Get in the Game with Your Spiritual Gift!

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Every believer in Jesus has a spiritual gift, given by the Holy Spirit to be used in God’s kingdom-building enterprise (see my last post here…). In another encouragement from Paul to Timothy regarding his spiritual gift, Paul writes,

“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:6-7).

http://www.weareborregosprings.com/ourtown/wp-content/uploads/Dallas-Cowboys-vs-San-Diego-Chargers1-500x281.jpgAnother translation says that “God did not give us a spirit of timidity” or “God did not make us timid.”
In the first letter to Timothy, Paul told him not to neglect the gift, now he says to fan it into flame. What was going on? I think that Timothy was holding back, perhaps being intimidated in his ministry because he was young (see 1 Timothy 4:12), or because he saw the persecution that Paul’s boldness brought and didn’t want to go through the same hardships (see 2 Timothy 1:8-12).

Maybe you can relate to these challenges – holding back on what God has called you to do, sitting on the sidelines of the faith, maybe just coming to church but not taking any further steps of faith or service. Here’s the higher perspective on your life: you are created in the image of God, loved by him, called by him to salvation and gifted by him for amazing life while here on earth. If you neglect your gift, you will stay stunted in your spiritual life, and the body of Christ will suffer for the lack of your engagement. You have a choice to sit on the sidelines or to suit up and head to the field and play the game. What’s holding you back?

Maybe you’re on the field, but you’re playing the game in fear and timidness. Fear is not from God, and is a gift-quencher! Take your fears to The Lord, asking him to fill you with the Holy Spirit and give new fire to your life and ministry appointment. You are not alone! God is with you and in you and is ready to do things in and through you that are beyond what you can even dream of!

Now get out there and get in the game!
Dave Stewart, LIFE Group Pastor

09
Feb 2014
AUTHOR Dave Stewart
COMMENTS No Comments

Unwrap Your Gift!

Paul challenges his son in the faith, Timothy, to engage and use his spiritual gift:

“Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.” (1 Timothy 4:14)

Gift Cards Available Online & At the Spa!

Right before this verse, Paul tells Timothy to devote himself to public scripture reading, teaching & exhortation. Although the text doesn’t tell us what Timothy’s gifts are, this challenge to devote himself indicates that he had a preaching ministry.

How was he placed into his ministry? Verse 14 says that the elders laid hands on him, probably in a commissioning prayer, and someone prophesied over him. 1 Corinthians 12 tells us that the Holy Spirit gives the gifts, so it wasn’t the elders that actually gave Tim the gift, but they were the avenue the Holy Spirit used to dispense the gift.
Is that the only way gifts are dispensed? No! Peter tells us that each one has received a spiritual gift (see 1 Peter 4:10-11) and we are to use our gift to serve others. In 1 Corinthians 12:11 Paul writes that the Holy Spirit distributes the gifts “to each one individually as he wills.”

So what’s the main point of Paul’s encouragement to Timothy (and my encouragement to you today)?

Don’t neglect the amazing gift of grace that the Holy Spirit has entrusted to you! He gave it to you for a reason, but it’s your choice & responsibility to engage the use of your gift. Ask God how he wants you to serve with your gift(s) to build his kingdom, and then boldly get into the game and go for it!

Do you know what your gift is? If not, maybe it’s because you’ve been sitting on the sidelines and not trying anything. As a next step, go to a spiritual leader who knows you and ask them to pray over you and speak into your life about how God might best use you. Study 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and 1 Peter 4, asking the Holy Spirit to speak to you through the word. And you can also take the spiritual gifts test on the Rock website www.sdrock.com/spiritualgifts. Engage some trusted friends in this exploration with you – after all, that’s a good reason to be in a LIFE Group.

In my next post I’ll address this topic further… Stay tuned!

