SPIRITUAL FOOD FOR THOUGHT! & SPIRITUAL GROWTH! 2
“Your attitude should be the same as that of CHRIST JESUS:
Who, being in very nature GOD, did not consider equality with GOD something to be grasped, but made HIMSELF nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, HE humbled HIMSELF and became obedient to death ~ even death on the cross! Therefore GOD exalted HIM to the highest place and gave HIM The NAME that is above every name, that at The NAME of JESUS every knee should bow, in Heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that JESUS CHRIST is LORD, to The GLORY of GOD The FATHER!” Philippians 2 ~ WORD FOR TODAY ~
~ THOUGHT FOR TODAY ~
JESUS CHRIST is our ONLY PERFECT example. He was both miraculously divine and yet still a sinless human man. He never did, said, or thought anything wrong. How amazing! He died upon the cross & rose with ALL POWER to SAVE us from eternal damnation… He overcame sin in the flesh for mankind. For this we should be eternally grateful. He was RIGHTEOUSNESS personified in the purest highest form ever. It is because of HIM we too are able to overcome sin in the flesh as we submit to HIS WILL & HIS WAY. He truly is THE GLORY of GOD!
Many serve the Lord to be served. Many serve to have power and authority over others. A dedicated committed servant of the Lord is willing to serve the Lord with gladness. They realize that absolutely nothing is hidden to Him. He or she seeks above all to be pleasing to the Lord. We all are accountable to the Lord for our actions. It is so very important to build a strong sure foundation upon the Word of God! Whenever we stand upon His Word He stands with us.
Serving the Lord does not mean that we are to make others or ourselves feel comfortable in sin. Sin actually separates us from God. We are supposed to “Walk in the Light.” We can choose to call upon our Lord and Savior to Help us anytime, anywhere 24/7. HIS WORD is necessary Spiritual Food for our soul. His Word is alive and it quickens our souls. It is important to hide His Word within our hearts. As we embrace and implement its Truth in our daily lives we becomes spiritually stronger. God wants us to be whole!
“Therefore whoever HEARS these sayings of MINE, and DOES them, I WILL liken to him to a wise man who built his house on The ROCK; and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it DID NOT fall, for it was founded on THE ROCK!” MATTHEW 6
We should make a sincere attempt to live in anticipation each day as though our Lord were going to return. Our main focus in life should always be the Lord. This actually is what helps us to better navigate through the maze of life. God is Omniscient. His Word lights our path. Make it a point to regularly and consistently spend time with the Lord in His Word. This is how we continuously grow in His grace, love, wisdom and understanding. We should daily seek the direction of the Lord in all areas of our lives.
We should not want our Lord to be a stranger whenever we see Him face to face. Therefore Live Everyday; “To GOD Be the GLORY!”
Serve the Lord because HE deserves to be served. “For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.” I Corinthians 7
Upon the profession of our FAITH HIS HOLY SPIRIT becomes alive within us and HELPS us to rise above sin. God has created each of us with a purpose in mind. It is our choice to discover His Will for our lives. We All need Him as Savior and Lord. It is a BLESSING & a PRIVILEGE to be able to call upon HIM as our Personal Savior. “For ALL of us have sinned and fallen short of The GLORY of GOD!” Romans 3.
Let’s not continue to make excuses for any sin or shortcomings. Instead learn to call upon JESUS! Whenever sin beckons, allow the Savior to help you rise above it. God wants us to be complete in Him. This is how we become better people. This is how we become whole. When we live to please the Lord we will always eventually become victorious! Always remember;“What can wash away my sin; nothing but The BLOOD of JESUS! What can make me whole again; nothing but the BLOOD of JESUS! O precious is the flow that makes me white as snow. No other HELP I KNOW nothing but the BLOOD of JESUS!”
