Gentleness – Unity of Spirit (3)

Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and GENTLE…

Where does gentleness start?

Gentleness is an inward trait that is not common to man in his lost state. A baby begins to understand the world revolves around them and is subject to them. The child starts to fight for dominance as they grow. If unchecked, the child will grow up selfish, manipulative, mean, and disrespectful to all. If the parents have a gentle spirit, they teach the child to grow in obedience, sharing, and kindness. It is a learned trait. Gentleness comes from teaching and an example.

Matthew 11:29 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

A change of perspective

The more we grow in the knowledge of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit in our character, the more like Christ we become. It is a change of our perspective of the world. Growing in Christ means looking at the world and others differently. We see situations more as Christ saw them. We begin to see people who earlier in our Christian walk we might profile them as rude and mean. Now we see them as broken people in search of hope. Instead of us reacting to their behavior, we respond out of our hearts. The trigger is love for others.  We become more gentle because our perspective about the world has changed. We begin to pray for our enemies. We begin to treat others with kindness because of our heart’s view. Our prayers in the morning are for people God has put in our lives and our hearts. We begin to love the world with a taste of God’s love. Our gentleness is not natural. It is a transformation from God’s Word, Christ’s cleaning power, and a gift of the Holy Spirit.

 Gentle Scriptures

Colossians 3:12 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience”

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law”

1 Timothy 6:11 “But you, man of God, flee from all this and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness”.

Galatians 6:1 “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted”.

Titus 3:1-2 “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone”.

Proverbs 15:1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger” .

Proverbs 15:4 “Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit”.

Let your lightnside reflect the gentleness God is giving you this week.

“I am Third” – Unity of Spirit (2)

I am third was posted on the wall of a well-known pastor. It was a constant reminder of his place in the world.

God is first, others are second, and I am third.

I bought this t-shirt at Zazzle.com

Our World

This concept is opposite to this world’s identity. We want to be known and appreciated. We want the most laughs, the most FaceBook likes, and friends. Most of us have some pride issues.

Eph 4:3 begins the instructions to us for keeping the unity of the Spirit. It begins with the requirements for “living a life, or walking, worthy of your calling. Ephesians 4:3 begins with “be completely humble.”
Humility’s definition is “having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance. ” Confession time, “I wrestle with this. “

Philippians 2:3-4 NIV Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Our Biblical example is Christ.

Philippians 2:5-8 NIV In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

Jesus did not use His position as totally God to gain any advantage on earth. Instead, Jesus accepted servanthood and obedience to God and earthly parents who were far from perfect. Even to the cross, He humbled himself to die as an innocent sacrifice for our proud sins.

The test

Look back one week and evaluate your humility. From 1 being very humble to 10 being very self-centered, where would you stand? If you are like me, I need to repent and take on the mind of Christ to understand “I am third.” Join me as we journey toward being more humble. The Holy Spirit is needed to remind us and advise us how to be humble when we want the focus to be on ourselves.

Matthew 23:12 NIV For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Let your lightnside shine out to others and Christ.

OUCH!

Romans 9:20 “Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?”

During my devotions this week I read from “Springs in the Valley” the words below that touched my heart.  You may find yourself in a difficult situation.  Maybe you have pain in your body, relationships, or other difficulties.  As I read the words below I thought of Joseph, Daniel, David, Paul, Peter, and of course Christ.  If you are in pain,  let the words below bless you as they did me.

The Wood Complained

A piece of wood once bitterly complained because it was being cut and filled with rifts and holes; but he who held the wood and whose knife was cutting into it so remorselessly did not listen to the sore complaining. He was making a flute out of the wood he held, and was too wise to desist when entreated to do so. He said: “Oh, thou foolish piece of wood, without these rifts and holes thou wouldst be only a mere stick forever—a bit of hard black ebony with no power to make music or to be of any use. These rifts that I am making, which seem to be destroying thee, will change thee into a flute, and thy sweet music then shall charm the souls of men.

