Monday, December 28, 2009

Get out there and preach the Word!

We all know the passage from Scripture, John 3:16 "For God loved the world in this way; He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." (Holman CSB) Most Christians and Theologians alike live-out Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen." (Holman CSB) At a very young age, I could recite from memory the 23rd Psalm. And almost every church service uses passages from books of the Pentateuch (Genesis--Deuteronomy which were authored by Moses) integrated into their sermons. From the Old Testament to the New Testament, from the Kings to the Prophets, believers, as a culture, all know of Scripture in some form or another. But do we know what the Word is really saying? Do we possess true understanding of the meaning of those all-to-familiar passages which are ingrained into our spiritual lives? I know that I don't always get the intended goal of every message or every passage. This is why we must make time to study the Word and meditate on it. This is why we must make time instead of excuses and find the truth versus imitations. We must not replace God's holy Word with our own vices. It is a decision we must make but the reward is eternal!

Have you noticed how the authors and writers utilized metaphors in most Biblical stories and autobiographies to portray the message. How the Bible is packed with similes and hidden meanings. How the Prophets used laymen terms and layman level descriptions in their interpretations of the prophecies given them by God..................................and how symbolism is a norm of Scripture, both Old and New Testament. Jesus himself used parables to tell His stories and give His lessons to the masses. He used realistic examples of actual events to engage the crowds. He never used sugar-coated terms or politically-correct sentences. He never beat around-the-bush with his sermons, but was always direct and to-the-point. He saw a need and provided the solution. Saw spiritual hunger and provided the food. He observed the audience and noticed every detail about them. He even "felt" healing power leave Him as a woman (who had been bleeding for 12 years) touched His clothing as He passed by. He stopped to heal the blind, deaf, and lame. He cast out demons using the very spiritual power and influence that we also have as Christians. We are entitled to the same privileges and given the same authority to heal, save, and teach. We have the ability to carry out ministry wherever we are and with whoever we are with. We all have the same spiritual weapons as Christ to wage spiritual warfare against the Devil. We were given these abilities by God and we were given Christ to show us how to utilize them. Being a Christian was made relitively easy for all of us and following in the footsteps of Jesus is not too much to acomplish. It is not the level of difficulty which impedes our faith increasing, rather the ability to conform to godly principles and rules. We are given everything we need to fight the good fight and run the race, its up to us to see it through.

Jesus lived as himself, not putting on a face in public or pretending to be someone else when around other people. He was honest, authentic, and sincere. He was man, but God. He was just as tempted and targeted by Satan as we all are, He just faced the temptations down and returned the accusations with spirit-lead rebuttals. He never argued, but always discussed. He was never offensive in tone but never coward from a challenge to His authority lodged either by man or Satan.........................He was perfect! We, as Christians, are constantly striving to reach this perfection in Christ. We are always on the mission of progression in our relationship with God. We will always make mistakes and will never be without temptations while here on earth but, God will forgive us our mistakes and He always provides a way out of temptations. For every wrong there is a right. For every problem a solution. Every down an up and for every bump in the road there is a path around that bump. God has pre-planned our lives but He has given us the freedom to make choices. This is were we get lost.............were we go off the straight path.............were we fall off the wagon. It is our ability to make these choices which decide our fate.

We are entitled to direct time with the Father through the blood sacrifice and atonement for our sins by the Christ. We can go to God directly with our requests, our problems, and our interests. We can approach the Throne of Grace with boldness. This is something which was once impossible and, in-fact, very dangerous. It was a very lengthy and nerve-racking process only performed by the most knowledgeable Priests who were separated by birth from the rest of the Israelites and raised in a very secluded lifestyle much different from ordinary citizens. This was necessary to be able to approach God with a blood (animal) sacrifice to atone the sins of the people. After the last breath of Jesus was breathed and His spirit was surrendered up to God while on the cross, the curtain in the Holy of Holy's in the Temple was torn in two thereby symbolizing the New Covenant between God and His people. At that moment, after the tearing of the curtain, we were once and for all able to approach God on a personal level and at any time we desired. This is huge given the very time-consuming and formerly difficult process of going to God for sin atonement.

If we read Romans 8:12-17, "So then brothers, we are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, for if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. All those led by God's Spirit are God's sons. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father!" The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God's children, and if children, also heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ--seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him." (Holman CSB), then we read Hebrews 6:1-3, "Therefore, leaving the elementary message about the Messiah, let us go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, faith in God, teaching about ritual washings, laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead. and eternal punishment. And we will do this if God permits." (Holman CSB), we will clearly see that we are to move forward towards the goal. We must not become stagnate in our faith and callous to our beliefs, so much so that we began to regress to our former state of sin or our old selves! We were given a mandate by God to spread the Good News and tell others about Jesus Christ, so that they might have life and have it more abundantly. That is the key word, abundantly. Having a relationship with God Almighty is living with meaning. Being a Christian is a state-of-mind and a lifestyle not a religion. It is about living the good life here on earth so we can live the good life in the fast-approaching New Kingdom!

I pray that I can live the good life or godly life that I was purposed to have. I pray that I may come to an understanding of cosmic proportions which far surpasses all other earthly understanding. I pray that I may be the man God wants me to be and that I may die to myself daily so I can live for Christ more. Deuteronomy 30:19 "I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live." (Holman CSB), Joshua 24:15 "As for me and my family, we will worship the Lord." (Holman CSB). This speaks volumes of books unwritten and words unspoken. Nothing more be said about what need be done. We know what we are to do and how we are to do it............................The rest is up to you??? Amen!

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