Saturday, November 22, 2014

Are You Content in Christ?

10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last you have renewed your care for me. You were, in fact, concerned about me, but lacked the opportunity [to show it]. 11 I don't say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  12 I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret [of being content]-whether well-fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. 13 I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me. ~ (Philippians 4:10-13, HCS)

Our discontentedness can be extremely hazardous. It will cause us to make decisions to quickly or take foolish actions that soon bring us anguish. Discontent causes us to want to be someone or something other than what God has brought us too. When we are not content with where we are there becomes a desire to be somewhere we don’t need to be or a reason to have something that is not ours, which so derails our life. Our discontentment will cause us to become preoccupied with things and places that have no bearing on our life with Christ. However, when we are patiently waiting on all the comfort and joy that Christ Jesus has for our lives we will know the contentment Paul is talking about here to the Philippians. When we are content in Christ and where we are in our Christian walks our motives have a way becoming more aligned with Christ purpose for our lives. Contentment in Christ moves us close to His heart.

Contentment is the understanding to undergo adversity and to manage success while living for and looking to Christ. If we go through life never pleased or thankful, if we are always looking for that little extra, just if I could get a little more money or that nicer car, or a bigger house we are not only not living in Christ but we are setting ourselves up to always feel let down. We start to believe that the world is against us, or that God does not listen to us and does not answer our prayers. When our desires of more; more things, better opportunities, relationships that will move us forward, all these desires and more only assist in cluttering and muddling our lives. When more becomes our primary aspirations and devotedness becomes about obtaining more that is when our lives become out of control giving Satan a foothold into our minds and lives.

What if more stuff is not our issue? What if it is the way we look? Our weight, skin tone, hair, (or in my case the lack of), height etc., etc., etc. These things will also destroy our ability to be content. We need to see God working in and through us or we will become disconnected and go AWOL (military meaning Away With Out Leave). When we live in contentment, our ability to trust in Jesus grows exponentially.

“I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry-” (1 Timothy 1:12, HCS).

Although Paul was still growing in Christ and knew he had much more to learn, he understood the fruitfulness of being content. By God’s grace Paul had developed to where he was able to use the hardships during his ministry to gain a better understanding of God’s heart. During Paul’s time in jail he began the very first jail ministry and wrote the most profound words of truth. Paul’s ability to live in contentment is the patchwork that God used to pen the most grace-filled letters in scripture that God continues to use some 2000 years later to inspire, teach and direct His children in the ways of righteousness. From the time Paul meet Jesus in a blinding light on the road to Damascus until his death Paul bowed to the desires of the Lord and did whatever Christ ask of him. The secret to Paul’s contentment was Jesus working in and through his life.

If we are to learn anything from Paul let it be this. Surrender everything to Jesus Christ, your positions, your relationships, your job, your marriage, your children, how others see you, everything! Leave nothing to chance, in Jesus Christ all things prosper. Ask Jesus to grow us in wisdom, humility, to help us grown and learn and most importantly ask our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ to grow us and develop in us the ability to be content in Him. Ask Jesus to grant us the ability to surrender to Him and give us the faith to live as He lives, to give us strength and fortify our desire to be content in Him.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6, HCS)

Pray for strength in Him and for His ability to live as Paul in contentment and trust in El Elyon, The Most High God! Amen. <><

Monday, November 17, 2014

Where is Your Finally Home?

1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. 5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. ~ (John 14:1-6, KJV)

What a promise Jesus makes about His home! “I go to prepare a place for you,” (V3) He is telling us that it is going to be our home. Just one of the many blessings we receive when we believe in Jesus and His Word. His Father, Our Creator has a home in heaven with inconceivable accommodations, far than the human eye could ever conceive. Our everlasting home affixed to the “mansion” (V2) of EL-OLAM, forever protected from those who would bring us harm. As children of EL ELYON, we are to live in the very presence of EL-OLAM. Our heavenly dwelling is beyond exhilarating; after all, we will be with the Beloved Son of God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Although this home is spacious, it will also be a very cozy and intimate home.

Here in John the disciples where confused and afraid, Jesus was telling them that He was going to be leaving them. What did this mean? Was He going to die? Were they also going to be killed? With all these unanswered question they needed solace and comforting. What did their future hold? Is this heaven that Jesus spoke of real, if it is, were they going to be there? Since Jesus came from heaven, He had an insider’s perspective that He could talk to them about. For the last three years, they relished in an imperfect companionship with Jesus, but as inhabitants of heaven, they would praise a glorifying flawless connection with the Prince of Peace. Imagine that without the chaos of sin our eternal home is unadulterated love, completed in unity with ELOHIM.

“3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4, KJV).

