Archive for the ‘Christ’ Tag

B1   Leave a comment

We have all heard the sayings: “The best vitamin for making friends is, B1.”  And, “if you want to have friends, you must first show yourself friendly.”

These are true of course, but let’s take it a step further. As Christians we know that our Leader, our King, our very Example, lived His life solely for others. He was, and is, the ultimate friend, if you will.

Have you ever stopped to think about that? We all want friends. But do we ever turn to Christ’s life and realize He showed us the ultimate example on how to be the ultimate friend? (Thus gaining friends! Though that should not be our “goal,” per se.)

Consider this verse: “Greater love has no man, than to give his life for his friends.” John 15:13.  (And note 15:12 as well.)

We know that Yeshua gave His life for the WHOLE world! So that all could have a chance at eternal life. But what does that mean? Eternal life = life in His Family. This is ETERNAL FRIENDSHIP of the HIGHEST STANDARD!  And it is offered to the whole world! All have a chance to take part in Christ’s offer of friendship.

Christ’s whole life was a blessing for all! And His command to us is to love one another as He loved us. This is how we are to be known as His disciples.

John 13:34-35  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

So Yeshua, our Friend and Example lived His life as a blessing to others; Loving others; Putting others before Himself. He was a blessing to all! (Even to those whom disagree with Him and hated Him. Even to those that brought about His death.) We cannot argue that He first showed Himself friendly, and was indeed a blessing to others.

So what about us? Are we a blessing to others?

How would Christ behave today? Would He expect people to just flock to Him? Or would He seek out those He could serve, bless, and be an ultimate friend to?

If He were to walk into services (for example), He would be friend to all. He would find those that He could be a blessing to.

I remember a woman in the Church, once told me to be a blessing to others. That stuck with me. And so I often pray that God will help me to be a blessing to others. But recently, I was feeling rather down and discouraged, and another woman in the Church, saw my state, sat down with me, and proceeded to encourage me. She showed me Christ’s friendship! She was a blessing to me! And then she told me something else that I’ll never forget: Someone here may need you. Ask God to guide you to any person that may need you, that you might be able to help them in some way, and be a blessing for them.

THAT is BEING a blessing! That is Christ’s kind of friendship! Offering yourself to another. Serving another. Offering friendship, on any level, to another person. This is loving.

Each of us should start asking God to help us BE a blessing for others. And ask God to guide you to someone specifically that you could be a blessing for. Maybe it’s a simple, “How are you today?” Showing that someone cares and has concern for them. There are people out there (even in the Church) that would be delighted to have someone simply take notice and recognize their existence. Or maybe they just need a shoulder to cry on, or someone to listen to them. Maybe they have an issue that they don’t know what to do about. Maybe they are facing a conundrum of some sort, or need something done that you have the ability to help with.

For some, this may seem scary. One might think, “But I don’t know what to say!” Well, if we are putting it in God’s hands, and asking Him to guide us, then we need to trust Him that He will. He knows each of us better than we know ourselves. Look at Moses. Do you think God didn’t know Moses had speech difficulties? Of course, and He had a way to deal with that. God knows you too. He knows your strengths and weaknesses.

Maybe you don’t have to strike up a converstaion. Maybe all another person needs is a hug, a smile, a handshake, or a simple pat on the back in passing by. Sometimes its the simpelest of gestures that mean more to another than we could know. So if we are asking God to guide us to be a blessing for someone, trust that God will handle it in the best way, for them and for you.

How will it change our own lives if we start seeking to be a blessing to others!?  Well, knowing that we are serving our Master in this way brings great joy!

Christ said, whatever we do to others, we do to Him! (Matt. 25:40)

And who knows what kind of difference YOU might make in another peron’s life. Offer Christ’s friendship to others, through you, and see what happens. You could make a big difference in someone else’s life! And great things will come to your life as well.

So let’s look to Yeshua’s example of frienship, and ask God to guide us in this. Let’s get out there a BE a blessing! B1! 

 

(A special thanks to Jacob and my mom for helping me edit this and add to this article. And to Anita for reaching out to me that day and showing me an example of being a blessing.)

