We are a new creation.

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15He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.

16So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 18And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:15-18 (NLT)

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life ha begun!” Wow! Some translations put it this way: 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (ESV) Having received this gift of forgiveness of sin, this gift of Jesus, the new life through Him, you are a new creation. God is doing a new work in you. God has given you the new nature of Christ Jesus. God is working for you to know Him and to live according to calling you have received.

I pray for you that you will recall throughout this day, “I am a new creation of God in Christ Jesus my Lord!” Why? Because He died for you to bring you back to God!

In Relief

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12Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 14Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Philippians 2:12-16

Shine like stars.

Darkness is not necessary for us to enjoy light. That’s how it is with Jesus. There is no darkness in Him. However, we are different story. The light of the stars is most obvious in the backdrop of darkness. In relief we see what the darkness cannot hide. So it will be with those of us who are being transformed by the grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. “In the midst of a crooked and twisted generation” we are to shine “as lights in the world” as we hold the “word of life.”

Messing with Artistic Detail and Reliefs 

I have reflected for days now on this art on the Chem building at UBC. Reliefs are easily muddied. And that’s what concerned the Apostle Paul. Going about our lives grumbling and disputing rather than leading into the challenges of this world with Jesus and from God’s perspective will easily cover up God’s glory in us. Grumbling has its sources: legalism, ignoring problems, unforgiveness, unbelief, bitterness, and rage. All loosen our grip on the Gospel and all cloud the glory of Jesus in and through our lives.

Hold fast to Jesus and work it out with Him!

Head-On Collision with Truth

Its constant.

Since the day we were born forces opposed to

the glory of God have been working to mold us

into something contrary to God’s vision of us.

Conform.

But the Gospel ushers us into a head on collision with Truth.

And this collision with Jesus, full of grace and truth,

changes us.

Transform.

His grace forgives us of sin, makes us alive, and morphs us

into someone recognizable to Him.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  Romans 12:2

After conversion, you might expect that the world’s pressure diminishes.

Not my experience.  The pressure increases.

Left to my own devices my vision of God’s grace dims.

I need renewal.

Informed by the Word of God and empowered by the Spirit of God

my mind needs to be renewed continually.

Oh Heavenly Father,

take away this veil, this fog, this dullness

and awaken me again to your grace and truth;

let me rejoice in your goodness;

give me the mind of Christ.

SPECKA–bible study any place any time with anyone

I’m always on the lookout for ways to promote study and application of God’s Word.  I believe we need to move our western romance with information or knowledge on toward speedy obedience when it comes to us and the Bible.  Please don’t hear me saying that I am against education.  I just think we get inoculated against the power of God’s Word to change our lives when we become dependent on a “studied person” as opposed to seeing every person empowered to open the Scripture and experience the shaping work of the Holy Spirit.  Here is a way to do that.

If you are using a narrative passage of Scripture have someone prepared ahead of time to tell the story.  Then have someone read the text.  Then make your way, one question at a time through the following questions:  SPECKA

S  is there any SIN to confess or avoid in this passage?

P  is there any PROMISE to claim?

E  is there any good EXAMPLE to follow or bad EXAMPLE to avoid?

C  is there a direct COMMAND to obey?

K  is there any KNOWLEDGE about who God is or how He works?

A  what is the APPLICATION?
     1st.  What are the general APPLICATIONS from this passage?
     2nd.  What are your personal APPLICATIONS from this passage?

 

Enjoy.  And if any of you do this by yourself or with a group of friends please give me feed-back on how it went.