Colossians 3:12-17, The Christian Virtues

My small group is starting a study of Colossians tonight.

Christian virtues, along with the fruit of the spirit, show the level of Christ and our spiritual maturity. This is another illustration of unconditional love. By faith, we are spirit led. 😀

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As we renew our mind, change negative thoughts into positive thoughts, we grow spiritually stronger. Fruit and virtues are evident by becoming so rooted and grounded in love, even our enemies are drawn to us.

Change is a process of life, whether we like it or not. It’s about adapting and adjusting to move forward as we crawl, walk, run our race.

God bless us, by faith, as change begins with each of us. Let thy will be done.

by 

http://afriendofjesus2013.com/2013/09/15/colossians-312-17-the-christian-virtues/

Discipleship

by  at Power and Impact Court

The new identity and your mind.

When a person receives and confesses Jesus as their personal lord and saviour, his or her spirit is born again. This is an immediate transaction. From that point on, the believer must begin the process of feeding on a daily diet of the word of God for this new creation that is spirit. Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.

”Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart”. Job 22:21-23

This is so important to the process of the renewing of the mind. When we become born again, it is the spirit of man that is regenerated. The soul (the mind, will, intellect and emotions) and body are not regenerated.

In order for the new believer to be a doer of the word of God they must renew their mind. We have to get rid of stinking thinking because wrong thinking can lead to the destruction of their own body. Each individual has a responsibility to the Lord to take care of his or her body. You are the caretaker of your own body. What are you doing with your body? What are you putting into your body? What are you taking daily? What are you doing with what you take? The believer’s mind must become renewed to doing things in the way that God approves of not leaning on our own understanding. This is a process that will take some time. We must understand that man is a free moral agent, and has the right and ability to choose. With that choice they can choose to do right or wrong . This is something which God will not change or force anyone, to go against or to do anything against their free will. God has no intention of violating human will.

The natural man will never understand the bible with natural thinking because it is spiritual. Spiritual things are discerned and understood in a different way from natural things. That is why every believer should be filled with the Holy Spirit. With the evidence of speaking with tongues Acts 2:4. The Holy Spirit is our helper who will assist us through the process in our personal walk with the Lord. The flesh ( the evil human desires, its sinful deeds) is still present and if allowed by the choice of our own will, is capable of manifesting any and everything we practiced before our new birth. The flesh wants to dominate and keep us enslaved to sin. However a renewed mind will allow the fruit of the spirit to overcome the flesh.

We must recognise early in our Christian walk that there is this contention between your spirit and the flesh. Whatever we feed will grow. If we feed our spirit in the word, in prayer, fellowship with God and have a conscience that is sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s prompting , then our spirit is developed and strong. A strong spirit is divinely enabled to occupy, saturate our soul. Only a strengthened spirit is able to overcome the flesh. If we starve our spirit of the word and its regular diet we are in effect feeding the flesh. Then the flesh is empowered by our choice to dominate. It is critical for our spiritual growth that we practice setting our minds on the spirit where the lord dwells. There are clear manifestations and evidence which will result when there is no renewing of the mind. These include and are not limited to deadly emotions, unhealthy stress, physical and mental illness, imaginations that do not agree with the word. Suicide , anxiety, toxic thought and attitudes.

A lot of people treat and approach their lives like a ride in a theme park. Taking high risk with stuff we have no business delving into. Just allowing your flesh and desires to run out as if there is no control. We cannot allow our flesh to dictate to us how to live our lives.

‘‘For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God’’ Romans 8:13-15

And just allow things to happen to us. A high percentage of people in our world seem to approach life like a roller coaster ride. They allow their lives to happen for them, they strap themselves in with grim determination hanging on during the ups and downs, excitement and fear of the ride. They are nor even aware how much stress they are internalising. Though not all stress is bad stress. The real danger is the longer the ride last we get accustomed to the knots in our stomach and the tension is our necks. This is exactly how it is for a man or woman trying to cope with negative situations, circumstances of daily living. the daily challenges life throws at you every day. It is a clear verdict in science that the mind body connection in our lives is real just as the bible had always said.

‘’For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he …..’’ Proverbs 23:7

‘’For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith’’. Romans 12:3

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Genesis 6:5

We can no longer relegate the so called psychosomatic disorders to the dark corners of the mind. Behaviour starts with a thoughts. Thoughts stimulate emotions, which then results in attitude and finally produce behaviour. This symphony of electrochemical reactions in the body affects the way we think and feel physically. Therefore toxic thoughts produce toxic emotions. Which produce toxic attitudes resulting in toxic behaviour.

