engage to transform…

Okay, today is the beginning of a new year… God is the God of beginnings. In the beginning, God hovered over emptiness and spoke the Universe into existence… Light, Truth, Knowledge, and all the elements of the world began. I love fresh starts and do-overs. Every sunrise is God’s reminder that He is and always will be the lover of new beginnings. God sends His signal out each morning. God invites you and I to look for Him in every part of the world. We must diligently listen for His voice and let the past hush behind us as we look ahead… we must walk with the Truth…

I am not a writer. However, as a result of desiring to understand God’s will for my life, I have decided to keep my journal here. (It is my goal to work daily, but in the busyness of life I may miss one or two!) I am in the midst of studying the book of John and am fascinated at how Jesus interacts with others. It seems that Christ followers tend to cozy themselves up within the walls of their churches or become so immersed in the world that they look a lot like it. I want balance! I want to engage the world with the goal of transforming it. This means I need to capture the attention of culture and make an effort to change it so that the world might reflect the image of its Creator. .

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The Birth of a King

A young woman named Mary grew up in a small town in Galilee. She was planning to marry a young man named Joseph. While Mary was tending to her daily activities an amazing event transpired in her life. All of a sudden an angel, Gabriel, appeared to her. He exclaimed, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled. But the angel told her not to be afraid. God had looked down from heaven and was about to give her a special privilege. The angel told her, “You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the Name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.”
Mary had never been with a man and was still a virgin. She did not understand how this would happen. She answered Gabriel with these doubts. Gabriel comforted Mary with these words, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.” God would set up His tent over Mary, His seed would overshadow her seed, and a Son would be born. Mary responded saying, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” Gabriel left Mary. Mary went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who was pregnant also. Mary poured out her heart to the Lord for His goodness and grace toward her.
When Joseph heard about Mary’s pregnancy, he did not understand. He decided not to expose her to public disgrace, so he would divorce her quietly. An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. In the dream the angel told Joseph that the child she was bearing was conceived by the Holy Spirit. The angel confirmed to Joseph the name of this child, Jesus. When Joseph woke up, he married Mary, but had no union with her until she had Jesus.
Early in their marriage and while Mary was about to give birth to Jesus, a decree went out from the Roman government. A census was going to be taken for tax purposes and everyone was required to return to their ancestral home. Since Mary and Joseph were of the house of David, they left for Bethlehem. When they arrived there was no where to stay, so they set up for the night in a manger. During the night Mary went into labor and gave birth to a little boy. She wrapped him tightly in cloths and placed Him in a feeding trough. The little King was born! An angel announced to shepherds outside of Bethlehem that a Savior had been born tonight and they would find Him in the feeding trough wrapped up in cloths. Very quickly a multitude of angels filled the sky before the shepherds. They sang praises to God:
“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
The shepherds ran to Bethlehem to see the newborn King. When they saw him, they told others what had happened to them while they tended their sheep. Others were amazed at what they said. They returned to the fields glorifying and praising God for His great goodness to them.
Mary and Joseph traveled to Jerusalem to present their little son at the temple for his circumcision on the eighth day. They named Him, Jesus, which means Jehovah Saves. While they were there, Simeon, a righteous and devout man, who had been waiting for the consolation of Israel found the young couple. Simeon took the little baby in his arms and praised God for allowing him the privilege of seeing the One who would save all peoples of the earth. Mary and Joseph marveled at what was said about Jesus. Simeon handed Jesus back to Mary and prophesied that she would have her heart pierced by the events that would take place around her little boy. Also at the temple a very old woman named Anna, who was a prophetess, spoke to Mary and Joseph. Anna saw in Jesus the redemption of Israel. Mary and Joseph were amazed at all that had taken place. They returned to Nazareth.
In Nazareth, Mary watched as her little boy grew. One day she was tending to her daily tasks when she was visited by men from the east. These Magi had seen a star and knew that it pointed to the birth of a King. They left Persia to worship the King. Arriving in Israel the men went to find out about the King that was to be born. This inquiry disturbed King Herod and he searched the prophets to find our where this king was to be born. Micah 5:2 stated that “out of you (Bethlehem) will come a ruler.” Herod found out when the star appeared. He sent the Magi to Bethlehem and told them to return to him with the news about the child. While on their way the star appeared and they were led to a house (in Nazareth). Here they found Mary and the child, and bowed down and worshiped him. They brought gifts of gold, of incense, and of myrrh. They did not return to Herod, but went home by another route.
This visit brought danger to Jesus and all the little boys in Bethlehem who were under two years old. Herod had been outwitted by the Magi and he ordered that all the little boys under two be killed. However Joseph had been warned in a dream to leave, so during the night after the visit of the Magi he left for Egypt. Jesus was safe here.
After Herod died, an angel appeared to Joseph telling him to return to Israel. Joseph picked up his family and they settled in Nazareth. Here Jesus grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom and God’s grace was on him. Every year Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Jerusalem for Passover. When he was twelve he stayed behind in the temple courts amazing the teachers by his questions and his insight into the law. He continued to grow in wisdom and stature, in favor with God and men, until he appeared at the age of thirty before John the Baptist to begin His ministry of teaching and healing.
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Got your Bible glasses on?????

