In this part of the letter from Paul, I see a reminder of the older brother in the prodigal son story. It is very often that those who have not come to the feet of Christ because of our behavior. I know there was a time in my life when I thought my sins were too unforgivable. Sometimes looking at those around me with their pretend perfect lives made me feel even more unworthy to come closer to God. We are called to love the sinner, not the sin. How many times we are judgmental just because someone sins different than us?
If we are ambassadors of Christ, how are we showing his love? Wasn’t Jesus who said that he who was free from sin to cast the first stone? Wasn’t Jesus who said to the woman at the well that she was forgiven even though she had been promiscuous? So who are we to judge?
There’s an old movie from Al Pacino, which I don’t recommend anyone to see, but in my time I did. It’s title “The Devil’s Advocate”. The storyis of a man who basically gives into the devil to gain worldly things. Once inside he realizes that he was losing more than gaining and he rejects him. But in the very last scene, the devil comes back in a different shape and lures him again. Why? Pride is the most common sin among Christians, when we think we are better than “those” people because we go to church or serve at one. Even among each other, fighting over position and places within our service within the church.
Instead we are called to be sober, to remember where we came from. We are called to remember that we are administrators and not lords. We need to recognize that we each have a place on a mission that was specifically designed for us. In other words, in the eyes of God the CEO and the janitor are equal… and sometimes the janitor gets extra points for doing his work for God.
Here’s plenty. Until next time, be blessed.
Today I had a real conversation with the Lord, one of those were you hear his voice immediately, not spiritually but audible. I had not turned the radio in my car in weeks. I was so consumed by my thoughts that any noise bothered me. Today I decided that I wanted to turn it on. As I’m driving the music is playing in the background. I’m not listening.
In my conversation with the Lord I was telling him that apparently I was feeling lonely. I say apparently because I didn’t recognize it until without thinking I told someone that I was carrying my burdens alone. I was also telling the Lord about something that I need, but not sure how to go about it. I said that maybe I shouldn’t push forward and settle for something less in the meantime because maybe I’m not ready for the actual blessing I’m praying for.
I started bringing out all those areas where I struggle and that maybe I need to wait for me to be better before things can happen for me. As I’m talking I caught a breather. You know how it is when you can’t get a word in a conversation and when that person takes a breather you finally jump in. That’s what the Lord did with me today.
When I took that breather, in that moment of silence this song started to play. The very first verse says, “I want you as you are not as you ought to be” I kept quiet and started listening. I knew immediately that God was speaking to my heart. I had never heard this song before but it was the answer to every part of my conversation with God.
How many times we believe the lies of the world and the lies of the enemy? We can’t be what we want to be. God can makes us into what we are called to be, but to be that, he just wants us to come to him just as we are. So much love…so much love.
So enjoy this Worship Friday with me. I hope it speaks to you, like it spoke to me.
As we continue to go through the Study of Romans 12. Last time we heard about our bodies being a living sacrifice to worship God. Let’s see what Verse 2 brings us.
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
There are two things that catch my attention on this verse. First we need to recognize that although we are in this world, we are not of this world. You can laugh, but yes we are kind of aliens. We belong to God whose kingdom is way beyond this earth. As adopted children, His home is our home.
I tend to see life, like an out of town work related trip. When you’re outside of your home you may have some of the things that you have at home. You may have a television, a bed, a bathroom and many amenities depending on the hotel. You get as comfortable as possible but you don’t bring all the things you have because you know that eventually you’re going home. You enjoy the time, but know for sure that after a few days you’re missing your own bed.
We don’t change our mailing address to our hotel room, that’s because that’s not where we live, that’s just where we are staying. Life it’s not too different.
We have the tendency of conforming to what society is doing. We tend to forget that we were sent here with a mission. Just like our work trip, it was not a vacation. Yes we may go roam this new city at night, but during the day we’re here to work.
Imagine this work trip again, in which you decide to maybe stop by the office every now and again but not every day as you’re supposed to. Instead you go touring the city, sleep late, and do any or very minimal of the work you were sent to do. Just like life, this trip has an expiration date. When you get back home, how is your boss going to receive you? How are you going to account for the time you were entrusted to do your job.
Talking about things to account for, let’s say you have a business credit card. Can you go and buy yourself new clothes, gifts for your friends, have a spa day on your business credit card? Isn’t the company paying all your expenses? In life, God is providing for you to fulfill the mission that he commanded you to do. How are you going to account for what you did?
The second part of this that really caught my attention was the way we are to be transformed is by renewing our minds. It’s been said that we are what we eat. But we eat a lot of things mentally and spiritually too. What are we feeding our spirit and our mind will determine how we allow the Holy Spirit to do a transformation in our lives.