Posted November 12, 2016 by buildupontherock in Food For Thought

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Spotlight On Luke 5:16   Leave a comment

Luke 5:16 – So He  (often) withdrew into the wilderness and prayed. Our Brother…our example, would take time to get personal with The Father. He made time to get away from His daily tasks, routines, etc. to go and spend personal one on one time talking to, and praising, The Father. This activity wasn’t just for Himself of course. It was writtend down specifically as an example for us.

So the question is… Do we withdraw at times to pray and talk to and praise God?  I don’t just mean at our daily prayer times either. But at other times.

Think of the power one can draw from this. Not to mention keeping God in the forefront of our minds. Building our relationship with, and keeping ourselves in line with our Father.

You see, prayer is not just “talking to God”… It’s praising God. Thanking God. Calling upon Him for involvment in every part of our life. It’s building a relationship with Him. It IS about keeping Him in the very front of our minds no matter what is going on around us. It’s a shield to our hearts and minds from the evil “prince of the power of the air” and his influences.

This is something we need to be doing. Every day! We need to take moments and praise God. Call up on Him for strength, even if we are feeling strong. OR just to say, “Thank you God,” Or “I love you God,”  and talk with Him. Even if only for a few mintues. Longer if possible of course.

This is truly something we all need to do, and do more. Myself included. He IS our SHIELD. Our FORTRESS. Our HIGHTOWER. Our STRENGTH. Our EVERYTHING. We need to maintain that constant link to that.

I know many have jobs. And it might be difficult to “find time” to do this. But I guarantee time can be made. Even if only in your mind while working. So many find time for various other breaks. Coffee, Facebook, emails, texts, etc. How much more important…VITAL…is it to take a “Prayer break”, to “text” God?

Christ took extra time out to seek this relationship with God. Are we doing the same?

 

 

Posted June 4, 2013 by buildupontherock in Bible Studies, Simply Put

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The Lord’s Prayer – A Closer Look – Part 5   Leave a comment

Continuing on from Part 4, I am taking a more in depth look at what is commonly known as “The Lord’s Prayer” or “The Model Prayer” found in Matthew 6.

Verse 13 Continued…

“…But deliver us from the evil one….”

We know who the evil one is. If not, we certainly should. The evil one of course is the devil and he works to deceive the whole world. (Rev. 12:9) In fact, one of his greatest deceptions perhaps is that many people don’t give him much thought or believe that he even exists at all, let alone that he influences every facet of society on a global scale.  The most dangerous enemy, is the one you don’t know or believe exists.

Now think about what his goal is… Is it simply to turn us to his side or to turn us away from God? Well, he does work to do those things, but to what end? What is his ultimate goal? If you guessed something along the lines of “destruction of all that is good”, you’ve probably got it right on the nose. He doesn’t just want us to turn from God…he wants us dead spiritually; destroyed; gone. He would kill us if allowed, but only after destroying us spiritually of course. He hates God and therefore hates anything to do with God. Including God’s plan for family. He hates that God has a plan to create a family out of us; these bags of flesh that we currently are; that one day we will be given more power and authority than the devil ever had, when we are brought into the very God Family itself (something else he can never have).

And so make no mistake…he hates you. He hates every one of us, whether we follow God or not. But he especially hates those who are striving to live God’s way now. He seeks to destroy them. Devour them spiritually and physically.  Just look at what he did to Job. God had to command the devil not to kill him physically as well. Further evidence is given to us in a warning found in 1 Peter 5:8. We are warned thus: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour…”  He wants nothing less than our utter destruction.

“Be sober, and vigilant”.

This is interesting in that Christ, in the model prayer is showing us to ask God for His guidance, His protection, His deliverance from the devil. He wants us to be mindful that not only is the devil out there seeking to destroy us, but that we need to be asking God for protection that only He can give.

And so, we are reminded in the Lord’s Prayer, to ask God to deliver us from the devil. Physically, mentally and emotionally, we are simply no match for the devil.  We have no power ourselves against such a being as the devil.

Think of it like a boxing match…. In one corner, we have a super powerful being (not to mention his servants and minions). A former archangel who’s been around since man was created.  And in the other corner, we have…insert your own fantastic physique, lifetime experience, and mental prowess here.  Statistically speaking…it doesn’t look good for us.

Thankfully… in this spiritual battle that we have entered into, this spiritual boxing ring, (to continue with that analogy) we have something far superior to all that devil is and has at his disposal. We have God in our corner.

