Living the Life God Intended

Living the Life God Intended​​
Colossians 3:1-4:6
Main Verse Col. 3:17

3 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe your-selves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. 22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.
4 Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven. 2 Devote your-selves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

• Focus your Heart on things above. (3:1)
• Focus your Mind on things above. (3:2)
• Focus your Life around your new Spirit. (3:3-4)
• Focus your Nature on Cleansing of sin. (3:5)
• Focus your Reality on the Wrath of God. (3:6)
• Focus your Desires on being New in Christ. (3:7-10)
• Focus your Attitude to reflect God. (3:12)
• Focus on Forgiveness. (3:13)
• Focus on Love. (3:14)
• Focus your Attention on living at Peace with everyone. (3:15)
• Focus on The Word of God. (3:16)
• Focus on doing things for God in His Son Jesus Name. (3:17)
• Focus on Family Relationships. (3:18-21)
• Focus on your Earthly job as if you are working for God. (3:23-24)
• Focus on Prayer. (4:2)
• Focus on winning others to Jesus. (4:3-5)
• Focus on being prepared. (4:6)

A reminder for us all…( What will you do today to encourage someone’s faith? )…May God Bless you as you Serve Him…From Your Pastors Heart.
~Pastor G

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A Work in Progress

Philippians 1:6
New International Version (NIV)
6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

If you are like me, I have countless projects to finish, many books that I have not finished, laundry to be done, dishes to wash, and housekeeping. I seem to start a project, get bored with it, and start something else. Sometimes, it takes days to go back to the original project and sometimes it takes months and even years.

Thankfully, the Lord is not like that with anything, and especially not when it comes to His dealings with His people, as Paul reminds the church at Philippi in this verse. In the introductory lines of this letter, Paul expresses his joy that the Christians in Philippi “participate” in the gospel. That is, that they have been saved by the gracious work of Christ on the cross, and the Lord is growing them in the grace and knowledge of Christ, daily conforming them to the image of Jesus, that they would be more like him in thought, word, and deed. Paul tells his brethren there that this gospel work the Lord began in them is not a temporary thing. It’s not a project He entered into with enthusiasm, and then lost steam, became bored or distracted, and left it incomplete. No, the Lord will finish what He started.

“The one who began a good work in you” is clearly a reference to the Lord. It was God who put within their hearts the desire to hear the gospel message. It was He who changed their hearts by an act of the Holy Spirit, so they would no longer love their sin, but would turn to Christ and be saved. God was the initiator of salvation in their lives. As Paul so thoroughly argues throughout his letter to the Romans, their salvation was nothing that they did–it was all of God.

Right now, we have been declared “redeemed,” but we don’t always feel redeemed. Christ has paid the price, it’s a done deal–but we’re still on earth struggling with sin. One day, however, we will put off mortality and enter immortality. Sin will be no more, and we will come to a full experience of the salvation that Christ purchased for us.

I think what Paul is trying to communicate is the idea that God will continue to grow us until the time we are all in the presence of the Lord, at which point the work will be complete. We will all stand before Him in purity and holiness, not because of our works, but because it is God who has been working in us to make real in our lives the promise of the gospel.

As we go through this week, battling with sin, fighting off temptation, and longing to be more like Jesus, let’s remember this promise of God: He started this work in us, and He is continuing to work in us, and one day that work will be complete. And this is God’s work, so it will be accomplished.

Be blessed and Be a Blessing,
~M

Psalm 19

Good Morning Everyone,

Recently the Lord led me to Psalm 19. This Psalm is very powerful and full of wisdom. I challenge you to read it slowly and really let it speak to you.

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.

7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
and all of them are righteous.

10 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
11 By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.

14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

The final verse in this Psalm is verse 14.
Psalm 19:14–May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

This verse alone speaks volumes to us if we take the time to examine it. So let us journey through this verse and see what God will reveal to us.

1) Our words are to be pleasing to God.
2) We are to Meditate on The Word of God.
3) God wants to be your Rock.
4) God wants to be your Redeemer.

I challenge all of you to take each of these 4 points and expand them with your own words. Pray first, then Read the verse, then Pray again. After you have done those 3 things, then write a few sentences or even paragraphs under each of the 4 points.   May The Lord speak to you in a way that only He can. May your words be words that change lives. May the Words of God be your words.
From Your Pastor’s Heart,
Pastor G

Foundation

Matthew 7:24-27 (HCSB)

24 “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. And its collapse was great!”

