Monday, September 30, 2013

Just Loved

This past weekend I attended a Women of Faith conference for the very first time. The theme was Believe God Can Do Anything. The speakers were excellent, the worship was phenomenal, and the camaraderie of 7000+ women together in one place at one time was absolutely amazing. Sometimes we just need to get away from what we are most familiar with and most comfortable in, and try something new. I would have missed a tremendous blessing had I not decided to take a chance on something I’d never experienced with people I didn’t know.

For Bible-believing, born-again Jesus followers, we shouldn’t have a problem coming together in worship. Our methods may be different, but Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore. You may not want to belong to the same church that I do, but we should be able to reach across these denominational, racial, cultural, and socio-economic lines to embrace one another in the presence of the One True God. In some “church circles”, we have dug the ditches so deep around us that no one feels welcome to come inside, and no one is free to venture outside.

Jesus Christ exists outside of our various circles. He isn’t confined to any of the boundaries that we’ve established between ourselves. All who call on the name of the LORD will be saved (Romans 10:13). The shackles that we have placed on people in the name of religion have got to come off. Jesus set all these people free, and we come right behind Him and bind them back up with traditions and rules. We have run so many people away from the church because we aren’t BEING the church.

Week in and week out we come to these buildings to learn (hopefully) more of God’s Word, more of the Truth. When will we actually apply that knowledge to our operations? When will Jesus Christ be enough? He is the TRUTH, and the TRUTH will make you free (John 8:32). There is no magic formula to get life right. There is no checklist to perfection. Once we recognize that grace is given, not earned, we will have better perspective of who we are in Jesus Christ – LOVED.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Jesus Paid It All

Jesus paid it all;
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain;
He washed it white as snow.

There is nothing I can do to earn salvation.  There is no To-Do list that I can check off to obtain grace.  Jesus Christ did everything thousands of years ago that needed to be done for my redemption.  My responsibility is to accept that gift and enter into a grateful relationship with my Creator through my Savior.  BUT... it doesn't stop there.
All to Him I owe.  I have an obligation to do more than just accept Jesus Christ as my Savior.  I owe Him everything I have: life, health, hope, joy, peace, contentment.  Without Him, I have no being.  Without Him, I am nothing.  I owe it to Him to take His yoke upon me and learn of Him.  The least I can do is study His life - His walk, His talk, His obedience to God the Father, His unwavering faith that God's Will would be done.
He will never need us to justify His sacrifice, but the least we can do is acknowledge what He's done for us and do our very best to please Him.  Although salvation is free, there is a cost.  If we want to reign with Him, we have to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him.  We have to be willing to give up everything for the cause of Christ.  He already paid it all, and we can't repay Him, but shouldn't we at least live for Him?

Monday, September 16, 2013

At the End of Yourself

Psalm 61:1-2 (KJV) Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Sometimes you just get tired – tired of getting up in the morning, tired of going to work, tired of the general hustle and bustle of life.  What do you do?  Well, when you are at the end of you is when you can find God’s strength.  It’s in those times we are weak, worn out, and used up that we really see and feel God move.
When there is absolutely no doubt in our minds whatsoever that only God can do it, He shows us great and mighty things.  Once we are broken, He can use the pieces to form a better picture than we ever could on our own.  It is in our desperate seeking of His glory, power, strength, and peace, that we find our proper place in His will.  There is no safer place than that.
Life can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be consuming.  Cry out for the rock that is higher than yourself.  Recognize that you have limits, but you serve a limitless God.  Exercise that measure of faith that God has given you to fulfill your God-given purpose.  Even when your heart is overwhelmed, your life can still be abundant in Jesus Christ.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Everything God Does is Perfect

Deuteronomy 32:4 (NASB)

The Rock! His work is perfect,
For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
Righteous and upright is He.
His work is perfect. Just think about that for a moment. Everything God does is perfect.  Some things that we face in this life are not a result of decisions we’ve made, and it’s when those random happenings befall us that we begin to question God.  Everything God does is perfect.  Keep meditating on that.
He is a God of faithfulness and without injustice.  He is righteous and upright.  He is not punishing you.  He is growing your faith in Him.  He is making you trust only Him and rely only on Him.  The company downsizes, and you end up on the unemployment line.  Everything God does is perfect.  The doctor gives you devastating news about your health.  Everything God does is perfect.  A tragic accident takes the life of your loved one.  Everything God does is perfect.
It may not always be easy, but everything God does is perfect.  You may not ever know why something happened specifically, but know that God is working all things for your good.  There is an old hymn that states that we will understand it better by and by.  By and by may not be on this side of glory, but you need to recognize that everything God does is perfect. Are you still meditating on that sentence?  Everything God does is perfect.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

No Surprises

Jeremiah 1:5 (NASB) “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
God is more than amazing.  He knew before the day of your birth everything that would transpire in your life.  He knew when, where, what, how, and who would be involved in every circumstance and situation you would ever face.  Omniscient is an understatement to His infinite knowledge.  We just don’t have sufficient verbiage to describe God’s splendor and majesty.
But we can take comfort in knowing that before even our first breath, He had a purpose for us to fulfill upon this earth.  Nothing happens in our lives that can alter the purpose that He established for us before the beginning of time.  When we understand just how much control we really don’t have, we can truly begin to exercise our faith in God.  His sovereignty is beyond our realm of comprehension.
Although we cannot fully understand, we can trust.  Once we trust God with our past, present, and future, we can operate in the undeniable peace that God is working all things together for our good.  When we live for His glory alone, our contentment cannot be shaken because we know that HE KNOWS everything concerning us.  Nothing could ever possibly catch Him by surprise: no illness, no job loss, no financial devastation, no addiction, no________ (fill in the blank with whatever you are facing today).  He consecrated you before your birth, and He appointed you to a specific purpose.