Tuesday, November 30, 2010

As Wicked and Vile as It Gets

Psalm 101:3 says:

I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; [it] shall not cleave to me.

Art in America, especially "art" paid for by tax-payer money, has become extremely wicked and vile. So, when I laid my eyes upon THIS PIECE OF BLASPHEMY, I decided to post it here and set forth my opinion that ALL tax-payer money for this type of garbage should be stopped immediately. What say you?

Thinking Themselves Equal to God....

The Lord has led me to read the book of Isaiah completely for the first time. I have read many parts of it from time to time but never the whole book. This is an important book, there's no doubt about it. It is filled with who God is, what He has done and what He will do. It is filled with God's words spoken through the prophet Isaiah. It is filled with God's glory, His wisdom, His love, purpose and plan for mankind. It also shows God's derision for mankind's measly efforts to make his own god or be his own god.

I awakened very early this morning (about 3 a.m.) and knew that I was supposed to pray (which I did). I also meditated on the Word I had read before I went to bed which was Chapters 41, 42, and 43 of the book of Isaiah. The Lord showed me how several things I saw online yesterday were in complete accord with what I had read.

First, I saw this on Ed's site Not Another Conspiracy:

Genetically Modified Apple Won't Turn Brown

A little later, I was perusing the Fox News web site and saw this article on scientists manipulating mice so that they do not grow old.

Prior to going to sleep last night, I read the following in the book of Isaiah:

"Let them try to tell us what happened long ago or what the future holds.
Isa 41:23 Yes, that's it! If you are gods, tell what will occur in the days ahead. Or perform a mighty miracle that will fill us with amazement and fear. Do something, whether good or bad!
Isa 41:24 But no! You are less than nothing and can do nothing at all. Anyone who chooses you becomes filthy, just like you!
Isa 41:25 "But I have stirred up a leader from the north and east. He will come against the nations and call on my name, and I will give him victory over kings and princes. He will trample them as a potter treads on clay.
Isa 41:26 "Who but I have told you this would happen? Who else predicted this, making you admit that he was right? No one else said a word!
Isa 41:27 I was the first to tell Jerusalem, `Look! Help is on the way!'
Isa 41:28 Not one of your idols told you this. Not one gave any answer when I asked.
Isa 41:29 See, they are all foolish, worthless things. Your idols are all as empty as the wind.

For some reason, then when I awakened this morning and was thinking about these two articles, the Lord brought to my mind the scientists at C.E.R.N. and their large hydron collider with which they are trying to reproduce the big bang which brought forth all of creation (in their opinion). For more information, go HERE.

The Lord showed me during my prayer time that this is all about mankind making themselves out to be like God by manipulating His creation and trying to reproduce His ability to create something out of nothing. Whether it's making your own god out of a block of wood or a piece of metal, or setting yourself up to be god by playing with the gene pool of mice, men, food and more, it is IDOLATRY and therefore high on the list of things abominable to God. I was aware, in my spirit, of the Lord indicating that the Tower of Babel is almost re-completed for that is what is happening here. Mankind is once again trying to rise up to the level of and above God himself. God is not mocked and will not continue to put up with man's petty efforts to outdo Him. He is coming soon to mete out justice. Are you ready? Do you know Jesus as Savior of the world, the Son of God and the soon-coming King of Kings?

If not, I urge you to not delay, seek Him for all you are worth, and He will more than likely be found when you are bowed low, on your knees and asking Him to reveal Himself to you. Ask Him to show you your sin, to inspire within you a desire to repent, and to inspire the desire to change and conform to His likeness.

He is faithful and just . He will forgive all your sins, cleanse you from all unrighteousness and though your sin be as scarlet, He will make them as white as snow!

God bless you with His presence today.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Putting on the Mind of Christ

Putting on the mind of Christ is not as easy as it sounds. You first have to realize where you and He don't think alike, ask for forgiveness for your willfulness, and then ask Him to help you see life as He sees it and to give you the desire and the power to change your thinking.

I think, at the shallowest part of each one of us is the idea that we know everything (otherwise known as know-it-allness). We really think we don't need anyone (especially an unseen God) to tell us how to live our lives. I see it in people of all ages, even my 11 year old son. But look where that gets us.