Recently we had to repair the foundation of our home. It was costly but well worth it. If we had not repaired the problem when we did, it could have become an even bigger problem. God tells us that we are to build our lives on a good solid foundation. Otherwise the foundation will give way when the first storm of life comes along. Like the foundation of my home, sometimes in life we may start out with a strong foundation only to be hit by many strong storms that cause us to have to make small repairs to it for it to continue to be strong. In your relationship with Christ we may start out on solid ground, but when we let the storms of life get to us, we can easily find ourselves walking away from the strong foundation God has given us. If we do not continue daily to repair and reinforce our own relationship with Christ, we may very well slip away from the foundation that Christ has set for us. This is why daily confession, repentance, prayer, and Bible study are essential to keeping our feet on the solid foundation that Christ gave us to stand and live on.

From Your Pastors Heart,
Pastor G

How Do We Find Favor with God?

How Do We Find Favor with God?
Psalm 101:1-4

I will sing of your love and justice;
to you, Lord, I will sing praise.
I will be careful to lead a blameless life—
when will you come to me?

I will conduct the affairs of my house
with a blameless heart.
I will not look with approval
on anything that is vile.

I hate what faithless people do;
I will have no part in it.
The perverse of heart shall be far from me;
I will have nothing to do with what is evil.

Once we have the favor of God through salvation, does it matter how we act? The Bible responds with an emphatic “Yes!” and gives us numerous examples of godly lives to consider.
• Noah responded to God by walking with Him daily. And our Father responds positively to those who walk closely with Him, live by His Word, and listen carefully to His Holy Spirit. For those of us who believe, that means not only making Scripture a vital part of our lives but also learning who God is and what He likes. How well do you know Him?
• Moses, despite initial protests, chose to obey the divine call and live life God’s way. The Lord favors followers who choose His preferences over their own—that is, those who think about their life in terms of pleasing Him. This requires learning to think as He does. How closely do your thoughts align with His?
• Paul, after his conversion, lived with the single-minded focus of serving Jesus. He sought to do his best by means of inward and outward obedience. The Lord favors those whose hearts are bent toward Him. Do others see that your life is centered around Christ?
• Mary responded with trust and did not doubt when the angel announced that she would give birth to the Messiah. God extends His blessings to those who choose to believe even when evidence says otherwise. How much do you trust the Lord?
We find favor with our heavenly Father through believing minds, responsive hearts, and obedient spirits. Won’t you let this increasingly describe you?
From Your Pastor’s Heart,
Pastor G

Trust and Learn

Trust & Learn God

Psalm 143:8-10

8 – Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.
9 – Rescue me from my enemies, Lord, for I hide myself in you.
10 – Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
Notes/Insights:
Vs. – 8 – Trusting in other people is very difficult when you have been betrayed by those in whom you placed your trust. This is something that I believe happens in our lives to remind us that as we trust we become vulnerable.
In this verse however we are placing our trust, our vulnerability in The Lord.  Part of being vulnerable is surrendering our fear of the unknown to whom we place our trust.  The psalmist here wrote that they placed their trust in The Lord.
When we place our trust in God, we are fully surrendering ourselves to the vulnerability of His plan and protection for our lives.  Just as soldiers on the battlefield must trust the person watching their back. So we must trust that God is watching our back.
This verse starts with a statement that everyday is a brand new day. You have a fresh start with the Savior Jesus Christ.  One of the main reasons that the psalmist wrote that they trusted in God was because God showed His love to them.  I love how this is written, “Your Unfailing Love”.
From Your Pastor’s Heart,
Pastor G

57 Cent Church

A little girl stood near a small church from which she had been turned away because it was ‘too crowded.’
‘I can’t go to Sunday School,’ she sobbed to the pastor as he walked by.
Seeing her shabby, unkept appearance, the pastor guessed the reason, and taking her by the hand, took her inside and found a place for her in the Sunday school class. The child was so happy that they found room for her, and she went to bed that night thinking of the children who have no place to worship Jesus.
Some two years later, this child lay dead in one of the poor tenement buildings. Her parents called for the kindhearted pastor who had befriended their daughter to handle the final arrangements.
As her poor little body was being moved, a worn and crumpled red purse was found which seemed to have been rummaged from some trash dump.
Inside was found 57 cents and a note, scribbled in childish handwriting, which read: ‘This is to help build the little church bigger so more children can go to Sunday School.’
For two years she had saved for this offering of love.
When the pastor tearfully read that note, he knew instantly what he would do. Carrying this note and the cracked, red pocketbook to the pulpit, he told the story of her unselfish love and devotion.
He challenged his deacons to get busy and raise enough money for the larger building.
But the story does not end there….
A newspaper learned of the story and published It. It was read by a wealthy realtor who offered them a parcel of land worth many thousands.
When told that the church could not pay so much, he offered to sell it to the little church for 57 cents!
Matthew 19:14
“Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
From Your Pastor’s Heart,
Pastor G

