Posted by Phoenix Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 8:58 AM
Posted by Phoenix Thursday, September 8, 2011 at 8:30 AM
Do you ever feel like you are in a wrestling match with God? That a decision needs to be made, and you need to figure out whether it is a yes or a no? When we wrestle with a decion with God, do we really wrestle with yes or no, or are we really wrestling with understanding the call?
Mark 1:17-18 And Jesus said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men." And immediately they left their nets and followed him.
For the last couple of weeks, I thought that God was speaking to my heart about what Jesus said to those first disciples. That the key word in this passage was 'become.' That the call on our lives by Christ is not an overnight switch that is flipped. That it is a journey, that He makes us BECOME fishers of men when He chooses us first. That it will take our whole lives, every messy, dirty, sinful, and childish part of our lives being transformed over time.
But now, God is showing me that this understanding is important, and true, but that is not what He is still speaking into my life. That the thing that my heart struggles with the most right now is not the desire for instant gratification, to instantly be on track for Goe and doing His work in the lives of others, but that His first great work is in my own life.
Verse 18 says they IMMEDIATELY left their nets and followed Him. That these men, who were fishermen & probably with a lucrative business, woukd instant know the truth that was spoke so simply and plainly here, and to feel the eternal calling of that truth and instantly act upon it.
My heart is never that easily softened. After knowing Christ for over 15 years, my heart is still hard towards Him. Like Paul said, "among sinners, I am the chief sinner." I always have to struggle, fight or wrestle with the big truths that God is calling me to in my life. That my life is one big WWF wrestling match and my heart believes that it can win against God. If that statement were not true, I would never need to wrestle with anything, I would know that God is all powerful and loving and that He would never ask me to do anything He was not 100% in control of. But my heart doubts, and so I wrestle.
As you read this, my heart is wrestling with a decision. One that I believe God began speaking to me months ago, and one that I have ignored. So again I come to this question: Am I struggling with whether the answer is 'yes or no' or is the really struggle with understanding that I am called?
Psalm 46:10a Be still and know that I am God...
Posted by Phoenix Friday, May 27, 2011 at 7:04 AM
I have heard this phrase used many times when I was dating. Mostly used to say that a believer should not date our pursue an unbeliever because of their core pursuits in life. There is scripture that stands behind this recommendation, but of course we are free to make our own mistakes.
Previously I had said I was going through the Psalms. I had been pursuing a 30 day pam, but had such a hunger for the Word that I competed it in less time. Most recently I began going through the book of Acts.
Todays reading took me through chapters 15-16, and while the term "unequally yoked" did not appear, that is what came to mind when I read:
Acts 15:10-11 Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will."
The disciples were speaking to people who would say that the gentiles needed to be circumcised according to tradition and to follow all the laws of Moses, in order to be saved. Even among the Christians then, there was a group calling themselves pharisees. The terminology used is also reminiscent if the distinctions and routes of our political parties today. Funny to see how things really never change, they just get new decorations.
I believe this discussion, early in the development of the church, is what led Paul to pen the words to the Galations & Ephesians:
Galatians 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Ephesians 2:11-13 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called "the uncircumcision" by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands-- remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Unequally yoked, holding someone else to an impossible standard that you could never obtain. Such hypocrisy still has wedges in my own heart and probably not just me. For "1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."
Thank God for grace and mercy! My goal this week is to examine my own heart and my prayer if that God will lovingly show me where hypocrisy still appears in my heart.
Posted by Phoenix Monday, May 9, 2011 at 9:37 AM
Humility is a blessing, and something we, ESPECIALLY me, forget that.
Pride says that I can do anything and everything alone, that I am sufficient. But Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
I know that in some translations, the work perfect us synonymous with the word complete. That reminds me that when I fail, I know that I am not enough. But that when I rely on Christ for my strength, I am may complete because of Him. That I was never intended to do anything on my own. I was given talents and abilities, so that I may glorify God when I rely in Him. And also that the full extent of my talents and abilities are not fully manifested unless I rely on Christ as my all-in-all.
Anything that I have accomplished on my own because of pride, is simply a shadow of the glory that could have been manifested, had I given credit to and relied upon God.
Humility means that it is ok to fail, and that through Christ, the truth and reality of what is meant to be accomplished, will be.
Posted by Phoenix Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 4:40 AM
Mark 15:1-5 And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole Council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate. And Pilate asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" And he answered him, "You have said so." And the chief priests accused him of many things. And Pilate again asked him, "Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you." But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.
The priests, at the time of Jesus prosecution, wasted no time at all. They did not want to sit on or wait for anyone to object to their capture and prosecution of Jesus. First thing in the morning after their capture of Jesus, they delivered Him up to the Roman government. They did not handle their problem themselves, but delivered the Church over. They sent aware, by their own choice, and brought about their own destruction.
Jesus only spoke to Pilate. I found this to be quite interesting this morning. He did not give his accusers any response to their false charges, and let their fake witness trip themselves up on their conflicting, false accounts. The only one who actually asked Jesus a question, got a response, and scripture says that Pilate was already convinced that the charges were false.
Pilate did not understand who was standing before him, otherwise he would not have delivered him back to the high priests. Pilate could have squelched any riot with the strength of the Roman army at his disposal, but instead chose to simply turn a blind eye to their demands and let them do whatever they wanted to Jesus.
Both the Jewish priests and the Roman government failed to understand what was before them. Jesus responded to Pilate, saying that he said so, that Jesus was king of the Jews, but not as his accusers thought their King would be. Even after riding into town on a donkey, a symbol of a conquering king in times of peace.
