The Privilege of Honoring Him

February 22, 2016

The Privilege of Honoring Him

Ephesians 1:3-14

3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. 

11In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

How blessed and privileged we are when we comprehend that our great and awesome God has chosen you and I out of all humanity.  He gave us spiritual eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart to receive such a great and glorious salvation that He has chosen to reveal to us.  Far to often we take way too much for granted that God has honored us to know Him, comprehend and receive the great calling He has for our lives.  We treat as ordinary and common this special gift of eternal life and the great privileges and honor that go with it.  We often see our faith as despised by the world and so sometimes we feel embarrassed by it.  You have what the world will covet in the ages to come.  We don’t yet see all of the glory and honor that is ours in Christ if we hold fast to our faith.  You hold a position with the King of Kings.  You are personally known and called out by the Father.  Regardless of how you feel about it, you are exceptionally special, a priceless stone and gem of great price.  

We must not be dulled and dumbed down to the great and awesome calling we each have in Christ.  He has even given us the seal of the Holy Spirit as a guarantee that we are His.  We are a blessed people who need to be so constantly appreciative, thankful and aware of our Father who has so loved us and His Son who gave His very life for us.  We must refocus our hearts, our goals, our desire and plans to be made conformable to His divine will and purpose in us, for it is glorious beyond measure and we don’t want to miss it.  We all get caught up so much in the vanity of this world, but that is a distraction and mask concealing our true identity and purpose.  Embrace and comprehend who you are in Christ.  When the revelation of this truth fully dawns on us we are so broken and humbled by a God that could love and care so much just about us.  Let us not take for granted our salvation and the high calling that we have in Christ Jesus.  Let us present ourselves as living sacrifices wholly acceptable and pleasing to the Father; that is our destiny and calling that Christ can have a manifested expression through us.  Only we can give ourselves over to His will and purpose in us.  Let us not neglect so great a salvation and calling in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,

#kent

Advertisements

Micah 6:8
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Three Things that God Requires

We, like the children of Israel before us, often carry a mindset that says we can live and operate on one set of values in the market place or our social lives and then another set of values when we want to approach God in church or worship. How many people that consider themselves Christians think that they can appease God by having a religion, offering their tithes or offerings, performing a few rituals and then it is back to business as usual. How many seek to put on a holy face before God on Sunday only to defraud their neighbor on Monday. How many times have those who wear the name Christian been less than ethical in their dealings with others and especially with other Christians. We try to live out of two different value systems as we compartmentalize our life into business, pleasure and religion.
God is saying that if you are truly a Christian then Christianity is your business. He is not appeased by what we try to do for Him and with our token efforts to please Him. He is interested in where our heart is. He tells us that there are three things that He requires of us. The first is to act justly. A just person is one who is upright in all of their ways. They act out of justice, fairness, without prejudice and favoritism. It is basically the act making right judgements. Every day we have to make decisions of right and wrong, of what benefits just us or what can do to benefit others and what is selfish and what is unselfish. When we act and live out of the mind of Christ, allowing the Spirit of God to direct our ways then we will act justly, because of Him who is the righteous judge within us.
The second thing the Lord requires is that we love mercy. When we live in this mercy we are living out of goodness, kindness and faithfulness not only toward God, but also toward our fellow man. In our society many of us are very big on our rights and our privileges. Many will not hesitate to take you to court or sue you if they think that you have violated their rights in some manner or you are in some way responsible for some misfortune. There may be times when that is necessary, but if we had more mercy, so many times it wouldn’t be. Mercy is the act of love that is longsuffering, slow to be offended, hasty to forgive and patient in tribulation. Often we as Christians are quick to judge the world and those of the world, especially when they don’t fit within the paradigm of what we think is proper and good. The mercy of Jesus was not shown favoring the arrogance and self-righteousness of the religious near as much as it was shown toward the outcast and the sinner. ‘Jesus came not to judge the world, but that world through Him might have life.’ He was a life-giver and life-imparter. The apostle Paul reminds us of God’s mercy toward us in Ephesians 2:3-5, “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” God’s mercy working through us is to bring others into His mercy for them.
Finally, God says I require that you ‘walk humbly with your God’. Nothing can make us more humble than just reflecting upon the love and mercy of God toward us. When we walk in the fear of the Lord there will be that humility that expresses our submission and dependency upon Him. Many of us have forgotten that and with our wealth and prosperity we boast in what our hands have done. We tend to think we don’t really need God so much in our lives, at least not till things fall apart or we get into a major crisis. The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord and walking humbly with your God.
Paul sums these principles up so beautifully in Romans 12:3-21so let us conclude meditating upon this passage. “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Blessings,
#kent

