Every Meal Has A Desired Outcome!

Scripture:  Luke 22:7-27  The Last Supper 

 

I just love the Food Network on television.  The one thing I’ve learned from watching the cook shows over the years is:

Every meal has a DESIRED outcome.

There’s something that the TV Cook intended to accomplish in preparing this meal.  What makes a birthday dinner special?  Or a wedding reception?  Or that special date with a special young girl back in 1964 when I prepared a juicy steak and twice-baked potatoes for the first time.  The MEAL can make all the difference.

Yet the very thing that can make a meal great can also ruin it!

The Three “R’s” of ruining a meal:

  1. RECIPE.
  2. RECEPTION.
  3. RELATIONSHIPS – Conflict and Competition.

The argument at the table

LUKE 22:24-27

The disciples all gathered together for the Passover meal in the upper room with Jesus.  They all wanted to be Numero uno, number one.  And what’s worse, each thought he was!  Each wanted to be Jesus’ right-hand man, His Chief of Staff!

“What is causing so much disharmony among the nations is the fact that some want to beat the big drum, few are willing to face the music, and no one wants to play second fiddle.”  ~ Henry Kissinger

The disciples had their own view of the Kingdom

Jesus followers wanted Jesus to be KING over the Jews, the Romans, the Greeks, and every political power.  They didn’t realize He already was.  He didn’t have to overthrow surrounding nations and governments in order to be King.  His Kingdom is “not of this world” (John 18:36).  He rules by spiritual relationship.  The disciples thought they should be leaders while Jesus is looking for lovers and lifters.

“Mop Bucket Attitude!” 

The LORD has a GREAT MEAL PLAN for us!

Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s Hamburger, wrote:

“I got my MBA long before my GED.  I even have a photograph of me in my MBA graduation outfit–a snappy knee-length work apron.  I guarantee you that I’m the only founder among America’s big companies whose picture in the corporate Annual report shows him wielding a mop and a plastic bucket!  It wasn’t a gag; it was a case of leading by example.  At Wendy’s, MBA does not mean Master of Business Administration.  It means Mop Bucket Attitude!”

In order not to ruin the great meal the Lord has planned for us (verse 30), we must go from…WHAT will I eat? to…HOW will I GIVE?

Luke 22:25 (NIV)

[25]  Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors.”

Earthly leaders normally lord it over their subjects, issue commands, give orders and tell people what to do and where to go.  They are the BOSS.

In Jesus’ day, it was a commonplace practice of rulers to make gestures of goodwill.  They might open the Coliseum and invite the public for free entertainment, or make their soldiers do some project for the common good.  These rulers called themselves “Benefactors”, or “Friends of the People”, one who does good, as if their sole aim was to rule for the good of the people and not their own gain.  They may do good things, but with an ulterior motive.

Followers of Jesus can’t be concerned with position or power.

Jesus said it:  “But you are not to be like that.  Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves” (verse 26).

In order not to ruin the great meal the Lord has a place for us (verse 30).  We must go from …WHERE will I SIT? …to HOW will I SERVE?

PLACE SETTING to PLACE SETTING–

It’s really unfortunate in today’s society that SERVICE has become associated with a business.  We use to have “Service Stations”, where an attendant pumped the gas, checked your oil, washed your windshield, checked the air in your tires, told you potential problems with your car, and all with a smile and for less than 50 cents a gallon!  NEVERMORE!  And yet we really do value good service.  We are willing to pay more if we know the service will be good.

Our habit of connecting service with business makes it hard for us to understand the Biblical language.  In the Bible, the word SERVICE means the kind of work a slave did for his master.  They didn’t get paid for it.

Just as we can have trouble understanding “service” and “business”, so the disciples had trouble bringing the words “servant” and “King” together.

Forgetting about “your place”, “your position”!

What did Jesus do in setting an example for His disciples?

He washed their feet!

What would Jesus do today?

He’d wash our feet.

You never stand taller when you are on your knees! You are never more in control than when you choose to serve:  “…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”  (Matthew 20:26-28).

The Communion Song to listen to in reflection of your position as a true believer and of God’s Planned Meal for us:

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CREDITS

Music Video:  The Communion Song by Jonathan Stockstill and Bethany Worship; YouTube.

Photo Images:  Google Image Search–settings, advanced search.

Bible Translations:  English Standard Version (ESV); New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP).

Dave Thomas Story:  Dave’s 5 Values – The Biography of Dave Thomas.

The Actions Needed In Keeping Things In Balance

A Study in Philippians 2:12-18

One of the most difficult things I found in life over the years is maintaining to keep ALL things where they are ALL supposed to be at ALL times.

It’s called BALANCE.

Sometimes we feel like the man portrayed in the above image.  He starts at one end, starts them spinning, works his way down to the last one but as soon as he gets there looks back and the first one is failing so he rushes back down the line to restart one and goes through the sequence again and sometimes he doesn’t make it and the plat crashes.

BALANCE is critical in the Christian life (Luke 2:52)

“Jesus grew both in body and in wisdom, gaining favor with God and people”  (GNT).

This verse follows the story of when Jesus was lost or separated from Mary and Joseph for three days.  Can you imagine losing your children in a shopping mall…for three days!

When they finally located him, Jesus was in the Temple sitting among some of the great teachers of the day, asking questions.  And they were asking him questions as well and they were amazed at his understanding, after all, he was only 12 years old at the time.

The Bible is silent for about the next 18 years of Jesus’ life and we don’t know exactly what happened during that time but we do have this one verse as a summary of those years:

  • he grew in wisdom…Intellectually
  • he grew in stature…Physically
  • he grew in favor with God…Spiritually
  • he grew in favor with man…Socially

And if we are going to live as Jesus did, we have to learn to do the same.

