Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Marsha's Musings: Be Mature In Your Thinking (1 Cor. 14:20


I won't re-type the verse since it is pictured above.  This verse comes from the context where Paul is giving instructions about speaking in tongues and prophesying.  Apparently things were getting a bit chaotic and out of order with people popping up all the place to say their piece.  They were acting immature and disorderly.

This verse has great application for the church today.  Many church fights could be avoided just by applying this scripture to be infants in evil and mature in your thinking.  

So often, as in the Corinthian church, immature thinking leads to selfish motives and actions.  There is always someone who thinks they should control the direction of the church or the people in it and when they can't get their way they set about to stir up trouble. This is the result of immature thinking.

Let's take care that we are mature in our thinking and innocent when it comes to evil.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Marsha's Musings: How Then Shall We Live? (2 Cor. 7:1)



Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1 KJV)

What promises does Paul talk about?

Here they are:

God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:16-18 KJV)

In light of these promises we are to do the following:

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; 

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing;
(2 Corinthians 6:16-18 KJV)

Most people in the U.S. and Canada don't bow before idols in their worship, however, there are many religions that do on this continent as well as around the world.  

What is an idol?  It is anything that you allow to take the place of Jesus Christ or that you esteem as more important than your than Jesus Christ and His Word (the Bible)

I am so guilty of this from time to time!  When I get too busy trying to keep up with my day to day activities that I fail to take time to read my Bible, meditate on what God is saying to me through His Word and spend time in prayer, then I have made my schedule and activities into an idol. 

You see, bowing in prayer before an idol of Mary, Budda, etc. is not the only way to put idols in the place of Jesus Christ.

We can make an idol out of our Sunday dinner when we sit in church planning in our minds what we are going to fix or how we are going to fix it.  We elevate the dinner above paying attention to God's Word being preached. It becomes an idol. We do the same thing with our weekly schedule, allowing it to take over our thoughts instead of worshipping God with all our mind and heart.

I think you get my drift. There are so many ways that we can put people, things and activities over and above God in our lives.

And that is to say nothing of sinful behaviors that are done in private by some. Pornography, lusting after others, coveting other's possessions and spouses are idols because these activities are done in direct disobedience to God's Word. It is to elevate one's desires above God's desires.

So, in light of the promises that God will be in you and be your God, receive you and you will be His people and He will be a Father to you and you will be His sons and daughters, how are we to live?

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1 KJV)

Friday, May 08, 2015

Marsha's Musings: God Says Even The Feeble Member is Necessary!



For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: (1 Corinthians 12:12-18, 21-22 KJV)

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Marsha's Musings: How to Escape Temptations (I Corinthians 10:6-14, 23-24, 31 NKJV)


Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (I Corinthians 10:6-14, 23-24, 31 NKJV)

Idolatry is at the root of sexual immorality, testing the Lord, and complaining.  Each one of these sins stems from idolizing and wanting that which we do not have and want.  It is a discontentment with what God has provided.

Then we have this:  No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

What is the way to escape?  Verse 14 gives us the answer: Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
Verses 23-24, 31 give further instruction for the escape of temptation:
All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 

In review, how do we escape temptation?
1. Flee idolatry
2. Realize that lawful things are not always helpful or edifying
3. Seek other's well-being over your own
4. Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God


Monday, May 04, 2015

Marsha's Musings: How to Run The Race (1 Corinthians 9:24-27 ESV)




Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27 ESV)

1. Run in such a way to obtain the prize
    A. Exercise self-control in all things
         1. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. (2 Peter 1:5-10 ESV)
         2.  For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14 ESV)
        3. The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. (1 Peter 4:7 ESV)
        
    B. Have a purpose don't be aimless
         1. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. (Proverbs 19:21 ESV)
          2. For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, (Acts 13:36 ESV)
           3. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 ESV)
           4. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, (2 Timothy 1:8-9 ESV)

I see that self-control means that I remember that I have been cleansed from my former sins and therefore am humbled by this to where I want to be self-controlled so as to not fall back into those old ways.  Self control is a patient waiting for the appearing of Jesus Christ, while living an upright and godly life. It is realizing that we are in the last days, praying for strength to endure and be godly, exercising self control so as to not nullify my prayers in this regard.

To run with purpose means to pursue God's purpose for my life.  The way to do that is to "...love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27 ESV)



Friday, April 24, 2015

Marsha's Musings: Following the Lord Wholly (Deuteronomy 1:36)



except Caleb the son of Jephunneh. He shall see it, and to him and to his children I will give the land on which he has trodden, because he has wholly followed the Lord!’ (Deuteronomy 1:36 ESV)

What does it mean to follow the Lored wholly as Caleb did?  I can think of a few things.

1. It means trusting in God in spite of overwhelming odds.  There were giants in the land!
2. It means being willing to take the heat and stand up for something that is different than what the crowd wants to do.  The others said it was too hard and they would be defeated.  But Caleb said the opposite.
3. It means looking at the possibilities instead of the difficulties!  It was a land flowing with milk and honey.  They brought back a giant bunch of grapes that took two men to carry on a stick between them. So optimism instead of pessimism is in order. 
4. I'm sure this was true of Caleb:  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)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Marsha's Musings: Two Unstable Environments (Psalm 46:1-6)



God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. (Psalm 46:1-6 ESV)

Two unstable environments.  The earth and the nations/kingdoms are the two unstable environments mentioned here.  We live in both of these unstable environments.  

Our national security is at risk.  Terrorism is abundant and causes great instablitiy all around us.  Crime on our streets is increased.  A simple trip to the grocery store could turn into a hostage situation.

