Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Free Indeed

Gal 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Paul here was instructing the Galatians of "the way" that was paved by Jesus which, unfortunately, so many Christians have almost completely missed. We have the Jesus came and died on a cross, so we can go to heaven down pat; however, so many Christians are, to this day, still in bondage. This bondage comes in many different forms.

Paul was instructing the Galatians that they where no longer bound by the old covenant known as the law of Moses, but a New Covenant had been made. As we all know, Jesus came and did what we, mortal men and women, could not; He lived this law to complete perfection. It was sin, aka law braking, that pronounced death to all who would break this law. "the wages of sin is death Rom 6:23" Jesus did not sin, so He did not have to die in that since, yet he freely died anyway. This made a way for men to also overcome death; however, Jesus did much more than just die. He also, from the grave, arose up alive. These two things are what we hear so much about, and rightfully so, but we are missing something more He did. He went back to the Father.

Jesus told His disciples that He had to go, or the comforter could not come. The Spirit of God Himself. The very same spirit that led Jesus to do ALL that the Father told Him to do. Jesus said that everything you hear me say and all that you see me do was not Him but the Father. In the same chapter He says that they will do the same things and even greater things...why you ask...because He goes back to the Father. He said that God Himself would come down and LIVE in His children. Read John chapters 14 & 15. This is the freedom Jesus told us about, and what Paul was so trying to show the Galatians and Romans.

So many are, to this day, bound by the law of Moses. Today, children of God have the law written in their hearts, and have the ability to live it, just as Jesus, because He lives IN us. We can not live this out on our own. So many denominations put so much law on their members, known as legalism, that they have have become just as the Pharisees in Jesus day. We are also still in bondage to material things of this world and other lust that fills the heart of man. Paul reminds us that we have been set FREE of such things.

Now my thought for the day. Maybe we should put far more attention to God in us rather than bible studies about people who already understood this Truth. Not that reading scriptures are a waste of time, you should still read your Bible everyday. I am just saying, that we put so much attention on what we believe, or have been taught, the bible says, while the whole time we have THE WORD Himself living inside of us. If we are ever going to truly walk as Christ walked, we will not do it by reading about people who did. We will do it when we, ourselves, learn to embrace, surrender, and obey Christ in us. It is only then we will truly know what it means to be FREE. I would like to, in the near future, write a whole lesson on this subject. Until then remember...Whom the Son sets free is free indeed.

Still thinking.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Truly Lord

You know, I have heard it said, I have said it myself, that God owns everything, but it has just recently become clear to me how true that is. It is like a song that you have heard a million and one times, and all of a sudden, on the million and 2nd time, you just got what it was saying. I was just driving down the road and looking at the cars going by, and this thought came to me. Every one of those cars doesn’t belong to the person driving them. I am not talking about the leans that are on the most of them, but God owns them all. Every single BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Chevy, Toyota, etc belongs to God. I know a simple thought huh; however, let us look a little deeper.

God has created all things…ALL THINGS. All that your eyes can behold was spoke into existence thousands of years ago by God Himself. Every hill, valley, tree, flower, mineral, plant…all that is known to man, and all that is not, was created by this Master Creator. He is Alfa and Omega, the beginning and the end of all things, and all of these things are in His hands to do whatever He wills. You would not have cars without drawing from earths resources to build it. You would not the home you live in without the trees or stones God created; In fact, you would have nothing.

We work so hard in this life to obtain these things that God created. Most of our ambitions are geared toward this purpose in mind. The whole gospel of this world is to lead you and I away from God, and replace Him with these earthly goods. So many have become lovers of the “creation instead of the Creator”. Friends, all of these things will come to not.

God will let you have these things if that is your desire, but, as Jesus said, you have your reward. Pour your whole life into achieving worldly success and you will probably get your heart’s desire. Just know this my friends, God is truly Lord even if you have recognized that He is on the throne or not. God is Lord over all, even if you choose to believe in Him or not. You may have one of everything this world can offer you, but God can take it all away in an instant if He so chooses. How can He you ask…Because it all belongs to Him.

Here is my conclusion; all that I have or am belongs to my God. “My” car, clothes, and even “my” family are His and not my own, and He can do whatever He wants with them. They have always belonged to Him, the only difference now is that I recognize that Truth. He is my Lord and my God. Jesus said to not take thought of the things we may need through this life because God knows our needs, and IF (condition) we seek first His Kingdom, then all of those needs would be given to us. Why would I want to chase after the things of the world when I can be a child of the King how owns it all. I am not talking about some prosperity gospel here ladies and gatemen, I don’t think God cares one bit about making sure you have a $500,000 home and a BMW, I am talking about a treasure worth far more than all the “stuff” one can gain in this world. I am talking about a LIFE, an abundant life, an eternal life, The Life, that can only be found when one bows at the throne of The Lord God, creator of all things, and The King that will way outlast this world and all that it holds.

Just a thought…….


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Let Us Run The Race Together

I was watching the TV show "The Biggest Looser" last night. We don't have cable TV or any such like, so we watch this show a week after it actually aired on National television on the internet. Anyway, the contenders on this show have fought some great battles over a three month period to lose an amazing amount of weight. As most of you know, they began this journey near death due to their obesity, and they go through a rigorous workout routine and strict diet to help shed pounds, normally in the double digits, each end every week. These amazing people work their rears off literally.

