Searching in All the Right Places

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            Every human shares a common desire to be reasonably intelligent and able to make good decisions.  As believers we find this much needed wisdom in God.  “His every word is a treasure of knowledge and understanding.”  Prov 9:10   James chapter three explains the difference between true and false wisdom.  The true wisdom we seek is not found in how much knowledge we have but how we daily live our life.  In other words, wisdom is not the possession of knowledge but the proper application to the struggles of life.  This passage challenges our faith, asking us to examine what kind of wisdom we actually possess.

            “If a man is wise and understanding, he will demonstrate it by his good conduct coupled with the humble spirit that comes from wisdom.  Therefore, all who are truly wise will have the hallmark of genuine humility.”  William MacDonald   Humility makes all the difference in whether we avoid our troubles or whether we receive God’s help to stand strong through life’s storms.  “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”  James 4:6   So we find that a man who is truly wise is also genuinely humble.  This is a person who doesn’t put on airs.  He doesn’t take his mindset from the world.  He understands the spirit is of greater importance than the body.  His life demonstrates both moral and spiritual cleanness.  He is peaceable and will not seek to justify himself.  He is gentle and tenderhearted.  He is easy to reason with, willing to see the other person’s point of view.  He is always ready to forgive those who have wronged him.  And most of all he seeks wisdom from Christ the true foundation of wisdom.  “For the reverence and fear of God are basic to all wisdom, knowing God results in every other kind of understanding.”  Prov 9:10

            Genuine humility will put the heart at peace.  Instead of contending we can trust in God’s ability and power to make things right.  “Humility is perfect quietness of heart.  It is to be at rest when nobody praises me and when I am blamed or despised.  It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in the deep sea of calmness when all around and above is trouble.”  Andrew Murray   O, how we try to educate ourselves, striving for man’s wisdom.  Friends, may we not overlook the obvious answer to human intelligence.  “How can man be wise?   The only way to begin is by reverence for God.”  Ps 111:10   In a world that is rapidly rejecting God may we humbly seek true wisdom.

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The Highest Goal

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    What is your aim in life?  Do you work to become successful in your vocation, strive to earn enough money to live “the good life”, or plan for a comfortable retirement?  Perhaps you desire a great group of friends, having fun, and being healthy.  Maybe you dream of traveling the world or continuing your education.  Now there is nothing inherently wrong with most of these aspirations.  However, as a believer in Jesus Christ we have a goal that stands above all others.  II Cor 5:9 says it simply. “So our aim is to please Him always in everything we do…”  Christ’s death on the cross has made a decisive difference in everything we think, say, and do.  “He died for all so that all who live- having received eternal life from Him- might live no longer for themselves, to please themselves, but to spend their lives pleasing Christ who died and rose again for them.”  II Cor 5:15

    Jesus is now the great love of our life.  He is not only the Great God and Ruler over all people and nations but also He is our Hero and the perfect role model.  We are delighted by His love and amazed by His kindness, patience, and compassion towards us.  We honor and celebrate His life best by becoming like Him.  As Creator He gives us our next breath and is the Giver of every good and perfect gift we have ever received.  We learn to thank Him continually because He is the supplier of everything we need.  When we are anxious and cannot help ourselves Jesus becomes our stabilizer and takes us to a place of rest and peace.  We were born into the world then born again to show the world Jesus and what is truly important in life.  “We are Christ’s ambassadors, God is using us to speak to you: we beg you, as though Christ Himself were here pleading with you, receive the love He offers you- be reconciled to God.”  II Cor 5:20  

    Our life is not about ourselves anymore.  We leave our happiness, plans, and future in His capable hands.  In exchange for this blessed leadership we are free to focus on others.  We are accountable for a life well-lived or selfishly lived.  “Each of us will receive whatever he deserves for the good or bad things he has done in his earthly body.”  II Cor 5:10   We have only one life.  What will be your goals?  In the end you will decide how to live.  As believers we continually press on to reach the highest goal, to live lives that will please Jesus Christ.

