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Thursday, June 23, 2016

To be conformed to the image of His Son

Tucked away in Romans 8:29 is God's goal for us, to "conform us to the image of His Son", and that will require extreme measures, but we come to a place of knowing His heart and trusting His hand. Our relationship with Him becomes so strong and real and secure that what we "see" with our natural eyes, becomes secondary in importance to what we "see" with the eyes of faith. We walk by faith and not by sight.  These 4 facebook posts and one email confirmed the truth that we saw in last nights Bible Study.

1)  This is Meant to Make Me Grow
“Sicknesses and losses and crosses and anxieties and disappointments seem absolutely needful to keep us humble, watchful and spiritual–minded. They are as needful as the pruning knife to the vine and the refiner’s furnace to the gold.
They are not pleasant to flesh and blood. We do not like them and often do not see their meaning…
We shall find that all worked for our good when we reach heaven. Let these thoughts abide in our minds, if we love growth in grace. When days of darkness come upon us, let us not count it a strange thing. Rather let us remember that lessons are learned on such days, which would never have been learned in sunshine.
J.C. Ryle

2)  Just as God humbled Israel with manna in the desert, so He humbles us. "Give us this day our daily bread and deliver us..." The purpose of affliction is ultimately good and healing: God humbles us with manna, the "bread of affliction, so "that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD" (Deut. 8:3). In other words, God uses tzuris to lead us to do teshuvah and accept the truth. We often pray that our problems be taken away, but God sometimes ordains these very problems so that we will turn and draw near to Him... We are being weaned from this present age to be made ready for heavenly glory, for things unimaginably wonderful, soon to be revealed to you. Chazak – stay strong in the Lord, friends.

3)  The fame of Christ in the nations requires, among other things, people willing to live where there are no Whole Foods, Trader Joe's or hipster cafes. Places with dodgy wifi and unreliable electricity. None of them will meet Jesus in eternity and wish they hadn't given those things up.

4)  "When life sucks –  When things don’t go my way – When the disease creeps into my body, or family members throw their darts of self-righteousness or when friends disappear, I need to see this present suffering as a chance to elevate my perspective.
Suffering is a chance to see things from another view, to elevate above the everyday world and to find a higher meaning, a purpose to all of this."  David Rupert

5)  Philippians 3:10
"That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death"
All Christians want to know Christ.
Some Christians want to know the power of His resurrection.
Precious few look forward to joining Christ through suffering.
Yet suffering and death always precede resurrection power.  Arlyn Satanek

Lastly Romans 8:17 "and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him."
God open our eyes to see that part of the suffering that Christ endures that we are given the opportunity to "join" Him in, is the knowledge the burden that so many go through life not knowing the mercy and grace available to them through Him.  Help us to be vessels of mercy!!





Thursday, June 16, 2016

How to overcome sin. Romans 6,7,8

Our overview of what Paul was stating in Romans 6,7,8 is that in 6 Paul is very aware that we are dead to sin and alive in Christ, but in 7, born again Paul stumbles because even though he is a new creation there is still "sin which dwells in me".  He is being honest and recognizing the reality of the continuing struggle/war with the flesh.  But the key that he finds is don't focus on the sin, don't focus on doing doing doing some work to be free of the sin, (setting boundaries, avoiding, changing patterns, punishing yourself for falling) focus instead on the truth of Romans 6  that you are a new creation, that there is no condemnation, that the life of the son of God flows through you by freely given adoption.  The path for the Christian out of sin is to recognize that that is not who I am anymore that is just "sin that dwells in me" but it is not my identity. My identity is "in Christ" and I begin thanking Him for all that He has done to make me a new creation and to put me under the blood of His covenant and to wash me and keep me.  1 Cor. 1:30  "30 But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became God-given wisdom for us—our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,"  HCSB  In putting our eyes on Jesus and taking our eyes off the sin, we are truly giving Him all the glory.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Art Katz on the incarnation

Gleannings from Art's message, "The Mystery of the Incarnation part 8". 

There is a single great renunciation of everything in the earth. A committing of your life to death, trusting in the resurrection of Jesus Life. Your baptism should be that renunciation and from that all the other moment by moment deaths will follow. Paul's revelation of Christ and the sentence, “Lord, what would you have for me to do?” are his renunciation. Ananias is assured by God that God will show Paul what great things he must suffer for God's name. We do not seek God for instruction but for fellowship. Rise early and seek God for communion. The “fasting and prayer” that drives out the demon is the fellowship and communion with very God, we are not equipped with a formula, but with a reality. 

Our union with Him is deepened by a process of devotion and obedience over time. 

God speaks, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” and immediately Jesus is driven into the wilderness to face the temptation of the devil based around the question, “If You are the Son of God..?” (Do we recognize the subtle temptation to “prove” we are servants of God by 'doing'? The last of the 3 temptations was to perform a miraculous sign, in front of the people that would have proven He was the Son of God, the Messiah.)

Going down is the key to spiritual growth. Going into conditions voluntarily that are NOT conducive to our growth. (Speaking of Jesus returning to Nazareth with His parents after being found in the temple at 12 years old)

Our growth is growth in what we are by the life of Christ, not in what we will be through works."

Sunday, June 5, 2016

LOVE!

So this picture captures to me the beauty of the love of the Son for the bride.
Jesus with two incredibly strong hands gently holds them on both sides of the face of the bride.
Jesus with great love looking into the eyes of the bride.
Jesus look has within it, the LOVE of the ages, sacrificial, incredibly strong LOVE.
The bride empowered, energized and enveloped in that LOVE, goes out with that LOVE
abundantly, overflowing onto those around her.
And this is a picture of the Son and the bride.