Love is NOT Proud

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This is taken from a blog my wife and I share together.

“…It is not proud…” 1 Corinthians 13:4

Man, this was a tough one to read. Much like love being not a “boastful”, God reminds us through Paul that Love is not proud. Proud is defined as “feeling deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of one’s own achievements, qualities, or possessions or those of someone with whom one is closely associated.”

While I looked at boastful as outward displays and actions, I thought we would look at proud as more internal. It is similar to boastful in that it often is directed towards an audience, and is reflective of what one has in their hearts. But it also be the cause or the effect. It is a cause in that self pride can cause one to boast, and the effect because boasting can create pride.

Pride can also be dangerous, in that it can halt growth. Pride can cause one to be neglectful. Pride can cause one to be comfortable. When we admire our relationships to the point of pride, we can find ourselves believing that it if flame retardant or at least stain resistant.friendring

In pride, our marriages can also lead to idolatry! Yes, your marriage can be an idol. You can worship, cherish, and value your relationship with your spouse to such a way, that it stands before your relationship with God. We can experience distance from God, and find ourselves consumed and challenged in intimacy with God.

In 21 years of marriage, 25 years of friendship, we have found that the strength of our bond, and the pleasure and satisfaction found within it requires full time attention. And shamefully, we can also attest that there are periods where it has received part time attention and at other times is neglected all together.  We have also had to fight to maintain a balance between honoring our covenant, and worshiping our love for each other. We fight to maintain this balance, because its our love and commitment to God that allows us to experience 25 years of friendship and 21 years of marriage. Without God first, the stage for a broken relationship would be set.

 

But God, in His power, through His Word, and by
His Grace has sustained and directed us such that
we have been able to maintain purpose and perspective,
understanding that its not our love for one another
that seals our bond, but the love received from
Christ that allows us to look past faults,
and appreciate the full measure of who we both are.

 

It is His sacrifice and example that we seek to mirror, and in our flesh, our individual foolish actions that should destroy what God has joined together, yet we remain. We remain because God’s sacrifice is the model by which we are guided, and His interaction and treatment of us as His individual children that allow us to find comfort in that which is an earthly representation of His spiritual provision.

Knowing this makes us much like Paul; boasting in our weakness, and knowing that we about in grace. Because of this, we have very little room to boast. We cannot boast because with God most of marriages would have end years ago. It is through our faith that we have learned forgiveness and grace and practice it in our marriages.

#TQAYMYM #PastorJDO3 #DrQDO

Life’s Litter Box! Prov. 11:3-6

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Our study this week brings us to the 11th Chapter of Proverbs.  Verses 3 to 6 lead us to a powerful discussion.

3. The integrity of the upright guides them,
but the crookedness of the unfaithful destroys them.
4. Wealth does not profit in the day of wrath,
but the righteousness delivers from mortal danger.
5. The righteousness of the blameless will make
straight their way, but the wicked person
will fall by his own wickedness.  Proverbs 11:3-6

To dive into this portion of the passage, we weighed the benefits of righteous living verses wicked living.  In the discussion, the illustration of the Little Box was introduced.

A “Litter Box” is an invention most associated with cats.  One of our guest shared that the litter box she provides for her can serves as a place where waste is made.  Then further spoke that the box can get to a point of capacity if not cleaned out.  When this occurs, the box can get to a place where the smell of the box makes it unbearable for the cat to perform the duties in which the box was designed to handle.

For discussion, the “Litter Box” was equated to our Living Space or Life Span.  Through our existence, we encounter life’s situations and circumstances.  They can not be avoided, but must be faced and handled.  We must be cognoscente in our encounters that our actions reap a harvest, and leave significant marks on our lives and the lives of those we encounter.  And each encounter has the potential to become a mess.

How is your Box?

The scripture reveals to us a truth about the wages of wickedness.  He will suffer from his/her own mess.  This person will be forced to live in a box filled with the mess that they have created!  How is your Box?  Is your box once that is so congested tkittylitterbox.pnghat each step is a challenge?  Is your life’s challenge to avoid the foolishness of the decisions you have made and the people you have wronged?  As spoke, many of us have lives that just stink!  We have accumulated such mess from mishandled situations and circumstances, that we have become overpowered by the stench of our own existence.

The cat is blessed in that he can mess up the box, and when the smell becomes overpowering, he can find another place to leave the waste.  The shame of this is unlike the cat, we can not avoid our box.  We are forced to live in this box called life.  We do not have the ability to separate our existence.

I asked myself, “What’s in my Box?”  Thus I ask you the same!

“What’s in your Box?”

Are you a desperate cat scratching and clawing to find a place that you have not created a mess in, and now feeling the burden and weight of your actions?  Is the stress in your life a result of your wicked living and loose morals?  If so’ It’s time to clean up your box!  And once clean, we must Keep our Box Clean! 

