THERE IS NO TRY, ONLY SUBMIT

THERE IS NO TRY, ONLY SUBMIT

This attitude of complete submission and complete trust is of course the key to working out our own salvation in fear and trembling and is the mark of a truly spiritual Christian.

John F. Walvoord

For many of us in the world, we live lives of modern convenience, and by this I mean, anything within (and sadly many times beyond) our means, in that we can have something whenever we want it. You want this style of clothes, you go to that particular store and try them on. You want this particular type of car, you go to that kind of dealership. You want to eat that particular style of food, you go to that restaurant.

Unfortunately that is how many treat the church, and worse, Christ today.

The majority of churches in the Western culture greatly vary in their teachings, worship, doctrines and beliefs from one another. One has this style and method, and another completely the opposite. Not that this is necessarily bad in and of itself, but we try church until we find something that fits our lifestyle rather than submitting to God for our lifestyle to change. After all, that is what Christianity is all about, us being changed from the fallen sin of the world in us, being made back whole again to the image we were created in, HIS!

Being a Christian is about being like Christ, and one of the greatest lessons He teaches is that of submission. That of laying our lives down for others, submitting to His will and not ours, dying to self, picking up our cross daily and follow Him. Yet, few of us actually do, and have you ever wondered why? My take is this, we love too much of the world and everything in it! I have said it in recent posts, but think it is well worth not only repeating, but memorizing these verses.

1 john 2:15-16 – Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life is not from the Father but is from the world.

Don’t believe me that is a large part of our problems as Christians, then here is a very simple test, but it is going to take complete honesty and transparency on your part. If you want to share your results with others and encourage them to take the challenge, then do so.

Here is the challenge. For three consecutive days (longer if you so choose, but three days) keep a journal of everything you do and account for as much time as possible. So if you know you slept 8 hours, then 6 the next, write it is such. How much time you spent in leisure (and break it down specifically); social media, watching tv, playing sports, working out, etc. Now here is the difficult one! Write down how much time you spent with God. How much time reading His Word, praying, worshiping, maybe listening to Christian music thinking of Him, praising Him. This will give you an idea of how much time we submit to the world and not to Him, and when we are yoked to the world, we are not in submission to Him.

In the John’s first epistle he writes to the church, he repeatedly uses a specific word 16 times to remind the church what they should do, and that word is abide, which is a verb, one that is to be acted upon. This is where the rubber meets the road, are we truly followers of Christ, or like the things of the world, are we just trying Him out. Taking Him for a test drive to see if He will fit into our lifestyle and when convenient. This is NOT Christianity, and sadly, this is how many churches treat God.

Christ did not die so we could have more of the world. Christ died that we may be saved from our sins in the world, that we would submit to His ways by following Him. The scripture quoted in 1 John chapter 2 should be a wake up call to many of us in our slumbering of the world, cause great alarm and repentance, and to seek first the Kingdom of God in our lives. Two things are sure, 1) Our days in this world are numbered, and one day judgment will come. 2) He will not tarry for every and come back quickly. This should give us enough cause and concern to be about the business of the Gospel and quit loving the world with out time, talents, and treasures.

#ToGodBeTheGlory

WHAT DOES CHRISTIAN LOVE LOOK LIKE

WHAT DOES CHRISTIAN LOVE LOOK LIKE

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

The Apostle Paul

You know something… I cannot think like you do, but I can feel like you do and somewhat express things like you do. What do I mean by this? Well, like you, I know what it is to be hungry, experience pain and suffering, happiness and sorrow, and to a certain extent, love. I mean after all, I am only a dog. See, when God created creatures and man, he created us different. If left alone, I will live by instinct, but you live by reason (a story for another day perhaps).

Before we go on to love, I want to use an extremely absurd analogy to (hopefully) get my point across clearly.

Say you saw a quick glimpse of someone doing something extremely crazy silly, say smacking themselves in the head with a hammer, and you found it funny. The next day, you saw the same person doing the same thing, and still found it some what funny, but now it is starting to concern you. The next day you see the same thing, but you stop for a moment and realize that the person eventually starts to show signs of pain and bleeding. Would you think it to be funny anymore? I should hope not, but even more so, should be showing great cause for care and concern for this individual and why they would be doing such a thing. You see, you missed it the first few times because you were just passing by. Maybe you were in a hurry or concerned with just yourself.