‘’Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts’’. Proverbs 21:2

Every believer has the responsibility to examine, evaluate and discern whether their thoughts are coming from Satan. This is why we must know the word of God. The enemy attempts to cause us to think, of that’s just me thinking those thoughts, ideas and suggestions. If your thoughts are not in line with or in agreement with the word of God you are to cast down such vain thoughts and imaginations. They are just there to get you off track and alignment with the will of God for your life.

Remember we do not war against flesh and blood but against principalities (chief magistrates over cities, countries and nations)powers, rulers of darkness in spiritual places. These are top generals who give orders to destroy and derail God’s plan in the life of believers, they are controlling demonic spirits that bring people under the influence of Satan. These demonic forces enter through the thought life by vain imaginations, lying and seducing spirits whose main purpose is to distract and draw us away from the truth of God’s word. They exalt themselves, lie and try to influence people through the thought realm.

The good news is that these toxic thoughts, attitudes and emotions as well as their attendant manifestations can be controlled. Make up your mind today to become not just a hearer but a doer of God’s word. The doer is blessed in what he does.

http://powerandimpactcourt.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/discipleship/

Creation care

I have long been dismayed by the lack of appreciation and concern of Christians toward God’s creation. I find that most are either not concerned or thinking selfishly that it is all theirs to use any way it brings them profit. Here is an interview of Eugene Peterson.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lj1xKSHQetw&w=640&h=360

The Holy Spirit and the familification of the church

by Alan Knox of The Assembling of the Church

The Holy Spirit and the familification of the church

Dave Black is writing a new book about the church. He has tentatively (or maybe permanently) titled it Seven Marks of a New Testament Church.

Over the last few days, he’s shared several excerpts, and they’ve been really good. But the latest except was exceptional (to me) because he also refers to another book that I highly recommend.

Here is that latest excerpt from chapter 4 of his new book (from Monday, September 23, 2013 at 9:12 a.m.):

In this chapter we have seen some of the marks of genuine community that characterized the early church. What a magnificent picture of life together! Maybe theirs was an idealism that cannot be repeated today. We may talk about community, but if we continue to behave like a group of individualists, no one will believe what we say. The picture that Luke gives us of the earliest church should make us stop and think.

Joseph Hellerman, author of When the Church Was a Family, has some interesting comments to make about the vitality of the church (p. 143). “It is time,” he writes, “to inform our people that conversion to Christianity involves both our justification and our familification, that we gain a new Father when we respond to the gospel. It is time to communicate the biblical reality that personal salvation is a community-building event, and to trust God to change our lives and the lives of our churches accordingly.”

Our modern churches could learn a thing or two from the genuine love of the first Christians. Theirs is a shining example. And if we ask the secret of it, we do not have far to look: the secret lay in the presence of the Holy Spirit. His power is available to us all. And it is life-changing. Just imagine what the Spirit could do in our churches if He were allowed to have control. It could happen again.

First, I love the term “familification” that Hellerman uses in his book. It points to the fact that there is a change that happens that moves us from not being a family to being a family.

I also love that Black points out that this is a work of the Holy Spirit. If we are becoming a family, it is because we are submitting to the Holy Spirit.

And, if we are not becoming a family…

What I Wish I’d Known About Sovereignty, Discipleship, And More:

by Yancey Arrington  at Resurgence

Yancey Arrington shares how he learned to stop reading the Bible like Aesop’s Fables, plus what he wishes he had known about God’s sovereignty, discipleship, theology, and preaching.

What I Wish I’d Known About Discipleship

It’s found in a network of relationships.

I was taught that “real” discipleship was only found in one-on-one relationships where Person A helps Person B grow in the faith for a certain period of time. Then, once Person B has matured to a certain degree, he or she is expected find a Person C to disciple.

However, the more prevalent biblical picture is that discipleship occurs in a network of relationships. When Person A is connected to a local church, he or she is taught by teachers and preachers, exhorted by prophets, and experiences the regular ministry of those in the church who bear burdens, use their gifts, intercede in prayer, and do “life on life” with Person A.

Discipleship occurs in a network of relationships

Knowing the truth of “discipleship as network” would have kept me from feeling guilty for not having a Person B at any specific time in my life. And it would have freed me up to joyfully use my gifts, talents, and passions to help a myriad of people grow in Jesus.

