Posted by: bshelley | July 15, 2009

Set Your Mind on Things Above

heavenly

Today’s Verse: Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. NASB

There may be a few out there who are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good, but I don’t know any of them. I think that is Paul’s point. We do not have any problem at all keeping our minds on the things of this earth, do we? The worries of the world and cares of living life dominate our thoughts. If not, why do books on how to improve you prayer life, quiet time, etc. sell so well at Christian book stores? We are not in any danger of becoming too heavenly minded. If we in fact had more Christians even close to that, the work of the church would be much advanced. We need heaven gazers. That is those who look to the things above for guidance and wisdom to meet the challenges of our lives. We need to spend more time in prayer asking God to help us to develop a better “heaven view”. We give our Christian beliefs some word service and our heavenly home some thought now and again, but in the main that is not what dominates our thoughts. Let’s start practicing being more heavenly minded today. Let’s focus more on the things above than the things below.

May God bless your heart as you seek His.

Posted by: bshelley | July 14, 2009

Cleanse the Temple

whip

Today’s Verse: John 2:15-16 And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.” NASB

This is a story often used to point out Jesus’ righteous anger towards those who stained the very place of worship having let it be filled with things that had little to do with worship and more to do with worldly things like profiteering. Yes, God is loving, but here we see His anger and judgment on those who would sully the very place where He is to be worshipped. I don’t quite know what all they were doing, but it was certainly not motivated to worship and bring glory to the Father or Jesus would not have had that reaction. It makes me wonder how He would react if He walked through the temple today. What would He see? No, not the physical temple of the old covenant, but the spiritual temple of the new covenant…our very bodies. If He was to walk into the courtyard of your temple, would it be clean and devoted to worship or have we let worldly things into the courtyard?

May God bless your heart as you seek His.

Posted by: bshelley | July 13, 2009

Did Not Believe

door knob

Today’s Verse: Mark 16:13 They went away and reported it to the others and they did not believe them either. NASB

Hey, door to door evangelism is tough stuff. This was their second stop to tell disciples that Jesus had indeed risen from the grave and nobody believed them. I remember one time back in Garland, Texas, Glenn, a friend of mine and I went out door knocking to invite people to the church. I am a big guy, but Glenn was even bigger (defensive tackle for SMU). We decided to break up as a team when apartment after apartment no one would even open up their door. At the last place the window was open and we could even hear the people talking about these two really big guys banging on their door. “What do they want? You open it…no way!” They were too scared to open the door. I can’t imagine what would have happened if they had and then found out we were there for Jesus instead of their car or TV. That was pretty much the end of my attempts at confrontational evangelism. These days I find it much more effective to build relationships and invite people to just be around other church members at non threatening events. I work up to it slower than some, but I do get to the point. Some, like the surprised disciples do not believe, but many more are thankful you shared and even more that you took time to get to know them. Develop relationships with a purpose. We are called to share the good news that Jesus has indeed risen from the grave…and that’s good news! 

May God bless your heart as you seek His.

Posted by: bshelley | July 9, 2009

Priority Check

expedition

Today’s Verse: Psalm 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. NASB

Such powerful words of praise! After working on preparing a memorial service for a while today, this really hit me. At the time of passing it is often a time of reflection for us all. I think often of loved ones who have gone ahead of me and long for the days when we are reunited. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, but after reading the first half of this verse it is obvious it may be time for a priority check. It is true that I desire to see the Father more than anything, but I can get distracted. Certainly I can be all too easily distracted in the here and now of everyday life on this earth. I have to resist desires for worldly things every day. I don’t necessarily want another engine for my ’98 Expedition. I want a new truck. There are many things that pull my attention away from what the psalmist points to which is so much more pure. Can I truly say that I desire nothing other than Him on earth? I desire to be that pure, but it is not true of me all too often. I am glad that I found this verse today…or better put, that this verse found me. Lord it is my heart’s desire to be able to claim no desire for anything on earth but You. Thank you for your patience with me. Please continue to mold me and make me into the likeness of  Him. AMEN

May God bless your heart as you seek His.

Posted by: bshelley | July 8, 2009

God Humble?

feet

Today’s Verse: John 13:5 Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples feet and to wipe them with a towel with which He was girder. NASB

Is one of God’s character attributes humility? I had not really pondered this before until the discussion came up at our Tuesday Night Bible Buffet small group. Why would God need to  be humble? Yet, here in this passage in John we see Jesus humble Himself before the disciples by washing their feet. This was typically performed by a servant, not the honored guest. In verse 14:7 He goes on to say that if they had seen Him, they had indeed seen the Father. Jesus was the complete personification of our heavenly Father. He was humble, God is humble. In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, He taught that His disciples are to be gentle, humble (Matt 5:5). As we grow in Christ’s likeness, we are to be humble. that is easy to grasp. I had just not considered the importance of Jesus’ act of washing feet as the kind of humility practiced by almighty God. What an incredible God we serve!

May God bless your heart as you seek His.

