Monday, February 14, 2011

To Some People, You Will Be the Only Bible They Read...

This morning on the way to work, I heard this statement: "To some people you will be the only bible they read." And it really stayed with me. And it's very true. Christ said we are to make disciples of all nations. The only way we can do that, is to first fascinate the non-believers into wanting to know more about us. As followers of Christ, we should look so different that people ask us why we are the way we are. One thing I'm learning, is to be an example of Christ in times of adversity. It's easy to preach the Gospel when everything is going your way. But the moment things happen differently than expected, can people see Christ in you? Are we still praising the Lord when He hasn't given us the blessings we've prayed for?

If you are the only bible to some people, you can only save them if they want to read it after reading you. To know the love of the Lord without opening the bible, now that is a task worth searching for! If we can show non-believers the love we receive from the Lord every day...they will eventually be curious. And that's all we can hope for. We cannot change people; we are not God. But, we can plant seeds and pray that the Lord waters them. Pray that the Lord calls them to Him and that they follow. On the contrary, if we are the only bible some will read...what about the people who have no interest in the bible?

If someone can watch you, even when you are unaware, and learn to not need God or love Him or be curious about Him...then you aren't following Christ. Christ had people leaving everything they knew just to follow Him and see what He does. I'm not saying you should have a Twitter following that beats Justin Beiber...but you should have people that watch you. And when they do, what are they seeing? Are they seeing care? Generosity? Love? Integrity? If people aren't drawn to you, then you aren't spreading the love of the Lord. Because people are drawn to good, regardless of their personal state. People are drawn to kindness. Either because they want to be around the kindness and love or they don't understand it and want to study it to ridicule it. That's why what we do when we know people are watching is just as important when we don't know if they are watching.

Perfect example. My niece. She is almost 2 years of age, and she does the most peculiar things. And I always ask, where did she get this from? Surely she didn't manifest these things on her own. She's brilliant, but some things have to be learned. Monkey see, monkey do. And it is so true. She wears heels around the house because she sees her mother and I wearing them. She does things she sees people do, especially when they are unaware. We cannot be good examples of God's love when we want to, and then slack when our friends aren't around. It's not the people we already know that's the most's the people we haven't met yet. It's the people we haven't influenced that matter the most with what we say and do. Because that's the difference between future friends and possible fellowship and lost non-believers.

So if there is anything we should keep on our mind it is...are you a true rendition of the bible displaying God's love and grace? Or are you portraying the bible that every unsaved "Christian" displays that says..."do what you want. God is not to be feared. Don't take Him serious, because I don't."

Happy Valentines Day to everyone! It is a nice day to share love with friends and family! :o)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Humbleness: State of being unimportant

Finishing up 1 Kings, the story of Ahab is very prominent. This man wanted a vineyard near his castle and the owner would not sell it to him. So, he whined about it and his wife, Jezebel had him killed. She had two guys lie about his loyalty and he was hung. Ahab knew of this, and took the now occupied vineyard. 'There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife. He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the Lord drove out before Israel.' 1 Kings 25-26.

After hearing what the Lord thought of Ahab, he humbled himself. A king, with many riches, wore a sackcloth, fasted, and walked around meekly. He was submissive to the Lord and everyone around him. To show no signs of wealth and walk around like a homeless man where all can see...that is humbleness. Instead of showing everyone how important the king was, as he did always before, he now made everyone more important than him. He fasted...meaning he wouldn't even eat.

The purpose of the message today, what it meant to me, is that no matter how much evil you do in the eyes of the Lord...all He wants to see is that we submit to Him. The Lord is a forgiving God...even in the Old Testament He forgave people. 'Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: "Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son." 1 Kings 28-29.

Granted, his son will reap what his fathered sewed, but the Lord always brings His people back to Him. It's not that the Lord cursed Ahab's son...Ahab's son already worshiped false gods...and so the Lord took out His anger on the son, because his father humbled himself. The son never humbled himself. The point is, we ALWAYS have a chance to humble ourselves. I'm not saying we need to walk around with a sign on our front telling people of all the sins we have committed. Mainly because there aren't signs big enough and words small enough to fit on our bodies that would reveal all the truth.

We all sin and we have all disobeyed the Lord. But we don't have to keep falling and keep disappointing Him. He doesn't want us to work our way into His grace. We could NEVER earn our way into heaven. It's impossible. For every good thing we do, we do three more bad things. Whether it be through thoughts or words, we cannot escape imperfection. And that's fine. Because of Jesus Christ, we don't have to live the perfect life and die the perfect death. He's done that FOR US, so we can live with Christ here on earth. The Holy Spirit is here with us! And it's FREE! All we have to do is, SUBMIT.

