Saturday’s Blog

Welcome to the POG Blog!

Today is Saturday which means YOU get to start the discussion on today’s scripture!  What is it saying to you today?  How does it relate to your life right now?  How does it relate to the message from Sunday?  Enjoy reading, meditating, and sharing your thoughts with others today!

Psalm 119:41-48 New International Version (NIV)

ו Waw

41 May your unfailing love come to me, Lord,
your salvation, according to your promise;
42 then I can answer anyone who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
43 Never take your word of truth from my mouth,
for I have put my hope in your laws.
44 I will always obey your law,
for ever and ever.
45 I will walk about in freedom,
for I have sought out your precepts.
46 I will speak of your statutes before kings
and will not be put to shame,
47 for I delight in your commands
because I love them.
48 I reach out for your commands, which I love,
that I may meditate on your decrees.

Thursday’s Blog

Welcome to the POG Blog!

Today YOU get to start the discussion on today’s scripture!  What is it saying to you today?  How does it relate to your life right now?  How does it relate to the message from Sunday?  Enjoy reading, meditating, and sharing your thoughts with others today!

2 Timothy 3:10-17 New International Version (NIV)

A Final Charge to Timothy

10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse,deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

 

11.15.17 “Throw that Shovel Down!”

 

2 Corinthians 5:18-21

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Reconciliation can mean so many things. If you’re a numbers-person, it might make you think of your checking account. If you’re philosophical, it might make you think of the acceptance of two conflicting ideas and how they work together. In the message of Christianity, it is specific to the restorative work of Jesus, ‘making things right,’ as they were before the fall, removing the enmity between us and God brought about by sin.

It certainly sounds quite churchy. Paul is so passionate though in his letter regarding this truth because he knows the stench of living apart from God. It’s such a stark contrast for him, that he implores his readers to yield to Jesus and be reconciled to God, no longer living in the stench of sin and under the weight of guilt. Today the simple smell of my bedroom made me think of how God has reconciled me to himself.

I’ve been using my air purifier in our bedroom after forgetting to use it for many months. I’ve always liked the fresh smell that it creates. It smells as if the windows are open. I was in the bathroom putting makeup on and the scent of fresh air had even reached under the door of the bathroom and immediately I realized why I have always liked this smell so much. It reminds me of my childhood home. Whenever the weather was nice, my Mom would open all the windows air out the home. It especially reminds me of my parents’ room where I would take Sunday afternoon naps and watch TV. I associate that scent with safety and love. Twenty-five years have probably passed since I took a nap on my parents’ bed with the scent of fresh air. Today I remembered that space just as it was before. Before I grew up. Before I moved out. Just before.

That’s the beauty of reconciliation. It’s God removing the sin and shame and guilt and restoring our relationship with Him just as it was before, as it was supposed to be. Instead of the stench of sin, we carry the aroma of sweet grace and redemption. And then what does it look like to be reconciled to God? Every part of our life falls under the power of the cross. It’s why verse 9 is so beautiful. God does not count people’s sins against them. And you shouldn’t count your sins against yourself either.

That is the behavior of our enemy. He doesn’t want you to live a life of reconciliation. So when you feel undue guilt, shame over a confessed sin, and you begin to think you’re not worthy of anyone else, tell yourself, “Hey! I’ve been reconciled to God!” I like to picture myself grabbing the shovel out of Satan’s hand and saying “Nuh-uh. You are NOT going to dig up my old self. That one has been buried.”

God wants to continually draw you back to him and reconcile every little corner of your life to Him. There is the great reconciliation of saving your soul as described in the passage above. But then there is the daily practice of affirming that we are reconciled to God. Don’t let the old self have any kind of say in your life. Instead daily breathe in the sweet aroma of grace and declare “I’ve been reconciled!” Say it with a little bit of attitude too, maybe even snap your fingers. We can say this with confidence!

Michelle

11.13.17 On Mission With Jesus!

Father God, please grab our hearts and minds today as we contemplate these words from You.  Block out the distractions of the day, and help us center on the message You are giving us through these verses.  Help us to really LISTEN!  Amen.

 

2 Corinthians 5:11-20

The Message

 

11-14 That keeps us vigilant, you can be sure. It’s no light thing to know that we’ll all one day stand in that place of Judgment. That’s why we work urgently with everyone we meet to get them ready to face God. God alone knows how well we do this, but I hope you realize how much and deeply we care. We’re not saying this to make ourselves look good to you. We just thought it would make you feel good, proud even, that we’re on your side and not just nice to your face as so many people are. If I acted crazy, I did it for God; if I acted overly serious, I did it for you. Christ’s love has moved me to such extremes. His love has the first and last word in everything we do.

