Thursday, September 18, 2014

Jesus is Our Light

What do you do when you are in the dark?  You turn on the light.  If you are entering a dark room, a dark house, or a dark building; then, you turn on a light.

The same is true in our spiritual lives.  If you are in the dark about an issue or situation in your life, you turn on the light---the light of God's word. 

Jesus was in the temple courts teaching a group of people.  The Pharisees and the teachers of the law brought in a woman who had been caught in adultery and placed her before the group.  They told Jesus and asked Him, "...Now what do you say?"  (John 8:5b, NIV)  He calmly responded to their accusation.  "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."  (John 8:7b, NIV)  Each of the woman's accusers left one by one until only Jesus and the woman were left standing there.  Then, He turns to the woman and asks her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"  (John 8:10b, NIV)  "No one, sir," she said.  "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."  (John 8:11, NIV)

When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  (John 8:12, NIV)

Another time, Jesus predicted His death before a crowd of people.  He was referring to Himself as the light.

 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going.  Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When He had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid Himself from them.  (John 12:35-36, NIV)

John spoke about God being light. 

"This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.  If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.  (1 John 5-7, NIV)

In Matthew's account, he talked about the believers in Jesus being the light. 

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16, NIV)

When we spend time in God's word (in the presence of Jesus), we are able to shed more light on matters in our lives.  Jesus is our light.  When we spend time with Him, we have more light in ourselves as well as in our lives.  Then, we can truly be light in this dark world. 


Copyright 2014 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Meditating on God's Word

"Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." (Joshua 1:8, NIV)

Meditating on God's word may not be something that you are familiar with in your spiritual walk.

The word 'meditate' is defined as to consider, think, ponder, contemplate, reflect.
Meditation on God's word is a spiritual discipline. It is a recommended part of every believer's spiritual development and growth.

Most importantly, it is commanded by God our Father in His word.
Our Father God not only told us in the book of Joshua to meditate on His word but to meditate on it all the time so we can obey everything in it.

How do we meditate on it all the time?
For one, we consider or think on a particular scripture verse. For example, "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19, NIV)

We keep thinking about the same scripture verse for a period of time. "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19, NIV)
We contemplate and reflect on it until it truly sinks into our heart---until we get a revelation about that specific verse. "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19, NIV)

Perhaps, we even begin confessing out loud. Make it personal. "And my God will meet all of my needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus." My God will meet all of my needs. All means all. He didn't say some. He said all. It's not according to my own riches. It's according to His riches in glory. I am in Christ. Therefore, I have His riches.
That's only one example from scripture in order to get you started with meditating on God's word. Please feel free to also use other scripture verses. Do it frequently throughout the day.  Every day.

In the next part of Joshua 1:8, God then tells us that we will be prosperous and successful.
It's very important to observe this command from God. We cannot be truly prosperous and successful in our lives.

The prosperity and success that is spoken of in the book of Joshua isn't necessarily the kind that you may think of at the moment. It certainly isn't the kind that the world talks about much of the time. However, it is the kind that God wants for us.
He wants us to be prosperous and successful because it honors and glorifies Him. Plus, He is a good God! A loving father who wants to bless His children. What good, loving father would ever want or do anything else? (Matthew 7:9-11) Do you want to be blessed? I know that I sure do.

 
Copyright 2014 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Kingdom of Heaven

Jesus often spoke to people in parables. Once, the disciples asked Him the reason for it. He gave a lengthy answer to their question.

He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables:

“Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it. (Matthew 13:11-17, NIV)

In Matthew's account, there are several of Jesus' parables regarding the kingdom of heaven.

A former minister at my local church described the kingdom of heaven as a different reality which is true. It definitely is a different reality. Once you see something new and different, you cannot unsee it. It's like trying to describe an old black and white television program in color to someone who has never seen the color version of that particular program. It cannot be done very well.

However, we can tell people what we see and know ourselves. We can share our own personal experiences, insights, and knowledge. We can also hope and pray that the Holy Spirit will open their spiritual eyes---give them eyes to see, ears to hear, and a mind and heart that's open and receptive to Him and His truth.

Here's a great example of His truth.

Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” “Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’
“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first. (Matthew 19:16-30, NIV)

To much of the world, the kingdom of heaven may sound like an upside down reality. However, in truth, it is a right side up reality.

"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33, NIV)

When we first seek God, His truth, His ways [of doing and being right]; everything else will also be given to us.

