Hello Sweet Cheer: November 2011

11.22.2011

Oh, Come all ye Thankful...

Thanksgiving is only TWO days away!
So here’s my typical-everything I’m thankful for-cliche-how much I love Jesus post!
On the fourth Thursday of November, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, a national holiday honoring the early settlers and their harvest feast known as the first Thanksgiving. (http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/)
What does Thanksgiving mean to you? Comment and share your Turkey Day traditions and celebrations!
As for me and my family, we always get together for a big meal. Every other year we spend the holiday with the Collier family (Mom’s side) and vice versa we spend it with the Moorman family (Dad’s side).
When we spend the holiday with my Mom’s side of the family, it’s a GIANT get together. My mom has four siblings and two of them have four kids just like our family. As you might imagine, things get pretty crazy. Everyone brings a different dish to create a huge yummy Thanksgiving feast. Also, unique to the Collier family is that we all get dressed up that day. We wear our cute fall outfits and generally snap some family photos! That’s one of my favorite parts of spending it with them. Besides the large amount of people in attendance, we also have fans of almost every Big 12 football team sprinkled through our family. The schools represented are Texas Tech (the best), A&M, UT, OU, OSU, Baylor and LSU! Anyway, all that to say that the Saturday after Thanksgiving is always fun! Lots of trash talk goes on which is always exciting!
On the other hand, when we spend the holiday with my Dad’s side of the family, it’s a much smaller gathering (though it is quickly growing as people get engaged and married)! My dad has a brother and sister and they have four and two kids respectively. Our family is there obviously and my Grandmother. So the numbers are much lower, but the football game rivalry is still strong on this side! It works pretty much the same way as the other side, the women bring all the food and make it. This Thanksgiving celebration is a little more relaxing whereas the Collier side is extremely tiring!
Both of these celebrations we participate in are always fun and hold a special place in my heart.
Through all the fun and excitement of Thanksgiving get togethers, I always try to remember what the holiday is for and how I can bring the focus back to Jesus and thank Him for all the many blessings I’ve been given. Here are a few verses on thankfulness.
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34 
At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You, Because of Your righteous judgments. Psalm 119:62
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57 
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 2Corinthians 9:15 
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:17 
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men. 1Timothy 2:1 
I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and might, And have now made known to me what we asked of You, For You have made known to us the king’s demand. Daniel 2:23 
One thing I noticed in reading all these verses is how each verse calls attention to a characteristic of God or a fruit in a believer. I would say giving thanks is definitely something I can do better in my daily life. Allow this holiday to remind you of the blessings God has bestowed upon you. Here are a few simple things I am thankful for.
Salvation, grace, discipleship, a supportive & loving family, good friends, material provision (shelter, food, clothes), a Christ-centered community, restoration, healing, and so much more!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Laterz.

Scripture Series Week 2: Who are we made to be?

The past two weeks we’ve been talking about what scripture says about who we are made to be. As believers, what has God created us for?
If you recall, we talked about how we are created to…
1) Honor God
2) Do good works for the Lord
3) Be a new creation in Christ
This week we’re going deeper into what it means to do good works for the Lord, why that is important, etc.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” –Ephesians 2:10
This letter (Ephesians) written to the church at Ephesus is written by Paul. He is writing to them from prison in either Rome or Caesarea. There is some debate on where he was being held. One interesting thing about Ephesians is that it begins (1:4-6) and ends (6:23-24) with love. Paul uses the word “agape” (unconditional love) 19 times over the course of this letter. (HCSB)
Ephesians has many themes including, redemption (1:7), the divine intention for the human race (1:3-14), grace (1:2), reconciliation and union with Christ (2:1-21), and predestination (1:4-5). There is a lot to say about this letter but I’ll get to the specific verse I want to focus on. (HCSB)
Again, I want to use the following verse:
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” –Ephesians 2:10
If we were to go back a few verses we would find even more of an understanding of what Paul is saying here. “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift– not from works, so that no one can boast.” Eph. 2:8-9 This shows how the next verse (2:10) isn’t saying what some people might assume. Christ doesn’t call us to do good deeds so that we can say we’ve done them. Paul reminds us here that our salvation does NOT come from works but from God’s grace through faith. So yes, we were created to do good works in the name of the Lord but we are not defined by our works.
Our works can be a huge witness to the people around us. Not only are these things important to give Glory to God but by your actions others can see Christ in you. Good works should done with the mindset of God getting Glory through them with an afterthought that what you’re could cause someone else to wonder, what’s different about her? This can be a tiny seed planted that the Lord will continue to grow. We are called to plant the seed, and God does the rest. I hope this was clear and understandable!
Some encouragement for this week…
“Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” 1 Chronicles 16:34 
Stay tuned for a special Thanksgiving post!
Laterz.

