Archive | June 2014

Things Above

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. — Colossians 3:1-2

Have you been raised up with Christ?  having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him (Jesus)  from the dead.  (Colossians 2:12) Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died for your sins, was buried and then rose from the grave by the power of  God? By faith you have been saved.

Can you say,“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me”? (Galatians 2:20) Are you seeking and setting your mind on the things above, where Christ is?  God’s transforming power begins in our lives at the moment of salvation. He will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. (Philippians 3:21)  It is a continual process. We must seek and set our minds on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth. The things that are of interest to God, not man.* God’s will, His purpose and His glory.

Our very life is hidden with Christ in God. Christ is our life. He is worthy to be praised and glorified because He is God. That should be enough but we also carry a gratitude for His amazing love for us. Isn’t He worth our seeking Him. Isn’t He worth setting our minds on His will and purpose? Isn’t He worthy to be glorified?

Continually seeking Him,

Sharon

 

*Matthew 16:23

Compare

I have had the honor and privilege to teach Bible Studies to an array of different women and children. From school age to women well into their 80’s. It has become my passion but it didn’t start out to be.

Being involved in church found me wanting to serve and after all the church was in need of Sunday School teachers so it was only obvious that I should step up and serve in this way. Three year-olds, five year-olds, fifth and sixth graders. I’ll have to admit I did it without fervor or passion, just commitment. I decided it was not my calling. I would of course still substitute now and then.

Well, God had other plans. As I studied the Bible the more excited I became about its contents. The more excited I became, the more I wanted to tell others and Jesus opened the doors to do just that. I am truly honored that God would mold me into a teacher — not of my will — but of His, which makes it that much more important that I teach to honor God.

One of the things I stress to everyone I have the privilege to teach is for them to “open your Bible”. I am merely an imperfect human and although I have been given the gift of teaching and I try very hard to not dishonor God’s Word I can make mistakes. I would prefer someone to call me on it than to take my teaching as truth.

As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. — Galatians 1:9-10

How can we know if the truth is being preached or taught correctly if we don’t check it against the Word of God (Bible)? If I am taking the word of another without testing it against the Word of God, is that not just the same as seeking the favor of man? If I accept whatever that person says as fact, can that be construed as striving to please man? If I am willing to accept man’s word as truth then I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. Those words are very convicting.

The truth of the gospel must be taught with truth but it is our responsibility to know if the truth is being spoken. Open the Bible and compare what you hear to what is written in the Word of God.

Continually seeking Him,

Sharon

God’s Way

Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God — Romans 10:1-3

It’s God’s way or no way. There is no compromising with the Lord God if you are walking in a true relationship with Jesus. There are many who have a great zeal for God. They “do good”, are always at church when the doors are open, wearing the perfect face and self-righteous halo and  displaying their righteousness for all to see.

But. Do they really know God or just playing the church game? Are they motivated by a true love for Jesus and desiring to please Him and see His purposes fulfilled or just to be judged as a righteous saint, receiving their glory here?

Do we have a heart’s desire for the salvation of all people? Or just the ones that are righteous according to our own standards? Do we dictate what a “Christian” looks like or do we allow the transforming work of the Holy Spirit to move in the lives of people? Are we trying to do the work of  God without Him?

There is a freedom in subjecting ourselves to the righteousness of God. There is transformation in the righteousness of God. A righteousness based on God’s transforming power which makes us acceptable to Him in word, thought and deed. (Romans 10:3 AMP)

We can’t make ourselves good enough for God. We need to seek His righteousness and let His transformation bring us into alignment with His purpose and will. God’s Way!

Continually seeking Him,

Sharon

 

And he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth.  For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. — Acts 22:14-15

But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), 7 or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” — Romans 10:6-13

Groping

and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ — Acts 17:26-28

The word “grope” stood out to me, jumped right off the screen (page). It is defined in Word Origin & History* as “O.E. grapian “to feel about as one blind or in darkness,” originally “to feel or handle,” related to gripan “grasp at” (see gripe)”.* Groping, as one blind or in darkness. Isn’t that our state of being without Jesus?

God, our Creator, made from one man (Adam) every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth. I think God has definitely accomplished that. How amazing when you think about it. Lands that had never been explored are now inhabited. From two there are now approximately seven billion people on earth. And it blows my mind when I read that He has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their lives. All seven billion! I have trouble just making sure I am at my appointed place in a day. God is amazing!

