Archive for November 2019

Keep Pointing!

November 27, 2019
As I look around at our culture and the challenges that I see, I have to admit that it becomes increasingly difficult to know what to do…how to make a positive impact.
Political turmoil, corruption, and blatant hypocrisy–from all sides; moral degradation to the point that all social mores are crumbling around us; selfishness and greed run amok; violence invades our everyday lives more each day; hatred is increasing…what can a person do to have any impact on that environment?
As a Believer in Jesus Christ, I am guided by the Holy Spirit and brought back to the wisdom of His Word. I realize that this instantly discredits me to many people. So be it. I still believe that God is sovereign and His will–revealed in the person of Jesus and through the writers of the Scriptures–has not changed.
So, the question I have might be irrelevant for some of you. ‘What is a Christian to do in these circumstances’?
…and the answer, first and foremost, is to PRAY!
In prayer, I humble myself before God. I admit and repent of the sin that I’ve allowed in my own heart. I acknowledge the worldliness that I, myself, have bought in to, and I seek ongoing deliverance from that. I ask God to continue working on myself–helping me to be a truthful ‘Ambassador’ of Jesus.
In that mindset, then I seek to WORSHIP Him more fully and consistently. Worship is, first and foremost, acknowledging Him for who He is–through obedience, through praise and thanksgiving.
In that spirit, I then begin to realize how important it is that I continue to meet with others who have a similar belief system and heart. We need fellowship, encouragement, prayer, and accountability! I need to be reminded not to get ‘sucked in’ to the morass of this world’s values…and to remember that our hope is in the Lord!
Simultaneous to this, we need to reach out in loving, faithful service to those who don’t know…those who are blind to the fact that they’ve been duped. They’ve been sold a bill of goods and deceived by the enemy of their souls. They think they’re free…and that reveling in sin is ‘freedom’. It’s not–it’s enslavement. However, they will only see that if we lovingly, patiently demonstrate the consistent, gracious love of God to them.
Any hope they have…any hope our culture has…rests with Jesus. Therefore, any attempt I make to ‘take over’ or to ‘overthrow’ this world’s values simply will not work. Instead, it’s one heart, one life at a time…and it’s by the grace and mercy of God.
Fellow believers, don’t allow yourself to get sucked into ‘political’ or ‘economic’ answers to what are, in essence, ‘spiritual’ questions. What this world needs, now more than ever, are Christ-followers…
who actually ‘follow Christ’–not just in ‘what we don’t do’, but in ‘what we do‘ and ‘how we do it’.
We need to ‘battle’ with prayer, love, firmness, and grace. We need to point people to their need for Jesus. We need to help others see that Jesus isn’t only our Savior, but is also Lord–and deserves our full, utmost worship.
Will that change this world?
Maybe not for the entire globe. Maybe it won’t alter history and His sovereign plan.
However, it might be like the story of the little boy who found thousands of starfish on the beach and started picking them up, one by one, to throw them back. A man came by and saw what he was doing, and scoffed at his efforts. ‘You know you can’t possibly do it all.’ The boy replied, ‘I can–if others help me’. ‘But you can’t make a real difference’, said the man. The boy bent down, picked up another starfish, tossed it into the water and said: “I made a difference for that one!”
It’s no secret, this world is getting darker.
Our culture has not only turned its back on God, but is now increasingly hostile to God, and anyone who believes in Jesus as
“The Way, The Truth, and The Life.” (John 14:6)
God has His sovereign plan, and we want to get in line with it while encouraging others in it too.
Christian, it’s important. It’s not just about ‘winning a debate’ but about rescuing those who are lost and blind and don’t even know it. It’s about being Jesus’ Ambassadors.
2 Corinthians 5:18-20:And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.  For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”

Saying “Yes” to the Good Stuff

November 14, 2019

What is the impression ‘Christianity‘ has in your mind?

For many, it’s about ‘Saying ‘No’ to things…lots of things’.

From the outside, it may appear that the Christian faith means ‘Not having any fun’, or ‘Always being serious’.

I can understand that impression–after all, many of us who claim to be Christians do seem to have a sour disposition quite a bit of the time. There are those in the faith who do seem to equate Christianity with Crabbiness.

But the truth is, being a follower of Jesus Christ is much, much more than ‘what we can’t do’. In fact, it is about being free–free to follow the plan and the will of the One who created us, knows us, and loves us! It is about saying ‘Yes’ to Him! It’s about True Freedom! freedom-1

The truth is that there are both ‘Yes’s’ and ‘No’s’ involved.

For example, Titus 2:11-14 says, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”

We first say ‘Yes’ to the gracious gift of God–forgiveness and Eternal Life through Jesus, and then (as a result), we say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldliness. We say ‘yes’ to living in a self-controlled, upright way. Why do we do this? Because we’re living with an eternal perspective now. We’re looking forward to the return of our Savior!

We say ‘Yes’ to God, and He teaches us to say ‘No’ to our self-centered, here-and-now lifestyle. He works within us to conform our character to His. It is a wonderful, blessed and life-long adventure of growth!

It is, in fact, FREEDOM to live the way we were designed to live!

As Paul wrote to the Romans, Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2)

In view of God’s love and mercy, we offer ourselves to Him–willingly and enthusiastically! He continues to teach us to rise above the superficial thinking of this world, and…in the process…we are able to experience His will for us. His will is good, pleasing and perfect!

Of Course we would say ‘Yes’ to that!

What are You saying ‘Yes’ to?

I am FREE!

Learning to Blush Again

November 13, 2019

Have you ever known someone who blushes easily?

Maybe they don’t like to be the center of attention, or they get embarrassed when given a compliment.

In many ways, this can seem ‘sweet’ and is charming.

Some people blush when something private is brought up in public, or when lines of decency are crossed. These people blush because there’s ‘a standard’ that should not be compromised, and they don’t handle it well when those standards are broken down.

I believe that we, as a culture, have forgotten how to blush.

We have become so ‘calloused’ to things that are indecent and sinful (from the perspective of God’s Word), that we don’t even bat an eye at the mention of things that, just a few years ago, would have been thought to be way outside the norm.

I was reading today from the Prophet Jeremiah, and here’s what he was moved by the Spirit of the Lord to say:
“They cling to deceit, they refuse to return. I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. No one repents of his wickedness, saying “what have I done?” Each pursues his own course, like a horse charging into battle…

They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. “Peace, peace”, they say, when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush.” (Jeremiah 8:5-6, 11-12)

God was especially frustrated and angry with the people in that day who claimed to know Him and worship Him–those who clung to the Law and the Temple as proof of their ‘preferential position’ in God’s eyes, while, at the same time, becoming more and more comfortable with sin.

If you are a Believer in Jesus Christ, I think the message is for you (and I) also. We need to repent of our own worldliness, our own ‘comfort’ with the sins of our world…and of our own sin! We need to ask God, again, to work in our hearts so that we see things His way!

We need to repent of our desire to ‘fit in’ with this self-centered, deceived culture and instead declare that our allegiance, our standards, are the Lord’s alone!

We need to confess our own sin, and worship Him more fully. We need to ask Him to work within us–the Body of Christ–before we throw stones at a world that is, admittedly, “under the spell of the evil one” (1 John 5:19)

May God make us more sensitive to His standards again. May He teach us to be led by the Holy Spirit as we live in this world. May He make us ‘salt and light’ (Matthew 7) again. May His standards be the ones we adopt, protect, and speak up for.

May He teach us to blush again.

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