The Wood Blessed the World

My cutting thee is the making of thee, for then thou shalt be precious and valuable, and a blessing in the world.”

Not till life is broken is it ready for the Master’s use.

David could never have sung his sweetest songs had he not been sorely afflicted. His afflictions made his life an instrument on which God could breathe the music of His love to charm and soothe the hearts of men.

Let your lightnside burn bright as you are prepared by the Master for His use.

Unity of the Spirit (1)

Ephesians 4:2 I urge you to live a life worthy of your calling.

Paul recognizes the first three chapters of Ephesians as a beautiful section of promises, purposes, blessings, and revelations God has for us. We are a part of the eternal church filled with the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. The first three chapters are like being on the Mt of Transfiguration. All is wonderful and over whelping.

Then we come down the mountain into a demonic and fallen world.
The realities of our sinfulness and Satan’s attempts to destroy unity comes to us in full power.

Since we are prisoners of God by choice, Paul knew we must set some guidelines for our daily lives. So he begins with this suggestion: “I urge you to live a life worthy of your calling.”

I urge you (niv), beg you (nlt), beech you (nkjv)

The beginning words of verse 2 would say what is to follow would not happen automatically. Paul is speaking of a passion or effort that is not a natural reaction in life. Paul is stating the desired responses in life will demand a focused, determined, and thoughtful action.

Live a life (niv), lead a life (nlt), walk in a manor (nkjv)

These words have time and movement in them. We all are on a continuous road from birth to death. We will walk from youth to senior life. We will walk through various stages in life, each with its challenges to overcome. You will face great joys along with great pain. There will be times of comfort and time, especially of fear.

Worthy of the calling (niv), worthy of your calling (nlt), worthy of the calling (nkjv)

God’s calling to us and our accepting Jesus as our savior is a calling to live life at a higher level than we were without Christ. With God bringing life into our once dead spirit, the Holy Spirit moves into our hearts to help us raise our standards in relationships, desires, and goals.
How many people do you see claiming to be a Christian, but their choices, language, and emotions seem very ungodly. A worthy life is not to put to shame Christ’s name through our actions. Walking worthy is a lifelong process, and we cannot do it without help from the Holy Spirit.

You have received (niv), You have been called by God (nlt), in which you have received (nkjv).

God has called you to be a vessel of His glory. To be a light in a dark world. To stand out from the darkness with a holy light in your path.

Paul’s urging is a hint. Your calling to live a holy life will not be natural. It won’t be easy at times. Everything inside you will vote against being worthy when you are in pain, when you are challenged, when the crowd promotes a different direction than your calling. See God, pray, ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and strength. Your life will be transformed into a life worthy of your calling.

Let your lightnside shine a life worthy of your calling…for God has called you.

Faith and Strength

This week I had to connect with some leaders in various states that manage staff and students. The responsibilities placed on these leaders are pretty heavy. With the last six months of finding staff, growing students population, and our national struggles, I asked for verses that help keep their hearts strong in faith and trust in Jesus.

Below are some of their responses.

Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

2 Timothy 1:7 

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Romans 8:35 

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

Isaiah 64:4-5a

Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways.

2 Peter 3:9a  

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.

Isaiah 55:11  

so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Ephesians 3:20  

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.

Ephesians 6:10  

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

Ephesians 6:16  

 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Psalms 46:10

Be stilland know that I am God

Let the living truth and spirit of these verses empower your lightnside this week.

The Candle Wick and Me

Not I, but Christ. (Gal. 2:20) Full of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 11:24) We would in Thee abide, In Thee be glorified, And shine as candles “lighted by the Lord.”

A devotion by F. B. MEYER, that has touched my heart, and I hope yours.

“For the service of many months, I thank thee.”

