Sunday, July 27, 2014
James contrasts the peaceful wisdom which is from God (3:13, 17-18; “from above” was a typical Jewish way of saying, “from God”) with the contentious wisdom which is from the devil (3:14-15). Then he warns his audience not to try to hold both perspectives as if they were compatible. Those who try to follow both God’s and the world’s wisdom at the same time are spiritual adulteresses (4:4).
Submitting to God and resisting the devil (4:7), then, is rejecting the world’s evil way of treating one another and preferring the gentle approach that comes from God. To adopt this new way of treating others requires repentance (4:8-10).
1 Peter refers to a situation in which Christians are being persecuted (1 Pet 4:12-16); in 1 Peter 5:8-9, the devil apparently seeks to crush believers by seeking to turn them from the faith. Resisting him therefore means withstanding the persecution.
In the context of Ephesians 4:27, one resists the devil by refusing to deceive or stay angry with one’s fellow-believers (4:25-26); in the whole context of Ephesians, this is part of “spiritual warfare” (6:11-14, 18). www.craigkeener.com
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ (Mark 12:30 ESV)
The mind is the sanctuary where our thoughts are formed and where both holy and unholy actions originate. The world around us with all it's messages that are contrary to God, dominate the media, arts, and entertainment industry. Both conservative and liberal media often send out messages that are in opposition to the Kingdom of God. To be Kingdom minded is to be heavenly minded. Someone who is heavenly minded, contrary to popular belief is of more earthly good, than those with a materialistic anti-supernatural mindset.
The gospel changes our minds when we believe it. Our worldview and our way of thinking about relationships, culture, life, and death, are radically affected. We were created by God for his good pleasure, and to worship and know him. Unlike the atheistic worldview we have a purpose and a reason to live. As created beings in the image of God our lives are significant no matter what our station in life is.
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28 ESV)
We were commissioned to subdue the earth, to be fruitful, and to multiply. God gave us dominion over his creation, but we must also take dominion over our minds to be used for his glory. But a mind that is not renewed by his Word and Spirit becomes darkened. And God is light and he has called us to walk in the light. If we choose to walk in darkness we will not be able to use our minds to love God, and "a mind is a terrible thing to waste." - Bobby
Saturday, July 12, 2014
One thing have I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. (Psalm 27:4 ESV)
There is a negative spiritual transformation that is the result of a passive approach to the Christian life. Those that refuse to establish a daily time of Bible reading, prayer, and deep reflection on truth will not become mature Christians. Their formation will be by earthly things, by a world system that is opposed to the holiness of God.
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:1-4 ESV)
It's important to develop good spiritual habits. Take some time each day to meditate on a small portion of Scripture. Read it out loud to yourself several times, slowly. Then turn the verse or verses into a personalized prayer. It's good to keep a journal with you during these times of devotion. Seek opportunities during the day, and go back over the chosen passages of Scripture. Be still and quiet your soul as often as possible, and pray. Ask God for the help of his Spirit to stay focused on him. Positive spiritual transformation only happens when we actively pursue the knowledge of God and his presence. - Bobby
Monday, July 07, 2014
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13 ESV)
Jesus has called each of us as his followers to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. This is a reverential fear, with a sense of awe of the Glory, and holiness of God. This working out of our salvation begins after we first trust Christ for deliverance from our sins, and make him the supreme object of our affection. Regeneration (the initial salvation experience) happens in a moment, but spiritual growth is a lifetime process that is called sanctification. The indwelling life of Christ is the power source for a changed life.
To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. (Colossians 1:27-29 ESV)
This spiritual transformation of our lives is worked out in the community of believers, and through private prayer, and devotion to live according to God's word. The Lord never called us to work out the salvation of others. But, God has clearly called us to encourage and teach those who are willing to receive instruction from the Scripture. Without illumination from the Holy Spirit we are powerless in our attempt to change ourselves morally or to help others in this process. Prayer is the most powerful means God has given us to see the spiritual eyes of others open, so that they too can experience transformed lives. - Bobby