Saturday, May 24, 2014
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
JESUS impressed and pressed His disciples: “Watch!” he warned. Only those who are “Ready” will be at the Marriage feast. (See the Parable of the 10 Virgins, Matthew 25:1-13)
The Writer to the Hebrews was clear, “Pay careful attention…don’t slip…” (Hebrews 2:1)
Paul urged, “Wake up!” Don’t walk like “fools.” (Ephesians 5:14) Look around you, the days are evil, he wrote.
Since everything is headed for destruction, and everyone is headed for judgment, Peter pressed, “Be diligent” (2 Peter 3:14). Make every effort, do all that you can do to be ready for that moment.
The Scriptures couldn’t be clearer. Live your life for Christ at the cutting edge—at that wonderful place where the will of God intersects with your life.
Yet, one of the greatest hazards confronting Christians is CARE-LESS-NESS.
Some call it “apathy.” The word means exactly what it sounds like. “A” means “not,” or “without.” “Pathy” means “Passion.” Apathy means “without passion.”
Everyone who has tasted and seen that the Lord is good knows that they ought to be CAREFUL, PASSIONATE, ACTIVE Christians.
Many who have started to follow Christ know that they are not as CAREFUL, PASSIONATE, and ACTIVE as the Lord wants them to be.
BUT THOSE WHO ARE IN THE GRAVEST DANGER ARE those who know what they ought to be but for some reason THEY JUST DON’T CARE ANYMORE.
Sometimes married couples go through times when their passion for one another cools. Only fools suggest those couples should head for divorce court.
Expert counselors know, “If you go through the motions, you will soon feel the emotions.”
Husband, take your wife a bouquet of flowers and hold her close when you meet. Wife, dress nicely, fix your hair like he likes it, and greet your husband with a smile and a tender kiss.
When a husband treats his wife like he did when he was trying to win her, it’s amazing how those emotions return. When a wife begins to treat her husband like she did when she was trying to capture his heart, she too will feel her love renewed.
AND SO IT IS WITH THE BRIDE OF CHRIST!
Knowing all that the LORD JESUS has done for us, and understanding the ETERNAL CONSEQUENCES for ourselves and for those who are looking to us for spiritual guidance, we make a conscious choice to do the things we ought to do, even if we don’t feel like doing them.
WE READ THE WORD OF GOD. The less you read the Word, the less you believe the Word. God always blesses those who immerse themselves in His Word. Start with Philippians.
WE TAKE TIME TO TALK TO GOD. Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder—it makes the heart grow colder. Relationships require communication. Be intentional as you pray—allowing time for God to speak to you.
WE GATHER WITH GOD’S PEOPLE. The Bible urges us, “Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together…” There is an amazing spiritual chemistry that happens when God’s people gather together to worship Him. Between services we reach out to other Christians for encouragement and help.
WE INVEST IN HELPING OTHERS. Nothing will revive passion-less Christianity like following our Lord’s example of ministering to others. This may include sharing our faith, but it is the sacrificial giving of our time and talent and caring for those in need that restores the joy of the Lord in us. After Jesus washed the disciple’s feet He encouraged them “You’ll be happy if you follow my example.”
WE WALK, TAKING SMALL STEPS AT FIRST, WITH THE LORD. Carelessness is spiritually paralyzing. That’s why it’s important to get up and get moving, even taking small steps. There is great comfort and assurance for those who walk with the Lord.
So if CARE-LESS-NESS has robbed you of your JOY IN THE LORD, seek HIM now. Then intentionally, with or without feeling, take these 5 steps.
Then when the cry goes out, “Here Comes the Groom!” you’ll be ready, with your spiritual lamp fueled by the Holy Spirit and a blazing with the love of God.
Friday, May 16, 2014
WHO ARE WE?
“The day after Christmas would normally have been a quiet day in Washington D.C., above all on Capitol Hill. But December 26, 1941 (71 years ago) was different. It was only nineteen days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and both the Senate chamber and the overflow gallery were packed to hear British Prime Minister Winston Churchill address a joint session of Congress.