For long, the wick of my lamp had served my purpose, silently ministering as I read beside it. I felt ashamed that I had not before noticed its unobtrusive ministry. I said to the wick: “For the service of many months, I thank thee.” “What have I done for thee?” “Hast thou not given light upon my page?” “Indeed, no; I have no light to give, in proof of which take me from my bath of oil, and see how quickly I expire. Thou wilt soon turn from me like a piece of smoking tow. It is not I that burns, but the oil with which my texture is saturated. It is this that lights thee. I simply mediate between the oil in the cistern and the fire on my edge. This blackened edge slowly decays, but the light continually burns.”

“Dost thou not fear becoming exhausted?

See how many inches of coil remain! Wilt thou be able to give light till every inch of this is slowly charred and cut away?” “I have no fear so long as the supply of oil does not fail, if only some kindly hand will remove from time to time the charred margin…exposing a fresh edge to the flame.

This is my twofold need: oil and trimming.

Give me these, and I shall burn to the end!” God has called His children to shine as “lights in the world.” Let us, then, beware of hiding our light—whether household candle, street lamp, or lighthouse gleam—lest men stumble to their death. It is at variance with the teaching of the wick to try and accumulate a stock of grace in a sacrament, a convention, or a night of prayer. The wick has no such stores, but is always supplied! You may seem altogether helpless and inadequate, but a living fountain of oil is prepared to furnish you with inexhaustible supplies: Not by your might or power, but by His Spirit. Hour after hour, the oil climbs up the wick to the flame!

YOU CANNOT EXHAUST GOD!

Let us not flinch when the snuffers are used; they only cut away the black charred debris. He thinks so much of His work that He uses golden snuffers! And the Hand that holds the snuffers bears the nail print of Calvary!

Let the wick of my lightnside always be filled with the oil of His Presence.

Unity vs the Battle to Divide

Ephesians 4:3-5

 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Today’s blog will be a different experience.

I listen to several podcasts. I am presenting to you today on this very subject of unity and the battle to bring division. Two podcast developers are joining teams for this one special presentation. John Cooper’s podcast is called “Cooper Stuff”. He is also the lead singer for Skillet. The other podcast leaders are from a well know biblical powerhouse called “Just Thinking”. Their names are Darrell Harrison and Virgil Walker. 

John Cooper is white. Darrell and Virgil are black. In today’s world, this would not be a likely match. But together, these men of God bring a message for unity. They together also bring truth against all the racist agendas of today like BLM, CRT, and other divisions.  

One Race, One Body, One Blood.

Special guests Darrell Harrison and Virgil Walker from the Just Thinking Podcast join Cooper Stuff for this absolutely FIRE episode. We talk about “race”; reconciliation; what’s the way forward?

Click here to listen

Well?? Did your lightnside explode to new brightness? Be Blessed.

Who am I?

psalm-139-14-feafully-and-wonderfully-made

In our postmodern world, we see many people feeling disconnected from purpose and hope.  Wealth and material things seem to have no saving grace when it comes to the deep issues of personal value and purpose.  It should be noted as the world has increased in science, medicine, and amazing inventions, we also are experiencing deeper drug addiction, violence, depression, and suicide. Why?

In the book “The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World”, by Voddie Baucham Jr., there are four basic questions we all ask in some form.

Who am I?

Why am I here?

What is wrong with the world?

What can fix it?

These answers depend on your worldview.  Let’s answer just the first question…Who am I?

Current world view – Who am I?

These answers are provided by secular humanists of today. You are the result of random evolutionary processes. Many people come from loving parents but some may have been unplanned or the result of an act of violence. There is no eternal connection to purpose. All nature has the same right to exist as you. No real purpose in life except to enjoy yourself. This worldview allows abortion, changing of sexual identity, assistance for death when desired.  This worldview does not deal with our soul so a feeling of emptiness and constant searching is common.

Biblical Answer: Who am I?

 You are God’s crowning creation!

Psalms 8:4-6 “what is mankind that you are mindful of them,     human beings that you care for them?  You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet” 

Colossians 1:15-16 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.  

