Loving Righteousness and the Righteous One

#1“Being made so much BETTER than the angels …” (Hebrews 1:4).

“Thou hast LOVED RIGHTEOUSNESS, and HATED INIQUITY, therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Hebrews 1:8).‬

While reading from the Book of Hebrews this morning, two thoughts really stuck out to me. Of course, the writer of Hebrews, among other matters, reminds us that Jesus is BETTER —He has more dignity and value, more power and prominence—than anyone and anything. He’s better than angels, Moses, the prophets, the law, the traditions, and the list goes on.

My first thought this morning, from this great book was simply:

Can I honestly say, JESUS IS BETTER THAN ANYTHING OR ANYONE IN OUR LIFE TODAY? Is Jesus the Preeminent One in our life, or is He simply prominent?  There is a big difference!

My second thought this morning was also very simple:

Can I honestly say, I LOVE RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HATE INIQUITY-especially the iniquity in my own heart and life? And do I LOVE THE RIGHTEOUS ONE from where all true righteousness springs?

Definitely, thoughts worth pondering and praying over!

#2O Lord, help to open my eyes to the goodness and glory of the the Lord Jesus. Help me to acknowledge the Lord Jesus for who He really is, the Pre-eminent One, the Lord of lords, the King of kings. Lord, help me to hate the sin in my life far more than the sin in the lives of others. And help me to hate it with a passion. Create in my heart a longing for righteousness, and for the Righteous One. Anoint me with the Spirit’s presence and power!‬

Just reflecting!

 

 

 

Closed Doors

Closed doorsActs 16:6-10, Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, 7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. 8 And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. 10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

The passage above, which I read yesterday, during my time with the Lord, is one of my favorite stories. While we may not understand why, the apostle Paul “was forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia” (ACTS 16:6). Humanly speaking, it makes no sense whatsoever.

Paul had a desire to do, not only a good thing, but a godly thing. He wanted to preach the gospel in Asia. He wanted to win people to Christ. He wanted to baptize new converts. He wanted to disciple new believers. And, no doubt, Paul wanted to plant another church or two, or three, or more.

But God closed the door!

It is good to remember, that while God is in the business of OPENING DOORS OF OPPORTUNITY, at the same time, He occasionally, He CLOSES DOORS OF OPPORTUNITY.  And, often when He does, it makes no sense whatsoever. It often bewilders and frustrates us, but we must let God be God, and recognize that He knows better than we do.

Understanding that God occasionally CLOSES DOORS OF OPPORTUNITY, and being sensitive to the Spirit, as Paul was, will enable us to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives and ministries, and help some folks who really need our help.

Open doorsWe can always rest assured, if God closes one DOOR OF OPPORTUNITY, there’s another DOOR OF OPPORTUNITY that will be opened before long.

Just reflecting!

Dying, to Live

Self -1“I die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31).

Paul’s words to the church at Corinth are known well, quoted often, and preached on much. Yet, if you have been a Christian for any length of time, you know that preaching this truth and practicing it are two different things.

Can’t we look at our own lives and see that much of our problem is just this – we don’t want to die to self. This is especially true in this self-love generation. Like Peter of old, it is easy for us to say, “I am willing to die for Jesus.” But, to be brutally honest, we are struggling got live for Jesus. Why is this?

Because we aren’t willing to die; die to self! 

As one author noted:

We look with such peculiarity at the willingness of our brothers and sisters to die, and they look at us in the same way. They are totally confused that our faith costs us almost nothing—maybe 10 percent of our income and the occasional remark at work. Do we really serve the same Jesus if we’re content to allow our faith to cost us so little? Here’s the solution: long before our faith costs us our life, it has to cost us our self. Selfishness, self-centeredness, and self-preservation in all its manicured forms will only lead us down a dangerous path. Our obsession with self is antithetical to the way of Jesus. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”                                            

– The Martyr’s Oath: Living for the Jesus They’re Willing to Die For

Self-2

The words above are definitely worth pondering and praying over, that’s for sure!

Dying for the Saviour is always preceded by our willingness to die to self, selfish ambitions, self-centeredness, and self-preservation!

Just Reflecting!

 

Run, and Run Fast!

Running1 Timothy 6:6-11, 18-19, But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. … That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;  Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

The apostle Paul loved Timothy like a son. And, of course, Paul loved the church at Ephesus, which Timothy was pastoring and Paul had started. In both of Paul’s letters to Timothy, we find wonderful lessons not only for those of us in “church work,” but for all of us who name the name of Christ.

In his message to Timothy, Paul was very clear, there are some things we need to FLEE FROM (covetousness and love of money) and there some things we should FOLLOW AFTER (righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and meekness). In other words, we need to FLEE FROM that which is temporal, and FOLLOW AFTER that which is eternal!

