Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Imitators of God

Ephesians 5:1-21

I won't post the whole passage, as it is long, but I'll post a few key verses. I decided to use the Amplified version today because the devotional I read used it and I enjoy reading it.

v. 1:Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father].

im-i-tate (verb)

1. to follow or endeavor to follow as a model or example
2. to mimic; impersonate
3. to make a copy of; reproduce closely
4. to have or assume the appearance of; simulate; resemble

What a difficult call for all of us mere mortals. Certainly we cannot achieve resembling God on our own. We really must give up our own desires, agendas, and goals and replace them with the desires of God. We must make Him our only example and follow that example closely.

v. 15: Look carefully then how you walk!Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people),
v.16:making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil.

These verses are so relevant. We live in a time where people are more worried with protecting the planet than with the lives of children and people in general. There are millions of orphans who need homes. There are millions of children being exploited and sold into the sex trade. There are millions starving in this world. Yet far too often we waste are days worrying about who has the newest car, TV, etc. God's heart is for these souls and if we are called to imitate Him, then our hearts must also break for the poor, the lost, the broken, the abused of the world. We must take each opportunity presented to us to make a difference.

Finally a passage from Isaiah 55, verses 8-9:

v. 8: For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord.
v. 9: For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.

When we decide to follow after Him, we must give up earthly ways and concerns. We must allow Him to guide our thoughts and mold us into children who resemble their Father.

Thank you for these words and please work in my life to make me a better reflection of you. Remind me when I am worried with frivolous things that your ways are higher and better and where I should place my attention. Purge the ideas and ways of this world from my heart. When I am quick to anger, remind me of your amazing mercy and love. When I do wrong to another, make me quick to apologize and mend the relationship. Guide my steps, Lord, so that others will see You in my life.
In Jesus name,

Monday, August 3, 2009

I Surrender All

In service yesterday, Pastor Johnny referenced the verses Mark 1:14-18 (ESV).

14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."
16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men." 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him.

Johnny continued his sermon by stressing four commands that Jesus gave and elaborating on their meaning. The first word was REPENT. He explained that for the Jew of that day, repent meant "Get ready! God is about to do something great". I found this so encouraging. Far too often it seems that present day people view repenting in a negative light. It means admission of guilt and often carries a fair bit of shame. While repenting does require us to examine our lives and turn away from the things that aren't of God, it is so awesome to realize that God wants us to repent, not so that we will feel shame, but so that He can do great things for and through us.

The second word was BELIEVE. Johnny focused on the fact that to believe is not just the initial realization that Jesus is the savior. Rather it is a "continual and repetitive action" and a "dependence" on Christ. It is an ongoing relationship with our Lord that involves our involvement. We were encouraged to pray and study our Bibles regularly, daily, ceaselessly. This is certainly an area that I struggle with. I let everyday obligations and senseless distractions fill up my time. What amazing things would God do in my life, if only I would be more consistent in my act of believing?

The third word was FOLLOW. Johnny taught that to follow, you must "be attached to, not far from, always with" the one you are following. He explained that even though we aren't perfect, we can still follow Jesus. When we stumble, we just need to stay with Him and continue to mirror his life as best we can. It goes back to the repenting and believing. If we continually do those things, we will also be following Him more closely. What would Christianity look like if all who claimed to be Christian, followed Jesus and not religion?

The final word was FISH (for people). Johnny began his sermon by asking what the "great thing" God could be getting ready to do would be for each one of us. When he got to the word fish, he asked how many had that in mind. He talked about how most people were probably thinking about help with finances, or marriages, or other things. To fish requires us to surrender our great thing and substitute it for God's great thing. God's desire is to be in relationship with his creation. What an amazing privilege that he wants to use us to help bring others to him! We just need to remember that "It's not about me!".

Thank you, thank you for this church that you have led us to. Thank you for Johnny and the blessing that he, and his preaching, is to my life. Help me Lord, to take your truths that I have learned and put them into practice in my life. You know that my "great thing" was to go on a mission trip, or some other thing like that. I do desire to reach others for You, but I am so often distracted by the everyday, earthly things. Father, help me to repent, believe, follow, and fish. Lead my steps so that You can accomplish great things through me and let me always be reminded that it is ultimately not about me. It is all about YOU! I want to surrender all to you.

Friday, January 23, 2009

God's Wrath on Unrighteousness

(Did this one waiting to pick up Cass from school yesterday. It was such a lovely day!)

The following verses are going to be pretty lengthy, but how do you cut back on Paul's words. I couldn't decide on any verses that I didn't want to include, so here goes:

Romans 1:18-32 (NASB)

18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
19because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
21For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22Professing to be wise, they became fools,
23and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
24Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.
25For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,
27and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
28And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,
29being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,
30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
31without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;
32and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

WOW! These verses are so... today! It's like Paul is writing to the United States of America 2009 instead of Rome. We are a country founded on Christian precepts. We know the Law, and yet we break it. We know the difference between what is right and what is wrong. Yet, we accept what is wrong as right in order to remain politically correct. God is not politically correct. He is just.

