Posted by: playingmanyparts | June 30, 2014

It’s all about the fruit – Galations 5:22-23

Galations 5:22-23 (ESV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

I have mentioned before how persistent God can be when He is trying to deliver a message to us.  After at least three very separate and yet equal reminders from Him, I finally got to my knees this morning to ask Him to help me apply this message he so clearly has for me.  I believe God is very firmly commanding me to actively pursue these fruits in my life.  No more casual reading my Bible, praying when it’s convenient and blogging when I can.  I can no longer lovingly look into the eyes of my perfect Savior and choose disobedience.  My love for him is calling me to really start taking every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5), and to attempt to be more and more like him.

I cry about how I want to be more like Jesus, but I have done nothing recently to prove that, or “put my money where my mouth is” like my Dad used to say all the time.  I expect a miracle to come along and change me, and while this will happen, it also will take some work from me.  I know I have been called to pick up my cross DAILY and follow Jesus (Luke 9:23), and he promises that the burden will be light (Matthew 11:30) when I cast my cares onto Him (1 Peter 5:7).  The first step of obedience is what I feel called to today.

Father God, I am going to need your help to begin this next step of my faith journey.  I will need help moving my feet and most especially my hard heart toward love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in all my thoughts and actions.  Come Lord Jesus into my heart, my mind, my life and help me to trust you and obey.

Posted by: playingmanyparts | April 20, 2014

I Am The Resurrection – Matthew 11:25-26

Matthew 11:25-25 ESV
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

The only man in recorded history that I know of who not only raised someone else who was 4 days in the grave, but who died himself, tore the vail in two, brought many from the grave and caused an earthquake! He is not dead, he is alive just as He said. He is the only one worthy of our praise for what He did. He did It all for you, and me. We turn our backs on God when we sin, and Jesus sacrifice takes it all away. He gained God’s acceptance. Because of His sacrifice that first Easter, I have been resorted to a right relationship with our creator. Oh what a day we celebrate today!

May you all have a very blessed Resurrection Day!

Posted by: playingmanyparts | April 14, 2014

The Sacrifice – Matthew 27:46

Matthew 27:46

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying “Eli, Eli, lema sabachtani?”  That is, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

In both the gospel of Matthew and Mark (15:34) these words Jesus utters before he dies are recorded.  I found special significance this week in these words as I looked at them in light of Romans 3:21-26.  I usually read from the English Standard Version, as it is my favorite and one of the most literal translations.  However, for one of my Bible Study Groups I find the Serendipity Bible works really well so I was reading it this week.  As I read verse 25 of Romans 3

Romans 3:25

25 God presented him [Jesus] as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.  He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished-

I noticed that there is a footnote after the word atonement that says God presented him as the one who would turn aside His wrath, taking away sin, through faith in his blood.  And isn’t that just what Jesus was saying in his last words?  That as he became our sacrifice, he was forsaken by God.  That perfect union He had with the Father was broken because of our sin, and the Father had to turn His face away.  How utterly devastating that is.  Jesus became our sin.  And that is the pain and horror of Good Friday.

Praise God that it doesn’t end there.  The resurrection of Sunday morning proves that the sacrifice was accepted, and that Jesus has been restored to right relationship to God the Father, that he is seated at His right hand, and therefore we too are restored to a right relationship with a Holy and Righteous Father who can not tolerate sin.  The cross means we have been saved, and the resurrection means we have been restored!  Praise God, what a week it is.  Glorify the one and only risen savior and Lord.  The only man in history who died, was buried and was raised again to life and was seen by many witnesses!  He deserves it, he earned our praise and gratitude forever!

Posted by: playingmanyparts | March 23, 2014

But I Can’t Do It – 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

20140323-092352.jpg

1 Corinthians 2:1-5
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

I have to speak weekly for a ministry I do in our community and every week I ask God to find a more gifted speaker to do it. I am very shy and do not enjoy public speaking. I get flustered and my voice shakes, I never say what I practiced and it never comes out like I want. I am beginning to think that perhaps that is why He won’t release me from this ministry.

Some of the young adults that I speak to will never set foot in a church, but they will come to this gathering. It weighs so heavy on my heart that I am the vessel they are stuck with. And someday I will stand before God and have to give an account of what I said every week. So I speak nothing among them except Christ crucified. With much fear and trembling I try hard to simply tell the gospel story and let God do everything else.

