Friday, October 28, 2016

A "Put on" for God

Colossians 3:12-14 - "So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity."

Have we ever been accused of being a "put on"? Being two-faced is wrong if we are using our masquerade to fool others. However, if we are Christians and confess we are often two different people, then we then have the power through humility to be a proper put on. When we allow ourselves to think right about ourselves, we start to think right about others. What we then put on our minds about ourselves and others become expressions of our hearts that transform.

Beloved, exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit is a choice. It begins by choosing to put on the Lord Jesus Christ in our every thought. The miracle then happens as His character becomes ours with hearts expressive of Him.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Setting God Aside

Mark 7:9 - "He was also saying to them, 'You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.'"

To point the finger at the Pharisees is often to have three pointed back at ourselves. While we may not have a written form of the Talmud that we use to dissect the Law of God, we invariably do this in other ways. Compromise comes through forcing our own way rather than God's. It can often come in the most subtle ways also. Have we desired something we should not have? Then, we can sometimes justify our position by doing a little more for God in another area. We add to the law by trying to love someone a bit more so we can act a bit more rude to another through our self-justification. Or, we might fall into the trap of doing for God rather than being for God. To clarify, how often do we do for God because we are afraid not to? We have become so accustomed to giving to a certain charity or helping out a person in a certain way, yet we have lost our love in the midst of it.

If we will allow the love of God to be our great motivator in whatever we do, then we will never fall short of His expectation. Jesus Himself stated that if we love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind and our neighbor likewise, then we have fulfilled the Law (Luke 10:27). However, this takes sitting before the Lord and seeking His will everyday rather than assuming we know it from past experience.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Greater is He ...

II Chronicles 32:7 - “Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria nor because of all the horde that is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him."

Do we really believe that greater is He that is in us, then he who is in the world? The author of Chronicles tells us in 32:1 that after all Hezekiah's faithful acts, the king of Assyria then attacked. In trying to reason this, some would tell us that we must have some sin in our lives. Otherwise the devourer would not have a foothold to provoke us. However, when we have been faithful and generous and loving is when we will sometimes experience a deluge of conflict as our seeming reward. These "rewards" are often orchestrated in heaven to allow us to create the heavenly gold God desires (remember Job and his testing, my friends).

When we are sure concerning Whom we have believed – and know with surety it is He who is greater than all our troubles – there is nothing that will come our way we will not accept as a gift from God. Should we embrace calamity? We should only receive it for what it is – an instrument to bring us closer to God. As with Hezekiah, if we will but trust in the Lord then our troubles will self-destruct much like the Assyrian army later in this chapter. … May we trust implicitly and love explicitly, beloved of God.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

An Unrestricted Grasp

Philippians 2:6 - "who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,"

What are we grasping for today? Our grasp will only be restricted by our reach. If we are truly reaching for the things of God, then we have acknowledged we are not God and have need of the Savior. However, if we are grasping for those things which are selfishly desired, then we have not emptied ourselves regarding our fleshly desire to be our own gods. Jesus understood perfectly what the Father desired. He emptied Himself of any agenda other than that of His loving Daddy and He achieved the pronouncement, "This is my beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased," by so doing.

Our grasp will always be symptomatic of our desire. What we truly love, we will pursue. Our pursuits will always be out-stripped, well beyond our grasp, if we seek things for ourselves. Conversely, if we persevere, we will overtake and possess those things God desires for us through His will.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Residual Return

Hosea 12:6 - "Therefore, return to your God, observe kindness and justice, and wait for your God continually."

If we ever get to the point as Christians when we say we have no need to return to God, then we have set ourselves up in the place of the Pharisees. God the Father told us to be holy and perfect, for He is holy and perfect (Leviticus 19:2). So, to believe we have somehow arrived and we have come to this perfect place of sanctification and holiness is to believe the lie perpetrated since Lucifer challenged God for Lordship. However, this is usually done in much more subtle ways. We might say, "I am a pretty good Christian. I go to prayer meeting plus Sunday services and also work with the kids sometimes." Once we start justifying our so-called position in life we lose our connection with our position in Christ.

If we are truly dead to self and our old ways, we will know we must continue to return to God every time a thought like this arises. Remember, beloved, a rock when dropped will only fall towards its center which is the earth. It is the law of gravity. The law of love tells us we must fall into the arms of the Savior. Otherwise, to prevent this fall only means we have fallen from grace.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Our Call to Suffer

Philippians 1:29 - "For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,"

Suffering will always result in loss. If we are not suffering for Christ's sake as believers, then possibly we have believed a false gospel. The Gospel of Jesus Christ says we will put others at enmity with us when we seek to follow Christ and His teachings. It has never been the heritage of the children of God to get along with everyone in this world. We will not necessarily "get along" with those who feel guilty because of their immoral lifestyles since we do not condone them. Acceptance does not mean we embrace someone's lifestyle choices. Instead, it means we still love them with Christ's love yet not compromise the word of God.

Remember, beloved, faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy (Proverbs 27:6). We will suffer for Christ's sake if we are living according to the true Gospel.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Obedient Joy

Mark 3:13 - "And He went up on the mountain and summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him."

When we come near to God in those mountaintop moments, He will always seek to draw us closer to Himself. In these instances, it will be our choice to come or not. What will it cost us? Ourselves -- vanquished on the windswept expanses of the peaks of God's delights. When we experience His calling and our coming, we must be careful to then carry out what He desires. If we believe God has just called us into fellowship with Him on the mountain and will not require something of us, then we have not come to know the Lord as we should.

Too often, the joy of the mountaintop is aborted early because we refuse to follow through with the next level of obedience. The call of God and our coming to Him is often irresistible. However, the going out from Him with a new knowledge to obey can easily meet resistance by the self we should have left on the windswept peak. Beloved of God, may we hear His voice, come at His calling, and go down from the mountain with the joy of obedience.