August 28, 2015
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love [your] wives, and be not bitter against them.
The Road back to Love and Intimacy
Remember when your romance was as sweet as honey and the love of your life could do no wrong. You adored them, idolized them and wanted to spend every moment together. Many of us, looking back at those younger years, ask ourselves, “what happened to that first love?” We still may love each other, but many couples struggle with the “feelings of love” that are missing. The romance has died way down and now you may find that instead of really loving and cherishing that wonderful man or woman you are struggling to get along with them. The man may feel like the wife is always nagging him, he can never do enough or anything right, she doesn’t respect and honor him. The woman may feel like the husband has become an insensitive jerk that never communicates or works through the problems, he doesn’t meet her needs. Over the years and the cycles of good and bad times, we can accumulate a lot of baggage. If I ask you if you love your husband or your wife, you would quite likely reply, “will of course I do,” but neither one of you may be experiencing the love from one another that you feel and know should be there. We may say we hold no unforgiveness toward one another, but in reality both parties bear scars, wounds, unresolved conflicts and issues that linger in the subconscious ready to rear their ugly heads at the right moment, opportunity or provocation. We find that we fail to often treat each other with the love, dignity and respect that both parties are due in a marriage.
Fifty percent of our marriages fail due to these kind of issues, but how many more are struggling and hurting? We need to return to that place of intimacy and closeness that we once shared, but we can’t until we are able let down the walls we’ve built up and are willing to let go of all the offenses, hurts and bitterness that we carry.
When the Word says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord,” that submission might be just creating a safe place where your husband can share with you. It needs to be a place where you aren’t venting your anger, frustration, criticism and unhappiness, no matter how justified you may feel with those feelings. If you want your husband to communicate and be sensitive to your needs, you have to create an atmosphere of submission where you really want to see, feel and understand his heart. That can be a hard place for a man. He may not be in touch with his feelings the way you are, so be gentle and be patient and above all, be kind.
“Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.” Husbands can be very confrontational, critical and harsh, but many repress their feelings and emotions. They retreat into that shell of seeming insensitivity and non-communication. Many times it is a response of self-preservation. Often the harder the wife tries to break through that seeming insensitivity with harsh or critical words the more the husband withdrawals. If you want the turtle to stick his head out of the shell you have to stop beating on the shell and make him feel that when he sticks his head out it won’t get bit off. Husbands can hold a lot of things in their hearts that they may not even be fully aware of. Their means of retaliation may be more passive or subtle, but it may be coming from a bitterness that has built up in their hearts against their wives. They, on the other hand, need to really listen to the heart of their wives and make those needs their goals to fulfill. They need to make them feel secure in your love for them and remember them often in the little gifts, the things you do and say. Marriage is a teaching ground for unconditional love and service. It is where we should both be learning to lay down our lives for the other. Love is not always about feeling, but about commitment, covenant and a decision to love your spouse unconditionally even when they don’t derserve it.
Maybe we need to come together as a couple where we can agree that the love of Christ is going to rule and dictate our behavior and response to one another. We need to hold one another, not sexually, but intimately, while we confess our sins, our hurts and failures to one another. We need to truly commit to a willingness to really forgive and hear the other person’s heart. We need an uninterrupted time of reconciliation where we can write down and commit to one another some realistic goals where we will begin to address some of our deepest issues. Keep it simple and not more than we can realistically deal with at one time. Start with just three things each. Then let’s make a date for our next intimate time we can meet with the same right heart and attitude, in the love of Christ to see how we are doing. Again, we need to keep it safe and non-confrontational. This is a team project and we can’t succeed if we only have our own agenda and interest at heart. We can’t expect to mend and restore a broken down barn in a day or even a week, it will take time to restore, just as it took time to deteriorate. We can change the cycle and the direction of our marriages if we will both commit to it and stay with it. We will begin to see our true intimacy and love begin to come alive in our feelings and the way we treat one another. God wants to see our marriages strong and alive with His love. There is a lot of truth to the addage that ‘the family that prays together, stays together’. It is hard to be right with each other when we are not right with God. If we are committed to Christ, then we must also be committed to one another, for we are one flesh. Together let’s build the road back to true love and intimacy like we had in our first love.