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The Cross is Enough

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    As Christians do we realize we have it all?  Yes, we have found our heart’s desire, God’s peace, and the remedy for the penalty of sin.  This is all accomplished through the cross of Jesus.  However, man’s wisdom tells him that he can earn his own salvation.  The gospel rejects man’s efforts to save himself and presents Christ as the only way to God. 

    We find the message of the cross is the opposite of what humans consider wise.  While the world’s system exalts human wisdom only the message of the cross leads to salvation.  In Colossians 2:13-15 we are given a complete description of what happened at the cross.   “You were dead in sins, and your sinful desires were not yet cut away.  Then he gave you’re a share in the very life of Christ, for he forgave all your sins, and blotted out the charges proved against you, the list of his commandments which you had not obeyed.  He took this list of sins and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross.  In this way God took away Satan’s power to accuse you of sin, and God openly displayed to the whole world Christ’s triumph at the cross where your sins were all taken away.”  The cross ushers us into a new life.  We can whole heartedly recommend this victorious life to every person on earth.  As Christ’s new creation we are promoters of the truth that Christ plus nothing equals everything.  Dear Christian, God’s plan is not the world plus the cross but a distinct and separate life which stands apart.  When a person comes to the cross, the world says goodbye to him and he says goodbye to the world.  Our own human philosophy loses its attractiveness because the believer has found the true desire of his heart.  Findlay says, “He can never believe in it, never take pride in it, nor do homage to it anymore.”  The cross is the great dividing line between the world and the believer.  God’s peace is now a reality because we are no longer defined by soul anxiety.  Christ controls us now and the sin problem has been answered. 

    May we never forget that Satan’s powers were once and for all disarmed at the cross.  We are free to live lives of increasing happiness and healing as we move closer to Christ.  Jesus is the victor today and for all eternity.  We can come to the cross confident that everything has been done to purchase our salvation.  Our expectation is of a bright future and a steadfast hope.  Friends, as we gather at the cross let us join together in remembering these wonderful words from the hymn Rock of Ages: “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.”  The power of the cross is enough!

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The Priceless Price

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    Change is a part of every day of our life.  Those who place their trust in the blood of Christ find mercy and stability by virtue of His shed blood.  We put our faith solidly in His blood, making Christ Himself the object of our faith.  His blood fully paid the price for all wrongs we ever committed, all unhappy circumstances, and all hurt that others have caused us.  “But he paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.” 1 Peter 1:19 

    The Lord Jesus gave us incredible worth.  We were bought from the slave market of sin.  How much did He value us?  A value so high that He was willing to give His blood to purchase us.  Because of the tremendous price paid we no longer belong to ourselves.  We no longer live our lives the way we choose.  One person explained it this way, “if we take our lives and do what we want with them, we are taking something that does not belong to us.”

    What happens when a believer is tempted to return to a decaying, corrupt worlds system?  To go back to the world is to re-cross the great gulf that was bridged for us at a staggering cost.  It is the blood of Jesus Christ that continually cleanses us from all wrongdoing.  All God’s forgiveness is anchored in the blood.  The blood provided God with the basis upon which He could forgive.  The moment a person receives Christ He receives all the benefits which come from the shedding of Christ’s blood.  How wonderful to have received a complete payment.  The outcome of our lives is now in God’s hands.  We are absolutely covered.  Covered by the blood of Jesus.

    Friends, today don’t forget the precious blood shed by your personal Savior. “His blood declares us not guilty.”  Rom 5:9   Now we can experience the renewal of 1 Peter 1:2 “May God bless you richly and grant you increasing freedom from all anxiety and fear.” The blood made the way and the blood will keep the way clear for God’s wonderful peace.  “For it pleased the Father by Him (Christ) to reconcile all things to Himself… having made peace through the blood of His cross.”  Col 1:20  All praise to the Father for Jesus’ blood paid the priceless price.

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