With what I know about the Apostle Paul, He would sum up Christmas in the 1st Chapter of Colossians. Building the argument about what the Faith is truly about; from verse 1 and culminating at 27, verse by verse, idea to idea, one attribute and again that “Christ in you,” is the “Hope of Glory”.
God has constructed a bridge, or as Isaiah spoke, “a highway for our God,” for us, mere humans, to travel an open road between ourselves and God.
With this honor and gift also goes responsibilities and commitment.
Before the Holiday Season is ended, spend some time praying through the beginning of Colossians; let it speak to you.
The mature Christian Faith is defined as “beyond the cleaning rituals” used in preparing for a worship service. And for that matter, this Faith surpasses ‘judgement for eternity’, ‘laying on hands’, and ‘defining what eternity will be like’. So, true Faith, the way I envision it, is not the ceremonial aspects or traditions; but is rather the motivations behind our actions. Why we do something, sometimes, might be of greater importance compared to what we do. (I invite your comments about this).
But as is said a few verses later,
“We should have a life in the Spirit.”
(There are several verses on this Spiritual Life sewn throughout the New Testament). This “life within God’s Spirit” is the life Jesus “let out of the bag” to us.
The Spirit takes our hand leading us to a deeper relationship with God and, thus, a renewed relationship to humanity around us: seats us in relationship with God. I emphasize “with God” specifically because, for example, we can talk to a person and not be talking with that person. Talking with a person is a 2-way connection. We talk to God and God talks to us.
After elaborating upon the above these passages, Hebrews 6:10 reassures us in that God is aware of our (your) deeds and amid the dreams, trials and accomplishments of this life, rewards you (and me).
These 3 aspects of the Christian faith have been on my mind recently. So I will help us to be mindful about all 3.
We need to check ourselves every now and then to make sure what we are saying and doing have perception as loving acts. Sometimes in the way we treat other people we say things or do things and the other people don’t see, may not perceive this as a caring act. We can mean well but they may not take it that way.
To be thankful for everything is an overwhelming aspect of the Christian Faith. It’s difficult to be thankful when things are not going, or at least you perceive they’re not going well. In this world we suffer losses and setbacks, heart aches and failures, but move your attitude to a place where thankfulness arises.
And the third item, this morning: assuming, can catch us off guard. We know that other people think differently than I / we think: have different terminology, define words differently. But it is fairly easy for me to go through my daily life thinking that other people, since they’re doing the same things — get out of bed, eat breakfast, go to work, buy groceries, meet with friends or family, go to church, watch a movie, read a book — are gathering the same ideas that I am gathering. And as such, are forming the same opinions and attitudes as myself. But there is a good chance they are shaped differently by these same experiences.
shape and deepen theological understandings so leaders can act with Wisdom
listens to the voice of God within: the Holy Spirit
trains and encourages growth that will produce fruit
empowers individuals by creating leaders so they can accomplish “works of service”; either within or outside the church
In the modern North American church we ask leaders to make decisions and give us direction — that is our “marching orders” — defining what positions there will be (and how many) within the church, each of their descriptions, hours, and pay (if any). Yet leading, within the context of Jesus’ teaching and Paul’s expressed views, means leaders are servants (Jesus to His disciples in Luke 22: 24-27 ) given the job of building up the Saints (Paul in Ephesians 4: 11-15). Not seeking power or administrating through corporate structure as everyone’s boss.
Think of the Marriage Relationship as God’s example for inter-personal communication skills. Plans are made but not always by one individual all the time. Also, a marriage does not function well without God in a leadership role. A triangular relationship. Marriage is enriched by the influence of a knowledge of God’s ways, an attentiveness to prayer, in short the overview God gives to our position in life: He has created each of us uniquely to reflect and serve each other.
Train people to lead. Let them do their God-given thing.
