Sunday, October 19, 2014

Focus '14 - Modeling Jesus - Entry # 33

Hi Friends!

As awesome and pleasing as this picture is to my eyes - the Scripture below reminds us to focus on an image that never changes - one that is eternally beautiful to people of the Christian faith.

As many of you know we have been focusing on this passage in our Daily Word Devotional Emails at Connections - I post it here in hopes that all who read it will be encouraged to think more frequently on things above - and to ultimately live in a manner that reflects the virtues of Christ Jesus.

May this beautiful and ever-changing season continue to be one of reflection for all - may your Spirit be replenished by the reality of Christ Jesus - and by the ability to face all earthly challenges (namely sin and death) with heavenly assurance in relationship with Him.

God's Peace,

Colossians 3 New International Version (NIV)

Living as Those Made Alive in Christ

3 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Focus '14 Modeling Jesus - Entry #32

Hi Friends!

As we enter a new month with the beautiful foliage of fall about us - I'm reminded that change is necessary and good - one thing I need to change and perhaps you do as well - is played out in vivid colors in The Gospel of Luke Chapter 10: Verses 38-42 - please take a moment to read this passage.

Admittedly I find myself very busy doing some seemingly good things "but only one thing is needed" - and so I need to remove some leaves of opportunity - perhaps even some colorful leaves of opportunity - and choose "what is better" - replenishing my Spirit daily in relationship with Jesus Christ.

Anxiety and frustration are now normative to many in culture - but those in relationship with Jesus are brightened daily by His unwavering peace - not a human peace - but His divine peace that supplants our worries and fears.

The transformation I am talking about is inward - it is in the heart of the believer that all things remain vividly beautiful no matter the season - for Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever - His love for us endures forever - in the meadow - in the valley - the peak of the hill - every step - He is faithful to replenish us continually.

See the Psalm below - notice He has us "lie down" before we stand up and walk - so I am encouraging you and confessing my need to be in deeper relationship with Jesus - I need to make some changes - I need to say no to some opportunities and take more time to replenish my Spirit - because "only one thing is needed."

God's Peace,

Psalm 23 (NIV)

A psalm of David.

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,

3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord