Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Gaining Strength

Muscles are amazing.  When they are used for their created purpose, they grow and become even more useful to us.  Work becomes easier and more effective as our muscles enlarge and take on more of the force for us.  They may scream at us that they are sore, but if we give in to them they become weaker once again and we must start over with building them up.  They are like a little child that doesn't want to have to walk anymore.  They cry out to Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, Grandpa...anyone who will listen, "Pick me up!!  I don't want to walk anymore!!"  Parents know that their child needs to walk a while to build leg muscles so they can eventually not have to be carried.  So sometimes they listen, if they know their child has had it and really is exhausted, but other times they will tell their child they must keep walking.  When our muscles cry out that they are weary and sore we have to decide if they really need rest or should keep going.
Muscles are also amazing in that they are all throughout our bodies.  Our hands alone can have over sixty different muscles in them!  It is believed that every hair follicle on our body has its own muscle.  Our heart is a muscle as well.  If it is used and exercised it gets stronger and more efficient in pumping blood throughout our bodies.  If it is ignored it will atrophy, become weaker and weaker until it can no longer function properly and will give up.  If that happens, we die.
If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them. James 4:17  (NIV)
Just as we know we should exercise to keep our muscles growing in strength, we also know we should exercise our obedience to Christ in order to grow in faith.  If not, our faith will atrophy and we will wonder if God has forsaken us, when in reality it is we who have forsaken Him.  Our bodies were made to work to keep them strong and our spirits were made to work in obedience to God in order to strengthen our faith. 
How many of us are living in sin through disobedience and don't even recognize that it is sin?  We tend to think that sin is something we DO that is wrong.  While that is true, it is also true that it is sin to NOT do what we know we should be doing.  Just as we make excuses for not exercising our muscles; ie: not enough time, costs too much, too tired, etc., we make excuses for not doing what we know we should and amazingly enough, they are the same reasons we use for not exercising!!  Hmmmmmmm....
Father, first we must wake up to the fact that we are being lazy in not exercising our muscles of obedience.  It is said that walking is one of the best forms of exercise so Lord, grant us the desire in our hearts to truly want You as Lord over all and get up and get going in our walk of obedient faith.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Even I ......

My thoughts dwell on marriage continuously.  Regardless of what I am studying in Scripture, God usually brings it all back to the marriage relationship.  Now that I understand a little of the depth of the importance of the marriage relationship and its being a symbol of our relationship with God, I can grasp why He does this with me, but must wonder why He chose me?  I am glad He did, as it gives me understanding I never had before, but I confess that it also amazes me.  I know my heart.  So I say to those out there who are being bombarded with the lies of the evil one telling them they are useless and God would never reveal anything of real import to them anyway, so why read His word?  I tell you, if He can reveal anything at all to this hard-headed, strong willed and selfish personality, He can and deeply desires to reveal these things and more to you as well.  Get involved with God's word.  It is not simply another book that may or may not teach you something; it is alive.  No, it does not physically eat, breathe or grow, but it feeds us, breathes real life into us and causes us to grow by leaps and bounds in our spirit man. 
John 1:14 says; " And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." (NKJV)
Then again in Matthew 4:4, "Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" (NIV)
God's word is alive.  God spoke, Jesus became, the Holy Spirit inspired - the word.  Just meditate on that for a moment.  Each time you pick up God's word and start to toss it aside again - you are tossing aside the inspired, God-breathed, living word of God.  At that moment, open it up and ask God for understanding. 

Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. I Corinthains 2:12 (ESV)
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
 James 1:5 (NIV)
James 1:5 tells us quite plainly that God will give understanding generously to any who really want it.  He doesn't look at us and say, "You're to young, too old, too heavy, too thin, too ugly, too beautiful, too stupid, too smart, too disobedient, too rebellious" or any of the other nonsense the evil one whispers so loudly in our inner man.  His word, His living word - which means it is still relevant today - says He not only will give wisdom, but will give it generously.
My thoughts on marriage this morning went something like this, "Isn't it a good thing that Jesus said not to divorce except for in the case of infidelity?  That means He will never forsake us, but if we reject His love and salvation and seek after the idols of this world, He will let us go; but of our own free will, not because He wants us to go.
God loves us desperately.  Because of this, He desperately wants us to understand Him, so is more than willing to dish out as much wisdom and understanding as we are willing to consume.  The more we understand Him, the less likely we are to reject His love.  Understanding our spouse and where they are coming from helps us forgive and keep on loving them.  God cannot stop loving us, because He is love (I John 4:8), but He will not force His love on us.  We must receive it willingly.  We would not want to marry someone unless we loved them and we cannot and will not love them unless we get to know them.  We cannot get to know them unless we communicate with them.  God has already said all that needs saying for us to know Him as fully as we are humanly able, but we must hear those words He has spoken and respond to them in one way or another.
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.  Romans 10:17 (NASB)
Father, we need wisdom and understanding, but more than that, we need desire; desire for more of You.  Without the desire to know You more fully, we will never open Your word with any real seeking.  That is why You tell us to ask first, so I am asking that You pour out the desire in Your childrens' hearts for more of You.  You then tell us to seek.  We seek Your understanding and wisdom and then we can knock with the great expectation of receiving whatever we ask, because it will be being asked in accordance with Your word and will, because we will understand more fully Your awesome desires for our lives in this world.