Transformational Quest Moving


I am streamlining all my writing to one webpage

You can find Transformational Quest Devotional on my personal website:

https://dgshipton.com/ 

 

Under the category Transformational Quest by D.G. Shipton

https://dgshipton.com/category/transformational-quest-devotions/

 

7a) Live a Worthy Life, One that Promotes Unity & Peace.(4:1-6)


What is Worthiness?  How can our lives be lived with worth?  How can Living such a life effect Unity within the Church?

 

All Believers are Called in Christ to a Live a New Life (v. 1-2)

What does it mean to live a worthy life?  What makes something worthy?

Merriam-Webster defines Worthy as Having significant worth or importance.

Paul urged to live a life worthy of the “calling” received.  Our calling, like all followers of Christ is, “Come Follow Me”.   Jesus calls us to follow Him into His way of living and His mission of life.

 

Paul Gives 4 ways to live and to see as Tests of How we are living Worthy lives & Seeking Peace: (v.2-3)  We are to live Lives  of:

 

  1. Humbleness: To Act without pride, to act in gentleness or without thinking better of one’s self than others.   Showing Equality to others, even when intellect, status, or other factors would normally dictate otherwise.  Humbleness can also be interpreted as putting one’s self lower in order to lift another person up or encourage them.  Samuel Morse was a Wise and Humble Man:   The Wisdom of Humilty: Samuel Morse

Samuel Morse was born into a preacher’s home in New England just two years after George Washington was elected the first president of the United States. After finishing his education at Yale, he went to England to hone his painting skill. Upon his return to America he was recognized as a gifted artist and was soon in much demand. Morse’s first wife died while he was away from home painting in Washington, D.C. He did not receive the news until it was too late. In his heartbreak he turned away from painting and began trying to develop a means of rapid communication over great distances. This eventually led to his discovery of the telegraph.

Despite his fame and the many honors that came his way, Morse wasn’t proud or boastful. In a letter to his second wife he wrote, “The more I contemplate this great undertaking, the more I feel my own littleness, and the more I perceive the hand of God in it, and how He has assigned to various persons their duties, He being the great controller, all others His honored instruments…. Hence our dependence first of all on God, then on each other.”

When we walk in pride and are conceited regarding our talents and accomplishments, we are demonstrating that we do not understand or appreciate the role that God holds in everything we do. None of us are able to succeed in our own strength or wisdom; we should always remember it is God that makes what we do possible. As Paul put it “what hast thou that thou didst not receive?” (1 Corinthians 4:7).

Source: The Life of Samuel F. B. Morse, LL. D., Samuel Irenæus Prime ( http://ministry127.com/resources/illustration/the-wisdom-of-humility)

 

 

2.  Gentleness: Dealing with others in a gentle, meek way.  Gentleness is not weakness, but actually is great strength under control.

A missionary in Jamaica was once questioning some little boys on the meaning of Matthew 5:5 and asked, “Who are the meek?” A boy answered, “Those who give soft answers to rough questions.” We shall do well to remember this child’s definition.

Source: Unknown  http://ministry127.com/resources/illustration/the-meaning-of-meekness 

 

Gentleness helps us to remain calm in under control, no matter how bad life may seem around us.  Many times situations and stresses can cause us to lash out.  David H. Roper wrote for Our Daily Bread about Gentleness:

The troubles of life can make us cranky and out of sorts, but we should never excuse these bouts of bad behavior, for they can wither the hearts of those we love and spread misery all around us. We have not fulfilled our duty to others until we have learned to be pleasant.

The New Testament has a word for the virtue that corrects our unpleasantness—gentleness, a term that suggests a kind and gracious soul. Ephesians 4:2 reminds us, “Be completely humble and gentle.”

Gentleness is a willingness to accept limitations and ailments without taking out our aggravation on others. It shows gratitude for the smallest service rendered and tolerance for those who do not serve us well. It puts up with bothersome people—especially noisy, boisterous little people; for kindness to children is a crowning mark of a good and gentle person. It speaks softly in the face of provocation. It can be silent; for calm, unruffled silence is often the most eloquent response to unkind words.

https://odb.org/2017/12/17/gentleness/

 

3. Patience: the Greek word here means a state of emotional calm in the face of provocation or misfortune. That’s a pretty big ticket to fill.  Most of us naturally want to attack when we are attacked, so to stay calm is not our normal reaction.  Most of will likely have to work on patience for a lifetime in order to get it right.

A woman once rushed up to famed violinist Fritz Kreisler after a concert and cried: “I’d give my life to play as beautifully as you do.” Kreisler replied, “I did.” Source: Bits and Pieces  http://ministry127.com/resources/illustration/famous-violinist

 

Patience is knowing when not to speak or when to speak with gentleness.  Patience is also waiting for others who are less knowledgeable or capable to catch up to where we are.