Sadly this analogy is not far from the truth of real life and real people. Many times we see others hurting themselves in many ways that cause much pain. Many do not stop and show them love by being concerned not just with the physical being, things that are seen, but more importantly, their spiritual well-being, what is both seen and unseen. And just as sad, many of the times people don’t want to truly be loved, because they like their lifestyle of sin (which can hurt them spiritually and physically). Many have even been hurt by the church of all things and have lost faith and hope in Christians, how sad is that!

Look again at what Christian love should look like in the opening quote. Did you know that love is both a noun and a verb, in the sense of 1 Corinthians 13, it is a call to action. We are to be patient, kind, not envy or boast, be not arrogant or rude, selfish (our way), love bears others burdens. Does this describe you? If we are Christians it should, and if it does not reflect our character towards others in a Christlike manner, this should greatly concern us and grieve us. It should cause us to take as much time as needed to examine ourselves and our motives in the Christian faith. As the Apostle Paul says in the second half of verse 1 “but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”

Let me boil this down real quick for us. You cannot truly love God if you do not truly love people, and your cannot truly love people if you do not love God. Clear as mud?

We are called, commanded, exhorted, even disciplined all because of God’s love. The Bible even says we love because He first loved us – 1 John 4:19

If you profess to be a Christians, please take these words to heart, examine yourself in light of the scriptures, spend time with God daily in His Word and prayer, that He would grant you tenders and love towards others, and a heart to be like Christ in their lives. As the old hymn goes “They will know that we are Christians by our love!)

#ToGodBeTheGlory

HUMILITY AND TEACHABLE MINDS

HUMILITY AND TEACHABLE MINDS

We must yield ourselves to the word of God,
with humble and teachable minds

Matthew Henry

These past few days we have talked about hearing and obedience and how my humans, er, I mean owners, have been working with me to become obedient to their requests of living in their home and being a profitable family member. Unlike people, I am not gifted with the level of knowledge and intellect that people are, however, I too am trainable.

When we think about obedience, being trained, being disciplined, what are some of the first things that come to mind?

Well, for some of us disciple may have a negative connotation as to disciplined may have meant spanking, being put in time out, or something to that extent. But if discipline has had a positive influence on our lives, it has brought us strength and power in a certain area of our lives. Maybe we played and instrument, and by hours of practice (discipline) we grew into a proficient musician that may have gone on to become a professional musician. Or maybe we spend a lot of time in the gym, training (discipline) for a sport and went on to be a professional athlete. The point is understanding that discipline can and should be seen as both a positive and a negative in our lives.

There are quite a few of us who have either read or read the famous proverb in Proverbs 22:6 – Train (that is discipline) up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

But what about some of the ones that sound more negative (by our standards) and yet are meant for our good and a positive outcome of correction from our sins

Deuteronomy 8:4-6 Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you. 6 So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him.

Even worse, later in this very same book in chapter 21 verses 20-21 it says about the rebellious son (gender neutral) “20 and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21 Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.”

Can you imagine if this was still practiced at churches in America today hoe many folks probably would not go?

But, in love, we are always to be corrected of our sinful ways, that is the whole point of properly disciplining or being disciplined. Why?

Psalm 58:3 sums it up quickly “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies.” Like it or not, by default we are ALL born into sins and a sinful world because of the fall in the Garden of Eden.

Look at what Proverbs 13:24 says “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”

Disciple (although not pleasant at times) is absolutely necessary to a Godly living, God honoring, Holy Spirit filled life, and there is no way that we can do it ourselves. We must humbly submit ourselves to God, crying out to Him to have mercy on us and not discipline us with His wrath, but with the correcting rod of His Word, and the only way to receive that, is by daily spending time with God in His Word and by prayer.

Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Do you want the righteousness of God? Do you want to honor God? Do you want a life to the fullest they way He intended it to be? Then we are going to have to learn humbly and through the discipline from our sins, that His grace would shine upon us, and in turn give Him all the praise, honor, and glory, due Him.

#ToGodBeTheGlory