Colossians 3:1-3, If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

Love of moneyCovetousness and the love of money has caused many to stumble and err from the faith. We see this truth played out over and over again, not only in the scriptures, but throughout church history.

Of course, Jesus warned his disciples and all who were listening to Him as He spoke in what we refer to as the Sermon on the Mount.

Matthew 6:19-24, Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Jesus was just confirming a truth found in the Old Testament.

Deuteronomy 8:10-14, When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. 11 Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: 12 Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; 13 And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; 14 Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; 

For 2,000 years now, God’s people have been trying to prove Jesus wrong when He said that a man could not serve both God and money.

How about us today?

money 2If we aren’t careful, we will fall into the devil’s subtle snare and find ourselves FOLLOWING AFTER those things that we should be FLEEING FROM, while neglecting to FOLLOW AFTER that which is eternal!

Just Reflecting!

 

Pondering Our Path

Path 1“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” (PRO 3:5-6).

“… But the path of the just is as a shining light, that shineth more and more unto a perfect day” (PRO 4:18).

“Ponder the path of thy feet, and let thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil” (PRO 4:26-27).

God has a path for all of us to take in this life!

Your path is not my path, nor is my path yours. If you have been a Christian for any length of time, you know that God normally shows us His path or purpose, not suddenly, but incrementally – one day at a time! As one author noted:

“When we look closely at the examples in Scripture, it’s surprising how seldom those who were guided by God actually received any insight into the future at all. There were exceptions; these always involved supernatural revelation, and there seem to be clear reasons why these exceptions occurred. … But in the great majority of instances in Scripture, God’s guidance was experienced only incrementally, in the step-by-step, light-unto-one’s-path fashion we’ve been suggesting is normative. While examples of this sort of guidance permeate both the Old and New Testaments, one of the most interesting and instructive comes from Paul’s experience in Acts 16:6-40.”

If we are going to find and follow God’s path for our life, we are going to have to trust in the Lord with all our heart, not leaning on our own feeble and failing understanding, which at times is difficult for even the best of us. We are also going to have to acknowledge Him and His lordship in all our ways and days. And then, and only then, will He direct our paths!

“When our heart is right before God, he takes an uncanny initiative to guide us within his will, even where our understanding is lacking.” – Blaine Smith

By the way, it is good to keep in mind that there are those who want us to take the path to the “Right,” and there are others who want us to take the path to the “Left.” Yet, we must resist the temptation to do so.

UNFORTUNATELY, WHILE THERE MAY BE SOME GOOD FOUND ON THE RIGHT AND THE LEFT,THERE IS ALSO EVIL TO BE FOUND ON BOTH PATHS BECAUSE THEY ARE MANS PATHS, NOT GODS PATHS. THEREFORE, GOD WANTS US TO STAY ON HIS PATH!Path 2

O Lord, help us to remember that there are many paths we can take on this side of eternity – some good, others bad – yet, if we will trust You, lean not on our own feeble understanding, and acknowledge You in all of our ways, You will direct us down the path You desire for us to take!

JUST REFLECTING!

 

 

Let Jesus in the Boat

Boat 1John 6:15-21, When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. 16 And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea, 17 And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. 18 And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. 19 So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid. 20 But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid. 21 Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.

As most of us can attest, life is filled with storms, there’s just no way around it. Yet, God often uses the storms of life for His glory and for our good.

God often uses the storms of life to refocus our attention upon Jesus, rekindle our affection for Jesus, refine our life to make us who He wants us to be, and redirect  our lives to go where He wants us to go!

In other words, God has a way of getting us to our “place of destiny” – His purpose for our life – even if it means allowing a storm or two to arise. ‬ And there’s ‪one thing that we can be assured of, when we let Jesus into “our boat,” we’ll arrive at our destination – His purpose for our life!

Boat 2O Lord, give us the discernment to know that You are the One walking in the midst of our storm and help us to be willing to invite You into “our boat.”

Just reflecting!

WHAT SEEK YE?

SEEKING GOD -1John 1:37-39, And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, WHAT SEEK YE? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.

The question that Jesus asked His disciples, “What seek ye?” (JN 1:38) still echoes thru the ages to those who are claiming to “follow Jesus.” ‬ ‪Of course, the answer should be an unequivocal, “O Lord, all that we seek is You!”‬

As Christians, while we may not readily admit it, but far too often we are seeking after good things, at times, even God things, while at same time neglecting to seek after God Himself. We often find ourselves seeking after those things which do not profit, while at the same giving little time to the One who brings eternal profit!

Yet, the scriptures-both the Old and New Testament-make it very clear that God is looking for a people who are looking, or seeking, for Him. Will we accept the challenge? Will be obey the many commandments that command us to seek His Face?

Jeremiah 29:11-14, For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.  And I will be found of you, saith the LORD …

SEEKING CHRIST 2.jpgHebrews 11:6, But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

O Lord, may our hearts seek after Christ, and Christ alone!

Just Reflecting!!!