Do You Want to Receive a Rich Welcome into the Eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?

July 28, 2015

Hebrews 9:27 tells us “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,Matthew 16:27 says that “For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.” Save those alive at Jesus’ return, the dead, according to scripture, will face the consequences of the choice to follow Jesus as Lord and Savior or not.

Anyone with the slightest of belief in Jehovah, the Almighty God, expresses his desire to go to heaven at the end of his life. When asked Do You Want to Receive a Rich Welcome into the Eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? There is an emphatic “Yes!” to that question from most people regardless of how committed to their faith they are. Most of us desire what’s best, but a few people are willing to sacrifice and pursue it. Matthew captured that Jesus said, ““Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” John tells us that “The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.

Are you listening to the voice of The Lord God? Do You Want to Receive a Rich Welcome into the Eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? In 2 Peter 1, He gives us the answer to that question. Listen to the Word of The Lord.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Without trying to cover too much text, Peter was giving encouragement and direction to the followers of Christ on how to ensure that they Receive a Rich Welcome into the Eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are called to give effort to live in the manner outlined by God. Starting in verse five, we see a series of attributes we are called to pursue and make ours. We are called to add to our faith, which we get from God, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perserverance, godliness, mutual affection (brotherly kindness), and love. In other words, we must seek to make those attributes true in our lives. We must apply the Word of God in our lives.

When Peter tells us to confirm or make our calling and election sure, he is not indicating that we could lose our place in Christ but rather we should ensure that we are of God by pursuing the attributes of God to make ours. How can we be sure that God called us, and that we are His elect? By doing these things spoken of in 2 Peter 1:5-7 (faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love). The reward first in this world is the ability to never stumble. Being aware of where pitfalls and obstacles enables one to avoid stumbling or falling. Beyond this world, the reward is a rich welcome in the the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Not just a welcome, but a rich welcome. Peter is reminding us that we can enter heaven in two ways: gloriously, or as through fire. 

Let me help you remember what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 310 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

If you will enter heaven, you have two possible entrances. Do You Want to Receive a Rich Welcome into the Eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? If so, Peter is clear on how you should proceed. “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.

Will your entrance into heaven be rich or will you enter it, poorly with nothing to bare to God other than yourself? There is nothing we can take into heaven other than a refined character that matches Christ and the credit from God of souls won for Christ. Which will it be for you?

How to Span the G.A.P.P.s in Your Life

July 25, 2015

Let’s face it, we are never satisfied with our lives. We have an insatiable desire for more despite having enough. I will admit that there are times in our lives when deficits exits, but here in America, most of us have no idea what it means to be in dire straits. I have bemoaned the fact that I have bought my clothes since I was 12 years old. While seemingly tough, I knew I had a place to live and food to eat. It was not by far what I wanted to eat, but I ate. If I did not eat, I knew I would eat in the next day or so. We all have G.A.P.P.s in our lives where we don’t have what we want and even need more sparingly though.

Today, I want to share the secret to answer the question of How to Span the G.A.P.P.s in Your Life. Traditionally, a gap is a difference or disparity in attitudes, perceptions, character, or development, or a lack of confidence or understanding, perceived as creating a problem: the technology gap; a communications gap. or as in a deep, sloping ravine or cleft through a mountain ridge. Generally speaking, we know it as a space where something is not continuous or connected. Now, we have a lot of gaps in our lives that need to be filled. There are relational, spiritual, financial, medical and all sorts of gaps in our lives, but what is a G.A.P.P. and what is its impact on your life?

Let’s turn to the Word of God to answer the question of How to Span the G.A.P.P.s in Your Life. 2 Peter 1

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

G.A.P.P., as you can tell by its spelling, is an acronym. Its meaning can be pulled straight from the verses above. G is for great. A is for and. P is for precious, and the last P is for promises. The way that God has provided for us to span the disparities in our lives is through His promises. By use of an adjectives, the text further defines what God has provided us to make it in this world. First, God tells us through Peter that His promises are not just great, but very great. It is at a minimum double. We know that our definition of great pales in comparison to what God says is great needless to say very great. Our ways and thoughts are not tantamount to His. I am sure His great surpasses our understanding of great. Nevertheless, God says that His promises are very great. Precious conveys something beloved and/or of high value. God’s promise are not the keys to turn God’s favor to us. By being a follower of Jesus, we are already favored because God chose us. God’s promises, as the verse explains, are provided to us “so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

What does it mean to participate in the divine nature? Contrary to what some say today, we do not become a mini god. This refers to us being conformed to the likeness of Christ. Listen to these verses that convey that:

Romans 8:29 – 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

1 Corinthians 15:49 – 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.

2 Corinthians 3:18 – 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Philippians 3:21 – 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

1 John 3:2 – Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

We should have a different perspective about the promises of God. While they are provided to Span the G.A.P.P.s in Your Life, the primary purpose of God’s promises are to serve as a vehicle to make us like Jesus. When we pray from God’s purpose and perspective, God joyfully answers our prayers.