Dave Stewart, LIFE Group Pastor

24
Jan 2014
AUTHOR Dave Stewart
COMMENTS No Comments

In All Things Charity

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These things you have done, and I kept silent; you thought that I was altogether like you; but I will rebuke you…” (Psalm 50:21-22) This is one of those verses that can be tucked away in your heart for many years. It is a concept that should be an essential truth within the human heart of grace.  You will find that many people appear to have conflict with others because of their differences.  In essence, people tend to hold to the thought that “because you are not like me, you are wrong.”  Even over the essentials of the Christian faith, people fight over particular beliefs because people have differences opinion on a particular portion of Scripture.  Now don’t get me wrong; I do believe that there is right and wrong on many issues.  However, what I am speaking about are the preferences or variance of views on somewhat subjective areas of life and beliefs.  On this subject, it is astounding to reflect on the fact that God used two amazing men to be instrumental in bringing about the Reformation back in the 16th Century – Martin Luther and John Calvin.  Yet their followers ended up have divisive views about the Eucharist (Communion).  Think about this, one of the most sacred gifts from God for the Church to reflect upon Christ’s death for our unity and worship—people argue and divide about it.  As such, the preamble to the “Statement of Beliefs” that would guide our interactions over the areas of doctrine that sometimes divides people. “We believe in what is termed ‘The Apostles’ Creed’ as embodying all the fundamental doctrines of orthodox evangelical Christianity.  In addition to the fundamental doctrines of the faith we realize that there are of a number of variant nuances of interpretation and denominational emphases that polarize the Body of Christ toward diverse positions.

As a non-denominational ministry, the Rock Church is intentional in teaching the core doctrines of the Christian faith without fixating on discordant beliefs.  In this regard we affirm the general statement as originated in the early church by St. Augustine, ‘In Essentials, Unity; in Non-essentials, Liberty; in All Things, Charity.’ For those interested in studying the various doctrinal positions within orthodox Christianity, courses are made available through Rock U that survey the broad range of Biblical and Systematic Theology.  We draw upon our Statement of Faith and Christian Conduct for guidance in interpreting particular matters Scripturally and with spiritual wisdom.”  The point here is that God’s people are free to hold different opinions in which they can have dialogue for mutual learning; let’s just not argue about the variant positions.   If people will just simply seek to understand another’s point of view, it leads to great conversation and mutual edification, even though they may still disagree.  It is no wonder that Jesus prayed, “that they may be one just as We are one.” (John 17:22)

23
Nov 2013
AUTHOR Mickey Stonier
CATEGORY

Uncategorized

COMMENTS No Comments

“In All Things Charity”

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These things you have done, and I kept silent; you thought that I was altogether like you; but I will rebuke you…” (Psalm 50:21-22) This is one of those verses that can be tucked away in your heart for many years. It is a concept that should be an essential truth within the human heart of grace.  You will find that many people appear to have conflict with others because of their differences.  In essence, people tend to hold to the thought that “because you are not like me, you are wrong.”  Even over the essentials of the Christian faith, people fight over particular beliefs because people have differences opinion on a particular portion of Scripture.  Now don’t get me wrong; I do believe that there is right and wrong on many issues.  However, what I am speaking about are the preferences or variance of views on somewhat subjective areas of life and beliefs.  On this subject, it is astounding to reflect on the fact that God used two amazing men to be instrumental in bringing about the Reformation back in the 16th Century – Martin Luther and John Calvin.  Yet their followers ended up have divisive views about the Eucharist (Communion).  Think about this, one of the most sacred gifts from God for the Church to reflect upon Christ’s death for our unity and worship—people argue and divide about it.  As such, the preamble to the “Statement of Beliefs” that would guide our interactions over the areas of doctrine that sometimes divides people. “We believe in what is termed ‘The Apostles’ Creed’ as embodying all the fundamental doctrines of orthodox evangelical Christianity.  In addition to the fundamental doctrines of the faith we realize that there are of a number of variant nuances of interpretation and denominational emphases that polarize the Body of Christ toward diverse positions.  As a non-denominational ministry, the Rock Church is intentional in teaching the core doctrines of the Christian faith without fixating on discordant beliefs.  In this regard we affirm the general statement as originated in the early church by St. Augustine, ‘In Essentials, Unity; in Non-essentials, Liberty; in All Things, Charity.’ For those interested in studying the various doctrinal positions within orthodox Christianity, courses are made available through Rock U that survey the broad range of Biblical and Systematic Theology.  We draw upon our Statement of Faith and Christian Conduct for guidance in interpreting particular matters Scripturally and with spiritual wisdom.”  The point here is that God’s people are free to hold different opinions in which they can have dialogue for mutual learning; let’s just not argue about the variant positions.   If people will just simply seek to understand another’s point of view, it leads to great conversation and mutual edification, even though they may still disagree.  It is no wonder that Jesus prayed, “that they may be one just as We are one.” (John 17:22)