Do you not get God-bumps up and down my arms when you read this? What a blessed promise from Our Creator! We can describe our life on earth as a venturesome journey to our eternal home. We live our designated time here in this world, all the time our soul hungers to be with the Alpha and Omega in heaven. This is why our mission must be to work against becoming affixed to the things not rooted in God’s will. Is it your desire to attend to your soul by not being weighed down by the things of this world? By faith, meditate on and thirst for your reunion with Christ. A quenched soul looks forward to its ultimate purpose by, with and for the grace of God.

“and I go and prepare a place for you,” (V3) Can it get any more exciting than to contemplate what Christ is personally preparing for us. The configuration of our eternal home is gloriously laid-out by the creator of the universe, our Redeemer Jesus Christ. While we may enjoy the amenities of our home here, however it is a tin shed in a garbage dump, (there are people loving in these condition today) compared to our heavenly home. Our soul becomes worn-out and exhausted, but we can rest assured in our Savior’s promise of stillness and restfulness. Being with Jesus is encouraging beyond what we can imagine. Seeing Christ glory! The glory of the Resurrection and Life, the Savior and True Vine! We are finally home, sweet sweet home!

“55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” (Acts 7:55-59, KJV).

Although our end may not be that of Stephen rest assured our end will come and when it does will Lord Jesus receive your spirit and take you home? Amen. <><

Friday, November 14, 2014

Whose Approval Do You Seek?

24 But woe to you who are rich, because you have received your comfort. 25 Woe to you who are full now, because you will be hungry. Woe to you who are laughing now, because you will mourn and weep. 26 Woe to you when all people speak well of you, because this is the way their ancestors used to treat the false prophets. ~ (Luke 6:24-26, HCS)

What a contrast we are seeing here from the previous verses from Luke 6:20-23. Jesus describes the B-attitudes telling about how blessed the poor, the hungry, and those who weep would receive God’s blessings. Jesus goes on the say how those who are hated, excluded, reviled and defamed because of the Son-of-Man should rejoice in those times of hardship and trouble that their reward is great in Heaven because that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.

When we embrace Jesus and His path is now our path, when the Holy Spirit directs us in how we live, love and worship there will be those who will not speak well of us. This is part of God’s process when you are chosen out of this world and also comes with the environment of devotion to Christ. We should not be surprised or panic after all this is how Jesus was regarded. Most people celebrated Jesus for His commanding instruction except for a group who were resentful towards Christ always-sneaking close by. Christ authentic life rebuked their deceptiveness. Jesus transparent instruction made the didactics of the religious leaders look incomprehensible and restraining.

“Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you, insult you, and slander your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.” ~ (Matthew 6:22, HCS)

Insults, slanderous remarks, hatred directed at you are all part of the process we must endure as a Christ follower. If we try to appease everyone we run the risk of sending the wrong message, a watered down message that serves no one. If we allow others to influence Christ Word by intimidation, we will soon become insecure, apprehensive and beaten. Trying to please everyone is impossible it is fruitless and serves no one. Serving Christ is about spreading the Good News that is Christ. If we allow His message to be changed to meet what culture is doing or the appease others then it is no longer Christ Word it is the word of the world and we as Christians (Christ Followers) should know what that means because we know that this world is a dying world that desperately needs Christ Word.

“But Jesus said to them, "You don't know what you're asking. Are you able to drink the cup I drink or to be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” ~ (Mark 10:38, HCS).

There will always be those persistent malcontents, their insubstantiality lust for attention, their ego thrives being center stage and their agony necessitates consideration. Their anguish has poisoned their judgment grievously making you the subject of their resentment. It is only in God’s grace that we can love them through these trying times. It is the knowledge of Christ that we know the truth and can be and do better.

We can be the unselfish love they have refused to show us. Our forbearance and mercy will speak more to them pointing toward Jesus, it is our actions not our words that points to the One Who Saves. Our life validates what we say in these times of need. Do not become angry or argumentative when people speak harshly of you. Remember that they do not have an understanding of our words or actions because they do not have Christ.

What is important is what Christ has done for us changing the way God sees us. By faith, God accepts us in Christ. Our continuing journey and a maturing of faith is what our Father desires. It is not about trusting God more or fear men less. God wants us to be in a loving relationship with Him, a relationship that is intimate, (in-to-me-see), engaging and enlightening. His affection is your affirmation.

It is more likely than not that someone will misunderstand your faith and give you a hard time. Being in a relationship with Christ and His followers, living your life according to His Will and Word will cost you a relationship or financial reparation. Obedience to Christ will cause the collision of criticism, or devious neglect that cuts deeply. Please pray for and love them anyway in spite of their false witness. God knows what is truth where it concerns us, is that not what really matters? Listen for God’s words of affirmation and know that is all you need!

“For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, a voice came to Him from the Majestic Glory: This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him!” ~ (2 Peter 1:17, HCS).

