Lucia's Blog: 2014-04-13
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Saturday, April 19, 2014

IS OUR CONDUCT IN SOCIAL MEDIA WORTHY OF CHRIST WHEN DEFENDING THE TRUTH?


"The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,  and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will."   
2 Timothy 2:24-25


The Gospel teaches us the principles of kindness and courtesy as well as consideration. I would like to share some of these principles in the context of our Facebook posts.

When defending the Truth in public social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Blogs, are we forgetting those passages, the words of Christ that call us to humility, gentleness, compassion and mercy:
"For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings."  (Hosea 6:6) 
"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"  (Micah 6:8).  

Are we conducting ourselves worthy of the Gospel of Christ?
"Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."  (Ephesians 4:1-3)

There is a way to express the Truth and our convictions without bearing emotional hostility.  Our choice of words may communicate an attitude that contradicts the character of Christ and reflects on Him very poorly. Why should we, as Christians, be surprised at the ways non-believers live their lives and their different standard since they do not know our God or His ways?  They are like sheep without a shepherd.  


"Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd."  Matthew 9:36.  

When defending the Truth one must exercise meekness and fear,
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear."   I Peter 3:15.  
We, Christians, are to be Christ-like at all times. We are to honor everyone if we indeed fear God,
"Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king."  I Peter 2:17.  
We must be clothed with humility,
"and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble."  I Peter 5:5.

The letter of Jude exhorts us "to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints."  Notice that the words "earnestly contend" is translated from the Greek word "epagonizomai" which means "agony."  Agonize earnestly and urgently for the faith.  "The faith" here implies a body of teaching which is what  we as Christians live and labor for.  In other words, it is the sum of what we as Children of God believe.  Also, the words "contend earnestly" mean the way we should respond to that belief.  Hence we must contend for this faith which all Christians live under because it is in conflict.  Contending for this system of faith means more than confronting error.  This phrase implies a calling.  The Christian is called to seek the Truth diligently.  Contending for the faith means seeking the Truth diligently,

"But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."  (Hebrews 11:6)

My question is "how can one contend for something one knows nothing about it?"  To be effective when contending for the faith, one must be prepared before the confrontation must take place.  It is a terrible thing to contend for something we know little or nothing about.  This would render us ineffective!  We must strive for, wrestle for, agonize for, compete for and finally defend the faith of Jesus our Lord and Savior.  Notice that contending does not mean being contentious or quarrelsome.

Let us take to heart what the apostle Paul says,
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control."  Galatians 5:22-23.  
He also exhorts us,
"to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing humility to all men."  Titus 3:2.  
Sadly, some Christians defend their faith poorly because they do not support their faith with the whole body of Jesus' teachings.  It is true that we must contend, but it is also of great importance that we contend according to the divine design for Christian conduct.  We must be wise in that conduct!  Let us never forget that there is a proper and improper way from a Biblical perspective.

Christ speaks of love.  He models love.  He sacrificed for us in order to redeem us:  we who were lost in the brokenness of sin, Psalm 51.  I would much rather choose compassion, mercy and love in place of harsh judgment such as the Pharisees exercised in their times.

There is a passage that comes to mind which portrays Jesus when He saw the adulteress that was accused by the Pharisees.  He looked upon the broken woman with compassion. He looked her accusers in the eye and said, 
"Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her... “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”  
She said, 
“No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more."  John 8:3-12.  
He had compassion!

Jesus repeatedly said,


"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."   John 13:34-35
 and
"So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets."  Matthew 7:12.  
The following passage is one that has captured my heart:

"Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.  Matthew 9:10-13.

Jesus, our holy Lamb of God, who was pure and spotless, who had the right to condemn sinners, chose not to humiliate them publicly. So who am I, a broken sinner who once walked in darkness like a lost sheep without Him and whose blood redeemed me of all my iniquities, that I should publicly humiliate others?

As we grow in GRACE and the precious WISDOM of our Creator, we learn that “he who is forgiven much, loves much.”  We need to learn the character of our Lord Jesus that when "He was reviled, did not revile in return; When He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness--by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls."  I Peter 2:21-25.

There are so few good shepherds in this lost world of darkness who would lead the lost sheep, the sinners, and care for the needs of their soul, teaching them gently the TRUTH that would set them free from sin, John 8:32.  Paul himself admonished us to “Honor one another and so fulfill the law of Christ.”  Even as he honored the Roman guards, the pagans and other secular people with whom he shared the love of Christ, the Gospel.  Are we to behave differently in our reaction toward sinners?  They are like sheep without the great Shepherd, the Physician. This is not God in us.  Let's learn from the apostle Paul who says:  "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus..."  Philippians 2:5-11.

YES, I dearly want to uphold the highest of my convictions and beliefs as my standard for living in Christ. I would not want to exchange my convictions for the ones of those who differ from me. Yet, I am called to honor those others, who are also the image of God, with respect and dignity worthy of the same grace or unmerited favor as He has shown to me,  
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast."  Ephesians 2:8-9.  