23
Nov 2013
AUTHOR Mickey Stonier
CATEGORY

Uncategorized

COMMENTS No Comments

How to Hook Your Holy Hottie

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Seriously, who doesn’t want to hook their holy hottie? Luckily some of us already have (yep I’m talking about myself) but for those of you who haven’t there is still hope! The three steps to hooking your hottie aren’t complicated but some of them are hard. Don’t be put off by difficulty though; some of the best things in life come through challenges. Besides, doing the easy thing will only lead you to your defiled doofus and that’s the person you just dumped (or maybe they dumped you). So how do you hook your holy hottie? Keep reading.

1. Stop Looking For Your Hottie!

I know what you’re thinking… “What is this guy talking about!” Here’s the deal, your holy hottie is out there but you might not be ready for them. The cold hard truth is that if you find your hottie but you are not the right kind of person chances are high that you will lose them because of your own personal deficiencies.

Before you try to find Mr/Mrs Right you need to become Mr/Mrs Right. If you have enough baggage to open your own luggage store or if you have so many issues that you can open your own magazine stand you need to get your head on straight before you go looking for your hottie. But even if you don’t think you’re as messed up as some of your “friends” you should still evaluate your heart before you attempt to give it away. To that end, stop looking for you holy hottie and start becoming someone else’s holy hottie. Become Mr/Mrs Right then when you find yours, you will be able to hold on to them!

2. Redefine Hottie

Some of us are straight up attracted to the wrong kind of people. In my younger years, I only liked crazy women. If there was a room full of girls, I could pick out the crazy ones because they were the ones I was attracted to. Now you might not be falling in love with psychos and stalkers like I did, but are you attracted to the right qualities in a future spouse? Chances are you leave it up to “Chemistry”. You’re attracted to certain people and there is nothing you can do about it. Well, if you want to hook your holy hottie you need to make sure you know what you’re looking for and for many of us that means we need to redefine what a hottie is. Think about it, you might already know your holy hottie, you might sit next to them in church or work with them but because you have the wrong definition of what a hottie is you are oblivious to them.

Here’s a question, “Can you choose who you are attracted to?” The answer may surprise you- it is YES. I know, some of you are committed to statements like, “The heart wants what the heart wants”. But I have good news for you; you are not a slave to your feelings. Proverbs says that only a fool follows their heart. You see you and I were never designed to follow our hearts but to lead them. They are supposed to increase the enjoyment of life not control it. You might be saying, “I’m open to the idea of following my heart but how do I do that?” Great question, here’s the answer: feelings follow thoughts and behavior. That means that if you change your thoughts and change your behavior you will change your feelings (i.e. Heart). To rephrase, if you are attracted to the wrong kind of people you need to change your thoughts and behaviors then you will change what attracts you to people.

The question then becomes what should I be attracted to? There are two separate lists, one for men and one for women. For men, the major thing that we are attracted to is looks. When a guy hears the word “Hottie” he thinks physical beauty. Well boys, the bible is full of warnings about not letting a woman’s beauty captivate you. Proverbs 6:25 “Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes” & Proverbs 31:30 “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman that fears the Lord shall be praised”. Physical attractiveness is important but it is not the ultimate quality to look for in a future mate. Beauty is passing- no matter how good she looks now one day she will lose her good looks. And when that happens what will you do? Charm is deceitful- she might be a flirt and make you feel like a manly man, but all her charm is deceitful, there’s no substance to it. But a woman that fears the Lord will be praised. The one thing that a man should look for in a woman is godly character because that goes deeper than beauty and is more substantial than charm. What does Godly character look like?

