Turn It On

getpluggedinHave you ever been so worn out that you didn’t have anything left? How did you handle that feeling? What did you do? People handle being physically worn out in different ways. Some take a nap, while others caffeine up. Being physically drained is one thing. How about being spiritually drained and soul starved?

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Power to Serve

Would you accept an offer to have the power to do whatever you wanted? I know I would! Now, can you imagine what kind of trouble we would ALL be in if I had this kind of power? Selfish power is dangerous. We should seek power for godly purposes; that is, power to serve.

Colossians 3:1-17 Study Notes

Yesterday, we opened with “How He Loves Us”

Here are my notes on this week’s scripture section.

1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.

-In former verses, the Apostle Paul has given plenty of reasons why we should follow Christ, rather than false teachers and our own ideas. He reminds us that It is time to stop thinking of heaven of just some faraway place that we hope to see when we die. We should focus on heaven here and now. Heaven is a place of worship and holiness. We can be instruments of worship and live holy lives. We can dwell in the presence of the Almighty as He lives within our hearts. If we realize the reality that Christ is here, we will live our lives in greater purity and passion.

2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.

-Just like exercise builds muscles, Spiritual disciplines lead to holy living. On the other hand, If we let our minds focus on the temporal things like what we can build here on this planet and how we can satisfy ourselves, we will lose out on that which will build our spirits and our souls.
-Focusing on earthly concerns makes us more flesh and materially minded. But the flesh and material pass away quickly, while the spiritual endures forever.

3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.

-Remembering we are dead to the temporal, physical and material things will help us focus on the living Christ. The thigs of the world and the flesh are passing shadows. We need to hold on and hold out for the real power and life found through God’s Holy Spirit and His Son, Jesus Christ.

4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

-Hoping for eternal awards, not temporal, we are faced with the reality that Christ will be revealed to the world. Where will you stand when Christ comes in all His glory? If He is your life, you will share the joy, glory and eternity with Him. If your life is fully satisfied with worldly things which pass away, your passing lead to eternal separation from God, life, peace and joy.

5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.

-Once the Holy Spirit of God dwells within us, it is our choice whether we give in to sin or not. We have the ability to decide the kind of person we want to be. We can put the old ways to death because Christ now lives in us.

6 Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming.

-Our God is jealous for our love and devotion. He is also holy and His holiness will consume all evil. Holiness and sin cannot live in the same place and time. One must win out over the other. Since God has given the ultimate sacrifice of His Son to enable us the ability to choose holiness. His wrath on those who choose otherwise is to be expected.

7 You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world.

8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.

-We don’t have to live like we have in the past, with the same failings. In fact, it is expected that there will be a change because of the power and presence available to us.

9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds.

-Paul turns the focus from how we live our lives to how we treat each other.
We are called upon to live holy in how we deal with each other also. We can’t truly succeed living holy by ourselves. God speaks and works through people. When we lie to one another and treat each other poorly, we alienate ourselves from God’s tools and mouthpieces.

10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.

-The new is only realized when we get rid of the new. We can’t put on a new suit while we wear an old one. The old has to be put off first. Then the new can take its place.
-This new nature is readily available to us. But, how do we know the nature of God unless we spend time with, listen to and learn from Him.

11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

-We are all on equal footing in the kingdom of God. No one has greater power than another. The Apostle and the new convert have the same standing, power, knowledge and newness of life available to us because of the work of Jesus Christ.

12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

-With God’s power, it’s as simple as changing clothes. The beautiful qualities are there for the taking.

-What are you holding on to? Do you enjoy the old life so much that you refuse to let it die? The reality is that you are already dead spiritually if you are living in sin and for worldly things.

13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

-We sin against our children, parents, spouses and friends when we lose sight of how much we need each other. We can all be selfish and self-centered. The challenge then, is to not only change the behavior within ourselves, but to forgive it when we experience it from others.

14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.

-Love keeps us tied together in fellowship with other Christians and close to God.

15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

-Peace is not found in separation from others. Pious self-denial and living alone in a cave will only make you angry and weird. The power and change have to come from Christ living and reigning in our hearts.

16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.

-If we are filled with the richness of Christ’s message, there is no place left for our own ideas of piety, nor for those from false teachers. We can’t let our ears, minds and hearts take in any other ideas of redemption than that of Christ’s love and sacrifice for us.
-Then, with the same Holy Spirit and wisdom in us as was in the Apostle Paul, we have the responsibility to “teach and counsel each other.”

