NEW WORD – ‘DOAS’

Spiritual Blog - Do Unto Others As

Luke 6:31 “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. “  NASU

Luke 6:31 – “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.” NKJV

 

Okay “Doas” is not a word but the message is clear we are to “Do As” in our dealings with others.  Through the years of counseling, ministering and dealing with people in general I continually hear complaints about how people are being treated by ‘others’ and almost always there is no implementation of this directive from Jesus.

While truth in Scripture can stand alone all the Bible from Genesis to Revelation are interrelated and interconnected.  Each directive is interwoven in the principles of every other directive from the Lord especially on our interpersonal relations.  It is truly tragic when we internalize wounds and focus on what someone has ‘done to us’ rather than addressing the principle advanced by the Lord in this passage.  We all want to be treated right and most of us, at some time or other, fail the test on how we treat others.

If you make a ‘mistake’ that was not malicious but hurt someone badly do you want them to viciously come after you verbally or physically?  NO!  Well, has there ever been a time when someone made a mistake that harmed you?  YES?  How did you respond or react?  Has there ever been a time when you lodged a complaint with a customer service representative over an error that caused you pain, problems or loss?  Has there ever been a time when you angrily responded to something that happened?  It may not have been intentional but the pain was there, the problem it caused may have been colossal.  If the shoe was on the other foot and you were the CS representative how would you want to be treated?

I addressed that once and had a person say, “Well if I do they will treat me like a doormat.”  That may be true that they will try, but that is not the directive.  If they treat you badly, consider you weak or a pushover as a result of you applying what is called “The Golden Rule” who is your defense?  It may make you feel better temporarily but will open the door to a deadly poison in your spirit if you respond out of your hurt and in anger.  Have I failed in this?  Not that I am proud of it or justify it but yes.  I did it once and the CS representative asked, “Do you feel better now?”  She did not say it in anger or even with sarcasm for in her voice I could hear genuine pain and concern.  It stopped me in my tracks and immediately I repented and apologized.  She did not cause the problem and could not resolve the issue but was able to direct me to a source that could rectify the error.

Sometimes when those we love do things that upset us we react and give ‘tit for tat’ which usually escalates into iciness if not a battle royal.  Can we commit to trying to apply the Golden Rule to our life situations?  May the Lord richly bless you as you go through your day!

RULE NOT TO FOLLOW:

Spiritual Blog - Not This

THAT POWERFUL PESKY LITTLE WORD – “IF “.

spiritual blog - if

Romans 10:8-13 – “…The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”   12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”   NKJV

 

Although I have not personally counted the occurrences of the word ‘IF’ in the Bible some research revealed that in the KJV it appears 1,595 times in 1,420 passages.  It appears more in versions like the NIV but almost 1,600 times should cause more than a passing view of the word in the Bible.

The word is a conditional word and I fear that we sometimes quote passages and claim promises from God without regard to the ‘condition’ that ‘if’ places on it.  I joyously cite passages containing promises but even when the word ‘if’ is not present there is an obvious condition contained in the promise.  I love the passage where Jesus declared that we will ‘know the truth’ and the truth will make us free but there is an ‘if’ clause preceding, it that some miss.  In John 8:31 we find the words of our Lord, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.”  Then the promise we quote in verse 32, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  The “condition” is unavoidable.  IF we believe on Him as Messiah!  IF we commit our lives to Him as Savior!  IF we abide in His word and His word abides in us THEN…  Then we are disciples, recipients of truth that makes free.  

Old Testament Israel was given incredible promises but that pesky little word “if” continued to show up.  In Deuteronomy 7:12 we read, IF you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the LORD your God will keep His covenant of love with you, as He swore to your forefathers.” (NIV) Then in 8:19 we find, IF you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed.”  Then in 11:26-28, “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse – the blessing IF you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today; the curse IF you disobey the commands of the LORD your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.”  The ‘condition’ cannot be missed.

In the New Testament that pesky little critter continues to surface and we dare not miss it.   There is a most powerful positive and negative given by our LORD in John 15:6-7,IF anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown in the fire and burned.  IF you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask what you wish, and it will be given you.”  Then what do we do with the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:2, “By this gospel you are saved, IF you hold firmly to the word I preached to you.  Otherwise, you have believed in vain.”  Remember the LORD’s words in John 15:10, IF you obey my commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commands and remain in His love.”  In Romans 10:9 we find a powerful promise and hope, “…IF you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  The heart and mouth are both involved in the process.

