Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Is Jesus within or without?

There are many scriptures that we tend to funnel through our own societal norms. This is dangerous and defies all the rules of hermeneutics. It leads us into an idolatrous religious experience, just as the people in Jeremiahs day. When scripture says something it is a fact and should be weighed as just that: Truth.

Mat 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Luk 16:13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."

As we go about our lives Jesus is either at the center or He isn't. He is either the "filter" that every thought, every word and every action is brought through or He isn't. He is either the closest friend, confidant and lover that we have or He isn't. He is either the One we live for or he is at arms length.

One of the things we have been able today to do is to separate out belief and belief or intellectual assent to believing something verses believing the truth and acting upon that truth. For instance if I said you won the lottery and you believed me...would you just believe me and go on with your day or would you appropriate the winnings into your life? With Christ we have much more than any lottery could ever give us...we have God Himself.

These two statements of Jesus are fact: where your treasure is there your heart will be. The heart is the deepest part of a person and what we tend to hold most preciously. And it can be many things: cars, houses, the way you look, the way people think about you, your husband or wife, your kids, whatever it may be it cannot share the space with Jesus. To many Jesus is just a part of their life instead of the one that gives life and if this is the case you cannot (not a matter of desire but a matter of ability) share that space between Jesus Christ and things.

A.W. Tozer puts it very succinctly in his book "The Pursuit of God"

Before the Lord God made man upon the earth He first prepared for him by creating a world of useful and pleasant things for his sustenance and delight. In the Genesis account of the creation these are called simply "things." They were made for man's uses, but they were meant always to be external to the man and subservient to him. In the deep heart of the man was a shrine where none but God was worthy to come. Within him was God; without, a thousand gifts which God had showered upon him.

But sin has introduced complications and has made those very gifts of God a potential source of ruin to the soul. Our woes began when God was forced out of His central shrine and "things" were allowed to enter. Within the human heart "things" have taken over. Men have now by nature no peace within their hearts, for God is crowned there no longer, but there in the moral dusk stubborn and aggressive usurpers fight among themselves for first place on the throne.

This is not a mere metaphor, but an accurate analysis of our real spiritual trouble.

So what should you do if this is the situation you find yourself in? Confess (agree with God) that this is and has been sin in your life and that you have put things before Him. Repent - turn away from the act of doing those things and turn to God in truth...ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what is getting in the way of living the life of victory. And persist in faith...God wants those that will love Him with all of their heart, mind, soul and strength.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A few quotes to ponder

I have collected a great deal of quotes from many different people. Here are a few to ponder from many different people that all shared a love for Christ.

"There are two sides to this Baptism: The first is, you possess the Spirit; The second is that the Spirit possesses you." -- Smith Wigglesworth

A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing. --Martin Luther

I am perplexed at the stupidity of the ordinary religious being. In the most practical of all matters he will talk and speculate and try to feel, but he will not set himself to do. --George MacDonald

The human race in the course of time has taken the liberty of softening and softening Christianity until at last we have contrived to make it exactly the opposite of what it is in the New Testament... --Soren Kierkegaard

The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men. --E. M. Bounds

Isn’t it strange that people place so much emphasis upon going to church when there is not one command from Jesus to do so, and yet neglect the basic duties of our ordinary life which are commanded on every page of the Gospels? —William Law

Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair. --G.K. Chesterton

Monday, July 6, 2009

Are you willing to be free?

Many people look on religion as a crutch or something that enslaves the person. In fact there is a large secular movement, started in the UK, that if you were baptized you may declare and receive a statement of "debaptism". If this wasn't such a sad thing it would be almost funny. The problem is that they are caught in satans trap and are captive to do his will (2Tim 2:26), they give him authority and power (Acts 26:18) over their lives and are blind (2Cor 4:4) to the fact that they serve and do his will. Satan is not this red horned iconic hollywood devil but actually he comes as an angel of light (2Cor 11:14) deceiving you into doing things that "seem" good (like Eve in the garden of Eden) but ultimately serve his purposes.
The question is do you want to be free? Are you willing to come to Christ so that you may see clearly and be set free? Are you willing to let go of all that is of sin, self and satan and come to Christ to give you life?
Look at the difference between satan (the thief) and Jesus Christ

Joh 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

It reminds me of the story told of the blind man in Luke:

Luk 18:35 As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging.
Luk 18:36 And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant.
Luk 18:37 They told him, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by."
Luk 18:38 And he cried out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
Luk 18:39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"
Luk 18:40 And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him,
Luk 18:41 "What do you want me to do for you?" He said, "Lord, let me recover my sight."
Luk 18:42 And Jesus said to him, "Recover your sight; your faith has made you well."
Luk 18:43 And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

The blind man was crying out to God even to the point of desperation. He knew he wanted to be touched by Jesus, God in the flesh, and to have his sight. Even after many "well meaning" people told him to be silent he cried all the more. But Jesus heard his cries, just as He hears us when we cry out to Him, and the blind man got an audience with God Almighty. Then the question of all questions, what do you want me to do for you? That same question is asked today to each and everyone of us...what do we want or are we willing for God to do.

It is like another blind man that Jesus healed where the man said in Joh 9:25, all I know is that I was once blind but now I see. That is one of the verses that mean so much to me. It is so true of where I once was to where I am today. I thought I could find my way but being blind I was only fumbling in darkness, led to and fro by the prince of this world, satan. Jesus still bids us to come, and in such a time as this the greatest question is are we willing.

Mat 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Mat 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Mat 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.