Have you ever wanted to change the world? Or maybe just make a difference right where you are?
I have… and I believe that as Christians we need to be working toward our own transformation… as well as the world around us… but where do we begin???? We must learn to lead with a biblical perspective… in other words… with our Bible glasses on. How do we do it? We lead. A transformed leader is someone who views the world from God’s perspective, who exercises her gifts and talents with excellence and perseverance, and who strategically plans to serve others along the way. Leaders go over the edge for other people. Jesus says that we are to serve. When we lead like Jesus we will be servant leaders. In doing so we show the world who Christ is and that He is in control. We can trust Him because He is all-powerful. Christians need to influence the world with a vision while they are plugged into the power source… who is Jesus. We should use the abilities that God has equipped us with. I was made for His pleasure and in His image. He is loving, creative, and personal. To be fully human is to be creative, reflective, intelligent, relational, and reasonable. I need to be the reflecton of God’s Glory… I am His masterpiece. Christians must learn to create culture instead of letting it create us. I must know Him so that I can know the kind of person I am supposed to be. I cannot really know myself, the world, or how I should live without knowing the One True Living God. If I am His, then I must reflect His likeness and His light. Light makes things clear… light dispels darkness. We must practice discernment… the best way to reflect Truth is to use the Light…. We must put our Bible glasses on and learn to discern. I must carefully engage the culture in order to transform it… help me be a person of deep faith… a fearless explorer… a creature that pursues Truth. I must have unshakeable faith… with new emotions, new thoughts, and new power…
Jesus changed the world, so can we!!!!.

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Who is God? What is He like?

Ultimately everyone will have to answer the question. Is there a God? If the answer is yes, then what is He like? After that follows the question… Who am I? Why am I here? Is anything true or real? We could go on and on. Many times we spend our time doing just that when the answer is right in front of us… God’s revelation to men is the person of His Son, Who is Jesus… Jesus explains God.

The Son of God is one person of the Eternal Divine Trinity and as such has always existed. God took on human flesh and became the man we know as Jesus Christ, at a specific moment in history. Today He remains the unique God-Man forever. Jesus humbled Himself even to death on a cross. Jesus will also return for His children one day and take them to be with Him forever. John 1:18 states… “No man has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.” John’s Gospel is the clearest photograph we have… of Jesus as God. Jesus is self-existent as I Am…

Is it man that saves? or is He God? The answer is yes. We must approach Jesus Christ as a true man within the context of history. A man who actually said and did certain things. But we will not understand Him even in that context until we recognize that He is also God and that His divinity alone gives meaning to His speech and actions… Because we believe we must live an extraordinary transformed life….

He makes that possible… and that changes everything!!!!!.

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Do I really need a Guide?????

A guide is someone who shows the way by leading, directing, or advising… to lead, to shepherd, or to steer…. God is my Guide… The Bible tells me that He is my lamp and He turns my darkness into light. He makes me lie down where the pastures are green (I probably hadn’t thought about a rest!)… yet I am led by quiet, calm waters… He restores me along the way and guides me along the right path… all this is for His Name’s sake. He teaches me and guides me in His truth. Even when I am blinded by things in the world… He will take me through what is unfamiliar and make the path smooth when it seems to be a little rough. I can learn from Him because His voice will become familiar to me as I follow. I must be a listening lamb…. Following Jesus is reasonable, supernatural, and practical. He gives me His Words, which are truthful and reliable. I can understand who Jesus really is. I can trust that He is able to transform my present reality…. I just need a touch of Ultimate Reality!!!!.