Jesus' thoughts were always of what His Father wanted, what was best for mankind and very little about what pertained to himself. He sought only to do that which pleased the Father. That was the mind of Christ - striving to please the Father by doing only what the Father wanted him to do. That is what we are to do as his followers. Everytime the word "I" pops into the mind along with the words, "want", "will" "wish" "am", you might to put on the brakes a bit and think if those same words sound the same as "God wants", "God wills", "God wishes" and "God is". If you get an okay from the holy spirit; proceed with ears alert and eyes open. If there are no further bumps that slow you down and cause you to question what you're doing or the motive for doing it, I believe you can move on. But if questions continue to pop up in your mind, you might want to sit down and pray for God's wisdom and leading. That is, if you want to put on the mind of Christ.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Reflections on Thankfulness

I guess the Lord is making me think twice as hard about thankfulness this year. I posted a piece yesterday about how bland we are when we offer up thanksgiving to our maker, and here I am again today; seemingly with more to say.

Remember, when you think about who you're talking to, you realize you can be as open and colorful as you want to be, nobody hears you but your best friend forever - the one who truly can keep secrets if what you say is something you don't want anyone else to know. So, if you want to say, Lord, I am so hungry that I am surprised that my stomach didn't growl out loud in the meeting today. I am so thankful that you didn't let that happen. Whatever, anything you're thankful for, share it with the Lord. Let Him be your best friend.

After I posted my blog yesterday, two things occurred which caused me to stop again and think about things pertaining to being thankful.

First, my son's fifth grade class presented a program, and when I arrived at the program, I had no idea of the content because he had not been very forthcoming about it, so I went with an open mind and no expectations. This was a program about the "spirit of America" and remembering our heritage. The background of the pledge of allegiance was given, including reference to the words "in God we trust" being added in (I think) 1954 if I remember correctly, and it was recited by all. They then sang the Star Spangled Banner, gave the history of such symbols of America's freedom as the bald eagle, the liberty bell, the flag and the statue of liberty. They sang about four or five additional songs, including (can you believe it?) "When the Saints Go Marching In". I cried folks, because I could see the hope, the belief and the happiness on these little ones' faces. They put their whole selves into the actions and my heart ached. I hope and I pray that these little ones have a better life than the one I envision based on what I see happening in America today. I hope and pray that they come out of school with their freedom in tact (if the Lord has not tarried) and with their hearts in God's hands and their eyes focused on Christ. I hope and pray that there will be something of the "old America" left for them to enjoy.

Then, last evening, my son and I went to our Tuesday night cell group class for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders (I lead the girls). One of tasks was to write a letter to God telling Him what we are thankful for. I encouraged everyone to use some adjectives, be colorful and really describe the things that they love and appreciate. I was truly impressed by what I heard from the young girls.

Here is what God layed on my heart:

God, I am so grateful that you did not make the sky red. Red can be an angry color, and blue is so peaceful.

Thank you for autumn when everything is brightly colored and beautiful and leaves crunch under our feet and heavy rains cause us to stay inside, read books, play games and sip warm drinks.

Thank you, too, for winter and the way we can enjoy making snowmen, snowballs and snowcream.

I love spring, Lord, because everything is blooming, budding and being given new life, just like me.

Thank you, great Creator, that I was fearfully and wonderfully made, by You, right down to the mole on my right leg.

And, oh, God, don't let me forget summer, because I love summer, too. I thank you for the beautiful nights when I can sit on my porch and look at the moon and the stars and know you're there; listening with me, watching with me. I love that;...and, oh, and the flowers, too, Lord and the fresh fruit and vegetables; oh and fireflies and crickets and bullfrogs chirping in the neighbors' pond. There's so much, God; I can't even think of all the things I love.

Father, you have been so good to me. Who am I and what did I do to deserve such love? Thank you for for the gifts from your hand; all the things you created for me to enjoy, and especially for the love of Jesus, who thought I was worth dying for in order that I could be with you always.

And now, this morning, as I read during my quiet time, the Lord lead me to isaiah 25 which in my NLT Bible is titled, "Praise for Judgment and Salvation".

Isaiah 25:6-8.