17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
-If we can remember we represent Jesus Christ every hour and minute of the day, we will surely live and act differently. We will ive with love and be thankful, grateful children of God.

Blessings to you all and look for the final two emails for Colossians to come.

Don
www.iSing4God.com

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Come, Holy Spirit – YouTube Release

Way back in June I shared the words to a new song, “Come, Holy Spirit.” Today, I am finally releasing the finished project on YouTube for free after many months and a decent amount of cash spent. It will soon release for download on iTunes and several other online music stores. But I couldn’t wait to share it with the world.

It would be fun for someone to buy the rights and to make money off of what I produce. But  I mostly want to release God’s gifts as quickly as possible. So, here you are. I hope you enjoy “Come, Holy Spirit.” As soon as the download is available, I will let you know.

Don

Click here for the YouTube video link.

Download it on iTunes here.

Song Credits:
Studio Engineer and recording advisor: Glen Dickerson
Vocals: Caitlin Capello
Keyboards: Josh Brewer
Drums: Randy Sloan
Acoustic Guitar and Bass: Brad Singleton
Electric Guitar: Kevin Smith
Songwriter: Don Terry

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The Right Kind of Fear

Fear makes us do stupid things. We run from trouble when we should stand up and fight. We cower from confrontation when we should fight for our principles. Instead of running to God for help, we seek it through the counterfeits of alcohol, drugs, sex.

While counterfeits are more immediate, our fears will keep coming back until confronted and conquered appropriately.

Paul said, “So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you.(Ephesians 5:15-18-NLT)

Alcohol was my favorite tool to numb my mind from the troubles of the day and the pain of the past. But the troubles always returned. Emptiness, shame, anger and, of course, fear always came back.

If running away from confrontation where an Olympic sport, I would hold a gold medal. Instead of fighting for my first marriage, I avoided conflict and let divorce happen. I have left schools, towns, friends and walked out of jobs without notice. All because of fear.

There is another kind of fear. According to Strong’s Concordance, the meaning of the word as used in Psalm 111 includes terror, respect, and reverence.    God. It is the kind of fear that demands respect and acknowledges great power. This fear begins and ends with God.

The psalmist warns, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever. (Psalm 111:10-NKJV)

In his sermon, “Sinners in the hands of an angry God“, Jonathan Edwards emphasized the reality of hell as a real place. Not a bad  reminder.

Hell can begin here on earth. The emptiness of the counterfeits we choose can torture us, as fear’s grip tightens its hold. Granted this is nothing in comparison to the eternal torture of separation from God.

While the fears of the world make us weak, the fear of the Lord gives us strength. It is the latter fear that offers salvation. For, when we fear God enough to do as He commands and walk in His ways, then He can help us. Fear draws us to Him and His loving power sustains us. God is no counterfeit. Instead of numbing, God brings healing. Instead of temporary relief, He brings assurance and eternal salvation.

What will you do with fear? What kind of fear will you follow? Don’t choose a counterfeit. Don’t run away.

Run to God, who is able to help, change and renew you.

Please note: I am dropping back to writing here once a week, as I am writing two books, So, You Want to Serve in a Church and Living in God’s Peace. The first will hopefully be published next month. I should be releasing a new song, “Come, Holy Spirit” next month on iTunes. Of course, as each becomes available, I will let you know. Besides these things, I have a full-time job, exercise three days a week and attend weekly football games to help my son’s band. I am blessed to have so many great things happening and am not trying to show off. It’s just that sin and shame bottled me up for so long, I’m in a season of outpouring. Hopefully, it will continue.

Blessings to you all,

Don Terry, donterry@ising4God.com

Photo Credit: Michael Ely, Creative Commons

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Are You Hungry?

Photo by Fir0002/Flagstaffotos, Creative Commons

Appetite can be a dangerous thing for those who lack discipline.   I love food and don’t make exercise a priority, so I’m overweight. No big shock there. I could eat less and exercise more, but that would mean I’d have to give up something I really like for something I really don’t want to do.

Do you find yourself in the same situation? How about other appetites? There is a cause and effect to all of them.

There are consequence for overdoing. Sometimes giving in just once has dire consequences. Especially if you hunger alcohol, drugs, or sex. (click to tweet)  

I understand the desire to come home and relax with a drink. But there’s danger in putting your trust in alcohol to bring a sense of peace and relaxation. Drugs can help us heal and ease out pain when used appropriately. Used illegally, or abused, we can grow dependent on their effects. Sex is beautiful in the context of marriage. Outside of that context, it can destroy.