How do we submit and humble ourselves? We have to admit that our lives are not as important as God. Our life plan is unimportant if God isn't directing it. We have to admit and believe that we cannot earn God's love. We don't deserve it. How could we earn something we cannot work for? If something is GIVEN to us, then we cannot work for it. Christ did the hard work for us. Let's humble ourselves, and thank Christ, instead of listing all the good things we do, thinking it will get us into heaven.

As a believer and follower of Christ, we do good works because that's what we saw our Father doing. 'Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the son also does.' John 5:19. Meaning, it is our right as children of God to do good works. But this does not EARN His love. We cannot earn the love of our earthly fathers, and they are imperfect. So why do we believe we can earn the love of our PERFECT Heavenly Father? Is the Creator not greater than the created? We have grace by loving and submitting to Christ!

So, all we have to do is humble ourselves. It doesn't matter if we do more than others or make more than others...because only the world evaluates success by what we have or do. The Lord is not binded to the world's standards. He is His own law...and His law states that we are saved by the confession of faith that Jesus is Lord and by submitting ourselves to Him. Thank God. Because if I had to work for the love of Christ and for my place in His eternal presence...I'd always come up short!

I love you for believing this! Because that means you aren't afraid to admit you're human and you aren't working for something that is given to you! :o) Be blessed!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Widow At the Well

So...I was reading 1 Kings this morning, and I got to the chapter about Elijah running off into the woods away from Israel. God told him to find a woman at the well and ask her for food and water. The woman was a widow and had a small boy. She told Elijah that she was taking the last of the oil and flour to eat and then die. Elijah told her to first feed him, then herself and her boy and that they will have enough food and water to last the drought. You see, Elijah told the Israelites that there would be a drought because they were worshiping false gods. Anyway, the woman did as Elijah said and they went through the whole drought with bread and water.

The point I'm getting at about this great story is...can we claim to have as much faith as the widow? If a prophet came to us and said to trust in God...give him the last of our food and water...and that we will not run out...would we rely on our faith and help him? Or would we rely on the world, and just eat what's left and die?

The bible says we must walk by faith and not by sight. The woman saw the last portion of bread and water to be consumed by herself and her dying son. She saw a drought. And she saw a beggar, worse off than herself, asking to be served before she and her son had been served. What her faith saw was a prophet sent from God, speaking God's will, and being rescued from death. The Lord doesn't just rescue us from death by feeding us and quench our thirst. The Lord rescues us, now, by sending His only Son to die for us so that we may be saved. Just like the widow at the well, we have to follow by faith and not by sight. It would be easy for her to see that the drought has been on going and that she hasn't the supplies to make it past this last meal. It would be justifiable for her to tell Elijah she doesn't have anything to give. Because she would be right in saying she has nothing EXTRA to give.

But the Lord doesn't want EXTRA. He isn't asking for you to give Him what you have left. He's asking you to give Him what you have NOW. Don't give Him the lame offering that you yourself wouldn't keep. Give Him your prized cattle. Give Him your LAST OIL AND FLOUR. Give Him your LAST DRINK OF WATER. The beggar woman who gave Jesus an offering equal to our penny, was praised more than any man who gave Jesus riches. Because, the rich man still is rich after giving Jesus riches. But the beggar woman gave Jesus ALL SHE HAD. It's not about how much you give. It's about how much you DON'T have left after you give that shows your faith in God.

I'm not saying sell everything and live in a box. Although, Christ did ask the rich man to sell all his belongings and follow Him. Not because the Lord doesn't want you to have riches, but because the man worshiped his riches SO MUCH, he walked away depressed that he couldn't keep his wealth. JESUS CHRIST asked this man to walk with Him and HE WAS DEPRESSED? His avarice nature made him feel as though he were missing out to follow Christ LITERALLY. The point of this blog, is to say this:

We must have the faith of the widow at the well. We must trust in God so much, that we give our LAST BIT to Him, knowing that He will give us His everything. God asks for SO LITTLE in exchange for ETERNAL LIFE. We cannot hold on to our flesh, our possessions, and our life here on earth in spite of what God has in store for us. If the Lord asks you for your last dollar, it is only because He will give you an unlimited supply of dollars in return. If you don't believe that, ask the widow at the well. Sure, she didn't give Elijah a dollar. She gave him bread and water. But, the dollar wouldn't feed Elijah or her and her son and keep them alive. Instead, the Lord gave her and her son an unlimited supply of bread and water to tide her and her son through the drought. The Israelites had money and that didn't give them water.

Don't pray for money and a job when there is a drought taking place. Don't pray for a new house and a new car when there is no rain for months. If you cannot eat and you cannot drink, then what good are material things? Don't pray for what you WANT, but trust in God for what you NEED!

Be blessed! :o)