Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Faith and Righteousness

This morning, I did the old flip open your bible and read whatever it lands on...

Psalm 85:11 (New International Version)
11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven.

This verse simply speaks to me that our role is to be faithful and God can shower us with righteousness. Sometimes we get it twisted backwards and we think that because we live righteously that God will be faithful.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Philippians 4:8

This week has been a fantastic journey through some of my favorite scripture in Philippians. I feel like this has been a great reflection time on where I have come in my faith and where I still have to go. The fact that I still struggle with anxiety at times shows me that I need to do more to seek God's peace in times of uncertainty. I need to try harder to allow God to take my thoughts captive. God says our attitude towards others should not change depending on the situation in our lives. God is near.
I love how Paul writes in such a way that you can tell that he has been through such grief in his time. He went through such grueling torture such as being chained up on the bottom of a dark ship that was lost in the Mediterranean sea. He was a prisoner. Only through the Holy Spirit could he have found a way to teach fellow believers to brush things off and keep an eternal perspective. Not to be worried about uncontrollable circumstances.
The last verse that I want to focus on is Philippians 4:8 -Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

I feel like each day this week God has given me a new dose of the prescription that we need to deal with worry and anxiety in times of uncertainty. This week has been about overcoming certain mental and spiritual battles. Monday was about taking a step back from all the things that God has done and brought me to and just rejoicing because He is God. Tuesday brought a dose of allowing the gentleness to flow from my spirit no matter what the circumstances are, always keeping in mind that the Lord is near. Wednesday, showed me how to really uncover the deep mysteries and what it means to really present requests to God. Thursday, I felt like I was plugged into an IV full of peace. With Jesus comes peace and we need to allow God to guard our hearts and minds rather than our situations. If we can do that, then we will be content in every situation. On Friday, God capped the week off with showing us what to turn our attention to. He wants to engulf our thoughts with the wonderful qualities that define Jesus Christ.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Philippians 4:7

After suggesting that we should be seeking God for revelations about what our deeply rooted core concerns are, Paul writes in Philippians 4:7 to tell about the effect prayer and presenting our requests to God will have on us.
Phil 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
God's peace - The gospel of John demonstrates several instances where Jesus showed back up to the disciples after the resurrection. Verse 19 says the disciples were gathered together with the doors locks and Jesus appeared to them and said, "Peace be with you!" Again, in verse 21, His message was "Peace be with you!" His words were straight and to the point. It reminds me of a state of mind I was in after my favorite sports team won a championship. In January of 2007, I was down in Gainesville to experience the Gators' National Championship win over the Buckeyes. After the game my friends and I joined the entire city in the main streets of the town to rejoice in the fact that our team had done it! We were singing and dancing through the streets. It was a moment of awe. Everyone was short for words, but jubilant. It was wonderful. The anxiety of a season where teams were constantly trying to knock the Gators off had finally been released. We experienced peace in our minds. Jesus' message was PEACE BE WITH YOU!! He was talking to a group of disciples who were under serious emotional turmoil to the point where they locked themselves together in a room for fear of the Jews. Jesus brings peace.
Let God guard your heart - the deep rooted concerns that we have are in our hearts and minds. This gets back to the point I made yesterday about anxiety being the sum of all of the distractions away from God. What are we truly worried about? What are we asking God. This verse says to ask God to stand guard over our hearts and minds. Not to stand guard over our jobs, relationships, family, cars, health, etc. Sure it is important to ask God for every specific request, but we should be more focused on trusting that God has the Kingdom's best interest at hand and that we should be calm and comforatable in whatever His plan is. We should ask God to ease our hearts and minds so that we do not get hurt by the circumstances around us. We just need to know that God will not forsake us. He will never leave us. AMEN!
I'll end with this promise that God gives His beloved children: Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
Have a peaceful day!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Philippians 4:6