Because of they all matter and when our life is in BALANCE we are happier.  When it’s out of balance we’re miserable!

And I find it is one of the most difficult and challenging things in life to maintain.

So the apostle Paul reminds us the areas where we must maintain balance.

There must be a BALANCE between purpose and power (Philippians 2:12-13)

To understand what he is saying needs to first understand what he’s NOT saying.

The phrase “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” is greatly misunderstood.  Paul’s NOT telling us we must do something to earn salvation.  He’s NOT telling us that we have to work to be saved.

So to understand what Paul’s saying here, we must recognize he’s writing to the CHURCH, to believers so his words have nothing to do with how to come to Christ.  These people were in the church; they already knew Christ.

The word for “work out” in the Greek NT is the potential of freedom from strife and vainglory [*See footnote [i] ].  

So here’s a few questions we all must ask ourselves at various places in life:

  • Am I reaching for my full potential as a Christian in life or am I just settling for mediocrity?

What’s my obedience to Christ?

I feel once we acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives that becomes our PURPOSE in life–to OBEY Him in absolutely everything!

Now when Paul speaks of God “working in you” in v. 13, the word there is the English word energizing.

What came to my mind here almost immediately was the Energizing Bunny in the commercials.  He keeps going and going and going!

There’s a positive and a negative side to every battery we use.  Even when it’s in the package we buy it in, it’s still working.  We just can’t see it.

But when they are placed in a device it needs to be hooked up to an electrical circuit and the electrons build up and the result is POWER!  OK, maybe I oversimplified the process but you get the idea.

So there’s POWER stored up whether we turn it on or not.

Look around the room you’re in right now.

POWER is available in every outlet.  But they’re not ALL being used for something.  Some of the outlets are empty.

So it becomes our job to plug into this POWER to allow God to use us.  That’s “Wonder Working Power”!

But too often we just choose to sit and watch everyone else plugin.

Someone has said there are THREE TYPES of people in this world.

  1. Those who made things happen
  2. Those who sit and watch things happen
  3. Those who wonder what’s happening

God wants us to be in the first group.

God is at work in us to do His good purpose.  As He pours into us we do the things that bring Him good pleasure!

Now I believe that Paul wants us to see something here:

  • It’s His pleasure (not ours)
  • It’s His will (not ours)
  • It’s His glory (not ours)

There’s a potential conflict in all this I think.  Most of us prefer to have things go our way and that’s because of our attitude.

So Paul tells us there’s a second area where we need BALANCE.

The must be a BALANCE of Attitude and Action (Verses 14-16).

For BALANCE to happen in our busy lives Paul gives us a negative and a positive response because that’s how we find balance.

On the negative side, Paul says to all of us…You need to watch your ATTITUDE.

Oh, how I need to be reminded of this daily, oh Lord!

There are TWO things Paul mentions that show our bad attitudes:

  1. Usually, one of these we do is when we’re alone grumbling.  

GRUMBLING isn’t usually loud.  It’s a low tone, negative, complaining, whining, and one thing it will do is to steal your JOY!  It just seems to come naturally for some of us.  We try to resist but we just pass it around to others.

GRUMBLING can find something wrong with everything at once and when they find it, that’s what they focus on.

I was pruning my ROSE TREE the other day as I do every year at this time.  As you might imagine, it can be a ‘thorny’ experience because the tree is covered with THORNS.  In fact, all I could see was the THORNS to the point I couldn’t remember how beautiful the tree was when it was in FLOWER.

The reason is perspective.  It’s ATTITUDE!

Paul said that you and I as believers need to prove that we are different by OUR ACTIONS.

He said to prove that you are blameless and innocent; that you are a child of God and in the midst of a dark world with plenty of thorns, you and I are told to bring LIGHT to the situation.

Paul calls us STARS.

There are no small STARS!

The smallest star in our universe is basically the same size as the planet Saturn.

The word here means luminaries (Gk. phosteres).  LUMINARIES are surrounded by darkness and that’s why they stand out.

Jesus told us to let your light shine so that people can see your good works and through that, GLORY will be given to God, the Father.

There’s no need to shout or scream, no need for drama, JUST SHINE!

The NEGATIVE that Paul gives us here–DON’T GRUMBLE.

The POSITIVE–JUST SHINE!

Get our ATTITUDE and ACTIONS in BALANCE.

Next, there must be a BALANCE between being serious and being joyful (verses 17-18).

Philippians 2:17-18 (NIV)

“But even I (Paul) am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith.  I am glad and rejoice with all of you.  So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.”

Paul goes on to describe a THIRD area we need to balance.

I thought this is an amazing word picture here.  Paul says we are “being poured out as a drink offering.”

Unbelievers, pagans had a practice in that day before and after every meal to take 2 cups of wine–they would pour one out on the ground before every meal and then would eat–then they would pour another one out after every meal in honor of the god they worshiped.  The purpose was to gain the favor of the gods.

Paul speaks of the possibility of being poured out as a drink offering.  Now that’s a serious thought.

He’s saying. I may never get out of the situation I’m in alive–remember he’s in prison facing execution at any moment.

But even if I don’t make it out…he says it will all be worth it.

You can think some really serious thoughts if you have ever faced the possibility of your own death–Paul was imagining here that he might be living his final days, and the single most serious thought a person can have and yet he was still able to REJOICE.

He refused to focus on the DARK SIDE.

He refused to let even the possibility of his immediate death steal his JOY.