August 27, 2015
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Love is not Always Easy
A part of the calling that we have as Christians in Christ Jesus is to walk in love. If we are going only by emotions, there will be a lot of times that we won’t feel love. We may feel everything but love. The first thing we have to realize is that while love may carry with it emotions and strong feelings, the emotions and feelings aren’t the love. Love is a decision of your heart. True love is a commitment in the good times and the bad, in the sweet and the bitter, for the better or for the worse. Therefore love is not always about how we feel. God first loved us when we were sinners, estranged and in rebellion to Him. His love wasn’t in response to our love; it was in spite of the fact that we didn’t love Him. God has chosen to love us and His actions toward us were deliberate and not just responsive to us based on what we could give back. This is the love that Christ has placed in our hearts because He is in us. We are to choose to act out of love, not to just love others when they love us or love the people that are nice and pleasant, or that we have feelings for. Love is often a hard choice. It is often not easy to love certain people. It is our calling, in as much as is possible, to be a peace with all men and to live and act out of the attitude of love. Love needs to be what powers us, motivates and drives us in the will of God. When we begin to think upon the vastness and the magnitude of God and how insignificant and minute we are in comparison, it just blows us away that He even would acknowledge us, let alone give His only Son to die for us. How can we truly comprehend that kind of love? Yet everything God is and does is motivated out of love, because God is love. That same force, that is God’s source and power, now indwells us. It must be what drives and motivates us to love God with all of our heart, our mind, our soul and strength. It is also what empowers us to love our neighbor as ourselves.
We know how hard it is even within our own marriages to always love our spouse. They can be so irritating, inconsiderate, unappreciative, stubborn, insensitive, lazy and any number of other adjectives and nouns. In the beginning we were moved by great emotions and feelings, but after the honeymoon was over that perfect person can turn into one our greatest trials in life. What we forget is that love is still a choice. We start responding to our spouse like we did in the beginning, out of feelings and emotions; only this time they are negative instead of positive. Our love and hate are a response of our flesh and soul and not a choice of our spirit. Love doesn’t react because someone is pushing our buttons; it is a choice based on our commitment, vow and promise. It doesn’t return insult for insult, hurt for hurt, cursing for cursing. It chooses to act and respond out of the nature of Christ. It also must be willing to accept valid criticism, correction and look at what can best meet the other person’s needs. We are all unique and different individuals and none of us were made or designed to fit perfectly within someone else’s box. There are a lot of times we don’t even like who we are, so how is someone else always going to please us? This is where the lowliness, gentleness, forbearance, longsuffering and the fruit of the Spirit enter in. This is the place where we get to practice living the nature of Christ.
The root of most ended marriages is selfishness of one or more of the individuals. Love is not selfish, it is self-sacrificing and it takes both parties giving and compromising to create the best environment to be able to live in enjoyment and in peace with one another. It is always work and most of the time it is not easy. It is only successful through the commitment of both parties and their choice and commitment to love the other. The same principle holds true in our relationships with others. It is God’s love that must possess you; our love always falls short. Love is not always easy, but it is always God.
August 26, 2015
Joel 2:21-24 (The Message translation)
Fear not, Earth! Be glad and celebrate! God has done great things. Fear not, wild animals! The fields and meadows are greening up. The trees are bearing fruit again: a bumper crop of fig trees and vines! Children of Zion, celebrate! Be glad in your God. He’s giving you a teacher to train you how to live right—Teaching, like rain out of heaven, showers of words to refresh and nourish your soul, just as he used to do. And plenty of food for your body—silos full of grain, casks of wine and barrels of olive oil.
The Rains are Coming!
As I was asking the Lord about what to write this morning, I heard in my Spirit, “Tell my people the rains are coming.” He then reminded me of the rains spoken of in Joel 2:23. King James reads, “Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.” Just as the rains of heaven rejuvenate and give the life giving fluids to grow the crops, so the Spirit anointed teaching of God’s Word will come like rain to cause His people to come forth in spiritual fruitfulness. We have all set under much teaching and even good instruction, but this teaching and Word of God will be life changing and spirit transforming. It will come with the demonstration of such power and life that it will be a well of restoration, breakthrough and freedom. This rain comes after a time of great darkness upon the earth. It comes after a time where the people of God have entered into fasting and praying, of rending their hearts and not just their garments. It comes as we fully return to the Lord and bring the acceptable sacrifices of a broken and contrite heart.
When this rain breaks forth it will be like none you have seen before. It will be the former and the latter rain together, a double portion blessing upon the people of God. The rains are necessary both for preparing the soil to plant and also for bringing the harvest to fruition. These rains are for the bringing forth of a great harvest in the earth and also for the fruition of that which has already been planted. The rest of the passage of Joel 2 goes on to read, “24And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. 25And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. 26And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. 27And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed. 28And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
29And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
30And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come. 32And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.”
There is a season for every purpose under heaven. There is a season for tearing down and destruction, but that preceeds the season of restoration, blessing and life. Let us prepare our hearts in the manner that God has prescribed, seeking Him in fasting, repentance and prayer. For surely He will answer us and bring the showers of His blessing and life.