Phil 4:6 is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. Quick story as to why...It was a little over a year ago (Jan 2008) that I hit my all-time low. My breaking point. I didn't know what was going on anymore. My emotions were all over the place. I was confused as to what was really going on in my life. Up to that point everything seemed to be going better-than-average in the life of Jonathan Bajalia. No one knew the true pain and stuggles that I was dealing with deep down within. It was about this time that I really started coming to church putting God first in my life. On the days that I really struggled getting over the past, I would meditate on Phil 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. It was like God was always speaking straight to me. For the first time I really heard his voice. This verse brought the peace that I needed in the times of anxiety. I will forever treasure this verse close to my heart for helping me through one of the most difficult times of my life.
In Pastor Andy Stanely's message, he referred to this scripture as a perscription for the anxiety brought on during turbulent times in our lives. He focused on the word "present" as it's true meaning is to reveal, uncover the mysteries to God. Uncertainty surfaces our deepest concerns. It is when we are faced with uncertainty that we begin to realize our true insecurities. You see, it's not about us losing our jobs, or having relationship difficulties that cause anxiety. When we hit rocky times we discover our true insecurities in the situation are that we have not fully put our trust in God over our finances, or that we'll look like a failure if our relationship is not reconciled. Maybe it's the fear of living life alone. Day after day we are able to cover over these deep rooted issues, never wanting to deal with them. Never wanting to allow them to surface and perhaps ask others to pray with us. Deep down inside we are dying. God is instructing us that it is as easy as prayer and presenting our requests to Him.
I hope this message has given you the desire to press into God and ask Him to reveal to you any deep rooted concerns. Have you ever felt like you were in the perfect storm with waves crashing over the bow of the ship. How are you holding up during the recession? Just remember that God still has the whole world in His hands. He's allowing you an opportunity to be changed by Him in the midst of all of the circumstances around you. You will come out tested and true, refined forever.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Philippians 4:5

In keeping the flow going on the blog, I am moving on to Philippians 4:5. But before I do that, I just want to say that I had an awesome day yesterday just rejoicing in the Lord because He is God. Goes to show you that if you are ever in need of a fresh anointing or something to lift you up, choose a verse that speaks to the heart and meditate on it for a day. It is really uplifting! Just to refresh I got an awesome word this past weekend about what to do in turbulent times. The book of Philippians has well-defined instructions on what to do.
Philippians 4:5 (New International Version)
5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

This verse has two sentences, so I will make two points.
First, God is commanding us to be gentle to everyone who is around us. To me this means, that I cannot allow the uncontrollable events that are going on around me to affect my emotions to the point that I mistreat anyone. We cannot let circumstances dictate how we treat others. For example: if we lose our job we do not have the right to freak out on our family members. I feel that it is at the emotional level where we dictate whether we will rise or fall. If we are quick to react in a harsh way, then we might spout off and say something that we might later regret. We MUST allow our minds time to process, in order to make a thoughtful decision which will benefit us and glorify God and set an example as Christ would. The more we trust God in every situation, the more He is hostage of our emotions, the more we can display the gentleness which He expects and commands in this scripture.
Second, Paul reminds us that God is everywhere in ALL situations. God is physically "near" us all the time. His spirit lives within our bodies. He gives us peace in rough situations because we know that we can trust Him. My NIV cross referenced this verse with James 5:9 Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! This command once more demonstrates a behavior that God does not want us to display. He does not want circumstances to cause us to "grumble" or cause co motion in our lives and with our fellowship of believers. He would prefer that we give our anxieties over to Him, allow the Holy Spirit to do a work in us and ease us with the peace that passes understanding.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Phillipians 4:4

Hey friends. I am back from an awesome weekend in Atlanta. Jen and I were able to get away for some R & R and time with her Brother and Sister-in-law.
I've decided to do something different this week with the blog, inspired by something the Holy Spirit is speaking to me from the message that I heard
(http://www.northpoint.org/messages) from Andy Stanley - Pastor of Northpoint in Atlanta. This week's scripture that I am focusing on is Phillipians 4:4-8. Each day I will break down one verse and convey what it means to me. Check it out...
Philippians 4:4 (New International Version)
4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Sometimes we get far too caught up in what is going on in our lives that we can lose focus on our personal connection with the Lord. We praise God when He does things for us like, solves unwanted confrontations, blesses us in our finances, provides a parking spot, or heals a sniffle before it turns into a major cold. We love God for these things. We praise Him and rejoice in Him because He gives us the greatest peace.
Something that was uncovered to me this weekend is that God wants us to rejoice in the emotional connection that we have with Him, not because He has done or will do "things" for us. But because of His Grace and Mercy. How forgiving and loving He is to us. We must yearn for the spiritual and emotional connection that we have with God that brings us joy, just for the fact that He is God....Not because of what He can and will do for us. He has already done everything necessary by sending Jesus to save us. It's so simple. Rejoice...in...the LORD!