In essence, that is heaven on earth.  (Matthew 6:10)



Copyright 2014 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Made in His Image

“So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27, NIV)
 
We are made in the image of God. Have you thought about it? You are made in the image of God. I am made in the image of God. The God of the universe. The God that created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Genesis 1:26, NIV)
Not only did God make us in His image, but He also gave us power and dominion over everything in the land. In addition, God gave us a general purpose. He also gave us individual specific purposes.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:22, NIV)
God realized that we not only needed Him but we needed each other. We were created for companionship and relationship.
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18, NIV)
It's in the relationship and companionship of marriage between a man and a woman that we learn about the true meaning of love, more about ourselves, as well as more about God and our covenant relationship with Him.
God created a good helpmate for the very first man. She was taken from his side. She was created to compliment him and help him in God's purpose and plan.
The same is true for most of God's children today. Most of us have a suitable helpmate who compliments us and was created for us in order to help fulfill God's purpose and plan for us.
"But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, He took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib He had taken out of the man, and He brought her to the man." (Genesis 2:20b-22, NIV)
Bottom line: We are all made in His image. We have power and dominion in Jesus Christ. We have a general purpose. We have individual purposes in God's plan and sometimes also with a suitable helpmate.

 
Copyright 2014 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Renewing Our Minds

"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."  (Romans 12:2, NIV) 

Renewing our minds is very important to the transformation process of all believers in Jesus Christ.  It helps us to not conform to the pattern (i.e. design, style, model, form) of this world but it also helps us to know God's good, pleasing and perfect will for us.  

'Renewing our minds' simply means restoring, recovering, or reviving our minds. 

The Apostle Paul spoke about the wise person with the Spirit who knows the mind of the Lord.

 "...But we have the mind of Christ."  (1 Corinthians 2:16, NIV)

He also talked about believers becoming the new creation in Christ. 

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!"  (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV) 

It takes us continually renewing our minds to keep on becoming the new creation in Jesus Christ. 

How do we renew our minds? 

First, we purposefully read and study the Bible (God's word).  We schedule time on our daily calendar or set aside time amongst our daily activities. 

Perhaps, we also participate in other Biblically-based opportunities whether at home, church, or elsewhere.  It could be a small group Bible study.  Watch and listen to a strong, Biblical teaching on television.  Listen to a Biblical message on the radio.  Maybe, listen to the Bible on a CD. 

What are some other ways you can personally renew your mind? 


Copyright 2014 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

By Faith...

Have you ever read and paid close attention to the faith chapter in the Bible?

Let's start in v3 of Hebrews 11. 

"By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible." (Hebrews 11:3, NIV)

Now, let's look at v4.

"By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead."  (Hebrews 11:4, NIV)

Next, check out v5.

"By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God."  (Hebrews 11:5, NIV)

Let's skip down to v7.

"By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith."  (Hebrews 11:7, NIV)

Then, pick up with v8-10.

"By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.  By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.  For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God."  (Hebrews 11:8-10, NIV)

Lastly, look at v11-12.

"And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.   And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore."  (Hebrews 11:11-12, NIV)

Let's recap.  So far in this chapter---we understand that the universe was formed at God's command by faith; Abel brought God a better sacrifice and was commended for it by faith; Enoch was commended, didn't experience death, and was taken from this life by faith; Noah built an ark, saved his family, and condemned the world by faith; Abraham went to a strange land, lived in tents, and made his home in the promised land by faith; and Sarah was enabled to bear children past childbearing age by faith.

You can finish reading the rest of this chapter on your own---picking up in v17-31.

Did you notice...?  Everything in God's kingdom is accomplished 'by faith'.  What are you now doing by faith?

"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."  (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him."  (Hebrews 11:6, NIV)



Copyright 2014 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Freed From the Law

I don't know about you, but I am really tired of the law.  Looking back over the last few years, I have come to realize the numerous times that people have tried to put me 'under the law'.  I have also realized some of the times that I have put myself 'under the law'.

Unfortunately, when we lack knowledge, it can be to the detriment of ourselves and others.  "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..."  (Hosea 4:6a, NKJV)

Thankfully, my Father God, has opened my spiritual eyes of understanding and enlightened me even more recently with more knowledge and revelation.  (Ephesians 1:17-23)

Once you have accepted Jesus into your heart and made Him Lord of your life, you have the fullness of Him living on the inside of you.  You don't need anyone giving you rules and regulations nor telling you what to do and not do.  (Colossians 2:6-12, 20-23

God has made us dead to sin and alive with Christ.  (Romans 6; Ephesians 2:1-10; Colossians 2:13)  Baptism by water immersion is a great picture of us being buried with Christ and raised to new life---His life. 

"Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed.  So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.  Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian."  (Galatians 3:23-25, NIV)

Too many times, members of the body of Christ are still living like they are 'under the law'.  Perhaps, unbeknownst to them.  However, they are in bondage. 

Jesus freed us from the written code of the law.  "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."  (John 8:36, NIV)  We are redeemed from the law.  Jesus is the fulfillment of the law.  (Matthew 5:17)  We are under grace.  The life we now live, we live by faith in the Son---Jesus.  (Galatians 3:11-14)



Copyright 2014 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.