Monday, January 31, 2011

Have You Answered His Call?

"I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called. with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Ephesians 4:1-3

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me." Revelation 3:20

God has created every human being to desire things from Him. He has created a void in each person's heart that can only be satisfactorily filled with Him- He is the only thing we can successfully fill that void with. So, God has called every human being to be in relation- or to eat with Him. The true question is this: have you answered the call of Christ? Another question that needs to be answered is what does answering the call of Christ look like? When Jesus first called the disciples, he said: "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." Matt. 4:19. The next verse is the key to knowing what the answering of the Upward Call looks like. "Immediately they left their nets and followed Him." Are you waiting for a sign from God to follow Him? Because God has sent the Perfect Sign: Jesus Christ. The disciples immediately followed Him because they had FAITH that He was the Son of God. But, are we waiting to follow Christ because we are too selfish to deny ourselves and our ambitions to replace them with His desire and His will. That is saying that you do not have faith that He is the Son of God! Utter idolatry- because you have created in you an idol, which is yourself. You are not guaranteed tomorrow, or the next minute. NOW is the time to pick up your cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23). Answering the Call starts with repentance. At the beginning of Jesus' ministry, one of the first things He said was, "[t]he time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is at hand; REPENT and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:15). That was the foundational doctrine that Jesus taught! Repentance. Repentance is transforming the thoughts of the flesh into the higher thoughts of God. Repentance is turning from the ways of your old self, and doing the will of the Father. It isn't some prayer; rather it is the miraculous transformation that only the humble can receive. It is simply replacing your thoughts with His thoughts. "We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5). In order to answer the Call of Christ we must obey Him! The disciples did not argue with Christ when He called them. They did not make excuses for why they could not follow Him. Rather, they gave up EVERYTHING to follow Him. It is the same now as it was then. "But Blake, I have secret sin that I cannot get rid of." Do you believe in the power of the Cross? Do you believe that He has bought you with a price and that He stands at the door of your heart and knocks? It starts with repentance my friends. Bringing things to the light so other brothers and sisters in Christ can hold you accountable- so they can exhort you! "But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God." (John 3:21) In order to answer the call of Christ we must first repent, then OBEY. "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." (John 14:15) God has called us to obedience, holiness, righteousness, and repentance. Because Christ lives in us, we are made holy and blameless before our Father. "Even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. (Eph. 1:4). We are to walk in the newness of life that is in Christ, and not delve into our past. That is obedience! Walking in perfect harmony with the Holy Spirit that lives inside of you is what you and every Christian is called to do. So let's do it! So let us walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls us into His kingdom and glory! (1 Thess. 2:12)

In Christ, Blake

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Do We Require A Sign?

Do we as Christians demand something out of God? Do we require that He show us something, or give us some "feeling" to let us know that He is real? Where is our faith? Where is our unquestioning Hope that is in Christ? Let us examine our hearts.

The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.

He replied, "When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." Jesus then left them and went away.

