Wednesday, September 12, 2018

All In

 I was talking with a new co-worker recently, and I was trying to find out were he was in his beliefs, (its what I do, lol). I didnt really get an opening, so I just asked, "So were are you at with religion, what do you believe?" He responded, "I believe and all that, I just aint all in." He was meaning like I aint all into it. Then He asked me, "How about you?" To which I quickly replied, "Oh I'm all in."
 This got me to thinking about how many people these days say they believe in God, yet there really seems to be no dedication in their life to Him. Then even further there are people who go to church Sunday, but thats the extent of their walk. The rest of the week you couldnt tell the difference between the believer and the non-believer. Believe me I know all about this because I was one of those people for many years, I didnt start out that way, but just gradually started missing church here and there. I started making compromises in my life, before you know it there wasnt much difference between me and a non-believer. I still said I was, but there wasnt anything in my life to speak it.
 Jesus had a lot to say about this.
 Matthew 7:21-23 
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!"
 If thats not enough, what Jesus said to the church of Laodicea  
 Revelation 3:15-16 
"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth."
 In both cases He was speaking about people who profess to be believers, but they arent "All In." This would really be a sad wake up call in the end when there isnt anything that could be done to change it. I am not suggesting that they arent saved, its not for me to judge. However it is very plain to see who is an "All In" follower and who is not. The Holy Spirit changes a person as they spend time reading and seeking, spending time in prayer and hearing from Him. It becomes very easy to see the life the Spirit changes. From what Jesus said here, is He respects the hot or cold, the one who is All In or the one who says he doesnt believe, more than the lukewarm follower. The reason is that the one who says he believes and doesnt do what Jesus said does more damage to the church than the one who denies. 
 One of the biggest responses you hear when talking to non-believer is that the church is full of hypocrites. This mostly comes from people who talk the talk, but dont walk the walk. Your life needs to speak Christ. Its not enough to know Him, but to be known by Him. When I call out Lord Lord in that day I would hope to hear Him say, "This ones Mine." There is so much more to this life in Him, and we will fall far short of its full potential in our lives. Just think, the Fullness of God dwells in Christ and He in us. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us. So if we have that kind of potential why do we not jump All In. Jesus has so much more just waiting for us to take hold of. He died to give us life, His life. Let us get into His word daily, get plugged into a study. You wont be sorry, and the change that the Spirit does in your life is amazing. You will never be the same if you just give Him an All In dedication and determination to follow through. The lives around you start to change as they see the change in you. Thats what speaks life.Taste and see that the Lord is Good. Stay Blessed, PJ

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Jars of Clay

2 Corinthians 4:6-10
 "For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness", made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body."
 For the believer, He made His Light shine in our hearts, our life is to shine Christ. We learn this early on, I recall the song, "This Little Light of Mine" and that's what it is about letting Christ be seen. Fact is our life is supposed to speak the gospel. The old saying of "Preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary use words", comes to mind. Our life is to speak Christ.
Proverbs 3:5-6
 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight"
A beautiful promise that He will make your path straight, but the key is to acknowledge Him in all your ways. What we do, say, wear, how we act, what we get involved in, with our whole life!
 It doesn't seem so hard when things are going good, but when trouble comes its a different story. One of the challenges we face is we cant see the storms in our life coming, a lot of times they take us by surprise. However God is not surprised, although He doesn't cause it, He does allow it. If He has our best interest at heart, then we do need to trust that He knows what He is doing. That this trial will strengthen us, grow us and mature us in Him. It is where we start to become our faith.
 So we have this treasure in jars of clay..., we are a jar of clay, fragile. I see in my life as I age, this jar doesn't age so well. Sometimes dread moving when I wake up knowing I'm going to find an ache or pain which I didn't feel motionless. Even more so the storms and trials we go through cause this jar to chip, crack, break and become so weathered it can hardly hold water anymore.
 In the trials one of two things happen, we either turn from God, or draw near to Him. It is sad when people turn from Him and blame Him for the problems that He didn't cause, I guess they would blame Him because even though He has the power, He didn't stop it. I choose to look at it more like a Father saying, "This may hurt a bit", its part of our growth. When you turn to God in those times, you grow closer to Him. You end up finding He is right there, even though you know "He will never leave you". You end up growing into, becoming your faith. 
 Thus this broken, cracked, chipped, jar starts shining light through the cracks. The bigger the trial and the more we trust and draw near to Him, the more light that shines through. People start seeing Him because we are shining His life through the dark places in our life. That's when Christ can be seen, that's when we "show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body."
 We get bent, chipped, broken, worn out, etc..., but these things don't have the victory in our life when we cling to Him. We come out shining and stronger than ever. Paul ends the chapter with my favorite verses for the past year or so. 
 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
 Look, life dumps on us, Jesus said in this life we will have troubles, but take heart I have overcome the world. John 16:33. It doesn't have to beat us though. We have a savoir who overcame and He lives in us. We all fall short of realizing the potential of what we have living in us. The Maker, Creator lives in us, the power that overcame death in us. He already won over the very worst that can happen. How much more will He carry us through the other things. 
 Isaiah 43:2 
 "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."
 I heard a pastor say; "Although He can, God almost never stops the storm, He does however give us an umbrella." 
 Whatever you are going through, use it to draw closer to Him. It will not only change your life, but also change the lives of those around you. Seeing His light shine through your troubled, cracked and broken jar of life. Stay Blessed, PJ