Is that not what we all want to hear, this is My beloved son/daughter, I take delight in you? Is it not our hearts desire to her our Father in Heaven say to us one day, well done my good a faithful servant? Is it man or God we fear? Is it man or God whom we want to please? I for one live to serve the Lord! Amen. <><

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Are You Ashamed?

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith." ~ (Romans 1:16-17, ESV)

Satan is intimidated by those who seek Christ that he sometimes tries to disgrace them when they start to understand God and take His Word seriously. The Satan and his workers plant seeds of skepticism associated with truthfulness and the anxiety when identified as Christian fanatic. Satan wants nothing less than for those of us who believe in Christ to be compunctious and embarrassed when we try to live our lives for our Savior. Satan wants us to live an unassuming life not proclaiming that His Word as factual and the gospel. There is no contriteness when we stand for Christ and His authority. Our faithfulness declares His character.

What we need to ashamed of is our sin and the wretched consequence of not following Christ Word, while rejecting His direction of living a wise existence. Embarrassment captures us in our egoistical life style. Our lives are liberated by unselfish mercy to those around us. Our Lord Jesus Christ does not look to inspire us out of shame. Christ ingrains His grace into our very souls for audacious actions. The Good News, of deliverance in Jesus Christ enables us to boldly love all people. Our Father in Heavens power is without shame and He enables us to proclaim His power without shame!

“For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38, ESV).

Are you ready to live a bold shame free life for the One Who Saves? Amen. <><

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

With Whom Do You Stand?

11 Let me tell you, my friends, that the gospel I preach is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any human being, nor did anyone teach it to me. It was Jesus Christ himself who revealed it to me. 13 You have been told how I used to live when I was devoted to the Jewish religion, how I persecuted without mercy the church of God and did my best to destroy it. 14 I was ahead of most other Jews of my age in my practice of the Jewish religion, and was much more devoted to the traditions of our ancestors. 15 But God in his grace chose me even before I was born, and called me to serve him. And when he decided 16 to reveal his Son to me, so that I might preach the Good News about him to the Gentiles, I did not go to anyone for advice, ~ (Galatians 1:11-16, GNT)

Are you aware that citizens’ right here in the United States of America have been and continue to deny their religious freedom? Sometimes covertly and sometimes, right out in the open, people and government officials are denying and disrespecting our Christian beliefs, practices and teachings at every opportunity. When people threaten others because of a manger scene with baby Jesus displayed in our own front yard and the Ten Commandments offend people we know that is just the beginning of far worse things to follow. The cross, the emblem of freedom to those who believe that Christ is the Messiah, the Son of God has become so offensive to the non-believers that they want to obliterate from our society. Yes my friends this is happening right here in the United States of America, a country founded on Christian principles is slowly turning into a country that despises Christianity and what they stand for.

If you think we have it bad, lets talk for a moment about what is happening outside the borders of the United States.

That is why we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God. We boast about the way you continue to endure and believe through all the persecutions and sufferings you are experiencing. ~ (2 Thessalonians 1:4, GNT)

Paul before his encounter on the road to Damascus was not the only persecutor of his day and they still exist in our world. Their goal is to annihilate the Christian Church, they see those who believe in and follow Christ as the enemy calling us infidels who merit extermination. As you read this there are those who have faith in Christ that are being killed, raped, driven from their homes, starved, enslaved, imprisoned, etc. etc. Their godly existence is at risk because of ungodly repercussion, the consummate objective of Satan’s influence is to drive Christ light from man’s sight.

These brothers and sisters in Christ so fearfully need the prayers and assistance of Christ followers. How is it that we are able to sit idly by while thousands even millions of fellow Christ followers are being extinguished, imprisoned, raped or killed for their devotion to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? Where is our humanity for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are being driven from their homes and countries with nowhere they can call their own? This country was founded religious freedom! As an accountable and compassionate people, we must condemn these appalling exploits of mayhem by flaming fanatics. Our uncanny submissiveness only strengthens the resolve of these hostile fanatics. Although we continue to pray however we should not hesitate any longer, we must act!

Be happy and glad, for a great reward is kept for you in heaven. This is how the prophets who lived before you were persecuted. ~ (Matthew 5:12, GNT)

Christians being persecuted should not come as a surprise to those of us who love and put our faith in Christ. Satan is threatened by our piety, when we stand for Christ, we will be attacked. Let us pray that from the flames of persecution, God’s children become resilient and His Body elevates immaculately. Just as hurricane scatters people and their impact, we must trust El Shaddai, our Almighty God to use Christian persecution as a tool to spread the Good News that is Jesus Christ.  Remember Jesus words above from Matthew and know that we are truly blessed by God when we are persecuted for in and for His Name! Amen. <><