Monday, August 23, 2010

Being the image of Christ to the world

Heard the following statement on the radio the other day yet am unable to quote so forgive me:  "Sin corrupts the image of Christ in us".  Sounds like a pretty good reason to avoid sin.  Our image becomes distorted and we will no longer reflect the image of Christ to the world around us.  Isn't that a great reason to flee from sin and the temptations of sin. 

Just a little something to chew on.  That's all.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Healing Heart on Life Today

Is 61 I come to heal the broken hearted.

Luke 4 when he stood up before them, he rolled out the scroll of Isaiah, pointed his finger right to it and spoke these very words straight off of the pages of inspired scripture and he said, “Today, this is fulfilled in your hearing.”  Part 1 "The Healing Heart"  Part 2 "The Healing Heart"

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Trying or Trusting

Perhaps I drive home the same message all the time, but it is the one that comes to me the most.  It is a matter of trying for God.  We try to be good.  We try to be like Christ.  We try to do our duties for the church.  We try to be without sin. There are all manner of reasons why we try.  We may try because it is expected.  Maybe we try because that is what we have been taught.  We try because we are seeing our flaws and we want to perfect ourselves.  We try for the sake of pride.  We try as to not disappoint or look bad to other Christians.  We try because we want God to love us.  Perhaps we are even trying to please God or get His favor. We may even try because we do not want to be a poor witness to the world.  For every person there is a reason why we try.  Some of these are great reasons and may seem to even be godly motives.  However, my point remains the same, anything we do apart from God will not only be temporary but will have NO eternal effect.
  • "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."  John 15:5  
  • "Everything that does not come from faith is sin." Romans 14:23b NIV

However, if we believe that Christ came to die for our sins; believe it was finished on the cross; believe that Christ is our savior, then we will have to recognize that the perfecting work is for Christ to do in us.

So when we are convicted of our sin, let's not beat ourselves up.  Let that be a time of agreeing with God.  Let it be a time of thanksgiving, because it is being revealed to you so that God can help you become more like Christ.  When God points His finger at imperfections in our lives it is not for condemnation.  So we need to STOP condemning ourselves and start rejoicing that we see them.
  • "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." Romans 8:1 NKJ  
It is God's revelation to us little by little that helps carve us into His son's image.  If we will stop working with the enemy and stop agreeing with his lies about us, and start cooperating with the convictions of the Holy Spirit, then we shall see a true work of God in our lives.  Little by little, God will transform us from glory to glory. 
  • "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJ  
When we were born we were fully a person just really small and in need of help.  However, with time, we grew into the full grown person we were born to be.  All the potential for an adult was in that new born baby.
We as Christians have to allow ourselves to grow up in our walk with God.  We also have to allow those around us to do the same thing.   Just as we should never get angry with a small toddler for falling while learning to walk.  God does not grow angry with us as we learn to walk in our faith and walk with Him.   Shouldn't we offer the same sort of grace to others.  I am not talking about accepting sin.  I am talking about long suffering and grace for those who are still toddlers in the faith. 

God is not disappointed in us because we are imperfect.  As a matter of fact, He has known it all along.  He is just trying to reveal it to us thru our circumstances little by little.  I believe that the circumstances of life is what helps us see our own imperfections.  When I am going thru a hard time, I see just how imperfect I am.  It is easy to behave RIGHT when all is good and I am blessed.  However, I see the hand of God in my life when I am in the midst of hardships and trials much more clearly.  That is the time when I am able to see what I am in need of; whether it is patience, compassion etc. or that I need to stop an activity like gossip or idolatry.