How to Span the G.A.P.P.s in Your Life? Pray God’s promises from the perspective of being like Christ.

What is the Root of Your Faith?

July 21, 2015

Unfortunately, I spent a little time on facebook this morning. Then the Spirit said, “It’s time to invest in what really matters.” I began reading 2 Peter 1. While I have sent this and believe this, I could not get past the first verse. I was struck by the authenticity of what Peter said. It reminded me of what my cousin had posted on facebook about a magician. He said, “This guy can play some serious head games. Just crazy.” When we really think about who Jesus is it may sound crazy and not seem real to you, but I, along with Peter, am here to tell you that Jesus is real.

Peter provides some qualifications to his claims about Jesus. He says, well, let me quote Peter first.

2 Peter 1
Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Peter first identifies himself to the readers of his letter. Not just any Peter, but Simon Peter. Remember what he declared to them in the first letter. He said, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces…” A servant or bondservant is one who willingly follows the instruction of his master despite any cost to him. He consistently identified himself as an apostle. An apostle was one divinely appointed by God to evangelize, establish and equip others to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Peter is reminding the readers and us of his credentials in that statement as well as further (16-18) in the text. He wanted them to know that he was an authentic follower and announcer of the truth about Jesus Christ. He wanted to establish that, so the people there would understand first that Jesus is both God and Savior. Peter declared and affirmed Jesus’ deity. Peter just called Jesus God. He also called Him Savior. Peter realized that Jesus was both. He shared that so those believers and the others to come would be convinced. Not from someone who read or heard but as one who saw with his own eyes. Who better to proclaim it than the one who denied knowing Him and was reinstated by Christ. The claim, albeit crazy to the Pharisees, was true Peter declared.

Some of you may have a hard time believing in the duality of Jesus’ incarnation. He was both man and God yet perfect. I pray that you are given the understanding. I pray that you are given the faith to believe Jesus was who He said He is. He is who Peter said He is, who I am saying He is. While I did not personally walk with Jesus in the flesh nor have I every laid eyes on Him as Peter did, but I can attest to that I have become righteous through Jesus. It is a righteousness through faith in Christ. If you know me, then you know I am not righteous in and of myself but only by His blood and declaration.

Peter was telling them that there faith was not any less than His. I am telling you that you have an opportunity for that saving faith too. Trust in Jesus as God and Savior and you too will be consider righteous in the eyes of God.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

July 20, 2015

Disclaimer: I am not an expert in Hebrew. In fact, I hardly know anything about the language or its alphabet, but we all need to in order to give us more depth to understanding the Word of God. When we understand the original author’s words, we gain insight into understanding the text. As you know, the Old Testament is written in Hebrew. It impetus for this foray in Hebrew is Psalm 34:18 – “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.“. As I was thinking about someone that I know are hurting, this verse came up. I wanted to know more about “those crushed in spirit”, so I began searching.

It has been accepted the Psalm 34 is an acrostic using the Hebrew alphabet. As such, verse 18 represents the 18th letter of the Hebrew alphabet which is Tsade1Tsade.

“The eighteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is called “Tsade” (pronounced “tsah-dee”) and has the sound of “ts” as in “nuts.” The letter itself is formed from a bent Nun and a Vav.  The Nun represents a humble and faithful servant (the crowned Vav) that is bent in submission. The Yod represents a hand lifted to heaven, or the Spirit of God. The tzaddik – the righteous person — is therefore revealed in the letter form as a faithful servant with his arms raised before the LORD in humility. The bent form of Tsade represents righteous humility, but also is a picture of the suffering Tzaddik, which is also a picture of the LORD Yeshua (as Kiddushin 406 states, “suffering atones for sins”).” (source)

I am not sure if that did you are me any good at this point, but what I surmised is that the notion of humility has something to do with what should be written in association with the 18th letter of the alphabet in this acrostic poem. When we look at the verse, that is exactly what is there.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

The verse talks about two main characters – The Lord, that is God, and those of mankind who are crushed in spirit or have a contrite spirit. Strong’s says crushed (literally powder, or figuratively, contrite). When one’s spirit is crushed, his spirit does not loom large. His spirit has nothing left to contend. Contrite conveys one whose spirit is filled with a sense of guilt and the desire for atonement; penitent.