I am reminded again that we are not asked to know it all, or to speak well, or to be the most gifted. We are called to tell the truth of Christ in us and in our lives. We all can do that! What ministry or person might God be calling you to today?

Father God, forgive my lack of faith and unbelief. You have called me, you will enable me. Give me your words, your love, and your heart for those I am called to serve. Turn their hearts and lives toward you and when this life is done, call them home to you.

Posted by: playingmanyparts | March 14, 2014

The Good Shepherd – John 10

The Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd

John 10:1-11

10 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

I have been meditating all week on what it means for Jesus to be our shepherd.  It is complex, and I am still processing it.  What I do see here is a very compassionate leader who will put himself in harms way to save the least of us.  I see a servant leader who carries a large staff to rescue those who go astray.  I hear a man speak whose voice and words are so profound that all I can do is follow.  I see someone who loves me no matter what; I see a gentle shepherd who like David will slay lions, bears and serpents.  I see the Jesus of my childhood with a soft glow about him who is my hero, my rescuer, my savior my all.

It is with much love and compassion I embrace this wonderful picture of who my savior is.  So far, my study of John has left me with may pictures of Jesus.  He is the Word, the Light of the World, the Living Water, the Bread of Life, the Gate and the Good Shepherd.  So far, this image of a shepherd is the one to which I cling and meditate on and embrace with all my heart.

Posted by: playingmanyparts | March 11, 2014

Jesus Commands It All – John 6:19-21

Stormy Sea

Stormy Sea

John 6:19-21

When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened.  20 But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”  21 Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.

A read-through of the first 6 chapters of John gives me a pretty big picture of who Christ is.  From the very first verse of Chapter 1 all things point to his divinity.  Jesus turned about 6 bathtubs full of water into wine in Chapter 2, and lays out for Nicodemus in Chapter 3 that He must be lifted up and that he is the way to eternal life.  From Jesus conversation with the woman at the well we begin to see him as the living water that will finally satisfy our souls and lead to eternal life.  Next in Chapters 4 and 5 he performs 2 healings and comes back to the second one to point out the importance of repenting from sin.  And then in verse 6 he takes 5 loaves and 2 fish to feed 5,000 and walks on water to be with the disciples.

Jesus has complete control of the natural world.  We can read it here in John, but my favorite summary of this is found later in the New Testament in Colossians 1.

Colossians 1:15-22

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things were created through him and for him.  17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  18 And he is the head of the body, the church.  He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.  19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and though him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.  21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him

He is the only one who claimed equality with God and then proved it through his actions, words and resurrection.  Surely he is “the way, the truth, and the life.”  500 people saw Christ after his resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:6), no other leader, religious or otherwise can or does claim that.

Father God, thank you for sending you son to be the perfect sacrifice for our sin.  As fully God and fully man he is the only one in all creation qualified to fulfill the qualifications of a New Covenant with you.  Give me faith and courage to share this amazing Good News with those you put in my path.

Posted by: playingmanyparts | March 4, 2014

Are You Too Missing the Bigger Picture – John 6:1-35

BreadJohn 6:35

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

I have been reading and studying John looking for insight and I almost missed it, even though I know it.  We have here in John  two of the most retold Sunday School miracles from Jesus life.  In John 6:1-15 we see Jesus feeding the 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fishes.  Next, in John 6:16-21 we see Jesus walking on the sea.  Each miracle is awesome in and of itself, put together, they show the amazing power of Jesus over the physical aspects of our world.  He can make matter multiply and he can command the elements.  Any science fiction fan can attest to how super cool it would be to command the elements, let alone be able to make bread divide to feed many.

But Jesus is no mere magician.  And while the crowd and even his disciples are overwhelmed with the physical aspects of these miracles they miss the point entirely.  For several chapters now Jesus has been pointing to the all surpassing greatness of Himself and his ability to lead us to the Father.  Jesus is the living water which we can have and never thirst again.  He is the bread of life which we can eat and never be hungry again.  He has been trying to direct our attention to the fact that we no longer need worry about food or water, we need only have Jesus.  He is everything.  If we have him, we have the Father.  If we have Him, all else will be provided.  Faith alone in Christ alone as our hope for everything.  He is everything.

Father God, how simple, and yet overwhelming profound is the greatness of your glory.  Thank you for sending your son.  Thank you that he is all we need for life.  May I learn to concern myself less and less with the daily provisions, and more and more on my daily dose of you.  May all I do, like Jesus, point to your holiness, glory and honor.

Posted by: playingmanyparts | February 28, 2014

A Healing That Lasts – John 5:1-17

John 5:14

Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well!  Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.”