Don’t Give Up

Confidence In God
Hebrews 10:35-39
Hebrews 10:35-39 (NIV) Bible Gateway Online
35 – So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
36 – You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.
37 – For,“In just a little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay.”
38 – And,“But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.”
39 – But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.
This passage of Scripture is screaming the words, “DO NOT GIVE UP”.
There has been several times in my life where I wanted to just quit and walk away from what God called me to do.  The only comfort I have in saying this, is that I’m not alone. Some of the most godly men in history have felt the same way. Look with me at two biblical examples who felt the same way at different times in their lives. First we have Elijah in the Old Testament and second we have Titus in the New Testament.
Elijah was an Old Testament Prophet that walked with God and even took on the 450 prophets of Baal. In the archives of history this moment for Elijah was a confidence builder moment. Read 1 Kings 18:16-19:15a, and carefully observe the power of God through the use of one man.  Elijah even taunted the 450 prophets of Baal.  Yet in the days that followed this miracle of God done on behalf of His servant Elijah. We find Elijah hiding in a cave in fear for his life.  He is in hiding when God speaks to him.  God asked him, “What are you doing here Elijah?” “Go back the way you came.”  Elijah had a mountain top moment followed by a valley of fear. Elijah for a brief moment in history had lost his confidence in God.
Now let us examine Titus in the New Testament.  Read all three chapters found in Titus.  Notice that he was sent to a city of great evil. He had been sent to a place where no christian would want to be. He had to remain strong and faithful to his calling.  Titus was a younger man of God and because of this the elders did not respect or accept him. In this letter from the Apostle Paul you can see clearly that Titus was having a hard time ministering to the people of Crete. Chapter 1:5″The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished” Titus was given a huge task to finish what the Apostle Paul had begun. Paul knew that Titus would get discouraged and want to just give way and say I’m done God, I can’t take anymore. Which is exactly why Paul told Titus to set the example for others to follow. Look with me at verse 7 and 8 of chapter 2. “7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.”  Paul gives Titus these words of encouragement in order that Titus would not give up on the lost people in Crete. In chapter 3 verse 14 Paul reminds Titus of the mission at hand. “14 Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.”
Each of these two men Elijah and Titus experienced what it feels like to want to say I quit. Both men were confident in God, but they still needed encouraging words to get their focus back on track.  From a worldly viewpoint, each of these two men would have been justified in walking away from tough times.  In today’s society it is sadly happening to many people who walk with The Lord.  They find themselves backed into a corner with no way out and simply just quit.
Have you ever felt like you have had enough and you just want to quit?
DO NOT QUIT. Please read with me Hebrews 10:35-39 (NIV) Bible Gateway Online.
35 – So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
36 – You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.
37 – For,“In just a little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay.”
38 – And,“But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.”
39 – But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.
Hebrews 10:35-39 (NIV)
It is time for the people of God to open our eyes and see the urgency of persevering in our faith, not giving in, but remaining CONFIDENT IN GOD.
What are you confident in?
Pastor G

 

Stop Worrying by Trusting

Stop worrying by trusting

Matthew 6:25-34
25 – “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
26 – Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
27 – Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 – “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
29 – Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
30 – If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
31 – So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
32 – For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
33 – But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
34 – Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Notes/Insights: Matthew 6:25-34
I have spent a lot of time in my life worrying about various things, situation, etc.  This morning while checking Bible Gateway Online for the Scripture of the day I found myself looking at Matthew 6:33. The following Two Words of Scripture hit me hard, “SEEK FIRST”.  All I can say is stop and let these two Words speak and sink in.
From Your Pastor’s Heart,
Pastor G

Are You Growing?

Are You Growing in Your Faith?

Welcome back readers!!  Our sweet children get so excited to see how much they have grown through the years.  They eat food and drink lots of milk to help their bodies grow.  It is amazing to see them grow and learn new things.

1 Peter 2:2:

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation”

Are you feeding your body to allow it to grow in faith?  Are you seeking The Lord to help you grow?  Do you spend time with The Lord in prayer?  Do you read His Word, The Bible, and reflect on what it says?  Do you follow His commands?

Read with me Luke 19:25-27:

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”  27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

When we spend time with the Lord, we open our hearts to His Direction.  He gives us perspective, wisdom, and courage.  So, How do we grow in Christ?

  • Keep Studying God’s Word (The Bible)
  • Keep Obeying God’s Commands
  • Keep Praying (in the good times and in the bad)
  • We wait and Listen for His Answers
  • Try our best to keep God the Center of our Life

Dear Lord, help us to grow closer to You each moment of everyday.  Help us to keep your commands.  Thank you for the redemption of our sins by the Blood of the Lamb!  Help us to repent and remain focused on Your commands.  Thank you for forgiveness.  Thank you for the person I have grown into and the person I continue to become!  In Your Precious and Holy Name, I pray.  Amen!

Be blessed and Be a blessing,

~M