To Dance with the Lord

All of life is a dance and my partner is Jesus. I must learn to be sensitive to His guidance, to be aware of His moving. If I remember during our time together each morning to lean in close, to inhale deeply the fragrance of His love and Mercy, then His fragrance will linger on me. It will refresh the souls of those around me as they catch the scent. Like a familiar cologne they may not fully recognize for what it is, it should be reminiscent of a home they have not yet known.

Through out the day my mind goes back to our moments shared in the morning and my heart is refreshed as I whisper to myself a reminder that he is closer than the air I breathe, that His throne room is in my heart. Like one of those automated air fresheners, he restores my soul again. Something that I often need, and often before i even realize I need it, as the cares of this world begin to over shadow my ability to see with His eyes and to recognize the opportunities to reach out and be water to the thirsty souls of another.

My dim human eyes often miss the hurting soul next to me, but my Saviour sees. He opens my eyes to all the opportunity to be His hands and feet. If I am not paying close attention throughout my day to my partner I may miss a step. I need Him every hour, no every minute… There are so many hurting hearts! I don’t want to miss even one chance to do His work, to love the lost.

Church, we need to wake up from our slumber!! Some of us are guilty of allowing our legalism, our religiosity, our rule following to blind us to the truth of the gospel. That we were all lost and blind and that is by the grace of God alone that we were saved and not the work of our own hands. We allow ourselves to become judgemental and press our rules onto others. No one is ever going to care about how much we know, until we are willing to show them how much we care first. Bringing them into accordance with God’s will is NOT our job. Our job is to pray for them, love them, and when God leads teach them the Word of God.

Others are so caught up in their own relationship with God, with their own reading and studying that they are no real earthly good the to world around them. We must remove our stained glass eyewear and see the hurting the world around us. Leave our comfort zone and go to the people who are hurting. We are blessed, so that we can be a blessing!

This thanksgiving season, let us reach out to those who are in need and just love on them.

Love and truth

1 Cor. 13:1 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

There is a very close relationship that truth and love must share. Truth without love is as we are told in Corinthians nothing more than noise. It is obnoxious in the ears of the hearer. Truth without love is likely to leave the hearer defensive. Anyone who feels that they are being judged is going to be turned off and all communication will cease.

Love; however, without truth is worthless. All the love in the world without the truth will fail to help us sharpen our brothers,as we are told to do in Proverbs. We should be holding each other to the truth and working to exhort our brethren along the path of righteousness. We should be seeking individually to be close to him, to become holy like him, to eradicate all evil and sin from our lives precept upon precept to the slightest darkness until the day of our perfection when we meet him and he proclaims that we have done well. This is war to be fought, a race to be run and we must corporately support one another.

Hebrews 10:26 – 31 26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”[e] 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God

The goal of our loving father is that every man, woman, and child has an opportunity to hear the gospel that we can actually know and speak to our great God. that He would be our friend, that he knows even the slightest details about us and loves us. The only loving thing we can do for a hurting and dying world is to tell them what Jesus Christ has done for them. There are some who are perishing and we have the life giving gospel to give them, but we must do it out of love for them, love that only God can give us. We must never, ever share the gospel out of some sense that we are some how better than anyone else.

Hebrews 2:1-4 We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

Origin and purpose

All great philosophical questions of right and wrong must first begin with the ultimate question of origin and purpose. Using a pen as a paper weight may seem good, but it doesn’t fulfill the pens ultimate created purpose of communication. That is to say, we can not understand the purpose with out looking to the cause. Even in nature we see things have purpose, * to use an example, from Thomas Aquinas, poppy seeds always grow into poppies an acorns into oaks. Now nothing, Aquinas reasons, that lacks consciousness tends toward a goal unless it is under the direction of someone with consciousness and intelligence. An arrow can not hit a bulls-eye unless aimed by the archer. Therefor, everything must be directed toward its goal by someone with intelligence. we call that someone God. (* restated idea from “Reasonable Faith” by William Crane)

With people that purpose may be harder to define than that a poppy seed, as people have consciousness and intelligence ,our greatest purpose can only be truly defined by looking at origin. If our origin is an accident of nature, we have no purpose. If our origin is an intelligent God, he created us for a purpose. Our purpose collectively and individually can only be defined by our creator. He is the potter we are the clay. Our ultimate purpose is to share in the joy of the knowing and being known by our God. This truth is played out differently with each of us, as God has created us all to enjoy him and his creation differently with our own likes, dislikes, and talents. Let him reveal to you how he would have you share in his joy and be obedient and you will live a life abundant and fulfilled as promised in his word. He has a plan for each one of us, listen to the still soft voice of the Holy Spirit as he tells you where and when to go. As we do, we will reflect his light and joy in a dark and dying world.

