Sunday, December 15, 2013

Humility: God's Grace Revealed in Your Heart

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When a man is completely humbled by the Lord’s sacrifice, he comes to understand the gravity of a God being born in flesh to die for people who hate Him just so we can all have a relationship with Him! There is freedom in not wanting anything but Christ. Christ not only forgives us, and neither are we merely forgiven sinners as the Old Testament sacrifices made people, but instead we are cleansed utterly and regenerated. We are not sinners forgiven, but our sins are so utterly wiped clean that we are justified by Christ's blood as God's people. Animals were sacrificed by those who had faith in God's promise that the blood of animals would allow God the Father to forgive them of their sins, yet how much more awesome is the blood fo Christ who not only forgives but washes away those sins as if they never occurred. This is the relationship Jesus died for. We are not sinners anymore but we are disciples of Christ who live righteously because of the Holy Spirit and God's Spirit that lives through us through the cleansing of blood of the Lamb.

And when we are humbled by God's love that He would go to such extremes as to kill Himself to not merely cover our sins but wash them away, then we begin to live for Him, to love Him, and to adore Him here and now and forever. This recognition of God's love changes us, and being at peace is the most obvious thing that comes to mind. A man who needs nothing to be happy never has any logical reason to be unhappy, as I always say!, and having Christ is all we need. When our hearts are emptied by the humility we feel with the knowledge of God's grace on the Cross so we can love Him and be loved by Him fully here on earth, we allow Christ to work through us completely without resistance. Flesh resists Christ always so part of the Christian life is recognition of God's grace and a giving of our own life (hearts) to Him, as we are called in Galatians 5:24 to put to death all flesh, wants, lusts and desires. In effect, we treat Christ like a spouse and place Him first in our hearts just as He did for us while we were hating, killing, stealing, and doing awful sexual things. How much more so we should give our hearts since He even loved us as wretches yet we love Him as a perfect God.

To summarize what I'm leading up to, it is obvious that the focus of people's hearts in their lives is all wrong. People focus completely on things and life and bills and marriage (etc) when they should concentrate on what God wants because He calls us His bride to be. Christ looks at us like a spouse as a whole, and we should look at Him like a King, worthy of admiration, loyalty, and devoted love. A King merits all of these by right, but how much more so for Christ who lived like one of us; A God who set down His crown to be among the common folk, and at Calvary He laid down His life for His kingdom as all kings ought to (but don't!). But Christ did.

Grace! Such amazing grace to have from God, where we are not merely forgiven but cleansed. The memory of our sin in God's mind is blotted out utterly by Christ's blood and our life of repentance and service to Him. But imagine this, and I want you to think of it this way: Paul the Apostle, a great man of God whose love for God was intense like fire, God said to Him, “My grace is sufficient for you.” This should be a highlight of your life in Christ because we should all know exactly how undeserving we are of Christ's grace which cost Him the life He had through His shed blood for us. Imagine it like this, if you want to marry someone would you die? No, we cannot even accomplish the two. But if you loved someone, would you then die for that person? Yes! There is something we can do, and that is the humility we ought to feel in the glow of God's grace, for He not only died for us but He lived for us and then died just to have us at all. Therefore be adorned in God's grace and know you are weak and evil without Him. Become dependent on His grace in your own weakness and inability to be righteous without Him. After all, that was why He came! So no shame falls upon your weakness but only righteousness comes from it since you are cleansed and humbled as God wants you to be! In fact, a great man is a weak man made strong in his dependence on God's strength, joy, and mercy! And so we must all become like little children as Christ says. To become weak-kneed in the humility of God's grace,

And knowing well that we cannot earn grace or be righteous or save ourselves without Christ, grace offers us the ability to become righteous through following Christ, so the gift goes far beyond forgiveness as it actually enables us to live hand-in-hand with God while we learn to obey Him and allows us to put the entire world to death in our hearts. This is the Freedom of the Spirit God grants us through Christ's salvation. Indeed, God’s grace is all we need in life because in the end it is only because of God’s grace that we can go to heaven at all. In fact, God is heaven, for what is heaven without God? And since we are so spoiled by God's grace, how could we ever be content again with mere forgiveness? No, grace is what we need now in these dark days, for we would not have life with Christ at all without it, and we’d all being living awaiting hell without forgiveness. WHAT A GIFT! We are free to live with Christ and when we die we await heaven. So be thankful for God’s sacrifice of His Son, and nothing else but God will matter in your life. Without Christ we’d all be doomed, so be thankful.

