Monday, October 26, 2009

You CAN'T Do It!

The life of a Christ follower--it's SUPPOSED to look...well, more and more like Jesus! why doesn't it,on so many occasions?

Why is it that we see people who claim to be Christians, but their lives don't 'measure up'? They're too irritable...they're greedy...they're name it!

Why would their lives be so out of step with Jesus?

...why is MY life so out of step with Jesus at times?

There are probably a few big reasons, but one of them (as I mentioned in church yesterday) is that WE TRY TO LIVE LIKE JESUS IN OUR OWN POWER!

We accept God's gracious gift of Life, by faith in Jesus...we understand that we can't "earn" that, and therefore we accept His gift...but then we try to 'make ourselves more like him' in our strength. "Maybe if I just try harder", "Maybe I'm not really committed", "Maybe I'm too far gone for even God to change me." "Maybe it's just the way I am!"

All of these are understandable...but wrong!

The Truth is that we were never meant to be able to 'live like Jesus' in our own strength. OUR effort is NOT the key.

The Key? God's Holy Spirit!

2 Peter 1:3 "By HIS DIVINE POWER, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life." The power was never meant to come from us...but from Him!

God's Holy Spirit DOES have everything necessary to change our lives--and make us more like Jesus. Our part is to choose to 'keep in step with the Spirit' and let Him produce that "fruit" in our lives (Galatians 5:16-25).

The Apostle Paul knew this. He said that the "power" with which he himself was changed...and the power with which he became one of the Leaders of the Church...was NOT from Himself, but from the Holy Spirit. 2 Corinthians 4:7 "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."

When we struggle to 'live like Jesus', it MAY be because we're relying on self-effort, not yielding ourselves to God's Holy Spirit.

But there's good news! The Spirit is ready, willing, and able to transform us and produce Christ-like LIFE within us! We don't have to wonder or doubt--He HAS GIVEN us EVERYTHING we need for living a godly life!

This week, when challenged to 'live it out', deliberately say a quick prayer, asking God's Holy Spirit to empower you and fill you...and watch Him work as you "keep in step" with Him.

Getting your 'power' from the right power changes everything!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Putting Others First

Have you ever wondered how or why God is so patient with us?
I know that, for myself, I mess up so much that it makes me wonder: Why does God continue to show me grace, patience, and mercy?

I know "The Answer"--that it's because of HIS loving Character, and HIS unending Grace, through faith in Jesus, by which He CHOOSES to continue loving, forgiving, and "putting up with" us., if I know that, why do I fail to extend this to others? I can find myself so impatient with thier 'issues', and bothered by their 'idiosyncrisies' that I seem to forget everything I'VE experienced!

Paul writes this: "If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand." (Philippians 2:1-4)

Think about that! We, who've experienced the love, patience, and grace of God first-hand SHOULD be more willing to extend that to others...yet, sometimes we get way too comfortable with being critical, irritable, insensitive...THIS SHOULD NOT BE!

Jesus--the One person EVER who deserved to treat others as 'worse' than Himself--did not. In fact, He treated them BETTER than Himself! Paul goes on:
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.(Philippians 2:5-8)

When I think of all the 'justifiable' reasons I give myself for being irritated and frustrated with others (in my family, in traffic, at the office), I then look at the example of Jesus and suddenly find that there is NO justification for it, period!

If Jesus can extend His grace and patience to me--with all my 'issues'--then I surely can to others--with all thiers.

So, next time you're finding yourself frustrated and irritated with others, remember: "Put yourself aside...forget yourselves...think of yourselves the way Jesus did..."

...and maybe, just maybe, you'll find that the 'issues' aren't in THEM...they're in US!

Friday, October 16, 2009

The King's Table of the KEY concpets in the Scriptures.
When we understand God's Grace it opens up SO MUCH BLESSING for us! In fact, I think it's almost impossible to overstate the importance of, and the depth of, God's grace.

I usually think of "grace" as totally found in the New Testament...but I saw evidence in the Old Testament the other day through a guy named "Mephibosheth" (How would you like to write THAT name on all your checks?)

In 2 Samuel 9, David--Israel's new and great king--has been firmly established. His life is good, and God is blessing him, Big-Time!

One day he remembers a promise he made to his best friend, Jonathan, before he was killed. He had said (1st Samuel 20) that he would always honor Jonathan's family, for Jonathan's sake.

