~ Word ~
"Christ In The Garden Of Gethsemane" by Heinrich Hofmann
March 26, 2023
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
“For though we walk in the flesh,
we do not war according to the flesh.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal
but mighty in God
for pulling down strongholds,
casting down arguments
and every high thing that exalts itself
against the knowledge of God,
bringing every thought
into captivity to the obedience of Christ,”
you know how adam and eve chose to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? well, i was thinking about how crazy this adventure has been ever since i was filled with the Holy Spirit. as much as i have had experiences of more peace, joy and love than i have ever known before, i have also started experiencing the contrast that this good light makes to the darkness. when we accept Christ, we finally start seeing our reality- the reality that the first man and woman chose for us to live. the reality that most of us would have chosen out of mere curiosity- to know good and evil.
when we are born and as children, we learn the ways of the world. we learn how to live in the world, in the flesh. it seems sad and wrong from this perspective, but we were all children that had to see darkness and learn it how to navigate through it. then, hopefully, we come to a day where we surrender to Christ and accept Him as our Savior. it’s a wild concept, thinking about this whole path, but God knows best and His ways are the only good and right ways.
so, as i was saying, we get to this point of living with the Spirit and now we know goodness. and as good as it is, we are still at ground zero amidst darkness. but we’ve chosen our side, we’ve chosen the light. and even though we grew up learning how to use weapons like our fists and our curses, we must put those away and pick up the new weapons. the one we use now is the Word of God. we can use His Word in so many ways. we can confront a friend and help steer them back to the right path. we can ‘bring our thoughts captive’ by comparing them to His Truth. are our thoughts damaging lies, or are they in agreement with truth? we can remember His promises in times where we feel alone or defeated. by navigating life with God within us, we are trampling over strongholds and walls that we once saw as impossible.
as much as it can be very intense to know what we know about good and evil, about the huge spiritual war that is surrounding us, we know that we are safe in the Lord’s arms. we are aware of this knowledge, but we also know God- and that means most. He will never leave us nor forsake us, and we will win the prize of eternal life in His glory.
"Olympic Runners" by LeRoy Neiman
March 20, 2023
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run,
but one receives the prize?
Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
And everyone who competes for the prize
is temperate in all things.
Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown,
but we for an imperishable crown.
Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty.
Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.
But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection,
lest, when I have preached to others,
I myself should become disqualified.”
oh how important this mindset is to strive for! ever since we’ve accepted Christ as our Savior, we have accepted a reality, and with it, a responsibility. as we remain in our fleshy bodies, we still have this circumstance. on one side, we get to spend this short time being on ground level, taking it in with all senses. we do not want to take our breath for granted, nor do we wish to spend our time unwisely. we desire to maintain our relationships and hold close to those we love. on the other hand, we have become aware of the spiritual warfare that surrounds us. our eyes for one another have become sympathetic, as we see our brothers and sisters struggling, and as we still struggle ourselves. and with this new awareness, we are on a mission. now, with God on our side, we can’t fail. but there are many things that will make our ventures more or less difficult.
paul’s analogy to running a race is perfectly relevant. we can’t run a race with our heads turned backward! nor can we move swiftly in this life as we are dwelling and meditating on the past. what does it do for us to recount our failures, to judge our past actions with what limited knowledge we have, and to condemn ourselves for things we can’t change? in addition, we know in our hearts that God works all things for the good of those who love Him. He’s taken our mistakes and already turned them into something beautiful. so don’t look back! let us keep our eyes on the prize. this takes training and discipline. and yes, we may get distracted from time to time by the squirrel running across the road or the guy next to us who tripped, but we are running for the Lord. we are running for Him and we are running with Him. He is encouraging us along the way, He is giving us pointers and reinforcing us with strength and love. through our suffering, we gain endurance. we can revel in every moment, being present, and we can realize that we are doing today what we once thought was impossible! truly, this race is above and beyond what any national olympic athletes are competing for!
"Power and Perseverance" by Karine Salas
March 12, 2023
“Through whom also we have access by faith
into this grace in which we stand,
and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
And not only that,
but we also glory in tribulations,
knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;
and perseverance, character;
and character, hope.
Now hope does not disappoint,
because the love of God has been poured out
in our hearts by the Holy Spirit
who was given to us."
in this life we inevitably have to face suffering. with or without Christ, we still have to face suffering. but with Christ, we do have the ability, like no one else, to rejoice in our suffering. now this may not sound very convincing in the heat of a devastating moment, but that doesn’t negate the fact that this is truth: our faith gives us access to a knowing that there is success beyond suffering.
we have permission to be optimistic and to believe that we won’t continue cycling in fruitless insanity. just as Jesus showed- His life and death were our model example of doing good, never giving up, never compromising, suffering, enduring, serving and sacrificing. He did it all to glorify God, and so shall we. His Word proclaims that beyond suffering we experience perseverance, character building, and hope. and we also know that our greatest reward after life in the flesh is eternal life in God's glorious presence.
are we suffering and denying ourselves the way Jesus did? or do we take every opportunity to secure our own sense of comfort and to ensure our supply of pleasure will not be deprived? maybe we should accept discomfort, like He did.
are we following Jesus? really following Him, as in imitating Him? paul was a great example of a believer who endured great suffering, yet you could still hear the peace and joy in his letters. paul wasn’t the Son of God, but he did a pretty good job at taking Jesus’ example to heart. this is possible for everyone.
let us realize that following Christ is our top priority. not our status, not our pride, not our comfort, not our impulses, not our achievements, but following Jesus Christ. whatever it takes, this is the best thing we can do in any moment: to truly commit our ways to Him.
"Love Thy Neighbor" by Angela L. Walker
March 5, 2023
"By this all will know that you are My disciples,
if you have love for one another.”