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Death and the Christian

Recently we have been inundated with death from various celebrities… including Michael Jackson and Farrah. Yes, I watched the Memorial of MJ and was wondering how I might relate this to my faith in Christ. Jesus was mentioned many times, but mostly MJ was glorified. How are “little Christs” to react to this? I believe we must stand on the Truth… But most of all be Truthful. MJ was an “intimate stranger” in my life as probably in yours. As a 7th grader, I was an “I want you back” and “ABC” and “I’ll be there” fan… As a parent of little boys in 1983, I remember watching the “Thriller” video with them as often as we could find it. They also wore one glove… silver socks with loafers… and had MJ jackets. Why are we so influenced by the culture? How can I be in the world, but not of it? Well, the best thing I can come up with is to engage it. So I will use what I have been influenced by to discuss what is relevant to the culture. In this case, death. Death is the end of physical life. Physical death results because of sin (Romans 5:12;6:23) and all men die. How can I have life? According to the Bible, Jesus is life. If He is the only one who has overcome it, then my belief in this truth is my only hope. So what does that have to do with MJ… I can remember and enjoy the music that meant a lot to me. It can also open up a dialogue to others who may wonder about death… Hosea 13:14 records…“I will ransom them from the power of the grave??; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave,? is your destruction? Jesus says… “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Therefore… the choice is yours…
The final prayer given by Pastor Lucious Smith of the Friendship Baptist Church stated in his prayer… “even now the king of pop must bow his knee to the King of Kings….” as must we all…..

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Need a Life Preserver?????

To preserve means to maintain the condition of, to keep, or to protect…
God preserves by keeping His children safe in the midst of trials and He gives them endurance. He guides us on the right path. He protects the simple hearted. God works for the good of those who are called by Him and love Him. He catches you when you are falling… He says you are valuable to Him, and there is no need to fear. Nothing can happen to you that is apart from God’s purposes and plans for you. God gives fresh starts to those who trust in Him, instead of in themselves. He provides a way out of trials and will not give you more than you can handle. God gives you direction. He watches and hears those who are eager to believe Him. He shields those who love Him…

When God is your preserver, you have nothing to be afraid of.
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The Sovereignty of God

The sovereignty of God is made clear…

God rules over all things. He gives strength and power and rules over nations. He owns the world. He creates, He destroys, and He prospers. God’s Word stands firm. He is a God that demands our worship and obedience. God has the right to give as He desires. God determines everything about your life. He saves you and He keeps you. He decides who is to be judged or who is to be exalted. He is majestic, powerful, and rules as a King. He is a King. All things are under His control… they work for our good and His Glory. He does not wait to see our reaction before He acts. His plans are set for His purpose…
We must change our thinking and our behavior because of the Sovereignty of God…

Other Scripture: 1 Chronicles 29:12; 2 Chronicles:20:6; Job 41:11; Isaiah 45:7, 23; Psalm 75:6-7

What does it mean that God is sovereign?
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Life of Moses

Will you choose to follow the Leader?
God’s Leader, Moses

Chosen (Preserved) by God (Exodus 2)
Called by God (Exodus 3:4)
Sent by God (Exodus 3:10-15)
Accompanied by God (Exodus 3:12)
Conversant with God (Exodus 5:22-23; 6:1-8)
Anointed by God (Exodus 7-12)
Led by God (Exodus 13:21-14:4; Numbers)
Delivered by God (Exodus 14:5-30)
Confirmed by God (Exodus 14:31)
Grateful to God (Exodus 15:1-21)
Strengthened by God (Exodus 16:6-10)
Commanded by God (Exodus 20:1-23;19)
Protected by God (Exodus 23:20-24:18)
Instructed by God (Exodus 25-40)
Disciplined by God Numbers 20:1-13)
Inspired by God (Deuteronomy 33)
Buried by God (Deuteronomy 34:1-9
Evaluated by God (Numbers 12:3, 6-8; Deuteronomy 34:10-12)

As you study, will you ask God to give you the desire to Love Him with your Whole Heart?
As you study, will you listen to what God says and do what He says?
As you study, will you be transformed by renewing your thinking by linking your life with His?

The Lord Himself…is your LIFE

Welcome Ladies… I hope you will enjoy the study of the Life of Moses in BSF this year. Listed above are some of the character traits of one of God’s leaders. It is my prayer that you will Love God, Listen to His Voice, and Link your Life with His… while we follow His leader, Moses..