Posts Tagged ‘Christian’

sanctified…preserved…called

Normally we think of “holy,” or  “saints,” but have you ever thought of yourself as beloved – if not, add that to your list of definitions for sanctified.

For sanctification is not only meant to be considered as internal, but also to election – the appointment to service – vessels set apart with design and purpose for sacred use and service.  I think it still implies a separation from the world so that we are considered a distinct and peculiar people – as such we are loved by God the Father.

We owe our preservation wholly to Jesus; and know full well that everlasting life comes only by Him. We would all fall away and perish if it were not for the grace of God keeping us.

We continue our walk in the faith unshaken knowing that this faith of ours can not be preserved unless we continue in union with Christ, by whose  grace alone we can be preserved and called.

We have a place in His heart, and we are in His hands, and are in Him, and united to Him, and we are represented by Him in the covenant of grace; and being in Him, we are preserved by Him,  We need to understand that we are not  preserved from falling   from the corruption of human nature, nor from actual sins and transgression.  However, the law could not execute the sentence of condemnation on us, nor sin damn us, nor Satan.

We are not preserved  from indwelling sin, nor from the temptations, nor from doubts and fears and unbelief, nor from slips and falls into sin; but from the tyranny and dominion of sin, from being devoured by Satan, and from a total and final falling away;  we are preserved in the love of God, and of Christ; in the covenant of grace; in a state of adoption; and in the paths of right living, truth, faith, and holiness.

Called to be saints.

Saints is the same as Christians; to become such we are called to believe in Christ.  We are called out of darkness into light, and from bondage to liberty; and from a dependence on ourselves to the grace and righteousness of Christ; and from society to fellowship with Him; and to eternal glory.

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excessive luxuries

I am really showing extremes these past two days…maybe its time to look at what wrong with excessive luxuries as opposed to being prosperous.

When I was being mentored for the ministry, my very first word of instruction was to beware of the three sins – power, money sex.

I have watched others who have not regarded these instruction or took them lightly – fall.

Basically, the instructions include this simple rule – fall for one, fall for all.

This is where excessive luxuries come in.  It’s not the wealth that ruins a soul. it’s the sense of power that does.

The sense of influence that is gained because of wealth.

That power and ability and opportunity to influence, changes people, it will change you and I.

You begin to see signs of rudeness, insolence and pride and maybe in its right connotation, proud voluptuousness, found in frivolous luxury.  Frivolous luxury is the spending of money that makes those you do business with, wealthy.  It may even mean that when you cease with spending, the people who do business with you, and are so dependent on you, and have become wealthy themselves for their association with you, go into mourning and depression, doomed, bankruptcy to follow.

I still remember the day a friend came to me to show his statement of investments.  It was at $900,000.  He said in three more months he would be a millionaire.  Something called Black Monday took place one month later, and I saw him shortly afterwards.  We talked a bit about investments and he showed me his investment statement – valued at $100,000.  I could only imagine the sense of loss of so much money, money that could have been used to save lives, possibly given to him in order that he might engage in the business of saving lives – in our world, it was all lost.

The desire for excessive luxuries causes one to do things that one would never even have contemplated in times past.  With me being such a part of the Church – and I love the Church – we have all seen some incredible things take place in the name of pursuing incredibly excessive luxuries – pretending to sell heaven.  We have seen the selling of pardons and indulgences, selling of special services to fetch souls out of purgatory, television evangelists who make more money in one year than Michael Jackson and Madonna put together.  We could all name names.

The answer is the same as with any other discussion on prosperity or never lacking – it is taking on one of the characteristics  of God – give when He has given to you – you will never have excessive luxuries to worry about, to take time away from God and your family, or to protect and maintain.  I know it is an extreme, but have you heard of individuals, especially those with incredible salaries making decisions to live on 10% and give away 90% of their income each year?  It is a shame that we do not hear of this in our papers as much as the negative publicity of our Christian friends who have fallen to the desire of excessive luxuries.  These men and women are those who very well may know that there could be a risk of losing their eternal riches being stored in heaven if they allow their earthly possessions rule them.