Then he says to us that you need to REJOICE in the same way.

Every day we need to find something to be happy about; every day find something you can laugh about.  Take a day off, take a long walk, watch a movie, go fishing, do something that takes you away from all the seriousness of life.  Give yourself permission to enjoy the day.

The Flying Wallendas…

The Wallendas are known as perhaps the greatest group of tight wire walkers in history.

Karl Wallenda had the amazing ability to keep his focus, to concentrate and to, of course, keep his balance.  He did it for decades until that night he fell to his death.  He was crossing a tight wire strung between two sets of high-rise apartments in San Juan Puerto Rico.  Later his wife said that for as long as she had known him, he always focussed walking the tightrope but on that night she said for some reason he kept his focus on the possibility of falling.  Even to the point that he supervised the installing of the guide wires which he had never done before.  And on that night he fell to his death.

Often the difference in success and failure is losing your BALANCE and looking in the wrong direction.

Scripture tells us that we are to keep our eyes–our minds, our spirits focussed on JESUS, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

“Work out your own salvation” (Philippians 2:12)

I love the way the Amplified Bible phrases verse 12:

Therefore, my dear ones, as you have always obeyed [my suggestions], so now, not only [with enthusiasm you would show] in my presence but much more because I am absent WORK OUT (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ).

Paul doesn’t leave us there.  He goes on to tell us that we can’t work our salvation by our own efforts–our own strength or we will lose our focus and fall from the tightrope of life.

Verse 13 (AMP):

[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.

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~FOOTNOTES & CREDITS~

Footnote [i] :  Vines Complete Expository Dictionary Of Old and New Testament Words – “work out”; page 684, verb #2.

The Interlinear Bible of the Old Testament and New Testament; Greek and Hebrew.

Bible Translations:  Good News Translation (GNT); New International Version (NIV); Amplified (AMP), or where noted in the text.

Images used:  Google Image Search.

 

 

 

 

 

Living Our Lives With The “Two Minute Warning” In Play

SCRIPTURE:  1 Peter 4:1-11 (NIV)

In football, the manner of play I’ve noticed over the years changes when the “TWO MINUTE WARNING” has sounded.  And in VERSE 7 in our study together, Peter says “The end of all things is now.”

I think that thought gives meaning to the whole passage as the Holy Spirit is saying through the Apostle that we should live our lives on earth as if Life’s TWO MINUTE WARNING has sounded.

The question becomes…we should ask ourselves while investigating this passage of Scripture, the same one Peter asks his readers (2 Peter 3:11)–“What kind of people ought you to be?”

So with that in mind, let’s look for ANSWERS to that question:

First, as Christians living in a lost world at the end of time, we should be ARMED with an ATTITUDE.  By the way, I didn’t steal that idea from Dr. Laura–it comes right out of this passage of Scripture (1 Peter 4:1-2).

Peter is giving us a picture of putting on our ATTITUDE as part of a suit of armor.  Very similar to the passage Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesian church–“Putting on the whole ARMOR of GOD” (Ephesians 6).

So What is ATTITUDE?

The English Oxford Dictionary:  “A settled way of thinking or feeling about something.”

Referring to “ATTITUDE”, Peter is saying it’s the same one that Christ took towards suffering–ARMED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE that He once had, completing the task, never again to wrestle with sin or temptation–that would all be over with, “It is finished!”

What it’s not saying is that if you suffer once, you’ll never suffer again.  It’s saying that we should “understand” suffering for what is right and it sometimes part of life in the body.

BIG PICTURE…as a result, you won’t live your life as if you must satisfy your earthly appetites–your desires, your pleasures, for a little suffering here.  It can’t be compared with an eternity FREE from SIN & SUFFERING.

ILLUSTRATION:

The ATTITUDE we should arm ourselves with is like that of a quarterback in the Superbowl who gets injured in the 4th Quarter of the game and the TWO MINUTE WARNING begins.  He would be willing to play through a great deal of pain for the sake of that victor’s ring because he know’s everything is at stake and the end is in sight.

We who are Christians, who stands on the edge of history should arm ourselves with the ATTITUDE that says, I can see the goal line and it’s worth any price to obtain it!

That’s the ATTITUDE that free’s us to do God’s will in our lives.

That’s NOT the Way We Used to Live, however.

VERSES 3-4

VERSE 3 actually is a direct contrast to Verse 2,  It literally says enough time has been spent doing the will of nations (worldliness) in CONTRAST to our NEW ATTITUDE which frees us to do the “will of God”–we used to live our lives to PLEASE the World and ourselves; not anymore.

And now the World doesn’t understand this new attitude of ours; why we don’t plunge into a life of SENSUAL PLEASURE–drunkenness, sensual immorality, worshipping money and fame.  The will of the WORLD summed up in the phrase “If it feels good, do it!”

Secondly, as Christians living at the end of times, we should have…AN AWARENESS OF ACCOUNTING.

To live as followers of Christ we need to understand that AN END IS COMING!

Coaches begin to watch the clock very carefully inside the TWO MINUTE WARNING.  It’s important to know where they stand in the time they have left.

Peter says that we need to understand the end is near and living in this time requires clear headedness, self-control, allowing us to keep in communication with the Coach.

It is important as well that we understand what “the end” means–that it means there will be an ACCOUNTING…whether we are LIVING when that time arrives, OR…whether we have already passed on, that we’ll give an account to our lives.

Even those who have gone before us will be judged and this is why they needed the GOSPEL too–it’s not just for those who will be living when the ACCOUNTING comes.  And when those who have gone before us put their TRUST in Christ Jesus, thought by human standards being judged GUILTY, in the spirit, they live everlasting because of the work of Christ.