Did you grow up in the Church but; the Church did not grow up in you? Did you regularly attend Church and regularly participate in all the auxiliaries yet, you did not or do not really have a real relationship with the Lord? Do you just go to Church and the moment you are behind closed doors you abandon all of God’s principles for living? Do you live Monday thru Saturday conforming to the world? Do you go to Church, study God’s Word but don’t really understand how to apply it to your own life? Have you or do you truly live a Godly life before your spouse and children or friends and relatives? Are you obedient to your pastor but disrespectful to your spouse? Are you a great Pastor who is a lousy husband? Do you really know what it is to have a personal relationship with the Lord? If the Lord was to return today can you truly say you will be “caught up in the air to meet Him?” Do you know that Jesus really does make a difference in your life? I am not talking about some religious experience. I am asking you these questions to provoke thought.
For many accepting Jesus Christ is a public experience. For many it is a procedure. For many, accepting Jesus Christ means to have your name on a membership role. Go through a basic initial training; decide what auxiliaries you would like to participate in then, jump right in. (I say auxiliary because there was a time when it was unheard of to say ministries.) If you attend regularly, pay your tithes, don’t make any waves, nor question the process, you have achieved conversion in the eyes of your trainers? In many cases you are expected to give in and yield to those who are in charge regardless. If you are related to or accepted by the established inner circle it is quite possible that as long as you conform to their wishes you can pretty much do whatever you desire. You do not really have to make any major changes in your personal life. Why? Because you love them and they love you, you have proven successfully that you are teachable, obedient and that you respect authority. They also are heart readers and can determine who is who? Hooray! You are now accepted in to what a very good God given friend of mine calls “the club”. Does any of this sound familiar? Did you grow up in the Church but the Church did not grow up in you?
What is the Church? Webster defines Church as; a building of public worship and especially Christian. A body or organization of religious believers. The clergy of a religious body. The Word of God teaches us that HIS people are actually His Church! The Christian Church is really a family of believers who have truly accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. Who earnestly and faithfully have committed to being governed by God’s principles. As long as we remain on this side of heaven there is room for improvement.
Commit means to; put in trust. To cosign for preservation, disposal or safekeeping, to obligate, bind to and live by. When you commit to live for the Lord; you agree to surrender to His will and His way. You really should live your life from the perspective that God really does see everything. His Holy Spirit becomes your inner guide. You consistently study His Word. As you walk in faith and obedience to God’s principles you are strengthened spiritually. You don’t conform to the world neither do you disrespect the laws of the land.
The Lord loves us so much He gives us the freedom to choose. In His Word He tells us if you abide in Him He will abide in you. His Divine and Holy Spirit will take up residence in your soul. His Holy Spirit is also known as the Comforter. The Comforter will become your inner guide; The Comforter will make your conscious sensitive and aware of Godly instruction for life and daily living. The Comforter will let you know that Jesus Christ is the “Bread of life” John 6:35. That He is the “True Vine” John 15:1. That He is the “Light of the world” John 8:12. That He is “the way, the Truth, and the life.” John 14:6
God will give you a mentally sound mind. It is your choice to continue to sharpen it with His Word.
Ask yourself have you really chosen God’s way? Have you changed or just outwardly conformed to be accepted? If this is the case you will have very little self discipline. Nor will you have true inner peace. If you have truly changed there is an inner metamorphosis. You will begin to walk in the fruit of His Spirit. Do you really seek the truth? Or do you seek to prove and accept what is false? Is Jesus truly important in your home, job, career and life? Did you grow up in the Church but the Church did not grow up in you?
Paul was concerned because some of the “Church from Chloe’s household” had informed him that there were quarrels among them. Paul realized the need to address the conflict which hindered their spiritual growth. Listen closely to the rebuke, a call for repentance as well as exhortation at times he expresses. Paul’s sincere intent was to bring them closer to the Lord. The Church is supposed to cultivate a passion for living for the Lord! The Church was meant to stand for righteousness and be the light of the world. God uses whomever He pleases to fulfill the mission of His Church. According to the Word;”God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things that are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.” I Corinthians 1; 27-29 Walking with the Lord is not a role to be played but a life to be lived! This is why Paul says “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” God is so worthy of all our praise! It is really by and through the power of His Holy Spirit we can attain a deeper ever growing level of intimacy that will enhance your personal walk with Him.