Posted by: bshelley | July 6, 2009

Men of High Regard

pedestal

Today’s Verse: Philippians 2:29 Receive him then in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard; NASB

Who do you hold in high regard? Who does the world hold in high regard? It is sad to me to see all the coverage of Michael Jackson’s passing. I suppose it is a bit like a car wreck we cannot ignore as we drive by. We are just compelled to look. There is an obvious struggle as well between those who desire to put MJ up on a pedestal for his musical accomplishments and those who would discuss the darker and tragic kind of life this guy lived. As I understand, his family raised him in the Jehovah’s Witnesses cult and I heard one of his brothers make a press announcement asking Allah to be with him wherever he is now. Whichever, it is obvious from any vantage that he was not a Christian. Yet the world would hold him in high regard. Paul put forth his type of candidate for one who should be held in high regard. He says Epaphroditus is the kind of man they should hold in high regard. He had been sent by the Philippian church to minister to Paul’s in his time of need. Paul tells us that he had been even close to death in Christ’s service. He had risked his life for the faith. This is type of person Paul says should be held up as an example. Yet godly and faithful men like him pass from this life all the time with little notice and with certainly less fanfare by the world. Michael Jackson received all he will get by way of rewards while here on earth. Epaphroditis received his in heaven. I hold in high regard the latter.

May God bless your heart as you seek His.

Posted by: bshelley | July 2, 2009

Tents

tent

Today’s Verse: 2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if the earthly tent which is now our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. NASB

Ever heard the phrase, “I’m just going to take down my tent and go home”? I feel that way sometimes. Oh not really, but I can identify with the next verse where it talks of groaning and longing. We have a ways to go in this life. Sometimes the path is smooth and downhill and at other times it is rugged and headed uphill. Scripture tells us that we  can have joy in both even if we are uncomfortable and mumble to ourselves of aches and pains. I find that after fifty the aches are much less from too much exercise and more from lack of it. For instance, I used to think those chairs that help you stand up were stupid. I tried my mom’s out while I was in Texas last month and it actually was a lot easier to get up. I hate when that happens. Well, whether your tent still smells like new or has a few gashes and tears in it from wear, we can all know that what comes just beyond this is much better. Our eternal bodies do not hunger, ache or get sick. Regardless of the shape your trade in is in, you get a brand new one that never gets old any more. What a deal. For now, I’ll sew on a few more patches and dream of a new one!

May God bless your heart as you seek His.

Posted by: bshelley | July 1, 2009

Blameless with great joy

stumble

Today’s Verse: Jude 24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy. NASB

Our granddaughter loves to run through the house. It is a jot to see her so free and full of joy. Unfortunately, she also likes to wear shoes that are too big for her little feet. As a result she has a tendency to stumble and crash quite often. When we stumble spiritually, there are some obvious comparisons. What powerful words in this verse! God is indeed able to keep us from stumbling. Yes, even after we are saved, we have a propensity to still stumble on occasion(s). That is an undeniable fact. However, we need not. If we would simply go before the Father before we walk into the range of temptation, what a difference that would make. Do you believe God can keep you from stumbling? If we followed Jesus’ example we would pray the night before for strength, wisdom and guidance fro God. If we did this we would likely stumble less. Having made the decision to follow God’s way in advance makes the doing easier. Look what we get as a reward. We stand in His presence blameless and with great joy. Wow, what a picture! Jesus died for our sins. Jesus lived to set a righteous example for living. Thank you Lord for both for we need them both every day.

May God bless your heart as you seek His.

Posted by: bshelley | July 1, 2009

Pray in His will

prayer 2

Today’s Verse: 1 John 5:14-15 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. NASB

When I am working with folks on a better understanding of prayer, this is always a must read passage. From it I get “God hears our prayers”, “God answers our prayers” and “God only gives good answers to our prayers”. We can pray in God’s will simply by asking His will be done and not our own as part of our request. This is how Jesus prayed and so should we. This does not preclude us asking for things in the best way we know how whether they ultimately are God’s will in a situation or circumstance or not. But by simply yielding all prayer to His will we know that what we will receive is His best for us and in accordance to His will. When some struggle with the idea of “praying nothing doubting”, praying knowing God has promised to answer is the solution. We have confidence not in our perfect request, but rather in God’s perfect answer. He assures us that He hears and answers. What a wonderful promise to claim in prayer. Praise God.

May God bless your heart as you seek His.

Posted by: bshelley | June 30, 2009

Sifted like wheat

flour

Today’s Verse: Luke 22:31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat;” NASB

I feel a bit like sifted wheat lately. Not that what I am up to in my ministry would demand Satan’s attention like this. Or maybe it does. At any rate you may be feeling “sifted” a bit yourself. We are not left to our own devises and limited personal resources during such times. God promises to be right there with us. His comfort, wisdom and healing are infinite. We never lack when we lean on Him. The next verse in this passage is significant strength and hope for Peter and us. “but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Being strong for my family, congregation and readership is constantly on my mind. We can know that even though we be shaken and sifted, Jesus is holding us before the Father and that lest we abandon our faith, there is assurance of healing and ministry beyond the valley. Debby and I have committed to praise God when the news of my health is good or bad. We have given it all to God’s care. If you find yourself being sifted a bit, know that there is a source of strength available on request and a future filled with hope in faith. Praise God.

May God bless your heart as you seek His.

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

Categories