August 25, 2015
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
What We Treasure in Our Hearts
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:21)”
Think about the things we protect, hide away, keep and save. They are the things that we value and that are meaningful to us. Most of the things that we treasure and value are temporal and perishing. Many of us save and put away money, possessions, jewelry and other items we consider valuable. The most precious and lasting treasure of all lies upon the pages of the book we call our Bible. While we treasure our earthly things, for many, the Bible sets upon the shelf and collects dust. It might even get taken to church on Sunday, but do we really appreciate the treasure that is contained and hidden there among the pages of God’s Word. The treasure that we find there is life-giving and eternal. It has the power to change our lives and helps us to know the true heart and mind of God. It has the power to show us ourselves and bring light where there has been darkness.
God no longer walks among us in flesh and blood as He did in Jesus Christ, but neither is He absent and gone from us. He has left us the testimony of His Spirit and His Word. It is His Spirit within us that unlocks the mysteries and reveals the treasures of His Word. If we want to walk with God and have a closer relationship with Him then we must treasure, honor and revere what is precious to Him. His Word is what reveals and imparts that to us. Do we desire to please God? His Word gives us that direction. Do we desire to be free from sin and avoid that which is evil? Again, His Word digested and hidden in our hearts is what transforms our thinking and renews our minds to think and see things as God does. It puts within us the fear, the reverence and awe of God that we would in no way want to offend or displease Him and at the same time dispells the fear that we find in the world and in our minds. We hide many things in our hearts, but far too often it isn’t the Word of God.
John 1:1-5 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” We know through the scripture that Christ declared that He was the Word. We know that spiritual life is contained and obtained through Him. When we possess the Christ and He truly possesses us then we will find that treasure that is hidden in our hearts. He will take those words from a page and make them a fire in our belly. His Word will illuminate and transform us. Come and find that treasure that doesn’t perish with the using, that only increases and never decreases and brings you into the presence of the Father.
Where is your treasure today? What do you value and store up in your heart? “Where a man’s treasure is, there will his heart be also.”
August 24, 2015
1 Peter 3:1-7
Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
7Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
Real Love and Beauty
On the subject of beauty:
So many derive their value from outward perception and how they view themselves through the mirror of others. Thus many have believed a distorted view of who they are.
God says we were ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’.
Our truest beauty comes from within, not without. See yourself through the beauty
that God has created you to be. The greatest beauty is seen in the one who aligns their heart
with God’s purpose and design to best express Him.
On the subject of love:
Young love is sexy and beautiful. It is fresh, passionate, sensual,
but its roots are young and it thrives more on the feelings of the outward man.
Old love is not always as passionate. It is not as sexually driven or motivated,
but it stills sees the beauty that it first saw. Its roots are now deep, as are the scars and life experiences that have knit and grown these two souls together. What was once expressed
outwardly is now the inward sharing of two hearts that beat as one. They have learned
that it is not always feelings that keep you together, but the decision to love one another even when you don’t feel it. Love is not just an emotion, but a decision of will.
August 21, 2015
2 Corinthians 3:18 (Amplified)
And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.
That He may Speak to You
I feel like the Lord has an exercise for us to do today.
Go to the mirror. Look past the outward man that confronts you and into your spirit. Wait upon the Lord. Give yourself time to wait. Let the Holy Spirit speak to you there the things concerning you. Discern His Spirit, for He will not come to you in condemnation, but He may speak into you correction. Give yourself time to behold the man or woman of God that you are becoming. Again, don’t judge it by the outward or out of your opinions of yourself. Listen for the still small voice of His Holy Spirit to minister and speak to you there. He will speak to you the truth. Allow Him to reflect back to you who you truly are. You will know because it will line up with His Word.
If you feel led please write and share what you found in obeying this spiritual exercise.
August 20, 2015
When I am Weak
Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I [am] weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed.
Show me Thy ways and I will aspire to walk in them,
Impart unto me Your strength that I might carry them out,
Give me Your heart that I can have like passion and commitment,
Take my will that Yours may be done.
Father, we often faint in the heat of the day,
Our eye dims and our desires begin to stray.
Please take my hand and lift me up,
I keep wanting to sink in this miry clay.
Life can be good, but it is also hard,
It is not always easy to keep up my guard.
Often I grow discouraged with myself,
I want give up on my spiritual health.
Like a diet gone bad,
Sometimes I just want to give in to sin.
“Ah, what’s the use?
I’ve already blown it again.”
Yet the cross compels me not to give up,
It can’t be in vain that Christ drank from that cup.