Until next time, be blessed
Sometimes as Christians we get hung up on religion. We hold on to a single scripture that may be out of context. Or better yet, we think that if we say the right things at the right time we’re part of the “club”. For those of us, especially those who are new to the faith, that’s not enough. We want to know what really pleases God. We want to be doers of the word, so what’s the answer?
I’m sure there’s a tons of scriptures that guides us into God’s will. However I found a letter from Paul to the Romans that basically sum it up for me. In this letter we get to see the distinction between living by the law like Pharisees, and living by the love of God as Christians are called to. If you allow me, I would like to spend the next few days going through this scripture thoroughly. I’ll be using the New International Version on these posts.
A Living Sacrifice
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
This is a very powerful thing to read. We should know that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. A lot is heard about how men or women are owners of their own bodies and can do as they please with them. Well, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Our bodies are supposed to be a living sacrifice to please God.
What does that mean?
- Do I take care of my temple properly? (rest, food, exercise)
- Do I partake in high risk endeavors that could place my body at risk? (risky ventures, drugs, alcohol)
- Do I utilize my body outside of God’s will? (Yes, I’m talking sex)
I think that’s plenty to think about for today. On our next time we will be talking about Verse 2
As always let me know your thoughts and send me any prayer requests.
Until then, be blessed.
In the crazy world that we live, the last person that we tend to think is about ourselves. I’m not talking about being selfish, but about actually taking care of ourselves. It’s very easy to get lost in the routine of work, family demands and ministry, if you have it. Paying bills, chores and making sure that everyone around us takes precedence because we think that if everyone around us is fine then we’re fine.
Think about it this way. You rarely take care of your feet, but they take you everywhere you go. However if you happen to hit a corner it would be all you will be thinking about. You may not be able to go where you need to; the pain will blur any other thought. The rest of you are just the same. If you don’t take care of you spiritually you won’t be able to guide others. If you don’t take care of your body you will not be good to do any of the things you are called to do.
Me time is more than sleep. Me time is a moment of enjoyment or rest. Make a date with yourself; it doesn’t have to be long. An hour a week is not much to ask. Use that time to read a good book, go for a walk, sit in a park and just enjoy the gifts that God has given you. But stop before God stops you. (“He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters” Psalm 23:4)
Life is not a race is a marathon and the best of them slow down to drink some water.
Until then, be blessed.
I should be the last person to talk about this subject. I love technology, my eating habits are not the best and I drive a regular gas running car. What I’m trying to say is that I’m far from a tree hugger. As live evolves instead of being easier it gets more complicated.
I was having a conversation with my mother in which she was telling me how easier my life was. When she was growing up the television was black and white with no more than 5 channels. She had no microwave, no washer and drier and no car. She had to use public transportation to go anywhere. As much as I agree that I’m glad that I don’t have to walk everywhere or wash my clothes by hand, we have also lost a lot in the “evolution”
Technology has brought a new level of expectation on humans that weren’t there before. Companies require faster and more complex workloads because there’s more information available. Families do not interact the way they used to. At the dinner table each person has their own gadget to play with while eating, if they eat together at all. I told my mother that as much as I love my cell phone, it really takes a lot of time. In her days, she would leave work come home and then take care of things. On my way home, I get two calls and three text messages that may require me to deviate from my commute to do 3 other different things and probably not even make it home until 3-4 hours later than usual.
Then we end up buying something out of the supermarket or a drive thru, not necessarily out of laziness, but out of lack of time. There goes our health. I also find disturbing that healthy foods are more costly than healthy foods.
Like I said, I’m not a tree hugger, but I’m also not against technology or society advances. God is not against them either. He gave man the tools and wisdom to create them. I just think that at a personal level we need to take an inventory of how our resources are spent. Our current lifestyles take us away from the path God had for us. We were built to have relationships, to be healthy, to work but also to rest. We need to be careful, like it says in 1 Corinthians 6:12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything. I think that’s the issue, the role that all these things have in our lives.
How many times I’ve caught myself staying up super late watching something on television or one of my gadgets that is not live and I could watch at any other time? Then the next day I’m useless. How much time do we spend on social media vs how much time we spend with the Word? When was the last time you just sat with your family and talked, really talked?
Do you know that if you try to eat as closer to nature as possible, most of those medications you take, may not be necessary? I know the burger and fries are delicious and so it’s that piece of cheesecake, but is it worth it if it’s going to shorten your life?
I want to start a new page in my life in which I’m more conscious of these things, in which I live a fuller life, a better life that looks more like the Garden of Eden before the fall.
Who wants to join me?
Until then be blessed
This song reminds me of many times where we lose faith and question God about his timing. The times in my life where I’ve been in those situations I have to say in hindsight that God was always right. I mean we know he always is, but when we want something to happen or to stop happening we want movement now.