How often do I fail to recognize Jesus as King? Fail to give Him the honor due? But rather accuse Him of letting things happen in my own life, of my own doing. He still remains silent to my false accusations, and speaks only the truth of His word, when asked the real questions of my heart, when I finally acknowledge them.
Posted by Phoenix Monday, April 25, 2011 at 7:23 AM
Eat? I know that everyone had heard that expression before. Trying to influence someones eating habit for the positive.
Think? Not as common an expression, but with similar meaning. What w think influences how we live. EvenDecartes referenced this in his famous quote: "I think, therefore I am." Not only giving explanation that to know that one exists, one only haas to think, but also what you think is who you are.
In my devotionals, as stated previously, I am going through the Psalms. In one of todays chapters, God offers a different, and deeper, completion to this saying.
You are what you WORSHIP.
Psalm 135:15-18: The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; they have eyes, but do not see; they have ears, but do not hear, nor is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them become like them, so do all who trust in them!
What we worship becomes who we are. What we worship if the very thing that rules our hearts:
Luke 6:45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Matthew 5:28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
God clearly states that our hearts are what define us. So then the Psalm reflects that again, that w are what we worship.
Someone once told me, an idol is anything you are willing to sin for. And anything that is not God is an idol and sin against Him
The people that are referenced in the psalm created idols of gold, silver, and other materials. We idolize inanimate objects, people, ideas, and mostly ourselves. But none if those things can see or hear the truth, the future, or what is best for us. And since they are all deaf and blind, we too become deaf and blind. Even more so, those things are all dead or dying, and likewise we follow then into death.
My prayer this week is then that God would reveal to me (and you) what I idolize other than Him. Because I become blind and deaf when I idolize, I cannot determine when I am worshiping the created rather than the Creator, so I need Divine Intervention!
Posted by Phoenix Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 11:11 PM
We have all heard the term before, that our God is a jealous God. That He accepts no other god in our lives but Himself. But when was the last time that we really took a look at what that word really means. I pulled the following from dictionary.com and from Strong's concordance:
Posted by Phoenix Friday, April 15, 2011 at 7:24 AM
Have you ever felt abandoned by God?
That He neither looked on you with favor nor wrath?
Have your prayers reflected this sorrow, or even stopped praying all together?
Since no temptation has befallen us, except that which is common to man, 1 corinthians 10:13, I am pretty sure we have all been there. But just like the continuation of that verse, God is always faithful and will deliver us.
The psalmist writing in Psalm 77, open with a prayer reflecting this drought in God's apparent affection. Pleading with God to turn back. Asking for any type of response.
For me, it seems like it takes a lot to shake me from this feeling of drought. But I have a notion that I just end up ignoring most of God's pursuit of me, wallowing in my feelings.
There comes a turning point in the psalm when the psalmist stops pleading with God, and turns to reflect on the past goodness of God. A point that I can see as being the outstretched hand of God pulling His servant back home.
How often do we fail to listen when God calls us?
How many times have we failed to move when He asks us to?
I will tuck this Psalm away into my personal vault in my heart, to reflect upon the next time I feel abandoned, and hopefully I will stop wallowing in my pity and turn back to my God.
Posted by Phoenix Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 10:59 PM
The Psalms, so many simple and beautiful truths written and sung in their pages. Many of the psalms were actually set to music in Hebrew, someday I should like to hear them sung.
The Bible is the inerrant Word of God, breathed out by the Holy Spirit through the writings of man. The Bible is a collection stories, songs, and letters. But stepping back and seeing the whole picture, our is a love letter from God to His chosen people, and all points to Jesus.
This sets the stage for my point, if you see the Bible as pointing to Jesus, look into the psalms. When the New Testament speaks of Jesus in prayer, rarely do we get to hear the words, but if He is the Word made flesh among us, maybe we already have those secret prayers.
Psalm 22 speaks of the crucifixion centuries before the torturous death was invented. So then maybe there is more in the psalms than you thought.
My challenge is to read and pray through the Psalms, and the deeper I dive, the more connections I see. In the psalms, I hear the prayers of Jesus in the garden before he was delivered to die; I hear the prayers of when He was on the mount with Elijah and Moses. I am finding so much more in the psalms than what I went looking for, how deep is His love for me.
Posted by Phoenix Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 9:57 AM
This nation was founded upon a belief, that we were free and equal. Our forefathers fought and died for freedom from oppression. They were oppressed by a kingdom across the sea, from a nation that only desired their own wealth and exaltation.
The Pilgrims left so that they could be free to practice their beliefs, oppressed by the same nation.
The foundation for the belief system that created our nation, was rooted in a fear of God over man. A trust in God to deliver from hatred and oppression.
In my current reading through the Psalms, I came across the following passage:
Psalm 56:10-11 In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?
Our forefathers knew the Bible, had grown up on its teachings. They knew that this came from a psalm of David, when being pursued by Saul. And I believe that this passage, among many others, shaped our country. Even to the point that these words are engraved in our money.
How far we have come since the beginning. We talk of tolerance and only tolerate the things that do not mention God. We talk of freedom, and only want freedom from anything to do with God. We are free to share our opinions and beliefs, as long as we leave our belief in God out of it.
My heart mourns for this nation, and I long to see the people of God loving and not tolerating their neighbors. But I do see signs of a fire, a true desire to make Jesus famous. But I yearn to see that fire set ablaze in the hearts of God's people everywhere.
So I will pray... And I will live passionately for God