  • Proverbs 12:4 (NIV) “A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.” Noble character has to do with the way in which the woman conducts herself in her dealings with people. This reflects the way she dresses, the way she talks, the way she treats people and responds to situations, and the kinds of friends and associations she has. A woman who brings shame to herself in those areas also brings contempt to her man and “is like decay in his bones.” Her good looks might seem worth it at first, but as the decay eats away over time, the man is embittered by the disgrace of his woman.
  • Proverbs 11:16 (NIV) “A kindhearted woman gets honor.” A kindly woman is one who ministers selflessly to others. She does not complain about sacrifices or make constant demands for herself. Her heart is opened outward toward the hurts and needs of others.
  • Proverbs 14:1 “The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.”  What a godly man looks for, then, is a woman who is building, who is making, and who is contributing in positive ways. The contrast is clear: the opposite of an industrious woman is one who tears things down.
  • Proverbs 31:11 “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain” An excellent woman is trustworthy—faithful.

For women, the one word that describes what attracts them the most is confidence. When a man carries himself with confidence, when he is assertive and decisive, when others look him up to, women find him attractive. The problem with confidence is that many men have great confidence but little or no godly character. Bottom line for women is that you need to find a man that you will be safe in his hands. What should a woman find attractive in a man?

  • Proverbs 8:34 “Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.” Regular church attendance. If a man cannot make time to faithfully attend and make a serious contribution to a church, he is not a good candidate for the challenges or obligations of marriage. Why? Proverbs 14:26 (NIV) sums it up: “He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.” A man’s relationship with God will provide protection to you and your kids. If his relationship with God is not strong, you and your kids are left unprotected.
  • Proverbs 10:4 “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.”  Look for a man with a strong work ethic & money management skills. You want someone who things about the future not just momentary pleasures. If he is lazy in his work, he will be lazy in his marriage.
  • Proverbs 11:12 “Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.”  Self-control over his tongue. Women, realize that the way a man speaks to and about others says much about his character. If he is harsh with people he doesn’t know he will be much more harsh with you and your kids. Treat men like this like they have the plague- run and hide from him!
  • Proverbs 11:17 “A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself.” Kindness— a woman ought to look for kindness and a heart that freely ministers with a thoughtful word and an attentive ear.

Once you have redefined what a hottie is, then you will be able to see past “chemistry” and choose someone who will make all your exes look like the chumps they are.

3. Target Rich Environments

Lest face it, you won’t be able to find a Ferrari on a used car lot and you wont be able to catch fish in the Sahara desert. If you want fish you have to go where the fish are and if you want a Ferrari you need a better job (a much better job). If you want to find your holy hottie, you need to go to what I like to call target rich environments; go to where the holy hotties are. What does that mean for you? Stop looking for your hottie at the club scene. Stop looking for your hottie on the Internet (Quick side note: just because they advertise that its God’s match for you doesn’t mean it actually is). If you want to find your hottie go to where they will be. Where is that you ask? Join a ministry: help the homeless, care for the sick, teach underprivileged kids to read, build houses in Mexico, etc. Put yourself in places where you can connect with high quality people with solid character and who are sold out for Jesus.

As I said at the beginning of this post, finding your hottie is not complicated but it is difficult. If, However, you choose to take my advice you won’t regret it. In no time you will have hooked your very own holy hottie.

Scott Wessell
Assistant Director 
The Rock’s Discipleship School
09
Nov 2013
AUTHOR Scott
COMMENTS 3 Comments

Signs and Wonders Part 2

SignsandWonders2


Are there not false and deceptive miracles and spirits?
    The Bible gives many examples of false and deceptive miracles and spirits that occur to draw people away from the one true God (Ex. 7:11, 22; 8:7; Matt. 7:23; Acts 8:9-13; 16:16; 2 Thes. 2:9-10; Rev. 13:11-14).  In fact, 1 Timothy 4:1-2 declares of the last days, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,  speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.” (ESV)  In addition, Paul warns of deceitful religious leaders, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15 ESV)

