Priorities

Priorities; what comes first in your life? No, don’t answer just think about how much TV you have watched this week? How much YOU time have you had this week? Did you spend time in the word? Doesn’t that sound passive spending time in the word. Did you at anytime in the past week open a bible and read God’s word? Did you just read it? Did you gloss over it or did you have to fight to stay awake reading it? If so are you counting this as your quality time with the Lord. During the Old Testament only the best livestock was acceptable for sacrifices’. Do we give the best of ourselves to the Lord or just what we have left? When was the last time you hungered for God’s word? When was the last time you looked forward to studying His Word?

​Yeah life isn’t easy, and it is that much harder if we are to be a Christ Follower. And why is that? Well we have to recognize that the world is so very contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ you could say backwards. Christ turned the status quo upside down. Have we let Christ turn us upside down, have we let him hold us there and shake everything that we hold onto right out of us? What sin or secrets are we keeping hidden? Not only does this keep healing from happening it destroys intimacy with Christ as well as with others. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Mathew 7: 21-23 Is it in anyway shape or form possible that God does not know us. He created us so of course he knows us, the very hairs on our head are numbered. What is being said is “You and I have never been intimate.” The word knew in greek is Ginosko which is better translated as intimacy. Are we being intimate with Christ? So are we letting God shake out all that we were, are we letting Him work in us. I say we’re because most of us listen to the world that says our past shapes us, we are a product of our environment. And that is all true without Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, but when Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior we have to look to Him to tell us who we are, we have to let Him shape us. Are you letting Him shape you?

​As Christians we are forgiven, we are saved. How have you responded to your salvation? The only proper response to our salvation is obedience. God so loved the world that he sent His Son to die for us. It’s by God’s Grace alone that we are saved. But why? So we will tell others what Christ has done for us, so we will spread the Gospel and bring Glory to God’s name. Sharing the Gospel and living in obedience is what others who do not know Christ see in us that they wonder about and causes them to seek themselves. When we do not respond in obedience we can do a lot more harm than good. When we do not live in obedience we are not being intimate with Christ. Now obedience does not mean perfect, we are sinners and we will continue to sin, but the Holy Spirit will convict us when we do sin. Our response should be to repent and ask for forgiveness from God and of those we sin against.

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Blessing & Cursing

Our job as parents is to train and teach our kids the right way to go and how to make decisions and to show them what is important by our actions. As long as they are considered underage we need to provide for them and keep them safe, which isn’t always possible. Once our kids reach the age when they are making their own decisions, we need to realize that those decisions are their’s whether good or bad and they are the ones that will have to live with them. What we need to recognize are the curses that we hand them. We have issues of our own and if they happen to be issues with our own parents they will learn from us and the issues that they have with us are usually more severe. If we do not model what a relationship with Christ looks like how will they know what to do. Whatever our kids see us doing we have to remember that is the same as giving them permission to do likewise and in their case it is usually to a higher degree.
Just because we have passed sin or curses onto our children doesn’t mean it’s too late, it’s never too late to bless them. We have to bring our own shortcomings, our own sin, into the Light and let them see it and let them know we were wrong, one reason is because this is what they will have to do, as do all who profess to be Christians. And then we need to ask God to help us change what we are doing, change will only come with His help and our kids need to see these things in us if we ever expect them to understand or change.
Many of the issues we have with our faith can stem from our parents, if our dad was an absent father we can easily struggle with not thinking we matter to God or that He can hear us. Our first example of a father comes from our dad and if that is messed up we struggle with a relationship with God. Most of what we learn is modeled first and foremost in the home and guess what, we all make mistakes and we all bless and curse our children. But it’s never too late to change those curses to blessings and we shouldn’t get discouraged because it’s not on our timetable, and just because we are obedient doesn’t mean that God will undo all the consequences of our past actions. We need be vulnerable with our kids and be the example they need or they will take the example of the world and we know where that leads.

Complete Trust and Obedience

I was referencing some scripture in Genesis recently and along came one of those moments when you’ve spent time in a passage before but you’ve never picked up on a certain something. If I asked you to think of an Old Testament story about trust, I am certain Abraham and Isaac would be a top pick.

Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
~ Genesis 22:3-8

My plan was to explore when Abraham says “we will be back” that’s what I wanted to study, I wanted to see what I could learn from that type of trust but it was the trust that Isaac had for Abraham that stuck out to me. I mean Isaac had no concern, no worry he went willingly, knowing he was safe with his father, he even carried the wood and the knife.

I had to ask myself reading this; I am a Christ follower, but do I trust God to the point of carrying the wood. It was the wood that made me think of Christ, He carried His wood right to the top of Golgotha.

I recently spent a lot of time studying the scripture about picking up our cross daily and it seems that I have been led right back to it. Carry the wood. Pick it up daily and head for Golgotha.

We have heard all the reasons why Christ died on the cross, and there is truth in all of those things that were accomplished by Christ hanging on the cross. I am not trying to reduce His sacrifice but the big why He did what He did, for me is; Christ died on the cross first and foremost out of obedience to the Father. And for me it is the Fathers plan that is fulfilled through this obedience.

And in both situations we find Father and Son walking on together.

In the case of Abraham, God did not ultimately require such a sacrifice from Abraham. He stopped Abraham from slaying his son, and provided a ram for the sacrifice; a type of the Christ to come, who would be God’s own sacrifice to redeem mankind back to Himself.

The only path to eternal life is to pick up our cross daily and trust God to the point of full obedience.

Shame/Habitual Sin

Transparency of our struggles is key in overcoming our sin. When we bring our sin out of the darkness and into the light, it takes away so much of the power and control that sin holds over us. It is truly the first step out of captivity.

I John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.

James 5:15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Fear itself is the wall that prevents God’s love from reaching us and removing this very fear from us. We end up with, for many of us, in a long standing cycle of deception because of fear of punishment or thoughts of what others will think. We even convince ourselves that it is to the benefit of the ones we love “We are keeping the hurt from them and the disappointment” yet we continue on in our secret sin, we feed ourselves the very lies we hold onto to justify our actions.
There is so much uncertainty in how life will unfold. But the one thing that is not uncertain and does not waiver is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And it is Him that we have to put all your hope and trust in, we know this, we have been told this; we have even read it in scripture. But don’t just know it, don’t just think it; believe it hold onto it as if our lives depended on it, because it does.

II Corinthians 4:2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

I John 2:28 And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.

When His light shines through us, the vessel becomes transparent, and all the cracks and imperfections stand out in us, they become visible. When we lie and deceive we are cloaking the vessel for fear of exposing these imperfections. The gospel becomes veiled to those who are unbelievers. It is very easy for us to hide God’s Glory and the work He is doing in us because of fear and shame. Shame also breeds un-forgiveness and hatred toward ourselves. Transparency is a good first step to avoiding this trap, but we must be mindful and prayerful because it will happen we will be tempted, we will be attacked, we will not just need to depend on Christ but we need to develop a desperate dependence on Christ.

II Corinthians 10:3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ

John 18:36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” 37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

Jesus Christ came to “Testify to the Truth” the truth of His Father. God is truth, everything in opposition to His truth is a lie, if we believe these lies they become the very strongholds of sin that we live in. More than anything an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ comes first and He will reveal these lies to you.

Walking in obedience is the only proper response to our salvation and is the only way we will grow as a follower of Christ, it is the only way we will receive true healing. We must walk in obedience, we must have accountability in our lives, and we must surround ourselves with other believers who are willing to do life with us.

Hebrews 2:14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil– 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

This passage is not just about physical death, but spiritual, emotional and intellectual death. When we live with habitual sin in our lives we sow distrust into our relationships that have long lasting effect on them. We plant seeds of fear in others that we will do it again, we will hurt them again. Fear can harden our hearts and it only pushes us to serve ourselves rather than trusting in God.

But there is always hope and it is in Jesus Christ, He can work through us and repair the damage that has been done. We doubt this but have we asked the simply question of God lately; “Who am I?” If you do the answer is still the same as it ever was. “You are the one I love. You are precious to Me. You are worth the Life of Jesus to Me. I am so proud to call you My children. Let me wrap My arms around you and love you. You are secure in Me. No one can shake My love for you or the destiny I have planned for you.