Thoughtful Moments

Apprentice Disciple – Dennis Nease

      I was told once, “Discipleship is like apprenticeship,” and I couldn’t agree more! In fact, the dictionary defines an apprentice as – a person who learns a job or skill by working for a fixed period of time for someone who is very good at that job or skill.
     In this case, that “someone” who is very good at the job or skill is Jesus; and the person who learns the job or skill by working for the fixed time is the disciple.
   So what is the “job or skill” that is to be learned? Abide in His word (John 8:31), love one another (John 13:35), glorify God, abide in His Love, keep His commandments (John 15:7-10). All of these things are what is to be learned. This is the “job or skill” that Jesus is very good at.
     The Lord tells us in Luke 14 that if anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. This means there is a decision to be made! The apprentice has decided that he wants to learn this “job or skill” and has “signed up” – so to speak. The disciple has done the same. He has measured the cost, and the fixed period of time.
    The cost is his own life – submission to his master. The fixed period of time is the rest of his life. Still, the disciple, just as the apprentice, knows the final result of his learning, and signs up!

 

Praying the Beatitudes – Scott Palin

Jesus, King of Heaven, I come before you empty handed. I know that I have nothing good to offer you. There is nothing of any value that I could give to you. I am sorry that I am always chasing after my own desires. My pride causes me to want fame, fortune and power. All the while, you tell me to seek the things that matter to you; things that are unseen.You want me to pursue you, as your Spirit leads me into love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

You know that my old nature desires things that are contrary to your will, but I have died to my old nature and I want to live for you. As I am led through life by your Spirit, please allow your light to shine through me, not for my sake, but for the sake of my community. The world tells me that I can affect this community most by accumulating power and influence and by making changes in the systems that man has built. On the other hand, you tell me to stop trying to obtain influence and to work at being a servant. Help me to remember that you are sovereign. You raise people up, and you remove them from the seat of  leadership. I want to wait on you. Wherever you put me, it is my heart’s desire to serve you first and then to serve my fellow man.  At the end of a long day, I want to rest in you, knowing that you are God.

My heart breaks for this community. We are all looking for satisfaction from the things that this world has to offer and deep down inside we know that we will not find it on this earth.

How then do we find the fulfillment that our hearts desire? You promise us satisfaction if we hunger and thirst for righteousness. Holy Spirit, please lead me into righteous living. Help me to put the things in my life in the right order. You are The King. Help me to find my satisfaction in the blessings that you pour down. I am satisfied! I do bathe in your grace Glorious King! Help me to desire to be a servant of your people. Again take away my pride. I reject the ideas that Satan puts in my heart that lead me down the road of self promotion and worldly attainment. Help me to pursue one thing… the advancement of your kingdom. Firmly establish your kingdom in my heart first. Then, allow me and my fellow soldiers to breach Satan’s walls and increase your kingdom in this community.

We are in a spiritual battle and your tactics are unconventional. You order me to be merciful and gracious. You tell me to pursue peace with my neighbor.

I want people to love me when I am in pain. I want forgiveness when I screw up. I can see how mercy and grace are effective tactics. Help me to recognize the pain in others. It is easy for me to see their shortcomings. It is easy for me to be judgemental. I need your eyes so that I can understand the pain that exists, and I need your heart so that I can dispense your grace to those who are injured and brought close to death by the lies of Satan.

It is easy for me to love my family and friends. You order me to love my enemies. Work in my heart so that I am willing to pray for people who persecute me. Give me the courage to heartily and warmly greet the people that I know are talking behind my back. You love them unconditionally. I am your soldier. I am your son. I want to emulate you, my father and king. I want to love the people in this community the way you do.

It is okay if the slaves of Satan’s world persecute me. Of course that is what they are going to do. I am an invader in Satan’s domain; he wants to destroy me. His minions believe his lies, they are blind to the truth and don’t know what they are doing. Forgive them Lord and lead them into your redemption. Besides, what can they do? If they kill me, I immediately leave this barren land and enter your presence fully. What a gift. My death would glorify you, your soldiers would be more firmly established in their faith and your kingdom would grow. There is no downside.

As for now, I am content being your soldier behind enemy lines. You give me glimpses of your glorious kingdom everyday and it encourages me to keep fighting on. But, more importantly I have a hope for the future. I trust your promises. I cling to them knowing some day my reward will be great in heaven. I am your son, an heir to your kingdom. I cannot wait to look into your eyes and be comforted. I will rest in your arms. Then, I will  venture out into your domain and I will be completely satisfied. You also promise that I will inherit the Earth. I am not sure what that will look like, but I know it is true.