The Apostle Paul warned Timothy, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (2 Timothy 4:2-4 NKJV)  Within this mix of false miracles and teachers will be those who seek to teach a non-Biblical Gospel (Galatians 1:6-8).  The Apostle John also gives strong warnings of these elements of false doctrine and false spirits (1 John 2:18; 4:1-6).  As such, Christians are challenged to be both open and discerning when in the presence of miracles.  Those who are involved in the signs and wonders will have a genuine profession of Biblical faith (1 Cor. 12:3).  They will believe in the incarnation and deity of Jesus Christ (1 John 4:2).  They will also show the fruit of the Holy Spirit in their lives and bear Godly fruit in their ministry (Matt. 7:20; John 15:5; Gal. 5:22-23).

In addition, the focus of miracles should not draw glory or attention to a person, draw a primary awe to the miracle itself or even focus on the person of the Holy Spirit.  We are to be reminded that the Holy Spirit will seek to bring glory and witness to Jesus Christ (John 15:26-27; 16:13-14; Acts 1:8).  As such, we should be thankful to God that the Holy Spirit is working dynamically to glorify Jesus Christ through His word and works.  Though believers may not agree on every point of doctrine and are not completely sanctified in every area of conduct, God is not limited in His power to do as He wills, when He wills to exalt Christ.  And throughout Scripture the testimony of miracles will bring glory to Jesus Christ and will often result in the salvation of the lost (John 12:32).   It is there that the repeated phrase throughout Scripture is manifested, “then they will know that I am God.” (Exodus 6:7)

01
Nov 2013
AUTHOR Mickey Stonier
CATEGORY

Uncategorized

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Signs and Wonders

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Are signs, wonders and miracles still manifested in the Church today?
   “A miracle is a less common kind of God’s activity in which He arouses people’s awe and wonder and bears witness to Himself.” (Grudem) Often throughout Scripture the term “signs and wonders” is used as a primary expression of God’s miracles (Ex. 7:3; Deut. 6:22; Ps. 135:9; Acts 2:22; 4:30; 5:12; Rom. 15:19; 2 Cor. 12:12; Heb. 2:4).  In addition, the Bible declares many miracles of healings and demonic deliverances (Matt. 11:4-5; Luke 4:36-41; John 2:23; 4:54; 6:2; 20:30-31; Acts 3:6; 5:15-16; 9:32-40; 28:9; Gal. 3:5; 1 Cor. 12:10, 28).  A purpose of miracles is to authenticate the message of the Gospel (John 3:2; 4:29; Acts 8:6-8; 9:35; Heb. 2:4).  Miracles also testify that the Kingdom of God has come to humanity (Matt. 10:7-8; 12:28; Luke 4:18).  In addition, miracles set people free from their hindrances and brokenness (Matt. 8:15; 14:14; 20;20, 34; Acts 9:36-41).  And finally, miracles were often done for the primacy of the glory of God (Matt. 9:8; John 9:3).

Now the question again is raised if miracles were limited to just the apostles and their followers until the Cannon of Scripture was closed.  In Matthew 10:5-15 Jesus clearly gave the apostles authority to “go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and as you go preach saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’  Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons.  Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:6-8)  In this context this exhortation was given specifically to the apostles and their message was only to go to the Israelites in neglect of the Gentiles.

Does this mean that this authority was only for the apostles and was only for the Jews?  If such a view is taken, most the New Testament teaching (e.g. John 14-16) would be limited to the disciples when they were present and therefore not for ongoing benefit for the historic Church at large.  Unless one holds to a strong dispensational perspective of Scripture, where God interacts with His people differently during different eras of history, it should be the natural and most literal interpretation of Scripture that God continues His authority and works through His people throughout the New Testament and beyond.  However, this does not negate the fact that certain Scriptural precepts are specifically for a historic time and purpose, often as relevant to a particular culture (e.g. head coverings of 1 Cor. 11:5).  Needless to say, the general principles given in Scripture that guide the Church should be applied in their cultural context (e.g. 1. Cor. 11:5 on authority).  As previously noted, the special authoritative revelation of Scripture is limited to Scripture (Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:18), however the works of God in personally working in and through His people do not have such a distinctive limit (as noted in the discussions above).  (For a further study of this discussion see Systematic Theology by W. Grudem pages 358-368.)