In Jerusalem, the LORD Almighty will spread a wonderful feast for everyone around the world. It will be a delicious feast of good food, with clear, well-aged wine and choice beef. In that day he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth. He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign LORD will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against his land and people. The LORD has spoken! In that day the people will proclaim, "This is our God. We trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, in whom we trusted. Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!"

If you have given your life to Christ, submitted to Him as your God, Lord, Savior, King and last, but definitely not least, Friend, the day is coming, my friend when we will sit at a Thanksgiving Feast with Him as our host, and our voices will not be meek or lowly, but we will be praising Him at the top of our voices, we will want ALL to hear how God loved us, bought us, sought us and restored us to Himself. There will be no bland praise and worship at that Thanksgiving Dinner. The Bible says we'll share the best wine and the choicest meat, there will be NOTHING to be sad or depressed about; no worries about money or making ends meet; no worry about disease or death--He has defeated death, and HE will wipe away EVERY tear!!!

If that doesn't cause you to rejoice and give Thanks today, I don't know what will!

Have a blessed, thankful, wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bland Thankfulness

Many people have a tradition this time of year where each person at the Thanksgiving table are asked to tell something they are really thankful about. Having sat through this many times through the years, it pains me to say that people almost always say the same thing, it's very generalized, and people always seem embarrassed to have speak out loud the things in their lives which they are thankful for. Is that you? Do you voice a bland..."my kids", "my family", "my job", etc.? Don't you think that God above and the people in your life would love to hear the depth of your appreciation for the things which enrich your life?

If so, I challenge you to sit down for 30 minutes or so in a dim, quiet room sometime between now and that day and ask God to truly show you how you have been blessed and try using some adjectives to describe God's faithfulness and generosity to you.

With that in mind, here's my list of what I am truly thankful for.

1) I am truly thankful that God bought me with the precious, priceless blood of His son, Jesus Christ;

2) I am truly thankful that God sought me and asked me to draw near to Him;

3) I am truly thankful for a husband who promised me "I will never do that again" and I know I can believe him;

4) I am truly thankful for a husband who is my very best friend, my defender, my lover and a hard worker;

5) I am truly thankful for my daughter who is thoughtful (by that, I mean "deep"), so loving, respectful, funny and kind (and she's beautiful inside and out) and who makes me feel like I am important in her life;

6) I am truly thankful for my son who is the result of a great love, who challenges me every day to listen to God on how to be a parent, who has a heart for God, is smarter than a whip and so handsome I'm sure that I will need God to get me through his teenage years;

7) I have been blessed beyond belief to have a home I love, plenty of food, clothes to wear, a bed to sleep in, I am warm when it's cold outside and cool when it's hot, my cup runneth over, truly;

8) I have been blessed with a great family of sisters and a brother, loving, kind in-laws, and extended family, but especially two sisters who are always there in the good and bad and to share the memories of our growing up and older;

9) I have three wonderful, caring, kind, loving women who I consider my "best" friends forever and without whom I wouldn't have been able to survive my own blunders, mishaps and life problems;

10) I am so thankful for my extended internet family of friends, sisters and brothers in Christ and acquaintances. People who God has used to help me grow up "in Him".

11) I am thankful for the parkinson's disease that God allowed me to have in order to draw me back to Him, His presence and His love.

12) I am thankful to be alive today when it is possible that someday soon I may hear the call to "Come Up Here" and so it will be that I will be with my friend, Lord, Savior and King, Jesus, forever.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Coming Out of the World

Revelation 18:4
And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

This scripture has long been one of interest to me, and has caused me to raise my eyebrow and wonder "what does this mean, Lord".

A lot of individuals have propounded that God is speaking to his followers here to come out of the organized church routine. That makes sense so perhaps the church and it's lies and self-agrandization is part of what we are to remove ourselves from, but in my view, it is deeper and harder than that. It's not too hard to remove ourselves from the church system.

Notice that the verse counsels against taking part in her "sins" and therefore receiving of her "plagues"?

As I read this verse, meditated on it and prayed over it, it came to me, and maybe this is simplistic to you and others with deep roots in Bible study and Christ-like living; but I believe we are to literally remove ourselves from the "World Systems". You know, kind of like, being in the world but not "of" the world.