Remember that we must speak the Truth in love, 
"but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ."  Ephesians 4:15.  
That does not necessarily mean we are going to cower and compromise the PURITY of the TRUTH.

Since I have tasted of the kindness and mercy of the Lord, His Grace, my desire is to stand out among the crowd who call themselves Christ-followers, and to show affinity with His words, words of unmerited compassion, love and forgiveness.  Let us examine our hearts making sure that our teachings and defense of the TRUTH are done in love, showing patience, showing confidence yet kindly, neither rude nor arrogant.
"And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.  Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails."  I Corinthians 13:3-8.

Let us take to heart Paul's words of exhortation to Timothy when he commanded him to preach the word.
"Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction."  II Timothy 4:2.  

He described “a servant of the Lord” as one who “must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition”

"The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,  and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will."   II Timothy 2:24-25.

May God help us to live and be worthy of His Gospel, His Truth, as we seek to defend it.  May we understand that the Great Physician is here among us, to heal those who are woefully ill, that our great Shepherd seeks those who are lost and gently restores them to the flock.  And so we should approach those He brings into our path in the same graceful manner as He did with gentleness, humility and a servant heart.


Luci

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

IS GOD'S VISION OF LIFE ENOUGH FOR US?

"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"  
Micah 6:8 


As we gaze through the window, directing our vision toward things outside our daily experience, we feel sometimes that the life that we now live is not enough.  Looking out that window, our hearts ignore the life that is right in front of us longing for an imaginary life that we think we should be living.  We feel that we are trapped because our Enemy, Satan is lying to us, lies such as we imagine we should be living in order to find happiness and fulfillment.  Dissatisfied with our lives, our hearts cannot find contentment.  We want the "perfect life" which we can not attain.   Instead of wishing for the unattainable, why don't we ask ourselves if that is what God wants from us?  Is this imaginary life going to make me more fulfilled as a Christian whose main desire is to do the will of his Father?

We live in a culture where everyone is striving to attain something:  always striving for something more as if what we have is not enough.  We want a better car, a better house, a better spouse, a better church, better brethren, better neighbors, a better job, a better salary, a better way of entertainment or a better way to spend our leisure time, a better (you fill in the blank).  Yet we miss all the riches our Father in heaven has placed right in front of us.  We ignore those riches that are the apple of our eyes and hearts:  the people in front of us!   They were not given to us by our Father in heaven to take for granted.  They were not placed in our lives by accident or because we tried so hard to attain them.  These blessings are not our earthly promotions or bonus money.  They are gifts from our God in heaven.  They have been administered to us to love, care for and protect. Nevertheless, we seem to treasure them not at all and act as if they are not enough.  We are absolutely ungrateful!  Don't forget that God sees and He is not happy with the way we administer His riches in our life. When we behave in this manner, we are telling Him, "You are not enough for me."

We spend all of our time being busy looking for a life that is just a dream made up in our minds rather than being content with how our God fills our lives:  that very same God who is the Creator of the universe and who breathed into us the breath of life.  We do not care to stop and listen to His voice through His Word in order that our souls might be filled by Him with all His riches.  We do not care that we dwell in God's presence being filled with His overflowing Grace.  Do you know that this is what God expects of us?   "When You said, 'Seek My face,' my heart said to You, 'Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.'"  Psalm 27:8.

God demands that we, His children, spend TIME with Him daily.  He demands that we SEEK Him daily. Of course this is not going to happen with the blink of an eye, especially if we wrongly think that we are giving generously to God daily.  We must surrender every intention of our own and subject it to the will of God.  Our time must be His first.  All of our wants and needs must be laid at the feet of our Lord.  Our primary intent and purpose must be that of seeking God diligently with all of our heart, soul and mind every day.  We must seek Him and hide His Word deep in the corners of our heart as a real treasure.  Of course this demands time and effort.  What that means is that we must put aside everything that is in the way of serving our Lord.  It means that we must "soak ourselves" in the wholeness of God daily,  loving Him and the people He has given us to love now.  We must open our blind heart to see and appreciate God's gifts to us. We must pause and notice them.  We must turn inward and examine the dreams of our hearts.  This is the only way to appreciate and be aware of all of the dreams that already have been fulfilled and come true. It is in looking back that we miss what is already in front of us.  God has His own dreams for us.  How sad to miss out on those dreams.   So my question to you is, do we really want to miss out on the life that God has for us?  A life designed to bless and prosper us?  Do we want to miss that life because we are too busy dreaming those dreams we have made up for ourselves?

To love those whom God has placed in front of us is enough!  To live a simpler life, one that is not complicated by all the webs of this world's wants that entangle me and choke me is enough.  To spend time with my God alone each day of my walk here on earth listening and obeying His voice is enough.  To purposely want to live a different life, a godly life, than the life of those around me is what God requires of me and that should be enough.  There is no need to pile more on our plates, more and more.  I MUST not allow Satan to deceive me into thinking that my life is too boring, too simple, meaningless and hopeless.  We must change our way of thinking.  We must believe in our heart that the life that our God has given us is to love and live for others and this must be enough for us.  We are deceiving ourselves if we think that we must do something else to be complete in Him.  This in no way can fulfil our lives, it will just add more chaos and deception into making us think that is not enough.  Are we going to let Satan with all his lying do what the flesh and the world wants out of us?  Not at all!  I must do God's will and do what He requires of me.