11.14.2011

Scripture Series Week 1: Who are we made to be?

Last week we touched on three things the Bible says we are made to be. This week I’d like to dig a little deeper into each of those things.
If you recall, we talked about how we are created to…
1) Honor God
2) Do good works for the Lord
3) Be a new creation in Christ
Today let’s get more specific about what it means to honor God.
     “Run from sexual immorality! Every sin a person can commit is outside the body. On the contrary, the person who is sexually immoral sins against his own body. Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.” –1 Corinthians 6:18-20 HCSB Study Bible
Other translations use the words; “Therefore Honor God with your body.” (NIV & NLT)
As we look closely at what this verse is saying we find that First Corinthians was written by Paul. This was the second letter he wrote to the church at Corinth. He found out about some of the things that were going on at the church at Corinth so he wrote this letter to address those things. He also received a letter from them as he was writing this one so he addressed their questions and confusions as well. His purpose is writing this letter was to motivate the Corinthians to acknowledge the ownership the Lord has over them and over all believers and what that meant for their lives. The entire book of 1 Corinthians is a huge part of our understanding of the Christian life, ministry, and relationships. (HCSB)
With all that being said, this specific verse is talking about sexual immorality.
The way Paul describes this is that any believer who sins against their own body is assaulting the sanctity of their sacred oneness with Christ AND the oneness of holy matrimony. In lamen terms, sexual immorality before marriage affects not only your relationship with your future spouse but also your relationship with the Lord.
The version I quoted uses the word “run” from sexual sin, the NIV translation says to FLEE from sexual immorality. This means to turn around and escape as fast as you possibly can from this because you cannot conquer it. The Lord asks us to honor Him in many ways, and this is one of them. Your body is a temple, (1 Cor. 6:19) and the Lord requires that we treat it as such.
One thing I want to be sure to mention is forgiveness. As I’ve talked about sexual sin and that we are to flee from it I want to remind you that Jesus Christ covered for our sins. You can be made NEW, you can be washed white as snow if you ask for forgiveness and repent of your sin.
To conclude this post I would just like to remind you to strive to honor God in every aspect of your life, including the one we discussed today. Honor Him in your words, actions, thoughts, and desires.
Encouragement for the day…
“You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” -Song of Solomon 4:7      (go read the entire passage)
Laterz.

11.07.2011

What does scripture say about who we are made to be?

Who am I? My name is Meredith and I am a student. I am a sinner. I am human. I am a friend. I am a woman. I am a daughter & sister. I am a lover of Christ.
Who are you? You’re a sinner. You’re broken. You are a Daughter of the Most High King. You are treasured & precious. Christ DIED so you could live. You and I were bought for a price. A life was sacrificed so we could live.
#1: We were created to… honor God
“You were bought with a price, therefore Honor God with your bodies.” –1 Corinthians 6:20
Two things here; Honor God with your physical body by treating it right. Nourish it, keep it healthy, & keep it sacred for the man you will marry. Also, Honor God with your physical body by using it to do his work. Use the talents & skills the Lord has provided you with to do Kingdom work.
“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce.” –Proverbs 3:9
Honor God with your resources. Be honest with yourself about what you have & what you can do with it.
#2: We were created to… do good works for the Lord
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” –Ephesians 2:10
We are called to live out the fruits of the spirit. Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness & Self-Control. We are called to act on these things & show with our words and actions who Christ is and who He is in us.
#3: We were created to be… a new creation in Christ
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come, the old has gone, the new is here!” –2 Corinthians 5:17“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” –Romans 8:1-2
We are NEW. We have been set free from death by Christ Jesus our Savior. Scripture gives us much more about who we are made to be & these are just a few.
A little encouragement for this week…
“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 1:4-6
Whatever God is doing in you, know that He will bring it to completion. Our God is a God of completeness & His plan in perfect. Know that He will complete the good work he is doing in you & in your life.
Be encouraged today.
Laterz.
“I will bring Praise, I will bring Praise, no weapon formed against me shall remain. I will declare, I will rejoice, God is my Victory & He is here.” Hillsong United