As we sit on the edge of history’s end, we must be aware that Christ will judge the living and the dead.  We then must consider how we will be judged on that day.  Our DEEDS will be laid before Him.

Woe unto us on that day if our SINS are not covered by the BLOOD of Jesus.

Those who trust the SAVING GRACE of Jesus whose BLOOD was shed on Cross, understanding that only HIS BLOOD can cleanse them; that nothing we could ever do or say will make us worthy.

Those who have put their TRUST in Him alone…ALSO, commit their lives to Him–to live for Him, not to earn His affection, but to demonstrate our affection–because we have been ARMED with the ATTITUDE of Christ.

And because we are aware of an ACCOUNTING…

Third, as Christians living during the “TWO MINUTE WARNING” we should be…

ABOVE ALL AFFECTIONATE (Verses 8-9)

[8] Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  [9] Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  (NIV)

More important than anything else is LOVE.  

JESUS’ top TWO LIST was this:  Love God, Love your neighbor–everything else, He said, All of the Scripture is tied up in those TWO!

Church tradition says that when the Apostle John, the beloved disciple, became too old to even walk, used to ask to be carried to the local church meetings, go before the assembly of believers and say only this:  “Little children, love one another.”  Well, that sounds sweet enough but after a while, it started to get on people’s nerves.  Finally, the elders of the church went to John and asked him why do you keep saying that?  His reply was short and to the point:  “Because it is our Lord’s command and because it’s enough!”

LOVE COVERS A MULTITUDE OF SINS.

The Lord knows as well as my wife, I have a multitude of sins.  That said, my wife also knows that I LOVE her.  Sometimes I hurt her feelings and I’ll demonstrate that LOVE in a tangible way–in an exercise that some have said is a “suck up gift”.  But that “suck up gift” works NOT because I spend money, but because she knows that I genuinely care deeply about her!

But it works the other way too.  Our LOVE for others covers a multitude of OUR sins toward them but our SIN should also cover a multitude of THEIR sins.  About 70 times seven I’d say.

There’s one last thing I want to mention that we should do as Christians while living at the end of time.  That’s ADMINISTERING GOD’S ANOINTING (vs. 10-11 a).

Each one of us should use whatever GIFT he/she has received from the Holy Spirit to SERVE others, faithfully administrating God’s GRACE in its various forms (verse 11).

Here is this passage of Scripture, Peter urges us to be “faithful stewards” of the GIFTS God has given to each one of us.  And as ADMINISTRATORS (Stewards) of God’s GRACE in various forms, that is of the gifts that God has given YOU (put your name in place of the word “you”), NOT for your pleasure but for His, to SERVE OTHERS.

And notice also that emphasis is given here as it has in the passages found in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12, to the fact that these Spiritual Gifts are exercised not in our own strength BUT in the strength of the Lord.  And this is the part that makes it important for us who live in History’s TWO MINUTE WARNING…to OPERATE in the GRACE (the FAVOR) God gives to us through SPIRITUAL GIFTS.

So as the BUZZER, the whistle approaches (or actually, as the TRUMPET sounds),  we must work in God’s strength, FAITHFULLY ADMINISTERING as good stewards, God’s Anointing in its various forms.

Conclusion:

ARMED with an ATTITUDE that says I have my eyes on a prize above and I can’t be distracted by the pleasures below.

AWARE of the ACCOUNTING–keeping our focus and ready for that day!

Above all AFFECTIONATE–because it’s the Lord’s command and because it’s enough!

And ADMINISTERING faithfully God’s Anointing that through HIS STRENGTH we might accomplish ALL that He has for each one of us as the day approaches!

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CREDITS –

VINE’S COMPLETE EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY of Old and New Testament Words.

PHOTOS:  Advance Settings–Gooogle Image Search.

Bible Translations:  The New International Version (NIV), EXCEPT WHERE NOTED.

 

 

 

Is It Time For A New Wardrobe?

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE – Colossians 3:1-17

There seems to be trending on cable television several SELF-IMPROVEMENT shows. Some of the appeal I think is the DESIRE to make some changes in our own lives.   Also, some of the appeal is seeing others being able to make the needed changes.

There’s a show called What Not To Wear on TLC.  It’s interesting to watch friends and family rat out a loved one as one who has no style and then the show secretly films the offender.  Then the offender is confronted by the hosts of the show with the chance to change what they wear and given a $5000 pre-paid Visa Card to get a new wardrobe.

I’m certainly NOT a fashionista, but really, you should see some folks sense of style. Almost always it’s a lady who needs to make a change.  I guess us men have an instinctive sense of style  (NOT!).

I’m thinking that most who are reading this have something you would like to change about yourself.  I would like to lose 10-15 pounds myself.

Let’s consider our life with Christ for a moment,

How many of us are totally happy with where we are in our RELATIONSHIP with Jesus?

When we give our lives to Christ, we hear about this NEW LIFE God wants us to have.

John 10:10, Jesus tells us that “I came that they [you] may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).”  

But it doesn’t seem to be happening the way we think it should be.

You’re going to have to realize that in order to be able to make those changes about yourself, you actually have to change some things in your life!

For instance, if I want to lose weight, I have to change my eating habits, my exercise habits (currently, no habits here!), along with my attitudes concerning food.

Without CHANGING these specific areas of my life, the weight is not coming off.  No miracle cure is going to change my weight without me changing some things.

THERE IS NO NEED FOR “WHAT NOT TO WEAR” POLICE…the truth is, what we WEAR daily will have an effect on our lives.  

