Friday, July 18, 2014

Want More?

Every day not just Christmas should be a day to give thanks for the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But we cannot remember Christmas without remembering Easter as well. For God, Himself came in the form of a helpless baby to save His people from their sins, to bridge the gap between man and God. Thirty Three years later Jesus hung on the cross to pay the penalty for that sin and declared that it is finished. In saying that, each of our sins past, present and future have been accounted for and paid for in full.

Those who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior should be the most thankful, bold and courageous servants for Christ as He wants us to be. But are we? Are we who call on His Name walking in the fullness of His gift to us?

With the modern age comes vast improvements in communication. We have instant access to news that bombards us with all that is wrong in the world. Social media, Email and texting have taken the place of gathering together and socializing with families and friends. So many are so busy or consumed with the cares of this life that it has left us fearful and joyless and we forget the gift that was given. God's gift of grace brings radical freedom in our lives when we truly embrace it.

Recently the Lord posed a series of questions to me that change my perspective. Several stood out: What would my church look like to a dying world if My children who call on My Name used the gifts and talents that I placed in each one of them in the way that I intended? What if they obeyed Me completely without doubt and trusted that I have My best for them through what I allow?

We are not made to live in spiritual poverty. If we are walking with the Lord and abiding in Him then we will have all we need, not necessarily what we want. But if we doubt, if we try to do it on our own we hamper what God wants to do in us and through us. Life doesn't always turnout the way that we want it to. Along the journey are gut wrenching events that change our lives and test our faith. How we respond to those events ultimately dictates how we live and how we love and serve others.

A friend and I are both going through a lot at the same time. At times we wonder where God has been in all of it. Have you ever wondered that about your own life? The answer is He is always right beside us. Just  because we haven't sensed Him doesn't mean He hasn't been here all along. (Heb 13:5) 

The Lord has used different means to plant the same yearning in both of us. We are both tired of living in fear and of feeling like we are barely hanging on. We want more. What we want more than anything is more of Jesus. To be so full of His Holy Spirit that He spills out of us onto everyone that we meet.

Many are turned off by the church. They see hypocrisy and don't want to go there. They see religion instead of having a relationship with Christ. What they seek is people who are living what they preach. What they want is not a list of dos and don’ts but to be loved unconditionally. John 10:10 NLT says “The thief’s (Satan) purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” The New King James Version says “an abundant life”. That doesn't mean when we go to heaven. That means that we are to enjoy the life that we have been given now.

Receiving God's forgiveness in order to spend eternity with Him is pretty simple. Romans 10:9 NLT “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Once you do that life becomes an adventure of losing yourself and being molded into the image of Christ. Is it painful? Usually. Is it worth it? Most definitely.

It isn't just the Pastor and Elders in the church that are called to ministry. We all have our own little areas of influence that the Lord has given each of us: Co-workers, family, friends. How we act and respond around them greatly influences their view of Christ and of His church. Do we exhibit the fruit of the spirit? (Galatians 5:22-23) Are we kind and patient to those we meet? Do we exhibit gentleness and self-control? Is there Agape love (a love of commitment) and a joy that no one else but the Holy Spirit can produce in us? Giving a kind word, a smile, opening the door for a stranger, giving a compliment all go a long way to making someone's day a bit brighter.

All I know is I want more. It is time to live the way Christ intended so that when the world looks at us they want what we have – Jesus. What about you? Do you dare come on the journey with me?

I will try to update this site at lease once per week. If you like what you read, thank God for it. If you don't, tell Him.