Faithfulness

August 29, 2013

Faithfulness

1 Corinthians 4:1-5
1So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. 2Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 3I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

When we received Christ as our savior and embraced the cross, we embraced and committed ourselves to a trust. Through our faith in Christ we promised to be faithful. Even as couples, at the altar of marriage, enter into a covenant with one another, part of that covenant is the commitment to faithfulness and fidelity. Likewise we are in covenant with Christ and one of the primary attributes God desires in His people is faithfulness, unswerving, unconditional and continued commitment to their faith. God is looking for faithful servants that He can commit His kingdom, his power and authority unto. If they do not prove faithful they will abuse, misuse or fail to use what He would entrust to their care. Each one of us in Christ has been given the Holy Spirit. The Word teaches us that He gives us gifts and callings and talents. We may not see ourselves as being anything or having anything, but God has placed something unique and special within each one of us. He wants us to be faithful in whatever it is that He has given to us. Some of us are still learning and searching out what our unique talents and giftings are. They have a way of coming to the surface if you will look for them, because they are all resident in you, because Christ is in you. God is not asking all of us to be a great missionary, evangelist, preacher or teacher. It is not the prominence of what we do; it is the faithfulness that God is looking upon and that we will give account for. It is faithfulness that causes the body of Christ to function and operate in a healthy manner. What is unhealthy is when someone tries to make us be or we try to be something that God didn’t intend that we were. We can get out of God’s placement and we will most likely experience a great deal of frustration and failure if we are. We don’t always get man’s approval or even the approval of our brethren for what God has called us too, but it is important that we please God and not men. Often we can look at others and make judgements about them and their place with God that we have no business making. We can even misjudge ourselves. God is the final judge and before Him we stand justified or condemned. Far too often we try and judge a fruit before it is ripe. God is working in and processing each one of us to be what He has created us to be. Our job and responsibility is to remain faithful to Him through the process.
Faithfulness is often a submission to others who are in authority and even submission as an act of love. There will be times you may be far more qualified than one who is over you and you may find that to be source of trial and irritation, but remember ‘humility is strength under control’. Faithfulness is lifting others up and not putting them down.
A faithful man is a reliable man. One story of faithfulness that impresses me in the Old Testament is the story about Uriah the Hittite. He was the husband of Bathsheba whom David became involved with and impregnated. David, in his effort to cover up his sin brings Uriah back from the battle so that he can get him to have relations again with his wife and then the child can be attributed to him. Uriah, the Hittite is actually named among David’s mighty men, which were like the elite force of David made up of thirty some men. Uriah wasn’t the most prominent of men, but there is an attribute we begin to see in Uriah that we could aspire to be like. He was faithful to David to a fault. Normally this would be a very desirable quality in a soldier, but unfortunately faithfulness was not quite the attribute David was hoping for when he brought Uriah home to his wife. Uriah was more committed to David than he was to his own wife and because of his faithfulness to David and his men he wouldn’t allow himself to even sleep with his wife. He viewed that as a betrayal of his trust while he was still committed to the battle and the other men had to abstain and be separated from their wives. Uriah was such a faithful man that David ended up ordering him into a suicide mission that would take him out of the picture. One cannot help but admire the dedication that Uriah had to David. That is the kind of faithfulness we want to have toward Christ.
So many of us are morally and spiritually loose in our faith. We are tossed to and fro. We are double-minded, trying to be spiritual and yet operating so much out of the flesh. That is not to condemn us; it is to draw attention and awareness to the state of our own faithfulness. How trustworthy and faithful are we to the Lord’s work and the mission we have to live for Him?
The one thing I think we all want to hear when we get to heaven is the Lord saying, “Well done thou good and faithful servant; enter ye into the joy of the Lord.” Are we His faithful servants? Are we responding, as we ought to the high calling of faithfulness that the Lord has placed upon each one of us? It is not for others to judge, but one day God will judge it and what will He find in us?

