Monday, February 20, 2017

"Living Holy"

  We are called to holiness. "But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves in all your behavior." (I Pet. 1:15) Behavior that is holy. Many have little insight as to what that means and their lives show it! When we speak of holy many equate that with perfection or sinlessness. That's not holiness. 
  Holiness is linked to our rescue which God did for us through Jesus. Jesus paid out debts and out of His cleansing comes people who are pure and blameless in the sight of God. Jesus sanctified us so that we stand before God holy. We have come from common sinners to children of God. It's not something we accomplished but done for us through the offering of the body of Jesus. Pure, clean and undefiled. What is our response to be? Live holy lives. God calls wives to accept the husband's headship. That's holy living. Husband's are called to be self-giving to their wives as Jesus does the church. That's holy living. When your brother sins, forgive him from your heart. That's holy living. As Christ has received each of us we are to accept one another (Rom. 15:7). That's holy living. We are called to submit to governing authorities no matter who they are (Rom. 13). That's holy living. To avoid sinful situations we select lifestyles that promote the Lord Jesus Christ is holy living. We get all this from being cleansed by the blood of Jesus!
  We are called to pattern our lives after our Lord and Savior. Because we have been redeemed that is the very basis of holy living. Listen carefully to the verse that proceeds the above verse calling us to holy behavior: "As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance." (I Pet. 1:14) We were called by God to Himself and that means leaving our former life behind and transform into His life. "Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord." (Heb. 12:14) "The sanctification" is the state the Lord has called us into by His blood and we are to pursue that holiness in our lives. Holiness is not earning you anything before God but is a life because we are holy by Christ before Him! You are holy! Live holy! Christ made us holy! Live holy! Live in ways that honors His life and His ways. Yes, we fall short at times but realizing we are holy before God because of Christ gives us every reason to live as He is. Put away your former life knowing God raised you with Jesus. Pursue holiness as He is holy! 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

"OUR god or GOD?"

  People can deceive us but the worst deception of all is 'self-deception.' With all our 'God-talk' and business in so called church matters, our outreaches and programs, we can deceive ourselves into believing all this brings us into the fellowship of God, after all, we are doing His will! Take away our programs and all the busy things we do in the spiritual arena and where would that leave us? Some would believe we are dead spiritually.
  Israel had their golden-calf to raise up as their spiritual work of their hands. Their 'god' was one they created by their efforts and it made them feel good to worship and they could see their 'god'. The God of heaven who delivered them was hidden from them by sight. Man wants things seen!! When they asked for the Almighty's name He said: "I AM WHO I AM." The eternal God will not be controlled or manipulated by any efforts of man. What is all this to us?
  We are much better off today. Religion flows all around, preaching and teaching, religious programs and Christian music. We claim to know our God!!! But is this really true? Maybe we too have created a 'god' in the image of man?
  How many movements among those calling God their Father have arisen? Too many have their political 'golden calf.' Or maybe education can bring us out of the dark and atone for our sins? Maybe our 'god' is one we can explain in terms of sociology and behavioral patterns? These are predictable and under our control! Maybe it is a 'god' that we have made dependent on us so we can worship us at the center and use all this great talent as the draw while making us feel so good, so special. The questions have changed from, "Is it truth?" to "Does it make us feel something?" Listen, I'm trying to get us to think about the frenzy many have created in the name of the Lord calling things spiritual! If all these things are so adequate for us in our thinking and worship how come so many have difficulty coping? Here's a struggle one goes through and the answer: "Read this book!"  or "Take this medication!"
  It seems at times there is little reaching to the God of heaven and earth. Little reading and learning the insight from the God who is Spirit. And yet God is the one who controls it all by stating through Jesus: "At that time Jesus said, 'I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these thing from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him." (Matt. 11:25-27) May the Lord open our eyes and hearts!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

"What's Your Message?"

  If you were asked, "What is your message to the world?" how would you respond? Let's start in your home. What is the message you send in your home? How terrible things are out in this world? Put emphasis on school or sports above others? What do you speak about or maybe silence is the issue and the tv is all important?
  What message do you send to your co-workers? How lousy your job is, the boss is, your work load and on goes the complaint list? Maybe it's how you like or don't like the political arena? That seems to be a message both on the job and public media at this point. But is that the message you have for those you are around on a daily issue? 
  Let me ask you again, but this time take serious thought about your life. What is your message to those around you on a daily basis? You're sending some type of message.
  Jesus sent a message of hope. Our families need to hear the message of hope and life and it isn't coming from the television or video games. We need to place hope right in front of the eyes of our family knowing that the hope we have in Jesus is the very anchor of our souls. That hope is sure and steadfast (Heb. 6:19). We need the message of hope when the political word is filled with hate and verbal abuse. Those without hope are stuck with only their own personal ingenuity and manipulative efforts which will ultimately fail.  Knowing our hope is in Jesus as He is LORD in heaven and on earth. It's all under His control and those out of control need to be brought under the hope found in Jesus.
  If you are in Christ, don't live your life as someone without God. You are in Christ which means you possess His life and our lives are reaching beyond this temporary. If you are in Christ, exercise your faith not your rights! Your rights were given up to Him because of hope. Live in life. Make your message about hope! Jesus is near.