May we all stay as humble in our walk on this earth as Christ did, may we all take what God has asked us to be stewards of and hold them in our hands, palms open, so that God can use those very same gifts for His glory, and His purposes and may the New Year be filled with adventure as we watch God changes hearts and lives through His Word and through us.

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never lack

There is such a large and never-failing supply of gifts and grace from Jesus – there will never be a lack of the oil and the wine of Gospel truths that we can communicate of to others.

It speaks to the variety, and never-ending discovery, of these Gospel truths and they are all delivered in a manner that we are capable in receiving them.

We have a continual supply in the ministry of the Word.

We can rejoice when we enter into trials, because we know that this is divinely intended to strengthen our faith by producing endurance and if one lacks the wisdom to know how to respond to the trials of life, we need only to ask God for wisdom.

It is my prayer that for the new year coming, you will never lack.

By that I mean that you will understand the incredible character trait of God concerning His generosity – that generosity, reflected in the ability to give our money, time, energy and resources to those in need around us.

One of those oil and wine truths of the Gospel – no one can explain it – but the law of giving looks like this – the more we give, the more we receive from the hand of God.

This year I have been writing along these lines – pointing as best I can to the fact that our prosperity comes from following after God, check out the oil and wine found in His Word.

Almost forgot to be real in this as I write a bit too early in the morning without having my own time with God.

The hands and fingers of givers are always on top during an act of giving, while that of the receivers are always below, thus you’ll notice all around you, givers always seem to have enough to meet their needs, even in times of trouble, while others might find it hard to come out unscathed, givers always come out even better compared to their previous situations. That is not to say that givers cannot be receivers and I posted another friends blog to share some of those thoughts with you.

Any seed planted into the ground grows to produce a multiplication of seeds, thus your act of giving, be it time, energy, kindness or money acts as a seed, and germinates to produce multiples of its kind and the second part of the law of giving – it comes back to you.

This new year coming,  I pray God touches your heart and as you follow Him, that you will never lack.

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walking in the truth…walking in love

To walk in the truth one has to walk in love…how does one walk in love?

I mean…love your enemies…how does one do that?

Love those who killed your parents, your children….

Love those who abused you…

Love those who cheated, stole, lied…

Love those who abandoned you…

Heavy stuff…and yet that seems to be the call of the day.

More and more I realize that I think I can do this “Christian” stuff on my own, I can’t.

More and more I realize that the “Christian” life cannot be lived without the power of God infilling us with His love.

More and more I realize that God has given us the power of the Holy Spirit so we can be Christians.

We do not talk a lot about the Holy Spirit – seems we take Him for granted until the tank is dry and we are dry and empty.

Seems to be that each day, when we talk with God, read His Word, ask Him for help to do what He needs us to do for the day – its like going to the gas station and getting a fill-up.

Then when we walk His walk, its like we are giving away His love and at the end of the day we are not so frazzled after all.

So it’s another decision I make the first thing in the morning…God, I want to walk in truth today, because that is your character – you are truth.  So that others see You, help me walk in love, but give me the power of your Holy Spirit, because today, without Him, I cannot love all the people you want me to love on my own.

Thank you Lord, touch base with you again tomorrow morning.

 

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the world does not know us

Do we still doubt the love of God or possibly the manner of love or the “kind” or “degree” of love?

Consider this…the most tender and most ennobling action is our adoption into His family and in permitting us to address Him as our Father.   There is no higher love that can be shown than in adopting a poor and friendless orphan, and giving him a parent and a home.  When we remember how insignificant we are, and how ungrateful, rebellious, and vile we have been as sinners, we may well be amazed at the love which would adopt us into the holy family of God, so that we may be regarded and treated as the children of the Most High.

It is for this very reason that the world does not understand our principles; the reasons of our conduct; the sources of our comforts and joys. The people of the world regard us as fanatics or enthusiasts; as foolish in abandoning the pleasures and pursuits which they engage in; as renouncing certain happiness for that which is uncertain; as cherishing false and delusive hopes in regard to the future, and as practicing needless austerities, with nothing to compensate for the pleasures which are abandoned. There is nothing which the frivolous, the ambitious, and the selfish “less” understand than they do the elements which go into the Christian’s character, and the nature and source of the Christian’s joys.

