Jesus Christ — The Theme

by Sharon Merhalski

People send me a lot of forwards and articles. I don’t have time to read all of them but a statement in one article grabbed my total attention:

“Jesus Christ was the theme of their life.”

As I sat with God and mused on this statement I first thought of a themed birthday party and how obvious the theme is when a person enters the room. From the decorations in the house, the cake, the plates, napkins, cups and games…all will display the theme. And often the birthday person will even wear clothes displaying the theme of the party.

I then thought of Bronner’s, a Christmas store in Michigan where every single thing in the building portrays the Christmas theme…even the way the sales clerks dress. From the time a person gets the building in view until the time they leave and the building is out of sight, the theme of the establishment is unmistakable.
I did a word study to help me further understand the word “theme.”

Theme: a subject or topic of discourse or of artistic representation; a written exercise; a melodic subject of a musical composition or movement (Webster’s Dictionary)

Theme: the theme is not intended to teach or preach. In fact, it is not presented directly at all. You extract it from the characters, action, and setting that make up the story. (Learner.org)

Our person—our life—not just what we speak–is a message…an “epistle” which in the Strong’s Concordance means: written message; letter.

2Cointhians 3:2-3 “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.”

2 Corinthians 3:3–Barnes Commentary: “They had been made manifest to be such by their conversion. The sense is, it is plain, or evident, that ye are the epistle of Christ.”

“Jesus Christ was the theme of their life.”

Philippians 2:12 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

Work out—Strong’s Concordance G2716 to work fully, that is, accomplish; by implication to finish, fashion: cause, do (deed), perform, work (out).

My heart is filled with questions: What theme have I worked out in my life–with the Holy Spirit–for others to see and not just to hear? How much of my epistle have I written in my own strength and wisdom? Does the theme I have worked to ‘write’ honor and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and show—not just tell–the power of His resurrection?

I believe God makes it clear that we are responsible to author our lives: In the Old Testament He admonishes us to “up and sanctify yourselves” and in the New Testament He admonishes to “work out”/cause/fashion our “epistles”. We are responsible for writing our books that all men will read. The question is does that book we have chosen to write have the theme of Jesus Christ from the first word of chapter one to the last word of the last chapter?

We just loaded our new web magazine with articles, and we are continuing to do so. Some of the articles were moved over from the old web site…but not until each was read and often edited by the author. Some old articles were even discarded. Some may ask why they needed to be edited…or discarded? Because God continually works to mature/change His children, desiring to teach us Biblical truths, often dispelling things previously learned and believed. (I have grown to believe that all of us need to take inventory to see what we may be embracing that has sadly become the ‘norm’ instead of what the Word of God plainly says is absolute truth.)

The Bible says we need to “put off” and “put on.”

Ephesians 4:22-24 “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old
man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the
spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in
righteousness and true holiness.”

As I sit here this morning I am asking God to show me where I need to use an editor’s pen. I am seeking the Holy Spirit, “the Spirit of the Living God” to re-set…where needed…the theme of my epistle that God may be totally glorified in every nook and cranny of the pages.

Lord, I so desire to be like the Christmas store in Michigan where my theme is plainly seen from the moment a person approaching gets me in view. I want the manifestations of the absolute truths of the Word of God and the power of the Spirit of God to consume the pages of my epistle for Your glory only and the power of Your might through the workings of Your Holy Spirit.

Published in: on August 20, 2009 at 11:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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Fainting at the Evil All Around

by Sharon Merhalski

While watching the news this morning I felt ‘faint’ from all of the negative and violent input. God brought this verse to my heart: Psalm 27:13 “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” Sometimes it isn’t easy for me to see the goodness of the Lord in the world around me.

After looking up the word “believed” in the Strong’s Concordance I realized seeing the goodness of the Lord is more than simply believing…it is my properly building up or supporting that belief with God’s Word; my fostering it as a parent or nurse; putting my trust in the LORD I believe. God reminded me that I have a part in my not fainting at the happenings of the world around me. But God…none of His children have to live in fear…or lives of “when in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.” Praise the Lord.

Published in: on July 28, 2009 at 1:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Donations to New Hope Outreach

Every once in awhile someone asks about making donations to this work, which includes local and online components. We offer online and local help for women in need, especially addressing issues of abuse, child abuse prevention, etc.

I have put a link to a page like this in the sidebar, which will stay there for ease of location.

Published in: on March 17, 2009 at 5:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Spring Necessity

Spring is coming…honest! And with spring comes spring-cleaning, which I start in February before the garden beckons me. As I looked at a few clutter piles this morning, and a few cobwebs here and there, spring-cleaning definitely came to mind. But first came my responsibility to get a devotions ready for the website, which affords me this opportunity to prod you concerning any clutter or cobwebs you may have. (smile)

First, I want to share the spring-cleaning God has been doing in my life…my personal life. I have been on a journey of sorts, which you have probably read in the devotions lately. With that journey to a deeper abiding life in Christ (resurrection living) has also been a journey of simplifying my ministry life. God showed me that I was too fragmented which did not leave time to take care of all of my responsibilities excellently. I give thanks to the Lord for laying me aside with the flu, then a cold. These three weeks gave me one on one time with Him…time to really seek and listen and de-clutter my life, schedule and home.

