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Archive for June, 2008

Whose “vision” are you following?

June 30, 2008 Leave a comment

Vision has several defintions… Some are listed below.

  1. Unusual competence in discernment or perception; intelligent foresight: a leader of vision.
  2. The manner in which one sees or conceives of something.
  3. A mental image produced by the imagination.
  4. The mystical experience of seeing as if with the eyes the supernatural or a supernatural being.
  5. A person or thing of extraordinary beauty.

As Christians we are to follow Christ and the example He left for us through His Word.  As a body of believers involved in our local churches, we are called to submit to our spiritual leaders and obey them.  (Hebrews 13:17)   Our pastors and leaders are following the “vision” that God has placed in their hearts.  Problems arise when we find ourselves questioning the direction of our leaders.  The Devil attempts to create “division” which simply defined means: two visions.  When there is a separation of believers over details or plans, creating division, the unity of the Spirit (Ephesians 4:1-3) is disrupted. 

I am submitted to a small group leader right now who is teaching the power of prayer and agreement found when believers unite in the Power of God and His Word.  As I continue to learn from God’s Word, I find that more of my time is spent learning the power in submission rather than trying to conform the teaching to my point of view or “vision”.  Personally I have felt God working on my heart and revealing that my growth as a Christian does not depend as much on knowledge as I had originally thought. 

One of the lessons God is teaching me right now is that our pastor(s), and leader(s) need our prayers and support! Our criticism, suggestions, and interpretations often times destroy unity.   My faith  is given opportunities to grow when I am approached with things I do not understand.  (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Proverbs 29:18 tells us that the people perish for lack of vision.  My heart’s desire is to honor Christ by embracing the “vision” of those in authority over me and submitting to them out of reverence for God.

Whose “vision” are you following?

-Jason (Committed to the “vision” of Truth in Love)

A special, special day…Salvation is of the Lord!

June 27, 2008 Leave a comment

I couldn’t wait to share this great news with you: someone we’ve been working with the past month just came to know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and as Lord! This person says that Jesus was never “Lord” of his life though he prayed to ask Jesus to “save” him as a child. This person prayed and cried out to the Lord, “Jesus, save me and be Lord of my life.” This person is now telling everyone and will be baptized this coming Sunday!

Rom. 10:9: “…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Sometimes we forget this verse has a simple truth in it – that we are to CONFESS Him as Lord of our lives!

This person did just that and we are rejoicing for God’s grace in this person’s life!

We are so thankful to God for showing us His fruit from His ministry at Truth in Love!

Rejoice with us! Praise the Lord!

**The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001, S. Ro 10:9

-Mark (thankful that salvation is of the Lord) 

 

POST YOUR COMMENTS HERE

The Impact of the Curse…the Promise of Redemption!

June 27, 2008 Leave a comment

I don’t think you and I – nor our TIL counselees or biblical counselors – truly understand the impact of the curse of sin. We live in a “cursed” world and there is only one way to overcome these curses: the power of Christ living in us, guiding us, empowering us, and enabling us to rise above sin and its harmful effects.

In Genesis 3, man disobeyed God. As a result of mankind’s sin, God Himself cursed the serpent, the woman, the man, and even the earth.

Think about that for a minute: the earth is cursed. No matter how much beauty we see in creation, and there is lots of beauty at the Grand Canyon, beaches, mountains, and elsewhere on this earth, the world is cursed by God for mankind’s sin which began in Genesis 3. In other words, what you and I see on earth is a fallen creation that has only a remnant of the perfect beauty that it had in Genesis 1 & 2 when God pronounced everything that He had made as “very good.” (Incidentally, “very good” means there was absolutely “no bad” in His original creation!) 

This means that the new heavens and the new earth are going to be SPECTACULAR in beauty as they will not be fallen by the curse of sin.

Wow. You and I cannot picture that much beauty in the heaven and earth to come!

Right now, here on the fallen planet earth, there is death, suffering, imperfection, conflict, wars, and selfishness. However, the new heavens and earth will NOT be this way according to Revelation 21:4-5: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” **

What a tremendous future we have, as God’s children, to look forward to! Not to mention, we will be close to Him and not separated from Him due to our own sin! Come, Lord Jesus, come…soon! 

POST your comments here

-Mark (looking forward to my destiny in heaven with my Creator and Redeemer)
**The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001, S. Re 21:4-5

How often do we read our Bible?

June 26, 2008 Leave a comment

I wanted to pose a question today that I’m personally struggling with.  How often do I take time out to read God’s Word?  Not during a counseling/discipling session, or to help a friend out… How much time am I spending being fed by His Word?  My answer…. NOT ENOUGH! 

