Tuesday, June 12, 2018

SHINE A LIGHT ON YOUR PERSPECTIVE


I have had quite a number of people honk their horn at me because they think I can go on, BUT I cannot because of the slower traffic in front of me. Perhaps they are honking at them, but it comes across as a message to me - to pick up the pace - when I can't due to traffic conditions. Some individuals cannot or choose not to recognize what is further down the road and only focus on what is in front of them. Many call this nearsightedness. God helps with this.

There are people who are in the other category too. These individuals are great planners and thrive on looking ahead either as part of their job or just the way they feel they are wired. This exclusive view of - just the future - does not appreciate the now and in between time. Many-a-relationship has suffered because of this perspective. I have heard this called farsightedness. God helps with this also.

Both visions in balance are what God calls for in our lives. However, in order to have this balance, we must accept and walk out with His help - His awesome plan for our lives. Once we accept His plan and own it with a passion, keeping our focus on Christ - He will reveal both the near-seen-things and the far-seen-things in His timing. Both of these revelations, views or visions - near and future - can be found in one place - from Him; His Word. 

"Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path." (Psalm 119:105)


Do you need a refresh to who/what God has called you to be? Do you need direction, revelation and/or perspective for the short term or in the distant future? If God's Word was the agent that brought light into existence so many years ago, surely His Word can and will Shine A Light On Your Perspective.

Friday, June 8, 2018

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Many Christians have a list of people in their lives that they would love to see have a personal relationship with Christ and get plugged in to a well-grounded body of believers. A lot of these individuals are prayed for every day. Jude 1:22 encourages us to have that go get'em, don't give up, passionate attitude about their eternal souls, especially the backslidden. The verse reads - "And of some have compassion, making a difference." 

That phrase "and of some" identifies a specific group of targeted people that should be receiving your direct attention. The phrase "have compassion" covers the gambit of loving a person all the way back through the restoration process - until they are spiritually and mentally stable once again. The phrase "making a difference" tells us what we have accomplished. We have accomplished...

  1. for Christ - because He instructed us to love like Him, 
  2. for the individual - because they needed help/restoration and now he/she is back on track,
  3. for us - because the outcome is rewarding in-and-of-itself.
The Holy Spirit re-emphasized this same notion when Paul stated in Galatians 6:10 - "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." You see there is a calling to attention of doing good "especially...to the family of believers". We have to take care of our own, otherwise why else would others, the "all people" in this verse be interested in joining this kingdom; this family. The challenge, as stated in Jude 1:22 above is for God's family members to continue having compassion, Making A Difference.

Friday, June 1, 2018

TASTERS


The first part of Psalm 34:8 is what I want to focus on today - "Taste and see that the Lord is good;". There are foods out there such as some herbs and spices and mushrooms that are not good for the human body. Plus, with all food you need to know how to prepare and cook properly for healthy consumption. David says in this verse, in my words - "Taste", actually consider and take action on The Lord and His promises in your life and observe or "see" the abundant, healthy results.

The human tongue has four zones to our taste palette - sweet, salty, sour and bitter. But our tongue can't sample any food for one of these four determinations if we don't first consider the food we desire to consume and then act on getting it into our mouths. In the same way we must recognize our want and need for a better food, a daily spiritual food and purposefully go after it or in this case Him.

No we are not talking about cannibalism here by tasting someone. We can taste another's company by first impressions, asking personal questions, and simply spending time with that individual. We taste The Lord via His Word, via experiences, via praises/worship, and via prayer or quiet time. Tasting of The Lord means we are coming to The Table to partake in what The Lord would have us digest for any given situation. The end result is "and see that the Lord is good"

Christ Jesus is The Bread of Life. He gave us a great example of being our daily bread with the supply of heavenly mana to the Hebrew people in the desert. Today is no different as we pray - "Give us this day our daily bread..." (Matt. 6:11). This not only refers to physical or monetary blessing, but a request to bless us with Christ Himself. If we get in the habit of making this petition first thing every morning we can truly - "Taste and see that the Lord is good;".

Thursday, May 17, 2018

OTHERS WILL PRAISE GOD FOR YOU


In is second letter to the believers in Corinth, Paul encouraged and taught all in one verse some key identity characteristics of a Christian and who to hear praise from about them. Paul in 2 Corinthians 9:13 said,

  • "Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else."
Another way for Paul to have said this is - "I have noticed your generosity in sharing and obedience to God which has been displayed in your service to Him. I realize that it was started because of your confession of the gospel of Christ. And if I notice it, you know others will and will praise God for you." I say it like this because even thought Paul places an emphasis on the proven service record of the believer(s), the next phrase is the as-the-result-of phrase ("others will praise God for..."). However, the first things should not be disguarded. The foundation of confessing of the gospel of Christ is what led to obedience and a lifestyle of generosity which got the believer to the proved service.

The identity of a Christian then according to this passage is one of service, obedience to God, carrier of The Gospel, and a generous person. However, another aspect of this verse and of the identity of a Christian should be humility. Notice that close to the beginning of this verse Paul said, "others will praise God for...". This idea of allowing others to applaud you and not tooting-your-own-horn all the time is not new. Proverbs 27:2 says, "Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips."

