Special – But Not In the Way We Think

For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and for him.” Colossians 1.16

We don’t hear the word narcissism much, but it is an issue in our world today. What does it mean? Here are the words from the dictionary: “excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance.” In other words, life is all about “them.” What does this have to do with our verse today? The whole premise of the words above literally shatters the concept of narcissism, especially for one who is a Christ follower.

Let’s put all of this in context by looking at the preceding verses: “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us form the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom (his dear Son) we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins 15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:” (Colossians 1.12-15)

So when we read, “by him were all things created”, it is referring to Christ (his dear Son). Paul pretty well covers all his bases with these words: “(things) that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers … ” It doesn’t appear he has left anything out.

So, let’s look at the last phrase: “all things were created by him and for him.” I see no place for the exaltation of self or any other aspect of narcissism. Just about the time you and I get to thinking that God really got a good package when He got us, Paul throws a verse like this one in our path. Not only was I born through the miraculous process of conception, but I was “born again” through the gift of God’s Son. That is amazing and it is very humbling. Just my thoughts …

God Loves the Fatherless and the Widows

A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.” Psalm 68.5

On this special day given to honoring dads, each one of us looks back and remembers the mistakes we made as dads. There are no perfect dads down her on this earth, but we have One in heaven. I can remember some things that my father never taught me. He never taught me how to curse and take God’s name in vain. He never taught me how to drink beer and strong liquor. He never taught me how to smoke cigarettes or do drugs. But he did teach me one thing that is a game changer … he taught me how to love God and love my family. I don’t recall hearing him say “I love you” very many times. But I saw him demonstrate his love for my mom and me in many ways.

Our verse says that God is “A father of the fatherless … ” One can hardly make it through a day without being confronted with the fact that we have many children in our culture who are fatherless. They did not choose that life. But it is a reality every day. God says that He pays special attention to them. For those of us in ministry, I believe that we too should give special attention to those who are fatherless. We can be God’s hands and feet and voice to them.

The second phrase says that God is “a judge of the widows … ” Another translation uses the word protector for judge. I do believe that God pays special attention to those who are widows. In Bible times, a widow did not have government programs to which she could turn for help. We read these words in Jeremiah 49.11: “Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let thy widows trust in me.” God cares. The last phrase simple declares that God’s very nature is to care for the fatherless and protect the widows. We express God’s heart when we do the same. Just my thoughts …

 

Did He Really Say That?

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 29 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” Luke 6.27-28

These are the words of Jesus as He spoke to His disciples. I would like to have seen the looks on their faces when He stated these words with such emphasis: (1) love your enemies; (2) do good to them that hate you; (3) bless tem that curse you; and (4) pray for them that despitefully use you. You talk about rubbing someone the wrong way, if these words had come from any other source, you would see the reaction in their eyes.

Let’s look at each one separately: “Love your enemies … ” We realize this is not a “stand alone” sentence. These must all be coupled together in order to live the life God wants. We don’t usually “love” our enemies. But perhaps such behavior would change the status of the one we are calling our enemy. When we pray for someone, it requires a certain amount of self-denial to ask God to do for them what they don’t deserve. But isn’t that what GRACE is all about? In praying for our enemies, we cannot pray that God would somehow “get them” for what they did to us. On the contrary, we must do something they would never expect, and that is a prayer spoken with love for them.

“ … do good to them which hate you … ” Wow, it seems like things are getting harder, not easier. We usually want people we consider bad to just get out of our lives. Why would we want to do good for them? One reason only – Jesus said to do it. Is it easy? No! We don’t do things because they are easy, we do things because they are right.

Bless them that curse you … ” Do you see the progression here? Love, do good, bless … We become more like Christ with every step forward we take. Surely that is what we want in our lives, at least it is in mine.

Finally, “ … pray for them which despitefully use you … ” Jesus practiced what He preached – remember “Father forgive them for they know not what they do’? There is no sarcasm here, no anger, no malice – nothing but love as He “pray for them which despitefully used (Him).” I am asking each one who reads this, myself included, to ask God to bring these Godly traits to bear in our lives. Just my thoughts …

Let God BE God!

