Friday, July 13, 2012

“Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?

A young preacher was called out of a life of sin to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. While in the pulpit one day, he received a note in which someone had written all his past sins. In addition it read, “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself? And you’re up there telling people to get right with God!”

Do you know what the young preacher did? He read that note, bowed his head in prayer, stood up and said, “Ladies and gentleman I have received a note, and here is what it says.” Then, in front of that whole crowd, he read every one of those sins. Then he said this: “Yes, I am ashamed of myself, but I am not ashamed of my Savior!”

What are some past sins in your life that are holding you back from fully proclaiming God’s power to others? Confess them and bury them in His sea of forgetfulness.

Let us look at another situation. We all have our best days. Days when it all goes great. When the sun shines brighter. When our kids behave. When we’re on time. When we break through. When we succeed, prevail and overcome. We praise God and thank Him for working in our lives. These are the great days.

And then – there are the bad days.

When it all falls apart. When it all goes wrong. When we get blindsided. When we waste time. When we mess up, fall short and ignore God. What are we supposed to do with those days? Yet none of this shocks God.

God knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows we are a forgetful people. He knows our capacity for ingratitude. He knows our capacity for reinventing the truth. He knows our capacity for taking credit for His provision. Throughout the Scriptures we see God reminding His people of His blessings. He often urged them to set up visible memorials of His past provision so they would be filled with prayer and praise. Without these reminders, the people would forget God's faithfulness.This also describes the need and passion.

Now let’s look at the Paradigm Shift of Passion. Charles Swindoll clearly stresses an emphasis on Kingdom Builders; of being rich than making more money. Rabbi Luzzatto explains that being busy is one of the greatest stumbling blocks before mankind. If we are too busy to think, then we are too busy to change. And if we never adjust our course in life, we will never reach our goal. If we believe that God is who He says He is and will do what He has promised, why do so many of us habitually waver in our prayers? Instead of exercising bold faith, we come to the Lord “hoping” He will hear us and answer our requests, but we’re just not sure He will. With this kind of thinking, we cannot expect to receive anything from Him.

Just about everyone is passionate about something. For some, the passion of their lives is education. So they continue to grow in knowledge, remembering that all knowledge is rooted in the fear of the Lord.

For others, their passion is work, which can give them a godly sense of fulfillment in life. These people get up in the morning and are excited about the possibilities of a new day. They see their work as not just a job, but a purpose.

Others have a passion for their families, and they aspire to make their homes a place of faith where God is honored and see their family members walk with the Lord. What a wonderful passion to have!

Remember, only in [Christ] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.—Colossians 2:3

From the looks of things, you're pretty impressive. You've got a nice place. And I suppose your neighbors would agree that you're a hard worker . . . climbing right on up that ladder toward success, right? . . 
Your salary is good and your material possessions are growing in number, but . . . the truth is you are empty on the inside and you're faking it on the outside. Not one thing you own in your "kingdom" has brought you the happiness you long for. 

So you're thinking, "Maybe if I could land that better job," or "get into that bigger house," or . . .  or . . . .
But don't allow the smoke screen of more money to blind your eyes to the truth. There's a lot more to being rich than making more money. Seneca, the Roman, was right: "Money has never yet made anyone rich."Even when it seems that almost everyone these days is facing some kind of challenge. Whether it’s financial, health, or marital – it all boils down to one kind of test: a test of faith.
And so it is with God. The more we put our faith in the Lord, the closer we will be to Him. Everything we endure and everything that we experience is meant to teach us trust in the Lord. God’s ways are higher than our ways and most human reactions are in direct opposition to the paradoxical ways of God. Honestly, there are times when what He has asked me to do simply does not make sense – to me. And there we find the problem. Faith is a matter of blind obedience, not human logic. At the heart of every storm is victory – waiting to be claimed!

 Do you want riches? Then listen to Jesus: But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you (Matthew 6:33).

For the real riches, try switching kingdoms.

Here is the story: 

God's Grace Poured Out

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.

It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.

Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

 “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 NIV

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Finally Here is the Master’s Touch

 I can’t improve on what C. S. Lewis says about this (well, that’s true of most things):

    If you are a Christian you do not have to believe that all the other religions are simply wrong all through. If you are an atheist you do have to believe that the main point in all the religions of the whole world is simply one huge mistake. If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all these religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth. . . . But, of course, being a Christian does mean thinking that where Christianity differs from other religions, Christianity is right and they are wrong. As in arithmetic, there is only one right answer to a sum . . . but some of the wrong answers are much nearer being right than others.

Put it another way. The God of Christian spirituality is a God whose light is available to people in every culture and every century. As a result, I want to acknowledge all truth and all love, wherever it’s to be found.

But as a Christian, I also believe that the place where the light of God is most clearly focused is in the person of Jesus Christ. There is no-one like him among all the religions of the world! So it’s actually a caricature to say Christians think they are 100% right and everybody else is 100% wrong. But it is true that Christians think they have something special: and that something is Jesus.


For the Gospel

Raj Kosaraju

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