According to the dictionary on line, the words world and worldly mean:

WORLD: noun

1. the earth or globe, considered as a planet.
2. (often initial capital letter ) a particular division of the earth: the Western world.
3. the earth or a part of it, with its inhabitants, affairs, etc., during a particular period: the ancient world.
4. humankind; the human race; humanity: The world must eliminate war and poverty.
5. the public generally: The whole world knows it.
6. the class of persons devoted to the affairs, interests, or pursuits of this life: The world worships success.
7. a particular class of people, with common interests, aims, etc.: the fashionable world.
8. any sphere, realm, or domain, with all pertaining to it: a child's world; the world of dreams; the insect world.
9. everything that exists; the universe; the macrocosm.
10. any complex whole conceived as resembling the universe: the world of the microcosm.
11. one of the three general groupings of physical nature: animal world; mineral world; vegetable world.
12. any period, state, or sphere of existence: this world; the world to come.
13. Often, worlds. a great deal: That vacation was worlds of fun.
14. any indefinitely great expanse.
15. any heavenly body: the starry worlds.

WORLDLY: adjective

1. of or pertaining to this world as contrasted with heaven, spiritual life, etc.; earthly; mundane.
2. experienced; knowing; sophisticated: the benefits of his worldly wisdom.
3. devoted to, directed toward, or connected with the affairs, interests, or pleasures of this world.
4. of or pertaining to the people or laity; secular; neither ecclesiastical nor religious.
5. Obsolete of, pertaining to, or existing on earth.

Now think about coming out of that system, the "worldly system" or the system of this world. That would include but not be limited to: the way money is handled (for example, being in debt, or paying with credit cards), the way food is handled (for example, eating out more than you eat in or buying processed, poison food), the way school is handled (by the government for its benefit instead of the benefit of the student which may cause us to send our children to christian schools or home school them), the way that work is handled (lying, cheating, working untold hours and not spending an appropriate amount of time with our spouses, children and other family members), the way church is handled (hey, it's all about you're okay, I'm okay, God loves us and wants us to have "stuff", "money" and "success"), the way marriage is handled (it's my way or the highway), the way children are disciplined (time out vs. a spanking, if you have questions about his, go to the Book of Proverbs, i.e. here, here, or here to see what God thinks about disciplining our children.

Last but not least, I would like to say that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Coming out of the world, at least from the perspective of what God is saying to me, personally, is to come out of: halloween, christmas, easter, harry potter movies, harry potter books, moonlight movies and the like, Tosh.0, the latest fashions, the best house in the best neighborhood, the biggest bank account, being "sexy" for everyone including your spouse.

One thing that God spoke to me about this weekend is coming out of things like being poked and prodded by the TSA which means, no flying for me because I am opposed to x-rays and radiation (yes, microwave ovens, too).

Sounds like not just a big job but a huge one, doesn't it? I am quite challenged to think it is even possible, but the Word tells us that with God ALL things are possible.

So, I believe that even if we are taking small steps to be obedient to God in these things, He will honor it and make it possible for us to be successful in coming out of more and more of the things that do not honor Him.

Christ said that he came to set us free. Think how freeing it would be to not have to comply with ALL the many systems, programs, rules and regulations that have been enacted for "our benefit"; think of all the money and time it takes to maintain and care for all the things this world says that we should have (including a house and car); think about the possibilities of home schooling your child and growing your own food.

Maybe I was just born in the wrong century, I don't know, but this world and its systems are holding less and less appeal to me daily. Won't you, like me, start taking baby steps to remove yourself with this world? What is one thing you will do this week to get started?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Be An "Ass" for the Lord!

I read this wonderful note written by Pastor Zac Loh on Facebook this morning, and I thought that it was one I would like to share with anyone who might happen upon this blog. It is indeed insightful and spirit led.

Donkeys are looked upon as low class animals in some parts of the world. They are plain. But they are good servants to humans. They do their job without vanity and ego.

It goes without saying that we should aspire to be like them in serving God. Yet this world tells us differently. You’ve got phrases such as, “stupid as a donkey.” If we tell the people of this world that we aspire to be like donkeys, they will laugh at us for having this notion, they would think, “to be like donkeys …ha! ha!”

When you think of donkeys, you would also think of donkey riders. Of the few donkey riders in the Bible, there are two who were significant, namely Balaam and Jesus.