I don't need to justify to anyone that I am walking with God and that He is all in all in my life.  He is enough! I want to do His will and what He requires of me.  So why pile up other things that are irrelevant in my life, on my plate?  I want my dreams to point inward toward God rather than out to the world!

God is simple and direct toward us.  He requires that we do righteousness, love mercy and walk humbly with Him all the days of our walk here on earth.  Let us purpose to focus on doing God's will wherever God may have placed us.  It is enough!   May this way of thinking sink deeply into our hearts.

"Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day.  Remember, O Lord, Your compassion and Your lovingkindnesses, for they have been from of old.  Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to Your lovingkindness remember me, for Your goodness’ sake, O Lord.  Good and upright is the Lord; therefore He instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in justice, and He teaches the humble His way."    
Psalm 25:5-9.

"Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it.  He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday."   
Psalm 37:5-6.


Luci

Monday, April 14, 2014

A WOMAN AFTER GOD'S OWN HEART



 "O taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man that trusteth in Him."
 Psalm 34:8


I believe that as women who profess godliness, God has plans for us as mothers, as wives and as mentors. We must press on toward God's thoughts and plans that He has for us and not be conformed to what  our modern culture dictates.  It is in doing this that God will show us the way of freedom!   "O taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man that trusteth in Him." Psalm 34:8 A woman after God's own heart, is a woman who deeply trusts in her God and His promises. She knows that although she feels inadequate many times, God will make her adequate and supply everything she is lacking in order to make her worthy of her calling as a mother, wife, homemaker, Christian and mentor. Our prayer to God must be that He "Equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ... "  Hebrews 13:21.


This woman trusts completely in her Lord to provide what it is necessary to accomplish everything. She does not struggle with daily cares or anything that would distract her from doing God's will. She is not concerned about status, riches, praise, honor and material pursuits, but most important she wants to do the will of our Lord. She knows that all these things are temporary. When she feels threatened and overcome, she remembers: ".... and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ."  2 Corinthians 10:5.   She knows that material possessions, fancy dinners, vacation and all kinds of entertainment will come at a cost to her loving family. Her desire is to live a simple life that glorifies her Lord. She loves her children. She wants to view her home as a place of safety, learning and joy. She wants to worship in spirit and in deed in her home. She is totally disconnected from any kind of worldly distractions. She treasures the hearts of her children and her husband. She never looks back. She is content with what lies ahead of her, because she waits and trust in her Lord.  Her biggest ambition is to please her God no matter what the circumstances are.  Most importantly, she wants to walk the path of life with her God more than anything.


In her day to day life, there is peace which reaches to the depths of her heart and spills outwardly. She follows God's Word and delights in His Laws that speak to her. She values each day of her life. She knows He brings her freedom!  She, by no means, is in bondage to the affairs of this world and all its expectations. She meditates day and night in her Lord's Words. She is not afraid because she trusts and waits on Him. She is aware that busyness often knocks on her door, but she is prepared. Sometimes she is tempted, but she shuts the door. She is very aware that there are many temptations in which she can say YES, but she is determined to say NO all the time. She knows that busyness will distract her from her God, roles, goals and hearts of her husband and children. She uses her DISCERNMENT on what is wise to engage in, and will bear the most fruit in her life. She realizes that too much busyness does not lead to a path of godliness.


She is always watching over the affairs of her family very carefully and guards the gates of her home with WISDOM. She is a woman of strength and dignity. She surrounds herself with godly wisdom and knowledge. She wants to make this her biggest ambition in life. Her feet are firmly planted where God wants them to be. She is very aware of her God's given role. Her children trust in her because they know she is wise and always points them to God. She is always praying fervently for the spiritual welfare of her children and husband. She knows there is no other safer way to escape evil and be protected by the Almighty.

This remarkable woman is one after God's heart! The Lord will definitely say to her:  "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."  Matthew 25:2.  The very phrase "Godly womanhood" sounds strange in our ears.  We don't often hear it. What we hear mostly is a different type of women : beautiful, smart, sophisticated, career, talented, independent, self-sufficient, divorced.....women.   But very seldom do we hear of a godly woman. A godly woman finds her fulfillment in the home. To her it is much nobler to be a wife and a mother than to be a successful professional. Establishing a Christian home is a much greater achievement to her. Let's always remember that the world already has enough women who are brilliant, popular, socially correct, independent and self-sufficient, but not brave, pure and godly.   Let us purpose in our heart, soul and mind to be this kind of woman!

May our Lord help each of us women to be WISE  and be GODLY WOMEN after His own heart.


Luci