In FACT… we get to actually wear armor in this match, don’t we. And we get a shield! Eph 6:10-18. The “shield of faith,with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one”.  Hey, he’s using arrows in this “boxing match”, its only fair I suppose. 😉

So, our only safety we that have comes through always looking to God as our guide and making the decision to acknowledge God in every choice, in every path we take. God will lead us as we read previously. (see part 4)  And God makes available the strength of our Savior. (“I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13) He has also granted us the law that says, if we resit the devil he will flee from us. (James 4:7)

We also have 2 Thessalonians 3:3, “But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”

It is very clear that our protection comes from God. In fact… truly, He and our Christ, are our ONLY protection. And so we are reminded in Christ’s prayer, to ask God for His protection from the devil.

“…But deliver us from the evil one….”

The Lord’s Prayer – A Closer Look – Part 4   Leave a comment

Continuing on from Part 3, I am taking a more in depth look at what is commonly known as “The Lord’s Prayer” or “The Model Prayer” found in Matthew 6.

Verse 13

“And do not lead us into temptation…”

When I read this, my first thought is…”what?”  Wait, why would God lead us into temptation? WOULD God lead us into temptation? It doesn’t seem to fit with His M.O. (motus operandi). So…what does this mean, that we are to ask God, not to lead us into temptation?

Well, let’s see what we can find out…

First, we have verses that clearly tell us that God does not tempt us.

James 1:13 says this: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:”

So why then would we pray for Him to not lead us to temptation? Let us continue on in James 1 verse 14 and see if we can get more clarity…

James 1:14 says, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”

This verse makes it clear that we are tempted due to the lust of our flesh (or pride of life, or lust of the eyes). This correlates with 1 John 2:16 which says, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”

Clearly God does not tempt us. BUT… He does allow us to be tempted. He does not remove the temptation from our every path. He knows the paths we take, and He knows the obstacles and or temptations that lie upon the path we choose; that lie in wait for us, perhaps hidden from our view even, along the paths we choose to walk.

Picture it like a this: You have a winding mountainous road. On this road of twists and turns you have a person driving a car. What can that person see? They can only see what is immediately ahead of them, right? Let’s say that there comes a fork in the road. But on one of the choices of roads, only a mile or two away, a boulder has fallen on the road. Or perhaps an avalanche is taking place above, crashing down towards the road. The driver cannot see the hazard from his perspective can he? He doesn’t know that if he makes the wrong choice, it could possibly cost him his life; or at least put him some serious problems.

Now picture a plane in the sky above this mountain road. What can that pilot see? He can look down, and from his perspective see the whole road. He can see the safest routes. The best passes. He can see any obstacles or dangers that may lie ahead. Now if the driver of the car, could communicate with the pilot, He could ask the pilot to tell him which ways to go to avoid such potential threats; which roads are the choice roads. Which roads might he avoid potential hazards of any kind. He could ask the pilot to guide him through the mountains couldn’t he. He could rely on the pilot’s perspective and knowledge of the paths ahead.

It is exactly like that with God. He can see where our paths lead us; where our choices in life will take us. He can see any potential pitfalls, traps, temptations or troubles that might lay ahead. And He can also show us the best choices. Where it is the smoothest, safest, and most peaceful ahead. And so what does He tell us?

Proverbs 3:6. “In all your ways…”, in other words, in ALL of your choices, in all of your decisions, in everything we do in life, “acknowledge Him, and He SHALL direct your paths.”

He IS that pilot that sees our life, and all of our paths, and where our choices lead.  And so we are to ask Him, to lead us not, or rather, to help us to NOT CHOOSE the paths that will lead us to temptation. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows the devil better than we know him too. And therefore He knows when the devil will jump in with temptations, and how we will be tempted, and by what means, and what will cause us to be tempted. He knows all of this. And so, we can seek God FIRST (Matthew 6:33) and acknowledge Him in all our ways, and He WILL guide our paths so that we can avoid such temptations.

“And do not lead us into temptation…”

The Lord’s Prayer – A Closer Look – Part 3   1 comment

Continuing on from Part 2, I am taking a more in depth look at what is commonly known as “The Lord’s Prayer” or “The Model Prayer” found in Matthew 6.

Verse 12

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”

Most of us are familar with this term, but how many of us really understand what “forgive” means? Is it an action? Is it a choice? Is it a feeling? Is it a mental thing? ….. If your answer is all the above, you probably get it.