What I Wish I’d Known About The Sovereignty Of God

It impacts your worship more than you can imagine.

I remember it like it was yesterday.

I was in my early twenties and attending seminary. I was at my house, just hanging out in my room. Then, within mere moments, I was face down on the floor, weeping with gratitude and telling God how much I loved him.

What brought about this impromptu but profound worship experience? Meditating on the wonderful truth of God’s sovereignty, especially as it relates to salvation, had overwhelmed me in the moment. Growing up I was warned this doctrine would frighten my young faith and provoke questions that ultimately would hurt instead of help me. But what I experienced is that while learning about the greatness and grandness of God did blow my mind in wonder, it also broke open my heart in worship. Indeed, it still does to this day.

What I Wish I’d Known About The Theology

It’s for everyone.

If theology simply means the study of God, then not only is every Christian a theologian, but every Christian is called to learn theology. For too long theological disciplines like systematic theology and biblical theology have been placed on the top shelf for academicians and scholars. But this shouldn’t be. All Christians, from the very young to the most mature, need to care about deepening their faith through theological engagement.

The greatness and grandness of God blew my mind in wonder and opened my heart in worship.

For several years I have taught systematic theology for the laypersons in my church, and it’s not uncommon to hear participants say at its conclusion, “Learning theology has changed my life!” I’m convinced that theology needs to be on the bottom shelf. If you haven’t started it yet, start now!

What I Wish I’d Known About The Bible

It’s a Story more than a Rule Book.

“It’s easy Yancey. Think of it this way: B.I.B.L.E. = Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth.” Most of my life I was taught God’s Word was primarily a rulebook for living. Yes, the Bible told me about Jesus, but I primarily learned to approach the Bible like an Aesop’s Fables for Christians, where I would receive moral teaching showing me how good Christians live.

But while the Bible gives much instruction on life, it’s primarily a story—the one true story about God’s gracious plan to rescue the world through the person and work of Jesus. To have known this early in my upbringing would not have led me to make light of the Bible’s rules, but put them within their proper context. The Bible is not primarily about me. It’s about Jesus.

What I Wish I’d Known About Preaching

Be a better you than a poor someone else.

I preach at a church where I share the pulpit with another pastor. He is a master preacher and incredible to hear. When I first began preaching, I found myself implementing his habits, mannerisms, and style in the pulpit. However, my attempt to imitate him worked against me. I found myself becoming increasingly tired, depressed, and ineffective each Sunday.

The Bible is not primarily about me. It’s about Jesus.

That’s when I decided to lean into how God uniquely wired me for preaching. To be honest, getting comfortable with myself was a hard and lengthy process. It took years to find my voice. But when I did, everything changed. Preaching started to become a great grace in my life. It was energizing, encouraging, and exciting. I wasn’t the only one who noticed it either; many in my church did as well. I just wish someone would have told me that when it comes to the pulpit, I would be a better me than a poor version of someone else.

Comment? Go to

http://theresurgence.com/2013/09/14/what-i-wish-i-d-known-about-discipleship

Is Heaven an Immaterial Realm?

http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/2015/12/30/is-heaven-an-immaterial-realm/

Too Good to Be True?

You may have heard it said that religion only survives because people desperately want it to be true, because they can’t come to terms with their own mortality (or that of loved ones). It was Sigmund Freud who helped to popularize this idea, as he suggested that the concept of a loving Creator was simply a psychological projection of a person’s innermost wishes:

“We tell ourselves that it would be very nice if there was a God who created the world and was a benevolent Providence and if there were a moral order in the universe and an after-life; but it is the very striking fact that all this is exactly as we are bound to wish it to be.”(1)

This kind of argument would seem to ring true, at least on a superficial level. You would expect it to be more likely for people to believe in something that they like than something that they don’t, and it is clear that Christianity is powerfully compelling. In fact, the argument itself is an admission of this, as it acknowledges the innate desire in us all that is fulfilled by God. Who wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with a loving deity who not only wants the best for those he has created, but who is offering eternity in a place that is more wonderful than can be imagined? Yet the Bible also contains some very hard-hitting passages, which would seem to contradict the notion that religious belief is simply a projection of our wishes. C. S. Lewis pointed out that scripture also teaches that believers should fear the Lord, but you would not then suggest that this meant faith was some kind of “fear fulfillment”!(2)

Read the rest at A Slice of Infinity: http://us5.campaign-archive2.com/?u=45b75085e6ab57e339ea89d67&id=aa5383fc31&e=c07069ddf1