Thursday, August 15, 2013

Confidence to Come Clean...

 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:19-25 ESV)
Do we have confidence on where we stand with God in Christ?  IF we truly believe in Who He is and what He has done, we will draw near to Him and one another.  We will get close enough for long enough to let the dirt show and have our lives challenged and changed.  How confident are you in Christ?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

let's start on the inside...

1 Corinthians 5:9-13 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” 
We all want to change the world - especially those of us who hope in Jesus Christ.  The problem is, we often try to do so from the outside in.  Just as change in our own lives happens from the Holy Spirit working within, changing our world begins by changing the "household of God" first.  The world desperately needs His changing touch, not our outward pressing them into a mold.  He has His work cut out for Him with us; but He is more than up to the task.

Monday, August 5, 2013

How close is "not far"?

Mark 12:28-34 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions. 
Jesus has a way of leaving you hanging.  When the rich young rule came to him asking how to be saved, Jesus let him answer his way into a corner.  When the Pharisees tried to catch Him in is teaching, He pressed them till they could not answer.  This man seems to sincerely be seeking the kingdom of God, and is on the right track.  But Jesus leaves him "not far" from it.  In a sense He seems to be telling us: "You know the answer; now will you accept it?  The most basic answer is this:   "Love God first."  We struggle to not love me first.  It's the step that makes all the difference in being "not far" and being near the heart of God.

Friday, August 2, 2013

What's a kingdom worth???

 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?”
(Matthew 19:24-27 ESV)
Jesus had told His disciples much about the Kingdom of God.  This event is not long after Peter makes his proclamation of belief that Jesus is the Christ.  If that be the case, He is also the King, and we are to be His loyal subjects, undistracted by the pull of so many things around us that beckon our calling.  So, in answer to Peter's question: "What will we have if we follow Christ the King? His kingdom, and all its blessings. 
 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.(Matthew 19:28-29)