Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

Relevant:

“The Struggle”

Romans 7:19

If I hear anyone saying that being a Christian is easy, I wonder whether they are living in the same world I am. I never will question anyone’s faith as our testimony is the ONE thing that can never be questioned. What Christ has done in the life of an individual is something no one can question…even though it happens more often than it should. However, being a follower of Christ, dying to Him daily, and doing what we know we want to do and are supposed to do is something that is not easily accomplished given the inherent nature of sin that resides in all of us. The apostle Paul, the author of 13 books in the Bible, faced the same struggles as we do today with doing what we know we shouldn’t and don’t want to do in spite of our relationship and love of Christ. In the book of Romans, Paul got very real with his fellow Gentiles when he said, “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.” (Romans 7:18-19 NLT) We beat ourselves up when we do something we know we shouldn’t and often feel we should “pack up and go home” in regards to our walk with Christ because a voice we hear says, “a Christian doesn’t live that way…or do that. You’re a poser…a fake…a hypocrite. You can’t impact anyone for the Kingdom.” That, my friends, is the voice of the THE liar and comes directly from the pit of Hell. Ineffective and worthless to the Kingdom is exactly what the devil wants us to hear…and believe…because if we believe him, we no longer pose a threat. Don’t listen to him. Tell him to sell that somewhere else because we know in Whom our victory lies. Remind the devil that we know how the story ends.

Challenge:   One of the most effective tactics of the enemy is to remind us how far we fall short of perfection…of a sinless life. There has been only One who has lived a sinless life on this earth…and none of us are Him. Remember, God’s word tell us, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin.” (Romans 3:24-25a). “We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for loving us…in spite of us. We fall so short of Your glory. Yet You still see us as holy…all because of Your Son, Jesus. Lord, give us the strength to call on Your name when the evil one attacks us with lies and deception as the devil has to flee when we call on Your name. Thank you for Your assurance of victory and everlasting life…all through Jesus Christ. In His name we pray. Amen.    

For more information about Servant Warrior® Ministries, visit www.TeamServantWarrior.com

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SWM logo final 4-2012 Hello, May. Wow…summer is almost here. I know you’re pumped! Before I get started, I would like to remind you that this month we honor some very, very  important people: Mothers ( Mother’s Day – May 11th) and those military personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country (Memorial Day  –  May 26th). I cannot road picthink of two groups of people who deserve our thanks more. So to mothers everywhere, we  say “Thanks, Mom. We love you. You’re the best.” And to the families of and in memory of those men and women  who made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our freedom and way of life, with humble adoration and the utmost    respect, “Thank you.”

Now…let’s get on with it. We are continuing the Road Trip 2014 Series this month with “What’s Under the Hood?”  I think you’re going to like it…relate to it…maybe even experience a little uneasiness as it just may hit a bit too close to home. Hey…just sharing the Truth. It’s all good…and well worth the time.

And away we go! Let me set it up for you. You and couple of buddies emerge from the local gas and guzzle with some large cups of coffee…or Mountain Dew… headed back to your monster crew cab man machine that resides next to the pump that just delivered way too much gas to your ride. You guys climb back in and get back onto the interstate. A mile or so up the road you get the fortune of getting stuck behind a beat up, two-toned, primered, late 60’s model Camaro that, from the outside, looked to be lucky to be holding together and certainly didn’t appear to be interstate worthy…not to mention it was being driven by an elderly gentleman. Of course, conversation in the truck between you and your buddies ensued that was not necessarily favorable to the machine or the driver a hundred feet or so ahead of you. Now, in an attempt to get out of your way, the older gentleman and his Camaro found themselves pulling in front of a jet black, tricked out, and super nice Mustang convertible with the top down and the 30 something who is driving, and from the way he was going at it on his cell was obviously making the business deal of his life, clearly felt as though the nice gentleman who just pulled in front of him didn’t share his sense of urgency. Unfortunately, the traffic was such that would not allow the Stang to pass the ‘Maro. So…the young buck almost found himself in the trunk of the old guy’s car a few times as he was clearly agitated.

Now, you and your buddies are watching this unfold and likely have some mixed feelings about it…some sympathy for the older gent and empathy with the young stud. Hang with me…it’s about to get good. The young guy gets the opportunity to go around the older gentleman but instead of passing him and going about his day, he feels Camaro the need to express his agitation about being held up. So, he pulls in front of the Camaro and slows down causing the  older gentleman to have to put on his brakes. The young guy revs his little rocket a few times in front of the old guy as if  to say…”Look at this machine…and look at yours. Who are you to pull in front of ME and slow ME down?”