What does He desire of us? To seek Him. But not just seek, grope. I imagine a desperation there. Darkness all around and having no direction, no sight. Many walk daily in this condition. God wants so much to give us sight and light to see Him clearly. To find Him. For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the Lord our God whenever we call on Him? (Deuteronomy 4:7) In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind? (Job 12:10)

God desires to give us abundant life through Jesus Christ. A life that is truly blessed, fulfilling, and amazing for in Him we live and move and exist. Do you want to truly live? Seek Jesus now while He may be found.

Continually seeking Him,

Sharon

 

*Dictionary.com, “grope,” in Online Etymology Dictionary. Source location: Douglas Harper, Historian. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/grope. Available: http://dictionary.reference.com. Accessed: June 26, 2014.

How Do You Handle That?

When you “do good” — are obedient to God’s Word, will, direction, instruction and walking closely with Jesus — don’t you expect good results?

Going through a particular journey you know that God is present. He is guiding your every step. You see God at work and you feel extremely blessed. A lot of good is coming out of your obedience and God’s will is being accomplished. You are encouraged, blessed and praised by others around you. You are floating on cloud nine.

Then . . . the season of that journey comes to an end. You move on and it seems that all has been forgotten — all those “good things” that you did. The praise ends. It seems that no one cares. And to add to the feeling of abandonment comes persecution. Accusations of misconduct and inadequacy. “But I was in the midst of God’s will, doing what I believe the Bible instructs me to do. How can this happen?” How do you handle that?

Jesus was well respected by many people, especially those who benefited from His grace and power. He had quite a following. For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; (Hebrews 7:26) who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; (1 Peter 2:22) You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. (1 John 3:5) Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, “I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.” (Luke 7:9) Jesus was right in the midst of fulfilling the Father’s will and purpose. People were coming to Jesus and having their sin forgiven.

Then . . . accusations started to fly. And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He did not answer. Then Pilate *said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge, so the governor was quite amazed. (Matthew 27:12-14) In humiliation His judgment was taken away”  (Acts 8:33) He was good, loving, caring and obedient to the Father. He did not seek the praise of man but the will and praise of the Father. How could this happen to Jesus?

The Word of God says:
“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. — Matthew 5:10-11
Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. — John 15:20
Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. — 2 Timothy 3:12
If Jesus was persecuted we can expect to be persecuted also.

So, back to the question, “How do you handle that”? Remember! Remember to focus on Jesus and His example, how He reacted to persecution. Remember that He is with you always. (Deuteronomy 31:6) Remember where to stash your treasures. (Matthew 6:19-21) Remember His faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:23; Psalm 33:4; Psalm 100:5) Remember that all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) And remember to Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:12)

Continually seeking Him,

Sharon

From Where Do You Seek Your Praise?

How is it possible for you to believe [how can you learn to believe], you who [are content to seek and] receive praise and honor and glory from one another, and yet do not seek the praise and honor and glory which come from Him Who alone is God? — John 5:44 (AMP)

Do you seek the approval, glory, honor and praise from others? Is their praise necessary for you to live for Jesus? Is their approval necessary to serve God?

Jesus said,”I receive not glory from men [I crave no human honor, I look for no mortal fame]” in John 5:41. Jesus sought the approval, glory, honor and praise from the Father. Jesus served the Father to bring Him glory, honor and praise and in turn the Father exalted His Son. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, (Philippians 2:9)

Then if Jesus is our role model we need to seek to honor God. Jesus said that “If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him” in John 12:26. Following Jesus takes belief in Him as the Son of God who died on the cross for us and was raised on the third day by God Himself. It takes following in Jesus’ footsteps. It takes seeking God’s approval rather than the approval of men. For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends. (2 Corinthians 10:18)

Let us seek Jesus so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. (John 5:23) Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone. (1 Chronicles 29:12) Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, (1 Peter 5:6)

Continually seeking Him,

Sharon

for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God. — John 12:43

The Promise of His Promises

For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. — 2 Peter 1:4

God’s promises come with a promise. God is so awesome! By His precious and magnificent promises we may become partakers of the divine nature. The likeness of God created in righteousness and holiness of the truth is in the new self we put on with the trusting acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Savior in our lives. We share His holiness. Isn’t that reason enough to trust in His promises? We are blessed beyond comprehension by the mercy and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s time to trust in those promises of God. His promises.

Let our trusting faith in His promises help us to grow in our faith until the day He calls us home. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. — 1 John 3:2

What a glorious day that will be. In the meantime seek the Lord and His strength while He can be found.

Continually seeking Him,

Sharon

and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. — Ephesians 4:24

For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. — Hebrews 12:10