Tag Archives: Scripture

Place it before God

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
~ Romans 12:1-2 (The Message)

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May we give ourselves fully to God this day and the process of transformation He longs to accomplish in each of us!

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Choices, Christianity, Discipleship, God, God's Will, Morphing, Religion and Spirituality, Scripture, Spiritual formation, Spiritual growth, Surrender

As you read your Bible… don’t lose Jesus!

CautionAre you on the “read through the Bible in a year” bandwagon? It is that time of year when we amp up new strategies with our diets, our exercise, our finances and our Bible reading. But be careful!

Now, before I go any further let me be clear that I am all for new strategies with a new year. Some bemoan that such efforts are worthless since they seldom last the whole year but one report indicated that nearly half of all resolutions are kept for six months. That same report states…

“People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.”

Better to try, and fall short than not try at all!

But before you get too gung-ho about a new Bible reading strategy – which my wife and I are doing – let me offer you this caution.

It’s not about more Bible knowledge or principles to follow as much as it’s about a closer relationship with Jesus.

“You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want.” ~ John 5:39-40 (The Message)

It is entirely possible – and way too prevalent – to know the Scriptures but not know Jesus.

In Deep & Wide, Andy Stanley makes this observation about the early church:

“It was led by men and women who were fueled not by what they believed, but by what they had seen. That simple fact sets the church apart from every other religious movement in the history of the world. After all, it wasn’t the teaching of Jesus that sent his followers to the streets. It was his resurrection… The men and women who made up the nucleus of the church weren’t simply believers in an abstract philosophy or even faithful followers of a great leader; they were eyewitnesses of an event.”

That “event” was Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and the same Spirit that raised Jesus to life again is available to bring us alive to God in new and life-giving ways.

May our Bible reading lead us closer to Jesus and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Bible, Christianity, Holy Spirit, intimacy with the Lord, Jesus, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Resurrection, Scripture

Cultivate Thankfulness

Definition: to prepare and use for the raising of crops; to loosen or break up the soil; to foster the growth of; to improve by labor, care or study.

Synonyms: acquire, develop, form.

We regularly cultivate things such as:

  • Relationships
  • Gardens
  • Health
  • Resources
  • Careers
  • Ideas

But have you ever considered what it would look like to cultivate thankfulness?

15-17 Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. ~ Colossians 3:15-17 (The Message)

From what Paul mentions here, to cultivate thankfulness involves at least three things.

The first is the Word of Christ. The narratives of Jesus; the Bible; Scripture. And what great imagery Eugene Peterson uses here – letting it have the run of the house.

The second is to instruct and direct one another. It’s something we do together.

The third is to sing about it. Other versions refer to this as psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.

I could elaborate on each of these elements but… I’m not going to; at least not now. But I will encourage and challenge you to wrestle with what all of this means by inviting the Spirit of God to bring it to life for you.

As we enter into another week of celebrating Thanksgiving, what better to occupy our minds than what it means to “cultivate thankfulness“?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Gratitude, involvement with the church, Praise, Religion and Spirituality, Scripture, Spiritual growth, Thankfulness

A Peek Behind the Curtain

They were dispersed over a large area and feeling quite alone. Experiencing great difficulty on many levels. They likely felt very discouraged. Perhaps they even questioned their faith in this carpenter from Nazareth who had come back to life.

I’m speaking of John’s intended audience, those first followers of Jesus who would have read the book or letter of Revelation and marveled at all the strange imagery.

I don’t imagine that the life of following Jesus was turning out exactly like they had expected. It seldom does.

John the Baptist saw Jesus and declared, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”

But just a short time later when he sat in jail about to lose his head, John sent disciples to ask Jesus if He was the One they had waited for or if they should wait for another. I’m guessing that John thought doing life with God would be different.

Hadn’t Jesus come to heal and comfort and restore? Why is following Him so difficult, so unpleasant at times? Is it really worth all the hardship and sacrifice?

In The Wizard of Oz Toto pulls back the curtain to reveal a man masquerading as the great and powerful Oz. They are given a different perspective on what’s really going on and who is in charge; and it’s a big disappointment.

But the peek behind the curtain given to John in the form of a vision is much different. In it we catch a glimpse of what life will be like in the very presence of God. And it’s awe-inspiring!

In John’s day, Rome appeared to be in control; but it was really God who was working behind the curtain of our reality.

In our day, Washington, D.C. appears to be in control; but it is really God who is working behind the curtain of our reality.

The center of the universe is heaven, and the center of heaven is a throne, and there is Someone, our triumphant God, sitting on the throne.

Why is following Jesus often so difficult now?

Because we are not home yet!

So hang in there and keep running the race. Keep fighting the good fight. Hold onto the faith.

One day soon God will make all things new!

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Bible, Christianity, Eternity, God, Heaven, Hope, Kingdom of God, Persecution, Religion and Spirituality, Scripture, Suffering, Trusting God

Blinded by what we want to see

When the great astronomer Percival Lowell got a new twenty-four-inch telescope on a mountain in Flagstaff, Arizona, he “saw” a network of canals on Mars that confirmed the theories of Italian astronomers.

He mapped them on a globe, and his 1908 book Mars as the Abode of Life laid out proof that these canals were built by intelligent beings.

Obviously, he was mistaken. But he brings to light a common problem we all have a tendency towards. Sometimes, like Lowell, we see things that aren’t really there.

We approach Scripture with our mind already made up. And then, not surprisingly, we find what we’re looking for.

So when we delve into God’s Word to learn about our Creator and His dealings with mankind, let’s be sure we do so with a good measure of humility.

Then maybe, just maybe… we’ll learn something we weren’t already looking for.

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Bible, Christianity, Humility, Scripture

Our ultimate hope

I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,  in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.  For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: 

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

~ 1 Corinthians 15:50-58

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Filed under Christianity, Death, Eternity, Faith, Heaven, Hope, Religion and Spirituality, Scripture, Serving

Mercy and grace to spare!

One of my favorite passages!

May you be overwhelmed today by God’s lavish mercy and grace!

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Grace, Kingdom of God, Mercy, Religion and Spirituality, Scripture, Trusting God