The verse then tells us that God is close to those whose hearts, feelings/emotions, are broken. They are hurting emotionally about something. God is close to them. He is near. God can be near us, but that does not unlock His involvement in our lives. Then what does. Ultimately, God’s response is dependent on those who are crushed or contrite in spirit. It is the one who repentant and desires for God to rescue him/her.  While we may not have done anything wrong when a loved one dies, or when one has a grave illness, or when one loses a job or even in a relationship gone awry, the verse communicates that we want God to make us whole. When we acknowledge our need for Him, the verse tells us that God saves.

Do you want to be saved? Humble yourself before God, and He will do the rest.

God will Perfect, Establish, Strengthen, and Settle You

July 18, 2015

I often dream of having millions of dollars to help address a number of the world’s ills as well as to help those institutions and organizations who currently meet those needs. For example, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston saved my son’s life when he was born. I have longed to be able to present them with a huge check that could never equate to what they gave my wife and me. In dealing with students that are homeless, I have provided funds for some of their needs, but I always wanted more money to create locations around metro Atlanta that provide temporary and transitional housing for those families, especially ones with children. I have a number of friends with their own business in a wide variety of fields. They are always helping people, but no one helps them. With a boat load of money, I have long longed to aid them by giving me hundreds of thousands of dollars to support their continued aid to people. Proverbs 13:19 says, “A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul…” I have not been able to fulfill my longing to give huge sums of funds to such causes. I admit that it makes me sad, but in the text today, l am reminded that God will Perfect, Establish, Strengthen, and Settle You. The most important thing for me to do in those cases is to do as Peter did – to pray.

1 Peter 5 sets the foundation for today’s post. The context of the chapters before is that the elect will experience hardships, suffering and harm. When persecuted, people tend to take flight or fight depending on their convictions. The point of the letter is to encourage the followers of Christ. Here at the end of the letter, we see Peter’s prayer for the elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia.

NKJV
10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

NIV
10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

perfect – to mend (what has been broken or rent), to repair; to complete

establish – to make stable, place firmly, set fast, fix; in every good work and word make them stable/firm

strengthen – to make strong, strengthen as in one’s soul

settle – to lay the foundation, to found; to settle one’s soul as in fixing it in place

There is a spiritual progression shown in the order of those words. For me, I envision a broken chair. Maybe the cross-stitched webbing in the seat is broken as well as wobbly legs. The perfecting, establishing, strengthening and settling is akin to repairing the chair back to it’s original state, so it can fulfill its original purpose. Likewise, Peter is praying that for the elect that God’s glory would be experienced and revealed by them as God will Perfect, Establish, Strengthen, and Settle You.

The joy for me is that my perfection as a believer is not rooted in my ability or inability. It is rooted in what God will do to make me who He wants me to be. I am reminded of Philippians 1:6 [Full Chapter] which says,being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” God’s goal is to complete us which means to make us like Christ. Hallelujah.

Ultimately, we learn from this verse that God helps and gives enough strength for any circumstance we face. We learn God that God will bring glory to Himself through bringing the believers into the glory of His presence. Lastly, all the blessings of God’s grace in this life and the next come through the believer’s union with Christ. According to the Reformation Bible, all the blessings of God’s grace in this life and the next come through the believer’s union with Christ. The believer’s union with Christ summarizes our experience of redemption. Believers are elected (Eph. 1:4, 11), justified (Rom. 8:1), sanctified (1 Cor. 1:2), and glorified (3:18) “in Christ.” Here Paul focuses on the momentous significance of the believer’s union with the Savior. Because Christ is the “last Adam,” the One in whom humanity is recreated (1 Cor. 15:45; Eph. 2:10) and who inaugurates the new age of messianic blessing (Gal. 1:4; cf. Matt. 11:2–6), the believer’s spiritual union with Christ is nothing less than participation in the “new creation.”

Who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think?

