Sunday, February 21, 2016

COLOSSIANS 1:10 - WALKING IN A MANNER WORTHY OF GOD



  As I am embarking on the path of discipleship and disciple making, one of the most important things I must do is strive to walk in a manner worthy of my faith.  Colossians 1:10 states  so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.  This passage defines the Christian life.  My goal must be to put this passage into practice in every aspect of my life.  Each individual Christian must endeavor to live an uncontradictory  life.  We cannot have one persona at church and one persona at work and another with one group of friends and yet another with a different group of friends.  The true disciple of Christ is consistent in his behavior regardless of his surroundings.  The true disciple of Christ is uncomplicated and constant.  

WALKING IN A MANNER PLEASING TO GOD

     What does it mean to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord? Jesus told us to love God and love others.  Loving God and others takes the focus off of our own lives, our own wants, desired and perceived needs, and places it on serving God and helping others.  As I have written previously, discovering our spiritual gifting and operating in that gifting is a key component to fulfilling God's purpose and call on our lives.  We cannot be worthy of the Lord or please Him or bear fruit unless we are fulfilling His call.  For More on Spiritual gifts CLICK HERE  

      Many people find life unfulfilling. The pursuit of fulfillment, often times, leads to wasted efforts.  King Solomon lamented a life squandered by seeking fulfillment in the things of the world.  Solomon sought meaning in physical relationships, in wealth building, in monument construction and in knowledge, yet he concluded that all these things from which he sought meaning were meaningless.  Solomon's conclusion was fulfillment is only found in serving God.  

    How many times have we read about a well known personality, who has died in the pursuit of fulfillment, whether it be by accidental overdose, an accident brought on by intoxication or health problems caused by a decadent lifestyle?  Even sadder, how many celebrities, having realized the futility of their pursuits,  chose suicide?  To read more on this CLICK HERE  Like Solomon, there are some, who attain everything they believe should make them happy and fulfilled, only to realize that those things were not satisfying beyond the immediate gratification of attainment.  Once the initial thrill has worn off, the pursuit of the next thrill begins.  This is futility personified. 

    In Colossians 1:10 we find a key to fulfillment and purpose.  I cannot tell anyone what specifically to do to please God and bear fruit.  Your relationship with God is personal and tailor made just for you.  I can tell you that obedience to God, whatever that looks like in your life, is essential.  We know that God desires we spend time with Him in His word and in prayer. We know that God wants us to fellowship with other believers. We know God wants us to treat others well.  Beyond the basic commands to love God and love others, my rules from for obedience and holy living may not be the same rules for you.  My relationship with God is based on my calling, my gift, my weaknesses and my mission, as is yours.  Your personal obedience, beyond the basic commandments, can only be found by pursuing God and His will for your life.  

     ON BEARING FRUIT
     Bearing fruit is essential for every believer.  Luke 6:43-44a "For there is no good tree wich produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. for each tree is known by it's fruit"  Jesus condemned Israel for not bearing fruit as a nation, as demonstrated by His encounter with the figless fig tree.  We bear fruit by living under God's authority, following the prompting of His Spirit and serving Him in the capacity which He has enabled us.  Fruit bearing, on a personal level, does not mean having a dynamic ministry that brings in thousands, or even dozens, of people.  Fruit bearing is not having "success" in evangelism.  Fruit bearing, for the believer, is subtle and natural, just as a fruit tree, once established, bears fruit in season.  Galatians 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. True fruit in the life of a believer is born from within and manifests itself outwardly.  As we continue on as disciples of Christ, growing in faith and obedience, these things in Galatians will be natural by products.  When these fruits are manifested, our very lives become living testimonies of faith. 

INCREASING IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD
   One would assume that we need to increase in the knowledge of God before we can walk in a manner that is pleasing to Him and before we can bear good fruit.  One would assume wrong.  Once we are born again, we are new creations.  Born again believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and the fruit we bear is the fruit of the Spirit.  It is His fruit that is borne in us.  We increase in the knowledge of God so we can increase in our ability to please God and to bear good fruit.  Once we increase in our knowledge of God, it is essential that we put that knowledge into practice.  Scripture says James 1:23  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.   For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. Increasing in the knowledge of God initiates and perpetuates our sanctification.  Sanctification is the process of the Holy Spirit changing us into the image of Christ Himself.  Romans 8:29  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 

Colossians 1:10 provides us with a guide to holy living.  Discipleship is taking passages like this from the Bible and actively pursuing the application to our lives.  As born again believers, we should desire a closer walk with God and a deeper relationship with Him.  As we draw closer go God, our lives will begin to change and we will have opportunity to serve Him.   The goal is not to be busy for God, but to know God and allowing that knowledge to transform us into the image of Christ.  God is the one who does the work, we simply follow His lead and serve under His guidance and provision - Jesus said "my yoke is easy and my burden is light." This does not mean we will have an easy path to follow or that we will have no difficulties, it means we are yoked together with Him and He helps carry our burdens, while we are walking with Him.  Walking in a manner worthy of God is not work but surrendering to His will and allowing Him to guide our footsteps in life.



Friday, February 12, 2016

SUPER DELEGATES - THE TRUE DISENFRANCHISEMENT OF THE AMERICAN VOTERS

   

As I watched the results for the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire Primary, I was confused as to how Hillary Clinton had delegates before voting even started.  In Iowa, before the first vote was cast, Clinton had 3 delegates and Sanders had 0.  In New Hampshire, early results showed Sanders up by 20% and Clinton had 6 delegates and Sanders had 0.   I was perplexed and agitated, especially given the Clintons' political machine's penchant for playing by a different set of rules.  Hillary Clinton is a liar, so I figured she was probably a cheater as well.