Keeping your box clean means properly managing relationships from the present point on.  It also means you might be required to seek out strained relationships and to repair and restore them to something that reflects Christ.  This also might require humility and also forgiveness.  Humility could be found in accepting acts of kindness, even for those whom you swore you would never take a sip of water from.  Forgiveness might be your narrative if approached from one who has wronged you.  You might be required to release one from their past actions, and to propel them towards a Clean Box of Freedom.

A Clean Box requires discipline and change.  We must allow the Word of God to change us, and the Holy Spirit to direct us.   Most of us cant live in peace because we refuse to apply God’s Word to our lives, choosing to memorize it, and or find its value in applying its truths towards other, while living a fictional existence of perfection. The Word takes no root in our lives!  Though it is broken down and consumed, it is not digested.  In essence, we are bulimic believers!  We stuff ourselves with The Word, but do not digest and distribute its nutrients to our body. 

Lastly, keeping a Clean Box means being obedient to the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is to be our teacher and our guide, as well as the power we need to control our flesh.   Yielding to the Holy Spirit will allow us to keep our boxes clean because its will is to please God in every way.  The Holy Spirit gives wisdom on when to walk away and how to respond.  It points us towards the mark of Christ, and serves as a counselor while going through, giving you not only God’s perspective, but helping you keep a proper perspective on yourself and other bringing about deeper understanding.

 

#PastorJDO3

 

 

 

 

 

Francis Chan: Holy Spirit Sessions 1

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This week, we combined sessions 1 & 2 of the Holy Spirit into one productive dialogue.  As Chan leads us, we see the Jesus pointing us to this comforter and power as He departs from the disciples physical presence.  He leads the discussion with the words of Jesus in the 24th chapter of Luke.  He instructs the disciples “…But stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” in verse 49.   Here we find the foundation of our discussion. FearGod1

Immediately, we began discussing the dangers and ramifications of hearing the mission, accepting the mission, and doing the mission under the authority, but without the power.  As believers, we discover both our gifts and our callings by walking with the Lord and by reading His Word and by following His direction.  This is where the disciples found themselves.  They had walked with Him, and were now receiving their call to ministry and being released into the harvest.  But, Jesus says, don’t go alone!  Don’t even go with each other!  Don’t just go in my name!  He says, wait until you have power!  The power of the Holy Spirit!

It would seem that the name of Jesus would be enough!  Jesus says that at His name, the devil will flee, demons will can be cast out, favor with the Lord is obtained, our prayers are answered, the dead can be raised, miracles can be performed, but He warns the disciples not to enter the harvest to work until they receive the Holy Spirit.  Much of why can be found in Galatians 5, when looking at the fruits of the spirit.

Though we have the name and authority of Jesus, we must remember that we are wrapped in flesh.  The power that Jesus knew we would need is the power to walk with Him, and to defeat the flesh while on assignment.  Last week, we looked at the challenge of following Jesus, concluding that the study of the Word was not enough to follow Him.  It gives us the instructions to follow the Lord and helps us to be wise in our daily walk.  The Holy Spirit however give us the power to apply and not to abandon what we have learned when under spiritual attack!

We wondered how many of us have doubted our missions and calls because we have failed or come up short?  One looking at the instructions of the Lord to the disciples, it was concluded that some of us are hearing correctly, just not waiting until we have all we need before stepping out to do what we have been instructed to do!  Are you in stride with God, or walking ahead of Him?  Are you on the right path at the right time?  Jesus tells them to wait!

Waiting is hard!  Knowing your mission and not being able to work the field is challenging, because we know what lays ahead.  Our zeal for the Lord can cause us to leap into action and conquer the world for the name of Christ with our without the Holy Spirit! 

The question was posed, “Can we accomplish anything without the Holy Spirit?”  The answer, yes!  As creations of the Lord, in His image and likeness, we are creative, powerful, insightful, and wise.  We can figure things out, make our own way, solve our own problems, and make our own plans.

The disciples were more than able and capable of applying the teaching of the Lord on their journeys without the Holy Spirit, but he knew that the journey as mere mortals would leave them off track and suspect witnesses.  Their success of the journey was dependent on their faith walk.  And not just the success of spreading the Gospel by preaching and teaching, but their ability to walk in righteous.  We are called to be a disciple, then to make other disciples!  Jesus instructs them that they would be “my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.Acts 1:8  As disciples, we know that being a witness for Christ involves more than what we verbally communicate to those we encounter.  Much of our witness is our walk.  It’s the discipline we demonstrate as we discipline our bodies to submit to submit to God’s Word and Will that are often the determining factors in aiding the Holy Spirit or hindering the Holy Spirit in convicting and converting hearts.  

The Kingdom of God, both inside the walls of the local church and in the streets of the world depends on believers seeking to be Holy!  The closer we are to the image of God, the more effective witnesses we become.  Let us focus on the image, and make it our life’s mission to not only be like the image of God, but to help others get there as well.

#PastorJDO3