One thought seems to occupy my mind these days more than any other. Simply put, it is the challenge of maintaining focus on God, and his will for us; in the midst of a society that appears to be running full speed in all directions. I am constantly stunned at the position professed believers take on issues that speak of immorality and obvious blatant sin. Perhaps we have allowed more of the world to infiltrate our thinking beyond what we even realize. It’s one thing to watch the disintegration of the moral fiber of society, but to see it prevalent in those professing Jesus as their Lord is shocking. I have attempted to determine at what point our focus on the things of the world have overwhelmed the things of God in us, resulting in the process of shipwrecking our faith. Many of the faith are now supporters of things that God said those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. This message today is a reminder to all of what God expects of us. I understand that it is easier to conform and blend into the fabric of the world, but God expects his children to look peculiar, and not like those who are pagans. In Romans 12:1 Paul warns believers in his day not to conform to the ways the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of their mind. Social media, television, and other modes of communication have all played a significant role in reshaping society in the direction of being heathenistic in it’s thinking. It is time for us to challenge the dedication of our hearts to determine just who is the true object of our affection. As I seek to understand what is happening in the kingdom of God, it is little wonder things in the world are as they are. The time now is to choose who we will serve regardless what the world or anyone else thinks. It’s time for the soldiers of the cross to arise and put your armor on! Blessings.
Every now and then something comes along and impacts you in a powerful way. Sometimes it is a sermon, a story or perhaps something as simple as a song. That is what happened to me on Sunday as we sang the song “If that isn’t love.” I was surprised to learn this wonderful song is in our songbook, but I never remember singing it in my life. As I contemplated the words of this beautiful song, I wondered what Dottie Rambo was experiencing in her life, that led her to write these particular words, and express this thought. The power of the song is the premise; if Jesus dying for us on the cross wasn’t love, then the ocean is dry, there are no stars in the sky and the sparrow can’t fly. If that isn’t love then heaven’s a myth and there’s no feeling like this, if that isn’t love. How can you consider the cross, and not see the love? How can your heart not be touched by this great act? She concludes the only way we could ever believe that love did not motivate this great act, is if the ocean has run dry, there are no stars in the sky and the sparrow can’t fly. The point is simple but powerful; the ocean will NEVER run dry, there has been and will ALWAYS BE, stars in the sky, and the bible says the sparrow CAN fly. In other words, there is no denying it. It is obvious beyond consideration. Unquestionable! The cross was purely motivated by the amazing love of God, for us. It’s inconceivable. As Romans 5:8 reminds us from the pen of the Apostle Paul, while we were at our worst- lost in sin, Jesus died for the ungodly; US. It wasn’t just love, but a love so mind-blowing that it draws us to a loving God. Let us live in this great love with a heart of gratefulness and thanksgiving. With a heart that shares this great message with those grappling with darkness. If it wasn’t love, then what could it have been? Blessings.
This is the our final reflection of 2 Peter 3:18. On last week we took a look at the statement of Peter to grow in Knowledge. Today we will finish that statement of Peter when he tells us also to grow in grace.
At first glance, we could question WHY he said to grow in both knowledge AND grace. However, as we peer into the text, the relationship between the two becomes quite obvious. Knowledge informs and transforms us, while grace extends from us; based on what we learn about God, and his abundant grace in OUR lives. Ultimately, that grace passes from the hand of God, through us into the lives of those around us. It is this grace, that allows others to see him. It is this grace, that allows others to understand what a loving father he is. It is through this grace, when we act most like Jesus. Grace is unearned. The only reason grace is given is because of the heart of the giver. To the world, this makes no sense, however to those who live in the shadow of the cross, we realize God constantly rains grace into our lives. As he rains grace into our lives, he expects us to rain it into the lives of others. How different this world would be if more grace would abound. Grace disarms the angry, Grace reaches down and mends the heart of the broken-hearted. Grace reaches through prison walls, hospitals, foreign countries, mission fields, into the most remote parts of the world. Everywhere it reaches, it speaks and points to the loving grace of God, as Jesus hung, bled and died for our sins. The question this morning is simply this, how much grace flows through you? Does as much flow out, as what flows in? Let’s us grow as Peter directs in both knowledge and grace. Blessings.
In 1Kings 19:19-21, Elijah challenged the heart of Elisha to follow him. When he questioned Elisha’s commitment, Elisha immediately went home, said goodbye to his parents, sacrificed his 12 pairs of oxen, burned his plow, AND LEFT EVERYTHING TO FOLLOW HIM. (The 12 pairs of oxen suggests that Elisha had a budding business which is what he left). That is the committed heart Jesus calls us to. He doesn’t call us to get rid of our things, only to put him first in all of our life; as did Elisha.
This morning we are challenged to put ourselves in Elisha’s shoes and answer the question, what would we have done if in the same situation as Elisha? Jesus calls us to the higher ground, so let’s leave the comfort of the valley.
Next Peter specifies in our text of 2 Peter 3:18 HOW we are to grow. He lists 2 ways; in Knowledge & grace. Knowledge is what we gain from studying the word of God and committing it to memory, It is through knowledge that we understand, and learn what the will of the Lord is. We also learn what God personally wants and expects from each of us. Knowledge constrains us. Knowledge feeds us. Knowledge protects us. Knowledge inspires us. Knowledge frees us. Knowledge leads us right into the throne room of God and enables us to see what we cannot otherwise see. It is knowledge that takes a vague idea about God, and transforms it into an intimate relationship with him. Knowledge is what David referred to in Psalm 119:11 “I hide your word in my heart, so that I will not sin against you.” We would all do well to embrace the knowledge of God and hide his word in our hearts, so that we will workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly diving the word of truth. (2Timothy 2:15, KJV). Without his word, we die. With it we glorify our heavenly father. Embrace his word by embracing knowledge. Blessings. (continued next week).