Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Three Questions for Such a Time as This - Part 1

This week Michael writes: Many of us are interested in seeing 2016 in our rearview mirror. However, the word of God encourages us to finish strong. For the Lord's strength is made perfect in our weakness. God is the one who empowers us as we make His will our will and His word our word. He has called us as men and women of God for such a time as this.

A child of God asks themselves three questions. The first is "Do you love God above all?"  According to 1 Corinthians 16:22, "Let him that does not love the Lord Jesus be accursed." Without God we are without hope in this world. The default condition is God's righteous judgment for sin which leads to death. However, God sending His own son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin condemned sin in the flesh that we may be made the righteousness of God in Him

Many people followed Jesus as the "rock star" of his day. They wanted to see a miracle and the power of God in manifestation. They were not committed to follow Him because of a broken and a contrite heart, because they were lost, without peace, without purpose, without direction, and without hope.  Jesus needed to separate His true disciples from those who followed Him just to be "entertained."

Jesus taught His disciples and raised the bar when He said, "Unless you hate your father and mother, brother and sister, you cannot be my true disciple."  Compared to the love of God, everything else must take second place. The first commandment is "Thou shalt have no other Gods between your face and my face." Those who do not follow Him get used to "living in the darkness." However, the darker the night the brighter the light shines. There is no greater time than now to live in the light of the gospel of truth.  Jesus said, "In this world as my disciples you will have persecution, however, be not dismayed for I have overcome the world." Living the more abundant life means that you need to have your doctrine and your "right” believing in order according to the Word of God. How you respond to life's challenges depends on where your heart is.  Persecution means that there is a price to pay for aligning our hearts with His heart.

The culture continues to marginalize those who stand for the righteous standard of the Word of God. In many circles, to quote scripture is defined as "hate speech" worthy of prosecution. “Political Correctness” is the devil's ploy to silence the truth of the Word of God. The adversary can put up with anything except the Word of God rightly divided on the lips of a believing Believer. We must be willing to die to self in order to live for Him.  We must also be willing to suffer persecution in order to declare the righteousness of God, in Christ, in us. As God said to Joshua before he entered into the promised land:  "Therefore, be thou strong and of a good courage for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest."

The job of the Holy Spirit is to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable. We must be prepared for the spiritual battle by "putting on the Lord Jesus Christ." Clothed in His righteousness alone, "faultless to stand before the throne." We don't need to run to the battle lines. The adversary has already moved the battle lines to encroach on God's righteous standards. When the pressure is on, are you willing to forsake the comforts of the world to stand within the comfort of the Holy Spirit, upon the righteous standard of the Word of God? Persecution will come. However, Jesus said, "Bless them that persecute you and despitefully use you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake, for great is your reward in heaven."

Let's continue Michael's message on the next post.
In Christ, Brian

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