But Christ's grace is not a free pass to sin as many false preachers would lead us all to believe. Neither can we get to heaven without Christ because Christ is heaven! How ridiculous to think of heaven as a place instead of it as being God! Without God, heaven would be as hellish as the earth. Where ever God is that is where heaven is. Heaven is a who, not a where. Yet the true issue right now for all Christians is the continual recognition of God’s **love** for us in a way that promotes positive change through Christ known as repentance (turning away from sin). It's not so much about not sinning as it is not wanting to sin anymore because of the love you have for God, which actually causes sin to stop anyway. Furthermore, this repentance is enhanced when we see that our own love for Him is so small that we should be humbled to be loved by God at all. Recognition of this fact in its purest form in your heart should evoke a desire in your heart to return your love for God by emptying your heart of your life to make room for His wants. Here is a funny analogy that surprisingly makes sense: Think of God as a super-model... Oh man, you’d do anything for her and to have her is bliss! Well, loving Christ is sort of like that. It's desperate and passionate. We know we are unworthy, so we will do anything to keep Him like a humble man tries to keep a beautiful woman. Not many Christians feel this way toward God. Instead they are selfish and want their lives to be bettered or blessed in ways they want. Christians give so little consideration for God and His grace...and that ultimately we are fortunate to have awful lives that at least someday end in heaven instead of hell. God is righteous, and He could easily hold us up to His perfect standard. There is nothing wrong with that! But we'd all die, so God's grace is more awesome than most of us realize!
In 1 John 5:1-5, John says that loving God is expressed by obeying all of His commands and 2 Peter 1:1-10 states that we should all be content with the knowledge of Christ and His grace and pursue righteousness in growing abundance. Learn not to want your life or anything in it and empty your heart for Him so you can help His kingdom form on earth and save everyone who can be saved. Not wanting anything in our lives gives God full control of our lives and allows God to leads us to pure purpose, selflessness, generosity, and righteousness. God can do as He wishes for us and with us and by us. We are messengers of Christ’s grace to all those who are around us.

Here is something I want you to consider: If one day you can say in your prayers “Lord, your will be done no matter what is costs me in life” and feel joy and eager expectation when you say that to God, I promise things will change in your life. This is surrender of your life and the acceptance of Christ in full. That one sentence summarizes how I feel in a nutshell every day. My eagerness to serve God is surpassed only by my desire to be united with Him in the clouds! Imagine the adventures that await you when you can say this! The people you will meet, the joy you will spread, the lives you will help change! You offer people heaven through Christ! What a gift! How could you not give up your life for such a gift to share with others? There is a strange joy in suffering and sacrifice for Christ. You must learn it.

#10 below is the most important. You should minister to all your friends and everyone you meet, especially the atheist and gays of the world because no one in the world is more trapped in the flesh than they are. They need your help through Christ! In fact, Christ says that preaching the gospel to a person who becomes saved on account of your testimony about Christ will cover up a multitude of sins for you and stores up treasure in heaven for you as well. And it doesn’t matter if they reject Christ. Ministering is as much about helping people to choose Christ as it is holding them accountable when they deny Christ (as it says at the very end of the article).
So…read Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, 1 and 2 John, Romans, 1 and 2 Peter to get started. Commit them to memory so you can minister to others.

1. Treat others as you would have them treat you
Treat other people in the way that you want them to treat you. This is a hallmark of Christianity. Be kind to people, even when they are unkind to you. That way, you set an example for them, and you become a representative of the Christian faith.

"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you"
- Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 7:12a, NIV translation.

2. Help people
In Matthew 25:34-40, Jesus tells us that we are to give food to those who are hungry, give clothes to people who need them, provide shelter for people who have none, visit people who are sick, and give comfort to people who are in prison.

3. Don't worry
Do your best to deal with life's problems but leave your life in God’s hands with openness of heart. Allow Him to work with your life so you can be of use to Him. Do not worry about anything ever. Instead, do what needs to be done and have faith in Jesus that all things will work out in the way they need to work out.
Now this is hard for most other people because they have treasure on earth. Learn to love Christ with all your heart and not to value anything you own. Give everything to Christ and nothing will matter but Christ’s will. Either way, Christ is going to do with your life as He sees fit, so worrying and trying to hold on will not do a thing for a Christian. Put all wants to death in your heart, and when the time comes to abandon them to be of use to God you will not even think about those things, but rejoice that God has chosen you to serve!

"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"
- Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 6:27, NIV translation.

4. Read the Bible
If you read the Bible for about 20 minutes a day, you can finish the four Gospels - the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John - in one month. The four Gospels describe the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

5. Give thanks and be joyful
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV translation.

6. Pray
"This, then, is how you should pray:

" 'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.' "

- Jesus, explaining how people should pray, as quoted in Matthew 6:9-13 NIV.

7. Forgive your enemies
"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."
- Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 6:14-15, NIV translation.

8. Be careful with what you say
"But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."
- Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 12:36-37, NIV translation.

9. Learn the Word of God
If you read the four Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, you will see many examples of how Christians should act.

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock."
- Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 7:24, NIV.

10. Tell others about Jesus
Tell others about Jesus, that he died for our sins, and that all who believe in him are saved and are given the gift of eternal life in heaven. Talk to people, write a letter, or create a Web site. Encourage family members, friends, and others to attend church with you.

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
- Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 28:19-20, NIV.

God bless,
Mark 15-16 & 19
15[Jesus] said to them, Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” 19After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.”