This country is so in need of You! That's it, plain and simple. We are a country in need of its Savior. So many wrongs are being accepted as okay, normal, and right just so people can live as they choose instead of living righteously. Turn our hearts back to you, God. Strenghten your Church so that we can be salt and light in this country shrouded by darkness. Let us bring glory and honor to you and live lives that are pleasing to you.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Accomplishments that really matter

Again, I have found that the time I spend waiting in the pick up line to get Cassie from school in the afternoons is the perfect time to get in some Bible reading. Today, I read and reflected on the following verses:

Psalm 28:8-9 (English Standard Version)
8The LORD is the strength of his people;
he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
9Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!
Be their shepherd and carry them forever.

What could we accomplish if we simply remembered that "the Lord is the strength of his people"? What could the Church do? Or faithful families? What would the world look like if the followers of Christ tapped into the strength of the Lord?

1 Timothy 6:17-29 (English Standard Version)
17As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

Wise words to the rich. Truly, we, as Americans, should evaluate how we view "rich " and "poor". We are all so rich in this county and yet we don't view ourselves that way. We complain about how the economic crisis is putting a cramp in our lifestyle and millions in the world are starving. We get upset about gas prices and how the stock market affects our retirement funds and there are 143 million orphans around the globe waiting on forever families.

From these verses in 1 Tim., we are commanded, as the "rich", to do good, be generous, and be ready to share. How could we affect change in the world if we simply followed the commands of God as set forth in the bible?

Inauguration Day

Pastor Todd from Mt Ararat post a blog entitled "Pray for our President. He included the verses below:

Hebrews 13:17-21 (New American Standard Bible)
17Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
18Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things.
19And I urge you all the more to do this, so that I may be restored to you the sooner.
20Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord,
21equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

I am not a democrat. I did not vote for President Obama. I do not share his political views and do not feel that his political leanings are what is right for this nation. That being said, I need to remember that he is, first and foremost, a man, just like any other, who needs the Savior. He is a husband and a father and the head of a family. So here goes:

Today our nation's leadership changes hands. Regardless of how I may feel about the new President's political views, help me to remember that he is a man who needs the Savior. Watch over him today and keep he and his family safe. As he leads our country, Lord, please influence his heart. More, no most, importantly, call him to You that he might know Jesus as his Savior. I ask this not for the sake of this nation, but for his soul's sake and for the sake of the family that he leads. Often when we think of people in power we forget that they are also just people who need You. Let us remember that today as he takes his oath of office. He is the President. He is, for many an historic symbol, but he is also just a man. You are the true leader that we need. You are the hope and change that this nation is longing and crying out for. My prayer is that, even as the leadership of our nation changes hands, we would give You the leadership of our hearts.
In Jesus name,

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Romans 8

(taken from prayer journal. written 1/13/09)

Romans 8 (New American Standard Bible)

Deliverance from Bondage
1Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
3For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,
4so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
5For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
6For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,
7because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,
8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.
10If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.
11But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
12So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh--
13for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
14For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
15For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"
16The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,
17and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
19For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope
21that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
22For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
23And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
24For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?
25But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
Our Victory in Christ
26In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;
27and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
28And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
29For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
30and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
31What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
32He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
33Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies;
34who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
37But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
39nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(emphasis mine)

Johnny's sermon on Sunday referenced Romans 8:14-17 and he preached on adoption as a kick off for the Mosaic Ministry. The 8th chapter of Romans is just so encouraging and empowering! Verses that stood out to me are:
v. 2-3(see above) How awesome to have it emphasized that we have freedom in Christ. We are NOT bound by the flesh. We can begin NOW to live in the Spirit.
v. 18 What hope and humility this verse lends. We can look forward to a time when our daily, fleshly suffering will seem minuscule, incomparable to the glory of being in the presence of our King.
v. 31 Another confirmation that ALL things are possible for God. If we would but stay in His will, what amazing things might He accomplish in our lives and in the lives of those around us?
v. 38-39 These verses give us assurance that we can never be separated from the love of God. Jesus who saved us has also sealed us and covered us in the love of the Father.


Thank you for these words. I read them thinking that I would find more insight on the adoption issue, but I also found peace, hope, and a strong dose of your amazing love. In regards to the adoption of a child, I claim the promise that nothing is impossible for You! We've been looking at this with our earthly eyes and minds, but You can accomplish ALL things. We don't know how, or when, or from where, but we know that if it is Your will for us to adopt a child, then it will happen. Give us open hearts and a peace about the future details. Continue to work in our lives and guide us in all things.

In the holy, awesome, saving name of Jesus,

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


(Taken from prayer journal. Written on Monday 1/12/09. I like to read a few verses and journal while I wait in the line to pick up Cass in the afternoons.)

