Command of Christ #5

Dear Followers,
Here is Amanda's Devotional for Command of Christ #5, I think you'll really enjoy reading this one:)

Hello ladies,
This weeks command is to 'Honor God's Law.' Did you know that by keeping this commandment you will have good success and whatever you do will prosper?!

A young boy had ended up in the hospital with a broken bone and the injuries were severe enough that he needed to stay in the hospital until he was able to heal. He received nourishing food to help build his bones quickly, including meat and milk. However, he did not seem to be healing as he was supposed to, even though he was getting the right foods. It wasn't until after they decided to only feed him meat without the milk, and give him the milk at a different time of the day, that he started to greatly improve. Now, why would this have anything to do with him healing? Well in God's Law we are told that a kid (young goat) is not to be boiled in his mothers milk (Deut. 14:21). At first you may think that this is a really useful tip for the next time you are boiling a goat in milk, but we see a deeper idea here that somehow the nutrients could not properly be absorbed when the boy ate the meat and milk at the same time. God's laws still apply today and we would be foolish to act as if they were not important. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine for reproof for correction and instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect throughly furnished unto all good works" (II Tim. 3:16-17).

Christ said, "Think not that I come to destroy the law or the prophets, I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill" (Matthew 5:17). Christ's commandments were meant to give us a broader understanding of Old Testement Law. Paul said, "All the law is fulflled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Gal. 5:14). A lawyer asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was and Jesus replied, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Mt. 22:36-40). Jesus was saying that all the commandments were based off of two principles: to love God and to love others. The law is not just a rule book, but it shows us how to love God and to love others.

The law also draws us to Christ by revealing our sin, "Nay I had not know sin, but by the law..." (Romans 7:7). We are told that the law is a schoolmaster taking us to Christ, therefore without the law (which reveals our sin) we would see no need for Christ to save us from our sins. The law is necessary for the gospel of Jesus to be real in our lives.

The most exciting aspect of this command is the rewards of keeping it. "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success" (Joshua 1:8). If that is not a motivation to honor God's law, then I don't know what is! The more we mediate on God's laws and keep them before our eyes, the easier it will be to recall them and obey in situations throughout the day.

-How can you honor God's Law today by loving God and loving others?
-What passages of Scripture are you meditating upon?
-Has God revealed to you any commandments that you are not keeping that you need to repent of?

"His delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season, his leaf also shall not wither and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper" (Ps. 1:2-3).

The next command is so important that God says to not even offer Him gifts until we have fulfilled this commandment, so stay tuned!

Some notes adapted from IBLP Commands of Christ Journal and Pocket Guide

Command of Christ #4

Good afternoon! I just heard a sermon where the speaker mentioned that a successful Christian life comes from having successful years, therefore successful months, and successful weeks, and days, and moments. Well how do we make our moments successful? By obeying all of Christ's commandments. Let's look at command #4...

Command #4 is to 'Let your Light Shine.' "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).

A good work is meeting the basic needs of others so that their authorities get the credit.
An important factor in this verse is that we have to be bright lights in order to do good works for God. It does not say that good works alone will give God glory, but when we are bright lights and doing good works that others will glorify God. A lot of people do good things, but they don't have the light of Christ, so God does not get the glory and what does it profit?
If we want to be impacting the world we need to have a life that radiates the love of Christ in every aspect. Then, when we do good works they will ask a reason of the hope that is in us.

I volunteer at a pregnancy center and many of the women that come in are confused, frightened, and feel like there is no one to turn to for help. Most of them also have a broken relationship with God. The counselors are not just focused on getting them to not have an abortion, but to meet their emotional and spiritual needs as well. The clients that we help the most are often very responsive to the Gospel, because they first see that we love them and really care about them.

Ways to Brighten our Light:
-Turn away from all darkness and expose hidden sins to the light. "...God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin" (I John 1:5-7).

-Look unto Jesus. When Moses was in direct fellowship with God his face radiated so brightly that the people were afraid to look at him. When we are in prayer, in His Word, and in full fellowship with Him, we will radiate His glory.