What we WEAR can help us or hinder us.

For one to grow in Christ we need to realize there are some things we ought NOT to WEAR in a figurative sense.  We all need to rid ourselves of some or our entire current wardrobe so that we can really TRANSFORM our image of Christ.

Colossians 3:5-7 (PHILLIPS):

On so far, then, as you have to live upon this earth, consider yourselves dead to worldly contacts: have nothing to do with sexual immorality, dirty mindedness, uncontrolled passion, evil desire, and the lust for other peoples’ goods, which last, remember, is as serious a sin as idolatry.  It is because of these very things that the holy anger of God falls upon those who refuse to obey him.  And, never forget that you had your part in those dreadful things when you lived that old life.

FIRST, WE NEED TO CLOSELY EXAMINE WHAT’S IN OUR CLOSET

One of the most difficult things for people on the TV show to do is get rid of the old wardrobe…snake skin tights and pink boots.  They gotta go!

They need a wakeup call, and the wakeup call on the show is a 360-degree mirror, a truth teller.  It helps make the fashion offender realize that they need to look at changing what they wear.

After the view in the mirror, the hosts of the show go through their closet and throws almost everything in a nearby trash can.

Well, the Apostle Paul gives us a list of items that need to be taken out of our closet and throw in the trash can.

  • WE NEED to throw out the old clothing that no longer fits
  • WE NEED to realize that we are DEAD to the old life; we’ve outgrown many of the items hanging in our closet.

In VERSE 5, we are told literally “put to death” these things.

To consider DEAD means we’re to hold these items in check, restrain them.  Left unrestrained, they will lead us in the wrong direction.

If you look at VERSE 3 casually, we are told that we have DIED with Christ Jesus…BUT here we are told to consider our members of our earthly body as DEAD!  Remember, someone who is DEAD is no longer aroused by the world around them.

This VERSE should remind us that WE have a part to play in our WALK with God.

We need to toss out the clothing that no longer reflects who we are in Christ.

In VERSE 5 we are given a LIST of things that we are to consider ourselves DEAD too.

IMMORALITY deals predominantly with sexual sin.  The word is the same word we get “pornography” from.

1 Thessalonians 4:3 (GNT)

[3] “God wants you to be holy and completely free from sexual immorality.”

This list includes impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed.  All of these deal with getting what we want.

The list is actually in reverse order…the root of all these issues is GREED!

GREED is the overmastering desire for what belongs to another; it includes the breaking of the laws of right and justice in order to obtain them for oneself. 

It’s the relentless urge to get more.  This is really the ROOT of the rest.

We must move in the direction of pleasing our heavenly Father rather than ourselves.

God isn’t against SEX, but SEX outside of MARRIAGE is wrong, no exceptions!

As long as we live in a fallen world, we’ll struggle with these issues.  The last part of VERSE 5 tells us that these things amount to IDOLATRY.

When we REJECT the true and living God of the Bible, we make up one of our own imagination, and we make our desires, appetites, and lusts our god by the deification of them.

WE NEED TO THROW OUT THE OLD CLOTHING that hampers our growth!

The THINGS listed in VERSE 5 are to be a part of the OLD LIFE.  This is the reason for us to put SIN to death in our lives.

We now walk with God and what WE WEAR should reflect that!

Colossians 3:8-9 (NIV)

WE NEED TO DEVELOP A NEW ATTITUDE ABOUT WHO WE ARE IN JESUS.

VERSES 8-9 really deal with issues that have their roots placed in our attitudes.

We are told that we are in need of putting some old attitudes in the “trash can.” And don’t worry, there’s plenty of room in the can!

To put aside, or rid yourselves means to take off–like taking off clothing.

Each of these ATTITUDES if left unchecked will build upon one another.

ANGER is a deep smoldering bitterness…leads to REVENGE by which being bent on causing injury to another either physically or to their reputation.

ALL these things can lead to SLANDER and FILTHY SPEECH.  We need to rid ourselves of these things.

There are many Christians who still to this day struggle with these attitudes.

Ephesians 4:29 The Message (MSG)

“Watch the way you talk.  Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth.  Say only what helps, each word a gift.”

It’s easy to focus on the EVILS of verse 5 and then forget about the EVILS in verse 8.  It may be more difficult for us to deal with BECAUSE…WE can always rationalize our corresponding actions.  “THEY MADE ME MAD!”

Bad ATTITUDES lead to bad actions!

VERSE 9 encourages us not to LIE to one another.

When we harbor bad things in the heart, they will come out in our actions.

If you find yourself struggling with ANGER issues, don’t just sweep them under the carpet.  Don’t rationalize your ANGER.

Our ATTITUDE towards others needs to reflect who we are in Christ Jesus.

We are called and obligated to treat others in a Christ-like manner, even if they don’t deserve it!

Colossians 3:9-11 New International Version (NIV)

 

We need to rid our closets of things that don’t line up with who we are in Christ.

If you go from digging ditches to being a salesman, be wise to get rid of the work clothing that you used to wear daily as a ditch digger and replace it with clothing that matches up with the new job.

I remember when I went from driving a plumbing supply truck to working in the sales office and I had to do the same thing.

Our new purpose in Christ is to be RENEWED to the true knowledge of Christ.

We can’t be RENEWED to the true knowledge of Him if we don’t know anything about Him.

We need to rid ourselves of the CLOTHING that doesn’t reflect our RENEWED PURPOSE.  By obtaining knowledge of Christ and His will through His Word found in the Bible, our spiritual being is being changed into the likeness of Jesus.

We learn to feel, act and think like Christ!