God desires our obedience not our sacrifice.  God is not asking us to BE something, do something or NOT do something.  He is trying to get us to listen to Him, follow Him, obey His commands.  He will develop you into THE person He created you to be.  (if only we will cooperate)
  • "But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams."  1Sam 15:22
If we will obey (work with and along side God, cooperate with the work God wants to accomplish in us), we will see the glory of Lord in our lives.  We HAVE to stop trying and start TRUSTING God!   Trust God to accomplish the work in your life He needs to accomplish.
  • "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV
Our righteousness comes by faith.  First we are proclaimed righteous when we confess Christ as our savior.  Then we begin to grow up into that same righteousness little by little.  Going from one glorious stated to the next elevated state of glory.  Going from glory to glory.  
  • "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord."  2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJ
Hope you have a wonderful day.
Watch this along with what I have shared

Monday, August 9, 2010

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." "Psalm 91:1-2
My favorite description of God is Him as my shield in all manner of references.  I love to think about being shielded beneath His wings.  It feels incredibly safe there.  So imagine living ( or dwelling) in the refuge and safety of the Lord's wings or in the shadow of the Almighty.  Is. 40:31 says we can soar on wings like eagles. I love the word ON!!!  Also in Matthew 23:37, Jesus speaks to Israel saying, "how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings."

That is the most comforting picture.  Jesus gathering us beneath His wings as a mother chick does her babies.  Doesn't that just comfort your soul?  I know it does mine. 

Spend time focusing on this concept.  We can live in the safety and refuge of the Most High if we choose.  The choice is up to us.

Have a great day.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Are You a Human Being or a Human Doing?

Why are we so determined to find our value in our doing.  Why is it we are either pleased with ourselves or angry with ourselves based on what we have or have not done.  I have heard it a million times that we are human "beings" not human "doings".  That sums it up.

Satan is our enemy, and he will try to get us so wrapped up in the "doing" of Christian life that we will miss out on the purpose of Christ's sacrifice.  Christ died so that we could get back our RELATIONSHIP with God.  It was torn apart in the garden and was restored on the cross.  It is by faith we believe this to be true and it is by obedience we become like Christ. 

There is such peace in surrender.  You can sit peacefully before the throne.  Open to correction without any hint of arrogance or offense.  To be fully surrendered and at peace with God is the most indescribable experience.  Nothing comes near it.  When we hear a message that may pierce our heart and convict us, I have watched over the years as believers get so offended by the message that they begin to even despise the messenger.  Well I say, we need to search our hearts before the Lord to see if the message is for us and is biblical.  If we find that it applies to us, then we must submit to it, confess it and repent.  (Submit- accept somebody else's authority, Confess- agree with God on what He says about the behavior, repent- simply stop doing it)    Why do we get so offended?  Could it be pride?  If what they are saying is however, incorrect, we do not have to take it personally.  My experience has been that when I am offended, the message touched an area of "weakness" in me.  When the message touched a nerve, I should take note.  That should be where I quickly go before the Lord to determine what is up with me.  Usually, the message touched on my sin areas or  it touched on areas where I have been trying to do it myself.

I enjoyed attending church yesterday. To me, it is so satisfying to participate in true worship of the one true and living King. I love songs that get my focus squarely on God. I enjoy singing songs that get me to really realize (for that moment) how insignificant I am in what I do, yet how valuable I am to my Savior. I was just basking in that fact yesterday and the tears began to trickle down my face. One of the songs spoke of the fact that He loves me.  The song reminded me that I love Him becasue He first loved me. Then the message proceeded to validate that point.

I began to think on the value a painter places on a blank canvas and a lump of clay to a potter. Just average people cannot see the potential in a blank canvas or lump of clay. We would never think of it as priceless. However, how many sculptures and paintings are now priceless. They are so valuable the price cannot be met. That is us to our Father. It is only when we are fully surrendered to Him are we going to become the priceless work of art that He intends. How do we do this you may ask, simple -- OBEY His commands.