Due to the mindset of many of the Corinthians it was difficult to break the many strongholds. Carnality and spiritual immaturity permeated their atmosphere. Today as well during a service, although emotions and energy may be high it can still be void of spiritual depth. God really does know where we are in our walk with Him.Paul’s concerns have been recorded as a permanent record. In His second letter to the Church in Corinth he continues to relay his sincere concerns to the struggling congregation due to both internal and external problems. This is why Paul’s ongoing desire was for their spiritual growth. Spiritual warfare was all about him. As a rebuttal and deterrent Paul’s credibility was questioned. Yet, Paul did not allow this to sidetrack his assignment. We too must remain focused when spiritual warfare presents itself. God in His own time will bring everything to the light. The victory is in the praise!
Having intimacy in your relationship with the Lord is one of the most important intangible things that you could possibly possess. God knows our place within the body of His Church! This will help you to know that God is a God of all comforts. That nothing comes your way that He is not aware of. God can, and is truly the only one, “who comforts us in all of our troubles, so that we can comfort those who are in trouble, with the comfort we ourselves have been comforted by God….” II Corinthians 1:4. Paul’s writing includes significant teaching on a plethora of issues relating to sin and righteousness. Paul addresses the congregation by stating that he was called by the will of God. This in it self caused much resistance. In I Corinthians he dealt with the diversity of sexual sins and what happens when God’s plan for marriage and family are disobeyed see 7:1-40. He addressed the fact how proper worship flows from us by sincerely acknowledging God’s place in our life see 3:16-23. The pure significance of partaking in the Lord’s Supper see 11:17-34. Paul continues in significant detail a discussion on the effectiveness of exercising spiritual gifts as to when and how they should be properly exercised or not? Harmony and order were desired whenever they assembled. Christ really does deserve to always be the “Mainstay” of all our worship!
God has bestowed upon us the blessing of His Holy Spirit to abide within and to assist us in living a life pleasing in His sight. You must ask for this infilling presence daily. I encourage you to take some time to get to really know the Lord intimately. His Word has cleansing power. Repent of any and all sin before it ferments. Commence to really delve deeply into the meat of His Word. We can be sure and confident that God’s Word is infallible. Exercise your faith and entrust your future to the Lord. I declare, no matter what comes your way God will see you through! Christ birth, life, death and resurrection has taken away the veil. Nothing stands between you and God but you and any unconfessed sin. The Word of God is able to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
We can go boldly before the throne of Grace! If you have not already, start from this day forward living a life of worship. I assure you, you will not only feel better and become healthier, but you will see more clearly! “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the Word of God. On the contrary by setting forth the Truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the GOSPEL of the glory of Christ who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ, as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus; sake……….” II Corinthians 4:1-5
When you are faced with the cares, ills, grief’s, trials and concerns of life know that God sees you as a treasure. He loves us so much that He sent Jesus to redeem us from the power of sin. This is why we need Him as Lord and Savior! Allow Him His place in your life! God is the same God yesterday, today and for evermore through everlasting. Intimacy with Him will help you to know that whenever; “We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed, we are perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed-always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body…”
You never have to loose heart with the Lord. Examine yourself to see whether you are in the faith? Ask Him to fill you with His presence each day and remain focused. God wants to perfect us! Simply meaning He wants to mature us and complete us! God wants you to experience His peace that surpasses the understanding of man. God is willing, ready and able to walk with you 24/7. Intimacy will help you to know that the Lord knows and can see the things you can’t see. To know He knows and will reveal all and everything you need to know in order to live and worship Him each and every day yields security. Intimacy with God should be your desired destination. Now step out on faith and really begin to put your hope and trust in Him! “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you…………” Everyday; To GOD be the GLORY!