Evagrios the Solitary, also known as Evagrius of Pontus
Lived 346 – 399CE (questionable) as an early ascetic pioneer
Texts on Discrimination in Respect of Passions and Thoughts
Now what am I to say about the demon who makes the soul dull-minded? For I am afraid to write about him: how, at his approach, the soul departs from its own proper state and strips itself of reverence and the fear of God, no longer regarding sin as sin, or wickedness as wickedness; it looks on judgment and the eternal punishment of hell as mere words; it laughs at the fire which causes the earth to tremble; and, while supposedly confessing God, it has no understanding of His commandments. You may beat your breast as such a soul draws near to sin, but it takes no notice. You recite from the Scripture, yet it is wholly indifferent and will not hear. You point out its shame and disgrace among men, and it ignores you, like a pig that closes its eyes and charges through a fence. This demon gets into the soul by way of long-continuing thoughts of self-esteem; and unless ‘those days are shortened, no flesh will be saved’ (Matt. 24:22).
This is one of those demons that seldom approach brethren living in a community. The reason is clear: when people round us fall into misfortune, or are afflicted by illness, or are suffering in prison, or meet sudden death, this demon is driven out; for the soul has only to experience even a little compunction or compassion and the callousness caused by the demon is dissolved. We solitaries lack these things, because we live in the wilderness and sickness is rare among us. It was to banish this demon especially that the Lord enjoined us in the Gospels to call on the sick and visit those in prison. For ‘I was sick,’ He says, ‘and you visited Me'(Matt. 25:36).
But you should know this: if an anchorite falls in with this demon, yet does not admit unchaste thoughts or leave his cell out of lack of motivation, this means he has received the patience and self-restraint that come from heaven, and is blessed with good judgement. Those, on the other hand, who profess to practice godliness, yet choose to have dealings with people of the world, should be on their guard against this demon. I feel ashamed to say or write more about him.
Italics show my alterings
Translation from the Philokalia
found at: Holybooks.com
As our life closes and we see God to His face, we are called to some kind of reckoning for the life we have lived.
Talking on a positive note, as an individual you determine your outcome. Like college. At the end of the semester, the professor tallies the points you accrued and assigns the grade you earned. More effort on your part towards higher test scores equals a higher grade. Nice going! Our society emphasizes higher grades. But, God can see your whole life. Maybe you did not study as much because the house 2 doors down the block caught fire, and you helped the displaced family the weekend before midterm. Society looks at the grade; thank God, for seeing “the larger picture”; as well as our hearts. (I do not imply students shirk good grades — do your best work. Always try your hardest.)
As implied, this delving is enacted for individuals, not groups. Each person is evaluated — not nations, cultures, denominations, religions, genders and such. You are gifted for your credits, not for points earned by a group.
The title could be “Make Your Monet”, but I wanted you to think personally about yourself.
As Monet, amongst the world’s best painters of art from long ago, created masterpieces to capture the world for thought and reflection: inspiration and drive, to spark memories and taunt us to re-order our mental dispositions — make your personal marks, that is brushstrokes, for and with God.
I say for God and with God because your are working to showcase God’s working in you, yet not alone for God has taken up residence in you:
∞ Illuminates Initiates
∞ Follows Precedes
∞ Guides Waits to see
∞ Can’t wait to see what you do
∞ Shows His Love Undergirds
Originally posted on Kingdom Pastor: Well, yesterday we looked the the foundation provide by Jesus that the very first believers embraced. But what good is a foundation unless something is built upon it. Right now I remembering from a previous appointment in a certain community, there was something I saw almost every day. It was…
I thoroughly recommend this post (and others) Pastor Randy has posted.
Well, yesterday we looked the the foundation provide by Jesus that the very first believers embraced. But what good is a foundation unless something is built upon it. Right now I remembering from a previous appointment in a certain community, there was something I saw almost every day. It was a foundation for a house. What I noticed was that it was overgrown with weeds even saplings were growing up. Someone had started to build a house but got only as far as the foundation.
I don’t know the story or the reason why–but this morning I see a spiritual truth in that image. A foundation becomes worthless unless something–something worthwhile–is built upon it. In looking at the book of Acts–Acts Of The Holy Spirit In Surrendered People–those surrendered people took that foundation and began building. What they built is a far cry from most “churches” today.