It’s easy to get bogged down with to-do’s and hectic schedules that try their best to convince us we don’t have time to stop and read.  But we KNOW this isn’t the truth.  The fact remains, if we are honest with ourselves, and go back and look closer, we find time to do those things which we find important. This draws the conclusion that our priorities are then out of place.  Well, it’s time I put forth the effort to place God and His Word in the right spot….FIRST!

My prayer today is that God will give us an absolute passion for His Word that superceeds all the other things going on in our lives.  We do not want to fall victim to the “father of lies” and believe that there just isn’t time to spend reading about “the Counselor” whom has been given to us.

Morning time and late evening are usual quiet times for reading and reflection in my daily walk.

When do you find is the best time to quiet yourself and read the Bible? 

 

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS HERE

-Jason (Reading in Ephesians today)

Truth in Love NOT “truth and love” – the subtle difference

June 26, 2008 Leave a comment

Our name is Truth in Love for a reason. We firmly believe that God’s Word of TRUTH must be delivered, wrapped, marinated, and coated in the LOVE of Christ or else we are failing to serve our counselees.

It’s not “truth and love” because that would imply that they are 2 separated things that we combine in our approach. Instead, we believe that they are INSEPARABLE: the Truth of God’s Word is love to those of us in Christ Jesus! God does not want His children to be deceived by our adversary’s lies (John 8:44 says he is the “father of lies”).

I John 4:8 tells us that “God is love” – therefore, His Word must be loving as well. Man may interpret God’s Word incorrectly and miss the love in His Word – yet that does not change the truth: God’s Word is love to the believer in Jesus Christ.

For this reason, we primarily utilize God’s Word of Truth as an agent of the Love of the Holy Spirit in our biblical counseling sessions!

Romans 8:38-39: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (electronic ed.). Good News Publishers: Wheaton.

Share your thoughts here

-Mark (loving God’s Word of Truth delivered to me in the love of Christ)

How would you define humility?

June 25, 2008 Leave a comment

Humility is defined as “the absence of pride or arrogance; meekness; modesty.” Self-esteem, on the other hand, is difficult to accurately define and can become a catch-all phrase which includes self-image, self-acceptance, self-trust, or self-love. There is nothing wrong with a genuine sense of accomplishment, but it is offensive to God when it becomes prideful. I think of Paul speaking to the Corinthian church when he summed it up “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God” (2 Corinthians 4:5).

                         

So how do we walk in a true spirit of humility? It can be done in several ways.  Ephesians 5:21 and 1 Peter 5:5 emphasize the importance of submitting to one another.  These verses do not say to submit only when a person is right, holds a higher position than us, or has done nothing to hurt us.  They actually show us that we must model Christ-like behavior and attitudes by yielding what we perceive to be our rights through a humble “attitude” of submission.  This is to be done even when the other person is harsh!  I am still learning how to practice this when given the opportunity.  

 

Mark 10:43-45 shows the importance of aligning our lives after Christ by serving one another. Ephesians 4:2 and Philippians 2:3 bring out that “lowliness of mind” is actually demonstrated by esteeming and honoring one another.  The ultimate sign of humility is a person sacrificing all they can to keep the “unity of the spirit in the bond of peace”.  

 

So my question to you today is how would you define humility?  

 

Is there someone in your life that exemplifies a humble spirit? 

 

What steps can we take to be more selfless?

 

Post Your Answers Here

 

-Jason (learning humility through our 0-3 start in Church softball)

 

J

Do Children exist for Parents? OR…

June 24, 2008 1 comment

Do Parents exist for children?

Psalm 127:3 affirms that “children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.”** Children are a blessing from God but the bigger responsibility is on parents. Parents exist for children – “to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” according to Eph. 6:4.

I think too many parents today think that their children exist only to please them. This is not the case and only leads to frustration.

Instead, a biblical mindset is that Parents exist to train, teach, instruct, and to raise Godly offspring for God’s purposes. These children are the “property of God” not the parents: parents are merely “stewards” or “managers” NOT owners!

God is the owner of a child. He alone created that child for His own glory. Parents exist to train the child to know Him understanding that God alone changes the human heart and illuminates one’s understanding to know Him. Nonetheless, God has given the responsibility to parents to point their children to Christ. We, Parents, need to have a mindset that we exist for our children rather than a mindset that our children are here to please or entertain us.

Please post either some parenting stories or advice to encourage us all in the Lord today!

Share your thoughts here

-Mark (grateful to be a parent, but awed by the responsibility it entails!)

**The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (electronic ed.). Good News Publishers: Wheaton.