When we are little children, right and wrong are so very simple. Just do what our parents allow and abstain from what they prevent. Stop when they say stop and proceed when they approve. Not so simple when you grow up.
There are foundational dos and don’ts out of Exodus: no idols, no using the Lord’s name out of place, no murder, no adultery, no lying, no lies, no lusting someone’s spouse; no craving someone’s stuff; honor God as Lord, honor God above any other lesser god, honor the Lord’s day as Holy, honor your parents. And I’m sure we ALL do these with no problem at all. (SMILE!!) Well, at least I know you all do. I’ve got a bad hip from kneeling to repent so often! So very grateful for His forgiveness and His cleansing. But that’s not what I’m wanting you to think about.
What about what happens on the inside of you. If you have a personal relationship with The Lord, there is something in your life that He has asked you to do (or not to do) that is in addition to that list above. You know what I’m talking about – His will for your life. This might be giving your belongings to some person; it might be ending a romantic relationship; it might be writing a book; it might be refraining from some food; it might be moving to some foreign country to serve in missions full time; it might be accepting an illness as His assignment to teach believers how to die, etc. It could be easy and uncomfortable. It could be difficult and unimaginable. The bottom line is – you don’t want to do it!
The Holy Spirit’s conviction is strong within you and yet you don’t act in the way that you are led because of your own confusion or even your own fear. And now – you’re not feeling well, you’re worried about who you’re disappointing, etc. I want to encourage you to trust the Lord enough to act in the way that He is calling you. If you just trust Him the confusion and fear that you are facing will cease! I’m serious! The unrest, sickness, dissension, disunity, fear, duality, and sense of disloyalty to the King of Kings will cease! And let’s just be honest — you’re walking in sin when you act against what you know to be God’s will for you even if that action is not something that is against the teachings of Scripture. I’m praying for you!!
But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. Romans 14:23
Reading through the Old Testament the last couple of weeks I find myself feeling a little sorry for the leaders of the Israelites; Aaron and Jeroboam especially. Both of them had their own weaknesses, but in both time periods, the people they were leading wanted a convenient and easy worship ambiance put in place for them. The people wanted familiar cultural acts and actions. They wanted actions that would be repeated so they wouldn’t have to think about what they were doing. They wanted things that they could see physically – images that compete with God’s image. In both cases the leaders ensured that they got what they wanted.
Believers today get in that same type of boat: 1) Trying to put idols in the place of our God. Some of our idols are : false rationale, materialism, and consumerism; 2) Wanting pastors to provide a way for us to wallow in some things without feeling guilt. Things like: personal achievement, self, and religion.
Well, just like then, so now!
Leaders in the Body of Christ today do not have an obligation to make worship more convenient for Christ followers. NO! They have an obligation to make worship of our God an unavoidable and inescapable part of our daily experience. Yes, DAILY! Not just on Sunday morning and Wednesday evening.
God Deserves Our Worship. That’s the Bottom Line. There is nothing more that He needs to do for us. He deserves our worship now – today! He deserves it And He deserves it no matter how He wants to receive it!
What has He asked you to do to honor Him? What does your worship look like?
After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” 1 Kings 12:28
He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” Exodus 32:4
Recently a friend of mine and I have both been in the midst of circumstances that have made us face personal limitations. It has been a joy to walk the road with another sister in Christ because we have helped one another reach and remain at a place of contentment. We have encouraged one another to stay close to God and dwell in His presence at all times. As we share every week or so; we have both been so happy to find that His presence is completely fulfilling. We have not found ourselves feeling lacking, rather we are in joy!
However, that is not the case for everyone all of the time. This world we live in compels us to seek more; to be more; to have more; to do more; to desire more. Time and time again I hear people saying don’t settle for this or that. I agree that we should all live out our God given purpose – that is to be sure! But what if God hasn’t created you to be 1st; to be at the top; to lead everybody …. What if His purpose for you includes suffering for the sake of His Kingdom?!?! What if He is teaching you to be grateful where you are? What if your difficulties are meant to teach someone what faith looks like?
I had a friend once who would not let her husband enter ministry because it would mean she’d have to give up her lifestyle. Her life was wrapped up in her life! Very sad, because all things pass away …
Contentment – it is a God reflecting character trait. Contentment – it is an attitude that says His presence is enough. Contentment – it means that my status and circumstances don’t cause me fear. Contentment – it means that personal gain will not make me the center of my own world. Contentment – it means that I won’t do what is evil to gain what the world says is good. Contentment – it means that all that He gives to me I will be grateful for, but none of it will mean more to me than Him!
Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil. Proverbs 15:16
I’m Happy with Jesus Alone
by: Charles Prince Jones
There’s nothing so precious as Jesus to me;
Let earth with its treasures be gone.
I’m rich as can be when my Savior I see;
I’m happy in Jesus alone.
I’m happy with Jesus alone,
I’m happy with Jesus alone;
Though poor and deserted, thank God, I can say,
I’m happy with Jesus alone.
Lately, many who have the life spotlight have been doing some wicked things. It can make you embarrassed to be American, or even human! When you look at the actions of some, it can really make you look down on them; and raise your own self up a bit. Yes, you have to be raising you up if they are suddenly beneath you.
It points out a truth about who we each are. I’ll talk about me. You see, I haven’t killed anyone; spoken with ill regard of anyone publicly; stolen anything; wished anyone dead; abused any child; mistreated anyone because of their ethnicity; etc. etc. etc. So, unlike those people I read about or see on the TV screen, I am righteous! Right?!?! WRONG!
Truth is, only God knows why I refrain from what I refrain from and only God knows the things I do that none of you see. My mind knows the blessing of trusting God completely and submitting to Him in all things; but my heart without the leading of the Lord is just self serving even when my desire is to be good! My hope lies in the actions and love of my King. He searches my heart and knows my true desires; He is faithful to see if there is any evil in my heart and His mercy and grace are powerful and can be counted upon to always lead me in the everlasting way.
I’m ever grateful that I have learned not to depend upon man – not even myself – to do the right thing. I depend upon the Holy Spirit in me to bring about in my life what The Lord wills to be so. Even when it seems that I’ve done a good thing, the truth is that it is only the work of the Holy Spirit in me. Search me, O God! Lead me, O God! Omnipresent God – my soul hides in You!
“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17:10
I was just talking to my spiritual mama and she said to me, “If the devil is in your ear you need to tell him he’s up a little bit too high because the Lord has placed him under your feet!” That might make you chuckle – but it reminded me that sometimes as Christians we are just a little to timid with our enemy, Satan. Put that joker in his place!!
Have the presence of mind at all times to encourage yourself with the truth that God will act on your behalf. Yes – Satan might seem to prevail, but don’t let that make you lose heart – have faith and be patient because God’s promise is that Satan cannot prevail against you!!
Romans 16:20 – “And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”