"...you have made my heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes" (Song of Sol. 4:9).

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Are we moving in grace and love?

  Christ is revealed to those around us when we keep His word while demonstrating His humility and love.

LUKE 11: 37-44
37 While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him, so he went in and reclined at table. 38 The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner. 39 And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you.

42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 43 Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.44 Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without knowing it.”

Are we so different from the Pharisee?  At times  in our lives we have all walked in the laws of God without having the love of God. It is important the we keep the word of God.  In fact, Christ makes it clear that in order to please the Father we must keep his words. Yet He calls  us to do this as He did in love. 15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. He also promises to give us a Comforter.

John 14: 15-17
15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for eve17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

The following is a short story that may better illustrate my meaning.

There was a man who wanted to learn how to dance in order to please his wife.  He came across a kit " learn how to dance, step-by-step instructions." He eagerly purchased the kit, went home and shut himself in his office.  He opened the kit and pulled out a set of cut out footprints with directions to set them out in steps.  He then began to methodically move placing his feet over the print cutouts. 1,2,3 and 1,2,3 he chanted as he danced around the office in rough uncoordinated movements.

His spouse entered the room and with a look of astonishment gasped, " what are you doing?"  With great pride he exclaimed I am dancing!  She smiled gently and turned on the music. Taking his had she taught him to dance and the movements that were once rigid and methodical began to flow.  It was no longer difficult but seemed natural over time the dance became beautiful.

The Love found in Christ by His Holy Spirit is the music to which our souls dance.  If you have ever tried to dance without music by learning the steps you know that it is difficult, even awkward lacking beauty and grace.  The methodical dull motions would do nothing to persuade the onlookers to join you in your dance. If you do convince someone go join you will likely step all over one another's feet.  Injury is imminent! The effect is the same when we live our lives trying to keep the commandments of God without the Love of God.  It is not beautiful, not graceful and turns people away from Him rather than drawing them into Him.  Worst of all it injures those around us. However, when music of love is introduced the law becomes something beautiful, previously dry instructions take on life.  The movements begin to flow and grace and beauty are revealed. 

If you find that you are always trying to “be good” to keep the laws, and feeling angry, disappointed and dry; you may be trying to dance without the music.

John 3 :17
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

Who has God given you?

John 2: 6 " Hereby know we that we are in him: 6 he that saith he abideth in him ought himself also to walk even as he walked.

Are you a disciple of Christ?  Who has God given you?  We should recognize that the Father has placed people in our lives so that we may show Christ to them through His word that is truth.  We are instructed to live  our lives, demonstrating His love and grace as sojourner in this foreign land.

When our hearts  begin to reflect the image of Christ we will be moved by what moves Christ. In reading Christ’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, in His darkest hour, He prayed for His disciples and demonstrated His sense of responsibility for those that followed Him.

"I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled." John 17:12

He then commends them to the Father. Demonstrating that importance of keeping the word.

 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me." John 17: 6-8  Again He states, "14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. John 17: 14-19

Christ loved us so much that He dedicated Himself to us that we might be sanctified. Shouldn’t we love others in the same way He loves us?

If you walk with Christ and are called a disciple shouldn’t you intercede for those He has given you even if they hurt you?  Love them; give your life for them, by dying to selfish ambitions, so that they may not be lost.  Never give up.

Finally He prays, “ 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”    He is revealed to the world when we walk in the same love that He and the Father share.

Is not the life that Jesus lived love?  Let this love be in me also that I might walk as He walked.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Acceptance with Joy

Behold me, here I am; thy little handmaiden Acceptance-with-Joy and all that is in my heart is thine.” 

 Hannah Hurnard, Hinds Feet on High Places


Many years ago God spoke to my heart regarding the children of Israel, delivered from Egypt.  I understood that we are all set free from the bondages of sin and death when we accept Christ. We are given the law and a promise to live in His peace.  However, not everyone delivered from Egypt will enter  the promised land.  We  enter into many deserts or wildernesses during our journey with Christ.  We must learn acceptance with joy as we sojourn in the wilderness, knowing this His word is true despite our circumstances.

Hebrews 3:7 -19

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
on the day of testing in the wilderness,
where your fathers put me to the test
and saw my works for forty years.
10 Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;
they have not known my ways.’
11 As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest.’”

12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 
14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 15 As it is said,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

In those times of testing we do not always see Christ and it is easy to question where He is and why we are there. Sometimes we look back to where we were and long for what was familiar. We must remember that Christ Himself was led into the desert and tested.

Matthew 3: 16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”  4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

Often when we receive a word or revelation from Christ we will be tested and it is during these times that we must follow Christ's example. Hold firm to God's word, remain obedient to the word and continue to give Him praise!

When we learn to stand firm in the testing we will gain victory over that area. The children of Israel who were delivered from Egypt  lacked faith. They demonstrated their lack of faith by grumbling, complaining and disobedience to God's word and as a result died in the desert, without seeing God's promise. Those who believed and trusted in God's word,  obtained the victory obtaining the promised land. It is clear that obedience to Christ demonstrates faith and disobedience  unbelief.  If we grumble, complain and walk in disobedience we will continue to wander in circles in the desert without knowing the promises of God, somewhere between Egypt and the promised land.

 It is the flower that springs up in the desert that has learned to be happy with what God has provided.  I am learning that acceptance with joy reveals Christ to the world around me, and makes me beautiful in God's eyes.  My love for Christ and desire to please Him, is greater than the lies of the enemy found in the wilderness!!