Are we doing this in our walks with Him? Are we demanding that He show us something so that we can believe? God does not need to show us a sign. He gave us the ultimate sign: His Son's death on a cross. If we have no faith to believe that His son died, and that God sits on His throne, then why would God show us a sign? We can interpret the sky and the weather, but we do not know how or what God wants? That is the situation the Pharisees were in. They saw the things He performed and the miracles He worked, but they still did not want to believe. They did not want to believe what He was teaching because it was uncomfortable. Jesus preached love, humility, patience, kindness, and most importantly, repentance. The Pharisees are a perfect example of the religious people of today- just like they were then. They saw the things He did, they heard the things He preached- but they refused to believe because it went against modern theology of the time. It went against what they were taught. Does that not sound familiar? When repentance is preached, we shake in our boots. We do not listen and do what Jesus asked. We would rather have fun and live in the sin that God calls us out of. That is the exact place the Pharisees found themselves in. Because they were too prideful, they refused to see the things which Jesus was doing. Are we too prideful to have faith to believe? "For the righteous shall live by faith." Why do we need to see a sign? Why do we seek a feeling? God is not a feeling, or an emotion; He is Truth, and the Truth will set you free. When we enter into a covenant relationship based on faith with Him, He will reveal Himself to us. Faith is a belief that does not require a sign. If our faith was based on God showing us signs, then what would be the point of Faith? I found this online and I really like it, "Faith indicates persistent action, devotion, and direction of self, and is often charged with emotion. When there is faith within someone, they become faithful, and when they have faith in someone, that loyalty can grow into a covenant. In the Hebrew Scriptures, this is the meaning of Heb. 'emunah. 'Emunah is also used to describe the covenant of marriage, as what the husband and wife have in each other. Faith can grow stronger or become weaker, changing with each situation. Life eventually puts it to the test." Is our faith continually being put to the test? Have we entered a covenant marriage with Christ? Our situations in our life do not define our faith, rather our faith is tested when He asks us to obey. Those that do not keep His commandments do not love Him and they also have no faith. But the faithful will continually do what He asks, no matter the cost. That is why the Pharisees and the religious people of today seek signs. Because they have NO FAITH. My challenge to my brothers and sisters in Christ is to start building our faith by following His Voice. Faith is action without requirement. So live in Him, and drink out of the Well of the Holy Spirit where it never runs dry. And build yourselves up in your most Holy Faith.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

He Will Get Glory

Ezekiel 1:12- "... Wherever the spirit would go, they went, without turning as they went."

Are we willing to go wherever the spirit leads, without turning? Are we willing to lose our life so that His will, His majesty, and His glory can be brought to light? God does not, and will not, use a vessel that is being guided by our desires; or a vessel filled with lawlessness. He wants to use us, but if we do not get out of the way and let Him guide us-- through the Holy Spirit-- then we will be useless to Him. In order to fully surrender our lives to Christ, then we must fully obey His word and change the way we think. In order to change the way we think, we must humble ourselves. In order to humble ourselves, we must get to a place in our lives where nothing else matters to us but the surpassing worth of knowing the Creator of all things. We must abide in Him, and He in us. How do we know that we are abiding in Him and He in us? "By this we may know that we are in Him: whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the SAME way in which He walked. " That scripture from 1st John separates the True Christians from the religionists. We are called to walk in the light just as Christ walked. If we walk in the same way Christ walked, then our lives will be forever changed, and our vessel will be useful to God-- and He will get the glory He requires! So be it! But, it IS NOT about us and what WE want!

So many times in our lives we lose sight of what REALLY matters. The one thing that is held of higher importance than anything in this world is bringing glory to the Father. But sometimes, we focus on what we want, when we want it, and how we want it. We want to be 'happy.' If we are not happy, then God is not doing His job! What a perfect example of Humanism! But, is that what scripture teaches us? When are we going to say; not my will but yours, oh Lord? If we walk as Christ walked, then where is our Gethsemane attitude? Even to the point of a gruesome death on a cross, Christ spoke- "...not as I will, but as you will." There is no other portrait than that of perfect obedience. Christ obeyed His Father. And because of His obeying, He DIED. But God, where is MY happiness? I am supposed to be happy! No, He is supposed to be GLORIFIED at our expense. God let His OWN SON die-- so that He would be glorified. God demands nothing less than perfect obedience just as His own son displayed in the moments before His death. So, let us cling to that.

God, let our sight not be blurred by our desires, but let our eyes focus on your will and OBEY your word. We love you, not for what you have done in our lives, but for who you are. You are sovereign! You are Holy! We want nothing more than to see you HIGH AND LIFTED UP! God, open the eyes of the blind and strengthen the legs of the weak. Let us see who You really are. We want You, Your heart, Your will, and Your holiness! Fill us to the brim and let our cup not run dry! Forever yours Lord.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'm Killing Myself

When are we going to kill ourselves so that Christ can fully live in us? When are we going to look past our feelings and wants, and walk the path that Christ has for us? When are we going to stop living our lukewarm lives and get ON FIRE for Christ (Hebrews 12:28)? When are we going to stop living for ourselves? When are we going to wake up and stop compromising who He is?

