Sunday, February 23, 2014

Value Living

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.  John 12:26

Value living, that is precisely what we as believers should be doing each and every day.  Companies have value statements that guide the direction and actions taken by the company as a whole.  So why don't we have a value statement that guides our actions as members of the body of Christ?

As believers we have the word to guide our action which we should adapt into our daily living.  During one of my former leadership roles, I developed a set of guiding principles for the organization.  I used the acronym H.E.A.R.T. because I believed if they were to become the values of the organization people would have to believe in them with a heart felt sincerity.  I have adopted those principles as a method to ensure I am "Value Living", here they are:

H-honor-everything I do should be honorable to my Lord and Savior.  If it doesn't honor him then I shouldn't be doing it.

E-excellence-strive to do everything to a level of excellence that is pleasing to the father and I mean everything.  

A-accountable-always remember that everything you do, you are accountable for.  Our father will forgive us, but others will hold us accountable.   

R-respectful-be respectful of all human beings.  I often find myself reminding others that while we may hate the sin, we are not to hate the sinner but to overcome sin through mercy, grace and forgiveness. 

T-team-I believe that as believers we must be part of a team of believers.  There is a reason that God's word tells us that where there are two or more, there am I in the midst of them.  There is greater power in a team approach to serving the Lord.  

So there you have it, my guiding principles which I strive to live by each and every day to ensure that I am "Value Living".  Just a little advice to go! 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Prayer About Ultimate Romance

The following is a devotional that speaks to how often I over demand from my spouse and the correlation between those demands and my lack of intimacy with the Lord.  Often I try to substitute for God's intimacy by demanding more of those around me and that often leads to failure.  Perhaps when you feel that way you may want to think of the prayer written by Scotty Smith, Pastor at Christ Community Church, Just a little advice to go!

    “I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me.” –Song of Solomon 7:10

Dear Lord Jesus, it’s the weekend in our culture in which red hearts, overpriced cards, dark chocolates and cut flowers abound — Valentine’s Day is upon us. For some, it’s a day of incredible kindness, sweetness and gratitude. For others, it’s a day in which brokenness, loneliness and emptiness are magnified. For all of us, it should be a day in which are deepest longings for intimacy and connection find their way home to you, Jesus, the consummate lover.

I praise you for how generous you’ve been to me, in giving me rich tastes, tangible expressions, and a sensate celebration of genuine love in my marriage. There have been times when I have wondered how heaven itself could hold more joy than what I have known with my spouse…

But I equally praise you for showing me, time and time again, that no one human being (or any number of them)… no human romance story… no torrid love affair can possibly fill the vacuum in my soul that’s uniquely Jesus-shaped. Even the best marriage is two broken people, two redeemed sinners who will ultimately not be enough for the other.

Grant me, no, grace me with a deeper and richer experience of belonging to you, Jesus. You’re the ultimate Spouse. I know this, but I want to know it. One moment I believe you truly desire me, and in the next I am filled with disconcerting unbelief. It’s in those times when I am not alive to your pursuit of me, love for me and delight in me that I place unrealistic demands on other relationships. Instead of a steward, I become a user of others. Instead of a servant, I take up a scorecard to measure them by my expectations. Forgive me and free me from all such nonsense.

Let me love as you love me, until the day my betrothal becomes the day of great banqueting — the Day I long for more than any other… the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. So very Amen, I pray, in your tender and tenacious name.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

No Condemnation In Christ

No Condemnation in Christ  Romans 8
1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6For to be carnally minded isdeath; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

No condemnation in Christ: what part of God's word are we not getting when as believers we are so quick to condemn each other instead of loving as God commanded us to do.  Today it is not enough that we condemn each other, too many of us are caught up in condemning those we identify as sinners. Yes, we need to recognize that sin is sin, but while we hate the sin we must still love the sinner; praying for them, caring for them when they are hurting, and sharing God's word with them.  

If we keep them hating each other and hating sinners then we lose sight of the truth and become inept believers.  Let's refocus on God's word, the truth that sets us free from confusion and from egoistic traps inhibiting our walk with Christ.  The bottom line is that Christ did not come to condemn the world but to rescue it from the traps of the flesh, not with threats and a spirit of fear but with power, love, and wisdom.   Living in Christ means living within the confines of His word; making every effort to love others so that the miracle of Christ will take place in their hearts.  Just a little advice to go!  

I Am With You Always!

In Matthew 28:20, Jesus tells us to remember, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Wow, what a promise!  In a world where division occurs within families as children and parents become estranged and countries divided by politics and religious beliefs, Christ reminds us that He is with us always.  

The only thing that can separate us from Christ is our sin; our disobedience.  He never leaves us or forsakes us and understands our daily battle to resist doing the things that contradict our beliefs.  Knowing that He is there always should remind us it is in His strength we overcome the daily challenges; he is there right by our side ready to come to our aid if we simply acknowledge him and ask for His help.  For we know that if Christ be for us, who can be against us.  In Him, we can proclaim that nothing will separate us from the love of God!  Just a little advice to go!