It is wonderful to watch how these men and women struggle so much in the early stages of this program. They find themselves wanting to quit so many times, but somewhere in the mist of all of the pain and mental torment, they discover a determination that they never knew existed inside of them, thus discovering an almost supernatural strength that enables them to go far and beyond what their bodies says it can handle. It is a very inspiring show to watch, and of course, as always, I seem to find spiritual significance in watching their experiences.

Last night’s episode took us on a journey with the last four contestants that have made it all the way to the end. They were sent home for sixty days to try and take all that they have learned over the last three months and use that knowledge in the same environment that help create their obesity to begin with. And to top it all off, when this time was exhausted, they were informed that they were going to run a 26.2 mile marathon. A 26.2 MILE MARATHONE!!!!! Think about this ladies and gentlemen… just three months before this day, these people struggled to walk from the couch to the refrigerator to get another unhealthy dose of carnage to fill their bodies with, not less run a 26.2 mile marathon.

Okey…now my thought for the day. When the men and women began this marathon, they began with great enthusiasm, smiles on their faces, and determination in their hearts; however, as more and more miles were behind them, those positives turned into negatives. Doubts begin to set in. There was talk of not being able to finish. They began to suffer from an overbearing amount of pain. I was sure that a couple of them would quit, when all of a sudden, help came running to them. It was a friend or a family member. It was someone who was in those same shoes the year before. They were there to give encouragement. These friends began to run with them. Every step of the way they would say things such as, you can do this, we are almost there, you can’t give up, and I am beside you all the way…things such as that. It was so awesome, these people’s presence somehow reminded them of that supernatural strength they discovered over the last few months, and they began to find strength in those legs again. They pushed and pushed, ran and ran until everyone of them crossed that finish line. It was beautiful.

Our walk with God always seems to start out with determination, zeal, and enthusiasm. We feel like we can take on the whole world for Christ. That is until the pain of that journey begins to settle in. Somehow we find ourselves growing weaker and weaker and we don’t feel we can continue on. Our positives turn to negatives…”I can’t do this”…”I can’t make it”…”this journey it to hard and long”…”the pain is unbearable”; however, this is when God sends in reinforcements, in the form of the body of Christ. A brother or sister steps out and begins to run with you, and reminds you of what you have learned already. “you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength”…I have been in your shoes, and I made it, and so will you. “you will not run this race alone I am right here with you”. Then, before you know it, there it is; it’s the finish line. On the other side of that finish line are the people who love you most, with their arms open wide to embrace you and say WELL DONE.

You see…this journey is not an easy one, nor is it supposed to be. If you are going to truly run this race that God has so lovingly invited you to run, it will not be without the pain of the cross that you must bear; however, if the body of Christ is truly present in your life, you will not have to run alone. If I am a true brother I will be right there, not running ahead or behind you, but right next to you reassuring you that you will make it, and it will be worth it all when you cross that finish line and hear THE ONE who loves you most say “well done my good and faithful servant”. We do not want to hear Him say “you did run well…what did hinder you?”

I leave you with some words from my brother Paul who said in Heb 12:1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us”.

Still thinking…I love you all.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

No Pain No Gain

I am going to they YMCA to help in my goals of getting in better shape. As with most of us, I was in better shape as a younger man, but the years have played an evil joke on me. I remember how great it felt to work out in the gym back in those days because it was something I did on a daily basses; however, I now feel all of the pains and hurts of the lack of that consistency from the past number of years.

I was thinking about the correlation between the pain of the early beginnings of a hard workout routine vs the pain we experience when ever God begins to work on us, and I thought of some similarities.

When one begins to work out his or her body when it is so out of shape, the first month or so are the absolute hardest. You will discover mussels you never knew you had, and pains and stiffness that will make one think their dieing. It is these early stages that most people stop going to the gym, after all, who really wants to feel such pain when they can stay at home, eat Cheetos, and watch Monday Night Football. Similarly, When God first truly begins to work on us we experience an abundance of pain, that ,many times, makes us want to quit. Man, have I been there a number of times.

However, once one get's through those pains and there body gets used to the work out, in other words we develop good habits, something happens inside of us. The very same workouts we once dreaded we begin to enjoy. The endorphins that are released in our bodies become something that we desire to have. We begin to feel better and more exuberant...more alive if you will. When we allow God to do His perfect work in us, and endure the pain that comes with it, a similar thing happens inside of us. As Romans chapter 12 says we are to become living sacrifices unto God, that is we lay our bodies down upon the alter of God and allow God to chisel away all the junk that we have accumulated over the years. Just as all the fat and unhealthy particles developed on our bodies over the years, God has much to work out of us. Once we begin to feel the effects of such a work in us, though painful, we will begin to see a wonderful change in us that will make us feel alive. We then desire God to continue His work to a point we become reliant upon his work in us, and His spirit that is released in us.

Paul says Col 1:24 "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church". Rejoicing in his sufferings...interesting. Let us endure to the end my friends, and find joy in the chastises of our Lord, for those He loves He chastises. Heb 12:6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." After all...No Pain...No Gain.

Just thinking...God bless.