This is hard sometimes when you feel as if your long and devout service is not getting noticed and appreciated. The most important thing to remember is that God sees everything. He takes note of the improvements to be made in our lives and takes note of the long, great career of service to Him. I encourage you today - your service has not gone unnoticed and neither has that which makes you Christian. So, man and woman of God, pursue this and "fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses." (1 Timothy 6:12) - then Others Will Praise God For You.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

CONFESSION


1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." For a Christian, under Salvation, this confession is an admittance of wrong and apology wrapped in one. The rest of the verse is the pointing to The Cross to re-assure the believer that every sin - past, present and future - has been paid for by Christ and will accept our apology. An example prayer based on this verse could go like this, "Lord, I confess I have done you and others wrong recently. Please accept my apology. I believe you have forgiven me at The Cross and even now. I thank you for your forgiveness in Jesus' Name, Amen."

Solomon said in Proverbs 28:13, "Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy." Notice the status of child of God or believer of God is not revoked because one sinned or concealed their sin. Instead, God's blessings and favor are withheld - "does not prosper". However, on the flip side - "the one who confesses and renounces them [mistakes against God and others] finds mercy". Favor, blessing and mercy remain with the one who recognizes, admits and corrects the wrong they have done God and others in their life.

To aide in this effort, James 5:16 says, "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." Accountability to brothers and sisters in Christ is a powerful tool to keep Christians on the Straight-and-Narrow. James not only says to confess our wrongs or mistakes one to another, but we are too pray for each other SO THAT healing might come to that situation. Then James adds to the prayer suggestion - "The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." There is the consulting God part, even as a duo or group confessing their mistake.

This is not a directive to sway or teach someone to be more conscience of their sins (sin conscience). It is a Notice to the believer in Christ that when you feel that prick in your spirit or gut that something is not right about your own behavior, words or thoughts - pause and consult The Lord. If you find you need help, consider developing a close relationship of trust with someone you can call your Accountability Partner. But know that after recognizing there is an issue, there is the cleansing of the soul; the great sigh of relief; the part of Confession.

Monday, May 14, 2018

CONSULT THE MANUAL


Some people base their lives on superstition, chance, luck or the alignment of the stars. I am so glad that there is an option not to live by such an uncertain thing as luck or chance and such an impersonal thing as superstition or astrology. I would hate to walk through life walking on eggshells. However, that is exactly what someone is doing when you depend upon each egg being chance, luck, superstition or the stars as your governing force. I choose to lean on God's Providence, Plan and His help with my effort in living life.

You see, I view The Word of God (Bible) as Life's Manual. My walk of life can always be metered and adjusted by what God's Word says is proper and Holy about any situation in my life. However, a great first step off the blocks in this race of life is advice from Paul to the believers in Rome. Paul said, 

"Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery,' 'You shall not murder,' 'You shall not steal,' 'You shall not covet,' and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." (Romans 13:8-10)

So, I encourage you today and every day to live this lifestyle. Love God first, others next and your own life will be blessed. In the meantime, when you go through any kind of spot of your life that causes you to pause and question what to do, whether it be a challenging situation or not, consult God's Word, Consult The Manual. 

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." - 2 Timothy 3:16

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

PARTING WORDS


Many times I have seen the wisdom of someone's last words given the utmost attention and consideration. Within our culture, whether it be due to movies, television or other influences - the words of people departing are valued highly. Whether the person is leaving for a short while, an extended period of time or on their deathbed - Parting Words hold a lot of weight. This got me thinking about Christ's Parting Words to His Disciples.

Luke says right off the bat in the first chapter of Acts that "After his suffering, he [Christ] presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God." (Acts 1:3) In fact, the last day before Jesus ascended to the right hand of Father God, according to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus spoke to His Disciples about disbelief, his mission as fulfilled prophecy and the sending of The Promise - The Holy Spirit (Luke 24:36-53).

Again, Luke in Acts 1:4-5 attests to the Lord speaking about the sending of Father God's Promise - The Holy Spirit. However, here Luke records a little more detail. He said, to their question of “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” - “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” The Lord answers their question and adds to it. The Disciples where told the dates and times were not for them to know. However, instruction for right now and for the immediate future is to receive the power of the Holy Spirit I am sending you and be my witnesses locally, regionally and nationally. He answered their question and gave them something to do in the meantime or until further notice.

Even after this awesome Commission, Jesus still had some Parting Words. These words, however, were not recorded. In the Gospel of Luke the account is rendered -  "When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. (Luke 24:50-51) A fitting example of how we should leave the presence of another even if it is for a short time. Paul encourages us in Ephesians 4:26 that if we are at odds or angry with someone - make it right with them quickly, even before the ending of that day. Paul says, it like this - “'In your anger do not sin' : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,..." So, take your example from Jesus as He left His Disciples and left this earth - season with love; fill with blessings - your Parting Words.