Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Light of Christ

John 3:16-21
The Light of Christ

     “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

     Walking in the light of Christ! What an amazing contradiction of thoughts we have here. Jesus says that He did not come to judge the world but to save it. As Christians we often wrestle with the concept that we are not to judge our neighbor. Jesus did not come to judge and He is our example. However, His words and example bring a strong conviction and indeed a seemingly harsh judgment at times. As in the case of the rich young ruler. The man asked what he should do to inherit eternal life and Jesus gives him the commandments to follow and the young man says that he has kept them from his youth. Jesus then tells him that he must sell all he has and give it to the poor and come and follow Him. The young man leaves and Jesus does not pursue him with an easier alternative but rather uses him as an example of how hard it is for the rich to enter into Heaven. Judgment has been rendered because the man loved the darkness rather than the light. We must walk in the light and the light at times will feel like judgment both to us and those around us. In fact, the closer we walk according to the Light of Christ the more people will feel as if we are judging them because their deeds are exposed by the light. Those who become convicted by the light and repent will love us and those who become convicted and harden their hearts will hate us.
     I say these things that we might not be intimidated by speaking the truth in love. To speak the truth without love is to judge. To speak the truth with love is to save. The difference is our heart attitude. We must have love. We cannot speak the truth without it. Without love we speak the truth as with a dagger intended to hurt. With love we speak the truth that might hurt for a little while but leads to eternal blessing and peace. We need to understand how blessed we are to be able to walk in the light. It is the greatest gift from God!
     And what does it mean to walk in the light? It means that we have invited Jesus to come into our lives and remove every sin and selfish desire, and to willingly submit to His house-cleaning. It is incredibly hard to truly ask Him to do this because in our hearts we all know that we are holding on to things that He is going to tell us to let go of, and we hope that as long as we don’t look too closely, we will be able to keep them and just tell God when we arrive in Heaven that we weren’t very clear on some of His commandments. Let me give us a wake up call! If we aren’t willing to give things up for Jesus then we will be like the rich young ruler, unable to enter in because of unwillingness to part with our earthly comforts and pleasures. We must lay our lives completely open to Him and let Him remove the things we are holding back from Him, and only then will we truly be able to walk in the light, having nothing left to hide or hold on to. We must give all to Him not just the parts we feel we don’t need for our personal comfort. He asks for all and will not be content with less so I urge us to spend some time fasting and praying that we truly might let go of anything that He still must remove from us. Trust me when I say that once He has removed it He will replace it with something a hundred times better!
     So let me just encourage us to not hide from His Light but rather to come to His Light that our deeds may glorify our Heavenly Father Whom we love so dearly!       God bless!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Set Free by the Holy Spirit

John 3:3-8
Set Free by the Holy Spirit

     Jesus answered and said to him,”Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

     Today is the day to ask God for spiritual eyesight so that our thoughts might be focused on our Lord and Savior and our hearts might be firmly fixed on Him. How can we stay on the narrow path if we don’t have our eyes fixed on Jesus? If for a moment we look back at the world and desire its ways and pursuits, our spiritual eyesight becomes dim and we forget why we have been striving to walk on such a tough and narrow path. Our enemy the Devil, takes full advantage of this and entices us off of the road to life and unless God intervenes we will never escape from this trap.
     To all of my brothers and sisters I say – Wake up! Pray for a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit! Embrace the Lord Jesus with all your heart! The Holy Spirit is able to set us fee from the bondage of sin and a lukewarm love for our Savior. Oh Lord, these are the times of great drowsiness and compromise with the world! Help us to shake off all compromise with sin and not to play with it! Lord, wake us up! Shake us up today! Set our hearts on fire for You!
     Let us reestablish nightly prayer in our homes and with our families. Let us reestablish nightly Bible time and reading with our families. Let us turn off everything that hinders us from spending time with God. Let us honor the Sabbath and keep it Holy as it says in Isaiah 58:13-14. These are wicked times we live in and if we don’t make some radical changes in our lifestyle to spend time with God we will be swept away on the current of sin. We must hold fast to the Word of Life now more than ever!

     May God be with each of you today. We have all been called by Jesus and must not delay in picking up our cross and following after Him. We are blessed to be children of the Living God! Oh, let us take full advantage of that blessing!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Zeal for God’s House

John 2:13-17
Zeal for God’s House

     And the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated. And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away, stop making My Father’s house a house of merchandise.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “zeal for Thy house will consume Me.”

     Oh that zeal for God’s house would consume us! Jesus drives the carnal heart from the temple of God. The greed, the lying, the focus on things of this world, these are present in our churches today and we have grown up in a society that pursues these things and calls them important and vital to life! Christian or not we all pursue these things for our pleasure and security. Oh Lord, help us to seek for Your cleansing of our lives from the love and dependency upon these things! Let zeal for Thy house consume us! Make us into men and women after Your own image so that the love for this world is not in us. Why should we cling to Your creation rather than to You?
     This is my prayer – that we would forsake the love of this world to make room for complete devotion to our God! Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is our King – let us exalt Him with our whole heart and proclaim Him to everyone around us! Only He can save us from passing away with this earth. Only He can comfort us when we are hurt. Only He can give us good council when we don’t know what to do in our struggles with the challenges we face everyday. Shall we trade Him for the passing pleasures of this life that only leave us empty and bitter at all those who cross us and cheat us and hurt us with their back-biting words? Jesus speaks with tenderness and love and heals our broken hearts and binds up our wounds. Shall we not turn to Him and cling to Him and love Him with every part of our lives? 
     Jesus will never betray you! He may not always answer you in the way that you think He will, but His loving-kindness is in His answer. He pulls the stumbling blocks from our lives and removes our love for this world that holds us in bondage to sin and He gives us Himself in exchange. He is Life! The very Fountain of Life and He will fill every part of your life that is open to Him. When the various loves we have are removed He personally fills them with Himself. 
     So I urge each of you – Let go of the love for this world and allow yourself to be filled with Him. Sit at His feet today and tell Him that you love Him. Make room for Him! Turn off your TV and go to Him. Stop your hectic pace for a moment and reach out to Him. He is waiting. If you make time for Him you will never be the same. He Himself says, “You have not because you ask not.” Ask for Him and He will join you, and help you with all of your fears and problems that continually come upon you all day long.

     May God bless each of you and may He fill you with the refreshing power of His Holy Spirit.