Forgivness is first a choice that we have to make.

Matthew 18

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me?   Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.

It has to start with a choice. It is not a natural state for humans to forgive. Our natural instinct is to react in a way the makes us feel vindicated somehow. To seek out what we feel is justice or retribution. Do you see that the route there is pride? It is about self. When you boil it down, you come back to the way of love for self, vs love for others. And, sadly, our natural state is to love ourselves. But we have to resist that state, and so make active and often difficult choices that lead us away from the self. And so we have to choose to forgive. It is an attitude like God’s, one of mercy and longsuffering (patience), and love.

Once we have submitted to this course of action, depending upon the severity of the preceived, or actual transgression that we are chosing to forgive the transgressor of, we have may have to go before our King and ask for His help doing so. It’s hard to forgive sometimes, and so it can take a strength of character that we may not have at the current time. But God knows this, and He can give us this strength. That is why we have the scripture Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. Our Father and our Savior are there and, and they are willing to give us their strength, the strength of the Christ Himself, in order to do the things they ask of us.

In my experience, this state of forgiveness doesn’t always happen overnight. Most often it takes time, and a lot of prayer, and more action. For me, in one particular incident that I recall, the action I had to take was to go to the person and talk with them. To come with a humble heart before them, and apologize for my part. (which took me a while to come to realize…again, much praying) Once that had occurred, it opened up a “gate”, and healing was allowed to begin. At that point, I realized that it no longer mattered to me what the person(s) had done to me. I had finally forgiven them. What they had done, what they had said, all the hurt it had brought upon me… no longer bothered me any more. In that moment it had gone and I had been set free of months of inner turmoil. I had not only grown, but I had forgiven and repaired a relationship. And I felt freedom.

This freedom I now felt was such a contrast to the inner pain and turmoil I was holding on to literally for months and months. Yes, how they made me feel was real; The hurt was real. But once I was able to forgive…through God’s help…(I could not do it on my own) all of that turmoil just evaporated.

In fact, I was asked if I would tell them anything that they had done that could apologize for themselves. And before this time, I had a list in my head. One that I reviewed sometimes almost daily…but at that moment, it did not really matter. Yeah, the stuff still hurt a bit, but what was important, what was freeing at that moment, and afterward, was the fact that God had brought me to the point of forgiving them. For me, forgiveness was freedom.

So if we can’t find the forgivness on our own, we need to get God involved.

When we forgive others, we are showing Godly character. We are reflecting His very nature. He is quick to forgive us when we seek to change our hearts and when we struggle to repent. This is His mercy on us. And He wants us to understand that.

So He states it thus; that we are asking Him to forgive us, as we forgive others. He puts that distinct stipulation in there. So we realize that we need to call upon Him for, not only forgiveness, but for help forgiving. We read that, and we can rightly ask the question… “If I don’t forgive others, will God forgive me?”

We know that, “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you”, Matthew 7:2. So would it not also be true that by how we forgive others, is how we too will be forgiven? Well, I can’t say for 100% certainty, but to me at least, this part of the Lord’s Prayer seems to indicate that.  So when we are asking God to forgive us, what needs to come in to our minds right away is, who do I need to forgive? And then we may need to call upon God for His character of forgiveness, and then make the choice and take action.

After all, we are reminded in Colossians 3:13 (NIV)  to, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

And let’s look at Christ’s own warning concerning forgiveness in Mark 11:25-26 – “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

That is a pretty strong and clear warning.

Also, if you compare the Matthew 6 prayer with the way Luke recorded it… “And forgive our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.” We see that it certainly is expected of us. Forgiveness should be our way. So then, when we fall short of God’s character, which we all do, we can come before our Lord and Master, and before our King Of Kings, and ask forgiveness.

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”

The Lord’s Prayer – A Closer Look – Part 2   Leave a comment

Continuing on from Part 1, I am taking a more in depth look at what is commonly known as “The Lord’s Prayer” or “The Model Prayer” found in Matthew 6.

Picking up where we left off then…

Verse 11: “Give us this day our daily bread.”

First of all, I think it is important to know that it says, “…THIS day…”. Not tomorrow or the next day. THIS day is what we are given. That is where the focus is. Tomorrow is not ours yet. Today is. If God gives us tomorrow, fine. But God tells us in Matt 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Tomorrow is not ours yet. So if we read this verse to really apply it to our lives, we ask, what we are going to do with THIS day. How am I going to live this day? What do I need this day?