When David remembered this, he inquired as to whether or not anyone was still alive from Jonathan's family...and Mephibosheth was found.

'Mephy' was crippled in both feet...meaning he couldn't farm, and couldn't be a he had little chance of survival (much less riches)...but what does David do?

For the sake of Jonathan, he brings Mephy in, honors him, gives him all the lands that his family (Saul, Jonathan and co) had before, pays the servants to farm it on his behalf, and GIVES HIM A SEAT AT HIS TABLE, EVERY DAY from then on.

Mephy would be treated like the King's own son...because of The King's love for Jonathan. Mephy didn't really 'deserve' it--it was all grace!

IN THE SAME WAY, God the Father offers us LIFE as His child...NOT because we 'deserve' it, but because of His love, promise, and honor toward Jesus.

WE can have a 'seat at the King's Table' because of our relationship to Jesus. God's love for Him compells Him to treat us like we belong--like we're part of 'the King's family'.

It had to be hard for Mephy to get used to that...from a life of begging to a life of royalty. I bet that he went vacillated between not believing it was real (always waiting for 'the hammer' to come down), and taking it for granted...just like us.

I wonder how long it took Mephy to really BELIEVE that He was welcomed at the King's table, and didn't have to worry about losing those privileges nand blessings.

I wonder how long it will take ME to do the same!

If you're covered by Jesus, you have been graciously given a place at the King's Table...enjoy it! Celebrate it! Revel in it! Thank God for it!

...but DON'T refuse it!

Monday, October 5, 2009


Many people believe in God...most Americans do, according to polls. why don't we experience more of Him in our lives?

I believe that many of us want a God we can control...a god that will do what we want him to...but no more.

Certainly, we don't want a God who asks stuff from us~!

Yet, this is 'GOD'! He is over the entire Universe!

He doesn't work for me--rather, I exist for Him!

...and unless I get that straight, I will never experience Him in any sort of a powerful way in my life.

I was reading in 2 Samuel 6 today, and was reminded of this.

King David was marching with the people, bringing the Ark of the Lord into Jerusalem. As he did so, he went 'leaping and dancing before the Lord'. He was celebrating and worshipping! He was giving it all to God, not really caring what he looked like or what others thought of him.

One of his wives (I know, I know...but that's for another discussion), Michal (who was the daughter of Saul) saw him doing this and "she despised him in her heart". Later, she sarcastically insulted him for doing this in front of everyone--even servant girls.

His response? "It was before the Lord (in other words, I was worshipping God--not paying attention to you, the servant girls, or anyone else around me)...that was a 'me and God moment' [that I was worshipping]...I will celebrate before the Lord, and I will become even more undignified than this, and be humiliated in my own eyes..."

In other words, David is saying "WHO CARES what others think of me when I'm worshipping the Lord?" The point is not 'them', but 'Him'!

David had a tight, vibrant, intimate relationship with the Lord...partly because he realized and embraced his postion--as a servant to God!

As a result, he was able to lose himself in worship to God...not giving a rip if others thought he looked 'undignified'!

I want to worship God that way...focused entirely on Him...not caring about me or how I look, what others think, etc. Yet, I often don't. I try to keep God in a

Yet, the God of the universe cannot--and will not--be controlled by me or anyone else.

May He teach me--and you--to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, and to worship Him with abandon!

Let's get 'undignified'...for HIS glory!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Impact...Let it Shine!

Do you remember the childrens' song of faith, "This Little Light of Mine"?

It was all about what Jesus says in Matthew 5:13-16:

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father."

One of the lines of the song said "Hide it under a bushel? NO! I'm gonna let it shine!

I'm learning...again...that PART of the reason that the Lord has rescued us and given us New Life in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) is to make a difference in this world! To share the the stuff that He's done in us...with others.

     For the record, I do NOT believe that this is only about 'going to heaven'...I believe it's much more than

It's about really ENJOYING an intimate realationship with our Heavenly Father...
It's about really LOVING His people, and being a blessing to them--across the church aisle, the country, and the world...
It's about CHANGING THIS WORLD to reflect the peace and wholeness that He will give.

I confess, I've been too focused on "My faith" being about "ME"!

I am His...I exist for His glory...I will live my life out for Him, no holding back! matter what this world says.

As the song says, "Won't let Satan blow it out, I'm gonna let it shine!"

Let it SHINE!
Let it SHINE!
Let it SHINE!