Reflecting Him in our Finances

Jesus told us to live and love like Him, but in reality it is hard to know exactly what that means. He loved us unconditionally, while we were yet sinners He died for us. It is in this context that I have struggled to understand how to reflect him. In our lives, because we have fallen so short of His great glory, we can never truly be the perfect reflection, but through the power of His grace we can be what he intended us to be. The first area of concern for me was charity. The question of who should provide for the poor is one that hotly debated nation and maybe world wide. I have strongly come to the conclusion that this is the job of every one of us as individuals, not the job of the government to tax and then use that money to provide programs.

There is not one topic that God has covered more than that of money. Wise use of our money will leave more for us to use for to help our extended family and others. I think we can all agree on a few things that the Word shows us in this area. One clear area in the area of our money is in the area of debt. Proverbs 22:7 tells us that the borrower will become like a slave to a lender. This is a pretty clear indication that purchasing things on credit is not something that God would have us do, or at least that it is not something that we should undertake lightly. My own personal opinion on this is that we should relegate borrowing to include only large ticket items like our house and our car. Most other items should be purchased only as we can pay cash for them. This is an opinion that it held by many top financial advisers.

Keynesian economists would have you believe that this is true on a personal level, but not on a large scale governmental scale. I come from a classic point of view that says other wise. I think that when you apply the idea of spending your way out of debt on a larger scale, what you get is a larger hole to build the people out of. The word build is used here with great specificity, because on no level or scale can a hole be dug out of. Continuing to dig will only make the hole bigger. This seems to me to be simple common sense.

The problem is that we have at some point given in to the idea that our government should be the savior for the heavy laden and down trodden. Some of our current programs started with excellent intentions, but they have spiraled way our of control. Going into debt to feed the hungry seems a lofty idea, but in the end as the debt increases we will find our selves with  too many to feed and too few to feed them.

All of that to say this: Use your money wisely. Spend less than what you have, live within your means. I was told by my pastor once to live on a 10/10/80 plan. This makes so much sense. With this plan, the first ten percent goes to God in the form of tithes and offerings, the second ten percent will go to savings, and then you live on the other 80 percent. When we live below our means and commit our selves to being charitable we will have money to give to help those around us. If we are faithful with the little God will bless us with more, if as many as can will do this those who are in need of help will decline.

When it comes to the poor, the hungry, the widowed we are clearly called as the body of Christ to go to them and care for them. These people are right here in your backyard and this economy I mean that rather literally. It is the job of the church to help the needy; any need for governmental involvement here is due to our failure to be the hands of feet of Christ.

The church should stand for something, but what the world sees when they look at today’s church is everything that we stand against. Jesus called us to love our enemies, pray for those that persecute us and this had nothing to do with whether or not our enemy was a sinner. By definition we all are sinners, but by the grace of God we would be as bad as or worse than those around us. I know full well what I am capable of and with out Him let us suffice to say, that it isn’t pretty. Jesus said feed the hungry, rescue the perishing, give water to those who thirst. He did not say to do this only of the perishing was a certain color, ethnicity, race, creed, or if they are sexually pure. He did not say come to me all who are good enough, he said to come in our filthy rags and he would make us clean. When Jesus was here in the flesh he spent time with thieves, and sluts, and liars. Why is it that the body of the Christ, the church, is too holy to do the same? Jesus loved the sinners and called them to be better. It was the church that Jesus was harsh with, they should have known better.

We need to keep ourselves constantly before Him and make sure that we are indeed holy as he is holy, but as far as the holiness of our brothers that is for us to pray for them and let God be God. Our role is to serve and to keep our own thoughts captive before the Lord. Our role is to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, love our fellow man just as they are and trust the Lord our God to do His part. Charity is the place of the church; it is by our love that we are to be known, not by our judgments. What will one’s heart love with greater fervency than the people we have invested our time and finances in?