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Summer Challenge 2014

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Summer Challenge Hotspot #3
In Christ

…every spiritual blessing IN Christ… Ephesians 1:3b

This week’s hot spot begins with a song inviting the Son’s soothing Holy Spirit to saturate us with comfort and hope as we grant Him permission to speak to our hearts, minds and souls

Last week Galatians gave insight to the fulfillment for our theme of Soaking in the Son: But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh… If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16, 25), Faith working through love (Galatians 5:6).

We have a full-time challenge to grasp this miraculous work of God! So did the Ephesians! It just may be that Ephesians is the most beautifully written declaration in all of the New Testament, revealing the Fathers’ will, way and work for all who believe and live by “faith working through love.”

The tiny preposition in appears to have little significance amidst the huge scope of the English language, but for the reality of living the intention of the Father, in is always the key link (Ephesians 1:3-5). Paul is adamant that we who claim to belong to Jesus have but one life to live: IN Christ or OUTside of Christ (Ephesians 2:1-3; 4:20). A great deal of teaching is given reminding them that the OLD life, from which they have been called out in order to enter into the NEW, are two distinctly separate ways of living. Paul gives reference in over twenty different statements how they used to live, how they once were and how they formerly walked. It has never been God’s will or way to live in two! When we choose Jesus there can be no other gods, no other center and no other source. Jesus must be enough for us. Christianity isn’t Jesus PLUS….. Christianity is ONLY JESUS! With frank love-filled truth, Paul admonishes the holy ones of Ephesus (and us): Put off living in the old self- center, demanding your own will and the old ways of living, lying and lusting through the deeds of the flesh. As a new creation live in your new Christ-center. Put on the new man now in the likeness of God, created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

 But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to Him through the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13). For Christ Himself has brought peace to us (Ephesians 2:14a). Oh, what Good News! It doesn’t matter where we’ve been, who we are, what we’ve been into, who we married or who our parents are. The blood of Jesus has covered and cleansed the “once weres”! “Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us (Ephesians 2:18). Oh the glorious assurance the old “used tos” can can stay in the past. Every moment of every day we can now live IN the “what is.” May the eyes of our hearts be enlightened to the Father’s promise, pledge and guarantee for what is abundantly beyond all that we can ask or think, through the indwelling Holy Spirit of Jesus – if we allow Him all of our heart, body, soul and mind for His home.

Yes, the days are evil; so they were in Ephesus (Ephesians 5:15-18; 6:10-28). Satan still roams and seeks to make you his target of hatred towards God, attempting to steal all that Jesus is within you. A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil….put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil (Ephesians 6:10,11,13). Jesus is Victor…. All the time!

Below you will find beautifully inscribed guaranteed blessings of our inheritance IN Christ Jesus, written by Kelly Hallahan during her personal “Soaking in the Son!” 

 

For an extra challenge read John 14-17

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Summer Challenge 2014 Hot Spot 2

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Faith

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything,
but faith working through love.” 

Galatians 5:6

You’ve just finished your first week of Son Soaking! I will admit gleaning from this vast treasure chest of eternal riches is like wandering on the endless open beaches of the Pacific deciding which spot has the highest probability rate for a sun tan! However, there are some key Biblical truths assisting us in the prime spot for victory, not only in our summer challenge, but for living in the Spirit of God the rest of our lives.  Even the church of Galatia had to be retold the key for such living (Galatians 1:6).

One of these truths, given in this week’s hotspot of the Good News, is found in Galatians 5:6. Paul’s central theme of Galatians could well revolve around the little phrase “faith working through love.”  In Galatians Paul is teaching to the new believers in Christ that the Old Testament symbolisms and object lessons are now things of the past. They served their purpose, preparing man for the reality now offered by faith in the love of Christ. The Old Testament Mosaic law, rituals and rules could not fulfill the will, the way and the work of the Father in our lives! Galatians explains to us they were never meant to (Galatians 3:21). Now through the grace of the Father in Jesus Christ, Old Testament prophecy such as Isaiah 43: 19 has been fulfilled: “Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it?”  No one has ever nor will ever earn their salvation, find their way to the Father, nor achieve their holiness through the accumulation of good deeds (Galatians 1:4; 2:16; 3:2). Grace is God’s gift providing only ONE way to make all things new: “FAITH working through love” – JESUS!

What FREEDOM to live by “faith working in love” – JESUS (Galatians 5:1). The grace of God our father in Christ Jesus alone offers me eternal life. “Faith working in love” allows me to give testimony along with Paul that I have been made a new creation in Christ Jesus (Galatians 6:15). Oh what assuring joy to give witness that “I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who lives but Christ lives in me”(Galatians 2:20). Now I belong to the Father and in Christ Jesus I no longer live to satisfy the passions and desires of the flesh.  Instead I possess the freedom of walking in the Spirit that I may serve another – “faith working through love” (Galatians 5:13)! 

As you continue to soak in the Son may you be assured that truly living, honestly thinking, purely loving as the Father intends is only possible by the blood and the Spirit of Christ: “faith working through love” in YOU and ME!  (For an extra challenge read I Corinthians 2 – 3:3).

Natalie Grant sings this truth in song:

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
 
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease;
My Comforter, My All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand. 
 
There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again.
 
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ. 

(lyrics by Stuart Townsend)

Prayer: Oh precious Father, thank you for giving us the life of your Son. We choose “Faith… placing our entirety, identity and reality into Jesus – working through love!” Amen.

Summer Challenge Hot Spot 1

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Summer Challenge Hotspot #1
The Father’s Idea: Saturated Living

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh…If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16, 25).

Summer Challenge 2014 begins! I want to set your mind at ease. There is no risk of a “Son-stroke” and no danger of becoming “Son-burned”. You can never have too much of the Son! In our theme verses Paul is actually reinforcing truth revealed from the Father’s heart before the creation of man. If you and I long to live in the image and likeness for which we are created (Genesis 1: 26), know eternal life, and enjoy the miraculous freedom of living God’s intended sacred fellowship with Father and Son, we must have the life-giving Spirit of Jesus within us-every moment of every day.

Paul’s letters to Christ’s believers in Rome and Corinth clearly declare the absolute necessity of being born of the Holy Spirit, filled with the Holy Spirit, and walking (following) in the Holy Spirit. From Galatians through Jude the inspired and written love epistles warn every believer that to know the will of the Father, accept the ways of the Father, and allow the work of the Father to be accomplished in and through you and me we must receive, live, and walk drenched with the Holy Spirit. Why? The Holy Spirit alone gives the love and mind of Christ. To read His Word with accurate understanding and life transforming application we must have a redeemed heart re-created alive and living in the Spirit of Jesus. (Extra challenge: For more understanding to this Son Light read Romans 8 and I Corinthians 2:11-16).

Come and soak with an intensifying hunger for Jesus and a craving for His Word. Search for the treasured nuggets of truth revealing the good and perfect will, way, and work of the Father. The Holy Spirit will pour into the lamp of His Word lighting the path for you to travel on God’s distinguished blood-stained highway of holiness.

Prayer: Oh Father, we claim your promise for us in Jeremiah 31:14 “I will saturate the soul of the priests with abundance, and My people will be satisfied with My goodness, declares the Lord.” May all of us experience joy and delight beyond measure as we live the reality of being saturated in the fullness of Jesus. In Jesus’ name Amen!