Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Opportunity Awaits!

Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;

and he said to Him, "All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me."

Then Jesus said to him, "Go, Satan! For it is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'" Matthew 4:8-10

This interaction between Jesus and Satan takes place toward the latter stages of four different temptations that Jesus was sent out by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to experience.

The fascinating thing about this brief encounter is that Jesus did not argue the “ownership” issue with Satan. He clearly knew “all the kingdoms of the world” were Satan’s to keep or to give away as he chose.

So why are we, as Christians, so comfortable in this world which is clearly the lair of the enemy? We have compromised over and over again until we fit pretty naturally now in ‘the kingdoms of this world”.

We are strangers in a foreign land but we look pretty much like its citizens.

This world is not our home. Higher than we can ask or even imagine is the place that Jesus has prepared for us and has ready and waiting of us.

We are called to be a unique people. Unique people tend to get noticed for their uniqueness don’t they?

How are we going to bring others along with us to meet our Father and to see our future home if we are nothing more or nothing different that all of other ordinary citizens of this world?

God has invited you to the greatest adventure ever considered! We have been appointed as His ambassadors charged with the opportunity of reconciling people to our God! An ambassador does not entangle himself in the customs and the political issues of the country he is in because his loyalty lies with his home country.

Pick up the mantle and kill the oxen! Your opportunity awaits!

Monday, May 23, 2011

God's Righteous Judgment

Today we will take a look at Psalm 9:7-10

But the LORD abides forever;
He has established His throne for judgment,
And He will judge the world in righteousness;
He will execute judgment for the peoples with equity.

For too long God's people have been under the misconception that the throne of God is for judgment (partly right/partly wrong). His throne of judgment is described "righteous". But the last part of this section is reason to celebrate His righteous judgment.

You see, He doesn't say that the throne of righteous judgment is "against" His people? NO, He states otherwise; the throne is "for" His people

God's purpose of judgment is to bring everything back into "equity". The righteous judgment is solely designed and targeted toward Satan and his emissaries.

Equity requires that a price be paid by the one who has caused all of the misery and ugliness brought into God's beautiful, peaceful world. Equity will not be met until the putrid results of satan's works in the lives of God's people is paid for!

Marriages, families, relationships, church leaders, fathers, mothers and all of the rest of God's perfect design has been debased due to an enemy so vile and so wicked. This is the target of God's righteous judgment.

The psalm goes on to make the case that God is so much for us that:

The LORD also will be a stronghold for the oppressed,
A stronghold in times of trouble;
And those who know Your name will put their trust in You,
For You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.

Shout to the Lord! His goodness toward us is absolutely worth shouting about!

Rejoice in His righteous judgment. The enemy's time is near!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Playground Supervisor?

Just how big is your God? Is he like a playground supervisor that mediates scuffles or answers your complaints and questions? Is he like a grouchy next door neighbor that you just approach only when you have to?

We have all shrunken God down to the size of our problems. Isn't it convenient to have a pocket-sized God; there when you need him?

The problem with these customized sized gods is that they just are too easy. They don't expect much but they don't accomplish much either.

It is time to let God out of the box inside of our minds. You see, our lives are shrunken down in the same ratio that our God has been shrunken within our minds.

Expand your God and expand your life!

The big, big, very big God is also there when you need Him but this God makes a big, big, very big difference.

Are you seeing miracles in your life? If not why not? It is simply because you do not need a miracle to do what you do! It is no more complicated that that. God is the same God that we read about in every book of the Bible! He is a miracle working God!

Does you mind have room for that God?

Monday, May 9, 2011

First Love Reconsidered?

Have you ever wondered about what has happened to the Body of Jesus that we liberally call "the church'? I'm not saying that I have all of the answers but just perhaps scripture can give us some insight.

To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lamp-stands, says this:

I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false;

and you have perseverance and have endured for My name's sake, and have not grown weary.

'But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.

'Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lamp-stand out of its place--unless you repent. Revelation 2:1-5

First love? What is first love and how has the church of Jesus left it behind?

Perhaps you have experienced a new believer that is so excited about his new faith that he is giddy and wants to tell everybody about it? Maybe you were once there yourself. Certainly, there was an overwhelming dose of this kind of experience for all of those in the first days after the church was born.

The amazing thing about that "first love" was that it came with little burden for the facts or responsibility for "defending" their new faith. It just simply didn't matter!

So what has happened? Week after week, and sometimes day after day, we listen to teaching about what the Bible has to say about every topic known to mankind. The problem is not in the learning of facts but that the learning of facts seems to divert our attention from our "first love".

One glaring example of this diagnosis is this. (And here I will do a little ranting for a moment).

Why, oh why, oh why does most of Christendom continue use the title for who Jesus was rather than His actual name? Over and over again I hear Christians teach about some great spiritual lesson and they automatically default to the title of Christ rather than the name of Jesus.

but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. John 20:31

True life is in His Name; not in His title!

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,

so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11

With God placing such emphasis in the Name of Jesus why is the title of Christ or preeminent in Christian teaching today? It seems to me to be preferred to use the title over the name. So much so is the overuse of the term Christ that it now rankles me just to hear it used.

Yes the Church of Jesus, universal, has left its first love!

How about you? Are you more in love with Him than yesterday? Relationships are delicate creations. They can not simply roll along without attention!

Jesus is worth the attention! Jesus is worth being recommended! He is the Christ but His name is Jesus!

Monday, May 2, 2011

As Clear as Day and Night

Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.

"But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him." John 11:9&10

As I was re-reading the story of the raising Lazarus from the dead, there was a brief statement by Jesus that stopped me in my tracks.

What did He say? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, yea, that much makes sense but the next part because he sees the light of this world was eye-opening for me. I was fully expecting Jesus to say "because he sees the obstacles in his path".

See that is the difference between God's truth and earthly wisdom. We tend to approach God's word and His message from an earthly wisdom standpoint. That is why we so often just miss His true message and His real identity.

I will keep from stumbling by seeing the true light of the world not by looking for the stumbling blocks in my path. Jesus underlines His point by stating it again in a conversely positioned statement.

Him who
walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him Is it becoming clear yet? Walking the narrow path requires that there be a light within us. It is not about knowing more about God; it is entirely about us actually knowing God!

Too many teachers will try to tell us that obstacle identification and avoidance are critical to our spiritual well being. This couldn't be further from the truth. Jesus says that if we see the light the obstacles well not longer be attractive.

Remember the first sin? Do you recall that there simply was not sin until God identified and obstacle and Satan then pointed it out over and over again. Contrast the "before" and the "after" of Adam and Eve's relationship with God. The before is the intimate relationship of knowing one another as they walked daily together. The after is a broken relationship of hiding and blame and fear!

Take a look at today's Church of Jesus. Is there more of the "before" or the "after" picture that you see? Our society is decaying solely because the Church of Jesus has left the "before" an bought into the "after".

How about you? Are you ready to return to the truth that brings true freedom?