Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Simplicity of God’s Will 

Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the simplicity of God’s will. Our human tendency is to complicate matters. We wonder if we’re on the right track or question our worthiness.

God created us out of unconditional love. The Lord finds us worthy enough to be saved. And He simplified His will by introducing His Son Jesus Christ to the world.

God made salvation available to anyone who will believe in Jesus as the Savior. Once someone picks up their cross and walks with Christ, then God’s will comes to life. Without establishing faith in Christ, the door to God’s mansion is closed. (John 14: 1-6)   

When Adam and Eve sinned, it damaged their interaction with God. His penalty for their disobedience excluded humanity from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). The Lord didn’t give up on them and showed His mercy by teaching them repentance. God’s grace saved them from the evil one.

It’s easy to find God’s will. The first thing He wants is being placed above everything. Nothing less is acceptable for God’s judgment is harsh on unbelievers. The Bible speaks God’s truth, and many examples of His corrections are recorded.

Noah, Moses, David, and Habakkuk are the testimonies attesting to God’s wrath on disbelief. They saw God’s righteous justice and wrote of those events so we can understand the Lord’s judgment on disobedience. 

Our ancient ancestors of the Old Testament lived in and out of God’s favor. The Lord practiced patience with them and used Prophets to help guide His children into eternal light. Their long periods of captivity and God’s merciful interventions wasn’t enough to convince them to change. Lack of faith and their inability to repent paved the way for God’s next and final plan.

God activated His final plan for salvation in the New Testament. The Lord ended prophecies and introduced His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. God narrowed His will to one crucial act of faith: abiding in Christ.

Apostle John’s Gospel simplifies the truth of abiding in Christ. Here is where the Messiah explained to His Disciples the truth of God’s will. In John’s 14th chapter, he wrote the command Christ made for entry into God’s kingdom.

Christ told Apostle Thomas this: “… I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14: 6) Verse 6 is precise and easy to understand. Here God identifies Christ as His eternal will. God leaves salvation in Christ’s hands and eliminates any confusion on His everlasting plan.

Our Father is incredible and by believing in Christ, we are anointed by the Holy Spirit (John 14: 15-18). Here God’s overwhelming presence is obvious. Our Father never leaves us guessing for no other feeling or emotion matches His living spirit. The Holy Spirit makes God undeniable.

Experiencing God’s will of love comes from loving Christ. Jesus unfolded the essence of God’s love and the Gospel of John highlights the action necessary to receive this gift. Our love for Christ unites Him and us with God (John 14: 23-24). Then we are given an unshakable foundation for everlasting life.

Another manifestation of God’s love from abiding in Christ is becoming friends of Jesus. Christ told the Disciples this: “No longer do I call your servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you," (John 15: 15).

God wants us to be friends of Jesus. The characteristics of real friendship comprise love, trust, faith and selfless giving. Those spiritual gifts produce a fruitful partnership and can withstand the storms of life. God is glorified when we become Christ’s friend.

The inner peace I have from abiding in Christ is exhilarating. Christ’s serenity comforts my soul and keeps me humble. God has provided me hope in times of distress and I love being corrected from my disobedience. Christ has changed my life and made it whole. I’m no longer afraid to lose my life in Him.

On our own and without Christ our lives are meaningless.  God’s will is centered in Christ. Humility is the cornerstone to Christ’s wisdom, and this provides us with the knowledge of God’s will. The light of God brings us a brighter future.  

How has Christ changed your life?

Monday, September 7, 2015

Soundness of Thought:
Sober Minded

Sound thinking is the byproduct of a sober mind. The way we develop our conscious and subconscious connection with God is crucial to our salvation. Our undivided mental attention is desired by God (Joshua 1:8). The direction we exert our minds has eternal consequences.     

Our minds are an incredible gift from God. The Lord’s astonishing design included a way our bodies survives and a consciousness with Him are united. This extraordinary union between our physical and spiritual being is God’s unique creativity. Nothing we can create matches our Father’s unbelievable abilities.

It’s easy to misuse our minds. The influences of the world are a way sin manifest its self to corrupt our spiritual conditioning. God’s enemy attacks our thoughts so we won’t focus on His word. Spiritual warfare begins in the mind, and this battle is too mighty for us.

Without Christ, we lose the war.

The clearest picture of a sober mind is not getting drunk. God’s word is strict on abusing alcohol. Drunkards are unfavorable in the Lord’s eyes. The Old and New Testaments affirm God’s alcoholic standpoint. (Proverbs 20:1, Ephesians 5:18)

God’s approved use of alcohol is recorded in the Bible. Christ turned water into wine (John 2: 1-10) and Timothy approved it for medicine (1 Timothy 5:23)The discussion over alcohol brings on debates, but scripture holds the Lord’s truth. On this matter, God has chosen your path. We can agree the Lord has our best interest in mind and never misleads us.

One of the toughest challenges in staying sound-minded is the subtle ways negative emotions enslave our spirits. Unresolved anger, fear, lust, envy and other sins keep us in an unstable mentality. Negativity affects our Christian equilibrium and keeps us unbalanced in our devotion to God. They are a trap preventing us from Christian maturity.

The emotional hangover caused by overindulgence in unrighteous behaviors leads to mental, physical and spiritual troubles. Our minds become flooded with sinful thoughts causing us to misbehave in other ways. Physical illness develops from the stress caused by disobedience. And our souls stay in turmoil because we haven’t repented. Nothing good happens from unresolved spiritual conflicts.

Prayer and meditation are essential to keep a sober mind. They are as crucial to our walk with Christ as is food and water are to physical survival. When we deprive our bodies of those nutrients, our immune system weakens, and we have no defense against sickness.

Well, the same holds true in our spiritual lives. By neglecting our conscious contact with God, we cut ourselves off from His saving grace. Our spirits need the nourishment of God’s love. Christ is God’s daily bread and without His spiritual nutrition our soul stays restless
The Messiah’s manna trains the mind, softens the heart and renews our spirit.

Meditation unlocks the subconscious part of the mind so we can absorb God’s Word and know His truth. Deep contemplation of the Lord’s truth keeps the brain sober and generates sound spiritual thoughts.   

Seeking God with our minds is the strongest defense against mental corruption. The Lord uses our minds by placing thoughts inside us and protects from evil. Intuition is God’s way of helping us take the right action with His commands.

Meditate on God and watch the devil flee from your mind. Satan can’t overtake the strength Christ provides to a mindset centered on God’s truth.

One way I point my mind in Christ’s direction is stopped listening to unsuitable music. The lyrics in those songs stored wrong messages in my mind. When Christ purified my thoughts, He showed me the vulnerability of the mind. Then Christ showed me other mental impurities needing attention. I still struggle with those obstacles, but Christ has relieved their stronghold. Today I’m grateful for God’s command in changing my choice of music, books and movies.

A sober mind isn’t developed overnight. Every day we are challenged by the world to stand firm on God’s truth. Sound spiritual thinking can’t be mastered or perfected. No matter how strong our faith becomes the enemy continues looking for mental weakness. Sober minded is abiding in Christ.