I like the taste of alcohol. I will go even farther and say I like the way it makes me feel. But I had to stop drinking altogether for a couple of reasons. I have a long and terrible family history involving alcohol. Both grandfathers and a step-grandfather were alcoholics, my father was an alcoholic and killed two people, using alcohol as part of his defense. The other reason was that I was beginning to enjoy it a bit too much. It’s easy to fall in love with that which tastes and feels good.

Marijuana wasn’t a big deal for me to quit. Though I loved the smell and taste (yes, I inhaled), it made my stomach hurt. Acid, aka LSD, was an interesting experience. But I didn’t like feeling its effects 3 days later. Tobacco was my drug of choice. I still love the smell of cigarettes. Didn’t think I’d go there did you? Might as well be honest, right? I used to smoke a pack a day, sometimes more. I loved smoke break time at work, smoking while driving, after meals, the first one in the morning, the last at night. I loved smoking. This one I stopped because I’ve had asthma since I was a child. Smoking and asthma don’t get along. Another reason I stopped was that it controlled me. I didn’t just like to smoke, I had to smoke.

I could write about my personal experiences with sex, but I don’t want to and you don’t want to know. Trust me. I will just say that I know from experience that sex is easy to confuse with love. Sex can offer a counterfeit sense of closeness and relationship with other people. Uncontrolled sex can be addicting. It can cause children to grow up without fathers, break up families, bring disease and even death.

God offers so much more than temporal things can offer.  Through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, we not only have eternal life, but the presence and power of the Holy Spirit that offers everlasting comfort and strength.

In John 6:35 “…Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”

Trusting in the power of Jesus to save and help is safe. It is in His Words that we find true fulfillment. Drinking from the waters of eternal life, quenches our soul like nothing else on earth can.

Are you hungry? Don’t trust in things that can destroy your body and your life. Trust in Jesus Christ, the “bread of life.”

Live your lives as a song for God.

Don, donterry@ising4God.com

Photo credit: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos, Creative Commons

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Forever Food

How’s that for appetizing?  No one wants to eat spoiled food.  Yet, we’re so consumed with consuming things that don’t last.

We are a fast food culture.  It’s easier to focus on what we can grab and eat right now.  We want instant oatmeal, instant potatoes, delivery under thirty minutes, instant fulfillment!

Jesus encourages to be different.

“Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” John 6:27

Jesus said this to people who had just experienced miraculous provision.  A few loaves of bread and two small fish fed thousands.  Now that is amazing!

This miracle is more about the provider than the provision.

It’s always a great thing to get what we want, when we want it.  Yet, God is more concerned with what we need, than what we want. (click to tweet)

There is more to life than our physical hungers and desires. (click to tweet)

God cares about your hunger.  He even spoils us sometimes.  But we need to watch our priorities.  Focusing on instant gratification is dangerous.

Their hunger was satisfied and they were hooked.  They were going to force Jesus to be their king.  They wanted to stick around Jesus because it’s great to know from where your next meal will come.  I can’t say I blame them.  I’m not sure I would have been any different.  But that kind of thinking is dangerous.

Grabbing what we want, when we want it leads to selfishness, greed, sexual immorality, and other forms of depravity.  But when we focus on the provider, our desires go deeper; our wants are more mature.

We need the power of Christ within, to change us into His image.  We need His nature and desires to be ours.  To walk as Jesus walked, and live as Jesus lived.  That’s the bread we should eat.

This is a process.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  It takes dedication, determination and discipline to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.  Being a Christian requires surrender, faith and devotion.  True Christianity requires the right focus.

What will be your focus today?  What will you go after?  Will you look for that which gives you instant gratification?  Or will you seek after the Spirit of God to fill you and change you from within?

I hope you will choose that which will last forever.

Seek after a relationship with God, through Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.  Ask, and His Holy Spirit will fill you and change you forever.

Photo Credit: Ciar, Wikimedia Commons

Where is The Rain?

Have you ever wondered how you were going to make it?  Maybe you’ve been overwhelmed at work.  Maybe even now, you don’t know how you’re going to make it through the day.  Are the bills are piling up?  Are bill collectors hounding you?  Do you feel hopeless?   Are your energy, money and peace are running low?

I have good news for you today.  God loves you and will provide for you.