They don’t know us because they do not know the Lord Jesus Christ. That is, the world had no right views of the real character of the Lord Jesus when he was on the earth. They mistook him for an enthusiast or an impostor; and it is no wonder that, having wholly mistaken His character, they should mistake ours.

 

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…who knows the heart

Just recently I had lunch with a good friend.  We enjoy religious conversation, he has questions and statements, I have sometimes answers and statements and then add a few more questions.

He came right out this last time and declared how he thought he should be able to get into heaven without any difficulty because of how good he is.

I shared the story of the rich young ruler who said the same thing to Jesus – I told him how Jesus responded – sell everything you have and give to the poor.  I asked, “why do you think Jesus asked him to do that?”  He did not know, so I shared that God looks at our heart.  I said when you stand before Him one day, He may ask you why you should spend eternity with Him, you have only one answer – you know my heart…it has been given to Jesus and though my sins are as crimson red, I am now white as snow.

Not the answer he wanted, end of lunch, yet we determined to have our Christmas lunch mid December.  I am looking forward to that.

In the church, I don’t think we look at the heart very often.  Today, I see people on my Board, on other Boards, based on their direction, purpose and attitude, I think the church is in for some revival.  The heart of our leaders are in a bad place.

What I am really excited about is that there will be some who have been called something other than a Christian, yet have been seeking God and many have found Him.  Like Abraham, they journey with God in their day-to-day lives.  We may judge that life, but God sees past that and sees a heart that seeks after Him.  I will see them in heaven even though we have placed judgement against them – for their hearts are with Jesus.   Unfortunately, many of my friends I will not see in heaven, for the same reason, God sees their hearts and there is no love for Him there.

We have great cause to bless God that we have heard the gospel. May we have that faith which the great Searcher of hearts approves, and attests by the seal of the Holy Spirit. Then our hearts and consciences will be purified from the guilt of sin, and we shall be freed from the burdens some try to lay upon the followers of Christ, so we are free to love the Lord with all our hearts…

http://youtu.be/sC4QK7rNJ6k

 

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Anyone ever ask you for money?

I really struggle with this.  Not sure why, my immediate thoughts do not sound very Christ-like, yet when I think about them, they sound rational and sound.

For those who are hungry, I like buying them food; for those who cannot transport themselves from one place to another, I like buying them gas; for those with no shelter, I like inviting them home — but for some strange reason, giving money is not my thing.

Even in my dreams, when a robber is holding me up and asking for my wallet, I would rather die than hand it over – and that cannot be because I am Dutch – trust me, because I am Dutch, there is nothing in the wallet.

Deep down I feel I have another responsibility.

More than likely, the person doing the asking is helpless, at least feeling helpless.

Psychologists like to ask the questions about your relationship with your mother or father – and maybe that has something to do with our condition – I do not know – but maybe.

I remember vividly the day I came out of church after a Sunday evening service, it was late, around midnight, and the crowd of 200 or so families and individuals had all left and I was locking up.  There was a boy sitting on the front lawn, I went over and sat beside him and asked if he needed help.  He did (bit upset that no one from the church seemed to care enough to ask) – we talked, he cried, and since he had nowhere to go, he stayed with my wife and I for a couple of days.  Sometimes we are looking but need someone to care – church seems to be a good place to go, but don’t expect anyone to come in.

Most likely, we are empty on the inside as well as in the pocket. 

What should grab our attention is the fact that there is an expectation that something will be given by Christians.

We need to know that we think we need money, but that is because we do not know our real need or even what to ask for.  

We also need to know that the greatest giving we can give is the fact that Jesus has come to give us life and the good news He loves and cares even when maybe what I am giving looks like it is not going to help much.

Sometimes, words do matter.

Believe it or not, that young boy on the church lawn, asked God to come into his life after 15 minutes of conversation it mattered – he mattered.

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