This 21st century is becoming progressively more interesting in a very bizarre manner. We are living in a time when just about anything goes! We can go almost anywhere and expect to see some of everything! You can see multiple piercings on the ears, lips, forehead, eyebrows, cheeks, neck, and head or just about anywhere on the body. Let’s not even discuss the places that we don’t see.
You can see glitter glam clothes or faces. Pink, royal blue, purple, burgundy, yellow and even green hair on both male and females. It has become acceptable for many to even walk around with their pants sagging below the buttocks! You can go to the shopping mall and see many clad in pajamas and slippers and guess what they are just out shopping; so what does it matter? The old shorter than short “Daisy Duke” shorts are even trying to make a comeback. WOW!
I know everyone wants to be comfortable or they just want to as the ole song says “Express Yourself!” So it has become tolerable to just dress down whenever or wherever. After all we are not hurting anyone.
Think about for a moment or two!
What is the most important event or occasion that you will attend? Is it a wedding, red carpet affair, birthday party, funeral, job interview or perhaps a prom? How do you dress for the occasion? If it is a wedding, you probably want to wear your best? Or maybe not? Why is that; because it has become acceptable to dress just any kind of way; right?
Well, what about going to worship? You should just “come as you are.” If you have not been a part of God’s Church it is understandable. But if you have been a part of the Church for a while you might want to ask; to whom or where do you present your best other than at worship?
Did you know that the Church is the Bride of Christ? The Church has begun to blend right in with the world.
It’s okay if you wear a suit and tie or business casual pantsuit, dress or blouse and slacks to the office if you are a manager or a CEO or CIO! But if I want to wear flip flops and cut offs it should not matter especially since I still get my work done. I just want to be comfortable and I don’t want to wait until casual Friday. What happened to the basic dress code? It really does matter how you present yourself!
Hmm I guess God is not interested in how we dress? “Therefore, I urge you, brothers in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” Romans 12. What does this have to do with how I am dressed? A lot! It’s clear here that we are not supposed to conform to the ways of the world. Notice how The Church has begun to pattern its dress after the standards of the world. This has even filtered over into going to worship! I guess we should really just want to hang out. sip a cup of coffee and be comfortable here too?
There is nothing wrong with freedom of expression. But what is proper and improper and who determines when or where? Does it matter that I go to worship looking like I’m on my way to the beach. Or if I look like I just woke up and threw on my most comfortable outfit! Or perhaps I was going to mow the lawn and decided to come to worship first. Or just perhaps I am going bowling after service and don’t want to make a change? It’s okay to wear a suit and tie sometimes if you are a pastor, minister or part of the praise team. Well maybe not because since its March madness everyone can just come in their Jersey’s representing their favorite team. By the way ladies it’s okay to just pull on a pair of leggings because the jersey’s are as long as some of the dresses and tops you wear? Oh my! I have just stepped on some toes! What’s wrong with wearing jerseys? Hmmm tell me when did going to worship have anything to do with your favorite football or basketball team? I am for team JESUS!! But do not penalize me because I do not wear jerseys! Hmmm what happens if I show up in causal dress when everyone else is dressed up for a special occassion or program? I know I am just too ole fashion or just plain judgmental? Maybe so!
Worship is supposed to be about GOD! Worship is supposed to be about us being thankful and grateful that JESUS died on the cross for us! He overcame sin in the flesh, lived a sinless life, died, was buried and rose from the dead with all power and authority! We are to give Him the GLORY! What is so casual about that?
It’s okay to pray at the altar and ask for healing, restoration and or some of our physical, emotional, mental or material needs. Its okay to sit in your seat if you prefer. It is okay to shout, scream, laugh, run around or do whatever? It is the posture of our hearts that GOD is looking at… GOD can and will supply in HIS time whatever is in HIS Will for us! But worship really should not be about us asking for something all the time. It should be more about GOD and us thanking HIM. Worship is devotional time to praise and adore the Lord; for all that He has done, is doing and will do!
