Friday, September 20, 2013

Never Familiar Always Fresh

 Oh how familiar the Bible can be to us. Namely all the stories and accounts found in it, in both old and new Testament. We have in the OT the story of Noah and the ark, Moses as God's representative leading God's people out of Egypt, and others. In the New Testament we have Jesus healing the sick & physically impaired....oh and not to mention casting out demons. We also have the Apostles doing the same kind of things throughout the book of Acts. Yes, all of these stories and accounts are oh so familiar to us. Ha! For a lot of us, we have started hearing these such stories back in pre-school Sunday school class.
 Yet earlier this week as I was spending time in the gospel of Matthew I read a "familiar" passage, an account of Jesus doing His things healing people and such. Matthew 15:29-31 was the passage to be exact, which says,

"Jesus went on from there and walked beside the sea of Galilee. And went up on the mountain and sat down there. And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel." ~Matt 15:29-31

 After I read this I went back in time (so to speak) and put myself in that spot, in that moment. Imagining that I was one of the many people in that crowd, witnessing the incredible healing power of the Son of Man. Ha! It seemed like instantly I was overwhelmed with joy, excitement, wonder, and awe! Just picturing myself looking around to see blind Bobbly, who had been blind from birth now seeing; Luke who had been lame from early childhood now walking; and mute Mary who had been unable to speak for 10 years, now shouting with joy! Man, I was just in awe of this awesome power of the Most High God being put on display for the crowd (and us readers) to see and behold! It seemed, for me, like the Spirit gave me fresh eyes to see this in such a familiar passage. This caused me to go on a praise walk, ha! Often I go on prayer walks around my neighborhood, but this praise walk was something new indeed! So out I went, praising God for power, glory, magnificence, wisdom, holiness, and so on!
 Now as I've said before, it was the Spirit that given me the eyes to see the beauty and magnificence of Christ in this passage, leading me to worship the Savior. It makes me think how often we read over these stories, but never do anything with them. Yea, we may take a couple things from them to chew on or apply to our lives, but we never are struck with awe and wonder at the power, glory, and beauty of the gospel truths in the accounts and stories. We ought to pray from our hearts what that Psalmist in Psalm 119 :

 "Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law." ~Psalm 119:18

I can imagine another way of him saying that is, "Lord may Your Word never become familiar too, but may it always be fresh to me!" At least that should be our prayer, whenever we read of the Lord parting the Rea Sea that Israelites can pass through on dry ground, or when Joshua and the people of Israel march around Jericho for 6 days and on the seventh make a ruckus of noise causing the city to crumble, or when Jesus feeds a crowd of 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish.
Aaah, yes! I dare to say that one of the reasons we have accounts or stories like these in the Bible is so we can be in awe of and be lead to worship the God who does the incredible, according to these stories! For He is certainly worthy of our time spent reading about how He puts His power, majesty, and glory on display in stories like these that litter the Bible! May these biblical accounts and stories never become familiar or old to us, but  may the Spirit give us eyes see afresh wondrous things from these stories that may lead us to worship and praise the Author of them!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Life is A Stewardship know what comes to mind at this moment? Stewardship. You know what verses or quotes that come to mind when I think of stewardship?

"You are not your own, for you were bought with a price."~1 Corinthians 6:19b-20

"and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sakes died and was raised." ~2 Corinthians 5:15

"Oh Father use this ransomed life in any way you choose, and let my song forever be, 'My only boast is You'!" ~All I Have is Christ by Sovereign Grace Music

 There's really much I can say about Stewardship, and ya'll can feel free to put in your thoughts on the matter, but I guess I'd like to share how that look for me personally
 Simply put my prayer as of late has been this:

Oh, Lord Most High
Use me up
Exhaust me
I want to be poured out
For the sake of Christ,
The advancement
Of Your Kingdom
And the building up
Of the Body of Christ

In regards to the Advancement of the Kingdom

 Well, this simply mean evangelism & disciple-making. I wanna preach the Gospel, being so enthralled & dazzled by it that is flows out of my mouth; whether I'm at home, work, downtown Indy, at the grocery store, at a coffee shop.....ha, wherever!
 Yet, the aim in preaching the Gospel is to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples and so on (Matt 28:18-20 & 2 Tim 2:2). Now that's where it's at! For the apostle Paul himself counted the task he was given of proclaiming the Gospel of God's grace more precious & valuable than his own life (Acts 20:24)! This is not just something I'm called to, but ALL followers of Christ are called to. No exceptions. No excuses.

In regards to the building up of the Body of Christ

 As we know we're called to live out the Christian life in the community of other believers (Heb 10:25, 1 Cor 12:12-30, & Eph 2:19-21), because Christ has purchased for himself a people by His blood shed on the Cross and His resurrection (1 Pet 2:9 & Rev 7:9-10). We're also called to love one another, serve one another, encourage one another, build one another up, and so on. For me I see pouring myself into fellow saints on Sunday morning worship gatherings, in small group, and over coffee meets. Caring for those within the body (like the elderly, widows, handicapped, & others). Discipling those who are babes in the faith and the kiddos. Also using the gifts, talents, and the abilities the Lord has blessed me with to over and over point my brothers & sisters to the Cross & help them grow in Christ all the more! Simply loving others!

 So what do you all think? Agree or disagree? My last thoughts are this- that Christ died so that we can live to make much of Him, to make Him look good, and to know Him and make Him known (1 Tim 1:15-17 & 1 Pet 3:18)! Yes, the Gospel frees us from living for ourselves to live for the Lord Most High!