IF in the Bible is an incredibly powerful word and while Grace is freely given and cannot be earned God’s places conditions on virtually all His promises which require our active participation in the process and life.

            May God be with you as you go through this day! 

TAKE UP YOUR CROSS….

Spiritual Blog - Cross

Matthew 16:24-27 – “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.  25 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  26 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  27 “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.”  NASU

 

I have heard many sermons on ‘Cross Bearing’ and even preached a few and often wonder where we get some of our ideas of cross bearing.  Many biblical commentators will tell us that taking up the cross is a reference to ‘denying self.’  Jesus had been speaking about His cross and was teaching His followers the costliness of discipleship, which is an almost lost concept in today’s Christian world.  Notice what Jesus says:  “If anyone wishes to come after Me…”  So, if I want to follow Jesus and live the Christian life there is something I am going to be required to do.  Those things will not ‘earn’ me salvation but will be an ‘evidence’ of my salvation for it is ‘by grace’ that we are saved ‘not works.’

He mentions three things in this sentence:  Denial of Self, Taking up Our Cross and Following Him.  I do not want to split hairs and make this more complicated that is needed but what if those are three distinct items?  If they are then denial of self and cross bearing is not one in the same. However if they are extensions of each other, denial of self would result in cross bearing and following Jesus.

Jesus was going to die on His Cross for the sin of mankind.  He committed Himself to fulfilling the purposes and plans of the Father for man’s redemption and that would require His suffering and physical death on the cross.  If we are to follow Him then we must become willing to ‘die to self’ and ‘live to Him.’  We must come to the place in our commitment that even if everyone turns on us we will follow Him and that would truly be a very heavy cross to bear.  Sadly, some create their crosses and alienate others by being obnoxious in the presentation of their beliefs.  I would never ask anyone compromise their convictions but sometimes our opinions are presented as biblical mandates with no conviction of the Holy Spirit in another’s heart.

I remember hearing an elderly preacher say once, “Men will die for their convictions not their opinions.”  That has stuck with me through the years and I have struggled, at times, to distinguish between my opinions and genuine convictions.  If what I believe to be a Bible truth is just an opinion it must always be pliable and flexible open to modification.  If it is a God-given conviction then I must not move from it.  There are some things God has ‘convicted’ me of both to do and not do but in many of those cases the Holy Spirit has tugged at my heart that those things are for me not something I am to attempt to press upon others.  I am free to present them, explain them, and encourage them but not to make them Law and Gospel for everyone.  That in itself has, at times, been a Cross to bear.

In the statement of verses 25-26 I believe we see the Cross Jesus is speaking of as focusing on TOTAL SURRENDER.  Possibly one of the greatest and most difficult crosses we will carry is ‘giving up control’ of our lives.  Nothing in the world is worth our soul and nothing in the world can purchase our soul.  Therefore, if you want to ‘follow’ Jesus dethrone self, accept that cross and begin the journey.  He will never leave or forsake you.

            God bless you as you enjoy and experience this wonderful day!

IF ONLY I COULD…

Spiritual Blog - Pie

Colossians 3:17 – “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.“  NKJV

 

I wish I had a nickel for every time someone has said to me, “If only I could serve the Lord full time” I’d be a very rich man.  However that is not the focus of what I want to convey in this devotional.  I have always had a question for people who said that to me, “When are you not serving the Lord full time?”  Most of the time I would get the look of a calf walking up to a new gate or a deer in the headlights look acting as if I had somehow fallen out of a well.  What?  That’s what I asked, “When are you not serving the Lord full time?”

The usual response is, “Well you know what I mean full time Christian service.”  I usually respond, “When are you not in full time Christian service?”  I was not and am not trying to be contentious and frustrate but if I understand the teachings of Scripture correctly we are to do ALL WE DO unto the Lord so if we are Christians we are Christians ALL THE TIME.  That means whether I am a pastor, evangelist or some other labor that is deemed Christian ministry or am a businessman, janitor, factory worker, fisherman, etc.  I am still a Christian ALL THE TIME, right?  If that is the case then whatever I do I am doing ‘as unto the Lord’ and doing it to bring honor to Him.  Therefore, I and you are in FULL TIME Christian service we just may not all serve as preachers yet we all preach through our lives and labors.