-Show genuine love. "He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him" (I John 2:10). Genuine love is giving to others basic needs without having personal gain as your motive.

-Does my life contrast with those of the world? Or do I look like the darkness of the world?
-Do I daily spend time in God's presence so that I can reflect His glory?
-What good works am I doing to show the light of Christ?
-Does God get the glory for the good works I do? Do I deflect praise to Him?

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God has befroe oradained that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10).

May we be in full fellowship with God so that our good works will point others to Christ,

A Privileged Performance!

Last night, I was so blessed to have the privilege to attend my friend Jordan Strang's Performance of Rachmaninoff's second piano concerto with a full orchestra.
It was amazing to see Him perform so extremely well to God's glory.
I hope you enjoy these photos.

No photo please:)

Me after the concert (this is actually one of the best photos ever of me)

Jordan and Evan "The accidental twins"

Strang sisters, and Yvonne and I!
It's so fun to be with such good friends.

My favorite 3 year old and I

Jordan after the concert. (I love the expression:)

Yvonne looks so beautiful in this photo.

Jordan takes a bow.

Fun with an iPad.

I love Yvonne's expression in this photo.

Shutter happy Eden:)

My favorite photo of the night.

What a wonderful group of friends, and what a wonderful time we had:) Can't wait until the next time we can get together!

All photos courtesy of Evan Smythe Photography, and used by permission. Please do not use photos without permission.

Happy Valentine's Day!

1 Corinthians 13

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Happy Valentine's Day!
When you think about Love, don't forget the One who loves you most!

A Heart made especially for you by God:)

Command of Christ #3

Good afternoon! I am really excited to share this command with you! (I timed it and it took me less then 3 minutes to read this-including the Scripture refrences, you can do it!!!) The command this week is to 'Rejoice.' Jesus said, "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. REJOICE, and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven" (Matthew 5:10-12).

Someone was telling me about a mother who had just had a miscarriage, and had others in the past. They really wanted to have children, but after being pregnant for many months, would lose the baby. Everytime they lost a baby, they were saddened, but the mother commented that she felt bad for those who never had hardships and never had to go through tough times because they did not get that opprotunitty to grow closer to God and learn from the trials.

To rejoice is to be able to thank God, like this mother, in troubles, trials, persecutions, and trying times knowing that God is in complete control and works all things together for good. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).
To rejoice is to know that God will never give us anything that we cannot handle, but uses trials to build our character and to bring us to see our need for Him.

How to Rejoice in Trials:

1) THANK GOD. "In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (I Thess. 5:18). This command often begins with a choice to rejoice; we will seldom feel like jumping for joy when our car breaks down, so we must obey first and the feelings will follow. Thank God in prayer, verbally, and in song. Thank Him for His purposes in the trial.

2) FIND REASONS TO REJOICE. "I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18). When we suffer for Christ's sake and with a godly response, then our reward in heaven will far outweigh the troubles we face now. (See II Pet. 4:12-14).

3) ENGRAFT RHEMAS. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word (Greek: rhema) of God" (Romans 10:17). Rhemas are special passages to us that we memorize and meditate upon so God can bring them to our minds in our time of need. I remember when I was a new Christian I came upon a verse that practically lept off the pages, it was like someone had highlighted it and circled it. I got up and excitedly told my parents about the verse, not even knowing what it meant. I was so excited about this verse that I even made my email based on it. Since then, God has never impressed to me a Scripture like that. The verse was Job 23:10, "But He knoweth the way that I take, when He hath tried me I shall come forth as gold." When I first read it, I thought that it meant that before I became a Christian I was like a rock, but after becoming a Christian I was like new gold. God was giving me a rhema, but I never memorized it and meditated on it. This past year I went through a time of suffering where I was really struggling and felt so confused. God reminded me of this verse and I looked it up; I finally understood what God was really meaning in this verse! He was telling me that I will go through trials that He has ordained, but I will come out better, like purified gold. If I would have kept this in my heart over the past years, I wouldn't have been surprised when trials came, but would have been quick to rejoice knowing that God was trying to turn me into a substance more valuable.