Patience to see things through to the end isn’t easy, but when we are willing to take time and not give up we can often succeed.  All to often people give up far too soon, when if they put their heart and mind into it they might work through to a safe end.  You may have heard about the two frogs who fell into a tub of cream:

Two frogs fell into a tub of cream. One looked at the high sides of the tub which were too difficult to crawl over and said, “It is hopeless.” So he resigned himself to death, relaxed, and sank to the bottom. The other one determined to keep swimming as long as he could. “Something might happen,” he said. He kept kicking and churning, and finally he found himself on a solid platform of butter and jumped to safety.

Source: Nelsons Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations & Quotes, Robert Morgan

 

Susanna Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley, had eleven children.  Her husband once admired her patience in reminding her children to do something.  Samuel Wesley once said of Susanna:

 “I marvel at your patience! You have told that child the same thing twenty times!” She replied, “Had I spoken the matter only nineteen times, I would have lost all my labor.” (Choice Gleanings).-https://www.family-times.net/illustration/Patience/201021/

 

When it comes to patience in our busy world we also forget sometimes that there might be really important reasons why things don’t work out when we want them to: Lou Nichols writes of patience in an Airline Delay:  

Recently I was waiting in the Philadelphia airport on a flight to a distant city. Every half hour, they would tell us that we would get an update in another half hour. I knew the plane was there,  the crew was there, all the passengers were sure there, but the flight just kept getting postponed. I must admit that my patience was running low. When we were finally boarded and about to take off, the pilot explained what had been taking so long. He said, “Just before we were going to board you, our mechanics found a problem with two of our tires in a routine maintenance check. We had to replace both tires.” So all of a sudden I was so grateful for the delay that had been so frustrating. Now, there was a very good reason for that particular airline delay. I have to tell you the airlines don’t always have a good reason for their delays. God always does. (Lou Nicholes – Word of Life).  https://www.family-times.net/illustration/Patience/202134/

 

So, whether we see it or not, sometimes we just need to have patience to see things through to the end.   Other times we need to wait with people to see them blossom into what God has planned for them.

 

4. Bearing with One Another : is a mutuality or Equally holding one another in regard It is Tolerating One another’s weaknesses. In Christianity it is also Helping to carry one another, or one another’s cares or burdens.  A great example of carrying burdens comes from the stories and movies of “Lord Of The Rings.

 

In “The Fellowship of the Ring?” In this film, Frodo Baggins inherits a ring, which is an instrument of absolute power. Frodo, together with a fellowship that includes hobbits, humans, a wizard, and an elf, take the One Ring on a journey across middle earth on their way to Mount Doom. They have to deal with extrernal evils and attack, as well as internal dissension caused by the corruption of the One Ring.   They even end up at times fighting one another. However, in the end it is because Frodo & his friend Sam wise, along with the others each played their part to get the ring where it was to be.  They were bearing with one another through the whole ordeal.

 

We are made One in Our Faith: One Lord, Faith, Baptism, God, (v.4-6)

 

  1. One in Faith:  Our faith is in One Lord, One Baptism, One God
  2. One Lord– Our faith is in Christ as our Savior God came in flesh (The Son of God). God put himself, as sacrifice for the sin of the world, which all humanity is guiltyThus, He becomes the one who we follow, the Lord of our lives.
  3.  One BaptismIs the Outward symbol of our New Life in Christ

Baptism is one of the rites that remains as symbol of all Christ Followers.  Which is why the perfect Christ Himself went through the ritual.  He had no need of repentance of sin, but He was establishing the way for all His followers to set themselves apart as followers through baptism.

In going down under the water symbolizes dying to our old sinful ways.  It symbolizes participating in Christ Death and being buried in the grave.

In coming up out of the Water Symbolizes: Rising with Christ from the dead with Christ. Rising from our now dead past to live life new in Christ.

The Water also symbolizes the Spirit of God cleansing our souls.  It can also represent the covering and filling of us with the spirit of God, as He dwells within us.

    4. One God– Faith in One God, and not multiple gods. In fact, we as followers of traditional Christianity hold to the belief in a  “Triune nature of God” or Trinity:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-All are representative parts of the one and only God.

This is the Unique nature of the Abrahamic backgrounds of religions (those who can tie their roots of faith back to Abraham, a belief in One and Only One God).  Through out the Old Testament the Jews are identified as Israelites, Children of Israel- Jacob.  Also, we find the terminology- The God of your Fathers- Jacob, Isaac and Abraham. Abraham is the father of Faith- He was the first person acknowledge in Scripture, as leaving a land of idol worshipers to follow God by faith alone.