Romans 12:2 (NIV)

[2] Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.  [Capitalization for emphasis by the Word Detective]

Our ultimate purpose in life is to be TRANSFORMED into the IMAGE of Jesus!

2 Corinthians 3:18 (AMP)

And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being TRANSFORMED into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.

That is our calling!  Anything that we figuratively WEAR that hinders, THAT needs to be thrown out!

The way some of the people on the TV Show would dress often hindered their advancement chances at their job.  IF we choose to WEAR the STUFF from our old life as described in our passage of Scripture; we will be severely hindered in our TRANSFORMATION.

TACKY IS IN THE EYES OF THE BEHOLDER.

It amazes me what some people will wear and thinks looks great.  It seems as though they are the ONLY ones in the room who cannot see it.

Are you one of those TACKY DRESSERS who wear things such as:

  • Sexual immorality,
  • Impurity,
  • Passion,
  • Evil desire,
  • Covetousness.

DO you wear things such as…

  • Anger,
  • Wrath,
  • Malice,
  • Slander,
  • Obscene talk (dirty talk) coming from your mouth?

IF you do, others can see and hear it and it’s time to put on some NEW clothing.

 

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CREDITS –

Wikipedia What Not to Wear (U.S. TV series); http://www.tlc.com/tv-shows/what-not-to-wear

Photos:  Google Image Search/Advance settings.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV) except where noted.

TAKING THE OPPORTUNITY – “No Reserves, No Regrets, No Retreats”

Today’s Bible Study in Galatians 6:10:   LIFE HAS A PURPOSE…

NIV BIBLE:  Therefore, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

LIVING BIBLE:  That’s why whenever we can we should always be kind to everyone and especially to our Christian brothers.

MESSAGE BIBLE:  Every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith. 

Most OPPORTUNITIES come by way of A PROBLEM, A TRIAL, or A TEST.

Opportunity defined:  A favorable chance or opening offered by our circumstances, an occasion, a possibility.

AN OPPORTUNITY PRESENTED…(John 6:4-12) –

We’ve got a BIG PROBLEM here in this biblical account…5,000 HUNGRY PEOPLE!

John 6:4 –  “Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was approaching…”

Many teachers say 5,000 are men and doesn’t include women and children.  Now is this going to be a BIG PROBLEM, or is it… A BIG OPPORTUNITY???

VERSES 5-12 (NIV):

[5] When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip,  “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”  [6] He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.  

[7] Phillip answered him,  “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”  [8] Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up,  [9] “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” 

[10] Jesus said,  “Have the people sit down.”  There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them.  [11] Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted.  He did the same with the fish.

[12] When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples,  “Gather the pieces that are left over.  Let nothing be wasted.”

JESUS already knew what He was going to do.  I don’t think we can realize the scope of the problem here–the scope of the presented opportunity.

In my hometown, a Big Mac sandwich, Fries, and a medium soft drink on average runs about $7.01.

Google Image Search, Advance Search Setting

 

So $7.01 x 5,000 = $35,050.00.

The Disciple ANDREW had the answer as his human reasoning focused on the PROBLEM rather than the OPPORTUNITY.

I think most of us have had an ‘Andrew Moment’.

JESUS took the little boys OFFERING and said thanks…Nothing was lost, and they gathered up the leftovers.

Often people have the tendency to allow their PAST determine their FUTURE and what is denied can never be healed.

Let us not forget that not all OPPORTUNITIES are good…

And in the COURSE OF TIME, choices matter, behavior matters, and how you treat others matter.

Many times ANGER, BITTERNESS are the drivers of OPPORTUNITIES…

And in the COURSE OF TIME…

CAIN OFFERS THE FRUIT…

ABEL OFFERS THE FIRSTLING.

Cain gets ANGRY at his brother but why not at himself?  You show me what ticks you off and I’ll show you what makes you tick.

Genesis 4:3 – In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground.

One event can drive one to right or to wrong.  It might come down to ATTITUDE regarding the OPPORTUNITIES set before us which will set in concrete our words and actions.

Genesis 4:5 – So Cain was angry, and his face fell.

Check it out–SIN, COMMISSION OR OMISSION, SIN lies behind WARS & STRIFE.

Genesis 4:7 (AMP) – If you do well, will you not be accepted?  And if you do not do well, sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.

The New Testament Records the Sad History of Missed Opportunities –

There’s no record of CAIN ever repenting, rather, he throws out the EXCUSE-

Genesis 4:9 (NIV)

“Am I my brother’s keeper?”

HEBREWS 11:4 –

Perhaps we need to burn some bridges behind us…the BRIDGE could be an OPPORTUNITY!

HOW MANY PEOPLE, DO YOU THINK, LOOK BACK?

Luke 17:32 “Remember Lot’s wife?”

[33] Whoever tries to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it and quicken it  (AMP).

When we can take full advantage of an OPPORTUNITY, we find what lurks in the SHADOWS, an OPPORTUNITY to return.

ABRAHAM, SARAH AND OTHERS OPPORTUNITIES – 

Hebrews 11:8-16 (NIV)

[8] By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.  [9] By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.  [10] For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

[11] By faith Abraham, even though he was past age–and Sarah herself was barren–was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. [12] And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the sand on the seashore.

[13] All these people were still living by faith when they died.  They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.  And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.  [14] People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.  [15] If they had left, they would have had the opportunity to return.  [16] Instead, they were longing for a better country–a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

This Brings A Series of QUESTIONS to ask oneself:

WHO ARE YOU?

WHAT ARE YOU KNOWN FOR?

WHAT WORDS WOULD YOU HAVE OTHERS SPEAK ABOUT YOU?