James 1: 19-27

19 This you know, my beloved brethren But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;
20 for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.
22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror;
24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.
25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless.
27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
(emphasis mine)


You seem to have planted the idea of adoption in my heart 4 1/2 years ago at my first manager's conference with Family Christian Stores. When I came home all excited about one day adopting a little girl from China, I expected Trey to bring me right back down to earth with a dose of reality. Instead, he said that we could certainly consider it as a someday plan. (Thank you, Father, for such an amazing husband.) Over the course of my employment with Family, I was constantly reminded of James 1:27 and the idea of one day adopting never really went away. Now You have brought us here to Mansfield, TX and to FBC Mansfield. We've made friends who are at several different stages of the adoption process. We've met kids and parents and seen the blessings first hand. Mosaic has been started and our prayer is that You would bless this ministry greatly. Trey and I have been so blessed with this church and thought that You placed us here merely to grow us in our walk. Maybe You've also brought us here to confirm and see to fruition this "idea of adoption". If that is the case, Lord, then give us wisdom, peace, open hearts, and a desire to remain in Your will.

Always trusting in You,

Monday, January 12, 2009

Relevance of Scripture

(Taken from one of my prayer journals 1-8-09)

Numbers 14:18-19a

"The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation. Please pardon the iniquity of this people, according to the greatness of Your steadfast love..." (NASB)

The relevance of scripture never ceases to amaze. When Moses prayed this prayer, did he have any idea how it would speak to the hearts of this current generation? Whether or not Moses could grasp the seemingly eternal application of his words, God knew.

Thank you, Father, for giving us your words and for making them relevant in all times. How can people question their Divine inspiration when they ring so true for each generation? Like Moses, I pray that God's steadfast, all-encompassing love will endure and cover this generation. Like Caleb and Joshua, strengthen the hearts of Your children that we might fully understand and trust that ALL things are possible for You!


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Way of the Righteous (Psalm 1)

Psalm 1

The Two Ways
1 How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path of sinners, or join a group of mockers!
2 Instead, his delight is in the LORD's instruction, and he meditates on it day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.
4 The wicked are not like this; instead, they are like chaff that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not survive the judgment, and sinners will not be in the community of the righteous.
6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.

In my Bible study today, the author talked about how God's prohibitions are not a way of denying us happiness, but a way of keeping us from evil. I have felt this way for a while now and am glad to know that I am not the only one. I have learned (far too often from making mistakes) that God's "rules" aren't in place to deny us a full life. He wishes for us to prosper and have abundant life. He sets guidelines for us to follow so that we won't get sucked into an empty, unfulfilling lifestyle. Why are we, as humans, so willing to look to self help books, doctors, and Oprah to tell us what we should do to change our lives and be happy? Why don't we turn to our Creator, Father, and Savior? Who cares more for us and is more likely to have our best interest at heart than the God who gave us life?


Thank you for your Word. Thank you for setting limits and revealing to us how we should live. Thank you for loving us enough to care how we live and for guiding us to live lives that are full and joyful. Continue to work in my life and refine my walk with you. I want to be a more mature Christian, Lord, and I know that I can't accomplish this of my own accord. Remind me each day to spend time with You and reading Your word. I want to avoid the circumstances in the first verse of the Psalms and instead follow Your teachings, walk in Your way, and worship with fellow believers.


Monday, January 5, 2009

A Repentant Heart

The Bible study that I chose for today actually started as a study of nature and how it reflects God's glory. As I was reading Psalm 19, I came across the verses below, and they struck a cord. Over the past several years, I have felt myself drawing nearer to God and being more concerned with living a life that is pleasing to Him. I am by no means "there" yet, but I am striving to "forget what is behind and reach forward to what is ahead". These verses offered encouragment and a challenge worth accepting.

Psalm 19:12-14

12 Who perceives his unintentional sins? Cleanse me from my hidden faults. (N)
13 Moreover, keep Your servant from willful sins; (O) do not let them rule over me. (P) Then I will be innocent, and cleansed from blatant rebellion. (Q)
14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You, (R) LORD, my rock and my Redeemer. (S)

Phillipians 3:12-21

12 Not that I have already reached [the goal] or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold (U) of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brothers, I do not [c] consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind (V) and reaching forward to what is ahead, 14 I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God's heavenly [d] call in Christ Jesus. (W) 15 Therefore, all who are mature should think this way. And if you think differently about anything, God will reveal (X) this to you also. 16 In any case, we should live up to whatever [truth] we have attained. 17 Join in imitating me, brothers, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. 18 For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross (Y) of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory (Z) is in their shame. They are focused on earthly things, 20 but our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21 He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious (AA) body, (AB) by the power that enables Him to subject everything to Himself.

Father God,

Thank you, Lord, for the forgiveness I have claimed through the redeeming, restoring, mighty blood of Christ. I am often amazed anew when I think about the sacrifice made to bring unworthy, stumbling, bumbling me back into right relationship with You. Guard my heart, Lord, and continue to refine and renew me daily. Like David, I ask that You cleanse me from my "hidden faults" and protect me from knowingly stepping back into a sinful lifestyle. Like Paul, I strive to be mature in my walk and allow myself to be drawn closer to You. Strengthen my walk and reveal my shortcomings to me. As always and in all things, let Your will, not mine, be done.

In Jesus' name,