When I read this verse, for me personally, it is a reminder of who my Provider is.  It is not simply the work of my hand, or how smart I am, or other abilities I have been given (also by God) that I live and have. I am reminded that it is my Father in heaven (see verse 9) that I am calling upon because it is HE who ultimately is my Provider. (In fact, one of His names is Provider. Jeahovah Jireh – I think translated is “The LORD Will Provide”) It is HE who provides for me. Yes, He both allows and expects us to work to provide for ourselves and our families (1 Tim. 5:8), but, if we are truly allowing Him to reign over our lives and guide all our paths (Prov. 3:6) , it is HE Who provides for us; how much we make ($ wise); who we work for; what work we do; and how much the work of our hands is blessed.

1 Chronicles 29:16 – O LORD our God, as for all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name, it comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you.

It is good that we recognize that whatever we do, whatever we gain, it still comes from God. (It is He who gives us our abilities, gifts, and talents. It is He who provides raw material. It is He who makes the rain to fall and the sun to shine and who causes blessings and cursings, the seasons and causes the ground to yield it’s fruit and minerals.

Haggai 2:8 – ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the LORD of hosts.

So whatever we do, we can only do because of Him. And whatever we have, we can only have because HE provided it in the first place.

(Also of note… Realize that God is YOUR Father. You CAN ask Him for anything. Personally…when I pray and ask for God to provide for me and my family, I occasionally include this…”God, all of the silver and gold are yours… may I have some?” That may sound a little humorous…but have you ever asked your physical father or mother for some money? Sure! So? Why not ask the same of your Spiritual Father in heaven? He LOVES to give and knows how to give GOOD gifts and gives them abundantly! So why not ask Him?)

Philippians 4:19 – And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Yeshua.

Also Matthew 6:33 – “…and all these things shall be added to you.”

What things?

Matthew 6:25-33 – “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on.”

So we see it is talking about our very life. Included in that is food, drink, and clothing. In these verses, God goes on to explain that He provides for all of the creation; the animals and even plant life. Our lives are of much more value to Him, so how much more so will He provide for us? He promises in verse 33 that He WILL take care of these things for us. (IF we are seeking Him first of course)

Proverbs 30:8 & 9 fits “hand in glove” with this request in prayer of asking God four our daily provisions and needs.

Prov 30:8-9 says, “…Give me neither poverty nor riches– Feed me with the food You prescribe for me; (9) Lest I be full and deny You, and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God.”

I think that when coming to God daily for our daily needs to be fulfilled, we need to keep that scripture in mind. This helps keep us in the mind-set that God knows what is best for us.

So it is God that provides for us “our daily bread”. Our daily bread is a two fold term I believe. We understand it’s physical application: It is our food, and other physical life sustaining needs, such as shelter, clothing and water. But those who are truly submitting to God, and working on fulfilling Matthew 6:33 and Proverbs 3:6, know that there is a spiritual side to “our daily bread” as well.

Christ, at the Passover before His crucifixion,  gave His disciples bread and told them this was representative of His body. (Matt 26:26, Mark 14:22, 1 Cor 10:16 to name a few places where this can be found) So if we are asking the Father to give us this day our daily bread, in a spiritual light, what are we asking for? More of Christ in us, in our lives. We are asking for more of His character; more of HIS righteousness (not ours); more of His Holy Spirit.

Think about this as well… God gave the Israelite’s manna every day in the wilderness. Manna was sort of a bread type substance. But this “bread” was of perfect nutritional value. There was nothing unwholesome about it. It gave their bodies everything they needed nutritionally to sustain their physical life.   Now think about this…Christ is called “The Word”. (John 1:1-18) And the Holy Bible IS the word of God (of The Father & The Christ). The Christ, The WORD, likens Himself to Bread which we should eat of. The Holy Scripture is our spiritual “food”. So when we partake of the word of God, we are partaking also of The WORD of God. Does that make sense?

Following that train of thought then, God gave the Israelite’s manna (bread) in the wilderness on a DAILY basis…

So how often should we be partaking of Christ? Of reading His word?

“Give us this day, our DAILY bread.”

To be continued….