Sunday, September 18, 2011

Church. . .It got me thinking!

The word seems to evoke many emotions among people. Why? Because it's made of people. You have to understand that going into it. But, God created us to be relational. It seems the entire Bible leans towards community. Abraham didn't see all the promises of God made to Him, but He knew it wasn't really about Him, but rather a group of people. Yes, God is relational. Personal to us. But, because He is relational, He has created us to be relational, vertically and horizontally. All that to say this. . .church should always inspire you to learn and ask more questions. It should be encouraging but should also inspire you to run the race, to fight the good fight, to move closer in your relationship with the Lord tomorrow than you are today. So, in reality, it shouldn't always make you happy. It shouldn't be "feel good". Change doesn't always feel good. And, if we are in a relationship with Him, we should be forever changing. So, the following "devotional" or thought for today stems from what we have been talking about in church. Or, maybe it's just what I needed to be reminded of.
I hope you have it. I hope you have asked Jesus to Lord over your life. I hope you have accepted His gift. It's free. It's life-changing. . .

OR it should be.

Why is it that when we are saved we sometimes think, "Well, that's enough. I've got my ticket, but I'm gonna live life like I want it." So, we ask Christ to live in our hearts, but not to change us. . . not to cause us to strive for better. So, I will continue to live with my boy/girlfriend, or I won't lie too much just when it might be in someone's best interest, or it's OK to cheat as long as it doesn't hurt someone, or I will still run around with the same people doing the same thing without showing them the change, or I'm only stealing from Uncle Sam. . .so I won't report my side earnings. What is that? When I read the Bible and about those in the New Testament, I see lives TRANSFORMED. . .CHANGED. . .Saul even got a new name (Paul), but what if Saul said, Jesus is great. I'm saved, but I'm just gonna kill a few more Christians (just the ones that are a bad testimony). WHAT? We would be appalled. But for some reason the same change doesn't apply to our lives. We don't wanna be bothered. It's a "personal" relationship. I live how I want. So glad Jesus did not adopt that mentality. It is about Him and serving others for Him. The following scripture is what made me go on this rant tonight. Reviewing the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11. . .a chapter talking about the faith of Abraham, Sarah, Moses. . .and on and on. But, I like this part (referring to those Old Testament Heros) from Hebrews 11:33-37
"who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated. . ."

Wow! They did awesome things through the power of God. But guess what? Things didn't always go smoothly. Some were put in prison, tortured, mocked, stoned, sawn in two. Do these sound like believers in Yaweh who were like "Well, I'm a Hebrew. I've been circumcised. That's enough. I'm in"? NO!!!!! I'm sure there were those who acted like that, but they were not mentioned. They aren't the ones we are given as models of faith. Things are going to good and things are going to go bad. That is life. The question is what am I doing while I am living, good or bad? Isaiah 54:17 says that we are more than conquerors and that no weapon formed against us will prosper. Peter, Paul, Stephen, James. . .they knew this. And once they were changed, they were changed. It was evident. 2 Peter 1:12 says (Peter speaking) that I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them.

I need to be reminded to LIVE the change that's within me. When the Holy Spirit dwells within you, you have to change. Continual sin and the Holy Spirit don't coincide. I often wonder if I lived after the resurrection of Christ would I be one of them that was unashamed and unafraid. Or, would I dare to continue living selfishly while those around me died for there faith?

Just a little food for thought. . .

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