Affectionately Loving One Another
Romans 12:10
[Be] kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Did you ever notice that the people that you end up neglecting and abusing the most are usually the ones you say that you love the most? They are most often your family, close friends, or even your brothers and sisters in Christ. The ironic thing is that we often give preference to the ones or the things that are putting the more demands and abuses on our lives, but in the scheme of things are less in importance. Somehow we just expect those we love and prefer to understand when we put them last on our agenda or speak or treat them harshly. Perhaps many of you, like myself, find your lives out of balance with your priorities and preferences. In a society in which we find ourselves running like crazy in a thousand different directions, with people and pressures pressing in on us on every side, when something has to give it is usually our family. That can apply to both our immediate families as well as the family of God. Isn’t it strange that we are doing all of these things that in our minds we consider for the benefit of our families and yet they are often suffering as a result of them? What’s wrong that picture?
I speak this first for my own benefit and then for the benefit of anyone else who thinks it may apply to them. I find I get an agenda set in my mind and I’m not real tolerant of interruptions to that agenda. Some of you, like myself, may find that you have created walls of hurt and wounded the ones closest to you. You have communicated to them so many times through your actions and words that they aren’t as important or as valuable as so many other things in your life. My feeling is that this is a major problem with a good many of our families and relationships. We all need to get our priorities in order. God and his people are often at the forefront of our offense list. It is not usually something we do intentionally and often quite subtly these neglects and abuses creep in to undermine our most precious relationships and destroy one of the most valuable commodities we possess, our families, friends and brethren. We often put up our pretty fronts around others, but the loved ones so often see a whole different face and attitude.
Those closest to us rub us the hardest. We would most like to blame them for being the problem with us, but in reality if we didn’t already have a problem then a lot of what they did wouldn’t irritate us so. Like the old saying goes, “You can’t get a person’s goat unless they have a goat to be got.”
The unconditional love of God prefers the other above themselves. It displays that preference by being affectionate. The connotation of our theme verse is to be tenderly reciprocating love and caring in a relational way as with a parent and child or husband and wife. It is preferring the other above yourself. Please join with me in making it our goal to set the priorities of our relationships and commitments straight. Let our God be at the forefront of all that we do, then our family, our relationships with each other, then those outside and then us. Let’s make it our first priority to invest in the eternal things and then the temporal.

Blessings,
kent

Life Principle

February 13, 2013

Matthew 7:12
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Life Principle

The base nature of man is selfishness and self-centeredness. Life starts out being all about me; my wants, my needs, my hunger, my well being, my dry diaper. A lot of people grow up without deviating much from that principle of “what about me”. As we grow up and mature, even natural law teaches that as I become responsible for a spouse and family, it isn’t as much about me anymore, in normal development it becomes more about them.
Jesus gives us life principles in His Word, that if we follow them, we can live a fuller richer life than our natural ways would or could ever provide for us. Our natural man is prone to live after the flesh in what gratifies and satisfies our natural needs and wants, but Jesus comes along and awakens in us the reality of our spiritual man that has been pretty much lying dormant. He makes us aware through His Word and Holy Spirit that life isn’t just about living to our own gain and dying. It isn’t about the person that dies with the most toys wins.
What do they win, an award for being the most selfish, greedy, self serving, covetous, and immoral? That is a hedonistic and totally selfish philosophy.
Jesus taught us two primary life principles that everything else operates out of and both of them are based in love. Matthew 12:28-33 gives these principles, “One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”29Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD;30AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’31“The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”32The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that HE IS ONE, AND THERE IS NO ONE ELSE BESIDES HIM;33AND TO LOVE HIM WITH ALL THE HEART AND WITH ALL THE UNDERSTANDING AND WITH ALL THE STRENGTH, AND TO LOVE ONE’S NEIGHBOR AS HIMSELF, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.””
The life principle we should come to grasp is that God is Love and the light of the spirit is love. When our spirits comprehend that love then our bodies, souls and lives should become the expression of what our spirit has attained. We should come to grasp that it is only as we live out of love that we are transported into Love which God is. Love is the transport system that brings us into God’s presence and will. It first starts vertically with us and Him. As that relationship and communication is established then what fills our spirit should be spilling into our soul which is our mind, will and emotions. As that is filled then it should be transmitted horizontally through our lives into others. As we maintain that place of fellowship, intimacy and relationship with Father, then what and who He is begins spilling out of us into others.
We come to understand that selfishness and self-centeredness, only kept us from being the full expression of who we were meant to be, the expression of God’s love which is the essence of Him.
We come to understand that in the blessing of others we are blessed. The principle has a reciprocal effect upon our lives. In our giving and extending to others, it gives back to us. Even if it is not always seen, Jesus says we are storing up for ourselves riches in heaven where thieves can’t break in and steal, and where moth or rust cannot destroy. Our being spent for others is our investment in heaven. Everything that we gain in this life quickly perishes as does as our mortal man, but the higher purpose is to live to impart God’s love into others through our extravagant giving and generosity. That doesn’t just speak to material things, but our time, out attention, our grace and forgiveness, our willingness to see past the faults in others, as Jesus saw past ours, to meet our need, even as we endeavor to meet the needs of others. Loving God and loving others is the gateway of kingdom living and being. As believers in Christ, our physical beings, should simply be God deposits in the earth, conduits and transmission lines through which He can bring His power and love into the earth and all of mankind. It is the key principle of true life.

Blessings,
kent

%d bloggers like this: