Friday, July 31, 2015

Working for God's Kingdom

As Christians in this fallen world, we work for God's kingdom. What does that mean? Firstly, it is not the kind of work most people think of... hard work, diligent work, determined work, skilled work, intelligent work... in fact, working for God's kingdom is no work at all. It is the love of God our Almighty Father and Lord Jesus Christ. Doing such work is a wonderful task...loving, and trusting in the coming of His kingdom.

There is no 'hard work' in that. Such work is easy and fun and for everyone. It does not judge and it does not count how many times or how much was spent ...  Whatever, we do here on earth, in this place, we do for God and His kingdom. Not for ourselves, not for our neighbors, though it happens by working for His kingdom, we do for ourselves and our neighbors.

The kind of job you have here and now in order to pay bills and feed your family is a necessary evil in this world. How to overcome that evil? As you work, give glory to the Lord for your job. In doing so, you work for God's kingdom.

If you are working and working 'hard' for things: a high paying job, a nice house, a bigger house, a better car, fancy clothes, expensive shoes, jewelry, and even food, then you are working for this world, not His kingdom.

If you find yourself judging others by what they do or don't do according to your idea of 'hard work' then you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Not because God doesn't want you there, but because you won't want to be there seeing others around you that you think didn't work hard enough to get in.

"I tell the truth,unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3-4

What does that mean- change and become like little children... humble yourself like a child? Love The Lord God with all your heart. It means not to be self righteous in works and not to put that-your 'righteousness' above God or others. We can and Do find ourselves comparing what we do to what others do or don't do? If you do, stop and humble yourself. That means to give glory to God, the Lord Jesus Christ for all you have: for the work you have, the home you have, the money you have that allows you to provide a simple life for yourself and family. And, give thanks and praise to the Lord for other people who have what they need, a home, a job, a family.

If you find that you are struggling with that, reach out to the Lord... for those who reach out to the Father for answers to their troubles and for what they need to live here and now will be placed among the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

"Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done..."

"I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well."
(Psalm 139:14 ESV)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Hope is a Golden Cord

From time to time, I like sharing excerpts from Jesus is Calling by Sarah Young.

"Hope is a golden cord connecting you to heaven. This cord helps you hold your head up high, even when multiple trials are buffecting you. I never leave your side, I never let go of your hand. But without the cord of hope, your head may slump and your feet may shuffle as you journey uphill with ME. Hope lifts your persepctive from your weary feet to the glorious view you can see from the high road."

We must have hope in the future. What is that future? Is it a personal future where you get and have the house of your dreams, the job, the car, the boat, the clothes... No! It is a future designed by God. It is the New Jerusalem. It is the place for all futures, yours and mine.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Romans 12

Paul in Rome, a message to the Romans...

"Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning. "Don't' think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ's body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If you gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And, if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong and hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God's people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don't curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are ahppy and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don't be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And, don't think you know it all!"

We like to think that because we are modern people, or even post modern in terms of our living, our technology, our behavior that the Bible is passe... but we are just like the people of Rome. Paul brought them the good news and he keeps doing it even today as we can read in the Bible which is the word of God.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Being Christian ~ In Service to the Lord

Being Christian doesn't give you the right to discriminate

Please take the time to read the above article. Christians cannot call out the person as bad as that would discriminate the 'person'. Jesus said the same thing - not to judge. Right! Christians, as the author appears to understand, know that Jesus calls us to do that - call out the sin not judging the person. Christians are called to serve. The author seems to recognize that and that Christians can be against 'content of the service'.  We could not serve God by disrespecting his word, there would be no service then.

The reality is that denying service based on the service is not the same thing as denying service based on the person.

I am pretty sure that Christians know that to be true. However, the real irony is in the title of the article which clearly discriminates Christians as being intolerant because it points the 'person' the 'Christian' and not the content of the service which they argue for.

We as Christians know what we are called to do - call out the sin, forgive and repent. We ask this of ourselves and of fellow Christians so that they may be saved. We are not against people, we are for them in service to the Lord. Why can't people get this????

Friday, July 24, 2015

When We Think That Others Hurt Us ~ Did We Hurt Them Too!

We make choices and that includes behavioral choices. Sometimes, we do act without thinking. It is usually a reaction to a situation or a person. If you have been the person who acts out or the person being the target  of someone's action; rethink. The person who acts out is doing that... reacting. If you have been the recipient of that, then also rethink - repent. 

We do expect certain behavior from people who we have as friends and family. If they suddenly act other than the way 'you' expect and the action seems to be against you, then you should reconsider your behavior and action as it might have led to you perceiving that someone is against you and reacting in a way you never expected toward you and you especially.

Think about how you have treated that person. Do you honestly love them and show your love? Or, have you been buying their favor with gifts and money or promises that you never actually fulfill. Maybe you have pushed them to a point that they cannot understand you and your true feelings for them.  Maybe you have stepped out of the bounds of God's hierarchy of social relationships.

How did you react? Did you fly off the handle about their reaction or behavior toward you? Did you make it a point to verbally recall all you have done for them or do/did.

"After all I have done for you... I just spent a ton of money on you and this is what I get".

Did you say such things in retaliation? It isn't the Christian response. Ask Why? If you expect certain things from people, then say so from the beginning of your relationship. If you don't like someone, ask yourself why? Don't pretend and hope that they will change if you spend money on them. Or that you can cover your dislike by showering gifts and cash. This is not Christian love for another person.

People will often react in ways we don't expect. this is a fallen world. Given that, no one is without sin and bad behavior. If the situation is unsolved, ask why and what you did to be the recipient of their bad behavior. It may be you were the cause. Handle the situation with love by asking God for help and words. Do not pray that such a person be removed from your life, or from the earth. I have heard people say that they prayed away someone. That is not Christian.

Pray for yourself and ask God to help you understand what you did to bring out such behavior in someone. Even if you think they over reacted, they might not think they did. Pray for that person. Ask God to intervene in their life so that they can try to understand you and your position and in that way understand themselves and their own reaction... this will lead to kind resolution.

Praise to the Lord Jesus Christ!

Do Not Lean on Your Own Understanding

All of us have the sinful tendency to lean on our own understanding of life, our purpose in life, God's purpose in creating life, and generally what is life. When we feel overburdened we look for others to understand it for us. All of this buzzing about so to speak becomes a huge task ~ work. There is no work (leaning on our own understanding or even others) we have to do in order to understand that God has a plan, and He is in control. There is nothing more to understand.

Is there anything we can do? Yes. Listen! Just as you zero in on trying to hear what you want to hear in this noisy world whether its your favorite song on the radio, the nightly news, or birds chirping outside your window, you can zero in on listening for God. There is no limit to the ways in which He can communicate with you. You just have to be listening. Maybe you will find Him in a bird's call or in a hymn or news alert.

Maybe he will use someone else to speak to you or a sign as in a billboard. Be open and listen. You can and should take time to read the Bible which is God's word and surely this is where He speaks to us all.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Sexual Immorality ~ Today's Corrupt Christian Social Imagination

Firstly, sexual immorality by anyone, whether declared a heterosexual or homosexual... it is wrong. The Bible is quite clear about sexual immorality. And, there is no 'red letter' Jesus that counts as the Messiah who says otherwise.

Jesus is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. He became man to save us from the sin of death. The Bible is His word for He is the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit. The Old Testament foretells of Him and the New Testament reveals Him.  There can never be a 'red letter Bible or Jesus'. If anyone tells you that, they are in grave danger for Jesus said do not add to the word of God or take away from it.

You can argue all you want that only the red letters matter but only shows your lack of faith. Picking and choosing what 'feels' right is being a hypocrite... "for it is what comes out of your mouth that defiles you". Matt 15:11

Jesus said "No! The Scriptures say, 'People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God."   Matthew 4:4  Jesus meant Every Word, and the Bible is the Word of God. Jesus was a Hebrew rabbi and he referred to the Old Testament which was all there was and is (in terms of God's Word) and it all there was during his life and all he referred to.

We can find numerous scriptures that condemn sin including and especially indulging in the flesh: sexual immorality and homosexuality; for example, Sodom.

In Matthew again, in 'red letter's if you must, Jesus refers to the ten commandments as the Word of God and he says those Words must be respected. "for it is what comes out of your mouth that defiles you". Matt 15:11

In both Matthew (15:19) and Mark (7:20), we can read in red letters (for the sake of making them stand out) that sexual immorality and including homosexuality is a sin.

"for from within, out of a person's heart, com evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, lustful desire, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness." Matthew 15:19, Mark 7:20.

In 1 Timothy 1:10, we read, "The law is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. The law is for people sexually immoral, or 'those' who practice homosexuality or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God" ~ Jesus Christ. 

Timothy like Romans, Corinthians, Galatians is not 'red letter'.  So, are we to say that they had no revelation within themselves, that they were not uttering the Word of God, that they had no right to speak and preach the love of God?  The entire Bible is the Word of God. We know that it is not just one apostle's take on Jesus, as we can read over and over in all of the Good News about God's love and mercy and grace. In that we are told of our sin and how to overcome the flesh, as we are corrupted flesh in need of the spirit and in need of salvation. 

The greatest commandment as Jesus told us is to love thy Lord God with all your heart, mind and soul. There is no one to be put before God. No one! 

Looking at the corrupt social imagination in our times, are Christians who stand by the Bible as the Word of God 'radicals' by today's popular culture? Yes, I suppose they are when we look at today's popular culture which indulges in the flesh and requires laws to make it legal to indulge in the flesh. 

In saying that, people who marry by today's law should ask if they do so in order to serve God or to serve themselves whether they be heterosexual or homosexual. If you/they answer that they marry to serve God, then they should not engage in sexual union for the sake of satisfying their own pleasures/desires... because by indulging in the flesh in that way is a sin.  If they engage in sexual union to serve the Lord, then it would be solely for the procreation of human beings ~  more people to serve the Lord and that kind of sexuality is not a sin.  It must be recognized that there is allowed sexual union for the procreation of life. What comes from that sexual union of a married couple glorifies the Lord. Any other sexual activity between people does not glorify the Lord when one takes or borrows to supplant God's program in order to gain unmerited favor.

As for which gender you marry. Firstly, know that "...the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God. Do not be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral nor idolators nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves not the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God" 1 COR 6:9-11. "Keep the marriage bed pure for God will judge." Hebrews 13:4 ...for the sake of the Lord, not for the sake of fleshy desires.

The Bible is clear about marriage between a man and a woman. God made people in His image, and He made them male and female different and yet in marriage "The two will become one flesh" 1 COR 6:16.
All in all "... it is good for a man not to marry. But since there is so much 'sexual' immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband." 1 COR 7:1-3