Sunday, February 13, 2011

Romans 5: 1Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (ESV)

In reading the above passage, this came to me . I've always thought the suffering mentioned was persecution for my faith. But in looking at it I'm beginning to think it is all the stresses of life: financial, emotional, physical. Those things that are a part of living and test our faith. But God's word is Rejoice. Look up to God and rejoice. He is with us and in us, in all of our circumstances. God doesn't take away our hard times but we are not alone in them. It is allowed and a part of His work. His love is poured (love that action word) into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. We are inhabited by God and filled up with love. We are in a safe place, even in pain, suffering and hardship. And it is God's creative work in us. It really hit me personally, my need to rejoice in him, to remember His work and refuse to entertain Satan's ideas that I am abandoned, unloved and a failure.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Message of the Cross

The objection to the message of the cross, seen clearly in the book of Acts, is today much the same as in Paul’s time.

This message is a threat to our personal power, life style, desires and idols. Idols? A big one today is: Our FREEDOM to chose as we wish, to do what we desire.

The message of the cross cuts directly across that freedom. It makes us face up to the fact that the choices we make are not necessary good, or the best. And it also cause us to see ourselves in the light of God’s WORD. That makes us angry - how dare any one tell ME what to do or how to live.

The choices are the same today as they‘ve been through-out history. A big one is our sexual freedom. We have a strong reaction against the preaching of the Cross that tells us anything we want to do is not acceptable. It calls on us to understand that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost and thus, are a holy place, a sacred habitation.

Thus, Christ, His death and resurrection for all mankind, is a thorn in the flesh of mankind. We don’t want to feel that thorn, the irritation of it forcing us to attend to it. So we try to stop the message. Some times by killing the messenger’s body, but often by derision and mockery and rejection. How else can we still the voice of that message that cuts across our desire to have our way. We don’t want ANYONE to tell us we’re doing wrong.

This is in the heart of every man since Adam and Eve. And, even though I love the LORD, and desire to walk in His ways, I find my will still rises it’s head against what the LORD‘s word tells me. It gets in the way of my obedience. Sometimes only a pebble of stumbling, sometimes it becomes a boulder if we don’t attend to it. It is my being ruled in my life not by the message of the cross, but by my will and my desires, defying God’s ways.

God’s way for me is not a self gratification for him, but it’s His highest and best plan and purpose prepared for me.

It’s easy to see and point to the big ways we perceive as “being off the mark’ in our lives. And easier still to note and condemn others who are ‘off the mark‘. But I need to pay attention not to others, but to my own life, those  things like anger, bitterness, pride, selfishness.  I must seek God’s way - ….the fruit of the Spirit being love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.

The message of the cross? Will I allow Him access to my heart and life, or will I close my heart to Him. Christ gives us His message in His word, and he woos our hearts - but He leaves the choice to us.

Chose ye this day whom you will serve.