It is for His glory and our good that we surrender to the hands of the potter.  Allow Him to do the doing in you today.  ALLOW Him to do the work.  That way He gets the glory and you get the peace and satisfaction that comes from submitting to something much greater than you.  We get to participate and cooperate in the work of the Creator of the Universe.  Yet it is not by what we do for Him but what He does thru us in our obedience and surrender.   This is where we begin to really develop our relationship with Him.  Praise God we don't even have to conjure up love for the unloveable.  God gives it to us.  He loves the unloveable thru us in our surrendered obedient state.  I can tell you the love that will flow out of us will feel better than any earthly love we can come up with to shower on others.  Test it and see if this is true.

I am overwhelmed by this fact even as I type.  Be blessed today.  May God bless you thru your obedient surrender today!!

Devotion from Life Today

Regret: A Matter of Perspective

by Stephen Arterburn

We should be clear about one thing, right off the bat: There is no way to be alive and avoid doing and saying foolish and even idiotic things, things you’re bound to later wish you hadn’t done and said at all.

Not being able to forgive yourself for your boneheaded, arrogant, and selfish actions is one of the biggest inhibitors to living the life God wants you to live. If you’re always dragging yourself down with the past, how is God going to lift you up in the future? It’s easy to kneel in church and hang your head, praying for God to forgive you, but you must also face what you’ve done and deal with it in a direct and forthright manner. You have to cleanse and prepare yourself so that you’ll always be as ready as possible to be the man or woman God intends you to be.

One of the most dramatic biblical examples of personal regret occurred in connection with the Bible’s most terrible event, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ:

“When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. ‘I have sinned,' he said, 'for I have betrayed innocent blood.’

“’What is that to us?’ they replied. ‘That’s your responsibility.’

“So Judas threw the money into the temple and left, then he went away and hanged himself.” (Matthew 27:3-5, NIV)

Most people believe Judas went to hell for his sin against the Lord. And he may have – we won’t know on this side of heaven. Even though he did just about the most awful thing anyone has ever done, we have no place judging Judas than we do anyone else. The job of ultimately judging anyone belongs to God alone.

Nonetheless, from the passage above we can see clearly that after his evil deed, Judas’s attitude about what he’d done changed a great deal. Soon thereafter he fell on his knees, desperately despondent over his eager choice; he was “seized with remorse.” He was so distraught over his deliberate betrayal of Jesus that the only way he could think to end his suffering was by ending his own life.

What happened to Judas? How did he go from being a craven opportunist to being consumed by burning remorse? How did he go from wanting only money to being utterly desperate to possess what money can’t buy? What changed in the man?

What changed in Judas is the same thing that needs to change in any of us seeking to come to terms with past regrets and learn how to avoid creating new ones: perspective.

At first Judas’s perspective was, “What’s best for me? What can I do that most benefits me? Who can I come out ahead?” He didn’t care who got hurt on his way to self-satisfaction; he just wanted to know what he had to do to get what he wanted.

But that sure wasn’t his perspective after he saw the results of what he’d done. Suddenly his tragically limited, shamefully selfish perspective became markedly broadened. With the force of a piano being dropped, Judas realized he hadn’t been looking at a picture anywhere near big enough.

Put simply, perspective is everything. In my work at New Life, I’m made aware every day that the perspective people have on their problems is easily the most deciding factor on how effectively they’ll be able to deal with them. In fact, I largely think of my mission as helping people to broaden their perspective. Take anyone with a problem. I want to show them the value of changing their perspective from one in which they’re the center and star of the universe to one in which they realize that their world does, or should, revolve around the Son.

When assessing and evaluating a situation that led to your present regret, imagine yourself back in it – and then try to see the whole of what happened not through your eyes but through God’s. Meditate on bringing the peace of the Holy Spirit to the situation that ultimately concluded so poorly. Picture yourself back with that other person in the relationship, and then lift your perspective so that it rises above the two of you here on earth. Strive, in other words, for a heavenly perspective from above.

“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” (Romans 12:3, NIV)

Practice that – employ it when looking back on your regretful behaviors – and you’ll be well on your way to feeling better about things you might have thought you could never feel comfortable with at all.