30 Blessings & 25 Responsibilities for Christians

diana-simumpande-197805-unsplashPhoto by Diana Simumpande on Unsplash

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:3-6

Every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Think of it! The Creator of the Universe chose that His followers should be holy and blameless before Him and has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Not some. EVERY spiritual blessing! Continue reading 30 Blessings & 25 Responsibilities for Christians

A Fusion of Krakow and Pope John Paul II

City of Saints

Living inside the biblical story and the story of salvation history. That was the desire of Pope John Paul II, according to New York Times bestselling author George Weigel. In City of Saints, Weigel creates a beautiful spiritual and pictorial travelogue of Krakow, the “city where the twentieth century happened.” (p. 1)

Karol Wojtyla, later Pope John Paul II, moved to Krakow in 1938 and lived in Krakow for 40 years as a student, actor, laborer, seminarian, poet, playwright, sportsman, member of the Nazi resistance, priest  and bishop.

“Poland’s soul had everything to do with Poland’s survival, in Karol Wojtyla’s view. … Poland was a natural invasion route, a battlefield-in-waiting.” (p. 67) Sadly, Krakow became that battlefield as Jews, priests, and university professors were shot or shipped by rail  to Dachau or Auschwitz, the first concentration camp in the area.

Through beautiful photographs, readers are transported to the heart of Poland and to the foundation of Pope John Paul II’s story.

Karol Wojtyla valued the intellectual mind, labored in a quarry, carried images of persecution and evil in his memory, and perceived history as His-story “through lenses ground by biblical faith.” (p. 117)

Pope John Paul II was key to the collapse of the European communism. Pope John Paul II spent “Nine Days” in Poland, June 2 through June 10, 1979. In those days, he did not speak about politics, economics or communism.  Instead, he “preached and taught a great lesson in national dignity and led a historic reclamation of national identity.” (p. 252)

“You are not who they say you are. Permit me to remind you who you really  are. Reclaim that identity – own the truth of it – and you will find tools of resistance  they cannot match.” (p. 252)

History, architecture, art, and photographs intersect spirituality in this book. Weigel has even included a Polish Pronunciation guide.

My prayer:

Father, thank You for George Weigel and the story of Krakow and its people. Thank You for all the people who unswervingly served You in the midst of adversity, persecution, and tragedy. Bless Krakow with the full knowledge of You. Bless the visitors to Krakow with a prompting to turn to You. Praise You, Father. Amen

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books for my honest review.

A Promise Walk for 2016

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Did you know that God has promises for you in His Word, the Bible? One person found over 3,500 promises in the Bible.

Christians take Bible promises for their own all the time. They learn what the Bible has to say about the promise, and they pray for the promise to become reality. After a month or two and nothing happens, they decide that the promise is not for them and redirect their focus on another promise, always seeking a quick manifestation of the promise.

Many Christians do not know how to possess God’s promises. They quote Bible promises, and they feel good. However, they do not step out in faith and act upon the promises. Christians may acknowledge that God’s promises are for them, but they need to be equipped to walk towards God’s promises focusing upon the joy and the promise set before them.

In 2016, I want to walk with you on an adventure, a Promise Walk. What if  you and I walk towards the exceedingly great and precious promises that God has in store for us?

Want to walk this path with me?

In the “Comment” section, tell us the promises you want to explore. We’ll explore them together, taking the context into consideration as well as the entire Word of God … no “name it and claim it.” Straight from the Word of God.

Here’s a promise:

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. James 1:5-6

First, let’s ask God for wisdom and His will.

It’s bold.

It’s a bit scary.

It’s an adventure of a lifetime.

My prayer:

Father, You alone are worthy; You alone are the Almighty; You alone are wise; You alone are powerful; You alone equip Your children to possess Your promises, and through the promises, we are able to bless others. Give us wisdom as we embark on this adventure. We want to learn of You, learn of Your promises for us, learn how You want us to walk this earth. Thank You for equipping us to accomplish Your works that You prepared from before the foundation of this world. We love You, Lord, and wait upon You in 2016.

What’s the promise God has put on your heart? Share it in the “Comment” section.

Happy New Year and New You!

 

Pursue righteousness passionately

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Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Matthew 5:6
In the first three Beatitudes, Jesus focused upon His followers’ recognition of their emptiness: “poor in spirit,” “mournful over sin,” and “meek, not defending ourselves.”
As a result of our emptiness, we crave something to fill us.
Like Isaiah when he saw God, we must come to the realization that God is holy and we are unclean.
“Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” Isaiah 6:5

To hunger is to “crave ardently,” and those who thirst “painfully feel their want of, and eagerly long for, those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, strengthened …” according to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon.

This fourth Beatitude tells us what will satisfy that craving … righteousness.

Twice in the Beatitudes, Jesus mentions “righteousness,” and three more times in the rest of His Sermon on the Mount. Righteousness is important to Jesus.
Jesus tells us that our righteousness must exceed that of the religious leaders. The righteousness that we hunger and thirst for cannot be found in rituals, traditions, or things that the world values.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you. … Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.'” Matthew 6:33-35
Righteousness is found in Jesus.

“you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,” 1 Corinthians 1:30

 When I had fibromyalgia, I craved a day without pain. I went on special diets, tried new supplements, and even tried some risky medicines, all for a day or two without pain. And yet, during those nights of sleeplessness, I found myself praying to see God’s glory, to get closer to Him. The more pain, the more of His presence I felt.
Delight yourself in the LORD,
and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
As I delighted in the Lord’s presence, my heart’s desires changed, and my prayers changed. I craved more of God. During this time, I was reading A.W. Tozer’s The Pursuit of God, nothing to do with healing, and yet, everything to do with healing. I began pursuing God.
I was hungry and thirsty for more of God. I couldn’t get enough of Him.
God gave me more than a physical healing; He gave me more of Him. He gave me a keener sense of His working in and around my life.
I know that the Beatitude says that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be satisfied, and I know that we will be satisfied in heaven, but on this earth, I don’t want to be satisfied. I want to continue to pursue God and ask Him for more of Himself, so that I can point people to Jesus.
“Make it the passion and the hunger and the thirst of your life to do great acts of righteousness.” John Piper
How are you pursuing righteousness?
Please share this post with others and make the pursuit of God your passion.
My prayer:
Father, thank You for the hunger and thirst for You that has  been placed in our hearts. May our passion for righteousness cause us to work great acts of righteousness that will point people to You. To You be all the glory, majesty and honor! Amen