I can not give place in my weakness to sin.
Would I drive those nails in His loving hands again?
Lord, I cry out in my weakness to You,
Help me not my old ways to pursue.
They never brought me peace or joy before,
Help me, oh Lord, not to open again that door.
You know my frame, that it is weak,
But my eyes are on you, and it is You that I seek.
Let it be no longer I that lives,
Help me lay all on the altar to freely give.
For my death, You give me Life.
For my heartache, you give me Peace.
For my sin, You give me Righteousness.
For my failure, You give me Salvation.
Your Word have I hid in my heart,
That I might not sin against Thee.
It mirrors Your Love and Grace,
When my eye grows dim and I fail to see.
Keep my feet in that narrow path,
I want to know Grace, not judgement and wrath.
Grace that takes me to a higher standard than law,
Grace that restores me in those times I fall.
Lord, You are my everything,
Without You I really have nothing.
Help me when I grow frail and weak,
May it be Your Life within me and Your words that I speak.
August 19, 2015
Ye therfore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Most of us would look at ourselves and readily agree that we are anything but perfect. Even if we didn’t acknowledge that we weren’t perfect, there is no doubt a spouse or near relative that would set us straight. Why would Jesus make a statement like He did here in Matthew 5:48?
Throughout this chapter and through the next couple Jesus is addressing a higher order of living than what would be considered normal to the world. He is talking about kingdom living and values. How can God change the lives of others through us if we are not first changed ourselves? If we want to see a greater move of God and we want to be a part of that move, then we must realize that the move of God begins within our own heart and being.
Jesus is making a bold statement here. He doesn’t ask if we want to be perfect, or if we think we can, He is speaking a command to us. He is speaking a living word to us. The natural mind is like Sarah in the tent when the angel tells Abraham they will have a child in their old age, it laughs in unbelief. “How is this possible?” With God all things are possible. If we want to begin seeing the possibilities of God then we have to have faith enough to take and believe Him at His Word rather than looking to see if the natural bears it out or not.
When we enter into Christ we are entering a new realm of being and living. With us still being in our natural bodies and operating in a natural world, with natural minds, we are like little birds floundering to find our wings. Baby birds aren’t born flying; it is something that they mature into because that is what they do by nature. In Christ we are of a different order and different nature of being than what we formerly were. Jesus it painting us a spiritual picture of the difference between living in the flesh and living in the Spirit, through these passages that we read here in Matthew. There are two different mindsets. Jesus is calling us to mature into our Christ nature. This is where we must have our hearts set. Yes, we will flounder and miss that mark, but our eye is set upon our destiny and our destiny is in God and kingdom living. No, we will never perfect ourselves into God’s nature, nor can we, of ourselves, be like Him. It is a God work through faith. It is a transformation that can only take place as we are in union and oneness with God and His purpose. He doesn’t violate our freewill, therefore we must daily yield up our will for His. Not my will, but His be done.
While many generations have not seen the fullness of God manifested in His saints, the Word declares that there is a season when Christ is birthed through us. The ages are growing ripe for this promise child to come forth, even as Christ came in the fullness of time. 2 Thessalonians 1:7 says, “and to you that are afflicted rest with us, at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with the angels of his power in flaming fire, rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus who shall suffer punishment, even eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might when He shall come to glorified in His saints, and to be marveled at in all them that believed (because our testimony unto you was believed in that day). To which end we pray always for you that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfil every work of faith with power; that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and ye in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
God is calling us in this hour to set aside our unbelief and worldly mentality. We are to put on the mind of Christ, living and viewing our world from a kingdom perspective. You don’t have to change yourself. As you embrace Christ in every aspect of your life and thinking, the branch will take upon it the nature of the vine and the two will share one life source and one nature. Your perfection is resting in Him and walking with Him daily in obedience and faithfulness. He is at work in you to perform His good will and pleasure as you are abiding in the vine. Our perfection is in Christ, it is not in this natural man. The perfection is manifested as we mature in the grace, the nature and the love of Christ, it is a process of His Spirit working in us and we are growing up into who we are in Christ.
August 18, 2015
In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.
The Law of Sin and Death
The state that we see Israel in, in the book of Judges is the same state that we could see a lot of us as Christians in. We have the promise and the inheritance and we have the Word of God, but we haven’t embraced our King. Just as the Israelites could be God’s chosen people by name, it didn’t mean they were His people in their heart. They became apostate, doing whatever seemed good to them, while ignoring who God had called them to be. Isn’t that the way many in the Christian world have become. They have become apostate because they live and do what is right in their own eyes and justification rather than according to the will and calling of God in Christ Jesus.