We ALL have OPPORTUNITIES in the menial task we face every day.  OPPORTUNITIES to demonstrate who we are!

OPPORTUNITIES to demonstrate the FLESH or the SPIRIT man.

Romans 12:10 (AMP) –  Love one another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], GIVING precedence and showing honor to one another.

Do I REACT or do I ACT by FAITH?

Ephesians 4:32 (NIV) – Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

ARE YOU:

  • FAITHFUL?  DEPENDABLE?
  • ARE YOU KIND?  TENDERHEARTED?  DO YOU CARE?
  • DO YOU ENCOURAGE OTHERS?  REFRESH THEM?
  • DO YOU MODEL FORGIVENESS?

LIFE Does Have A Purpose…

Does the OPPORTUNITY make me a VICTIM or a VICTOR?

How many of us take the OPPORTUNITY to drive down the road while looking in the REARVIEW MIRROR?

Philippians 3:13 (TLB)

[13] No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energy to bear on this one thing:  Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.

OFTEN, Christians just want to LIVE IN THE MOMENT…

We only want to think of the “right now!”

Sure, we face all kinds of TROUBLES and TRIALS every day, but by TAKING THIS MOMENT AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE CHRIST,…

We look ahead!

Never forget that JESUS IS A REWARDER— a return or recompense, restoration, award, prize, bounty, satisfying, worthwhile, fruitful.

HEBREWS 11:6 (AMP)

[6]  But without faith, it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him.  For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] BELIEVE God exists and that He is the REWARDER of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].

THERE ARE GREAT OPPORTUNITIES AHEAD!

Deuteronomy 30:15 (NIV) –

[15]  See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.

Deuteronomy 30:19 (AMP) –

[19]  I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you LIFE AND DEATH,  the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live.

WE have OPPORTUNITIES to PRAY, READ the Bible, WITNESS, to DREAM BIG…

A missionary served in Egypt.  He died after serving there and in the front of his Bible was penned:

NO RESERVES,

NO REGRETS,

NO RETREATS.

OPPORTUNITY IS YOUR CHOICE.  WHICH PATH WILL YOU CHOOSE?

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CREDITS –

Bible Translations Used:  New International Version (NIV) and the Amplified Bible (AMP), except where noted.

– BIBLE HUB-

Photos:  Google Image Search – Advanced Settings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Building Strongholds of GUILT and SHAME

Building A Stronghold                                            

GUILT ALWAYS BRINGS FORTH AN ATTITUDE

If you saw the above photo without the caption, how would you describe the young man’s attitude?  Guilt always brings forth an attitude that says, “I’m not fit to be used by God.  What’s the point of praying anymore?  God isn’t going to answer because I’ve totally messed up!”

Our foundations in life are extremely important; physical and spiritual:

“If the foundations are destroyed, what can the [unyieldingly] righteous do, or what has He [the Righteous One] wrought or accomplished?”  (Psalm 11:3 AMP).

Making decisions based on guilt will shake our foundation or base.  When we “miss the mark”, we need to know how to handle the sin right away, not allowing ourselves to be ‘super-glued’ to guilt; a cloud of condemnation hanging over us.  Can you see a cloud in the above image?

You can devise all kinds of ways to try to get rid of your guilty feelings.  But guilt is NOT just a feeling or a personal problem”  ~By Timothy S. Lane.

Do you ever feel guilty?  That of course is a rhetorical question.  Guilt feels terrible and what ever you did keeps replaying over and over in your mind.  You are filled with regret and the “if only s.”  And if what you did is public knowledge, shame and regret increase.  The wider the circle of people who know what happened, the more you suffer.

NO ONE LIKES FEELING GUILTY OR SHAME

But what is  GUILT?  Guilt is what takes place when a person realizes their failure.  And FALSE GUILT as described by Phil Barker is, “Feeling guilt for events which are out of our control and is often unproductive and detrimental.”

Although shame is an emotion closely related to guilt, there are differences between the two.  SHAME can be defined as “a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety.”  Others have distinguished between the two:  “We feel guilty for what we do and we feel shame for what we are.” 

Shame is often a much stronger and more profound emotion than guilt.  “SHAME is when we feel disappointed about something inside of us, our basic area” ~ By Norman Bales.

Guilt is what takes place when a person realizes their failure.

“False- guilt” is what Satan is known to throw at us where sin has been repented of and forgiven.  But he still wants us to feel guilty by seeing ourselves associated with past events in our lives.

“TRUE GUILT” versus “FALSE GUILT”

True guilt should prompt the person to repent and turn from their sin.  Guilt is looking at the sin where shame is looking at yourself!  There is a pattern shown on the several different meanings given on this subject regarding “Building Strongholds of GUILT and SHAME”.  I did so because, if you allow yourself to hagah, the Hebrew word for MEDITATE: “to moan” as well as a variety of synonyms indicating verbal utterances (e.g., “utter,” “matter”, “growl”); “devise,” “imagine,” upon quilt, it will turn into shame.  And guilt, if not properly dealt with will turn into a “stronghold” or a “house of thoughts” called SHAME.

DEALING WITH THE “STRONGHOLD OF SHAME”

If we continue to think about our past failures; a “way of thinking”, it will wear us down spiritually.  It is the next thing the enemy aims at by getting a picture of ourselves distorted.  Have you ever been at an Amusement Park’s Fun House?  It’s where you walk in an isolated room with mirrors surrounding you on every wall.  When you move about the room and see yourself, you get a distorted view.  This is what Satan is aiming at. To get us to look at our past failures so much, we begin to see ourselves as failures.  Anybody who has been thinking about their past “shortcomings” for long, is building the foundation for a house of thoughts; a “stronghold.”  They begin to see themselves as dirty sinners and failures.  It is the complete opposite of what they really are.

