Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Good News...

There are times when living the gospel is hard. 

When your husband isn't perfect.
When your daughter messes up her life and thus yours.
When your son can't read and he is fifteen.
When your house is a mess and no matter how hard you work it still looks the same.
When your weight goes up more than down.
When your purpose seems so mundane that it hurts to wake up in the morning.
When children lie, disrespect and then challenge you about it.
When friends lose it right in front of you.
When you have to stick to your guns even though you don't want to.

Yes, the gospel is hard, but I believe Jesus said it would be.   Luke 14:28....Jesus talks about counting the cost.  The gospel cost God the Father His Son...the gospel cost Jesus His very flesh, and separation from the Father...the gospel cost the weeping of the angels (I assume) witnessing their King being beaten and tortured.  Count the cost...

The gospel is the good news.  The good news is Jesus.  Jesus is the exact replication of God the Father on Earth and God is all righteous LOVE.  Therefore, the good news is being able to be like Jesus and speak in love..."Father, forgive them for they know not what they do"....

I know that the good news is the difference between a Christ less and a Christ filled eternity, but it is even so much more.
It is being empowered to glorify God, in the Name of Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit to live out this good news kind of love as one already walking on the streets of on earth.  That is really really good news!!!

Being able to love that imperfect husband, daughter, and son.  Being able to love the work that God has given matter how mundane it is.  Being able to love sinful children and friends and stick to your guns---IN CHRIST!!!  It is all good news, but it does come with a cost.

Dying to self....over and over again...and then stop taking about what it is that is causing this death...It is Gods' not yours anymore...if you are living in the good news. 

Enduring until the end...patience, deference, consistency...over and over again...and then stop fretting over what is being endured.  It is Gods' not yours anymore...if you are living in the good news.

Loving sinners...saved or doesn't matter....over and over again...praying not prying over their sinful or frustrated behavior.  They are Gods'.  The battles belong to the LORD...not you...if you are living in the good news.

Being consistent...even when you are tired, frustrated, disappointed...being steadfast for the sake of training your children, because they are Gods' first and then yours...if you are living the good news.

Am I living the good news?  This radical...upside down lifestyle that has the USA and other nations in an uproar kind of good news?  Let's face it...the only reason we, as believers aren't shacking up, aborting, abusing our family and friends is Jesus and the Good News! 

It seems to me that living "RADICALLY" for God, in the Name of Jesus, by the power of the Holy hard, in the flesh, but supernatural in the Spirit.  That is the Great News!  Followers of Jesus the Messiah can and do live on a different plane than the unbelievers.  We act differently.  We talk differently.  We dress differently.  We sing differently.  We love differently!  Not as the world does, but as the Messiah did and still does!  Even more Good News...Jesus STILL LOVES US and sits at the right hand of the Father...interceding for Love.

When people have died and returned to life, by the will of the Father...they all speak of two things.  Number one...A bright clean white light and Number two an all encompassing LOVE!  God IS LOVE!  Hence, because we are His--we, too, can love this miraculous way of life right here on this fallen terrestrial ball we call earth! 

I believe I am writing this for my benefit, because this is really hard for me.  I am so full of MYself that I can stop the flow of heavenly love by my own sin...this distresses me greatly.  Being raised in a home where everyone fought and looked out for number one and number one only--and if this was done in the most sarcastic and degrading was praised!  I was truly filled with all manner of selfish self love one could imagine....BUT ....I am no longer that person.  I am a new creation!  I have a new spirit, a new identity and a new home....therefore. a new way to live....The Good News Way!

It is sad how I seem to forget this divine truth!  Why?  Oh my!  Why would I forget this life giving truth when God has given me everything and everybody?  Why do I constantly go back to my cesspool of self as a dog returns to his vomit?...when I should be dwelling and backstroking in the "I will never thirst" water every minute of every day?  

SIN...plain and simple.  My sin.  My sin is familiar...believe it or not...even comfortable.  It justifies my behavior.  It soothes my temper.  It creates an escape from what ails me!  LIES....all LIES!  satan is the father of LIES!  I am choosing a fallen angel of disgrace and depravity over the only true and living Saviour and King.  Stupidity seems to be a gifting given to all who follow the fallen one.

The Good News...the Gospel....The Holy Begotten Son of God...has freed you and me from our sin!  We can live in love.  I am not talking Hollywood romance novel movie going kind of love...that is lust...there is a difference!  But the Love that comes from the Father.  The love that grows when we grow in Messiah...  The love that turned the world upside down with only 1 God/Man and 12 obedient disciples!  

We are not sinless..even if we are in Messiah, but we are saved to live beyond this sinful unregenerated flesh and live in the Good News...which is divine LOVE.  Yes, we do live on a different plane, and LOVE is the soil in which we are planted and grow. 

1 Corinthians 13
13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Radical Sun, Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri and Sat....

Monday.  Today is Monday.  The day after Sunday.  Am I going to live Radically for God the day after Sunday?  Hmmm....

