It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. Proverbs 25:2

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Christ Incorporated  Vs Christ Transformation

Many people were taught to have Christ incorporated into their lives. To have Christ to come alongside  them, to help them, bless them, protect them and to be available when they need Him. That is not the truth of the Gospel or the reason Christ came. Christ came to restore us back to who we were created to be, sons and daughters who reflect the image and glory of God, which is displayed in the life of Christ. Jesus came and showed us how we are to live this life and to be our example so thatwe can live transformed and be a living reflection of the Image of God on the earth. Christ crucified is our example of transformation. Christ’s life, His death, burial and resurrection, is our life goal. The Bible says we are to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This baptism is a type or a symbol of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ that should be taking place in every true Christian’s life. 

Matthew 28:19 – 20 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. NKJV

Many people lack an understanding of the symbolic meaning of Baptism.  Some are taught that baptism is the thing to do to become a member of a church or to become part of the social aspect having allrights and privileges as other members. However, this is not thecomplete comprehension of baptism. Many people have gone into the water dry and came up wet and that was all they know about the transformation of baptism. True baptism is a proclamation of a death, our death to self, and it represents the burial of our old self, and the resurrection of a new life in Christ. 

When our body goes under water it represents us going into a watery grave, which signifies the death and burial of the old life as we knew it. When we are brought up from the water, this symbolizes we are raised into the resurrection of a new life in Christ.  This is significant, because a dead man no longer has an agenda. A dead man is no longer offended. A dead man no longer concerns himself with the desires and yearnings of this world. This is seen in the life of a mature Christian who see themselves dead to selfishness and selfindulgences of this fallen world system but alive to the spiritual and eternal things of God. 

In true baptism, Christians are to be so identified with the death of Christ that they realize they no longer have a life to live for themselves.They believe Jesus died for them and if He died for them then they, also died in Him and are dead to their own selfish concerns. We as Christians are to now live for the concerns of Christ and His purpose for our lives and to reflect the glory of God in the earth. Our lives are no longer our own, we have been bought with a price, with the precious Blood of Jesus Christ. Baptism represents the death of the old person and the resurrection of a new person who is now born again into the family and household of God, our Father. Just as when a seed is buried in the ground, it dies and no longer lives in its original form. It is transformed into roots and then sprouts into another form that will bring into existence new fruit or a new form of life. 

When people refuse to die to self, it is because they are still, so in love with themselves. Their focus is still on how they can fulfill their own desires and wants. People who are self-focused and are living for immediate gratification of self, most times they will end up living their lives alone and in misery.  At times some people may even want to incorporate Christ into what they are doing, rather than dying to their old ways and allowing God to transform them into the image of Christ.People who continue to love this fallen world system and the life theylive in it, will fail to see God’s purpose and they lack an eternal perspective of life.

At times some people may recognize the hurt and problems they bring on themselves and others around them because of their greed and their love of this fallen world system, more than the life and truth of God. Some may even come to hate the destruction that is brought into their lives without Christ and seek God. This life span that God has given usto live on the earth, will determine our eternal destiny. We all have an eternal spirit, the question is, where will we spend this eternity? God has given each person, a will and a life, to demonstrate the choices they make for eternity. It is when we come to truly know the love God has for us and understand His desire is to restore us back into His image, for His glory, that we will be able to choose to die to self. Then the life of Jesus Christ be our example and we will be able to love others as Christ has loved us. 

John 12:   Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. NKJV

2 Corinthians 5:14-15  For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. NKJV

Baptism signifies the beginning of a new life in Christ. The old things are passed away and we are a new creation, born again into a new life, new family and a new kingdom. We have transferred our citizenship from this old fallen world system back into the kingdom of God. Wewill appear as strangers and foreigners to those living in this fallen world but we are to become ambassador for our new country, the kingdom of God. Those who are of the world will try and incorporate Jesus into their lives for His benefits and blessings. However, True believers in Christ will be transformed to live a different life a different way.  When we submit our will to obey God, we can be certain that God will complete the good work He has begun in us. It is not our work it is our submission and faith in His word.  

Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus ChristNKJV

 To Know Him The Only True God, This Is Eternal Life!