I am not writing this to bring condemnation, but to make us aware of which law we are living under in this state of mind. Before Christ, we were living under the law of sin and death. It was a law of the commandments whereby sin abounded because of the weakness of the flesh to live and keep it. Under that law we stood condemned because we were lawless and law breakers. Even in our best efforts we were not able to find reconciliation and intimate relationship with Papa because our sin stood to condemn us. Because sin would ultimately rule us, God had to send judgement to correct us and bring us back to repentance. There we would cry out under our judgement and God in His mercy would send a judge to bring us back to Himself where we would remain briefly before repeating the cycle again.
Now, we have a King and His name is Jesus. He is not only the King, but the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. In His realm of authority and dominion He has called us out of the old law of sin and death, because the crucifixion of His divine life nailed that old law of condemnation to the cross. When we come to Him in faith we must recognize that is where our old selfish sinful nature and man has been identified; with Him on that cross. We also died to that former way of doing, “whatever seemed right in our own eyes.” As He raised us up by faith into His life we come under a new law, because we have entered and become citizens and partakers of a new kingdom. The laws of this kingdom don’t operate like the former one. Here there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. “In Christ” speaks to a state of being in our spirit man that is manifested through our physical being.
We find this in Romans 8. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.” The key to living in this realm and kingdom is living by faith out of the law of the Spirit and no longer after the flesh. A line of demarcation has been drawn that you live under one law or the other, but you can’t live under both.
Jesus says you can’t serve two masters in Matthew 6:24, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Mammon is the old world order that falls under the law of sin and death.
The question then really becomes, “What law are we living under?”
Romans 8 goes on to define what it is to live in the law of the Spirit of life and what the differences are. “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
9You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
12Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
The Word doesn’t say we don’t still struggle with the inclinations toward our former sinful nature, but it has become a matter of new identity, allegiance and citizenship. If you move to the United States from a foreign country and decide to become a US citizen then you have changed your identity, allegiance and citizenship. You must renounce the old to embrace the new. If the United States is at war with your former country, who are you going to fight for and stand with? Where is your identity and allegiance? You may feel the soul ties that want to draw you back to the former feelings you had for your country and countrymen, but now you have to cut them off, because it is no longer who you are. You can no longer go between countries and have your allegiance divided or you will be considered a traitor. You can no longer live under the former laws and traditions of the old country and still be a US citizen. They don’t work in this new country. You no longer have to live under tyranny, but you can live in freedom, but freedom isn’t freedom if it brings you again under the bondage of sin. “13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. You see it is the Spirit that now indwells you that is the power in you to overcome who you used to be. As we learn to live in obedience and faithfulness to Him we are led by Him. It is living under His banner and direction that we become the sons of God.
If we are still doing whatever is right in our eyes we are missing what it is to live under the higher law. It is only under this law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus that we live and abide in the life of God and we come to experience the intimacy of relationship with Him. God has given us the choice to be sons or slaves. Where is our true identity, allegiance and citizenship, in the law of sin and death or the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus? Your identity is who you are, not what you call yourself.
August 17, 2015
And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?
The Rock in the Middle of the Road
There is a rock in the middle of the road that is often traveled on foot. Those that pass by the rock, what will they do with it? Most will ignore and walk on. Some who are not paying attention will stumble over it. Some may kick it. Some may throw it or toss it aside. How many of a multitude of people will take the time to pick up the rock, examine it, value it or keep it? Why, because it is a common rock of no particular value or significance to those who pass by. What if it were a gold nugget obscured in granite or a diamond hidden in an ordinary exterior? This is what Jesus was and that is why He was missed by so many. It wasn’t the outer beauty that attracted men to Jesus; it was what was within the man.
Jesus passed a lot of ordinary rocks as He walked down the road of His life. Rocks that people passed by all of their time and never gave a second thought too. There were harlots, tax collectors, blind men, lepers, beggars, cripples, little children, demon possessed, those who were dying or those who were dead. The list goes on and on, but the point is that Jesus took the time to pick up a lot of rocks. He didn’t just see the ordinary or common without, He saw they were precious to the Father and so they were precious to Him. He ended up giving His very life for a lot of ordinary, common and undeserving rocks.
As we travel down life’s road it is easy for us to pass a lot of rocks and never give them another thought or glance. I know I need that sensitivity to take the time to pick up some of those rocks and as I can, make their lives better in some way. I may well be treading over gold ,diamonds and precious gems unawares. Peter shared what God had spoke to him in a vision in Acts 10:28, “And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”
As you go through life today, think about that rock in the middle of the road. As God has picked you up, pick up and value those around you.