Friday, November 14, 2014

Value Judgment

Here's is this week's message from brother Michael. The first epistle of Peter speaks to a group of Christians who have been scattered abroad, persecuted, and alienated from the mainstream culture.

Although the United States has enjoyed a long period of peace, prosperity, and the blessings of liberty, in which the church has freely exercised its God given freedoms, Americans are now witnessing the demise of this godly American culture right before our eyes.  As in the times of Peter, God reminds us that "my ways are not your ways and my thoughts are not your thoughts."  He said to love not the things of this world...  This world is not my home, for we are not citizens of this world, but rather we are citizens of heaven, having been born again, from above.  In this post-modern culture, Christians find themselves on the "wrong" side of political correctness.  While we were sleeping, the world and the culture flipped upside down.  In a world of Darkness, God has called us to be lights of the world, to remind the world and the culture that God gave Ten Commandments, not ten suggestions. 

Every decision in life is the result of a "value judgment."  What is it that you value?  From what standard do you make judgments’ for your life's decisions?  The first commandment is "thou shalt have no other gods before me."  Do you value the true God above all else?  Men and women, who go along to get along, are swept up in the main stream of this relativistic worldly culture.  However, God has called us to stand against the wiles of the devil and against the philosophy and vain deceit of this world.  We must take a stand on the true foundation of the Word of God deliberately, intentionally, purposefully, and resolutely in order to stand against the schemes of the devil.

Ephesians 6:10-14 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then.”

The first step to resisting the devil and the kingdom of this world, is to humble our hearts before the mighty hand of God.  Did we in our own strength confide, our battle would be loosing. Abiding in Christ is the result of continuously humbling our hearts before the King of Kings.  In order to submit to his will, we must know his will.  The word of God is the will of God.  Righteous judgments must be weighed against the righteous standard for Truth...  the Word of God.  In order to know the will of God, we must become familiar with the word of God.  To bring our thoughts "captive to Christ," we must intimately know the mind of Christ.  Therefore, let this mind be in you which was also in Christ...  who humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

The devil's strategy is to divide and conquer.  He whispers in our ear, "You're a hypocrite.  You're not being genuine, and there is no hope...  you don't deserve to walk in truth."  He reminds us how far short of God's glory we have fallen.  However, God has reconciled us through the payment of his son's perfect sacrifice.  Reconciliation is the opposite of division.  It means to bring back together that which has been separated.  Our reconciliation to God through our Lord Jesus Christ allows us to live in unity and peace with our Heavenly Father.  There is no peace without the Prince of Peace.  Jesus said, "my peace I leave with you, not as the world giveth give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid"

According to 1 Peter 3 verse 7, “Likewise, you husbands, dwell with (your wives) according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”  This is the reciprocal ethic and obligation for husbands.  Duties and responsibilities are due on both sides of interpersonal relationships.  If God says children obey your parents, the reciprocal obligation for parents is "in The Lord."  The relationship between husbands is for wives to treat their husbands with respect and honor submitting unto them.  The reciprocal command to husbands is to make light your wife's burden and to bless her by serving her.  Our responsibility is to love our wives and to court her every day of her life.  Loving our wives is not conditional on her loving us in return.  If we fulfill our obligations to our wives as unto The Lord, the gracious gift of life as a joint heir of salvation is exemplified in the marriage relationship.  Therefore, husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her. 

God has called us not to change our culture.  He has not even called us to change our husbands, wives and our own families.  His exhortation and command is that we make the value judgment to change "the man in the mirror" as we seek Him with a humble heart.  As Reinhold Niebuhr prayed, "God grant me the humility to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

May God richly bless you.
Your brother in Christ,

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