Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Taking a Stand, or Causing Division?

Have you had about enough of politics for quite a while? Me too. Even though the election is over,
repercussions from our voting reverberate throughout America. There are always people who are unhappy, no matter what choices voters make. Lately our society is so divsive, angry and just plain mean. So much of what I hear on the news reminds me of the playground antics of the elementary school children I taught. Apparently, many adults never learned the lessons of proper behavior when disagreements arise.

I just read the best article on Crosswalks.  In it Veronica Nef points out that “There’s a Difference Between Taking a Stand and ‘Causing Division’. She sure hit the nail on the head with that statement didn't she?

 I urge you to read this well written and thoughly thought provoking article:

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Mind of Christ and Guidance of the Holy Spirit

I find that lately I need a refresher, a reminder of the work the Holy Spirit does within me and that I have the mind of Christ. I found what I needed in 1 Corinthians 2:6-16.
In verse 16, Paul makes a statement concerning all believers: “We have the mind of Christ.” Having the mind of Christ means sharing the plan, purpose, and perspective of Christ, and it is something that all believers possess. What a comfort it is to know that God is sharing part of himself with me, that his indwelling allows me this look into his mind.

Verses 10-12, tell us that the mind of Christ is given to all believers through the Holy Spirit. “These are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.” Having the mind of Christ means we understand God’s plan in the world. It means we identify with Christ’s purpose and that we share Jesus’ perspective of humility and obedience compassion, and prayerful dependence on God. This is what we are to go about doing in our daily lives. We do it not to be saved or to earn better esteem from God, we do it because we have the mind of Christ, because of our great love for Him.

Verses 5-6 tell us that our faith must not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. That gives me great relief, because I sure don’t want to rely on my measly wisdom!
Verses 14-15 tell us that the mind of Christ cannot be understood by those without the Spirit and that it gives believers discernment in spiritual matters. Even in the midst of troubles I have this discernment, I just need to remember to call upon it, to ask for guidance and be patient with God as he works to give me answers.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2
As believers we have a responsibility to follow to the Spirit’s leading and to allow the Spirit to transform and renew our minds. So having the mind of Christ is not a once and down type of thing. He doesn’t just pour it on us the moment we accept Christ. We continually develop the mind of Christ, and work to gain more understanding and wisdom.

When I need refreshing, a reminder, of the Holy Spirit’s work within me, I will remind myself that the Holy Spirit indwells and enlightens believers, infusing them with wisdom—the mind of Christ.

“Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ."

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Biblical Optimism

Everyone likes to be around optimistic people. Several studies have shown that optimistic people are more healthy too. According to Harvard Health, "Optimism helps people cope with disease and recover from surgery. Even more impressive is the impact of a positive outlook on overall health and longevity."  Scripture reinforces optimisim, being optimistic is part of the faith and trust we have in God.  On the contrary, negative attitudes are contagious, and they spread like wildfire. Negativity it's just one of the many things that keep us from the straight and narrow path.

Biblical Optimism is the result of faith in the character of God. The Bible class this "hope."
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

When we hope in God, we put our trust in his plan above what our life circumstances tell us. What ever happens in our life, we know that God cares and he will wipe away our tears when we are with him forever. 
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Revelation 21:4.

This blind faith, or confidence in God's promises should give us an optimistic attitude. If we have Biblical Optimism, we don't place so much emphasis on earthly events and material possessions. This optimism enables us to accept difficult circumstances because:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

This spiritual hope looks beyond what we can understand, to trust God's view of life from His perspective even when our limited capabilities won't allow us to understand it. God designed us with hope.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. 
Psalm 43:5

Biblical Optimism is a choice when we choose to trust God for everything and know that he will take care of us in the way He knows best.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

I choose to be optimistic, I pray to be filled with Biblical Optimism each day.

Friday, January 20, 2017

"For many in our nation, this season of change brings much hope.
For many others, it brings fear and uncertainty.
Wherever you may be on that spectrum, we can be reminded of this from God’s word: He calls us to pray for our leaders. He reminds us that He alone has the power to change the heart of a leader, to guide them in His ways. He reminds us to honor all those in authority. He reminds us that He is our true stability. His encouragement continues through all generations - No matter who is President, Christ is still King. Always and forever, He reigns supreme. "

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

It's Pretty on the Inside That Counts

Our society is totally obsessed with being physically beautiful! Our society places a high degree of importance on physical appearance, and it is apparent on television, movies, magazines and billboards as they all display attractive people. Men and women rush to plastic surgeons to have a myriad of procedures done simply to enhance their appearance. Sadly, so many women are caught up in our society’s obsession with physical beauty.

Should beauty really be that important for a woman? Is physical beauty something that a Christian woman should strive for? Jesus taught us that there is more to beauty than what meets the eye.. As we age and our physical appearance deteriorates, we tend to worry about it. Satan is very happy about this. He is surely involved in and revels in the importance our society places on physical beauty, because it is not Godly.

There are several passages of scripture that address inner and outer beauty. Here are a couple that point us in the right direction:
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.” 1 Peter 3:3–5

“Adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.” 1 Timothy 2: 9–10

The world focuses on what people look like on the outside. God focuses on what people look like on the inside. Do you put more time and effort into being pretty on the outside or the inside?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Yesterday I listened to the bext sermon by Charles Stanley called "Taking Control of Your Thoughts." It fits so well with our current study, I just had to share it with you.