Above is an awesome article by Thom Rainer. I hope that you will take time to read it!
Above is an awesome article by Thom Rainer. I hope that you will take time to read it!
know what you are thinking… “What has Jay done this time?” And my answer is, “How much time do you have?” It all started last Wednesday morning as I tried to open the car door with too many things in my hand, one of which was my smart phone. You guessed it. The phone did not survive the fall. As the phone was falling to the ground (in slow motion, of course) I was bellowing out a long, slow motion “Nooooooooooooo!” I was helpless as the phone smashed into the concrete, shattering the glass face. This was only the beginning…
If We Are the Body
How important is the body of Christ to you? We like to think of our relationship with God as a highly personal matter involving no one but ourselves and Him. But God will not work that way. He calls us into community. The learning that we do must be done in community. The wisdom we acquire is imparted partly through fellowship. The truths we speak are meant to edify others as well as ourselves. Receiving the mind of Christ requires living in the body of Christ.
The truth is, seekers are often turned off from God because of the people who represent Him. Though He dwells in us, we often do not allow Him to dwell visibly. Don’t idealize the church. It is made up of redeemed but flawed people in the process of transformation. But, don’t underestimate it either. The body of Christ is the physical presence of Jesus in this world. Do you really want to learn the mind of God? Then we need each other… plain and simple. Chuck Colson said, “Christians are not lone rangers.”
Let’s work together to accomplish much for the cause of Christ. Our community needs Jesus now more than ever! Let’s work together to be the hands and feet of our Lord Jesus.
A Portion of this devotion was taken from the Walk with God devotional.
A missionary is someone in whom the Holy Spirit has brought about this realization. “You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:9). To say “I am not my own,” is to have reached a high point in my spiritual stature. The true nature of that life in actual everyday confusion is evidenced by the deliberate giving up of myself to another Person through a sovereign decision, and that Person is Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit interprets and explains the nature of Jesus to me through the Word to make me one with my Lord, not that I might not simply become a trophy for His showcase. Our Lord never sent any of his disciples out on the basis of what He had done for them. It was not until after the resurrection, when the disciples had perceived through the power of the Holy Spirit who Jesus really was, that He said, “Go” (Matthew 28:19; also see Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:8).
“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). He was not saying that this person cannot be good and upright, but that he cannot be someone over whom Jesus can write the word MINE. Any one of the relationships our Lord mentions in this verse can compete with our relationship with Him. I may prefer to belong to my mother, or to my wife, or to myself, but if that is the case, then, Jesus said, “You cannot be my disciple.” This does not mean that I will not be saved, but it does mean that I cannot be entirely His.
Our Lord makes His disciples His very own possession, becoming responsible for him. “…you shall be witnesses to Me…” (Acts 1:8). The desire that comes into a disciple is not one of doing anything for Jesus, but of being a perfect delight to Him. The missionary’s secret is truly being able to say, “I am His, and he is accomplishing His work and His purposes through me.” Be entirely His!
This devotion was taken from “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers
Galatians 4:6 states, “Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!”
“Abba” is an aramaic word, the native speech of Jesus. Abba means Father, but in a colloquial intimate sense. The nearest equivalent in our language is “Daddy” or perhaps “Papa”. In Christ we are introduced into an unprecedented intimacy with God. Nowhere in the Old Testament do we find God addressed as Father, but Jesus always addresses God in this way in his prayers. The gift of “sonship” confers the privilege of the child to address the father with intimacy. I have always been intrigued by this word “Abba”. I think it is incredibly cool that we have been given this privilege to call God “Our Father”. How blessed we are to know that as we begin this new year, our heavenly Father is in total control and loves us like we were his only child! Our prayer for you is to have a safe and happy new year!