-Do you view trials as God's way of bringing you to spiritual maturity?
-What Scripture verse (rhemas) has God given you to strengthen you in trials? Have you memorized and meditated on them?
-Is your first response in trials, persecutions, and undesirable situations to thank God?
-What is a present trial in your life that you can find reason to rejoice in now?

God has been showing me that this is a command that will take my whole life to get better at and may be one of the hardest to put into practice. With His Word though, we will have the power to endure. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

(some notes adapted from IBLP Commands of Christ study guide)

Commands of Christ #2

Here is the second post from my friend Amanda. I think you'll really enjoy this one:)
Let me know your thoughts!

Happy Tuesday!
It is a chilly 30 degrees here, but the sun is coming out and that makes for a very nice winter day!

Command #2 is probably a command that you're familiar with..."And He saith unto them, Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men" (Mt. 4:19). So the command we will look at this week is to 'Follow Me'..and I don't mean on Pintrest!

In a skit about marriage, a girl was diligently searching for something through a pair of binoculars. Her dad came up and said, "Um, Sarah, what are you looking for??"
She replied, "Well I am looking for a husband!"
"I think there might be a better approach" he responded sarcastically.
"Better approach?? What do you mean?"
"Well, that may not be the best way to find a husband, do you have any Biblical support for looking for a husband that way?"
"O yea!," she replied excitedly, "Matthew 4:19; I will make you fishers of men!"

I think she may have had the meaning a little off, but do we really know what it means to follow Jesus and be a fisher of men??

To be a follower of Jesus Christ we must exchange our priorities, affections, and life goals for God's priorities, affections, and goals for our lives. It means we must lay aside our ambitions for God's specific purposes for us, which include to 1) know Him in a personal way and follow Him all our days, and 2) to make disciples of others by teaching them whatever He has commanded us.

A natural response to becoming a follower of Jesus is to be a fisher of men. Why did Jesus call us to 'fish'? Well, as we look at the context, it is very significant! Jesus was first talking to Peter, Andrew, James, and John who were fishermen. Rather than catching fish one by one with a pole, they caught them by the net-full! They also fished at night with a light hanging over the water, because they knew that the fish were attracted to the light and would swim right into the net.
This gives us an example to follow, because we are to attract others to Christ by His light through us. When we are in good fellowship with the Lord, we can't help but radiate His love to others. We may try to persuade others with cunning words, or big events, but the most effective way to win souls is to be growing closer and closer to Jesus ourselves.

-Are you answering God's call to be a fisher of men?
-Are you living in a way that shines the light of Christ or would people be surprised when they found out you were a Christian?
-In order to be a fisher of men, what changes do you need to make in your life?
-How have you exchanged your priorities for God's priorities?

"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he that winneth souls is wise" (Proverbs 11:30).

Sharing our faith can be very scary, but it will bring joy to your heart and lasting rewards! Do not put off God's call any longer!

(some notes adapted from Commands of Christ by IBLP)

Happy Birthday, Elanee!

Hey Everyone! 

I am asking you to join me in wishing my dear friend, Elanee, a very Happy Birthday!  :-) You can leave a little note in the comment box!  :)
You have been such a great example of a young lady striving to be Godly and encouraging others to do the same.  

Thanks for being such a wonderful friend!  
"Sing unto the LORD with the harp, with the harp, and the voice of a psalm."
Psalm 98:5

20 and Counting:)

I guess I can officially say, Happy Birthday to me:)

Does 20 sound old to anyone else? Or is it just me?
When I was little, twenty was that age when everything seemed grand and adventurous. No one who was 20 had the problems I had as a little girl, (or so it seemed) I just couldn't wait to be older so I could do all the things that big people got to do.
"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." 1Corinthians13:11

And now that reality has hit, I wish I could be young for just one more moment. I miss all the joys of being a child, and exploring life without knowing that things could be difficult and challenging.
If anyone told me when I was younger that life would go pretty much opposite of what one imagines as a little girl, I wouldn't have believed them. But then again, without hardships and challenges we wouldn't value the moments of happiness. "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."1Corinthians13:12

I'm so grateful to God for His salvation and redemption, without Him I would certainly be lost. I look forward to the many years He has in store for me!