These are all questions God asked me recently. "How can we say we have died to sin and still live in it?" We walk in the newness of life. We do not live from our past, but rather breathe the air of today. We do not have to keep sinning. If we claim to know Him and we keep sinning, then we really do not know Him (or love Him-John 14:15). For if Christ lives in us, we have been resurrected with Him. Resurrection implies a new life, a transformation that only God Himself can do. It is not our power, but through Him. Our old self has been crucified with Him, so we no longer are enslaved to that sin. It has no dominion over you. Satan has NO dominion over you. He has overcome our sin on the cross. We just have to believe and DO the things He asks. "Doing" is not trying. "Doing" is whole heartedly following Him-- even at the cost of yourself and your possessions. We have been set free from the bondage of sin. The chains have been severed, and we now walk in the newness of life that is in Christ Jesus.

It is time for the true Christians to arise. It is time to stop compromising, and start contesting the true Christ. Stand firm in who He is, and let Him reign in our lives forever and ever. So be it.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Worrying Does NOTHING

I worry about things. I worry about what people will think. I worry about what others feel. I worry about who I am going to marry. I worry about her (really, because she is going to have to put up with me). I worry that my feelings don't mean a thing to another person. I worry that I will make a mistake. But what does the Bible teach us about worrying, or being anxious, in Matthew? Matthew 6:34 states, "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." But the verse before that is equally, if not more, important, "But seek FIRST the KINGDOM of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Does that mean I seek her first? Does that mean that I seek marriage first? Does that mean I seek earthly love first? BY NO MEANS! Seek FIRST His Kingdom, and everything else will take care of itself (not by me or you, but by Him- just to clarify). I may have a want to marry a girl or even a STRONG feeling that I WILL marry her. But, what if I or she dies tomorrow? OR what if His plan is different for our lives? Will my love for Him be sufficient? Will my love for Him stand firm, even when I cannot stand? That is the only thing that matters. I may marry her, but I may NOT. SO what? He is sovereign and He knows what He is doing. That is what I cling to. Everything on this earth that we, as humans, desire is nothing compared to the Glory of our Father. Not even the girl you marry. (Now, that does, in no way, mean that you do not love her- trust me). But what matters most in the beautiful scheme of eternity is God and His holiness, purity, greatness, splendor, sovereignty, and beauty. That is what He wants. So, let us not worry about the things of tomorrow, but focus on the prize that is Christ. The prize that comes with the yearning and pursuing of Him alone! HE IS faithful!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Philippians 3:14

God is transforming lives. He is opening eyes and strengthening legs of the weak to walk on the path that leads to righteousness, which is Christ. The new year is a year of Christ and the glory to which He will receive. The past is gone. As far as the east is from the west, our transgressions are gone. Our past is not what defines us, rather our Hope that is in Christ. The Hope of all glory is unseen (Rom. 8:24) and in it lies His strength to walk the beaten path. In it lies our courage to stand firm on a path not seen by many. As the New Year is here, my continual prayer for my brothers and sisters in Christ is that we live for the Hope of Glory NOW in our lives. Not tomorrow, not yesterday, but TODAY. Nothing in this carnal world matters more than the SURPASSING worth of knowing Christ. I pray that we become like Christ. That we die to ourselves, our selfish emotions, our pitiful fears, our insecurities, our lack of assurance, our feelings,and our heart. But Lord, our heart yearns for You and your will. Lord, we focus on what lies ahead. Burn away the dross Lord, and cleanse from us all our feelings and replace them with the Perfect Love that is in You. We press on to YOUR call Lord. We press on to the YOUR will. We press on; even when we cannot see a foot in front of us. We press on even when we cannot stand on our own. We press on past our feelings. We press on past our wants. We press on to YOUR Glory, Father. We press on to YOUR Heart. Lord, you are a Consuming Fire. Come and fill our Hearts.