Friday, August 8, 2014

You Are a Walking Advertisement

1Timothy 4:12
12Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
Let me just share with you tonight that my plan was to work on something else but when God said I had to write the enemy REALLY did not want you to receive this message. The attempt was to lock me out of my email. So you know this will be "life changing" for someone.  The day that God had me send out the message "The Blind Will Fall" I had several living examples in front me through out the day of people who fell away from the church because the conduct of those in church did not reflect what they were teaching and who they professed to be. This is a VERY serious subject. This week I met a woman who was so damaged by someone's conduct in church that I just wanted to hug her and cry. It hurt my heart so bad. This is not a test of the emergency broadcast system. This is real. 
The apostle Paul addressed Timothy who was his son in the ministry. Paul reminded young Timothy that being an elder came with responsibility. That responsibility included every aspect as Paul detailed in the scripture above. But as men and women who claim to carry the name of Christ and heritage of being God's children, whether teacher or not, whether elder or not, we are all called "to be an example in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity." Yes, everyone is a work in progress but your conduct as a follower of Christ or the lack there of, can directly hinder someone's walk in Christ especially if they are babes in Christ. Someone who has been hurt by the conduct of those who claim to be followers of Christ and carry the name can walk away and never return. They can easily be so hurt that they refuse to grow in Christ. It's heartbreaking to see trust me. But if you have ever experienced the hurt then just think if you were a babe in Christ. Would you want to follow Christ? This is real talk. Put yourself in the shoes of others and examine your conduct. Ask yourself the following questions: Would God be pleased with my conduct? Does my conduct reflect that which Christ calls me to live? Is my conduct hindering my walk and growth in Christ? Is my conduct potentially damaging to anyone else in the body of Christ? Would someone in the world want to know and follow Christ based on what I am doing and saying? Am I displaying the love of Christ? Am I walking in faith? This is not from a place of condemnation but a place of true inward reflection. If you look at it from a business perspective, you are the brand of Christ. You are a walking commercial/promotion/advertisement for the body of Christ whether you believe it or not. The minute you say you believe in God, are a Christian, recognize Christ as your Savior, a follower of Christ then you are automatically in the spotlight. No your assignment is not about pleasing man but Proverbs says that you may have favor with God and man. The word also says that your enemies will be at peace with you. How can you lead anyone else to Christ if you are unwilling to follow Christ? Even if you are not trying, remember, when Christ was on trial, everyone around noticed those who were seen with Christ. If you've been seen or associated with Christ in any way, you too are being noticed. You are part of "The Great Commission." Let your spirit and conduct be what others notice and let the love of God rest and abide in you that it draws others to Christ.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Life Changing

Luke 5:11
11So when they had brought there boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.
Jesus had just demonstrated the miracle of casting the net and catching fish after a night of the fishermen failing to catch at all. It was a life changing moment for Peter and the sons of Zebedee that made them want to leave their old lives behind and follow Jesus. I don't know what your life changing moment was but Jesus has done many miracles in my life and at each great encounter with Jesus, I left more of my old life behind. It's like a growth spurt. The growth spurts have been so dramatic over they years that for some people, it's hard for them to believe who I once was unless they actually knew me then. This weekend I watched the film, Son of God  and I cried so much my eyes were slightly swollen the next morning. Though the film is not 100% aligned with all that happened during Jesus' earthly ministry, it was enough as long as you knew the Word of God for yourself. There was a point where Jesus had knelt down to comfort the woman who was caught in sin and about to be stoned. When He said to her, "Go and sin no more," I cried, as I did with much of the film. At the point that Jesus forgives you for things you know the world wouldn't, the understanding is that you leave that part of your life behind. You leave who you were then, and let the mercy and loving kindness of Jesus stay with you so much so that you don't want to go back to who you were. Looking back, I don't miss who I was. But I love who I am now because I know it was not by my own might but by the Power of God and the Love of Jesus that I have come this far. I ask through tears of gratefulness this morning, has Jesus demonstrated who He is to you to the point that you are ready to leave your old ways behind? Has He made such a life changing impact like He did with the disciples that you are willing to walk away from what you know?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

You Are Beautiful

Psalm 139:14
14I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.
King David wrote Psalm 139. Under the NKJV Study Bible the translation focuses on two major themes. One, that you and I cannot escape the presence of God, which is true. He is Omnipresent which mean He is everywhere at once. He is Jehovah Roi, the God who sees so there is no where you can go that God cannot see you. Second, "God had his eye on us before you and I were born." How is that possible? The assistant pastor at my church gave the example this way, "God said I have need of _____, and then you were formed." Jeremiah 1:5 says that God knew you before He formed you in the womb. How did God create the world? He spoke it. For each thing placed in the earth, God spoke it which means it was first a thought of His. You were a thought of His that was spoken. That's deep! You were on His mind. So how could He not love you? More than a year ago, my pastor told all of us to walk in front of a mirror each day and utter Psalm 139:14. I challenge you to know that you are beautiful to God because He thought of you enough to create you. No, He does not like your sin but that does not mean that He doesn't love you. Jesus knew the faults of every disciple that followed Him but He knew who they would become with His teachings and guidance. Who would sacrifice an innocent beloved, Jesus, to win your heart? And who would willing allow themselves to be sacrificed? That's love. David Altenor says in his song, "You are beautiful because you are God's creation." This isn't just for women but for every man and woman who has ever lived.  You are beautiful and loved because as Psalm 139:15 says, you were skillfully wrought.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

John 8:44
44You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand for truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
Why would Jesus say this to the Pharisees? The Pharisees said they were descendants of Abraham and that they were not born of fornication but of one father, God. The first time the Pharisees said they were descendants of Abraham, Jesus knew they were physically descendants of Abraham but they sought to kill Him because His word had no place in them. When they still didn't get it, He elaborated further. The desire to want to terminate someone's life for speaking the truth or desiring that someone would die does not fit with loving thy neighbor as thyself nor the commandment of "thou shalt not kill." The desire to plot to kill someone does not fit with what the Pharisees preached which was indeed to follow the commandments. Like the devil, the Pharisees spoke from their own resources and claimed to be the power source of their people based on their behavior. They were angry because Jesus took away their popularity and usurped their power. But if they were children of God, they would know that ALL power belongs to God. Satan or Lucifer was once the chief angel in heaven and lost his place in heaven because he wanted to be worshipped like God. As a matter of fact, he wanted to be God. And the devil is still angry because he lost his inheritance in heaven. Does not the behavior of the Pharisees match with what the devil desires? The NKJV Study Bible translates the verse as such, "They claimed God as their Father. Jesus, however, told them that they were indeed Abraham's descendants and physical progeny, But in spirit, their father was not God, but the devil.  Their behavior confirmed their parentage." Every person created in the earth was made of the image of God, therefore the physical progeny but in spirit, they choose their parentage. So no matter who a person says they are, observe their fruit as Jesus said. Observe the behavior. Actions speak louder than words.