We have been told to say a prayer so that God will save us from hell and so that we may go to heaven when we die. But the Bible says eternal life is to know God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Jesus taught us to pray for God’s kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven. God does not want us to just go the heaven when we die. God wants His heavenly will to live in us and His kingdom presence be carried out on earth though us. God has sent Jesus to show us how to live and God has given us His word through His Son Jesus and the Bible. The Bible is the written Word of God and in it we can know His way and know God’s will for our lives. Yet so many people shy away from God’s word but they willstill listen to the voice of reason of this fallen world system.  

John 17:3  Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. NIV

Many people have been taught that God is so far off that they could never understand His will or His ways but God’s word tells us differently. The Bible tells us to come boldly to God’s throne of Grace so we can obtain His mercy and help in time of need. It tells us to come to God when we are in trouble or when we have missed the mark, because this is when we are in need. But this fallen world system says stay away and do not go to God until you get yourself clean and right. If we were able to live right and get clean on our own there would be no need for Jesus to come and save us.  It is Jesus’ death and resurrection that makes us righteous before God and not anything we have done for ourselves.  It is God’s Spirit in us that give us Hope and enables us to give glory to God in hard times. We cannot live righteous before God without the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Hebrew 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. NKJV

Many people fail to see the truth of God’s word because most are blinded by their own human reasoning and life experiences. Instead of looking at the life of Christ and allowing His life to define what is possible and to let Jesus become the standard of life for us to obtain,they will say, yes, but this happened or that happened to me.  They will allow their life experiences in a fallen world system define what they believe about God and how they will live rather than listen to the word of God.  Faith and belief is developed through the word of God. People are told to ask the Holy Spirit to come into our lives to help them but God wants to come into our lives and transform us into the image of Christ. To know God and the love of God and to allow Him to transform our lives, this should be the goal of every true believer and this is the will of God for our lives.

Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly,
To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? NKJV

Before Christ came to earth, God’s plan for mankind’s salvation was a mystery that was hidden for generations but God has revealed Himself to His people through the life of Christ and His word.  The Spirit of Christ is now living in the true believer and this is the Hope we have forour lives and our future. This is the Hope we give to others through the love we display to others, even as we are experiencing and walking through difficult times. 

Colossians 1 26-27   The mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.  To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

In this western world system we have cultivated a self-centered gospel which is not the Gospel of Christ. People are told to come to Christ for what He can do for them, to save them from their pain, to bless themand for what He can give them. They are taught to come to God with a self-focused theology rather than a Christ centered belief.  Their successin life is determined by their being blessed, protected and prosperous and when life comes and hits them with loss and lack they think God has failed them. Many have come to God for what He can do for them,rather than taking up their cross, dying to self and being transformed to live a life that glorifies God. 

Romans 12:2   And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what isthat good and acceptable and perfect will of God. NKJV

Instead of dying to pride and dying to self-interest and living for God, they will always focus on what they are lacking, their problems and the chaos in their lives.  The Bible calls our problems light afflictions and they are opportunities for us to reflect Christ to a lost world. But many believers fall just as deep into despair as those who are without hope inChrist because the lack knowledge and an eternal perspective.

John 12:24-26 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.

It is only when we take our eyes off of ourselves and self-centeredness that we can die to our need for immediate self-gratification. Then we can look to God, know His purpose and represent Him well in this life with an eternal outlook. This is eternal life to know God, to know the love He has for us and to allow His love to be in us so that we may love others just as He has loved us.  

John 17:3  Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. NIV

 

Wise Men Are Still Seeking Jesus!

 Matthew 2:1-2 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,  saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him. NKJV

The thing that made these men wise is the very thing that makes men wise today; they were seeking Jesus, the King, so that they may worship Him.  Wise men are still following after Jesus though it may be costly, time consuming and often sacrificial. Those who are wise in the things of God are still looking to Jesus as their guiding light in a dark, perverse and obstinate world.

These wise men were from a distant country from the east was awaiting the birth of the Messiah, The King of the Jews. Some may ask where did they come from and how did they know to look for the King of the Jews to be born? God is the Master Engineer and He can orchestrate circumstances and situations even before time began to accomplish His task. Is it a coincidence that Keturah, Abraham’s second wife was sent with gifts eastward with her six sons to the east country?  Is it possible that Abraham would have told his children of the coming Messiah and that God would reconcile the world back to Himself through this King so that all humanity could partake in His Eternal Life?  Is it coincidence that Moses’ father in law was the priest of Midian? A descendant of Midian a son of Abraham and Keturah, and He offered praise to God for all He had done for Israel. But with God are there really any coincidences?