The first donkey, which was Balaam’s donkey, was a disobedient donkey in a good way.

And the second donkey, which was Jesus’ donkey, was an obedient donkey, also in a good way.

The first rider, Balaam, was a disobedient prophet who capitulated for earthly gains whereas the second rider, Jesus, was an obedient prophet who was faithful to death for heavenly gains.

First Donkey And Balaam The Rider

Then God’s anger was aroused because he went, and the Angel of the LORD took His stand in the way as an adversary against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. Now the donkey saw the Angel of the LORD standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand, and the donkey turned aside out of the way and went into the field. So Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back onto the road. Then the Angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on this side and a wall on that side. And when the donkey saw the Angel of the LORD, she pushed herself against the wall and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall; so he struck her again. Then the Angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. And when the donkey saw the Angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam’s anger was aroused, and he struck the donkey with his staff. Then the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have abused me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you!” So the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden, ever since I became yours, to this day? Was I ever disposed to do this to you?” And he said, “No.” Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the Angel of the LORD standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand; and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face. And the Angel of the LORD said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to stand against you, because your way is perverse before Me. The donkey saw Me and turned aside from Me these three times. If she had not turned aside from Me, surely I would also have killed you by now, and let her live.”

(Numbers 22:22-33)

but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet (2 Peter 2:16)

In this first Biblical pairing of donkey-and-rider, Balaam was a picture of a leader who disobeyed the plan of God in the course of ministry. His donkey is a picture of a follower who was in submission to the leader `riding above’. This leader steered the donkey wherever he wanted it to go. What gives point to our study is that this donkey refused to obey this leader. This donkey had revelation. This donkey could speak. And this donkey saved this leader’s life!

If you are a follower, and when God has anointed you to speak …speak up …because you may be saving your leader from destruction. Your failure to speak up may result in negative consequences for your leader. You failure to speak up may spell disaster to your leader.

There was this highly respected minister of God who had such an admiration from people - to the point that there was a sort of an aura surrounding him. This leader had many pastors serving under his ministry umbrella. He wrote many books. And he founded a Bible College.

One morning before the Sunday Service began, God gave me a prophetic word for this minister. But because it was a `correction’ word, I withheld myself. I could not bring myself to do it. In my thinking, I was a tiny guy and this man was an institution!

For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore I urge you, imitate me. (1 Corinthians 4:15-16)

Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

Paul was a senior spiritual person and a father of faith in Christ. When the Corinthians believers heard the teachings of Christ, they needed to see it in real life. Paul was a good example to emulate.

Then again, they had the teachings of Christ to compare Paul with. Paul added that they should imitate him even as he was imitating Christ. The word of God is a mirror. Paul had to reflect that. Otherwise, they did not have to follow Paul. It was as simple as that.

Listen, dear leaders, one of your followers could save you. One of your followers might be anointed by God to speak to you in revelation and help your ministry.

I once heard a profound statement made by `Mr. Pentecost,’ Mr. David DuPleissis, in a cassette tape. He said that `if God cannot use a new Christian to correct you, then you are not godly.’ It took me a long, and hard, time to understand this. Now, I am appreciating it.

I think of Peter and see what a wonderful leader he was. Paul, when he was still a young upstart, had the knack to publicly withstand this established leader to the face; he chided and corrected Peter in public (Galatians 2:11-16). A few leaders of today might have killed Paul’s ministry in hidden retaliation. Yet, Peter went into record openly defending Paul’s ministry (2 Peter 3:15-16)!

Second Donkey And Jesus The Rider

The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ The King of Israel!” Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written: “Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming, Sitting on a donkey’s colt.” (John 12:12-15)

One Bible teacher highlighted that we should not think that this donkey (pointing to himself) was dumb enough to accept all the shouts and praises.

As servants of God, we must not be dumb enough think that the admiration is for us. We should know that all glory goes to the One who anointed us. It is not for us, but for the One riding on us.

He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him. (John 7:18)

Humility is a subject difficult to tackle. In real life, the moment we feel that we have it; that itself is pride exhibiting itself.

What is humility? We can humble ourselves in the flesh. But it is not the humility that God is looking for. The purpose of humility is not so that others can admire our humility. The purpose of humility is so that God is glorified.

