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Showing posts from 2014

Deliberate Forgetting

They deliberately forgot that the Lord...2 Peter 3:5
My husband just came back from a trip to the store.  He, like many others, had some last minute gifts to get.  He was describing people in the parking lot, circling around, trying to find a space close to the store.  Long lines waiting to make a purchase; he said you could smell the stress in the air.  
We can relate to that feeling of anxiety as even the most proactive of us get in situations where we've take on too much or circumstances wheel us out of control.  
While reading this morning, I came across a phrase in 2 Peter that made me pause (those are always good because then  you know God is saying something to you...).  They deliberately forgot-sometimes our lack of focus is intentional.  We actually choose to go through live with the wrong perspective.  The truth is too painful. 
What's interesting is in our attempts to avoid pain, we remain stuck in it elsewhere. I don't know the story of everyone at the store t…

The Word of God

2 Timothy 2:9 But the word of God cannot be chained.
What are you fearful of?  What enslaves you?  What chokes out your freedom and vitality.  In a sense, this has held you captive to destructive behavior patterns.  
You long for freedom.  Where do you turn?
The word of God is waiting, for it cannot be chained, restrained, held back, stifled, or cast aside.  It bears fruit and accomplished the purpose for why it was sent (Isaiah 55:11).  It is a light in the dark and will illuminate your healing and way (Psalm 119:105).  We must return to the word of the Lord to find freedom.
During the Christmas season, we are reminded that the word is not just the life-giving words but the Son sent to dwell among us.  
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was …

The Fight

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.…

Purpose

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,
2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,
3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh
4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,
5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,
6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,
7 To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 1:1-7
God's purposes: calls apostlesset apart for the gospelbrings promises to passtells us things in His worddeclares in the power of the Spiritbring about faith in His name This is my purpose.  To see everyday that my calling is clear.  To be different than the world, pre…

Quench

I Thessalonians 5 12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you,
13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.
14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.
15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.
16 Rejoice always,
17 pray without ceasing,
18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
19 Do not quench the Spirit.
20 Do not despise prophecies,
21 but test everything; hold fast what is good.
22 Abstain from every form of evil.

This weekend I just returned from a shopping trip with some of my best friends.  This group and I head down to Portland every year for Christmas shopping and in general, a break the responsibilities of motherhood.  We rent a hotel and enjoy good food and good company. 
At one stop we…

Slave or Free

Galatians 4:23
 But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise.

5:4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. 8 This persuasion is not from him who calls you. 13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

There are two camps in my heart; one who wants to try and fulfill God's requirements of holiness through human effort and one who will take a promise He made to save me.   Everyday I must come to Him and remember that I am free, or I will live like a slave.  Any attempt to justify myself by the law will separate me from Christ and cause a plummet from Grace. 
Why would I ever want to leave grace?  It is the enjoyment of relationship, the enjoyment of peace, where I can be at rest.  If I am tempted to leave the warm blanket of grace, the voice calling me to liv…

Too Busy

Last night I was with a group of parents at my daughter's soccer party.  She has played with this team for a few seasons now and I've begun to develop some relationships.  Largely though, we know surface level facts about each other.  In a gathering like this, you really only get to talk to the people next to you.  Work, the holidays, the weather...all safe topics.  I'm not really one who thrives in this kind of environment; I sometimes don't know what to say...
One thing I noticed that in all the conversations, everyone was mentioning how busy they were.  From blue collar work to the legislative branch (I was sitting between a truck driver and a lawyer), everyone has the same reaction to the pace of middle-class pace of life.  Last night when my husband got home at 9 from another late meeting, we were talking about how every season is busy.  Fall, school starts and sports.  Then the holidays come-pretty soon it's spring and with sports and school wrapping up you&…

Fulfilled

John 18 6 When Jesus said to them, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground.
7 So he asked them again, "Whom do you seek?" And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth."
8 Jesus answered, "I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go."
9 This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: "Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one."
Matthew 24 26 The Son of Man goes as it is written of him
54 But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?"
56 But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled." Then all the disciples left him and fled.
In the garden, when the hour of darkness had come (Luke 22:53), when the betrayer was among Him, on His mind was to fulfill the scriptures. 
In fact the words He speaks are scripture.  When He says He is the great "I AM" of Exodus in the burning bush (Exodus 3) they fall to the ground. 
There is power in the words of J…

Why We See

Johnn 14 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, "Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?"
23 Jesus answered him, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.
Why us?  
Why do we get to see? 
John 14:17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
It's about loving Jesus.  When we do, we keep His word and feel the love of the Father.  Inside God makes His home within, with the Spirit, with the Son.  
When we don't love Jesus, we don't keep HIs words.  We don't obey or follow His voice.  
It's all about this question:  do we love Jesus?  
How do we come to love someone we can't see or talk to? I believe …

