I have taken Jesus Christ to be Lord of my life. Seriously. I hope you have as well. This morning I would like to share some of what I understand that to mean.
“Lord” is not some abstract acknowledgement that He exists or existed and is a higher being. Bluntly stated, “lord” is “Boss”. If He is your “lord” you seriously and diligently do everything He says to do, leaving nothing out.
“Lord” is Master. Not just boss. I have chosen to belong to Him. If He is my Lord, I go and do and “be” whatever He wants me to. My life is His. I may be shy or fearful, but if He asks me to go and talk to someone, that is what I do. If He wants me to stand in the rain, I will. If He sees fit to have my legs amputated due to diabetes, or to go without a job for a while, that is His prerogative; He owns me. I’m so very glad that my “Lord” is a loving lord – He only puts me in such difficult circumstances if there is a really good reason. And I don’t need to know or understand the reason. That is His business and He operates in realms beyond my sight or control.
“Lord” is in fact, also “protector”. As serfs and peasants looked to their king to protect them from foreign warlords, we can look to Jesus as our “lord” for protection. He cares about those who are His and He knows what goes on in their lives. Though He may call upon them for spiritual labors and spiritual warfare in capacities they don’t understand, His concern is for His own and He protects them and provides for their well-being in the long run, and that is what really counts.
In Philippians 3:10, the Apostle says, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection” I wonder if any of us really grasp what that power can mean in our lives.
“Resurrection” literally means, “standing again”. When we think of it, our thoughts generally go to life after death; someone died but they were raised to eternal life. Death could not hold Jesus. He lives, and as we trust in Him we can expect to live – even if we die. That is a vitally important concept, but I suggest there is more.
The power to make us stand again also means we can overcome tragedies. We can be incredibly courageous as we do the will of God and trust ourselves to Him. The courage of the martyrs can live in us. We can get knocked down and just keep getting up – by the power of God.
It means we get to start over. No matter how rotten your life is or was. You can have a new life, starting now, by the power of God.
Whatever errors you have made, they can be forgiven in Christ. When the “prodigal son” came to his senses and returned home, he father says that he, “… was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” Folks, you too can come to that newness of life. You can repent and be made new. You can have a start over today!
You may be dead in your sins and be made alive in Christ Jesus. You can have life and have it abundantly here and now.
The power of the resurrection is not just for the future. That power of God is at work right now.
Satan is defined Biblically as “The Accuser”. That is what he does. He generates accusations between folks. (We are supposed to behave so that none of the accusations are legitimate.) Accusations lead to animosity and mistrust which results in division taking place between peoples, within families, and within the church. If such separations are taking place, look for the workings of Satan.
On the other hand, God is love. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love unites. This is seen when the Jews and the Gentiles came together in Christianity. This is seen when folks from diverse ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds unite in one Spirit through Christ. God is love, but God is also truth. God is also Holy. Sometimes folks try to bring unholy practices into the church. As God’s people this cannot be allowed, so sometimes lines do need to be drawn. In 1 Corinthians 11:19, in the midst of scolding them for their divisions, the Apostle acknowledges, “For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.”
As Christians, we need to pursue unity, but we can not accept all the things people do or teach. Such is the nature of our struggle, but let’s not avoid the struggle, let’s engage in it.
God, grant us the wisdom and the Spirit to honor Your name with both love and holiness.
Psalm 95:3-7, says “For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.”
We could add a lot to what the Psalmist begins here. The truth is everything belongs to God. Everything is His! He is the creator of all things.
John 1:3, “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”
Colossians 1:16, “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.”
James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,”
The aurora borealis is His. The sun the moon and the clouds are His. My favorite waterfall is His. The deer I hunt are His. My job is His. My house and car are His. The tomatoes in my garden are His. My spouse is His. My children and grandchildren are from Him and they are His.