Genesis 25:1-6   Abraham again took a wife, and her name wasKeturah. And she bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. Jokshan begot Sheba and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim. And the sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abidah, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah.And Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac. But Abraham gave gifts to the sons of the concubines whichAbraham had; and while he was still living he sent them eastward, away from Isaac his son, to the country of the east.

Genesis 18:19 For I have known him,(Abraham) in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”

Keturah is called the most ignored significant person in the Torah; the first five books of the Bible. There has been a lot of speculation and comments about Keturah and the six sons she bore to Abraham and there is no need at this point to try to add to this speculation. We can only state what the Bible says about the matter and we understand God’sways are not our ways.  Only God can set up situations centuries in advance to insure His word is fulfilled. 

These wise men were looking for the Messiah and when they saw His star they had exceedingly great joy. They came and kneeled before Christ and they opened their treasures and presented Him with the things they valued as an expression of worship. Wise men are still kneelingdown before Christ to open their hearts and their treasures to Him as an act of worship.  When our hearts are open with exceedingly great joy to Jesus we too will open our treasures of great worth and present them toowithout reservation.  God wants us to surrender our hearts regardless to our wealth and then He will have our treasures, our commitment, our integrity and loyalty to our King. 

Matthew 2:9b-11… the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was.  When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.  And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. NKJV

The Proverbs has a lot to say about wisdom, it says happy is the man that finds wisdom and the man who gets understanding, that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.  What does it mean to fear the Lord? The Bible says the fear of the Lord is to hate evil which is pride, arrogance, evil waysand a mouth that is perverse or speaks fraud. Also fear of the Lord is to give instructions of wisdom, training our children to flee evil and walk in humility so as to obtain honor.

We will spend countless hours and money to train our children in all types of skills, reasoning, logic and things that appear to be sensible in the world. But many often fail to instruct their children in Godly wisdom, how to walk in integrity, to hate pride and arrogance and not to speak viciously with deceit or fraud. We allow this fallen world system to shape their ideas, their minds, their sense of right and wrong.  Then when they bow their knee at the altar of selfishness, pride and rebellion we wonder what went amiss and what went wrong. All that the world is searching for is found in the wisdom of God, happiness, riches and honor and length of days. 

Proverb 3:13-16  Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding; 14 For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, And her gain than fine gold. 15 She is more precious than rubies, And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. 16 Length of days is in her right hand,  In her left hand riches and honor.

God’s wisdom is rich and it is worth searching out. God has made Jesus to be our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. We tend to accept easily the redemption of Christ but some people have a hard time accepting that they are righteous and sanctified and perhaps they lack understanding of the wisdom they have in Jesus. We are called to seek wisdom and to pursue it. As any hidden treasure or gem of value it takes much effort to pursue wisdom, just as it takes much effort to find rubies, silver or gold, if not more.  

1 Corinthians 1:30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption

God is still concealing the richness of His wisdom in His word and He has called the prudent and humble to seek it. Wisdom has been given to us in the person of Jesus and He has told us to follow Him. 

Proverbs 25:2  It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter. 

Wise people are still seeking Jesus!

 Born to Die-Christmas a Celebration of Jesus’ Birth

Christmas is the celebration of the life of Jesus, which was given so that we may have hope, joy and peace on earth. Jesus was born with the express purpose of dying so that He could redeem the beloved people of God. God so loved us, people who were created in His image that He would not leave us in a lost state without Hope. Jesus was born so that we could live a life transformed into the likeness of God on the earth. The Christmas story is the story of Jesus coming with the purpose of giving His life that others may live. 

Jesus came in the likeness of mankind that He too would have the same position and authority of mankind on the earth. Jesus left His heavenly position and chose to receive a body to live in this fallen world system and He would also suffer as we have suffered. The love of God was expressed in this, a Child born; God Son was given so that He may receive us back into His family and that we should live under a new government, which is the kingdom of God on earth.  God sees us as His most treasured, most valued and most loved and as such He would pay such a great price and ransom to retrieve our lives from our fallen stateof sin.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Princeof Peace. NKJV

The greatest gift of God was born in lowly and obscure circumstances in the natural. There was no room for Jesus’ mother to stay in the inn so they stayed in a place where the animals were kept. The King of Kings was born in a lowly place and covered with strips of cloths and not in a palace wearing fine silk. Jesus was laid in a trough a feeding box for animals and not in a bed for royalty. We tend to picture visions of grandeur when we think of Jesus’ birth but it was not, it was in very low circumstances. God’s ways are not like the ways of mankind. God is still birthing His children in low and obscure places so as to prepare them for their future to be kings and priests to this world. 

Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. NKJV

With the announcement of Jesus’ birth came the announcement of conflict. The shepherd was told this day in the city of David a Saviour was born which is Christ the Lord.  These two titles, Saviour and Christ, speak of both majesty and conflict. The title Savior is one who saves, rescues or delivers, which indicates conflict or trouble.  Christ is the Messiah, the promised Deliverer of God’s people, again indicating a fight or battle will ensue or arise for deliverance. 

Luke 2: 10-12 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” NKJV

Jesus did not come to this earth blindly or not knowing His mission and His purpose. He came to die that others may live a life transformed to look like their Father in heaven. Jesus did not come to die because we are worthless sinners but because we are valued children. Jesus did not die just so that we can go to heaven but so that we may live transformed lives and also that we will know the truth of who we are. Jesus came so we will reflect the image of our Heavenly Father and that heaven will be brought back to the earth through us.

John 18:37  Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears Myvoice.” NKJV

 Christmas is a time that the world calls magical, but Christ followers recognize it as Majestic. It is a time that the world sets aside to honor and praise God for the birth of Jesus theMessiah. During the Christmasseason people are kinder and have a willingness to give and to share with others regardless of their religion. 

During Christmas we still see and hear God’s angels praising Him saying, Glory to God in the Highest, peace on earth and good will toward men. Christmas is a celebration of the gift of God to all mankind and God is still being proclaimed and crowned in the praises of His people.

Psalm 22:3 But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel NKJV

In the celebration of Jesus’ birth we see people denying themselves that they may give to others as Jesus set aside His heavenly splendor and became a man, the Righteous gave Himself for the unrighteous. He was rich beyond measure but became poor that we who were poor in our depraved mindset could become heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ. He laid down His life that we may live.  Jesus our Saviour our Sovereign King is our example so that we too may be transformed into the image of God. 

John 12:24-26 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.  He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. NKJV 

Father, let the gift of Christ’s life be born in us this Christmas season;give us a new life and new purpose that we too may die to self-centeredness. Father, let the spirit of pride and selfishness die that we may show the love of God on the earth.  Father, let the truth of your word live in us that we may focus on the eternal and lasting things of God and let us turn from the snares of this worldly system of greed and envy. Let the Majesty of Your government; living rightly and doing justly, be on our shoulders so that Your name will be proclaimed as Wonderful, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and The Prince of Peace in our homes, our families and our nations. 

 

 

Because of Christ We Are More Than Conquerors

A conqueror is one who defeats and captures his foe but we are more than conquerors because we were not even in the fight. Jesus fought for us and gave us the victory so we are more than a conqueror because we have all the benefits without having to go through the battle.  We must learn to be thankful in every situation. We can when we realize the love God has for us. His love goes farther and deeper than anything we can experience on our own.

Romans 8:37-39  Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. NKJV

Some people think they are not overcomers because they did not receive what they were believing God for at that moment. We must learn to live beyond what is seen at the moment and to not dwell on the past, the thing that seemingly defeated us at that point in time. These are only preparations for our victory so that we may know that we are more than overcomers because of Christ. We are overcomers not just when we receive answers to prayer but when we keep our hearts in tune to the purpose that we were born and by keeping our eyes on God‘s kingdom perspective, which is our call to love others. We are more than conquerors when we are persuaded, convinced and certain of God’s love for us. Then we can press through no matter how bad the appearance of loss, defeats, emotional or spiritual attacks may be. We persevere so that God’s love will be displayed in us and through us to those who live in darkness that they may see His Marvelous Light. 

1 Thessalonians 5:15-18  See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.  Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

We are told to not return evil when evil is given to us but to follow, chase after and practice what is good for both ourselves and others. We can choose to not fall into despair in hard situations and  circumstances but rather wait on the deliverance of God, because we understand this is the permissive will of God for us at this time. It may be an attack from the enemy brought on by a fallen world system but we can walk like Christ and in His love in the midst of adversity and calamity. We can give thanks by faith knowing God will work all of these challenges for our good and His glory. We must rejoice in faith and pray without ceasing so we can give thanks to God for Jesus who has given us victory and shown us His way. 