July 16, 2015

I will not be long today. I really want the Word of God to speak to you today. May He open your eyes, ears and heart today to hear a Word from Him. At a moment of true lack in my life, God spoke this Word to me. It was not an instance of where I could not pay my bills. At that time, I had a surplus of money. I could have purchased any vehicle I wanted, but my lack was a barren womb and a broken spirit. For years, my wife and I could not conceive. After a half a decade, she finally conceived, but lost not one but two pregnancies. She was broken-hearted, and I was broke over her pain, but God…

One July 8, 2001, God spoke a Word to me. A Word to give me hope for my wife’s pain, for our pain. God told me that God Is Able. He said, “Darron, I am able to allow your wife to get pregnant, and when she does, name the child G.I.A. for God IAble. Her name will be a testimony to her of who she is to me, a witness for you when people ask why you named her GIA, and a reminder to you of my faithfulness.” G.I.A. turned 13 a little over two weeks ago. God reminded me this morning in another moment of lack in my life that G.I.A.

I want to encourage you to fill yourself with the Word of God, so it will fuel you through this day, through this life. Storms will come, but by the grace of Christ, He says, peace be still. Ask God to quiet your heart before Him today in your storm.

Ephesians 3:20-21

(NIV)
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we askor imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
(NKJV)
20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

(ESV)
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Oh, let me be explicit. God Is Able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. Trust Him.

Who’s Your Enemy?

July 15, 2015

There are many things that are perplexing in life. More specifically, there are some things that are just dumbfounded. Matthew 5:44 states “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” The bible is clear on how to treat those who oppose you. It presumes that you are going to treat those you love well. That is the most perplexing thing for me. For years, I have worked with other educators and the children we serve. How is it that I can treat them better than those I claim to love the most. It really makes me ask Who’s Your Enemy?

I am not sure about your, but the people I love the most or should I say deeply are the people whom I get most angry. Unfortunately, I don’t consistently follow Ephesians’ admonition and command “In your anger do not sin”. I get most angry at those I love the most. Who’s Your Enemy? 1 Peter 5, the text I’ve been in for a time now, tells exactly Who’s Your Enemy? Listen

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

The accuser and liar is our enemy. Furthermore, Ephesians 6:12 tells us “12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Despite that, I too often I am intoxicated by my anger. Be Alert and of Sober Mind is what we are called to be; however, I allow my penchant to be angry to cloud my vision. People perish for a lack of vision. I should be absolutely lucid in knowing Who’s Your Enemy? Hebrews 2:14 states that “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—”

Who’s Your Enemy? Peter could not be any more clear when he says, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Yet, I respond to my kids, wife or other family members with misguided responses. The devil is my enemy not my family or even those who purposefully attempt to harm me. Remember, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” The devil is attempting to separate me from God. He does not want me to be one with God, but that is exactly what Jesus prayed. John 17:20-23 says, “20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” I am one with God when I follow Jesus and The Word.

Instead of becoming like Jesus, I become like the devil and am not better than him when I sin rather than following God’s commands as 1 John 3:8 says – “The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work”. I need to follow Jesus because He came to destroy the devil’s work which is to devour all he can. In devouring man, he keeps us separated from God – that is spiritual death.

Remember Ephesians 6:12, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” The devil is attempting to separate us from God. Peter tells us that we must “Resist him, standing firm in the faith, …” We resist the devil as Jesus did – by relying and standing on the Word of God when the devil lies to us. Matthew 4 details how Jesus used the Word of God to stand firm against the devil. If Jesus used the Word, then, any follower should do like wise.

Who’s Your Enemy? The devil not our family, friends or even foes. Read, listen, study, memorize and meditate on the Word, so that we can be alert and sober following the Spirit of God rather than the flesh or lies from the devil.

Be Alert and of Sober Mind

July 13, 2015

In the post Cast All Your Anxiety on Him!, we learned that God invites to throw our cares upon Him. He does not want us to carry the load of whatever plagues us. Beyond our own sinful natures, there is perhaps no greater care or anxiety that we face other than the devil. The word “devil” in Greek is diabolos which is the name used for the devil. It is the usual translation of the Hebrew word for Satan,which means “slanderer” or “accuser”. Ultimately, it is widely accepted that the term evidences the ultimate source behind all persecution. This is where we pick up Peter’s note to the followers of Jesus scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia.