Rather than compartmentalizing your life let your life be your life and realize that whether at work or play, in the secular world or in a church function you are in FULL TIME Christian service.  You are both a representation and manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ to this world.  I suggest that if you do not consider what you do for a living a ‘service unto the Lord’ you might want to consider changing vocations.  If we, as believers, would strive to be the very best we can be as laborers and examples of godliness we will find that either our employers will find us too valuable to let go or launch a campaign against us because of the Christ in us and either way God will come to our rescue.  It may be His way of opening a new door for us and it may be His way of touching the hard hearts of those around us.

I know what it is like to have an employer or boss launch a campaign against me simply because the spirit in him and the spirit in me collided without a word being said.  The day he walked onto the job I knew he would seek to get rid of me.  He could not, for my performance endeared me to the owner and this man’s superiors but that did not prevent him from trying.  I sought to be an example of godliness in all that I said and did and one of his reasons for attacking me is I would not lie to customers although he demanded that I do so.

Do I fail?  Of course I am a flawed vessel but that is not a justification for failing and does not make me a failure it only serves to make me more aware of my need for the Spirit of God in my life.  I pray the prayer of David continuously:  “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  11 Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.  12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You.” (Psalms 51:10-13)

            May God be with you as you go through your day!

FEELING YOUR PAIN…

Spiritual Blog - Jesus

Hebrews 4:14-16 – “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  NKJV

 

The Phillips translation renders it, “Seeing that we have a great High Priest who has entered the inmost Heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to our faith.  15 For we have no superhuman High Priest to whom our weaknesses are unintelligible—he himself has shared fully in all our experience of temptation, except that he never sinned. 16 Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with fullest confidence, that we may receive mercy for our failures and grace to help in the hour of need.”

If that doesn’t cock your pistol the hammer is broken! Jesus, our high priest, went to the Cross, died for our sins, arose from the dead and has ascended into heaven making intercession for us before the Father.  Knowing this and knowing that He was tempted ‘in all points’ like our confidence should soar that He ‘feels our pain’ and truly understands what we are going through.  He knows the frailty of our humanity and the pull of temptation.  He is our advocate with the Father and has extended an invitation for us to come ‘boldly’ before the throne seeking grace.

How many times have you said or been told, “I know what you are going through.”  The truth is you do not!  You may have experienced virtually the identical situation but you do not know that person’s heart or grid from which they view and feel but HE DOES!  You only see the ‘exterior’ He sees the ‘interior’.  You can only relate from your experience which is limited but He from an experience that is unlimited.  You can only empathize and offer condolences but He can work the work needed for victory.  You can see that I’m in pain but you cannot feel my pain but He can!

We have His promise that He will NEVER leave us nor forsake us.  We have His promise that we can ASK what we will and it will be done.  We have His promise that He has given us the Holy Spirit to teach us, guide us, comfort us, and equip us for life here on planet earth.

Whatever you are now facing, He can!  Whatever you now need, He can!  He enables us to be more than conquerors and overcome all the power of the devil.  God bless you and guide your through your journey today!  Blessings!

HEIRS ACCORDING TO PROMISE…

Spiritual Blog - Heirs

Galatians 3:27-29 – “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.”  NASU

I am often amazed at how people sometimes strain at gnats and swallow camels in trying to establish their theology and doctrinal explanations or exclusions.  Paul, a foremost authority on Covenant in the New Testament, begins his discussion with the Galatians speaking about covenant and reminded them that even covenants of men are established on principles and conditions.  He gives the seriousness and importance of promises or ‘our word.’  He explains to them that God gave a promise to Abraham and then 430 years later came the Law but the Law could not invalidate the promise.  He also explained that the Law did not bring the promise and that inheritance into the Family of God was not based on the Law but the Promise.  He explained that the Law came because of sin and it was a road map to faith and now that Christ has come and we have received Him we are not under the tutor or road map but had become sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

He instructs them that if they have been baptized into Christ clothed themselves with Christ then they (we) belonged to Christ and are therefore Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise!   That is powerful if you can receive it!  The Promise God made to Abraham in Covenant is something that every believer should study carefully and embrace fully.  It identifies the truth that we can never earn our salvation that it is fully by grace that we are saved through faith.  It is not based on works it is based on God’s mercy.  It is rooted in God’s Promise not how well we keep or do not keep a set of rules and regulations.

