Monday, October 31, 2022

Dress for Success


If you have been a Christian for very long, you are probably already familiar with the Armor of God found in Ephesians 6.  But, do you know about the clothes you are supposed to have on UNDER the armor???


Colossians 3:12-14 - 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.


Things to think about:

·       Wardrobe Malfunction

o   In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve did a pretty poor job of getting dressed. 

o   God made better clothes for them and He’s designed a heavenly fashion for us too.

·       What’s in season this year?

o   Compassion

o   Kindness

o   Humility

o   Gentleness

o   Patience

o   Love

·       Why are we getting all dressed up anyway?

o   So we can be more like the Designer

§  Forgive as the Lord forgave you

§  Bear with one another

·       Why are these articles of clothing needed for us to be in harmony with one another

o   These are the same qualities God lavishes on us in our weakness

o   Which of these qualities can be a little itchy or chafing at times?

·       The armor in Ephesians is to protect against external enemy forces. 

o   Our clothing here is to keep us together internally and not war with one another. 

§  The armor is hard, these articles are soft and gentle

o   Our fight is with the forces of evil, not fellow believers who will inevitably stumble or not meet our expectations in some way.

§  Of course, this is true of us as well; we have let someone down or offended and are in need of others forgiving us.

·       Above all, put on love (not guilt or obligation)

o   This isn’t a costume to pretend you’re something you’re not

o   The sincerity that can only be motivated by love must be the overriding basis for our actions

o   Otherwise, our “good works” are really just filthy rags


Dress for Success!


Monday, October 24, 2022

God's GPS


Recently, we talked about whether are you operating under your own power (pushing the car) or using God’s power (driving the car).  Keeping with our automotive metaphor, let’s look at God’s GPS.  He determines the destination, the route, and the speed. I don’t know about you but sometimes I have trouble trusting the GPS. I think I know a better way and often end up getting lost and arriving late.  Similarly, I can try to create shortcuts in life, but God knows where I need to be, how to best get there, and when I need to arrive.


Psalm 37: 23-24 - The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
    He delights in every detail of their lives.
 Though they stumble, they will never fall,
    for the Lord holds them by the hand.

Things to think about:


·       As a believer, we know our final destination is in Heaven

o   John 14: 2-4 – “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

o   But we have many interim stops along the way

§  Each is for our own good, the good of others, and the building of God’s Kingdom

o   Where we think we are going and what God knows is best aren’t always the same


·       When we look at Paul’s three missionary journeys, he encountered all kinds of detours and obstacles

o   Shipwrecks, beatings, the inability to get to where he thought he wanted to go

·       But as we see in our focus verse, the Lord directs our steps

·       When we look at some of the biggest mistakes people made in the Bible, they are often the result of ignoring the GPS and trying to take a shortcut

o   Abraham with Hagar

o   David with Bathsheba

·       We have to trust that God’s route is better than ours

o   Romans 8:28 - And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 

o   It’s often for our protection

§  Psalm 27:11 - Teach me your way, Lord;
    lead me in a straight path
    because of my oppressors.

o   Sometimes it’s for a purpose much greater than we could have imagined (like Joseph and his brothers)

§  Genesis 50:20 - You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 

o   Rarely would we choose God’s route but we miss so much when we go off course


·       Are we there yet???

·       This might be the most challenging aspect of God’s GPS – it always seems like the longest route!

o   Psalm 27:14 - Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

o   2 Peter 3:8-9 - But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

o   James 5:7-8 -  Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.

Are you staying the course God has laid out or do you find your life’s journey is constantly “recalculating”?  If you feel lost or turned around,

Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Whose Power Are You Using?


Suppose someone gave you a car and said you need to get it from Point A to Point B.  You have two choices: you can push it there or you can get in and let the car do what cars are good for and drive it there.  Are you exhausted, worn out from trying so hard to achieve some outcome (professionally, relationally, spiritually, or something else)?  If so, there’s a very good chance you are pushing the car when instead you should climb in and let God’s power work in you.


Colossians 1:29 - To this end I labor, struggling with His energy which works so powerfully in me.


Things to think about:

·       This verse was a major hit in the head for me.  It was one of those that “jumped off the page” because it was so clear that it is God’s energy that should be animating my efforts.  I don’t know about you but often I vacillate between “it’s all up to me” and “God’s got this”. 

·       Which leads to the second point:

o   We have a part to play in whatever God has set our hand to.  Paul says that he labored and struggled.  He was an active participant, not a spectator.

·       Think for a minute about Paul’s job description:

o   To preach the Gospel to 95%+ of the world’s population to make sure that they did not die lost in their sins.  The consequences of a poorly performed job were catastrophic and eternal!

o   Now, what’s keeping you up at night, working your fingers to the bone, acting as if success or failure is completely dependent on you?

·       If we could do all that God has called us to do in our own strength, who would get the glory?

o   Psalm 68:35 - You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary;
    the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.

o   Isaiah 40:28-31 - He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

o   2 Cor. 12:9-10 - But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

·       Are you tired today?  Is it all getting to be a bit too much?

o   Maybe it’s time to stop pushing the car and hop in.

o   Phil.4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me


Monday, October 10, 2022

God the Artist


I was at the beach last week and with every sunrise the sky felt like a new work of art God had painted just for me. Just staring at the sky and the ocean was totally mesmerizing. It got me thinking about how much art reveals about the artist, and therefore insights we can glean into God’s character from his artistry.

Psalm 19:1-2 - The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.


Things to think about:

·       The goodness of God

o   Genesis 1:31 – God saw all that He had made and it was very good

o   How do you see God’s goodness in creation?

·       Attention to detail

o   Everything, no matter how small or seemingly trivial, is known by God

§  He knows the number of the stars, the hairs on your head, the grains of sand in the world

o   In what ways do you see God’s attention to detail?

·       Each of the individual pieces come together to form a complete and integrated whole

o   The sky, sun and clouds seamlessly meet the water that comes to the shore that transitions to the land, plants, and animals

o   1 Cor. 12:4-6 - There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

·       Beauty

o   We are in awe of the aesthetic genius of His creativity through the senses He gave us to perceive them

o   Genesis 2:9 - The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye

o   Isaiah 33:17 - Your eyes will see the King in His beauty; They will behold a far-distant land.

o   What are some of the beautiful elements of God’s artwork that particularly capture your imagination?

·       Like all great artists, He has a style unto Himself

o   In His infinite wisdom, God chose to make man in a very specific way

o   Genesis 1:27 - So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

o   Why is it important that God created us in His own image?

o   How does knowing that change how we should see other people?

·       Some might think that art is frivolous

o   But true art has a message to convey

o   Psalm 19:1-2 - The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.

o   Romans 1:19-20 - since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.  For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

·       How does seeing God as an artist make you appreciate Him more?

·       Where else do you see His artistic hand at work?