These days it seems we are surrounded by sickness.  Just about everyday I hear of another family member or friend who is sick, some with terminal diseases.  These sicknesses make me sad, and I empathize with those who are facing immediate death.  The truth is though that we are all terminal.  We are all dying and have some serious decisions to make before we go.  Whether we live 10, 20 or even 50 more years, we, like the invalid here at the pool, need to decide if we want to be healed.

Through repentance of sin and following Christ, we are given the cure to sin and death.  We can take up our mats this very minute and follow Christ in healing and power.  We can share his message and heal others too.  And not just physical healing, but the much more important soul healing which brings eternal life.  Do you want to be healed?  Pick up your mat,  and sin no more so that nothing worse may happen to you.

Father God, help us never forget that we are all terminal and have such a short time to chose our path and help others do the same.  Create in me an urgency for spreading you word to lost and hurting people.  May I be a light, and help me pick up my mat daily and sin no more.

Posted by: playingmanyparts | February 26, 2014

A Groom that Never Fails – John 2:1-12

John 2:1-12

Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

There are so many good lessons to take from this first miracle we see Jesus perform in the Gospel of John.  The one that speaks to me the loudest right now is the truth of how awesome our bridegroom is!  As a young person I watched Disney movies and read storybooks about how the princess met her prince and they lived happily ever after and I always imagined that was the way things were supposed to happen.  Then I got married.  This is not a husband bashing post, I adore the mate God chose for me and think the world of him, I really do.  But he does not complete me.  God does.

The bridegroom in this first miracle of Jesus has NOT saved the best wine until last, he has completely failed at supplying enough wine!  My bridegroom does many things well, but he is not unfailing.  Jesus however, has never yet failed me, and the Bible promises that he never will.  He will never leave me or forsake me.  Jesus, unlike my Earthly husband, is with me absolutely everywhere I go.  Jesus knows my every thought and loves me anyway.  Earthly husbands can not be everything, go everywhere and do everything for us, they just can’t.  Jesus, however, can.  All things are possible with Christ.  It is time we stop expecting so much from those broken Earthly vessels we are blessed with and thank God that he provided mates that are able to meet so many of our needs, and praise and worship HIM for being the ultimate bridegroom who will never fail, never disappoint, and never leave us.

Father God, thank you for sending your son.  Thank you for the husband you have blessed me with.  Help me to love and honor Him in ways that are appropriate and good.  Help me bless him today and let him know how thankful I am for him.  Thank you Jesus that you never fail, never give up, never disappoint.

Posted by: playingmanyparts | February 22, 2014

One of the First Evangelists – John 4

John 4:39

Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.”

John 20:17

Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your father, to my God and your God.'”

I have been studying this story in John for well over a week now, and this morning I finally felt the pieces all fall together.  As a woman who always struggles with my identity within the kingdom, this story sheds new light on my situation.  I have been told for years that a woman’s place in the church is one of quiet support.  I should carefully teach the children and young people, but certainly not men.  I have heard people say for years that women should not be preachers or deacons or elders, but I am throwing that false teaching off today.  I no longer subscribe to that teaching.

I know what Paul says about where he placed woman back in his time in his churches, but this morning my Father reminded me where Jesus placed women when he was here.  He taught them.  At a time and location and town where no religious Jew of his day would have, Jesus not only taught a scorned woman His truth, but he also used her to draw an entire town to Him!  I am a Christ follower, not a Paul follower, and I choose today to follow Christ and His example.  I believe Paul himself warned us to be sure to follow Christ and not one disciple or another. . .right?!

My new revelation actually came once I had read the entire book of John, and realized again that he also first revealed himself after his resurrection to a woman.  Mary was told by Jesus to give the resurrection message to the disciples. . .Mary was the first to see and tell of the good news, Mary was the first witness!  In my reading of the whole of scripture, nothing outdoes this truth, nothing.

Ladies, we have a purpose in the kingdom.  We have a story, a message, a testimony that can only be shared by us.  Many of us as brides ourselves, we have much to teach the church about being a bride and waiting on our ultimate bridegroom.  We are children of God first, so we need to put off our womanly wiles and work diligently at the tasks God has called us to.

Father, thank you for your word, your Son, your truth.  Thank you for loving me and calling me to you and to your work.  Help me live and minister in Christ and in His resurrection power.  Remove the passive spirit in me and lead me to do your work, and help in bringing your kingdom here on Earth.  Amen.

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