSELVES in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand? Revelation 6:15-17

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Changing My Mind (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Often, my thoughts are like criminals.  They are dangerous and can’t be trusted.  They lie, steal, and harm others.  It’s easy to assume, “They are just thoughts. No one else sees or hears them.” But God does, and our conscience is affected by them.

What do we do with criminals?  The judicial system was created to expose criminal behavior and place the criminal in custody to protect mankind until the criminal could be reformed.  So it is with our thoughts.

God has been working on refining and purifying my thought life.  It feels like He has been shining a light on every thought that comes into my mind when I see someone, am in communication with someone, reading the Facebook news feed, looking in the mirror, trying on clothes, etc…  And I’ve been shocked!  Some defining thoughts that have been exposed on a regular basis are: bitterness, jealousy and envy, critical/judgmental, impure, untrue, anxious/worried, discontent, selfish, greedy, self-deprecating.  Sinful, criminal thoughts!

While doing a 30-Days of Praying for your Pastor Challenge, I came across 2 Corinthians 10:5.  This verse is quoted so often in Christian circles that honestly, I bristle when I hear it. (Cue the lightning!)  It has become cliché.  It is also used in conjunction with lust so often, that I forgot it could pertain to anything else.  But this time one command jumped off the page and into my heart.

TAKE EVERY THOUGHT CAPTIVE TO OBEY CHRIST!

EVERY THOUGHT!  I don’t know the average number of thoughts in my mind each day or what percentage are sinful, but I admit the ratio is not good.  God’s word says we need to deal with every single one!

I expend so much energy ignoring my thoughts while protecting my mouth and actions.  Why? Because that’s the part of me people see.  Those things define my reputation–how I am perceived by others.  No one knows the depth and depravity of my thoughts except me…and God who judges heart and mind. (Jeremiah 17:10)

My energies would be better placed in arresting my thoughts, imprisoning them and reforming them so they come into alignment with obedience to God.  When my thoughts are reformed, my actions and speech will automatically reform too.  Refining my thoughts eliminates hypocrisy!

Where do I start???  If our thoughts are to obey Christ, then they must obey His first and greatest commandment to love Him with ALL our heart, soul, mind and strength.  And the second, which is like it, to love our neighbor as ourselves. LOVE!! Love conquers sin! Love reforms our thoughts! Love changes our lives!  According to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:

  • Love is patient and kind.
  • Love does not envy or boast.
  • Love is not arrogant or rude.
  • Love does not insist on its own way.
  • Love is not irritable or resentful.
  • Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing.
  • Love rejoices with the truth.
  • Love bears, believes, hopes, and endures ALL things.

Another step we can take to change our thoughts is to change what we think about.  Romans 12:2b says that we are to be transformed (changed) by the renewing of our minds.  Colossians 3:2 says to “think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.”   And Philippians 4:8 gives us a solid list of things we should think about:  “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”  Maybe that means taking a Facebook fast, eliminating body image/fashion/fitness/diet articles, or throwing out your scale, and spending extra time in God’s Word and prayer, (Proverbs 16:20) or meditating on His steadfast love (Psalm 48:9).  Let’s ask the Lord to make us mindful of “every thought,” admit when they are sinful, and ask for forgiveness and change.

Honestly, I’ve hesitated in writing this blog because even though I’m learning this lesson, it is not easy to put into practice.  I’ve failed miserably!  In fact, the only time I’m getting it right is between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. =)  But by God’s grace, I am more aware of my thought life and bit by bit, God is changing my heart.

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