We have started a new series at church; Radical, by David Platt. I did a little research on Pastor Platt and he is a very intelligent young man.  He holds two undergraduate degrees and three advanced degrees.  He is married and the father of three children--all with biblical names.  I believe his passion is making true disciples for Jesus GLOBALLY.  He travels greatly--practicing what he teaches others so eloquently to do.

My notes from Sunday School are scribbled on a page in my bible.

This page of scribbled handwriting has some pretty powerful teaching from a very passionate pastor.   The one statement that Pastor Platt said that convicted me to the very core of my being was this..."Our love for Jesus should make our love for everything and everyone else look like hate."  Ponder that statement for a minute or two.   It sounds sort of oximoronic, but it isn't, if thought about through the circulatory system of faith. 

Our love for our Messiah and King should be so prominent...that the love we have for everyone and everything else seems like hate in comparison.  WOW!!  Do I love and live this way?  Do you? 

I remember several years ago a bible study was very popular in the Baptist churches.  It was called..Experiencing God.  One of the principles brought out in this study was this...each church needs to monitor who God is bringing into the fellowship.  The skills and strengths of these new members are a sign from God in the way He wills the church to go.  

Example--My church.  A few years back, well actually several years now...we started getting new members.  After a major divine weeding out...we were left with a group of men with construction skills.  I don't mean just able to fix a leaky faucet skill, but a general contractor, electricians, engineers, men with tools and equipment that the average Joe does not have in his garage type of men.  Well, one day a lady in our church noticed that a brick wall was separating from part of our building.  The inspector said that 27 tons of roof, walls, brick, windows, plaster, wood and metal could have come down on our heads!  The sanctuary could have killed us all!

To make a very long story short I am going to fast forward a few years.  We now have a beautiful sanctuary and some other improvements done by these men...members of our church that God brought to JRCC.  There are so many stories and testimonies of how God miraculously provided money, cranes, workers, supplies through these men and the community our church is in....ALL DEBT FREE!! 

God brought these skilled men--our church was falling down--these men, called by God, rebuilt our church!  Amazing!!!

Now, I wrote all this to get to my point about David Platt's book and teachings.  If you were to look at and look at the new books and bible will notice where God is leading and what He is doing with His Church.  The Christian world is being led into a deeper, more expressive relationship with the Father.  (David Platt's: Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me;  Francis Chen's: Crazy Love, Forgotten God, Multiply...just to name a few.)

There is a great many books being published about the end times.  The Harbinger comes to mind, plus many books by Joel Rosenberg and others.  Even though some may just be novels--the message is loud and clear.

Another area of literary influx is our Jewish Roots of Christianity.  These books are causing us to focus on Jerusalem...the Jews...Israel...the Middle East.   The beginning place and the ending place of linear time. 

We really need to take heed to what God is allowing the publishers to publish.  We need to be Bereans and stay in His Word...checking out if what these authors are writing about line up with His Truth.  What is God telling us?  I know that the Bible is the Holy Word of God.  I am not saying that any of these books are on this Divine Level....but....are these authors the Biblical Prophets of our time?  Are they not calling God's people to a deeper relationship with the Creator of All?  Are they not a sign from God that time, as we know it, is coming to an end?  Are we writing the very Word of God on our hearts and doorposts?  Are we heeding the warnings of these published prophets to ready the next generation for hard times that will end with a new heaven and a new earth?

Are we loving the Holy Trinity so deeply that every other love we have appears as hate in comparison?

This sounds like Isaiah or Jeremiah shouting from the steps of the temple, "Turn back to God!!!  or suffer the consequences!"  Platt, Chen, Piper, Stott, Keller, et al., are shouting "Love God NOW!!!! Before it is too late!  Serve as a disciple NOW!! Before it is too late!!  Tell your world about Jesus!  NOW!! Before it is too late!!  Live for Him and Him alone....Before it is too late!!"  There seems to be the same message being pumped through the arteries of God's Church, His Bride!  Are we listening?

I have seen, just since this Sunday, so many areas of hypocrisy in my attitude, my thoughts, my love for God, and it has only been 23 hours since I heard the Sunday School message!  So, I am going to ask myself this question everyday, probably several times a day..."Is my love for Jesus making my love for everything and everyone else look like hate?"  

Several scripture verses come to mind...Genesis 22:2, Leviticus 19:18, Joshua 22:5, Proverbs 10:12,  Micah 6:8-the list is endless.  Now, I sort of understand why "the greatest of these is love"...We are to love God with a love that only He can give us.  Quite simple if you think about it.

I found myself praying to God last night while I was sitting outside at my old gray friend..."Father--help me to FEAR you.  Break my heart for what breaks Yours.  Release me from the American Hollywood type of selfish, self seeking, self glorifying type of love.  I want to know true love...the love of You, Father.  Please fill me up with the Love that does Your Will-even if it means staying silent.  Fill me up with the Love that presses on and through difficult relationships.  Fill me with the Love that calls out from the temple steps!  Fill me with the Love that pleases you even if it alienates me from others.  Fill me with the Love that chases prejudices, hatereds, expectations and sins from my heart, soul and mind.  Help me to number my days.  Help me to have such a reverent fear for You and Your Love that I will die to self and consider it gain!"