Now how should we present ourselves? Look to the Lord and let Him direct you and not to the masses. I know we ought to be comfortable. We want to make everyone else comfortable too. We don’t want anyone to feel like they are being judged or unworthy, or that we are looking down on them? The truth is we all are unworthy. Jesus sacrificed His life on the cross for us all and at least we should make and attempt to put our best foot forward!
His Blood has priceless cleansing POWER!
What if Jesus returned today? Would you want to run home and change?
What if I do not have anything to wear? Well what did you wear to that dance you went to, or to that wedding, or the ballet, or that sorority or fraternity dinner, or to the prom or any other dress up event? Right; that’s different. Think about this for a moment. But you want to “dress down” when you come to worship God!
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The Old Testament gives us a vivid description of the Temple and the clothing that the priest was adorned in. It is clear that they put their best foot forward. Many went through purification rituals to prepare for worship. Leviticus has a plethora of laws and regulations that had to be adhered to prior to worship. There has been a gradual shifting down of the dress code as well as the moral behavior… No wonder sin is abounding and “anything goes!” Just perhaps all this dressing down has put the Church in such a relaxed mode that it’s made many feel that there is no need to change because we are to just “come as you are!” Yes indeed come as you are! But we are not to stay as we are! God is all about transforming our lives from the inside out!
See Part 2
Intimacy with God should be a desired destination. Intimately knowing God not only for what He has done; but for whom He truly is and what He will do makes all the difference in the world. It gives you a personal endearing relationship that is encompassed with spiritual depth. Intimacy really can be quite liberating. God knows what is beyond the surface. It is important to know this because it will help you to have a genuine reverential respect for His Word and a desire to walk in His ways. When He becomes the center of your life it gives your life purpose. It also gives your life balance. Psalms 145 says “Everyday I will bless You and Your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised”You also realize that worship is not just something you attend. It is really how you live before Him each and everyday wherever you are.
Have you ever noticed right before you attend a “worship service” you can find a level of anxious banter; everyone in their little cluster groups chit chatting about some of everything? Once the service begins, it‘s as almost, as though all of that joy is hushed? A solemn subtle quietness is ushered in. Then its business as usual? I have often wondered if that same enthusiasm or vigor continued what a difference it would make in the overall tenor of the service. For some it’s really become just a social gathering. Is there anyone or anything more important than the Lord? Did you know that we do not go somewhere to experience His presence? There is absolutely no where you can go, nor is there nothing that He is not aware of. Perhaps if we reserved some of that enthusiasm for Him our “worship” would be different not only on Sunday but everyday. What if intimacy was the desired destination; how would that impact things differently?
The Word of God has a multiplicity of illustrations depicting the difference God’s presence can make. The city of Corinth was known for its depravity. The Church that was established in Corinth was surrounded by much carnality. True but sad some of the worst sins were found amongst the church members. It was on Paul’s second missionary journey that he further established the Church in Corinth. There was a worldly culture which was one of the most prevalent problems within the congregation. It was hard for a lot of the believers to depart from their old ways. This is one of the primary reasons why Paul wrote not only one but two epistles to the Church in Corinth. Paul’s intent was to correct some of their behavior. He desired that the members establish a close deeper personal and intimate relationship with the Lord. He knew that this would make all the difference in the world.
The scripture says “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” Many stop right here. But if you continue on you will find; “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, Yes, the deep things of God…………..” God desires that we go deeper in His Word.It is here your understanding can be opened; here you will find intimacy. It is His Spirit He wants us to receive, not the spirit of the world; there is a huge difference. This is how you can know the things that “He has freely given us.” It is important to know what the works of the flesh are as well as the Fruit of His Spirit. God does not want any of us ignorant to His will nor His ways.