For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. (1 Corinthians 15:9-10)

God gives grace to the humble. The funny thing is, not only that God gives grace to the humble, we need His grace to be humble. And we need His grace to serve. Paul said that he was the least, and not worthy to be called an apostle. He then proceeded to mention the grace of God. It is evident that humility and grace is intricately connected. Paul worked much because the grace of God was working much with Him.

But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, (Galatians 1:15-16)

Paul was called through the grace of God. He served by the grace of God. The grace of God positions us so that we can be anointed. We cannot, by the flesh, strive to be anointed. We can never be good enough for God to use us. It is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of grace, who brings us to the place where we can be anointed (Hebrews 10:29).

We are a special assortment of God's manifold grace. Ministry grace differs with each person. We are not standard products from the factory assembly line. We each bear a unique handiwork of our Master, who is the potter, as we are His clay. He breaks us again and again …and forms us again and again …and we become more and more like the unique shape and design that He wants us to be. In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, we are informed of Paul’s experience with a chronic and painful trial. He asked to be delivered from it. Jesus answered and said, “My grace is sufficient for you.”

Jesus instructed His disciples to loose the donkey and bring it to Him, and saying, “The Lord has need of them.” (Matthew 21:1-3)

God has a ministry plan for each one of us. It is greater than any vocation, career or business. I pray that you will be loosed to be a humble donkey because ...the Lord has need of them!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Take Off Those Shackles

What do you think when you hear the word "slave"? It conjures up ugly visions of black people being owned by white people to do hard labor, and God alone knows what else. I read books that depicted a slave's life long ago that made my hair curl. I don't like to think about it, and neither do most other people alive and well on the planet today. Slavery, however, was not just prevalent in America prior to the Civil War; slavery has pervaded society from the beginning. Many have been slaves during the course of history, including the Israelites to the Egyptians and various other civilizations, including the Babylonians and the Assyrians. There's no doubt about it, slave and slavery are very dirty words in today's society.

The Bible says that we are all slaves to something. It's one of the horrible parts of being a human being. I look around me today and I see people (myself included) who are slaves to smoking, slaves to alcohol, slaves to the television, slaves to sex and/or pornography and the many spin-offs to that cesspool, slaves to food, slaves to fashion, slaves to power and slaves to money. There are SO many things that we can become enslaved to. Enslavement to these things destroy us. They eat us alive. We live for the moment that we can take part in doing these things while at the same time we hate ourselves for doing them. It seems that no one in the books of history has been exempt from this except for Jesus Christ, the son of God. Even Paul said in Romans 7:14-17

The law is good, then. The trouble is not with the law but with me, because I am sold into slavery, with sin as my master. I don't understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate. I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong, and my bad conscience shows that I agree that the law is good. But I can't help myself, because it is sin inside me that makes me do these evil things.

I don't know anyone who personally loves being enslaved to the things that torture them everyday, but so many won't do what is necessary to break the enslavement because the work is too hard. Just like it is hard work to do what is necessary to maintain a free nation, it is hard work to keep ourselves from becoming addicted to things which are almost impossible to escape from.

1 Cor. 7:22, 23 tells us that Christ bought us with a high price so that we would not have to be enslaved to sin.

And remember, if you were a slave when the Lord called you, the Lord has now set you free from the awful power of sin. And if you were free when the Lord called you, you are now a slave of Christ. God purchased you at a high price. Don't be enslaved by the world.

Come, and He Will Set You Free by Paris Reidhead

Knowing that Christ paid a very high price for us to set us free should make us, like the woman in the video, fall to the Lord's feet in praise and thankfulness, confessing that it is our sincerest desire to be His slave.

The wonderful thing about being Christ's slave is that we are slaves to love, truth, justice, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and "SELF-CONTROL"...all the things that do not go with enslavement to the things listed formerly. There is no peace, or joy that accompany being a food-a-holic, take it from me, and I'm sure that the alcoholic, the smoker, the heroin addict, the pedofile will all vouch for me on that.

On top of all of that, take note that Jesus told us that his yoke is easy and His burden is light. HE does all the work, we just have to plod along beside Him, watch what and how He does it and give Him the glory, honor and praise.

