Savoring the presence of Jesus, as I contemplate a verse, a passage or a picture the Bible paints is a life enhancing gift. I love reading the Bible and, then at some moment, a verse or God's message jumps out. It might be as if the text gets bold or just stops me as I read. The study of the original language and the meaning of those original words paint such pictures. I love to savor those pictures from God: about God, about life, about reality. Savoring God's message. Savoring God's presence. Savoring is a
One verse that grabbed me is Jeremiah 20:9,"But if I say I'll never mention the LORD or speak in his name, his word burns in my heart like a fire. It's like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can't do it!"
Our closeness to Christ can be described as seasons. Seasons of intimacy. Seasons of casualness. Seasons of distance. Seasons of pain and sorrow. Seasons of action and adventure. Seasons of risk and unknown.
Here, it seems like Jeremiah is wrestling with a rough season and might be contemplating taking a break from God and his ministry. During this break of unknown time, God's Word burns in his heart. I wonder what that word was. Was it a passage from the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible? Was it the Holy Spirit revealing God's fresh message? Was it the Messiah, Himself, The Word before becoming flesh stirring in his heart? Was it just living in the beautiful moment of being alive with God overwhelming him? Was it seeing and experiencing creation that stunned him in worshiping God? Was it a friend who showed God's kind and sacrificial love that deeply touched his soul?
Jeremiah does not tell us. But, we know what it was, don't we? We know that heart-filling experience. We know that refueling of hope. We know that breath of fresh spiritual air that is so life giving. We know that invisible touch of Jesus that only Jesus can give.
When was your last savor with the Savior?
What did that joy-filled Savior do in your soul last?
How did that refreshing soul caretaker infuse hope in you?
Or do you need a moment to savor, to contemplate, to connect with Jesus?
Remember Jeremiah 20:9, when we savor the Savior, we cannot keep that life-giving and enhancing moment silent. Savoring our Savior impacts those around us.
Taking time to savor.
How is your attitude these days?
The weather is changing from fall to winter. The days are getting darker and shorter. The economy. Job instability. Issues with health care. The Ebola outbreak. Hunger and
hatred. All of the previous issues are heard about nearly nightly on the news and none of the previous issues inspire or instill hope. Isn't it easy to have a glass half empty mentality? Isn't it easy to join the critics and become an expert at analyzing why everything is so bad and wrong? Isn't it easy to become a Siskel and Ebert thumbs down critic? This is normal and natural for all of us humans, Christian and non-Christian.
It's hard to explain what attitude is but we all know what it means.
Attitude is that inner reality expressed outwardly.
Attitude reveals our past.
Attitude communicates our present.
Attitude predicts our future.
Attitude is our best friend or our enemy.
Attitude attracts or repels people.
Attitude has power.
Attitude is contagious.
I am always inspired by Jesus' attitude. I am always inspired by the attitudes of people who spend intimate time with Jesus. I am inspired by the Psalmists as they complained about their circumstances to God at the beginning of their worship song or poem but by the end, God has transformed their attitude to hope, joy and love. Most often, God did nothing to change their situations yet their attitude was totally transformed.
Phil 2:5 "Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus."
v 14-15 (Msg) "Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God."
Paul reminds us that attitude is a choice. The choice we make rubs off on others. This choice is powerful. It is contagious. It rubs off on people. What are you rubbing off on others?
There is nothing like the...
"I want to" attitude.
"The glass is half full" attitude.
"The nothing is impossible with God" attitude.
What is your attitude like these days?
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.” Phil 2:1-2
Praying that our attitude will be more and more like Jesus' attitude,
While Paul was in his last imprisonment, most likely the place or time leading to his death, he asked his trusted son of the faith, his faithful, fellow pastor Timothy, one of his closest brothers in Christ, to please come visit.
"When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments." 2 Tim 4:13
I'm encouraged by this seasoned servant leader, as he suffered for Christ and was about to face death, Paul still desired to learn and grow. One of the key values Paul, as well as most seasoned servant leaders of Christ throughout history, has is the inner desire to always keep on learning and growing in Christ. What books is the Holy Spirit bringing to you to read, study and discuss? What issues are you wrestling with that our culture is attacking? Who are you inviting to learn together with?
I'm also encouraged by Paul's adapting to the radical change in his circumstances. We see the lesson learned from the fisherman. When a storm hits, instead of fishing, they mend nets. When Paul was hit with a storm causing him to no longer plant churches and preach the Gospel of Jesus, he adapted by studying and writing. When storms come and prevent you from doing what God has called you to do, how do you follow the Holy Spirit's lead to adapt and continue to make an impact for Jesus? How are you always sharing the Gospel of Jesus with everyone, even though our culture seeks to repress this?
I'm especially encouraged by Paul's commitment to God's Word. "Please bring my cloak, books and especially the parchment." Biblical scholars debate whether these books and parchment is OT scrolls or paper with Paul's notes or paper for Paul's letters which become the NT. Regardless what the books and parchment were specifically, we can see that they represent God's Word. How important is it for us to read God's Word? We live in a day and age when our culture, influenced and lead by the Prince of this World (the evil one), challenges and changes God's ways in every arena of life. Our culture, like every culture throughout history, is rewriting the values, the norms, the laws, and what is right and wrong. We need to be equipped, refreshed and renewed with God's Word daily, if not multiple times throughout the day. Do you have a reading plan of God's Word? How are you reading, studying, discussing and memorizing God's Word, the Sword of the Spirit?
Let's be encouraged by this humble, servant leader as he sat in a cold, prison cell, waiting to meet Jesus face-to-face. Can you feel the joy and hope that is bursting out of him in 2 Timothy 4? May that same steadfast joy and hope burst out of us in this day and age.
Praying that the God of Hope encourages you today,
Pastor Chris Reinertson enjoys all sports, especially those involving a ball. He loves to hang out with people and challenge them to be Jesus REVolutionizers.