Thus all Jews, and Christians now who follow the Messiah- the Christ hold to the same faith in the one and only God.

 

   5.  The Bible (I mention this here, as our Main text of Revelation): Although Paul doesn’t not it, this is our other unique “One”, which we hold to. Our One Written Revelation of the One and only God, and His Good News for all People, through Salvation in Jesus.

How are you doing in your walk of faith today?

How are you doing about sharing your faith with others around you?  Is your light shining bright or have you allowed things to become dim?

 

May Jesus bless you on the journey with Christ today.

All Believers Have Power in Prayer (James 5:13-20)


James 5:13-20

 

Many people call the pastor to pray for every concern on their hearts, and we are to call on the elders when it’s serious.  However, I have heard a pastor say that he was in a church where the bowling team called him and asked why he hadn’t come to pray for the team before a game.

I am sure that we’ve all experienced a time when we’ve been a small group study and someone says, “who’d like to pray,” and the room goes silent.  My wife does her best with our children’s teaching at church to remind the kids it’s a privilege to be able to speak directly to the God of the universe, and that we all can speak to him any time.

James reminds us of one of the greatest prayers in the Bible, as Elijah prayed that there would be no rain, and it didn’t rain again until God told him to go and pray before the people three years later.  This was to show God’s power over the false god’s and worship of Elijah’s time.  James tells us one more important factor, “Elijah, a man like anyone else.”   Wow, that is powerful.   That means he’s just like me, or just like you.  He’s a real person, and he prayed and God listened to his prayer.

That’s encouragement to me, and to you.  We can all pray to God openly.  Jesus opened the door through his sacrifice on our behalf, and anyone in faith can now seek God’s help directly.  We don’t need middle-men or to feel our prayers are not heard.  Instead, as the Hebrew writer says we can “Boldly approach” God’s throne with our needs.

God is waiting for you to talk with him, like a loving father waits to spend time with his children.  We just have to start the conversation, because He’s always there.

Prayer:  God, I pray today for those who might be struggling to turn to you in prayer.  I pray that you will assure them that you are there listening and waiting to have a conversation with them today.

-Keep on your Journey with Jesus today

D.G. Shipton

 

Share Your Prayer’s & Concerns (James 5:13-20)


James 5:13-20

I have been in ministry for over twenty years, and I can honestly say no one,  even some of the toughest non-believing people I’ve known, have ever said no to prayer when I offer it.  However, I have seen many people go through situations, sickness, dangerous surgeries, and facing life threatening disease, and while they go to church they often resist sharing their needs with others.

Sharing our concerns and pains with others, for many people is to admit that we are weak and can’t handle things on our own.  Many of us were brought up to simply “suck it up, and keep on.”  The truth is this is not what community in the Bible is shown to be.

James reminds us to share your prayer’s and concerns with others.  He also says to share your joys as well.  Paul uses similar language in Colossians 3 & Ephesians 4, when he says to “bear with one another.”  Part of the term “Bear with” means to hold up one another.  That is what we do when we are sharing our needs with others.  Burdens and concerns are hard to go through on our own, and God expects the Body of Christ to be in prayer for one another.  That is why most of the Bible is written to the Churches or communities of believers and not to individuals.

What are you trying to bear alone today?  If things are going well, how are you encouraging others on their journey today?  Look for opportunity to bless others and help them bear their burden’s.  Offer your prayers, and remember to pray and follow up with them.

Prayer:   May God bless you this day with His goodness.  May he strengthen your life so you may strengthen others.

  • Keep on the Journey with Jesus today,

D.G. Shipton

Living Freely in Honesty (James 5:12)


James 5:12 (NIV)
  Above all, my brothers, do not swear–not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned.

 

Honesty is the best policy, that’s what the old saying says.  James is also giving wisdom that is very old, as he reminds us to be honest.   Jesus had given the same guidance as he taught in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:37)

It seems so simply to live honestly, to simply say yes or know and stick with your choice.  However, in our world today we are bombarded with people telling us that we can’t trust anything as true.  We also are encouraged by so many to cut corners, or take things that truly are not ours.  The thought by many is that it isn’t hurting anyone, especially if it only affects a corporation.  The truth is that even the smallest dishonest actions have consequences to the whole world we live in

James gives a simple rule, “Let your yes be yes”.

Let us strive to live in honesty with ourselves and everyone around us.

Prayer: God, please forgive our weakness.  Help us to live in honesty always.

Patient Trust in Life’s Stress (James 5:7-11)


James 5:7-11

 

I appreciate James’ words in this passage about being patient.  I think we all need the reminder to be patient from time to time.  James uses the example of farmers, and I snicker.  I once had a farmer tell me, “We farmers only work about six weeks a year.  three weeks of planting, and three weeks of harvesting.  The rest of the time we worry.”