I finally did it! I reached a goal that I had set out to accomplish several months ago! At the first of this year and 51 pounds ago, I set out on a journey to better my health and to lose some weight. I am not going to lie to you, things were tough in the beginning, but I knew that I needed to make some changes. I started counting calories and sticking to a very strict diet. After a few weeks, I noticed that I was losing a couple of pounds a week with little to no exercise in the process. Then, I made a decision to start running. Every morning after dropping my son off at school in Walkertown, I would go to the park and try my best to jog around the track at least one time. The track in Walkertown is 1/3 mile, so in the beginning, I would run a lap and then walk the rest of the time. After a couple of weeks, I added another lap and then another until I found myself running a mile fairly easily. Along the way, I would set goals for myself, making sure not to overdo it, but having something to shoot for. It wasn’t long before I was running two miles, then three and this past summer, reaching four miles a few times! And yes, there were always obstacles in my way…like, the sore left knee that has been bothering me since June …not to mention the fact that I am almost 40 years old!
Recently, I have been biking the trail down at Salem Lake and have some friends that run the trail frequently. From what I understand, the trail around the lake is approximately seven miles around. Seven miles! I would drive by the Linville Road entrance every morning saying to myself, “One day, I am going to run that trail!” and always drive right by and go to the park and put in my three miles. This past Monday, I decided to try to reach my goal…the run of my life. Things were going great even as I passed the halfway point I felt that I was gaining strength. And then, without about a mile left to go, a huge battle began between my body and my mind. My left knee began to tell my mind that it could not go any further. And then my mind would instantly tell my knee to shut up! My body was screaming out for me to quit! “You have already done more than you have ever done before,” it kept telling me. “Just take your six miles and be done with it. It’s impressive what you have already accomplished.” These are the thoughts that kept running through my head. Then something happened that I will never forget. I looked up, and off in the distance, I saw cars driving by on Linville Road. The finish line was in sight! There was no way I was quitting now!
I reached the finish line exhausted and with a tear in my eye. I actually pumped my fist in the air and folks driving by probably thought I was crazy. I wasn’t racing anyone, nor did I win a trophy…but I did win. I won the battle against myself. I set a goal and I reached the goal. Did you know that the Bible likens our life here on earth to a race? Check out this passage of Scripture in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27:
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain [it]. And everyone who competes [for the prize] is temperate in all things. Now they [do it] to obtain a perishable crown, but we [for] an imperishable [crown]. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as [one who] beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring [it] into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
The Apostle reminds us that there is a goal to attain! In another passage, he calls it the prize of the high call of God in Christ Jesus! As we run this race of life, we must stay faithful and focused! God is calling us as believers to reach for the prize. Yes, you will meet obstacles along the way, and these are allowed by God to test us, to see if we are willing to endure and persevere. So, I challenge you today; run with patience the race that is set before you and NO QUITTING!
No matter how bad your knee is hurting.
I have had the privilege for the last few days to spend some time in California. As I am typing, I am looking out the window at the beautiful mountains of Los Gatos. Los Gatos is about an hour south of San Fransisco. I am here this weekend singing and leading worship for Cornerstone Christian Fellowship. My good friend Scott Crawford is speaking at the conference this weekend and this past Friday we rented a car and spent the day touring the Pacific Coast. Wow! Some of the scenes were just breathtaking! That’s when it happened…
Somewhere along Highway 1 we found another breathtaking view, so we decided to hike down to the beach and check it out. The ocean, the cliffs and the water pounding the shore was nothing less than spectacular, but, what we did not know is that tucked back in a little secluded area was… A NUDE BEACH!!
Yes… we walked right into it. And I felt very, very out of place. Have you ever been there? Not on a nude beach, but, have you ever been in a place or situation where you felt out of place? As a believer, here on this earth, things can get discouraging and our vision can be blured by the pleasures of this world. I am constantly reminding myself that I am in this world, but not of this world. As a believer, I am supposed to feel a little “out of place” but many times I am bogged down with material things or with the worry of what tomorrow will bring.
What are we living for here? My goal is like that of the Apostle Paul. To press toward the mark of the prize of the high call of God in Christ Jesus. The Apostle tells Timothy in the second epistle that if we will endure, we will also reign with Him! But, he also says if we deny Him, He will deny us. Yes, these are sobering thoughts, but a simple reminder to stay focused on what is out ahead and not the here and now.
Hopefully, I will not need a nude beach to remind me of these things from now on and no… I do not have any pictures to post.