It does not matter what the circumstance of your conception was. When the sperm and egg combined God began to create a perfect you with dignity, honor, and purpose. You are God’s crowning creation.


Psalms 139:13  For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

You are special. Created by God and for Him.  Don’t let the lies of this world and Satan convince you otherwise.

In God’s eyes you have dignity, and honor…you are God’s crowning creation.

cat-lion

Our battle against oneness

Ephesians 4:3 Make every effort to keep yourself united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.

Ephesians chapter four focuses on the power of a unified body of believers acting as one against the forces of darkness and division in our fallen world. There is a great battle for us to rise against unity because of our selfish and damaged desires. Pride and pain are our constant personal issues that repeatedly try to surface and spread their poison to others.

Theory is much easier than reality.

Ephesians chapters one through three describe the promises and power Christians and the church have from heaven’s point of view. It is wonderful to read and meditate on these promises and blessings we have in Christ Jesus. However, putting these promises and blessings into everyday use is much more challenging than the theory. “Count it all joy…” until you are in pain, and then with an effort, remind yourself to be joyful and thankful.  

“I urge you to live a life worthy of your calling.”

Why would Paul make that statement with the word “urge” (NIV) included? Because you will face the battle of humanity’s lostness as you connect with each other. Satan and his forces will try and destroy any efforts of unity or “oneness” with each other. Because it is that oneness with Christ in the church that any demonic force cannot overcome.

The world is full of Pharisees – There is one in the mirror! Luke 18:9-14

It is very easy for us to look out on all the world and see their problems. In Luke 18:9 “Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others:” The prideful Pharisee gave thanks to God that he was not like the despised tax collector. The tax collector would not even look up but asked God to be merciful because he was a sinner. Let us humble ourselves before God as sinners and ask for mercy. In this world, people battle with rage, Jezebel spirit, arrogance, the victim mentality, pride, and many other problems. As I look into the mirror, I see brokenness and pride trying to rise in me. Paul says to fight this nature by (verse two) Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, make allowance for each other’s faults in love. This is against our nature. Why should we fight these inner battles so hard? 

Power of oneness

Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 

Although you have many lights in your house, they all have unity in the electricity. It is the oneness in our spirit with Christ, as in the Trinity, that makes us strong. “Lord, help me to walk worthy of the calling I have received.” Take a moment to consider your own life. Do you need to put on humility, gentleness, and patience? Paul says “I urge” you to walk worthy of your calling.

Allow your lightnside to be one with the source of light in the universe. 

Tired, frustrated, need help?

“Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint;

LEAD ME TO A ROCK THAT IS HIGHER THAN I,

for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.” Psalms 61:1-4

Lead me

Lord, today I need direction. I feel like my personal GPS is not aligned with today’s needs. God, please guide me today. I will listen more closely for your voice. Only directions from you and the leading of the Holy Spirit will I look for today. You know the path and I step outside today without predetermined directions. I will listen and feel your presence.

TO A ROCK

Lord, I need a solid foundation to trust. You are that foundation. You are the creator of all I see. Not only were you the designer and creator, but it is also Your power that continues to hold together all I see. Without your constant power and presence, all matter would dissolve. You are my most solid rock. You are my most trusted and true giver of hope and truth. You are my greatest foundation to build upon.

THAT IS HIGHER THAN I

Lord, today I rest in knowing that You see farther than I can. Today I need to be elevated to Your presence beyond my capabilities. Today I feel frustrated at my efforts and need a more substantial hand from a higher position, and a stronger base. Lord, today I pray that I can feel you lifting me upward. That feeling of being gathered in your strong arms and you raising me to a position I cannot reach myself. “Not by might, or strength, but by My Spirit”

Lord, you have been faithful all my life.

You are my refuge and a strong tower.

I long to be in your presence and rest at your feet.

Today I enjoy your strong arm and wise counsel.

Today my lightnside is refreshed on a ROCK THAT IS HIGHER THAN I.