I am His. He is my Maker and Master. I exist for Him. Almighty God, I understand. I am here, and I am your servant. How can I honor you today? How can I bring glory and praise to your holy name? What would you have me do today?
Sometimes folks LIKE looking for things – animal tracks, word searches, Old pieces of metal, lost treasure, Easter eggs, … Sometimes they don’t like looking for things ~ car keys, ways to understand your spouse, socks … One thing we ought to look for, whether we are by nature a “seeker” or not, is God. Whatever the effort, it will be worth it.
Scripture tells us, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.”
God wants us to seek Him. And He wants to be found. It’s not that He’s lost. It’s not that He’s playing games. The point is, that God wants us to be right. To be the right kind of people, and unless we earnestly seek, the relationship is superficial and our holy character is superficial. He wants us to be the genuine article!
Its like “sort-of” trying to please your spouse. That always comes across as fake, because, really, it is! They know you’re really thinking about yourself and just trying to get by in the relationship. If you really loved them, you would try wholeheartedly. What IS that first and most important commandment? Oh yes, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” That can’t be done partially or “sort-of”. God IS love. He wants to be “found” in the sense of being sought after and understood deep down, inside, for real.
God is a great thing. He is love. He has all power in heaven and on earth. All blessings come from Him. He is the mighty Counselor, the Prince of peace. Why would people NOT seek to know Him better, to have Him as a close personal friend?
I like to have fun. Doesn’t everybody? I understand God wants good things for us. So much so, that He gave His only begotten Son. Scriptures are full of rejoicings and celebrations. The Apostle urges, “Rejoice in the Lord always.” The fruit of a spirit-filled life includes joy! I kind of link joy and fun together, so I was surprised that I couldn’t find the word “fun” in the Bible. (Actually it is in the New International Version one time, but in the negative sense of poking fun at somebody.)
When I think “fun”, I remember rough-housing on the floor with my kids when they were small. My first reaction is “what fun that was”. And it was, but more significant than the fun, was that it brought me a deep down exuberant joy to be able to experience such a blessing.
Let me suggest there’s over-lap between “joy” and “fun”, but there’s also a difference;
“Fun” is experienced momentarily, then it passes. “Fun” has to do with circumstances. It feels good but it focuses on me. I am doing what I want to do, what’s exciting and pleasing to me for the moment. “Fun” is selfish.
“Joy” is deeper. I can be standing in the cold and rain and still be filled with joy! Joy stems from knowing how blessed I am, from hope, and goodness. “Joy” can be experienced regardless of circumstances. It even comes as a result of what happens to others when you are left out! Joy is unselfish. It is a spiritual thing. It comes from being right with God. Fun is nice. But, joy lasts.
In the year 1849, a group known as the Bennett-Manly party, ventured off into Death Valley in search of gold. They did not have a guide along who knew the country. They did have their wives and children along with them. Because of the difficulty of travel and the frailty of the children, the whole party, becoming emaciated and worn, came across a natural spring, where they thought it wise to pause and camp for a while, in hopes of regaining their strength. It was a bad decision. The longer they waited, the hotter the season became, and the more their food supply dwindled away. After an ordeal of terrible suffering and hardships, most of the party escaped. The location of that spring and the surrounding cluster of Mesquite trees has now come to be a settlement known as Bennett Wells. The sad part of the story is that if those people had known what to look for, all the while they were starving and suffering, they were actually surrounded by an abundance of Mesquite trees, loaded with sweet and nutritious “bean” pods upon which the local natives lived quite well. It is too bad that they did not know the way to live and survive there. It is too bad they did not know what was good to do in that life situation and what was good to eat. It is too bad they did not have a guide along to show them the way.
How many of us will suffer when there is no need? How many of us live on the basis of our own wisdom, and will lead ourselves and loved ones down a path of suffering and or death? Proverb 14:12 says, “There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”
How will you guide and direct your life? You have a guide in whom you can place full confidence. In John 14:5-6, Thomas says to Jesus, “…Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”