[1] Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem p. 355.

01
Nov 2013
AUTHOR Mickey Stonier
CATEGORY

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The Bible Palace

BiblePalace

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)  It was Blaise Pascal who originally asserted that, “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”  When Pascal wrote this, he was probably thinking, in part, of a famous passage at the beginning of Augustine’s Confessions, where the great African saint said to God, “You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are rest-less till they find their rest in You.”  These concepts of course, align well with Solomon’s query above when he reached the place of despair, despite his endless wealth, pleasure and accomplishments.  It is no small wonder that these notions bounce around in the human heart throughout one’s entire lifespan.  Nothing in this life will ultimately satisfy the longings of the heart’s passions but God alone.  What is amazing is that God gives us richly all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17).  We also learn from Paul’s exhortation to young Timothy that “godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6)

In all of life’s pleasures, accomplishments, possessions, relationships and experiences, nothing has been designed by God to be an end in itself.  All of these attainments in life are good gifts from God but they are to be received only as a means in grace by which we exalt God.  As such, the heaven bound soul is to acclaim Jesus in each of our fulfillments as we taste and see that the Lord is good.  In other words, in each of the good gifts we receive from God we can thoroughly enjoy them, but within the experience our hearts are propelled to gaze above the experience to the Giver of the gift.  All of life has been given as a gift to discover God and hence to worship God.   Now these musings have led me to an old quotation that has been a friend to my soul for decades.

I came to faith by picking up the Bible when I was 21 years of age and read through the Gospels.  Your mom came to faith in a similar way as she lay beside a pool and began reading the Bible.  “The Bible Palace” by Billy Sunday.  “With the Holy Spirit as my Guide, I entered this wonderful Temple called the Bible.  I entered the portico of Genesis, walked down through the Old Testament art gallery, where pictures of Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Isaac, Jacob and Daniel hung upon the wall.  I passed into the music room of the Psalms, where the Spirit swept the keyboard of nature and brought forth a dirge-like wail of the weeping prophet Jeremiah to the grand, impassioned strain of Isaiah, until it seemed that every reed and pipe in God’s great organ of nature responded to the tuneful harp of David, the sweet singer of Israel.  I entered the beautiful chapel of Ecclesiastes, where the preacher’s voice was heard, and into the conservatory room of Sharon, and the Lily of the Valley’s sweet scented spices filled and perfumed my life.  I entered the business office of Proverbs, then into the observatory room of the Prophets, where I saw telescopes of various sizes, some pointed to far-off events, but all concentrated upon the Bright and Morning Star which was to rise above all the moonlit hills of Judea for our salvation.  I entered the audience-room of the King of kings, and caught a vision of His glory from Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; passing on into the Acts of the Apostles, where the Holy Spirit was performing His work in forming the infant church.  Then into the correspondence room, where sat Saints Paul, Peter, James, John, and Jude penning their letters.  I stepped into the throne room of Revelation, where all towered in glittering peaks and I got a vision of the King sitting upon His throne in all His glory, and I cried: ‘All hail the power of Jesus’ name!  Let angels prostrate fall; bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.’”

17
Oct 2013
AUTHOR Mickey Stonier
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A Possession of Christ

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Last week as I was reading through my daily Bible devotional, I came across a gripping passage that caused me to reflect on the beauty of the gospel. In Ezek. 44:28, God describes the inheritance of the Leviticus priests, “I am to be the only inheritance the priests have. You are to give them no possession in Israel; I will be their possession.” Now at first glance this may not be that interesting to you. How does the inheritance of a Levitical priest over 4,000 years ago impact my life at all? But there is much more to this than what we may think.

