Agnostic or Just Arrogant

    Recently I encountered a person who claimed they had made a change from Christian to agnostic.  One can’t help wondering what areas of life they were unwilling to surrender to Christ.  Quite frankly, could saying I’m an agnostic be just proclaiming arrogance and self-will?  Self-will says I will have that object of worship, I will exalt my own intellect, I will experience the pleasures of this world.  Matthew 16:25 “For anyone who keeps his life for himself shall lose it; and anyone who loses his life for me shall find it again.” 
    Like the agnostic, believers can also defy their creator, the One who planned their very existence and loves them best.  We can continually doubt His plan for our life even though it is tailor made for us.  This is a denial of God’s rightful place in our life.  We should consider the seriousness of moving away from God.  What are we relinquishing in our arrogance and pride?  Would we challenge God’s deep and abiding love for us?  Did God not prove his love by going to the cross to purchase our forgiveness and eternal life?  This friend is the height of arrogance.  Arrogance is defined as pride, self-importance or conceit.  Consider carefully, to lose relationship with the God of our faith is to lose much more than any earthly gain.  The path of arrogance is foolish and pointless because God will not be mocked.  Galations 6:7, 8 “Don’t be misled; remember that you can’t ignore God and get away with it: a man will always reap just the kind of crop he sows!  If he sows to please his own wrong desires, he will be planting seeds of evil and he will surely reap a harvest of spiritual decay and death…”
    Dear Christian, could disobedience be in the way of knowing God?  Might God be asking you to give up that corrupting tv show, that disturbing movie, or that false belief that excuses sin?  John 14:23 “Because I will only reveal myself to those who love me and obey me.”  There are important life-changing decisions to be faced daily.  Decisions that will either tear down or build faith in a God who has the right to ask and expect obedience.  Many exciting rewards are waiting for the believer who seeks to live by God’s righteous standards.  Will you be that one to move from arrogance to awesome faith?

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Loving God

   Over two thousand years ago the Father sent the Son into the world to reveal the character of God. Today we continue this work of being ambassadors for God.  For the truth is simply this: if any person would know God they would love Him dearly and gladly give Him their life’s devotion.  The debt every man is asked to pay is the debt of love to God.  Psalms 86:12 “I will give glory to your name forever, for you love me so much.”
    Friends, God is perfect in the most wonderful ways.  It means He is always for us, always present to guide us, always right in His dealings with us and always gives us of His bountiful gifts.  What good can come from blaming God for troubles we’ve experienced, to be resentful or rebel against Him?  This is the God who is at work to rescue me and keep me safe.  Psalms 73:28 “But as for me, I have chosen him and I will tell everyone about the wonderful ways he rescues me.”
    Might we acknowledge that we as imperfect, fallible persons hurt and wound our fellow man?  It is useless to criticize God for what lies at our doorstep.  And even when we are insincere and fail Him He will not fail us for His compassion is greater still.  Psalms 78: 36-38 “…It was only with their words they followed him, not with their hearts, their hearts were far away.  They did not keep their promises.  Many and many a time he held back his anger.”
    Dear friends, consider the character of God and let us turn away from our disloyalty and willfulness.  God is the most lovely and beautiful One.  His power is greatest of all and his faithfulness to us is unsurpassed by any human.  Psalms 89:8b “Faithfulness is your very character.”  We are sent into the world to make known the wondrous gift of Gods son, but also to extol the virtues and beauty of God who is perfect in His character and love.  Christian, love Him supremely, proclaiming to all the mighty God who is worthy of our full devotion.<a

Beyond the Cross

Image     Have you gone to the cross friend?  Then you have left behind your guilt, your sorrow, your disappointments and pain.  But have you ever thought of what’s on the other side of the cross?  You will see Jesus our victorious warrior.  Col 2:10 “… so you have everything when you have Christ, and you are filled with God through your union with Christ.  He is the highest Ruler, with authority over every other power.”  We see a brand new way of living. Col 2:12b “…you came up out of death with him into a new life because you trusted the Word of the mighty God who raised Christ from the dead.”  We see God’s strength at work.  Phil 4:13 “…For I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power.”  We see the promise of the resurrection.  Phil 3:11 “So what ever it takes, I will be one who lives in the fresh newness of life of those who are alive from the dead.”
    However, before we go forward lets consider further what must be left at the cross.  The apostle Paul is an example of what this means.  In order to live in this fresh newness of life he had to turn his back on what had been so important to him yet in the way between him and Christ.  He had to leave behind his mother’s religion, his father’s heritage and his own personal achievements.  We leave the cross innocent, pure and empty.  We leave with nothing of our own.  We have left behind not only our sins and failures but also our natural privileges, accomplishments and successes.  Now we seek for Christ alone to fill us.  Phil 3:13 “No, dear brothers I am still not all I should be but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.”       
    God’s power is now at work to see beyond the cross to a life that is supernatural.  At the cross the natural life has ended.  Praise God, we have risen at last to a new way of living.

Learning From a Leper

    This story in Luke 17:11-19 reveals the true heart condition of a man who had an encounter with Jesus.  Trials have a way of bringing out our best or our worst.  Sometimes its in the struggle that we see who we are, what lies in the secret places of the heart.
    As it happened these men with leprosy had a desperate need and a divine appointment with the man from Galilee. “Entering a village, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, ‘Jesus, sir, have mercy on us!’” Ten men believed Jesus would show them mercy.  They were looking for mercy in all the right places. “O Lord, you are so good and kind, so ready to forgive; so full of mercy for all who ask your aid.” Psalms 86:5  “He looked at them and said, ‘Go to the Jewish priest and show him that you are healed!’ And as they were going, their leprosy disappeared.”  Faith was active, faith was confident in Jesus and faith was responding in obedience.
    “One of them came back to Jesus, shouting, ‘Glory to God, I’m healed!’  He fell flat on the ground in front of Jesus, face downward in the dust, thanking him for what He had done.”  What was different about this man from the other nine?  I think it was humility.  He didn’t take Jesus for granted.  The fact is Jesus doesn’t owe us anything.  When he rescued us from a cursed place called hell he did all that could be done for mankind.  It is the greatest rescue known to man.  He then gave an inheritance of hope and daily strength to all who seek him.
    I would aspire to be like the leper who came back.  Whether in prosperity and blessing or a season of being overcome by life, to remember Jesus loves me best.  He will love and care for me when others have long forgotten me.  I don’t want to ever forget Jesus has always been the source of my help and deliverance yesterday, today and forever.  But most of all this leper taught me to always return to Jesus and say thank you, yes thank you, thank you right now and on into the eternities, thank you for being all my heart’s desire.  Son of God, make my heart like the leper’s never to forget what you have done for me.