So, King Jesus, today let my service be effective for you. Everyone in this community needs your redemption. We desperately seek your grace. Let the people of this community see you and give them faith so that they may also enter into your promised land and experience the rest that only you can provide. Amen.
Continue reading “Praying the Beatitudes – Scott Palin”

The Battle – Phil Stombaugh

     Living lives of daily surrender to God brings the greatest joy a follower of Jesus will ever know.  Those times when the battle rages for the heart and mind and the believer realized that he or she is in big trouble unless the Lord manifests Himself and wins the victory for us!
    Although He fights our battles, we are the sacred battleground for no grater victory can be won by the Enemy of the cross on any other ground than the heart of man.  That very heart represents to Satan a person who has been created in the very image of his or her Creator God.  When that happens, when the Evil One gains ground in the slightest way in the life of a believer, persuading him or her to sin and therefore turn their back on God, even for a moment, that victory, hollow, short and fleeting as it may be, is Satan’s greatest revenge.
     For when defeat happens in the life of a believer, large or small, God is not threatened.  All is well in His Kingdom as He waits on us to rise up from the Enemy’s blow, taking our rightful place as Children of the King once again, placing upon our spiritual bodies the armor of God and standing against the Evil One, victorious once again.
     Do not be discouraged, dear ones, for this battle against the Evil One, real as it is, has a glorious and victorious end.  It will not go on forever.  There will be rest and when that rest comes, we will with full hearts of gratitude and tears of joy, run our final run into the welcoming and forever secure arms of Jesus, the One who fights for us!  So, fight on and see the victory that waits those who believe, trust and surrender to our Holy God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

 

Please Just Sit Still!

Please Just Sit Still!
by Tawni Palin

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalms 46:10
            I have three life verses. The first is Hebrews 13:6 and it reminds me that people have no power over me because God is protecting me. The second verse is Psalms 16:24 reminding me that I need to watch what I say because my words have both the power to heal and the power to hurt. During the last couple of months Psalms 46:10 has burned its way into my mind and works to remind me of the sovereignty of God.

be-still-girl-sitting-on-red-bench

            For the last couple of months I’ve been experiencing the need to be still and wait. Have you seen the movie Evan Almighty? There is a scene in that movie when Evan’s wife, Joan, takes the boys and heads to her mother’s. In that scene she is approached by God and he asks her a couple of simple but thought-provoking questions, “When someone prays for patience, do you think he gives them patience? Or the opportunity to be patient?” Well I’ve been praying for patience and for motivation, but I haven’t been taking the opportunities I know I’ve been given.
            One of my father’s favorite catchphrases is, “Know that God is in control.” I grew up with this phrase tossed around as much as the phrase, “What happens, happens.” To me that is lazy. I figure if I want something done, I need to do it myself. Lately as I sit and try to listen to God I’m realizing that God is the one denying or holding me back from the things I think I need. I am usually reminded of another verse, Jeremiah 29:11 “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” For a planner like me just letting go of decisions and events that I can possibly control is a challenge. One that God is constantly calling me to do, but it is also a test I continuously fail. I fail not because I want to but because I am afraid.
            I know that God is in control, and I know that God is only going to do what is best for me. My problem is taking the opportunity to sit still, and live out the knowledge that he is God and is working in my favor. So this is my way to let go of the control and fear. This is my way of sitting still, watching him take my life and mold it a little bit more.
            Here is my promise to be still and know that he is God. I let go the idea I believe I need to be safe and happy.

Walkin’ the Path with God

Walkin’ The Path with God
By Tawni Palin

Christmas Break (29)    In the last two years, I’ve been thinking and pondering on Paths. What path am I supposed to be walking? Why does it feel like my life is a series of bends in the road? Paths come in so many descriptions. Some are wide and paved; others could be narrow winding through a woodland scene.

Famous Poet Robert Frost wrote The Road Not Taken. The narrator talks about how he had to decide which road to take along his way, and he chose the road less traveled. He does mention that he would like to know where the other led, “Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back,” (Frost, 1916). The audience isn’t told where the road led the narrator, but I hope that it was some grand adventure that God had marked especially for him, a path that he would never regret.

            As I was thinking about paths, I found myself reminded of The Horse and His Boy, a tale told by C.S. Lewis. The tale is and there is nothing but paths. The path that sticks out in my head is when Shasta finds himself in the dark, fog-laden woods too tired to choose a road, so he lets the horse he rides choose for him. On this road, Shasta meets Aslan, and finds out that the Lion had been pushing him down his path.
            Like Shasta, I know that God is pushing me in the direct of my path. Proverbs 4:11-12 claims, “I instruct you in the way of wisdom, and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.” This proverb gives me hope that God is holding my hand as I walk my path. In the last year, I have walked a path that has sent me on to places I’ve only dreamed of, and I watched as the same path led me away from the dream.Christmas Break (34)
            Paths have become extremely important to me wondering what God has in store around the bend, and whether or not I am ready for his next twist. Sometimes, I imagine that I am standing on a bridge watching the rushing water scurry to its vast destination. I stand there wondering about my destination, praying that I will be able to fulfill that position planned for me. That bridge prevents me from getting swept in a direction that isn’t mine, but I realize that I can’t stop at that bridge either. The path put in front of me, with God by my side, it is meant to be walked with confidence.

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