This Is God’s Word

Holy Bible

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

“This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” – Romans 13:1-7

Amen and Selah

The Myth of Fear, Part 2

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I have two confessions about this week’s blog: First, it is a week late. Second, the reason Jill and I chose the topic of fear for the month of October had little to do with Halloween and everything to do with the election.

Read Part 1 here.

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31

Choices to Make

I don’t know how else to be more clear than to say this: as Believers, we have three choices before us this election year:

  • Donald Trump
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Our Lord Jesus

And according to Scripture, the first two don’t count:

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now 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

This is a stunning passage in a stunning section of a stunning letter written by Paul. And it has everything to do with our lives today.

The Two Choices

To put this in more practical terms, this letter, like all of Scripture, is saying we have two choices. And only two choices:

  • Faith vs. fear
  • Love vs. hate

We can choose to fear the next President, the supporters (our neighbors?) of the next President, the next Supreme Court nominees, the Stock Market, ISIS, AIDS, and all the literally millions of things that could happen and could kill us. Or, we can choose to believe the fact that our lives are “now hidden with Christ in God” and that he has disarmed all powers and authorities and has “made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross (Colossians 2:15).”

We can also choose to hate and attempt to use it to change everything I mentioned in the last paragraph OR…we can choose to read further in Colossians 3:

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” – Colossians 3:12-14

Note the word, therefore. It means that if we will believe we have died with the Christ that has had complete victory over everything, we can Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

This Matters

Please know that I am not calling anyone to task nor am I holding myself up as a stellar example. Nor am I saying don’t vote or get involved.

I am calling us – all believers – to recognize God has told us how to be involved and affect real, lasting change in His world:

“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” – John 17:22-23

Put your hope in God today, next Tuesday and every day we are alive. “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.” – Colossians 2:9-10

Let’s live from fullness.

The Myth of Fear, Part 1

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In last week’s post, A Fear Based Month, Jill gave us all a lot to think about: October, courage, heart and God to name a few. And the key word was, thinking.

Thinking About Fear

As Jill said, we live in a fear based world. Bad news fills the headlines, it always travels fast and it often dominates our conversations, and sometimes our lives.

  • We fear the loss or lack of money because it’s how we buy much needed food.
  • Will we get sick or fall and break a bone or two?
  • Will what seems like a minor skirmish somewhere in the world escalate into a broader war?
  • Are there terrorists in our midst waiting for a signal to strike?
  • What if we die tomorrow?
  • What if so-and-so is elected?
  • And what about our loved ones and friends in all of the above?

This list could go on and on and it is all logical and sensible. In fact, NOT being fearful of these things is considered foolish and immature.

But as Believers…well, let me stop right there.

What Do We Believe?

In Colossians 2:15, Paul tell us that Christ has disarmed powers and authorities. That, “He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Right before this triumph, Jesus himself said, “…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33).” And let’s not forget 1 Corinthians 15:55: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

I titled this post The Myth of Fear because in light of these Scriptures, and hundreds and hundreds more, our fears are nonexistent.

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31

What Shall We Say?

None of these Scriptures imply that our fears won’t seem real. On the contrary, almost every passage includes some sort of, ‘when you are scared…’ message. Nor do they say we shouldn’t prepare for life’s challenges in tangible ways (see 2 Thessalonians 3:6-18 for one example).

What all the Scriptures clearly state, however, is that we are to respond with faith and belief in God.

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5

Our fears are nothing more than arguments and pretense. And myths.

I encourage you to put your hope in God.

Revisiting Fellowship and Community

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The following is a post written by Jill that was first shared a little less than two years ago. We’re revisiting it because it is still relevant and important. Enjoy.

“Service is the pathway to real significance.” ~Rick Warren

Connecting and serving with your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ is important for couples. Isolation is not healthy and feelings of isolation can be very strong even within a church.

Connecting Through Serving

Years ago, Steve and I were members of a very large church where it was easy to become a nameless drone of endless people. We chose to get involved and started helping out on Wed. nights by teaching the 1st graders. It really didn’t take much effort — just a little investment in time. Here’s what came out of that experience:

  • Kids are a hoot! Every evening was fun and we actually ended up going home with our “tanks” full.
  • The nameless drones of endless people began to be people we knew! As we began to get to know the kids, we came to know their parents as well. Soon it became, “Hi Susie!” “Hi Jeff!” And a little guy would run up and say “Hi Miss Jill, Hi Mr. Steve!” as we would walk down the corridor.
  • Conversations and playdates began to happen for us and our kids.
  • We began to feel a sense of community and belonging.
  • We found we enjoyed church far more.