The earth is unstable.  Natural disasters can happen at any moment wiping out whole towns.  

When you stop to think about it, we humans who so much like our security and everything to be stable really have very little stability around us.   How are we to respond to this instability?  How are we to live with this without going crazy?

This passage gives us the solution to how to live with instability.  God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  We do not need to fear.  He has got this!  Did you catch that?  He is a very PRESENT help in trouble.  He is not a God who is afar off watching from a distance.  He is PRESENT and He is a PRESENT HELP in trouble.



Monday, April 13, 2015

Marsha's Musings: Forgiveness



Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” (Matthew 18:21-35 ESV)

Think about all God has forgiven you in Jesus Christ and then think about the one who has wronged you. Why are we so quick to accept God's forgiveness for our own great sins against Him, but so unwilling to extend that same mercy to our fellow man?

Forgiveness doesn't mean absolving another of responsibility in all cases.  Nor does forgiveness mean putting yourself back in a place where you will be hurt.  It means that you will not hold onto your anger, grudge or the need for vengeance against that person.  

Who do you have something against?  Set down your grievance and be merciful toward them.  

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Marsha's Musings: Guarded by God's Power (1Peter 1:3-12)

        
,Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. (1 Peter 1:3-12 ESV)

I am intrigued by the fact that this does not say we will be guarded from trouble or persecution. It indicates instead that our salvation is guarded by God's power through faith.

he has caused us to be born again...who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time...In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire...

If God has genuinely saved you and me we will have trials and the purpose of those trials is to prove the genuiness of our faith.  God will guard the salvation of our souls through these crises of faith that we will endure.

Many preachers make the mistake of "selling" Jesus to people on the premise that He will take care of all their problems. He will fix a broken marriage. He will fix your financial problems. He will heal your body. They make becoming a Christian look like some sort of fairy land.

Sorry Charley, but that is heresy. For many people the trouble starts when they are saved. Those Christians in the Middle East and beyond are exiles. They are persecuted for their faith. One day we may be called upon to suffer in a similar fashion. The good news is that God will guard the souls of His people through it, refine their faith, prove their faith as genuine and wean them off the world to cause them to look for the prize of the high calling of God.  God will guard our souls in the fire of trials.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Marsha's Musings: Things Devoted to Destruction (Joshua 6:18)

                


But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it. (Joshua 6:18 ESV)

This was Joshua's instructions to the people of Israel before they took the city of Jericho.  You can look around in any number of areas of life and see this principle lived out.

Here are some examples:

Our nation has embrace all kinds of sin from murder of babies before they are born to sexual perversion between same sex couples and others. We tolerate corruption in our government and other places of leadership and our children are taught that there is no absolute truth. It's only a matter of time before our freedoms are stripped from us and this great nation falls.  Our nation has been made into a thing of destruction and has had trouble brought upon it.

In the marriage relationship, when one of the marriage partners decides to engage in sexual promiscuity or a secret obsession with pornography...things devoted to destruction...it makes that marriage into a thing of destruction and brings trouble upon it.

When a child, whether young or adult engages in deception, whether he or she out right lies or just choses to keep back information in order to make his or her parents or boyfriend or girlfriend to think something that is not true, it makes those relationships into things of destruction and brings trouble upon the trust relationship that had been there.

When an employee is dishonest with an employer he makes that job and work relationship into a thing of destruction and brings trouble upon it.

You begin to get the application here.  This principle of taking things or actions that are displeasing to God and devoted for destruction and making them part of your life makes you and your relationships or in the case of nations and groups of people, into things of destruction and brings trouble to them.

What areas of life have you been engaging in acceptance of things devoted to destruction? What can you do about it?  Will you do what needs to be done to fix it?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Marsha's Musings: My Prayer as I Grow Older

Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent.

But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge.

O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come. (Psalm 71:9, 14-15, 17-18 ESV)

My prayer as I grow older.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Marsha's Musings: When the News Worries Me, Remember This. (Psalm 4:6-8)



There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:6-8 ESV)

The news is often bleak. Our Facebook feeds are full of bad news. The nightly news on TV is bad. The newspaper headlines are bad. I have often said, "Why don't they ever report good news?!"

The Psalmist says there are many who say the same thing. “Who will show us some good?"  Life gets scarier every day and we wonder if it's even safe to travel anywhere....even to the store!  

But the last verse of this Psalm sums it up nicely.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

God alone keeps us safe and He will not let anything take us out of this world until He decides it is our time to go.  With that knowledge and assurance I can lie down and sleep in peace.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Marsha's Musings: Forgiveness Psalm 130:3-4

                     
     

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. (Psalm 130:3-4 ESV)

Where would we be if God kept track of all our sinfulness?  Not one person on earth would make it into heaven. But God in His infinite mercy made a way for forgiveness through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Marsha's Musings: When God is Covered in Darkness (Psalm 18:11)



He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, thick clouds dark with water. (Psalm 18:11 ESV)

Do you ever feel as if God has hidden Himself from you?  Have you felt like you were walking all alone in darkness and that life is closing in on you?

God often covers His presence in our lives in a shroud of darkness.  It is during these times that we are forced to walk by faith.  He forces us to pick our way carefully when we can not see the way. It can be a dark and lonesome path and we may feel that God has left us.  

Take heart!  He has not left you!  He will not break His promise to never leave you!  He is only hidden by a covering of darkness for a time. He is still there right beside you even if you don't "see" or hear Him.  Walk on through the darkness in faith and soon enough you will see the Light again.