 

A New Life

14-15 Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.

 

16-17 Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons!

 

Verses 16 and 17 stuck out to me today.  Left to my own devices, I tend to be prideful and judgmental.  Paul is reminding the Corinthians (and us!) that we are dead to our old lives and that we cannot judge by what we see outwardly, but must look in the inside.  EVERYONE WE SEE AND MEET has been included in Christ’s resurrection – the person behind me on the rode tailgating me, the person in the grocery line in front of me taking too long, and the person who bumps into me without saying “excuse me”.  Living like this means we are becoming like Jesus, who sacrificed EVERYTHING for our new lives.

 

As I was studying these scriptures, reading The Message version, reading in my “Life Application Bible”, and writing this blog, our TV was on a channel playing M*A*S*H, I guess in honor of Veteran’s Day.  It was the episode entitled “Blood Brothers”, where Father Mulcahy is overcome by the devotion of a terminally ill G.I., who has leukemia, for his critically wounded buddy.  This terminally ill G.I., instead of wallowing in the knowledge of his impending death, wants to be a donor for his friend.  Meanwhile, Father Mulcahy is worried about his reputation in the eyes of a visiting Cardinal, and acting like a petty, competitive child.  Father Mulcahy realizes with clarity that “God didn’t put us here for that pat on the back, He created us so He could be here Himself, so that he could exist in the lives of those He created in His image.”  See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvLH22RSpaY&feature=youtu.be.  We are not on this planet for our own self-gratification.  In thanks and praise for everything our Father has done for us, we must live humbly and continually ask, “Jesus, how would you have me join you today”?

 

Dear Father, I thank You for the fresh new life You give me each day!  Help me to LIVE like a thankful person, and to notice who You are placing in front of me each day.  Make me Your hands and feet, Your salt and light, so that people will wonder and ask why I smile!  Then give me Your words to share Your awesome love, grace and peace.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

 

Saturday’s Blog

Welcome to the POG Blog!

Today is Saturday which means YOU get to start the discussion on today’s scripture!  What is it saying to you today?  How does it relate to your life right now?  How does it relate to the message from Sunday?  Enjoy reading, meditating, and sharing your thoughts with others today!

Psalm 66 New International Version (NIV)

For the director of music. A song. A psalm.

Shout for joy to God, all the earth!
    Sing the glory of his name;
make his praise glorious.
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power
that your enemies cringe before you.
All the earth bows down to you;
they sing praise to you,
they sing the praises of your name.”

Come and see what God has done,
his awesome deeds for mankind!
He turned the sea into dry land,
they passed through the waters on foot—
come, let us rejoice in him.
He rules forever by his power,
his eyes watch the nations—
let not the rebellious rise up against him.

Praise our God, all peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard;
he has preserved our lives
and kept our feet from slipping.
10 For you, God, tested us;
you refined us like silver.
11 You brought us into prison
and laid burdens on our backs.
12 You let people ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance.

13 I will come to your temple with burnt offerings
and fulfill my vows to you—
14 vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke
when I was in trouble.
15 I will sacrifice fat animals to you
and an offering of rams;
I will offer bulls and goats.

16 Come and hear, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.
17 I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.
18 If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;
19 but God has surely listened
and has heard my prayer.
20 Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me!

Thursday’s Blog

Welcome to the POG Blog!

Today YOU get to start the discussion on today’s scripture!  What is it saying to you today?  How does it relate to your life right now?  How does it relate to the message from Sunday?  Enjoy reading, meditating, and sharing your thoughts with others today!

Matthew 13:36-43 New International Version (NIV)

The Parable of the Weeds Explained

36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”

37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man.38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.

 

11.08.17 Our Quest

Our Quest

Dear Heavenly Father, we are thankful that you have made us to be your children and privileged us to help build Thy Kingdom.  Every day we pray “Thy Kingdom come”.  With all our heart we want Thy kingdom to come.  Shows us how we may help to proclaim Your holy name, and speak of Your glorious majesty and wonderful works.  In Christ name, Amen.

Matthew 13:44-46

The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

As Jesus shares what the kingdom of heaven is like…the treasure & the pearl alike being the Gospel, the Good News of grace and mercy afforded us by His loving sacrifice…I get the sense that they, the treasure and pearl, could easily be missed by someone “just walking by”.

Therein lies our quest of joining Jesus on His Mission, going with Him, not for Him…enjoying and loving others so they won’t “just walk by”.

Please share with us what you hear Jesus saying in these versus.

Blessings to you and yours!

jwb