For the health of our hearts and minds God wants us to live daily in His peace, which passes all understanding. And if there is one thing the experts in time-management, stress-relief and organizational skills agree on it is clutter equals stress/anxiety/non-peace. Please check this link for several good articles concerning clutter and stress: http://stress.about.com/library/lifestylequiz/blcluttercomment.

So, I hope you will glean from the following information to assist with your spring cleaning…and apply it, not just to your home and office, but to your personal life as well.

Overcoming Clutter:

First find 3 boxes and label them with the 3 categories.
Trash
Give Away/Sell
Storage

When trying to decide what you should put in which box, ask yourself these important questions.
• Do I really love this item
• Do I really need this item
• Is it too nice to use
• Is it too ugly to use
• Will I benefit from keeping it
• Will I benefit from tossing it
• When is the last time I used this item

Set a time limit…2-3 weeks to do the whole house.

If you feel like this is going be a task you will never finish, start off with something small like one drawer, one shelf, or one cupboard. Once you start to see some progress you will get motivated to keep going until the project is finished. Ending clutter takes drastic action and a die-hard determination that we will conquer clutter!

1.) Trash: This should include any item that you do not need, is broken or damaged or ones you have not used or worn in a year, but are not good enough to give away or sell.

Donate or Sell- Be generous. Think about the need of others to be able to acquire good used items vs. the use they will have buried in your closets or cabinets. Consider the financial benefits of selling your stuff at a garage sale. Also consider the time and work involved in having a garage sale.

2.) Storage: Put items in storage that you cannot part with but do not need on a regular basis. Make an inventory of the items as you box them. Group similar items together. Remember one good way to clean out closets is to store out of season clothing.

3.)Work room-by-room and sort items into the appropriate boxes. Handle one item at a time deciding how it will fit into your newly organized life. Don’t forget to go through closets, cabinets, and storage spaces.

When you need to stop for the day immediately throw out the trash so you don’t go back and second guess yourself. Box up the storage box. Place the donate/sell box in the garage, or out of site. And remember: Don’t rescue the clutter!

When I started this process last spring my home was not dirty and horribly messy. But I had too much STUFF in closets, drawers and storage bins…and too much furniture in a small home…and my office was NOT the picture of organization.

When my trash was gone, my storage was packed away, I had donated or sold some items, and everything I had decided to keep was in its place, I took a walk through my house and admired what I had labored to accomplish! Now, I enjoy the lack of stress and the results.

Remember: De-cluttering our personal lives is often overlooked. A cluttered personal life causes a lot of stress and often depression.

Published in: on March 10, 2009 at 10:03 am  Leave a Comment  

“a mourning female captive”

In my post a few days ago I wrote: Is the gate about to fly open? Several hours later a woman who abides in Christ and is so used by God in the lives of others, called me on the telephone to chat. She had not read my last post…or any of this blog. After we chatted for a few minutes about general stuff she felt led of God to open her Bible and read Isaiah 60 to me. As she read I knew God was using her to be ‘Himself with skin on’ to speak to my internal distress.

Matthew Henry defines this chapter as “The glories of the church of God.” And those of us who are children of God are the church…the church is not a building.

Isaiah 60:1 “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.” [JFB Commentary 1. Arise–from the dust in which thou hast been sitting as a mourning female captive (Isa 3:26 52:1,2). shine–or, “be enlightened; for thy light cometh”; impart to others the spiritual light now given thee (Isa 60:3).

Isaiah 60:11 “Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.” [JFB Commentary 11. (Re 21:25). The gates are ever open to receive new offerings and converts (Isa 26:2 Ac 14:27 Re 3:8). In time of peace the gates of a city are open: so, under the Prince of peace, there shall be no need of barring gates against invaders.]

When I added the Jamison-Fawcette and Brown commentary notes…….verse 1 made me chuckle “mourning female captive”…yep that seemed to define me in the last post…and for the last few months. And verse 11–I read as my having no need of living with the gates closed to the holding pen confining me from my race in this period of my life.

For the following 24 hours after my friend read this chapter of Scripture to me God used verse 11 as the Balm of Gilead and healed me/delivered me from my frustration and…some fear. Verse 1 and verse 11 revealed my purpose in this life: To live my life so others can see Christ in me and share with others all that God IS, all Scripture, His Gospel and all He has personally done for me and taught me…and to do so “in the power of His resurrection” and continually asking to “be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And I realized…this is a huge responsibility, not to be carried out in one church, one place or an isolated ministry, but 24/7 in every place my feet trod and to every person I meet.

Published in: on March 5, 2009 at 8:16 pm  Leave a Comment