Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Who is Master?

Then the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." Genesis 4:6,7

My heart is heavy over the struggle with sin in people's lives. It is even heavier at the lack of struggle against it in more lives. It is understandable that the unbeliever still lost in darkness is mastered by sin. They have not the light of the knowledge of God so they do not discern their ways as being offensive to Him, nor do they care. But believers...have the light; His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3 So why???? Why the rampant sin? People falling into alcohol, porn, unhealthy relationships, foul language, self-reliance etc. Idols we cling to instead of turning to and trusting in the Lord with all our hearts.

The cares of this life choke out the word of God. (Matthew 13)
Leaning on our own understanding. (Prov 3: 5,6)
Forsaking our cross that we are called to carry. (Luke 9:23)
Forsaking the fellowship (accountability) of other believers. (Hebrews 10:25)
Grumbling and complaining (Philippians 2:14)
Loving the world and the things of the world (1 John 2:15-17)
Failing to separate ourselves from the worldly influences. (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
Prayerlessness (Prov 3:5,6)

Dear Father in Heaven, call us out from our compromise, from our complacency, from our apathy, our perversion of your grace. Forgive us for failing to pursue you with vigor and forsake all other things that hinder our true devotion to you. Revive us, Lord, change us and make us more like you. Give us eyes that see in the Spirit, that we may have eternal perspective. All else fades in the light of your glory. Enable us to see you, Jesus! To know that you are HOLY!! Enable us to smash the idols we trust in. To throw them out and cling to you and the cross. Help us see your worth, and reverence you again. To master our flesh and submit to your Spirit. Help us to hold one another accountable. To bear fruit in keeping with repentance. In your sweet powerful Name. Amen

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Shining Like Stars in the Universe

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life-...Philippians 2:14-16a

Here is another contrast that enhances the truth: Blameless and pure contrasted with crooked and depraved. The Lord wants us (His called and chosen ones) to be sanctified, holy, set apart unto Him. To be distinctly His, different from the world around us. The stars that shine in the universe oppose and overcome the darkness. They are created and empowered by the Lord. That is His desire for us. His Spirit within us makes us able to be blameless and pure and shine for Him. (See 2 Corinthians chapter 4)

As I studied this for youth group tonight, and I was also meditating on Hebrews 2:18 which says (about Jesus) Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Jesus suffered himself in saying no to the things of this world. Choosing to do the will of the Father instead of doing the popular things. He was strained in His humanity just as we are. He suffered being despised and rejected, denying himself in all areas of lust or gluttony. This gives me the desire to walk uprightly and obediently and to overcome my aversion to suffering. Help me Lord to be willing to suffer when you call me to.

He must not have given thought to His pain, He must have seen it as an offering pleasing to His Father. And had that joy that James tells us to have in all kinds of trials. What wondrous love is this!! That He left His perfect home in heaven to be identified with the likes of me...of all of humanity. He chose suffering. Selah. Oh that all would open their hearts to this love, recieve this gift of eternity in exchange for the temporary life here on earth.

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfiet his very self?
Luke 9:23-25

Father, help me to have a heart to surrender all, to endure the cross you have called me to carry. Some days, because I live here in the USA, my cross is barely noticable, but other days it is quite heavy. Thank you for always being here with me. For enabling me to carry whatever you call me to. Please be with my brothers and sisters in hostile nations as they carry crosses we cannot even begin to imagine. Hold them. Thank you that their reward will be great in heaven. Help us to keep our eyes on you, our prize.