Our lives are not our own. The life we now live is for a purpose, to leave a legacy for God’s name and to let our hearts respond like His heart would respond in these situations.  Our purpose is not just to be blessed by God but to be transformed by Him into the likeness of Jesus. If our purpose and desire is to have a good life without problems or struggles, when hard times come we will blame God and be despaired in life.  But if we know God is working a work in our lives, that is to transform us from the fallen mindset to a renewed mind in Christ, we can wait and see how God will orchestrate the situation. God’s original intention was that we would have fellowship with Him as our Father and bear His likeness. We should give thanks to God, no matter what state we are inbecause we are in faith. We must understand, if it was allow by God , He will use it for His purpose and it will be turned into something that will be a blessing to us and other and will bring glory to His Name. 

2 Corinthians 4:15, 17  For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory

We must choose to believe that God who raised Jesus up from the dead will also raise us from our afflictions. We must choose not to lose heart because we know these things are working for God’s glory and our good. We must choose to have a thankful heart because it brings glory to God when others see our faith. Our afflictions though they seem grievous at the moment God calls them light in comparison with eternity and exceeding weight of His glory. By faith we must wait to see how the Lord will settle the matter.  

A Thankful Heart – Is A Choice

Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.

Our gladness and joyful songs are acts of worship to the Lord. We should come before Him with joyful singing, gladness and a thankful heart. To be thankful is an expression of gratitude or relief; to be glad that something has happened or not happened; glad that something or someone exists. Regardless of where life takes us or what chaos may arise we always have a choice to focus on God and His goodness or thecurrent circumstances.

We are the keepers and stewards of our own hearts. We determine the motive behind our heart and what we choose to believe is the reason or the why of our lives. We each are the guardians of our own heart. We are responsible for our own life choices and the condition of our hearts as an act of our will or as the result of our decisions. This world system will try to influence our lives and try to impact the condition of heart but the choice is ours to make. We can choose to have a thankful heart or we can choose to allow our life experiences to shape our lives and our state of mind. We must take a hard look at the heart that we are bringing before God. 

When we choose to be fearful we are choosing to focus on our lack. This is like us discounting all of who God is and all He has ever done and saying we do not believe He is able to keep us during these difficult times. The things we fear become greater in our eyes than God.  Fear is a natural human response to chaos but God has called believers to a supernatural response of faith in Him.  Believers are to have faith in God and that He is able and willing to keep us in every situation because He loves us. This is a display of faith and is a testimony to the world of who God is. 

It is when we rehearse the goodness and blessing of God in our hearts and minds that we can run toward our challenges, as David ran towardthe giant. Ingratitude forgets God’s goodness and focuses on the problems but thankfulness focuses on the Sovereignty of God.

A  Psalm for giving grateful praise.

Psalm 100  Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.   Worship the Lordwith gladness; come before him with joyful songs.  Know that the Lordis God. It is he who made us, and we are his  we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations   NIV

We must understand that we were not created for ourselves or for our own selfish concerns but this life is a gift from God created for His purpose. We are to be thankful no matter the situation we find ourselvesbecause we know God is sovereign. Our created purpose is to show God’s love while we are living even in the mist of chaos and pain. We are called be the love of God in Christ. We should not let life experiences shape us into a spirit of thanklessness, ingratitude and ungratefulness. It is when we live our lives focused on God and His goodness that the ingratitude we experience will dissipate.  Our view of God will affect how view our lives, our joy and our ability to be thankful during life challenges.  

 

We can choose to be thankful when we have an understanding of ourpurpose and knowing that it was God’s love for us that sent Jesus to bring us back into His family. It was the love of God that would not leave us condemned. It was God’s love that redeemed us back to our original purpose of being the love of God in the earth. We can shout with joy when we understand we too are God’s sons being used to bring others into His Kingdom.    