     I researched how a candidate could possibly get delegates with no votes and discovered the Super Delegate. To become a Super Delegate, one must have held political office or be appointed by a party official.  The only super power the Super Delegate actually has is subverting the will of the people.  Normal delegates are awarded by votes from the electorate.  The citizens vote and the delegates are awarded to the candidate with the most votes.  Some states are winner takes all and some divide according to vote percentages.  The Super Delegate is not beholden to the will of the people.  The Super Delegate is free to choose whichever candidate he wishes, regardless of the vote.  There are over 700 Super Delegates nationwide, about half the number of needed delegates to nominate a candidate.

     Super Delegates exist because the Democratic party does not trust it's constituents to make the right choice.  Super Delegates are a safety net to ensure that the establishment's choice receives the nomination.  If you are a democratic voter, you are not trusted by your own party...  When George McGovern, a complete disaster of a candidate, won the nomination in 1972, the Democratic Party decided that it would never again leave the decision of who represents the party, in the race for president, to the people.  The Democratic Party decided that the people could not be trusted and the Super Delegate was born.

   This underhanded method of counting delegates explains why Sanders and Clinton, who finished in a virtual tie in Iowa, were not awarded the same number of delegates.  Three Super Delegates were given to Clinton before even one vote was cast.  Clinton picked up 6 Super Delegates in New Hampshire, where she was trounced by Sanders, giving her more Delegates than Sanders.   This is unbelievable.

     The same party that claims requiring an ID to vote disenfranchises voters has a built in system to ensure that the will of the people does not subjugate the will of the Party.  

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

SATISFACTION VS ABUNDANCE - PROVERBS 10 PRINCIPLES ON WEALTH

 



   As I was reading through Proverbs this week, I noticed, in Proverbs 10:2-3, principles on wealth that prompted me to share my thoughts.  Proverbs 10:2-3 Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit, but righteousness delivers from death.  The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.  We, as a society, are geared toward amassing.  We try to amass wealth, honor, prestige, and other, often elusive things that we believe will bring us satisfaction.  Who among us has never said, "If only I had..." believing that there is a thing, just out of our reach , that would bring us true satisfaction?  Even worse than craving the unattainable is achieving the object or our desire, acquiring the one thing that we just know will bring true bliss, and realizing that the satisfaction promised was not delivered.  To attain and yet not achieve is a hollow victory indeed.

     The acquisition of wealth, as the world sees it, is much like this.  The real question is, "how much is enough?"  Without the proper spiritual perspective, there is no such thing as enough, because satisfaction is elusive for those outside the will of God.  The list of famous people who have attained "the American dream" only to commit suicide is astounding.  In August of 2014, funny man Robin Williams joined the ranks of those who could not find satisfaction in what the world had to offer. read the Tragic Death of Robin Williams HERE   Williams, like many before him, realized the hollowness of attainment.  Being adored by millions, commanding millions of dollars for roles, having unlimited access to the excesses of life were not enough.  According to Proverbs 10:2-3, it is God's design that we not find satisfaction in these things.

     Proverbs 10:2 states that "treasure gained by wickedness do not profit."  Treasure is wealth, yet this passage says ill gotten treasure cannot profit.  How could wealth not profit?  If the goal of attaining the treasure is satisfaction, then the goal will not be achieved.  According to the above passage, the righteous will have needs met, while the wicked, though they may be wealthy, will crave.  What do the wicked crave, the one thing they cannot have - peace.  Wealth, fame and prestige cannot fulfill man's need for peace.  A right relationship with God, in which needs are met, is far more satisfying than great amounts of wealth that calls out for "just a little more."  Jesus stated it perfectly in Mark 8:36  For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?  

     Satisfaction is the real goal of all people.  We do not realize this because we are busy pursuing  things which we believe will bring satisfaction.  These things soon eclipse the underlying desire for satisfaction and our pursuit becomes misplaced on an object or status and the peace of true satisfaction is never realized.  The pursuit of satisfaction in material wealth can never end, as wealth, in and of itself cannot bring the peace and satisfaction that the soul of man craves.  The Spirit of God is the only one who can provide us with true and lasting satisfaction.  I Christ, we can have all our needs met, physical, spiritual and even emotional, by the power of God, irregardless of how much money, power or notoriety we may or may not have.

     Abundance of stuff does not indicate blessing.  The above passage reveals how treasure can be gotten through wicked means.  Surely the wicked are not blessed by God.  I am most blessed when I am walking in the will of God and that usually means I am giving of my resources, not getting.  I am never more at peace or more satisfied than when I am operating in the skill set with which God has gifted me.  By my stating this, you may correctly deduce that I am inferring that I am among the righteous. I unequivocally assert that I am righteous in the eyes of God, and yes this is a bold statement.  I also, just as strongly assert that my righteousness is not because I am a good person or because I have done anything good, I am righteous because Christ has made me righteous by His shed blood on the cross.  Christ imputed His righteousness to me, filling me with His Spirit and giving me the peace of satisfaction.  My only role is exercising the faith which God made available to me.

     I may never be a rich man, as the world defines wealth.  I am, however, blessed beyond measure because I have access to my Father in heaven and I know that He promises to provide all my needs out of the abundance of Christ.  I can be, and am, satisfied because He has made me satisfied by His Spirit.  If only those who endlessly pursue the unattainable would find the secret to true peace and satisfaction.  The wicked may amass and horde and attain, but they will never achieve the one thing that every soul craves... peace.