Tuesday, August 19, 2008

SOAP - 8/19/08 (1 Thess 5:23-24)

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1 Thessalonians 5:23-28

"Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

Brothers, pray for us.

I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you."



"In closing, may God, the God of peace, help you to live a life that is separate from those in the world. What I mean by this is, that you as a whole person be kept blameless until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. God has called you out of the world and he is faithful to help you be holy.

Please continue to pray for us.

You need to swear before the Lord that you will read this letter to everyone.

May the grade of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you."

What is God saying?

The mark of a Christian is a life lived differently from those of the world. This "separation" or "sanctification" does not come from anything we can do. It comes from God. Jesus, who is not only a Savior but Master as well, has a perfect plan for our lives and it is only through him that we can live it. People say things like this all the time, but what does "through him" really mean? It means we need to completely give ourselves over to his rule. Scripture tells us how we are to live. To put it very simply we are to live lives of love. It is put simply but the living a life of love is not as easy. This is where God's Holy Spirit is so essential to the Christian life. God gives us the power through his Spirit to resist the temptation to live selfishly. In essence, God has really empowered us by giving us the choice. Sometimes it doesn't feel like we have much of a choice, but God has promised that he will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle. We always have a choice. The choice becomes easier as we live our lives for God and in line with his perfect plan for us.

We are blameless because of Jesus sacrifice, but wouldn't it be great to have a life that reflects blamelessness when Jesus returns. We need to get started now!!!

What is God saying to me?

I write, and write, and write about it but how much really changes. The real struggle is giving everything to him and allowing my mind to be shaped by the fact that most of what is done here on earth doesn't really matter in the long run. I keep having this driving impulse to live for the here and now. Life has gotten too fast and too busy. I feel like everything should come now and not later. I need to slow down and I need to look ahead.

I do feel this happening to a certain extent. The other day I went shopping because I had some birthday money burning a whole in my pocket. I thought about all the different things I could get with my money. Movies, games, fiction books, etc... Do you know what I ended up buying? I bought a four books that would help me teach my college classes. What has happened? I beginning to see beyond the here and now. I am beginning to see what lies ahead. I'm getting older. How funny!!


It isn't about me anymore. My life is secure. If I were to die today I know where I would go. I have no doubt about it. So why do I need to focus on the here and now? I don't. Now I'm not saying that I need to be come so futurely minded that I am no good in the present, but I am saying that I need to allow my view of the future to shape what I do in the present. What it comes down to is being more bold, which I do believe I has been happening, but I need to be even bolder. One of my SHARE principles is "Everyday has opportunities." The opportunities abound every day. I need to cease the opportunity!!!

Here's an application that is even more personal, and I'll be honest, I really struggle in this area. My family is very concerned about my health. I have diabetes and I do not take care of myself the way I should. I love food, I'm not disciplined (meaning I don't take my medication or exercise regularly), and I still feel a little invincible (though I have to admit that the older I get the less invincible I realize I am). When it comes to this area in my life I continue to live selfishly. I don't think about the future food, I don't think about the time when discipline will be natural, and I don't think about when I will truly be invincible. Instead, I think about how great something tastes and I eat it like I might never taste it again. I confess, I am not holy when it comes to this area. Not only am I not holy but I really struggle with completely giving this area over to Jesus. Let me say this. I know I need to. I know I need to not be so concerned about food and be more concerned about my health and being around longer for my family. I guess what I am really saying, or in essence asking, is...please pray for me!


Father, my sins are the hidden ones that others do not see, or I think others do not see. I struggle being completely holy and blameless. I want to be set apart from the world and I want to not have to struggle with doing what is right. Please help me. I am crying out to you. I need your intervention. Paul says that you "will surely do it." Do what? I believe he is saying that you will surely help us be set apart and blameless. Help me to stop resisiting you and do what needs to be done. Thank you for listening to my prayer. I am trying to be your humble servant.

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