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations   NIV

 

 

The Fellowship of Christ – The Fellowship of His Suffering

Many times Christians will go through hardships, persecutions and problems and they think something must be wrong, either with them or that may be God has forgotten to be gracious to them. Many people will collapse and fall into despair at the first sign of pain and heartbreak.  Many will give up at the doorway, at the threshold of the beginning of God’s purpose of transformation in their lives. They will want to lie down and die of self-pity asking, why did God let this happen?  Many in the Christian community will aid them with their pity while validating their dismay of God. Some will help usher them to their bed of sorrow,as they give up on life and God. This however, is not God’s way or how He has told us to meet the difficult challenges of life.

Jesus comes with pierced hands and feet and calls us to enter into the fellowship of His suffering so that others may live. Jesus who knew no sin became sin that we may become righteous. We are told to consider Jesus who endured the contradiction, conflict, denial and disagreement of sinners against Himself. We should consider His life so that we do not become fearful, weary and faint in our own minds. 

Jesus despised the shame and the death of the cross but He endured it. He went through it all because He knew His suffering would set mankind free from sin and that was the joy that motivated Him. The joy before Him was that He would be bringing us into the family of God and when He was finished He would be seated at the right hand of God. 

Hebrews 12:1b-3  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. NIV

True believers in Christ will suffer persecution and disdain of this world. However, most will not suffer or battle to the point of death as they strive against the wrongs and injustices of others. We are told to persevere, to persist and to continue in this race, this conflict or battle of life that has been marked out and reserved for us.  We are told not to think it is a strange thing when our faith is being tested through trials and troubles but consider and think on Jesus. Jesus despised the shame of the cross but He rejoiced over the outcome and the end results. 

We too are told to rejoice when we go through challenges and trials because we are partakers of Christ’s suffering and the end is our testimony of God’s goodness.   God will use the pain of our rejection and betrayal for His purpose, to draw those who are lost to Himself, that they too may receive eternal life.  For this we give thanks that God counted us worthy to suffer in the fellowship of Christ, so others my come to know Him. 

1 Peter 1:6-7   In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. NIV

Far too many Christians refuse to die to self, self-pity, self-centeredness and it is their pride that sits on the throne of their hearts and not Christ. Baptism is a symbolic act of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. When we accept Jesus as our Saviour we are dying to our own self- interest. As true believers are called to be crucified with Christ, to die to self and our lives are no longer our own but we are to offer our lives as a living offering and sacrifice to God. Entering into the water representsthe watery grave that receives the old man and the old way of living and the coming up from that watery grave represents our resurrection and a new life in Christ.

Galatians 2:20   I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. NIV

As an act of our will we all must choose how we will live this God given resurrected life. God has given us all dominion over our lives and we determine how we will use the time we have been given. We will make choices as to how we will live out this life by the actions we take. God created us for His glory, purpose and the work of the Gospel which isGod’s redemptive plan to seek and save those who are lost. As most jobs, work can be hard but it is necessary to accomplish its purpose.  Some people would rather skip work or go to sleep on their job but we are call to be part of God’s redemptive plan to seek and to save the lost. 

1 Corinthians 6:20 You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. NIV

We are called, to fellowship in the suffering of Christ. Jesus is our example, the One we are to follow. When He was reviled, hated, despised and insulted He did not retaliate or avenge Himself.  That is how we are to act when people do us wrong we are to submit the situation to God and let Him settle the matter.  No deceit, dishonesty, trickery or fraud was found in Jesus. When He suffered, Jesus did not threaten anyone but trusted God with the situation. Jesus bore our sins that we could become the righteousness of God. Jesus prayed that we be forgiven because we were ignorant and did not know who He was nor what we were doing. 

We too must pray for those who wounds and insults us and we are to intercede to God on their behalf. God is the Master Engineer, He orchestrates situations and circumstances so that we become part of His plan of salvation for those around us. We are to become intercessors praying on the behalf of those who God wants to do a work in their lives. We will bring them before God and the Holy Spirit will lead us into prayer and intercession for them or their needs. We are told not to faint when we go through troubles and trials because they are testing our level of faith. If we get overwhelmed, hurt and become bitter we lose sight of God’s purpose and glory of bringing a soul into the fellowship of Jesus. 

Our suffering provokes us into prayer and intercession to God inviting Him to work in that life. God will use His people to pray and to cry out for those who are lost. Our lives are no longer our own and we no longer have a private life. God has purchased our lives for His purpose and His plan of redemption. Our lives should be open testimonies to the world of who God is on earth. 

 

 

 

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