Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Walk in Him

"Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught abounding in thanksgiving. "
Colossians 2:6-7

These are a couple of verses that I believe God laid on my heart during this past week.When Paul writes, "as [we] received," he takes the focus off ourselves and puts it on God. Sometimes we can have a selfish outlook on life, feeling as if we had a part in calling God to ourselves or finding him(as alot of songs like to declare). God was the one that gave us the ability and opportunity to receive His precious gift. God was the one who sent His perfect son to die for us on the cross. We need to focus on being the receiver of faith instead of the finder of faith.

Paul then follows this statement by telling us to, "walk in him", Him being Jesus Christ. He urges us to walk in Christ as we received Christ, wholly dependent on His unchanging Grace. Earlier as Paul was starting off his letter Paul prays that the colossian church would "be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding" (1:9).

If we connect this with our walk in Christ Jesus, then, in praying for His will in our life, we are completely trusting in his Sovereign Grace to save AND guide us in our walk, following this declaration to walk in all dependency. Paul says we must be "rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught." I thought it interesting that he used past tense verbs. This past sense seems to imply that before our walk with Christ even begins, or at the start, we must be established in faith. I believe this shows how important being in a church and constantly learning from the elders is in our lives.

Paul then ends these two verses by imploring us to be "abounding in thanksgiving." God does not want us to be prideful and arrogant about our salvation, he wants us to be abounding in thanksgiving for His Son's sacrifice. In Ephesians God calls us to "[give] thanks always and for everything." In addition He wants us not only to be thankful for everything, but always. Everything that the Lord does in our lives he wants us to be thankful for. Good or bad.

After we have realized the gift of salvation through Jesus's death, we can do nothing but build up the faith he has given us, and then give thanks for it. A song from the the Valley of Vision cd says

"Jesus, our great Savior,
Lord of Heaven,
Son of God.
Only Jesus."
-Nathan Edwards-

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Resources on Sexual Purity

I ran across an excellent page of resources on Covenant Life Church's website. The whole page is dedicated to resources--sermons, books, and websites--that are geared towards guarding against sexual temptation and aiming for purity. Click here to view the page. (Also, see Covenant Life's sermons page to listen to Joshua Harris' recent series on purity.)

Though I haven't taken the time to use any of these resources yet, I plan on doing so in the near future. Each resource should prove to be a valuable tool in the fight against lust.

I thought I'd make everyone aware of it in case you haven't seen it yet!

-Amber Harrington-

Psalm 22

As I was flipping through the Psalms recently, I decided to give Psalm 22 a read, and the Lord graciously showed it to me in a totally different light than ever before. He helped me to see the Psalm from the perspective of the dying Savior on the cross, rather than reading it from my own self-centered point of view. This fresh, Christ-centered perspective has helped me to get my eyes off of myself and onto the one who truly suffered a lack of God's presence in my place. Listen to the cries of David that point toward the cries of the lonely Savior from the Cross:

Psalm 22:1,2 "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest."

Psalm 22:14,15 "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death."

This is true abandonment. This is real loneliness. Though King David, you, and I can feel alone, our subjective feelings are nothing in comparison to the agony Christ suffered on the Cross as a result of being separated from the Father.

Read Psalm 22 from Christ's perspective and receive a fresh awareness that Jesus suffered total abandonment in our place so that we might draw near to a holy God and never be alone again.


Monday, January 22, 2007

"The Day was Night"

It is blackness,
I cannot see,
I cannot think.
I am full of shame,
there is no hope,
Inside of myself I die.
But Your heart was moved,
You saw me in my sin,
and your beautiful light broke in.
Once agian I breath,
Once agian I live.
I sin agianst you,
yet there is mercy,
always mercy.
The cloud is lifted,
and now I see,
It is in You that I am set free.
Now by Your grace I walk out my salvation,
With fear and trepidation.
'You are a lamp to my feet,
and a light to my path.'
Your Gospel is revealed,
and I am undone,
my sin,
forever gone.
I have fallen,
But you have made me rise,
'I will look upon Your vindication.'
*Psalm 119:105
*Micah 7:9
-Kyle Glick-

Sunday, January 21, 2007

"Not Zealous?"

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Titus 2:11-14

This verse shows us two of the most amazing things for Christians.

The Grace of God and the Glory of God

Both are fathomless. His free gift of grace first gives us, cursed sinners, the blessed righteousness of Jesus Christ, making us blameless before God. Then, through his spirit we receive the strength to change and the ability to be victorious over our sinful flesh. Paul says this grace “appeared” which means it has already become available and is ready for us to take advantage of all its benefits. The riches of the gospel don’t end there. We are then given the promise that one day the Glory of God will be made visible to us. Our Savior not only bore the Cross for us, but our King has crowns waiting for us. He does all this so He can have a people to call His Children and have heirs to His Kingdom. However, here on earth he wants us to be doers of His good works.

O Lord, help me to lay down this life that is not even mine. Grant me the strength to surrender it all to you, so that I may I present my body as an empty vessel equipped for the Your perfect Will. May I rely on your Grace alone, and provide for me a passion for your Glory!

-Ryan Pesce-

Thursday, January 11, 2007

In the Beginning...

This is the official blog of the Singles ministry at Grace Covenant Church of Jacksonville. All posts are by any participating member of Single Focus and are intended to serve others in their walk with the Lord, in order to bring glory to His Holy Name. We would like everyone to know that we are NOT theologians and any doctrinal errors are more than likely due to our ignorance than anything else. Our endeavor is that this blog would be a blessing and encouragement to all, by the grace of our Father in Heaven whom we look to in all that we do.

- Single Focus Family (no we're not in any way affiliated with Focus on the Family)