1 Peter 5:8-9

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

What does Peter tell the followers of Jesus. First, Peter tells them to be alert and of sober mind. Sober refers to ensuring that your mind, your perspective is not impaired by anything. An over-indulgence of anything could lead to a loss of sobriety. Vines Expository Dictionary states it is “to be free from the influence of intoxicants;” Sober used in conjunction with alert which is to be on the lookout or to be watchful reveals the true danger the devil posses to the follower of Jesus. Because he is the accuser and slanderer, we need to be sober and alert to be mindful of those actions to mislead us and draw us away from God. Peter had just told us to cast our cares upon Jesus. In the context of the text and life, troubles, trials, hardships, sufferings happen. If we are not careful, we will allow the devil to accuse or slander God and follow that lead rather than God.

We all have seen or heard of some tragic event. One of the most prominent responses is to assign blame to God. I thank God for my brother Jason at church for this context. Mark 4:38 captures when the disciples bought into accusation or slander from the wicked one. While Jesus was asleep in the boat during a storm, the disciples, as we do, had the nerve to ask “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” We know 1 Peter 5:7, but they knew Psalms 55:22 which says, “Cast your cares on the Lord     and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” Although the disciples knew that verse, they were not Alert and of Sober Mind.

While they were not Alert and of Sober Mind, Job truly was. Listen and learn how we should respond to and of God when sufferings come.

18 While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 19 when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
    and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
    may the name of the Lord be praised.”

22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

Job did not charge God with wrongdoing is tantamount to saying that Job did not accuse and slander God. Job did not replicate what the devil was telling him. Furthermore, we learn latter in the text that Job did not listen to his wife who told him to curse God and die. How many times have we not been Alert and of Sober Mind,which led to us accusing and slandering God. That God the devil kicked out of heaven. For the follower of Christ, it will certainly get you chastised or disciplined. Take it from the Word of God, the discipline of the Lord is painful, but it does produce a harvest of righteousness by those trained by it. You have a choice to be trained by the discipline of God. You also have a choice to avoid the discipline just by being Alert and of Sober Mind. What are you going to do today?

Cast All Your Anxiety on Him!

July 10, 2015

Most of us when we hear tfisherman-casting-nethe word cast, we think of throwing or flinging something. The picture to the left helps us to develop a mental image of what it means to cast. For fishermen, the net is cast into the water. It sinks with the hopes of trapping fish under the net. In doing so, the fisherman is able to retrieve the net with fish trapped inside. The fish will be used for bait, dinner or for sale. Regardless, we know that to cast means to throw off.

Today is Friday, July 10, 2015. It’s the end of the work week. A lot has transpired in our world and in our lives. Some of those things have encouraged us while others have plagued us. The things that nag and weigh us down are what we want to throw off, but we find that hard sometimes. No matter how hard we try, there are some circumstances that we  cannot shake. They are constantly on our minds assaulting the joy of our lives.

The text for today’s post has that in mind. 1 Peter 5:7, God tells us to “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” God invites us to throw off our cares or anxieties on him. He does so not to catch anything but to free us of the weight of it. I am not sure what you are dealing with right now, but I am sure you are dealing with something. That is the nature of this life. We will be dogged by circumstances. One of my former students lost his sister. I have aging and health challenged parents. I have adolescent children. Friends are fighting physical ailments. Money is real tight. There are a multitude of issues that we all are facing, but there is one effective resolution – Cast All Your Anxiety on Him! 

The text tells us to throw whatever it is on Him. The Greek word use for cast in this verse is epiriptō (e-pē-rē’p-tō). Epiriptō means to throw upon or place upon. God is calling us to throw our cares or anxieties on Him. Why? The text tells us because He cares for you. Let’s go to Mark 4 to remind ourselves that we doubt whether God cares for us. To set the scene, the disciples are traveling in a boat with Jesus when a storm comes upon them.

37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

After all they had been through with Jesus, the disciples still were not confident and certain of Jesus’ care for them. They asked don’t you care if we drown. We, like the disciples, often forget or doubt the care of Jesus. We lose sight of Him and focus on the urgency of the circumstance. We see the problem rather than the Provider. We focus on the created rather than the Creator. Enough of the cliche`s. The truth is that God cares for us. When you are in the midst of a moment of anxiety, you simply need to Cast All Your Anxiety on Him! 