 Please understand I am not saying that discipline and self-control are not important.  I am not saying that we can do whatever we please and there are no rules we are to follow.  Certainly there are rules of moral conduct that must be observed and that means we must demonstrate self-control and live within certain guidelines of accepted behavior.  Yet, we are FREE in Christ and not constrained by the list of rules and regulations that any particular sect, denomination or religious order dictates.  We are constrained by the Spirit of God based on the Word of God. 

We know that Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness.  Abraham, Hebrews 11 tells us, was one of the patriarchs of faith in our biblical history.  He obeyed when he could not see or understand all that God was directing him to.  He believed that God’s direction was right God was trustworthy and obeyed beyond what most of us would be capable.  He had a settle assurance that the things he hoped for were real even if he could not hold them, see them or currently experiencing them. HE BELIEVED!  That is the key element in our heirship.  Faith trumps sight or feelings for it is rooted in the confidence that God is who He declares Himself to be and His Promises are what He has declared them to be.

I encourage you to study the Promise God made Abraham and embrace it incorporating it into your life and labor.  Blessings as you go through this day!

TWO VERY IMPORTANT QUESTIONS….

Spiritual Blog - Who Do You Say

Luke 9:18-21 – “And it happened that while He was praying alone, the disciples were with Him, and He questioned them, saying, “Who do the people say that I am?”  19 They answered and said, “John the Baptist, and others say Elijah; but others, that one of the prophets of old has risen again.” 20 And He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.”  NASU

 

I have found that some people base their entire lives on what others say.  Their beliefs, self-evaluation and actions are contingent upon what others say.  Some belong to a particular political party based on what those they want to impress say.  Some pursue vocations based on what others say.  Some date and marry particular individuals because of what others say.  Rather than thinking for themselves they allow the ‘opinions of others’ to shape their destiny.

Jesus asked the disciples two questions in this passage.  One had to do with what ‘others say’ or ‘think’ and the second was in direct contrast to the opinions of others and made personal.  He asked, “Who do the people say that I am?”  The answers were varied and then He made it personal asking, “But who do you say that I am?”  Simply, “Men, I really am not concerned with what the masses say I want to know what you think.  You have been with me observing me and hearing me so WHO do you believe that I am?”  That is the critical question in our spiritual walk.  WHO IS GOD to us?

One can go to seminary and hear what men of the ages have declared about God, learn what the professors think about God but the bottom line will always be WHO IS HE TO YOU!  When Jesus asked that question impetuous Peter got it right.  Peter blurted out, ‘The Christ of God!’  You are Messiah the Coming one!  You are the one with the words of life.  You are He whom we have been looking for.

Once you move beyond what the preacher, parents, friends, politicians, or the public thinks, believes or says to what is in your heart you are in a position to develop a personal relationship with Him.  I heard someone say once, “If everyone or no one believes in God I do and will.”  Jesus is a personal savior to me.  He met me at the kitchen table on a Saturday night or Sunday morning just after midnight in Palestine, Texas and lifted the load of guilt from my life.  It was not what my parents said about Him, the preacher preached about Him, my friends thought about Him – I EXPERIENCED HIM.  I could not answer all the questions that people, my mind or the devil hurled at me but I KNEW that my sins were gone and I was a new creation.  It was not what others said but what I experienced that transformed me.

So, the question is not how I can prove God to the world but God has proved Himself in my heart.  I prove Him by manifesting Him in my transformed life.  I can use all the persuasive argument, rational reason, logical deduction, biblical, scientific and historic proof that I can muster and it will not compare with the fact that, in my heart, I KNOW He is THE CHRIST OF GOD!  I may have doubts and fears, my eyes may fill with tears but Jesus is a friend that is with me day and night.  He never leaves.  He never forsakes.  He never fails.  I am not concerned with the answer to the first question but my life is anchored to the second.  “Who do you say that I am?”  You are Messiah!

            May God be with you as you go through your day!