At that  moment, you see the back end of the Camaro lower a bit and you hear the unbelievable and deafening growl of  power as  the two toned bondo and duct taped Camaro jets past the little sports car like it was sitting still. Of course, the  young  man was to have nothing of that. He revved his ride to its max but the little 4 cylinder the young man was  sporting in his  tricked out Stang just didn’t have the umph…to keep up with the seasoned hot rodder. Not to mention  the Mustang was  in need of a tune up and oil change.  His car looked super sweet on the outside but seriously lacked  fortitude on the  inside. Come to find out, the old guy in the Camaro just finished restoring the powerhouse 500HP V8 engine on his 1969 ZL1 Camaro. Even if the kid had a Shelby Cobra, he wasn’t going to catch him. But you would have  never guessed  the Camaro had that kind of engine from looking at it.

I got to tell you, I am big fan of the Star Wars movies…not so much of the new ones but definitely of the original 3 and especially the first one, episode IV: A New Beginning. One of the best quotes in the entire movie, and there were a few good ones, came from Han Solo, of course played by Harrison Ford, when he responded to Luke Skywalker’s “observation and comment” of Solo’s ship the Millennium Falcon…it’s classic!: “She’s not much to look at…but she has it where it counts, kid.” I dig that quote and have used it often myself. Yes…I’m dating myself. But that’s ok. They don’t make good movies like that anymore. But that’s a subject for another day.

“Not much to look at but has it where it counts, kid.” How many times have we heard that the heart, not the outer appearance, of a person is what is important to God? All throughout scripture, God makes it very clear that what is on the inside counts much more than what is on the outside. Think about when Samuel passed the news that David, the youngster and not one of his older more outwardly appealing brothers, would be king of Israel… What did God say? “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV).

More for our conversation here was Christ’s admonishment of the Pharisee he was dining with, as told in Luke 11 and Matthew 23, regarding the vast difference between his and the other Pharisees’ outward appearance and… “what was under the hood.” Jesus said in Matthew 23:26-28, “Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

Too often we are more concerned with how we look to others than how we look to God. And I am going to go ahead and make a bunch of people mad but too often, our churches and those inside look, using our story from the interstate, more like the beautiful than the bondoed. Which one would you say you are? Which one would others say you are? And we wonder why our words and our actions don’t impact others…at least not in the way God would want. Here’s the harsh reality folks: People can see through the façade of playing the part of “Christian”. More times than I would like to admit I have heard the word “hypocrite” associated with Christians and the church. I have heard that both inside and outside the church. Of course, not every church body or group of believers is this way…too many are. You’ve seen them…visited them. Let’s start focusing on what God sees as important. He clearly tells us that if we clean up the inside…the outside will also be clean. If we are going to impact the lives of others for His kingdom, we must adopt an inside out focus rather than an outside in.

We’ll continue the Road Trip 2014 series next month. Until then…Keep it Real…Radical…Relentless…Relevant. Rock On…& Armor Up!

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Hello, July. Summer is in full swing…vacations have ensued…Independence Day and all that goes along with it is upon us…and it is likely that school or anything that has to do with learning is farthest from our minds.

It has been said that “knowledge is power.” Actually, I think a more accurate statement is “the use of knowledge is powerful.” Knowledge by itself is like the sharpest ax in the world. It is absolutely useless unless someone swings it. Many of us find ourselves on this relentless quest for knowledge…in the acquisition of educational degrees, through books, training seminars, infomercials, etc… We believe that the more we know, the more we learn, the better we will be. Getting an education, preparing for one’s future, learning the particulars of an industry, product, job, etc…is essential to being successful and effective in many aspects of both an educational and professional environment. However, this knowledge is not the foundation by which God calls us in our lives. It seems the smarter we get by the world’s standards, the more capable we feel we are to analyze God’s Word, sometimes question its validity, demand scientific evidence and proof, or simply think we are too smart to believe in God and His Word. All throughout the Bible-treasure-chest the perils are revealed, from God’s perspective, of being “wise in our own eyes” and of the arrogance that often comes with worldly knowledge.

Proverbs 1:7 tells us “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,…” God does not tell us not to become knowledgeable about the world. He tells us not to become rooted in it. “For the wisdom of the world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness.’” (1 Cor 3:19) We have the instructions: “…and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding.”(Prov 2:3-6). Rather than filtering God’s Word through worldly knowledge, try filtering worldly knowledge through God’s Word. I think you will be surprised at the perspective shift.

Lord, your Word tells me that You and your love are the root of all knowledge, wisdom, insight, and understanding. And that wisdom and understanding are worth more than gold and silver. There is so much pressure on being seen as an authority on this or an authority on that…to learn this or that…all things based on man’s perspective. You tell me if I seek first your kingdom, the things I need will be given to me. Lord, thank you for your faithfulness as I need wisdom and discernment. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

As we celebrate our country’s 237 years of independence, we humbly thank those who have rung and continue to ring the bell of freedom through the selfless giving of their blood and sacrifice. That bell rings due to the blood and lives of patriots…not by the swing of a sledgehammer. May God continue to bless the United States of America.

Until next time, keep it Real…Radical…Relentless…Relevant…and every day… Armor Up!