Psalm 78:23-29 says,

…He had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven, and had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven.  Man did eat angels’ food: he sent them meat to the full.  He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven: and by his power he brought in the south wind. He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea: And he let it fall in the midst of their camp, round about their habitations. So they did eat, and were well filled: for he gave them their own desire” (NKJV)

I love action words, especially as they pertain to God’s power and provision.  I highlighted them above, but a bit of repetition is good for the soul.  Especially if you have memory issues, as I do!

God commanded, rained, gave, caused, brought, and let provision come.   It’s easy to think about the story of the miraculous provision in the wilderness and think it was just for them.

After all, we don’t see bread or meat falling from the skies.  Yet, we have scriptures like Psalm 102: 27 says, “You are the same, And Your years will have no end.”  and Psalm 100:5, “For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.”

How does that relate to us?  I asked some questions at the beginning.  Where you wondering the same thing?  How does this relate to being overwhelmed physically, emotionally, or financially?

The same God that commanded the heavens to rain down manna to eat, pours his love and Spirit upon us.  “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5)

The same God that “had given them the corn of heaven,” gives us power to live in strength.  “He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength” (Isaiah 40:29)

The same God that caused and brought the wind has made the Holy Spirit blow within us power that we never had before …”His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3)

In the wilderness, God “opened the doors of heaven and let the manna fall.  So, it was there, waiting to be poured out just like His power and provision are.

Does that mean you won’t lose your job, or your home?  I would like to think so, but we know better.  A lot of good people of strong faith have lost and continue to lose a lot.

Yet, God has not brought us into this desert for nothing.  He is still there to provide for us.  Maybe it’s not what we were used to.  The Hebrews enjoyed the bounty of Egypt.  But remember, they were in bondage.

God is taking us to new places though His leading, provision and power.

Will you trust Him?  Will you look expectantly to the heavens for His Spirit to fill you and give you the strength you need?

Next time you see it rain, remember that God rains His love down on us, and fills us with His Spirit, provision and power-Matthew 7:11.

Photo Credit: By Taylor Lee Chapman, Creative Commons

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Full Access

When I was a kid, the one thing I never let stop me was a locked church door, or a gate to the sanctuary.  All I knew was that I needed to be close to God and nothing was going to stop me.

At the time, I equated closeness with God to being in a church.  So, I’d walk around churches, checking every door until I found one unlocked.  I opened the gates that separated where only the priests could enter because I needed to be close to God.

By the way, I wouldn’t try using that as a defense when you’re picked up for trespassing.  Fortunately, I never was.

If I had read Ephesians 2:18-22it would have saved me a lot of time and kept me from breaking and entering where I didn’t belong.

For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.  Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (NKJV)

Here’s what I learn from this scripture:

We have access.  The main thing that drew me to God as a child was the promise of access to God, the Father.  My father rarely came home and I didn’t have many friends.  So, I was a lonely child, who needed a father I could count on and a constant companion.  Thankfully God provided both.  Thanks to the blood of Jesus Christ, we have access to God the Father.

We belong.  We all need to belong to something.  I always felt like a bit of an outcast; that strange kid sitting by himself.  I walked alone, with my head down, hoping no one would notice my awkwardness.  My need to belong is completely fulfilled in Christ.  It is through Him that we are fellow citizens and members of God’s family.

We are built.  This is probably the only way I’ll ever be able to say “I am built” with a straight face.  This kind of building didn’t require weightlifting, thank God!  But, it does require a foundation, which Ephesians tells us is the apostles and the prophets.  God’s prophets brought direction, correction and judgement to His people.  The apostles brought the message of Jesus Christ, as the savior of all.  God builds on these foundations to join us with Him.

We are made to fit.  Bricks and stones have to be cut just right for the building to come together correctly.  You can’t just throw them on and expect it to stay together.  We don’t want the construction company of “Chaos and confusion” building our homes or office buildings.  Why would we want our faith and standards to be any different?  Good strong buildings require a cornerstone.  The Cornerstone of our faith is Jesus Christ.  Our faith is built on what He did for us.  The example we follow is that of Jesus.   We want to live as Jesus did and love as He loved

We are filled.  Once all the prep work is complete, the house is ready for occupancy.  Since we have given our lives to be built with the cornerstone of Jesus Christ and the foundation of God’s prophets and apostles, God’s Spirit is ready and anxious to move in.

God invites you to His family.  You don’t have to go it alone, or go out searching for Him.  God is here now for you.  You belong to Him.  He waits to build you up and mold you into a strong person.  God waits to fill you with His presence.

You have full access to God through Jesus Christ.  (tweet that)

Won’t you reach out to Him today?

-Photo Credit: Reluctanter, Creative Commons

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