In those darkest places we think God is not listening. We think that there’s something that we need to do to make things happen. We beg, plead and bargain. After the storm we see that God was never late and that his apparent silence had a very valuable reason.
But while we’re in the storm, just like the song says, we need for him to comfort us, to hold us in his hand. We need for him to help us in our disbelief and soothe our impatience. This is a cry out to the loving Father who has promised that through this moments he will carry us through.
Is this you today? Let us pray for you. You can indicate your prayer request in the comments or send them privately to therisingmuse at gmail dot com
It’s a pleasure to worship with you.
Happy Worship Friday! (WF)
I remember the time I gave my life to Christ. To be honest that was not the time I became born again. I was in a revival, emotions ran high and I decided that it was time to surrender. I started what I thought was living my life for God, religiously. I would go to church, work in ministry. but never worked on developing a personal relationship with God.
My prayers were a series of repetitions, my bible reading was the same as reading a suspense book. I knew the right things to say. I had mastered christianese (language spoken by some Christians to sound more christian) I knew the way to act, but inside my life hadn’t changed. The charade soon showed.
I spiraled out of control not being able to deal with my issues when they arose. I knew of God, but I didn’t know God. I prayed empty prayers looking to be heard but not aligning my life to his will. It didn’t work. I made mistake after mistake leaning on my own understanding, you know how that goes.
After 8 years of being tired of going around in circles I got an offer that I couldn’t refuse. It was an offer that had been there all along but I was too blind to see. I was finally ready to give it all and be really born again. God was calling my name and wanted me to come home. I ran into his arms ready to dive really into his heart. I was finally able to break with the condemnation of my errors once I repented and received his grace and mercy.
So Here are some of the things that God offered me:
- Jeremiah 29:11-For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
- Matthew 11:28-29-“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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.
- Philippians 4:19-And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
- Romans 10:9-If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
- Romans 6:23-For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
and many more. A God that accepted me in spite of me. A God who promised to take care of me, give me peace and provide me with a great future and eternal life. Yes, that was an offer I couldn’t refuse.
Are you still looking for something to fill your life? Are you someone who goes to church and calls yourself a Christian but are not enjoying the fullness of God’s promises? It’s time to make a decision. The good news is that the offer is open to all who want to have it.
WordPress has these daily prompts that help bloggers come up with topics to blog about. Sometimes they fit my audience and I use their prompts, sometimes I don’t. One of the prompts for last week was: “You’ve being exiled to a private island, and your captors will only supply you with five foods. What do you pick?”
To me that’s a one sentence answer: Steak, shrimp, pico de gallo, fried plantains and something to wash it up. But it got me thinking on this verse where Jesus said :”It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ Matthew 4:4
What are the five spiritual foods that we need, not only on a deserted island, but every day of our lives?
- Prayer– In order to fill our lives with the presence of the Lord we need to pray. Think about any relationship in your life. If you don’t talk to that person, you don’t get to know them, you don’t get to spend time with them. Prayer is the way to communicate with God.
Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.Colossians 4:2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
- Read the Word of God– To live under God’s will we need to know exactly how to live this gift of live that we were given. I hear people all the time saying that they don’t know what God wants from them. Here’s the thing, God gave us a manual on how he sees things, expects things. In this book he portraits who he is, how he feels about us and what live he wants for us to live and how to do it. The book is called The Bible.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All scripture given by inspiration of God, and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness
Joshua 1:8 – This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success
- Worship– When we worship the Lord we place ourselves in his presence. We were created for worship. I don’t know about you, but nothing fills my heart of joy and peace like entering in a place of worship with the Lord.
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
- Fellowhip– God didn’t create us to be an island. There’s a lot of us and it is for us to fellowship with one another. We are to love each other, encourage each other, pray for each other and help each other. By this I’m not talking about acts of charity, I’m talking about everyday life. Yes, the insane obnoxious coworker/neighbor, the teenager with an attitude, the messy spouse, the rude client/customer service person and the prideful acquaintance.
John 17:23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may knowthat you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
- Love-The two most important commandments we have to comply with are related to love. First, love God our Lord with ALL our hearts and then love others as we love ourselves. Everything is born out of love. Practicing love everyday in everything we do will nourish our lives.
Romans 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
I leave you with this banquet. I would love to hear your thoughts.
It’s been a while since we’ve been able to enjoy a Worship Friday (WF) I hope that I can get back in the groove and worship together with all my readers. I chose Friday because there’s no better way to enjoy the end of a laborious week than to praising God for all he’s gotten us through, for all those accomplishments and because we potentially get the opportunity to rest.
I think this song encompasses that feeling in a larger scale. There’s going to be a day where we will be in front of Jesus. When that day comes, there will be no pain, no suffering, no diseases. Until that day of complete freedom comes we can definitely rest in the arm of The Lord just by being in his presence.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.