Thursday, November 6, 2014

How do you survive and thrive in a world that is hostile to everything that you hold dear as a Follower of Christ?

Here is another excellent Thursday message from Michael.
Jesus walked through the villages of Judea and He saw the people as sheep without a shepherd.  He prayed for God to bring those who would shepherd God's people. Our prayer is that God would open our eyes so that we can see not from the eyes of the flesh, but through the eyes of the spirit...  according to Gods perspective, for he has seated us in the heavenly realm. As the Lord has lifted away his hand of blessing, our culture turns progressively farther from the Truth, allowing “bad” men to deteriorate from bad to worse. Therefore Halloween has drafted from it’s All Saints Day origin of “All Hallow Eve” and become the second biggest holiday in America.  The appetite of the world has become dominated by the enemy – the God-rejecting world system, the sin-natured flesh desires and Satan.

The Apostle Peter addresses those in the Roman Empire who are struggling in every area of life.  His theme is, "how do you survive and thrive in a world that is hostile to everything that you hold dear as a follower of Christ?" The first lesson that Peter teaches is the lesson of “humility”. As Jesus started with the Beatitudes (Matthew 5) when he spoke to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, the first lesson is that blessed are the poor in spirit...  those who are “humble of heart”. The prerequisite of fellowship with God is to humble and submit ourselves under the mighty hand of God. Our charge as Christians, is to submit to the civil authorities, to the king, and to the worldly leaders without sinning. We never abandon God’s Word or who we are in Christ. The question is "why should I submit when they are the ones who persecute Christians?" Why should I submit to my worldly boss in the secular marketplace?  Peter said to submit to those who are unreasonable, harsh and unjust.  The answer is that this is God's way for us to experience and to know what it means to be humble, to turn the other cheek and to bless those that persecute you.  Humility is the prerequisite, for our reward is “not of this world”... As Jesus said, "blessed are they when men shall revile you and persecute you for great is your reward in heaven."

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

If any man love the world (the God-rejecting world system), the love of the Father is not in him. For the world passes away, but the Word of the Lord liveth and abideth forever.  Our humility is ultimately before God.  We must renounce our pride and our selfish egos. We must give up our "human rights" in order to live according our spiritual righteousness in Christ.  God exhorts us to give up and deny our selves. However, as Oswald Chambers said, "the self is heavily defended territory."  According to the Apostle Paul, our priority is "casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exaulteth itself against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ"  - 2 Corinthians 10:5. Only through submission can anyone come to the Lord. We must humble our hearts, forsaking our egos, and turning to Jesus Christ as Lord and Master. If Jesus is Lord, this means that we are his subjects.  It also means that He is our “Owner”. Subjects are subject to the Master.  Subjugation to the Master is to love the Lord.  In subjecting my will to His will, my thoughts to His thoughts, my desires to His desires, my life to His life, only then can God work within me to willfully do of his good pleasure. When I delight myself in The Lord, then His good pleasure is my good pleasure.

God brings across our paths the unlovable so that in loving them we can learn the meaning of “unconditional love”.  Only when we forgive the unforgivable do we learn the meaning of “forgiveness”.  This is putting on the mind of Christ, who humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross – Philippians 2:8.  He gave his life for the joy that was set before Him... his father revealed to Him those whom He loved, who would inherit eternal life... in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly. Humility and submissiveness is the first steps to a relationship with The Lord and Master Jesus Christ.  Submissiveness means to allow the Master to wash our feet.  We having been born unclean and having wallowed in the filth of this fallen sinful world, must be washed by the blood of the Lamb and by the fountain of living waters.  For He was made the sin offering for us that we may be made the righteousness of God in him – 2 Corinthians 5:21.

Jesus came to redeem God's people...  to set the captives free.  In order to be set free, we must surrender our pride and submit ourselves under the mighty hand of God.  Contrary to the unbelieving world's doctrine, the greatest freedom is the greatest captivity. Make me a captive Lord, and then I shall be free. Force me to render up my cross, and I shall conqueror be. I sink in life's alarms if by myself I stand. Imprison me within thine arms and free shall be my stand. Amen.

May God richly bless you.
Your brother in Christ,

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