In reading the Old Testament there are two things we should seek to accomplish. The first is understanding the story on its own terms. In other words, what did it mean to Israel at their time and in their culture? The second, and I believe for our purposes the most important, is reading it with Christ in mind. The question we should ask is how is Christ revealed or glorified in this passage? I would like to direct our focus on the second question.

How is Christ revealed in this passage and how does this impact my life?

The answer to these questions are found in 1 Pet. 2:9, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

The priesthood is no longer limited to the Levites in the Old Testament but instead we are now the priesthood. Just as God was to be their inheritance, we also find our inheritance in Christ. We belong to JESUS, our God and King! He is our possession and we are His possession. That has always been God’s intended design for our relationship to Him in His kingdom. Our God delights in us, therefore we solely delight in him!

But are we always satisfied and thankful to have no inheritance or portion in this world? Do we try sometimes to fit in with what the world is doing? Or do we try to fit Jesus within this world? Is Jesus a means to an end, or is Jesus end itself? These are important questions to answer because they will dictate if we are following Jesus or perhaps something false and destructive. As long as we are diligently seeking earthly possessions we will miss and reject the only possession worth our affections: Jesus!

With a thankful heart, let’s give Jesus the recognition and proclaim his praises today because he has brought us from death to life. Let’s be thankful for God’s provision in our lives, but not allow those things to determine our inheritance. In wealth or poverty, health or sickness, life or death let us continuously return to the grace of our great Lord and Savior and say we love you Jesus!

15
Oct 2013
AUTHOR John Darrow
COMMENTS 1 Comment

Love Does Not Envy

fieryheart

The best way to describe envy is malicious jealousy. While jealousy causes a desire to have something that belongs to someone else, envy causes a desire to see what that person has taken from them. The heart of envy is resentment; it is not so much the thought of “I want what they have” but one of “they don’t deserve what they have”. An example of envy in everyday life can be seen in unrequited love. You have a crush on someone and are pining for them. But you make the mistake of telling your friend who, before you are able to muster the courage to confess your undying love, begins to date them. Besides betrayal, you feel envy; you start to entertain thoughts that your friend doesn’t deserve someone so special and you begin to secretly, or not so secretly, hope your friend gets dumped so they will experience the heartache you are. That is the essence of envy—being grieved at the good of others and having ill-will towards them.[1] Love does not envy, which means that it is not grieved at the good in our lives and has no ill will towards us.

Because God is love, God does not envy—He is our biggest advocate not our biggest critic; He does not stand over us and criticize but stands beside us and supports. Envy comes from a heart of resentment and criticism and God has neither for us. Take a moment and let that thought sink in—God has no resentment or criticism for you. Those who envy have an emotional commitment of ill will, they earnestly desire to see bad happen to another; God has the opposite emotional commitment, He has good will towards us, His earnest desire is to see good happen to us. God is emotionally committed to our success not to our failure—He sees our success as His success, our promotion as His promotion, the good that happens to us as good that happens to Him.

Sometimes we forget that God is our greatest supporter and when too much good happens in our life we hold our breath, waiting for the ‘other shoe to drop,’ waiting for God to take the good away from us. That is a misunderstanding of who God is; it assumes that God wants to limit His goodness in our lives and that He wants us to suffer. God does not want to see us suffer and He is equally uninterested in limiting the good that we experience from Him; it is not in God’s nature to limit good. He wants to lavish not limit the good in our lives. The reason He want to shower us with good is because He is emotionally committed to us, He has bound His emotional well being with ours; when we suffer, He suffers; when we rejoice, He rejoices. God is joyful not resentful about the good in our lives. We don’t deserve it but He wants us to have it anyway and there is no limit of good that a limitlessly good God has to give.

Once we realize that God is our greatest advocate it should cause a great sense of peace in us. We can trust God; He is not grieved at the good in our lives and has no ill will towards us. We can rest in the knowledge that God is not looking to take anything from us, that His only desire is to bless us.

Take a few minutes and thank God for His great love towards you.

 

Scott Wessell
Assistant Director 
The Rock’s Discipleship School

[1] Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible : Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996), 1 Co 13:4–7.

23
Sep 2013
AUTHOR Scott
CATEGORY

Encouragement

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