With the Capitol ringed by police and soldiers, the lectern bristling with microphones, and the glare of unusually bright lights in the chamber for the film cameras, Churchill started his thirty minute address with a light touch “If my father had been an American,” he said, “and my mother British, instead of the other way around, I might have gotten here on my own. In that case this would not have been the first time you would have heard my voice.”
Churchill then rose to his central theme. Britain was standing alone, but reeling. Most of Europe lay prostrate under the Nazi heel. Hitler was well on his way to Moscow. Half of the American Navy was at the bottom of the Hawaiian harbor, and there was little or no air force to rise to the nation’s defense. He therefore delivered a stern denunciation of the Japanese and the German menace, and warned about “the many disappointments and unpleasant surprises that await us” in countering them.
At the heart of the prime minister’s address was a famous question to his listeners in light of the Japanese aggression: “What kind of people do they think we are? Is it possible that they do not realize that we shall never cease to persevere against them until they have been taught a lesson which they and the world will never forget?”
All crises are judgments of history that call into question an existing state of affairs. They sift and sort the character and condition of a nation and its capacity to respond. The deeper the crisis, the more serious the sifting and the deeper the questions it raises. At the very least, a crisis raises the question “What should we do?” Without that, it would not amount to a crisis.
Deeper crises raise the deeper question “Where are we, and how did we get here?” Still deeper crises raise the question Churchill raised, “Who do other people think we are?”—though clearly Churchill saw the ignorance in the Japanese mind, rather than in his hearers’. But the deepest crises of all are those that raise the question, “Who do we think we are?” when doubt and uncertainty have entered our own thinking.
This last question poses a challenge and requires a courage that goes to the very heart of the identity and character of those in crisis, whether individuals or a nation. Only in a response that clearly says and shows who they are can they demonstrate an answer that resolves the crisis constructively and answers history’s judgment by turning potential danger into an opportunity for growth and advance.
History is asking that question of America now: What kind of people do you Americans think you are?” We are now nearly eight decades after the Great Depression, seven decades after Pearl Harbor and World War II, four decades after the tumultuous and influential sixties, two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the bipolar world, one decade after September 11 and in the midst of two of the most revealing and fateful presidencies in American history.
The sifting of America has come to a head, and the question, “Who are you?” or “What kind of people do you think you are?” or “What kind of society do want America to be” is now the central question Americans must answer.
Another time of testing has come. Another day of reckoning is here. This is a testing and a reckoning—let me say it carefully—that could prove even more decisive than earlier trials such as the Civil War, the Depression and the cultural cataclysm that was the 1960s. As citizens of the world’s lead society and leaders of Western Civilization you Americans owe yourselves and the world a clear answer at this momentous juncture of your history and international leadership—a moment at which an unclear answer or no answer at all are both a clear answer and a telling symptom of the judgment of history.”
Os Guiness, A FREE PEOPLE’S SUICIDE
BRITAIN’S PRIME MINISTER WINSTON CHURCHILL asked, “What kind of people do they think we are?”
OS GUINESS asks “What kind of people do we think we are?”
JESUS asked, “Whom do you say I am?”
Matthew 16: 13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Ultimately it is our answer to our LORD’S question that determines our identity, our personality, and our destiny.
Colossians 1: 12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
WHO DO YOU SAY I AM? -- DETERMINES YOUR PERSONALITY – the very expression of your character, your-self. Christ will have nothing to do with half-hearted, half-measures. He demands all of you. Our response to His demand determines our behavior, our traits, our persona.
When asked why my mother in law is so careful about living the Christian life one lady explained, “Oh, she’s a Christian through and through!”
WHO DO YOU SAY I AM? –DETERMINES OUR DESTINY! There will be no Christ-haters in the City of God. There will be no Christ-deniers in the City of God. There will be no almost-persuaded in the City of God. There will be no half-hearted Christians in the City of God. There will be none without splinters in their hands—for Jesus invites, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me!