Blessings,
kent

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Faithfulness in Marriage

August 21, 2013

Faithfulness in Marriage

Malachai 2:14-16
You cry out, “Why has the LORD abandoned us?” I’ll tell you why! Because the LORD witnessed the vows you and your wife made to each other on your wedding day when you were young. But you have been disloyal to her, though she remained your faithful companion, the wife of your marriage vows.
Didn’t the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard yourself; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “It is as cruel as putting on a victim’s bloodstained coat,” says the LORD Almighty. “So guard yourself; always remain loyal to your wife.”
Our hearts are not different than those that have gone before us. They are still deceitfully wicked and perverse. Unless guarded and kept under the Lordship of Christ and led by the Spirit they will lead us in the ways contrary to His will. We live in a day when the divorce rate is somewhere around fifty percent. One out of two marriages end in divorce. What is even more sad is that it isn’t a whole lot better even among the Christian community. What is this telling us about the condition of our hearts? In Matthew 19:8 Jesus says, “He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.”
From today’s passage we can readily see that this isn’t the will of God and what His attitude about divorce is. The enemy is doing a masterful job of destroying our homes, families and marriages. The moral fabric of our society is deteriorating before our very eyes, as we become more complacent and accepting of it. So many of us end up playing right into this destruction and we wonder why God isn’t blessing us and answering our prayers. Could it be that we have become too self-centered rather than God centered? Probably the only ones who will continue reading this if it is an issue in their lives are those who really care more about God’s will than their own. None of us like to be confronted with our sins. We, like the world, want to run from the light. The difference is that we are children of the light and if we are really Christ’s then our spirit won’t let us run away even when we are in error. We have a conviction to return to what is right and repent of what is wrong.
Our biggest temptation today is self-isolation. We become too absorbed in what we want to do, what is important to us and what meets our needs and wants. As a result we isolate ourselves from the demands and needs of those around us, especially our spouses. Life begins to slowly and subtly take us in different directions and begins to place a wedge in our relationships. I can be perfectly content going my own way and doing my own thing, but when I got married and committed to that woman my life, love and loyalty, I gave up being just about myself. It is the two of us that make up one person and while we are individuals with differences we are one flesh both of us living for the good and well being of the other and not just ourselves. I know how oblivious I can become to the needs of my wife because I get so caught up in what I need to do and what is important to me. I have to remember that my top priority next to God is my wife. When I forget that I begin to unwittingly open myself up to a breakdown in our relationship. Just as I must cultivate and spend quality time in my relationship with the Lord, I can do no less with my spouse.
What I am learning is that our spiritual relationship is directly related to our natural relationship with our spouse. When there is disharmony and dissension in the natural, it hinders the spiritual dimension of our relationship with the Lord. As 1 Peter 3:7 says, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” We have to remember that we are not in this by ourselves, we are together in union with Christ. We need that unity to maintain right relationship spiritually. This is another reason we as husbands and wives must commit to keeping our hearts in an attitude of submission before the Lord and to one another, willing to pray together and share our hearts together without fear of reprisals. We will all have our difficult times, but if our hearts and attitudes remain right we can resolve them.
If we are finding ourselves in the place in our lives where the storms of divorce are brewing, start by submitting your hearts to the Lord and His will. It is only in being right with Him that we can be right with each other. Love has to be the conquering force to all obstacles and we know that His love is greater than ourselves. Let His love reign in your hearts and relationships always and let us submit ourselves to one another in the spirit of that love.

Blessings,
kent

Marriage Defiled

August 2, 2013

Marriage Defiled

Hebrews 13:4
Marriage [is] honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

We have touched on this subject before, but this is what that Holy Spirit seems to be impressing upon my heart today. Not unlike times past our society and the moral fabric that holds it together is being compromised. We stand upon the precipice of ruin because so much of our society has lost the value and the sanctity of marriage. Over and over again when we watch a movies or TV or read a magazine the acceptance of a homosexual agenda is being presented as an acceptable lifestyle and alternative to marriage between one man and one woman. Now it is being pressed upon our society through the acceptance and legalization of same sex marriages.
Since the early 60’s the acceptance of cohabitation between unmarried couples has gained greater and greater acceptance, even now this comprises a great many of our households today. Then there are the many households where the lack of commitment has left children without fathers and many times with little or no support except from the government. Likewise, it is rare we watch movies, television and soap operas that fornication and adultery aren’t prevalent scenes and themes. What has all of this done to us as a society but make us hardened and callused to the fact that this is sin and an abomination to the heart of God? We have placed ourselves as a society and as individuals into a place of judgement because we have ignored and blatantly disobeyed God’s Word. If that isn’t bad enough we kill our unborn that result from much of this lifestyle. When we have not done these things literally we have entertained them and engaged them with our minds through impurity and pornography and vain imaginations. We have become a diseased society; infected with immorality and sin to such an extent that our hearts have become hardened and insensitive to the affects of the decay it is having on our families, our society and nation as a whole. There are hardly any of us that can say we haven’t been personally affected by this sin in our society, because it is touching each one of us either directly or indirectly. We have to come to the place and do all that we can to bring our society to the place where we really reverence the sanctity of marriage, the home and the family. God has been infinitely longsuffering and gracious towards us, but we must realize what a stench our sin is to His nostrils and He will not withhold his judgement indefinitely. By our own hand our nation will fall into perversion and ruin.
We have to again begin to really value and reinforce the importance of the institution of marriage between one man and one woman as God ordained it from the beginning. We have to reinforce the value of commitment and covenant in this relationship to where divorce isn’t found in one out of every two marriages. We have to again lay hold of the revelation of what it means to be one flesh with the man or woman we enter into covenant with, for better of for worse.
God doesn’t hate us because we have engaged in homosexuality, fornication, adultery or numerous other perversions and sexual sins, but He hates the sin. We have made ourselves His enemies in as much as we have engaged in it. If we are unwilling to repent, turn away from it and ask the blood of Jesus to cleanse us from these sins, then we will be judged in them. The Word says that the people who engage in such things have no part in the Kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9 says, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,” God puts His finger on it and tells us how it is going to be. We, as the people of God, must first purify our own hearts and get free from the strongholds and struggles we face in these areas. How can we help others until we have addressed our own issues? To our shame we have embraced many of the world’s values in regards to sexual purity and the institution of marriage. Marriage is the only acceptable area we can enjoy and share our sexuality in God’s eyes. He has given us this precious gift for a reason, but we have grossly perverted it and exploited it. We have to continually bring our hearts before Him and allow the Holy Spirit to examine us and show us our sin and folly, so that we can repent and return to a pure and right state in our minds and our hearts. We have to bear the torch and the standard of purity before our society. As long as we are in a state of hypocrisy and compromise we only reinforce this state of sin.
“God help us to purify our hearts and turn from our wicked ways so that we can be a light of righteousness to all around us. May they see the standard and the law of God written upon the tablets of our hearts through lives that glorify and honor you in word and deed. Help us to hold to the sanctity of marriage in our own lives and continue to keep covenant with the husband or wife of our youth through the power of the love you are working in our hearts. Amen”

Blessings,
kent

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