Patience also means we should be calm and not worry, even when everything in our being wants to worry.  Life often throws us into situations where we can become overwhelmed with our own weakness and worry can set in.  Then we become reactionary toward situations.  Instead of praying, waiting, and trusting God; we start to take matters into our own hands.  My experience has taught me that when we take matters in our own hands we often fail and situations usually become worse.

James is reminding people who are facing true suffering and even death that patience and waiting on the Lord prove to be the best help during stressful times.  We get stressed out today because the alarm doesn’t go off on time, are coffee spills on a new shirt, or someone hasn’t texted us back as fast as we’d like.  In the greater picture of eternity these insignificant things will fade away.  What matters most is how your faith in God, and love for others in the world has truly been lived out.

Take some time to day, and think about what is stressing you in your life.  Have you really given it over to Jesus?  Are you trying to bear burden’s alone in patient trust?  God is waiting for you to lay it down, so he can fill you with his calm assurance.

 

Prayer

Father God,

Please help us to face our trials and hardships, our stresses in your loving hands instead of our weak power.  Let us learn to trust you and be filled with your strength to face whatever you allow into our lives.  Amen.

Share The Blessings (James 5:1-6)


James 5: 1-6

I sat in my study listening to a man who was clearly upset and disturbed.  He was upset with his boss, because of unreasonable schedules, lack of raises, and generally feeling unappreciated.  He was looking for a new job.

I will never forget his words, “That’s the last time I will ever work for a Christian.  I though somehow it would be different working for a Christian brother.  Instead I’ve found out I was just being used.”

It is unfortunate, but this isn’t the only time I’ve heard similar words.  Many Christian business people hire people they know from church or other organizations.  Then, they treat them worse than many worldly companies.  Why would someone do that?  It seems they take advantage of their close ties and even twist biblical understanding to make it easier to use people instead of blessing them with their wealth from gained profits.  When profits grow they seem to forget those who were in it with them, and those they should be blessing along the way.

James is warning rich people that their wealth, like everyone’s wealth is only temporary.  Even more, he warns us that how we use our money and blessings will come back to judge our lives in the end.   You see, God has a way of balancing things out.  It may not be in this lifetime, but may come as we face the future in heaven.  Everyone will be held accountable and will give account of how they treated others.

If you are blessed with God’s goodness, how are you doing about sharing that goodness with others?  If your blessed with a business or in management you should seek God’s guidance in how to manage and pass on blessings to others.  We must never forget that the blessings we have are not simply because of ourselves, but are due to the goodness of God.  He doesn’t give us good things to hoard, but to bless.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we thank you for your blessings and goodness that you have given into our lives.  We thank you for the opportunity to pass on blessings to others.  Help us to manage well and help us to share what we have as much as we can.  We ask you help in this through your Spirit’s help.  Amen

Lay Your Plans Before God (James 4:13-17)


James 4:13-17

Do you lay your plans before the Lord? When ideas come into your heart do you pray about them or simply just jump in?

There are times to jump in or take leaps of faith, but James reminds us to lay our plans before God. This wisdom comes down through time, right back to Proverbs of the Old Testament. “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord ’s purpose that prevails,” (Proverbs 19:21).

James reminds us not to boast on an unknown future. Instead we should make plans knowing God knows the future, and seek His will and direction forward.

Prayer

God, help us took seek your guidance and will for our lives. Let us judge our steps by you Word. Amen.

Don’t Judge, but Submit to the The Judge (James 4:7-12)


James 4:7-12

 

James has been speaking of fighting among people, and now gets to the heart of things.  Disagreements not only come from our own personal desire, but often come from how we judge others.  All too often people look at a distance on the lives of others and judge them, predetermining that they are not worthy or are inferior.  This is because we raise our own standards and think we are better than they.

James doesn’t mince words in this part of his letter, but tells us that we should beware of putting ourselves in the judges seat.  After all their is only one eternal judge, God, and we are not as wise, all knowing, or knowledgeable as God.  Yet, it is easy to fall prey to the idea of putting ourselves in his place, as we judge others.

James give us the answer, submit.  This means to willingly place ourselves under another.  James says, “submit yourselves, to God,” (v.7).  When we put ourselves under God’s rule, then we can leave the judging up to him.  This allows us to live in a mutual respect and humble attitude toward others.

 

Prayer

 

Father God,  help us today to not think ourselves better than others, but to realize you are in control of all things.  Let us leave matters of judgement to you and love others in sincere and humble ways.  Thank you for your help Lord.  Amen.