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. 7Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5.6-7
As Christ followers, you and I are called to a life of humility and total dependence on God. That being said, the emphasis of these two verses is a reminder to us that God longs to care for us but in order for Him to do that, we must yield control of all of who we are and all of what we possess. I think it is noteworthy that Peter is the disciple chosen of God to write these words. When he first met Christ he was anything but humble and when it came to the cares of his life, he handled things in a pretty head-strong way (remember the Roman soldier who came to arrest Jesus and Peter cut off his ear).
Think with me about this first phrase: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God … ” When God tells us to humble ourselves, what does that mean? I believe He is saying to us that we need to remember Whose  we are when we are in His presence and there is never a moment when we are not in His presence. Peter tells us the reason for this statement: “that he may exalt you in due time..” When I am willing to humble myself before god, He will exalt me in His time.
When we have humbled ourselves, the next verse becomes much easier: “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” The realization of our need as Christ-followers will cause us to WANT to cast our cares on Him. When He offers to carry my burden, that means that I don’t have to. And if we are brutally honest, there are some burdens that we THINK we can carry, but we can’t. So why not let God be God in your life and see how you attitude and countenance changes. Just my thoughts …

Do You Know You Are Blessed Today?

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: 25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” Numbers 6.24-26

Every time I read these verses, I am deeply moved with the message (in the form of a prayer) that Moses records for God’s people. Here are the life-changing phrases that are given to us: (1) the Lord bless you, (2) the Lord keep you, (3) the Lord make his face shine upon you, (4) the Lord be gracious unto you, (5) the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and (6) the Lord give you peace. Do you realize that every one of these statements reinforces God’s love FOR us and his presence WITH us?

What would your life look like if you lived with the constant reassurance that God is going to bless you and keep you? The blessings of God come in so many forms and we are constantly trying to figure them out. Why don’t we stop trying to figure them out and live joyfully with the knowledge that God CARES? When I think about the truth that God is keeping me, the fear of anything that this day can bring cannot overcome God’s keeping power. Philippians 1.6 says: “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Look at these next two phrases: “The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee.” When the Lord makes His face shine upon us, He is expressing His pleasure in the truth that we are His child, and that our life is pleasing to Him. To be gracious to us in an extension of His character to grant us the grace we need for this day’s living.

Finally we read: “The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” We must link the statements “make his face shone upon you” and “lift up his countenance upon you.” God’s purpose for us never changes. He never wants us to think that we must live without his face being attentive to where we are and what we need. And neither does He want us to think that His countenance is not a reflection of His love for us. It is then that He willingly makes available to us His peace. We must give to God our desire to control everything in our lives and in exchange He will grant us His peace. Just my thoughts …

Bought With a Price Means Something!

What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6.19-20

What does the word “temple” mean to you? To me it speaks of a special place for someone special; and it is indeed that. Paul tells us that our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost. Once we have received Christ as our personal savior, the Holy Spirit moves into our lives to take up His permanent residency. He will be with us until God takes us on to heaven.

These three short phrases speak an eternal truth to us: “ … which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own … ” The Holy Spirit not only lives within us, but He is there by divine decree and we are not our own. What does that mean? Vs. 20 goes on to explain: “ye are bought with a price … ” The price was the death of God’s Son – the shedding of innocent blood – so that our sins could be paid for by the sacrifice of this perfect Lamb of God.

Once a slave has been purchased in the marketplace, his master may do with him whatever he sees fit. Christ paid for us to buy us out of the marketplace of sin. Then He set us free in order to serve our Heavenly Father. Look again at these words: “ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Because we have been bought with a price, we must “therefore glorify God in (our) body, and in (our) spirit … ” And WHY is that important? Because they “are God’s.” He bought us so that we could glorify Him through our body and our spirit, since they now belong to Him. Just think about it. Just my thoughts …

How Is YOUR Day Going?

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118.24

How many times have you awakened and said to yourself, “I just can’t go on. This day is going to be so very difficult.” If you are like me, you may never have said them out loud, but you have thought them a number of times.

I believe that is a definite time for you and me to draw on the resources of the verse quoted above. Since the Lord made the day, if we allow Him to do so, He will guide us through all the rough waters. He will make a way through any detour that pops up. Simply believing that it is the Lord who made this day should give each one of us a sense of confidence and purpose for the day that lies ahead.

Look carefully at the words in the last half of the verse: “we will rejoice and be glad in it.” The phrase “we will rejoice” indicates that we have a choice n whether or not we rejoice. Some years ago I saw a phrase on a pin that said, “Thou shalt not whine!” Did you know that it doesn’t take any effort to whine? We come by that trait quite naturally. But it DOES take some effort to make the decision NOT to whine. Choosing to rejoice indicates that we actually BELIEVE that God is in control of our day.

Now we are faced with how to “be glad in it.” Once again I ask you to take note of what the verse DOES say, not what you may think it says. Here it is, we WILL be glad IN it. Now being glad in it is not the same as being glad for it. Being glad in it means that no matter what the day holds for me, I can and I will be glad because the LORD (the eternal self-existent one who reveals himself) has promised never to leave me or forsake me and He always keep His promises. Just my thoughts ,,,