Friday, July 25, 2014

Aromatic Ministry

II Chronicles 29:11 - "My sons, do not be negligent now, for the LORD has chosen you to stand before Him, to minister to Him, and to be His ministers and burn incense.”

There comes a time in every believer's life when he or she is faced with going on in God. The truth is that we are either moving toward Him or away. However, when we come to that place where we stand – no matter what – then we begin to experience the life that abides in Christ. No longer are we negligent about the word of God in our lives, but we have denied ourselves and have moved into a place of seeking His face and not merely His hand. When we come to a place of desiring to be a child of God rather than what we can get out of God, then we have begun to learn the true place of ministry.

The outward demonstration of this spiritual paradigm shift is whether we have begun to "burn incense" to the Lord. Is our life a sweet fragrance to others, an aroma of the Lord? We cannot burn for the Lord if we have not first allowed Him to burn up our old life and the things that would compromise our relationship with Him. May we all become the fragrance of Christ that burn brightly for Jesus.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

How Clean Are Our Hands?

Job 22:30 - “He will deliver one who is not innocent, and he will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.”

What a tremendous responsibility we have to those who are too weak and unknowing to rescue themselves from sin! God has commissioned all who say they know the Lord Jesus Christ to be the expression of Himself upon this earth. Even as He is the Savior of this world, he has called us as His ambassadors to reflect His salvation. Jesus desires that we represent Him in such a way as to attract others to His salvation. This will only work if we are living a life of love with the Savior.

None of us are innocent. However, Jesus Christ has made a way for us all to be righteous through His blood and accepting His great gift. We must allow the Holy Spirit to live through us in such a way as to make others yearn for that place of innocence once again. Paradise lost will once again be Paradise regained through Christ's righteousness. While Adam's innocence can never be regained in this lifetime, we can help bring others to redemption through Christ's justification.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Lack of Restraint

II Chronicles 28:19 - "For the Lord humbled Judah because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had brought about a lack of restraint in Judah and was very unfaithful to the Lord."

A "lack of restraint" is the same thing as empowering those around us to sin. We can either humble ourselves through the fear of the Lord, or God will allow our enemies to rise up all around us and defeat us at every turn. In so doing, we license those who look up to us to become accessories to the crime of rebellion against the Lord. They likewise will be dragged down by our infidelity.

What is our heritage as leaders in our church, youth groups, bible studies, families, work, etc? What are we modeling for others to follow? If we are not restrained by the love of God, we will be unrestrained to lie, cheat, gossip, engage in promiscuity, or any other sin of the flesh. While some may not see our outward behavior, a spiritual dynamic works unseen to the physical eye, empowering these strongholds in our lives and those of others.

May our lives reflect the fear of the Lord, for this will build a mighty fortress for both ourselves and those with whom we lead.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Righteous Compassion

Matthew 9:13 - "But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Has the Lord ever told us to "go and learn?" While this may sound harsh, it is God's remedy for those with a stubborn heart. Religiosity can often make us legalistic and unbending. Yet, Jesus tells this sort to head back to spiritual kindergarten and learn the basics of His message – compassion and mercy that are powered by love.

Do we feel like we have given up much for God and that others should do the same? Possibly our sacrifice is not the same as the next fellow's. Perhaps God has for them a different cross to bear that looks nothing like ours. Our position is to be positionless regarding their position and their walk with God. We should not judge a man unless we are also willing to grant them mercy in our judgment. Our appraisals should always be based in righteous, humble thinking (John 7:24). This is our safeguard against haughtiness, beloved.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Peace Within

Job 20:20-21 - “Because he knew no quiet within him, he does not retain anything he desires. Nothing remains for him to devour, therefore his prosperity does not endure."

The Psalmist David concurs with this scripture from Job when he states how delighting in the Lord results in obtaining the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4). Often, the reason our prosperity is not sustainable is because we are not seeking the Lord's will with the riches He has entrusted. This is not only material wealth. Of greater importance is the wealth of love and kindness that we show to others which results in great peace.

We can only keep what we give away, beloved. If we are seeking to store up any kind of riches here on earth, whether material or spiritual, they will soon make wings and fly away and leave us empty. However, if we continue to give purposefully, then God will continue to fill us to overflowing.

Do we want to know peace? Then grant peace to others. The same can be said for anything we desire. All things which we desire that we give to others will then be ours in abundance.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Return to God

Hosea 5:4 - "Their deeds will not allow them to return to their God. For a spirit of harlotry is within them, and they do not know the Lord."

When I was deep within my sin and addiction, I had created such a legacy and heritage of sin in my life it became impossible to get "better." Often, people can become more religious and turn toward God. This, in itself, does not ensure salvation. However, for some of us, we lost the ability even to turn to God because we had been sleeping with the world too long. It meant coming to a bottom of utter despair. Then, the miracle happened! God was able to turn and repair our titanic vessel from the iceberg of sin which was sinking us.

Some of those reading this are still trapped in the icy waters of despair. They have fornicated with their sin for so long that they no longer know how to start getting free. There is hope. We must turn to God and ask Him for the power to turn. There is no other way when we are so enmeshed in the sin that continues to enslave us. Seek God today for there is salvation if we will but trust He will save us.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Reasonable Expectations

Matthew 6:34 - "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

It is easy enough to tell someone not to worry about tomorrow. However, in order for there to be a logical replacement for worry there must be proper expectation. Jesus tells us plainly in this scripture that we can expect trouble, often on a daily basis. This, in itself, might create a hopeless despair of soul. However, Jesus also wants us to expect God's provision as He suggests in the previous verses regarding the birds of the air and the lilies of the field (Matthew 6:25-33).

Expectations, whether hopeful or hopeless, will invariably rule our day. It just depends on which we decide to put our hope. Will we hope in God's promise that He will meet all our needs in Christ Jesus? (Philippians 4:19) Or, will we succumb to the anxieties of the day and create a cesspool of doubt and worry in our souls? It all depends on how we allow common, everyday expectations to either propel us toward the Solution or deeper into the problem.