We see that Jesus responded to the call for the disciples. He quieted the storm. Jesus did something so awesome that the disciples asked who is this that even the wind and waves obey Him. He is God. God has control over nature. He has power over death – see His resurrection. God has power. The rapper, Flame, shares that in his song Power. He says,

Now for the record, we’re talkin’ about Almighty God
Please don’t forget what he did with Moses’ rod
Please don’t forget when he split the Red Sea
What is a light bill, or a deadly disease?
What is a marriage problem, or one that’s on the rocks
To the One who speaks to storms, and storms stop?
To the One who got Lazarus outta the grave
Not after one, but two, three, four days
He is the Life, and the Resurrection
You give him your filth, and get his perfection
I’m tryna get you to see if he can save a soul
Defeat Satan and sin, all else is micro
And if he chooses to not grant a request
It’s not because he lacks power, but he’s seeking our best
It’s not because he lacks strength, but he’s seeking our good
Now go and walk through that trial like Jesus would

Cast All Your Anxiety on Him, so you can walk through that circumstance with the power of Christ. Won’t He Do It. Watch Him Do It.

The Believer’s Delight

July 9, 2015

Let’s face it, much of our existence is spent on find things that provide pleasure to us. For the most part, pleasure appeals to the senses. I am sure that you can imagine tasting your favorite food or desert. There is a picture, a card, a letter, an email, or something nostalgic that would warm your heart if it were presented to you. All of hear the call to harken back to the good ole days. There is a constant mental migration to the merriment of “back in the day”. I have relatives and friends who have shared that they would give any thing to hear the voice of a parent, child or loved one who has proceeded them in death. Lastly, sex sells. We see it everywhere. There is an appeal to the innate sexual appetites God gave us. Regardless of the sensuous appeal, human delight is in satisfying their particular sensuous preference.

For the follower of Jesus, we must fight and conquer the natural human delight for The Believer’s Delight. Romans 8 substantiates that claim. “12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” Who are the children of God? John 1:12 defines it for us. “Yet to all who did receive him [Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

There are two paths of delight – the human’s and the believer’s. The former leads to death while the latter lead to life. Which will you choose? More importantly, how do you continue on that path? We know it is by the grace, mercy and power of God. Practically, Psalm 119:33-37 reveals one aspect of how to develop The Believer’s Delight.

33 Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees,
    that I may follow it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
    and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
    for there I find delight.
36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
    and not toward selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
    preserve my life according to your word.

The psalmist tells us how to develop The Believer’s Delight. The believer is one who not only acknowledges Christ as Lord and Savior but who actually follows what Christ has commanded. Where he/she fails, he/she repents and seeks not only forgiveness but to eliminate repeating that offense against God. When a drug addict goes in to rehab, his desire for drugs are not met, and he is given another option. When a person is on a diet, his desire for food or the wrong food is not met with that which led to the excess weight but on the amounts and kinds of food that will led to his weight reduction. Similarly, the believer has to be transformed by the renewing of his mind. 

The Believer’s Delight is brought about by the renewing his mind. How does one do that? Colossians 3:10 tells us to “… put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” We put on the new mind by renewing our knowledge of our Creator, Jesus. We only have the Word of God to properly inform us of the knowledge of our Creator. This is why we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds through the Word of God. It is the only pure source of truth about Him for which we have access. Moreover, the Word is how God has chosen to reveal Himself to man. No wonder the psalmist said, “Direct me in the path of your commands,for there I find delight.”

The Believer’s Delight is in the Word of God. It is through the Word of God that we discover who God is and the manner in which He wants followers of Christ to live their lives. The Word of God has to become our delight if we will represent Him well to our fellow man. As followers of Jesus, we have acknowledge that our primary purpose in life is not to gratify our earthly pleasures but to live a life dedicated to eternal purposes. We can only affect eternity through what we do for Christ. The most important is to delight in God’s Word. Why? God’s path or way is the right way. It has all God intends for us to experience to make us like Christ, to transform us if you will.

Ask any follower of Christ, his delight is experiencing God’s Word in his life or in the lives of others. Experiencing and enjoying God is what we were created for. It is what we should live for. After all Micah 7:18 says,

Who is a God like you,
    who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
    of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
    but delight to show mercy.

When God directs us in His Word, that truly is The Believer’s Delight. Read, hear, memorize, meditate and study the Word of God to be truly delighted. Hebrews 11:26 tells us that “He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.” Where are you looking for your reward?


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