Take Off Those Shackles

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Out of Control Disciple

My church furnishes a daily devotional guide which I have found very helpful when I don't have a particular study that I am doing so I picked it up this morning to the following (how ironic that I just happen to have posted about this very thing in my last two blogs):

Putting Faith to Work

According to James, faith isn't really faith until we put it into action. It's not enough just to believe in Jesus in your head; you must allow that belief to transform your life and actions. Good works are the natural outgrowth of a true faith in Jesus. We only really believe the parts of the Bible that we choose to live out.

Read: James 1:22-24; 2:14-26

How has your understanding of Jesus affected the way you live? What would change if you acted on all that you claim to believe?

The question that seemed to settle in my mind was "Has my understanding of Jesus changed the way I live, and if, in fact, it has, how?

Do I really know what it means to live the life of Christ...what was Christ's life like?

I know:

...he knew God, the things of God, and the ways of God from his boyhood, and he taught them to others, (Luke 2). It doesn't matter what age you are, young, old or in between, we should all know God and be teaching others about Him.

...he was a son that all mothers want: thoughtful, kind, respectful, loving and obedient, one that would never give his mother any kind of trouble (except for pain in knowing that the world was not good enough for him and would do nothing but hurt him). If we are a mother or father, we should be teaching our children to act this way, and we should be showing this kind of love to our parents (nursing homes would disappear);

...that his family and friends doubted his claim of being God's son (Luke 4:24). No matter how much we are doubted, teased, ridiculed or threatened, we should allow no family member or friend to keep us from telling others about God and His plan for their lives.

...that Jesus was a straight shooter; a man who told the truth no matter what the consequences. Likewise, we are to be people of integrity; telling the truth no matter what the consequences are.

...he did not resort to violence to accomplish his mission, no matter how far he was pushed. My husband had me take a shooting class to get my concealed carry permit. Would I ever use it? I can't imagine it. I would much rather think I am like the young lady in this video.

...he did without. He didn't have a home, a method of transportation, an extra coat, a pantry full of food, or a closet full of clothes. He had just enough to do what needed to be done that day, and he relied on the goodness of God to suppy it.

...he didn't even have a place to call his own. Jesus said that birds have nests and foxes have dens, but the Son of Man has no place to rest his head. Life was hard in those days and he didn't even have a pillow top mattress to rest his weary bones on after a long day's work.

...he cared deeply for others. He had friends (lots of them, I believe); admirers, groupies; people who followed him everywhere he went; but, sadly, he didn't really trust anyone because he "knew" the hearts of men.

...he was willing to suffer for others, up to and including death. I have read many accounts of Jesus' torture before his death, and it certainly was not something that a mere man or woman would go through for a world of people who didn't deserve it and the greatest majority of whom would not want it, believe it or accept it.

There it is, the afflicted life: the life where others are more important, where life is not politically correct, life gives instead of takes, one does not have everything one wants, and you live by integrity, morals and laws established by God, no matter what the cost.

Do you have it in you to live that life. Just like old age, it is not for the faint hearted.

We had an altar call at our church last weekend, which is not a usual thing. Our pastor says that it's not a one-time, feel good, stand up and say a short prayer kind of commitment, but that it's a call to living the afflicted life of Christ. He passed out the attached as standard of living the afflicted life of Christ. Are you willing to sign up?

As of today, I am part of the Church of the Out of Control.
I've given up control to God. I trust and obey the Spirit.
I've jumped off the fence, stepped over the line.
I've pulled out all the stops, holding nothing back.

There's no turning back, looking around, slowing down,
backing away, letting up or shutting up.
It's life against the odds, outside the box, over the wall;
the game of life played without goal lines other than
"Thy will be done..."

I am not here to please the dominant culture.
I live to please my Lord and Savior.
I've stopped trying to make life work, and
started trying to make life sing.

I no longer live by and for anything, but everything God breathed,
Christ centered and Spirit driven;
I won't back down, slow down, shut down, let down
until I am preached out, teached out, healed out or hauled out
of God's mission in the world entrusted to members of the
Church of the Out of Control....to unbind the confined,
the overlooked or the under represented.

...so that one day, He will pick me out
in the line up of the ages as one of His own.
And then, it will be worth it all to hear these words:
"Well done, thou good and faithful, out-of-control Disciple."