Monday, October 28, 2013

Faith, wisdom, and opportunities



A college student walked into a photography studio with a picture of his girlfriend...

He wanted the picture duplicated...

The owner of the store noticed the inscription on the back of the picture, it said, "My dearest Tom, I love you with all my heart… I love you more & more each day... I will love you forever & ever… I am yours for all eternity..."

It was signed "Diane," and it contained a P.S.: "If we ever break up, I want this picture back..."

Friends, when Christ calls us and we follow Him, there’s no “PS” with Christ… You’re His and He’s yours...

It’s a serious commitment. There’s no turning back.

As you and I come into contact with the world, we are going to become defiled. We don’t need a bath all over. We are already saved. But each day we must ask God to search our hearts and cleanse us from our sins. 

On the surface, it is pretty difficult to explain why you believe in God. No one has seen Him face-to-face, touched Him, or smelled Him, yet His fingerprints are everywhere. You must get beneath the surface where the intangible becomes tangible. God is made visible through Jesus Christ. Paul writes that Jesus is "the image of the invisible God" (v. 15). If you want to know about God, learn about Jesus. If you want to see God, look at Jesus. If you want to please God, follow Jesus. He is God in the flesh!

No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
(John 1:18)

"Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son."
(John 14:10-13)

We sin in a similar way when we place our security in money, possessions, or the strength of our nation. There will be days when things don't just go wrong, they self-destruct totally. When we feel we've gone as low as we possible can, something else comes along to drive us deeper still. From those depths there is only one place to turn: God. He has seen all, He knows how you feel, and He patiently waits to take you into His arms to comfort and soothe you. When we feel pushed beyond our ability to cope, it is good to know God is there.

The reality is, when someone is suffering we don’t know what they’re going through. Even if we have experienced similar circumstances as a person who is suffering we don’t process the world the way they do. And we don’t have the same personal history, biological makeup, or support system. When someone is going through the meat grinder we can only know a tiny portion of what they are really experiencing.

Our limited ability to know the suffering of others is what makes 2 Corinthians 7:6 so precious. It says, “But God, who comforts the downcast….”

Jesus knows us fully. He knows our strengths and weaknesses, our family history, our biological makeup, our worldview. He knows every nook and cranny of us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. And he also knows suffering on an intense, personal level. Jesus’ knowledge of suffering is not abstract, ivory tower, textbook knowledge. Jesus was a man of sorrows. He was mocked, betrayed, and humiliated. As he hung on the cross he was cut off from the Father. Jesus knew excruciating, overwhelming, crushing sorrow.

The combination of Jesus’ omniscience and personal experience with deep suffering perfectly equip him to comfort us in our own suffering. He really does know what we’re going through, and he is ready to comfort us when we are downcast. He doesn’t leave us to muddle and slog through suffering on our own. He doesn’t tell us to suck it up, buck up, and get up. He meets us in our downcast state and pours out grace upon us.

Suffering tempts us to withdraw from God when in reality we should press hard into God. Are you downcast? Are you suffering? Do you feel like you’ve been chewed up and spit out? Do you feel like butter scraped over too much bread? Draw near to the God who comforts the downcast. Draw near to the God who knows you exactly and knows exactly what you need. Draw near in your weakness and weariness and ready-to-call-it-quits-ness.

So what is the role of works in our lives? Are we allowed to simply live however we want and abuse the grace of God? Certainly not! We’re told by the apostle Paul in today’s verse that good works are a product of our salvation. Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is not alone!

Because of our salvation, God has given us the amazing title of His workmanship… those who are created to do good works. So as you live a life of faith, let your works be evidence of the new life within you!

  “Please let me be healthy, please let me find a job, please let my car not break down.”These are things everyone prays for, but what happens when we grow so concerned about our lives that we forget to ask God for more faith, or wisdom, or opportunities to exercise His Grace? Walking with Christ means balancing the physical with the spiritual, because while our bodies were made for this world, our spirits were made for somewhere else.

The realm of Christ’s reign covers everything that happens in heaven and on the earth. No one—not even those who deny His existence—can be free of His rule or outside His sphere of authority. Although Satan tries to convince us that liberty is found in doing what we want, true freedom is acquired only through submission to Christ’s loving lordship.

Even death cannot release anyone from the authority of God’s Son. He is Lord of both the living and the dead. All people must decide to either yield or rebel against Him, but they have the opportunity to make this choice only while they are still living. After death, they will acknowledge Christ’s lordship through accountability to Him. If we have not bowed the knee to Jesus in life, we will be forced to bend it in the judgment.

We become better, greater, and deserving of even more blessings. Prayer is the greatest change agent that there is. When we pray, we think about what is truly important to us and we regret all of the mistakes that we have made; we pledge to move forward with greater appreciation for what we have and determination to be better people.

We don’t pray to God so that He will change His mind. We pray to God so that we will change – and if we change, our situation can change.


Blessings,

Raj Kosaraju




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