Investing for the Master

For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Matt 25:29
Both people have something.  But what one has must be different that the other, as God decides one gets to keep and one will lose.  Not only that, the person who get's to keep gets more!  
Looking back over the parable, there are two men given different amounts that all make a return.  Interestingly, it is not the amount of the return that pleases the master but that there is a return.  This seems to be what pleases HIm: the servants knew HIs characterthey knew what they had belonged to the master they didn't complain about how much they were giventhe doubled what He gave thema long time went by and they were faithful He says the same thing to both...His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.&…

Everyone Will See

Luke 21:27
And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
Have you ever been with someone who could see something, tried to point it out to you, but you couldn't see it?  Maybe you are in a public place looking for someone in a crowd.  Maybe tried to spot wildlife from far away.  Perhaps you are looking for something at home and a family member tells you where it is but you just can't see it.  It is so frustrating to be searching for something right in front of you but can't see it.  
Now switch roles...what if you are the person that can see and are trying to give your sight to another.  What is obvious to you is dim to them.  You think of ways to describe it differently but it's so hard to restate the obvious.  
When it comes to our faith, we may not want to share for other reasons.  Perhaps we don't want to share what we can see with someone who can't, because we fear rejection or ridicule.  Yes it is hard to explain the…

The Light

John 12 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit 28 Father, glorify your name." Then a voice came from heaven: "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again." 35 So Jesus said to them, "The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going.
36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light."
Alone is wheat that is unbroken.  Death brings fruit.  Not just some fruit but much fruit.   Death brings life.  Death brings multiplication.  Death brings produce, the harvest.  Death brings bounty and sweetness.  
For we must come to a place where we want to die to our own glory, our own honor, our own renown.  Instead we must align our desires to see the Father glorify Himself.  If the glory we seek is our own, we a…

Leave to Receive

Mark 10:29-31
29 Jesus said, "Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel,
30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.
31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first."
You may be asked to leave where you live.   You may have to leave your possessions. You may have a different relationship with your parents.  The perfect family you wanted to have might change.   You may have to leave your livelihood or inheritance.   Why? For His sake, his message.
What you receive is a new sense of what home is.  A new family.  A new inheritance.  A hundredfold means they are better.  
When God asks us to leave it is to give us more and better than we ever had. 
Some you may receive here, but persecutions will come.  When we are following th…

Awake and Waiting

Luke 12 35 "Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning,
36 and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks.
37 Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them.
38 If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants!
John 9 39 Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind."
40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, "Are we also blind?"
41 Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, 'We see,' your guilt remains.
Commands: ready for action, keep lamps burning...
Analogy: the wedding feast.  We don't really …

Timing

ohn 7:6,8 Jesus said to them, "My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come."
John 7:23, 24 23 If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man's whole body well? 24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment."
John 8:14, 20 Jesus answered, "Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going.These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
Luke 9: 51, 62 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."
Matt…

Amazed by Unbelief

Mark 6:6 And he was amazed at their unbelief.
Matt 13:58 And so he did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief.
It's interesting that Jesus was amazed by unbelief.  He was also amazed by belief.  Why was He amazed?  Because He didn't understand men?  That can't be it because He said Matthew 9:4 and Luke 9:47 Jesus says he knows their thoughts and hearts.  Maybe it's the kind of amazement that comes with knowledge.  Do you ever know something but just can't believe it?  I can relate to that feeling when it comes to blessings in my life...my house, my dog, my car...these tangible things I've worried and prayed about.  When God comes through and works and gives me special gifts, I know their mine but I just can't believe it.  So where does the wonder of disbelief come from? That moment when you can't believe this is happening.  You know it is real; it isn't a surprise, but you are struck with the absurdity of it? That must be how Jesus fel…

Listen

Hi blog readers,

Thanks for hanging in there throughout our study of Hebrews.

For the rest of this calendar year, I will be reading through the entire new testament and sharing excerpts from my "spiritual journal" with you on-line.  This journal is basically the words that God's spirit speaks specifically to me as I meet with Him in the morning.  I will share the verses with you as well as some of my thoughts.  If I feel God's spirit says something to me personally, I italicize those parts so as I look back I can differentiate His voice to my own ponderings.  Hope that helps you interpret what I'm sharing with you.

He has lately been leading me into a season of listening to Him and these words jumped off the page to me.  I hope that you are blessed my putting myself out there and He speaks to you as well.  As always, feel free to comment or we can interact personally.  If you share your email I'll contact you!

-Rayna

Matt 13:12 But for those who are not lis…

Hebrews 13:20-25

Key Verse:
Now may the God of Peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.  Hebrews 13:20-21
Opening Reflection:  Who or what brought you to church for the first time?
·Read through Hebrews 13:20-25 with an emphasis on verses 20 and 21.  How does this benediction and closing encompass all of the writer’s purpose in writing to the Hebrews?
·Verses 20 and 21 serve as a reminder to us about how and why God initiated the new, eternal covenant.  What are the key elements of the new covenant?  What is God’s role?  What is Jesus Christ’s role?  What is yours?
·What comes to mind when you think of God as the “God of Peace”?   How does this name describe God’s intent in having a relationship with us?
·In what specific ways does God “equip you with everythin…