So here's a poem I wrote, that helps me focus on the true meaning of my life so far, and gives me hope for the future:)

All that I am I owe to Thee,
All that I have I give,
Take thou my life and let it be,
Teach me how thou didst live.

Savior thy sacrifice thy pain,
To nothing can I compare,
All of thy loss to me was gain,
As life thou with me hast shared.

Only this one wish I have,
Grant thou my hope and plea,
That others through my life may see,
The life that You have to me. Amen!

"And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." 1Corinthians13:13

A Special Series!

Dear Followers,

Here is the first of a series of posts from my friend Amanda Davis. She is writing excerpts and encouragement from her life and applying if to the commands of Christ from Matthew 5,6,&7.
I hope you enjoy reading about how God has worked in Amanda's life.
Let me know how this impacts you in the comments section.



Hello everyone,

So here it is Command #1, can you guess what the very first command was that Jesus gave???

Matthew 4:17 says, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Christ's very first commandment was to repent. Why did Jesus command us to repent before giving His other commandments?

Repentance means that we are sorrowful over a broken relationship with God. Oftentimes we feel sorry about what we did or know it was wrong, but the sorrow is really only over the consequences it brought. Repenting is turning away from ways that disgargree with God's ways, and turning to follow Him. My first time of truly repenting before God marked the beginning of my new life in Christ...

Growing up I was a pretty good kid, I even read my Bible every day and prayed! However, as I grew up, the things of the world became more important to me than God, and soon Bible reading and prayer were a rare event. God was not in many of my thoughts and my life was lived based on whatever I wanted to do and whatever felt right. But I thought I was a Christian, because I believed God existed and went to church some Sundays. The truth was, however, that I had not come to the realization that I NEEDED God to save me from the sure destruction of hell. My life was characterized by wrong activities, immodesty, bondage to sin, and dishonoring attitudes.
My dad did not want me to go to college--he didn't think I was ready and didn't want me to go into debt. Of course I thought he was trying to ruin my life and decided
that I would do whatever I thought was right. Which violates God's command 'Thou shalt honor thy father and mother...", but that is for another email. : ) I had registered for school, found a roommate, went to orientation, and was all set to be 'free' from my parents. My parents relationship was not healthy either and my rebellion was causing a lot of stress. Finally, out of desperation my dad took me to a Christian conference to learn about principles from the Bible. I agreed to the week-long event hoping somehow God would convince my dad that he really needed to let me go to college. God had other ideas, however, and as I sat and listened to how I had completely violated God's Word, yet called myself a Christian, my heart changed. God showed me that I did not love Him, nor did I desire to live a life for Him. At that point I saw my need before God and realized that I had a broken
reltaionship with Him and my default destintion was eternal turmoil in hell. I needed Christ to save cleanse me from my sin. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:9) I remember driving home from the conference on the last day and just weeping. I tried to hold in my tears, but I could not. At home I continued to cry, God had showed me my need and I was truly sorrowful over my broken relationship with Him. I decided to honor my parents and not go to OSU and from then on my life has never been the same. God has CHANGED MY LIFE. It wasn't because I was a good person and deserved to go to heaven, it was because God showed me my sin and guilt and I repented before Him. My whole family has changed and I could write pages and pages of how God has restored my family and blessed us beyond what we would have ever thought possible.

"And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because He hath appointed a day, in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised HIm up from the dead"( Acts 17:30-31).

If we have never repented, then we are separated from God and cannot fully understand and obey His commandments. That is why God called us to first repent.

Repentance is a total change of heart and a total change of mind. Have you repented over your broken relationship with God and realized you needed a Savior? Is there sin or something you know God does not want you to be doing that you need to repent of? What things is God bringing to mind that you need to change to be in a right relationship with Him?

Now this e-mail may have taked longer than five minutes to read, but the next e-mails will not include such lengthy stories...I don't think.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about Christ's first command to us! Keep on the look out for Christ's second command to us.

Endure to the End!

" But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved" Mark 13:13

In the midst of trials, and suffering it is so easy to give up.
It takes great faith to endure to the end. What verses of scripture help you endure in the hard times?