This experience taught us that you can’t expect to feel a part of something if you’re not willing to invest in it.

Make It Your Church

If we are to emulate Christ — who came to serve and not to be served (Mark 10:45 & Matt. 20:28) — then we need to get involved with the church and help serve its needs. And trust me, there are needs.

Serving not only meets those needs, but you will actually end up being the one who will get blessed as well! Trust me on this. Please do not think of this as volunteering, because you’re not. You are serving and there’s a difference.

  1. A volunteer looks upon ministry as another commitment they’ve been obligated to fulfill, but someone called by God to serve looks upon service as an opportunity to be used by God.
  2. A volunteer sits back and complains about things, but a servant looks for ways to help.
  3. A volunteer is oblivious to the needs of those around them, but a servant is sensitive to them and prays for them.
  4. A volunteer’s main source of fulfillment is her talents and abilities, but a servant knows that being used by God is the most fulfilling thing they can do with their life.
  5. A volunteer can’t handle being put into a situation where she is “stretched”, but a servant responds to God with a humble dependence on Him.

Come. Serve. Invest.

We all need Fellowship and we all need Community, so get involved! Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Don’t isolate yourself either and don’t come to church with a “self”-seeking attitude. Come with an expectancy to get involved.

You will be blessed!

photo credit: Gerry Dincher via photopin cc

What We Do to Fit In

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In last week’s post, Jill told of her encounter with the Lord as she was putting on her boots – and the two pairs of socks and insole inserts it takes to make them fit. Then our daughter brought the following observations to the conversation.

A Future Guest Bloggers

For those who might not know, Jill and I have two adult children. Our son Kayce (pronounced “case”) is 25 years old and our daughter Jennah is 20. We’re blessed that we genuinely enjoy them as people and not because they’re our kids.

We’re also blessed that they are compassionate and wise. We’ve asked them to begin contributing to this blog and are excited that it’ll happen soon.

For today though, you’ll get Jennah’s thoughts second hand through me as well as some thoughts of my own.

And Also…

When we told her about last weeks’ post and what the Lord had revealed to Jill about her boots Jennah simply said, “and also how much trouble we all go through to fit in”.

So true.

“I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” – 1 Corinthians 9:22-23

There is nothing wrong in fitting in. In fact, according to this passage written by Paul, there is a huge benefit “for the sake of the gospel”.

And though some may disagree, the Bible never expressly forbids making ourselves beautiful (or handsome). It cautions against over emphasis in multiple places (Proverbs 31:30, 1 Peter 3:3-4, 1 Samuel 16:7 and others) but it never says it is of no importance or unacceptable.

We’re Already “In”

The danger is when are we so caught up in “fitting in” that we forget who we are and Whose we are. Or perhaps it’s better said: who we are BECAUSE of Whose we are.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. – Colossians 3:1-3

This is one of those passages that is all two easy to gloss over because it sounds so…well, unbelievable. But what if it simply means what it says?

  • What if we’ve really been raised above…well, above everything?
  • What if we could set our minds on the things that matter above instead of earthly things?
  • And what if our life was really hidden in Christ?

If these things are true, doesn’t it mean everything we could possibly care or worry about is taken care of? Completely?

That’s exactly what it means.

How Will You Use Your Energy?

And what that means in relation to boots is that we can dress and present ourselves to the world in the best way we can and not waste time and energy in wondering if it’s “good enough”. It means we can walk out our lives in rest and in peace.

As I’ve mentioned before, Gayle Erwin writes in his book, The Jesus Style: “Anything we hide forces us to live in a way that will keep what we hide safely hidden. In other words, we become unreal–untrue to ourselves–incongruent.” That unreality is opposite to the nature of Jesus who is the God of reality. No energy was spent in covering His life with a mask. In Him, there was no darkness at all (pages 62-63).”

All that hiding is exhausting and as we’ve just read, unnecessary.

We are called to rest in the Lord and what He has done so that we can expend our energy in the direction of others.

photo credit: Masks via photopin (license)

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