Thursday, October 23, 2014

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.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

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.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Who Do We Trust?

Job 15:15 - “Behold, He puts no trust in His holy ones, and the heavens are not pure in His sight;"

For the Lord to trust in anyone or anything other than Himself would make Him less than God. Holiness along with all His other attributes emanate from Him only. This fact dismisses any possibility that something or something else could be trusted for salvation.

Simply stated, if we are trusting in any other than Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, along with the Father and Holy Spirit for our salvation we are deceived. In so doing, we have lifted ourselves up to that place where Satan fell, saying that he was his own god. God will never put His uncompromising trust in angels or even in those He calls His children. To do so would mean He is less than God. As sons and daughters of God we will always be pure in His sight through the blood of Jesus. However, in our daily walk with Him we must continue to trust God implicitly. For in so doing we become a little more purified while upon this earth.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Graceful Words

Ephesians 4:29 - "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear."

Do we attract people to our words allowing God's grace to build up rather than tear down? Or do we detract from our conversations by the space we create through our negativity? Demonstrating Christ within us will be most powerfully witnessed through our speech. Paul tells us that if we are opening our mouths, it had better be for the sake of others rather than to take life from these. Beloved, we steal from those we converse with if we are not bringing life to the conversation. Proverbs 18:21 tells us that death and life are in the power of the tongue.

God will not sanctify our lips nor our tongue. These are our own members which we need to bring under His Lordship. Until we do, we may find ourselves as James describes -- a fountain sending forth both fresh and bitter water (James 3:11). We must guard our lips, seeking to speak only those things that will provide faith, hope, and love to the hearer. May all our words be carefully spoken, for Jesus tells us every careless word will be brought before the Judge on that final day (Matthew 12:36).

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Though He Slay Me

Job 13:15 - “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him."

The difference between Job and Peter concerning their resolve to die for their Lord were their respective crucifixions. While Job lived millennia before Christ's sacrifice, he understood how death to self and trust in God was the great difference. When Peter proclaimed his allegiance to Jesus and said boldly he was ready to die for His Lord, he was only part right. He would indeed die for Jesus, but he would only truly begin this journey of death after understanding crucifixion. From that point on, it became a selfless adventure toward his inevitable fate.

Job was on the other side of crucifixion and knew his life meant nothing without God. Are we like Peter before the cross, trying to choose the place of our death? Or are we like Job who no longer sees himself as his friends did in their misunderstanding of his intent. Once we bow to crucifixion and our old man of self-centeredness, then we will we say like Job it matters not where or when we die -- we are God's no matter the outcome.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Pressing On With God

Hosea 6:3 “So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth.”

The Lord's double imperative through the prophet in the first part of this verse is even more reason to seek understanding of what He is trying to tell us. First He states that we must "know." Then, we must "know the Lord." We will never have any depth of relationship with Jesus if we merely desire to know Him in our own way. People have been doing this for centuries by "knowing" Christ in a secular, scholarly, or in a humanistic manner. That's why without previous knowledge of who He is and what we are, we will ultimately succumb to pride and study Jesus from afar without a hope of salvation.

However, if we first have the understanding that God is the Almighty who sent His Son to die for our wretched state, then we possess the first imperative of this admonition. Through this knowledge, it is then up to us to seek the Lord, surrendering to Him on all accounts. With such humility is the promise of the watering of His Spirit in our lives. Then, beloved, we will truly be regenerated from on high by His merciful grace.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Earnestly Seeking God

Hosea 5:15 - "I will go away and return to My place until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me."

The thought of the Father going away and returning to His own place should terrify a son or daughter of the Lord. Although Jesus said He will never leave us or forsake us, He does withdraw to a place of hiding when we refuse to be hidden in Him. Often, we might do things which look right. We might be teaching a Sunday School class or working in a food pantry. While these are good things, they could be just as sinful, for instance, as taking illegal drugs. We know the Lord does not desire to break the laws of the land, but what about His Law? If God has not called us to do something which looks admirable to most, then we should stop immediately.

Morality is always the chief critic of true Godly spirituality, yet the former is born in hell while the latter is born in humility and obedience. Beloved, we must accept guilt where it comes. If we are sinning willfully, pursuing the lusts of the flesh, then we should repent and seek God's face for His favor to return. Likewise, if we are pursuing "good works" to appease our guilt, then we stand equally wrong before God. Any and all disobedience should be brought to the light. A wrong motive or blatant disobedience will be revealed in the love of His Light. We must earnestly seek Him and He will allow Himself to be found.