Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Faith Based – Part One - Christ-Centered

This week, Michael writes: God is still on the throne. He is still sovereign and His “Sovereign Will” shall come to pass. Despite the slow erosion of the culture around us because the Word of God has been marginalized in our land, the sovereign “Will of the Lord” shall prevail. God is faithful to His word. In Nazi Germany Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that the German culture was sleepwalking toward a precipice and they didn't even know it. The recent elections may have given us a brief reprieve for America to repent and to turn from her wicked ways.

What does it look like to be Christ-centered, Faith-based, and grace-driven?  Do you own these values?  Are these values proven by your attitudes and your actions?  It's one thing to salute the flag, but, it's another thing to be willing to give your life for your country.  We, as devoted men and women of God, have been called to link together as like minded Christians to give away the good news of the Gospel of Christ.

1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”

Either you are faith-based or you are fear-based. The default is fear based. A faith-based person is Christ-centered. Faith must have an object of faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen – Hebrews 11:1. Jesus said: “I am the object of your life” ...  He is the message. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  Jesus said, "no man cometh to the father but by me." Faith is the experience of knowing Jesus. The knowledge is only through an intimate relationship with Him.  Faith is the assurance and the certainty of truth. We walk by faith and not by sight2 Corinthians 5:7. We often don't know the way ... but He does. He may not show us the destination, but the Lord will show us the next step. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path – Psalm 119:105. Upon this long and winding life journey, all God asks is that we do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our GodMicah 6:8.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed, "If there be any way, let this cup of suffering and death pass from me.  Nevertheless not my will but thine be done." Prayer is not aligning God's heart with our heart; rather it is aligning our heart with God's heart. In the midst of the tribulations of life, what is the object of your faith? As the Apostle Paul said, "I press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." The over-riding goal is that others would come to Jesus Christ and that we may proclaim the excellency of Him who has called us from darkness into light.

Through the dark times of trial and tribulation, God will force us to ask ourselves, "What is the purpose of my life?"  Jesus said in John chapter 14, "I have to leave so that the Comforter of the Holy Spirit shall come.  The spirit will teach you all things pertaining to life."  He also said, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth give I. Unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

The question is, for whom do you live?  Who takes first place in your heart?  Jesus said that unless a man "hates" his family, he cannot follow me. Anything that comes between me and making Jesus Christ Lord will take my heart away from the Prince of Peace.  Jesus said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these other things will be added unto you."  There is nothing wrong with wanting to be blessed.  However, Jesus said to seek the Blessor and not the blessings. When Jesus is Lord, all these other blessings will flow. Life becomes meaningful when Jesus Christ is the meaning of life.

The cataclysmic events of life will drive us to our knees. When we come to the point that we understand that "my life is in thy hands," He will open our eyes to what is really important. Lessons learned in the fiery crucible of life are priceless.  At these moments of desperation, "would you purpose in your heart to praise God, regardless of the outcome of this trial?" A person of faith says, "not my will but thy be done."  What is it that you value most. We must take the things we think are precious and lay them down at the foot of the cross. All my trophies at last I lay down.  I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it someday for a crown.

O Lord, My times are in thy hands. Only you are loving, gracious, kind and forgiving. Regardless of the selfish intentions of my finite and feeble mind, Your will shall come to pass. O gracious Father, take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to thee; a Christ-centered life.

May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ, Michael

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