Monday, March 27, 2017

"God's Holy Ground"

  When Moses encountered that burning bush in the desert (Ex. 3) there was more going on than a story we read over quickly. God was revealing His character and power in the presence of man. This encounter with man's Creator was teaching to get those sandals off, go barefoot as the ground on which he was standing was holy but not by the bush but by the presence of God Himself. 
  This bush was burning without being consumed because God needs no external help from us. The fire of God did not have to draw from the surroundings of the bush to exist! The wood of the bush was not the source. Here was the Almighty revealing that He depends on no one for His existence, who isn't kept alive by the power or strength of His servants or worshipers. That's a lesson we need to learn. God wants to be with us but we are the ones in need of Him and it is only by His power that we exist and move. 
  This bush was burning to show that God would not allow His people to be destroyed no matter how difficult their situation may be. Whatever our experiences are and sufferings we face, God will not let it destroy us! We see it from time to time how people go through some major obstacle in their life and they end up not being bitter or complaining but completely relying on God and His righteousness. It amazes us! People in those situations facing them with such faith and courage shows us God's holy ground we are standing on.
  We look at a young man (a teen to be exact) Daniel being taken from his family yet never yielding to the power of the world where he was taken captive. Daniel was kind and humble but never forgot the presence of His God always doing what was pleasing in His sight. God made Him prosper and in all that Daniel never quit. The king saw something very different in Daniel than the rest of the people around. When we read this, do we not see the holy ground on which Daniel was standing?
  We come to our worship of God and what do we find? Entertainment while we are captivated by the voices of people and we loose sight of the holy ground we stand upon. It's not about man! It's all about the God who sustains man yet we orchestrate the worship around us to make sure it sounds just right and the crescendos at the right time to move people. Maybe it's time we get back and read again about that burning bush and see the revealing of God who calls us to Himself without any help from man. That night in the dark recesses of the Roman jail, two men were praying and singing hymns to God surrounded by criminals and stench but here they were, standing on holy ground and others took notice (Acts 16). Take off our shoes as we are standing on holy ground!! 

Monday, March 6, 2017

"A God-Honored Marriage"

  I wished things in marriages were easy. In some ways they are but in others, no. Marriage isn't all sweetness, candlelight dinners and the little sweet-nothings whispered back and forth. At the same time it isn't all tough, leveling things at one another while holding to our side of things refusing to back down in the presence of another. Marriage is work but the work is much smoother if we would center our lives around the Lordship of Christ Jesus. That's easier said than done in the cases of some. We have seen our spiritual leaders display some of the worst examples in marriage and yet they seem to talk endlessly about a Christ-centered marriage. That's complete hypocrisy! 
  Marriage is about a man and a woman loving one another that they don't want to love anyone else in the same way! In that alone is the commitment, the covenant and a willingness to walk before the Lord in this mind-set and devotion. It's that dedication that no matter what comes, you will do anything for the other except leave them. As we hear from the Lord, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you." we too need that same heart of devotion toward the Lord which will translate into our marriages. It's that kind of deep commitment we should have in our faith! With that kind of commitment in the covenant of marriage, adultery should never enter the equation. It doesn't in God's mind. God will never leave us to join Himself to another while forgetting His covenant He made with us through Jesus Christ to Himself. We might 'adulterate' by joining up with some false concept or notion that would violate God but He will never do that to us! 
  While there are disagreements with one another those disagreements aren't the grounds to break the covenant. The intellect can say, "I won't commit adultery as that would be wrong." but if the heart is engaged in faith in the Lord their actions will speak, "Adultery is dishonorable and treacherous." You see, adultery is not simply a sexual sin but it is a base betrayal, the betrayal of the Lord Himself and His covenant. Those disagreements should find us loving more to learn to give to the other while thinking less of yourself. That is growing in faith and love.
  Many years ago while speaking with a couple about their marriage, one spouse said plainly and seriously in the presence of the other, "I will never do anything to dishonor my mate and knowingly want to embarrass them!" You should of seen the other smile! What a commitment. What a love that they would not allow any other into this love meant only for one another. Trustworthiness comes to the front. Nurture the relationship. Keep Jesus at the center knowing He will never betray you. Only then can you work together through any situation you might encounter and the good-times will be greater.