To deal with guilt and shame will take knowing the appropriate action to take.  When we “miss the mark“; when we “fall short”; let’s not mix words here; when we sin.  We need to understand the righteousness of God.  It’s critical to avoiding the trap of guilt and shame; slipping into condemnation, not knowing and not understanding the love of God.  Not understanding what the blood of Jesus accomplished on our behalf.

False quilt, that leads to shame is one of those things the Bible speaks of us; an imagination, a “stronghold” that must be cast down:

For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds [nourished thoughts].  [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One)” ~ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5 AMP).

Before a “stronghold of guilt and shame” can be established we need to meditate on the Word of God in lieu of our guilt; past or present.  Then we will be able to “lead every thought and purpose captive.”

An imagination is an image in your mind that is incorrect.  It is seeing yourself as a failure when you are actually blood-washed child of God.  That imagination needs to be dealt with and if not, it will lead to a stronghold of shame.

SHAME IS A RELATIONSHIP DESTROYER

There is a good reason Satan wants us to feel like failures and sinners.  Shame is a feeling that keeps us from confidently approaching God’s throne of grace; having an intimate relationship with Him.

The Bible tells us of the blood of Jesus shed, so we can confidently come near in an intimate relationship with our heavenly Father:

“Let us all come forward and draw near with true (honest and sincere) hearts in unqualified assurance and absolute conviction engendered by faith (by that leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness), have our hearts sprinkled and purified from a guilty (evil) conscience and our bodies cleansed with pure water” ~ (Hebrews 10:22 AMP).

God wants us to draw near to Him with a clean conscience, freed from dead works (Hebrews 9:14).  Shame and guilt are based on deception which is opposite the truth.  Worship is an intimate way in expressing our relationship with God.  In spite of how we feel on Sunday mornings, the Bible is clear on how we should approach Him with clear conscience, purged from sin:

“Since the worshipers had once for all been cleansed, they would no longer have any guilt or consciousness of sin” ~ (Hebrews 10:2). 

WORSHIPING GOD

So how are we supposed to worship God in Spirit and truth, while imaginations keep hanging around in our minds contrary to the truth?

“God is a Spirit (a spiritual Being) and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (reality)”  John 4:24 AMP.

STRONGHOLD REACTIONS

Because of the differences between GUILT and SHAME (who I am versus what I did), people respond to each emotion differently.  Guilt emphasizes what someone did wrong which tends to bring forth more constructive responses.  Responses which seek to mend the damage done tied to beliefs in what is right and what is wrong; moral and immoral.  When I was a child, my mom often spoke to me about “guilty consciences”, about doing the right thing in making my decision to do it or not.  She had certainly set the guidelines! When we violate one of these guidelines given to us, it causes us to feel guilty for our actions.  The result of guilt can be an important tool; the importance of maintaining standards of right and wrong in individuals and society.  Guilt can often be used as a tool to overcome conflict.

Shame, on the other hand emphasizes what is wrong with ourselves.  It is much more of an inward focus which leads shameful parties to feel poorly about themselves rather than simply the actions they have taken.

The result is often an inward-turning behavior–avoiding others, hiding your face or removing yourself from social situations.  I once ask someone I knew, “Is everything alright? Haven’t seen you in church in a while and I miss you.”  He responded, “I got some things I’m working to overcome and when I do, I’ll be back in church with my family.”  Therefore, shame can be problematic, less constructive than true guilt.  In fact, shame can lead to withdrawal from social situations with subsequent defensive, aggressive, and retaliatory behavior.  It can exacerbate conflict which then leads to more guilt; the circle becomes unbroken and the stronghold remains.

PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOR IN COPING WITH SHAME AND GUILT

However, few get at the actual source of the stronghold; the emotions.  The following list is but a few common shame-driven behaviors:

.  Attacking or striking out at other people in an attempt to make them feel better about their shame, hoping that they will be lifted up while bringing others down.  This behavior may produce short-term relief from shame but in the long-term, the stronghold of shame is only strengthened; they remain standing in place.

.  Seeking power and perfection–trying to prevent future shame and making us feel more valuable.

.  Diverting blame–blaming our faults on others to avoid the shame involved.  This behavior fails to get at the core and fails to achieve in bringing down the stronghold.

.  Being overly nice or self-sacrificing–trying to compensate for our shame and unworthiness by pleasing everyone else and proving our worth.  However, that inevitably involves covering up our true feeling of guilt and shame, once again self-defeating and self-abasing. 

.  Withdrawal from the real world–essentially numbing ourselves of feelings of guilt and shame.  Keeping us from getting upset by these sort of things.  But the stronghold still exist; nothing has been done to address the core values and defeating GUILT and SHAME in our lives.

HOW DO WE  GET VICTORY?

First, God’s smile is upon you!  

Any pangs of guilt or fear you suffer from is simply an illusion.  Like fearing there’s an intruder in the house when it was only the sound of the wind. The feelings might exist, they might be unpleasant but they are groundless and no correspondence to reality.

Just be sure; you must believe in the Scriptures that teach that Jesus and only He can remove your sin; by the blood He shed for you and me on the cross.  Once you put your faith in God, trusting that He is infinitely wise and good and always has your best interest at heart.  Resolve yourself to follow His leading on every matter regardless of how scary it feels.  There has to be a simple decision made; a state of mind; a renewal of your mind:

Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]”  (Romans 12:2 AMP).