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5 immutable facts about our Christian walk…

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There are many “non negotiables” concerning our covenant relationship with Jesus Christ. Here are five of them that should be required reading for us all.

“The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.”
‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭2:11-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Determine in your heart to be faithful to the end….

Ron

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How to know what God really expects of us.

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One of things I struggle with in writing this blog is how to condense topics that I could speak about for hours into a few hundred words,all while maintaining the integrity of the subject matter. I suppose everyone who has a blog struggles with this.

Such is the topic I want to tackle today:how to know what God really expects of us.Of course,I’m aware that a great many people,even some who attend church regularly,do not believe God expects anything of them.

Sad as it is,for many people God is seen as a type of cosmic genie who is supposed to be at their beck and call should a need arise.

The Bible however,paints a very different picture.You see,scripture points us to the fact that God desires to have a relationship with us.

As with any relationship that you might be involved in,it is a two way street.There are expectations,are there not? And if those expectations are not met on a frequent basis,the relationship suffers.

So it is with our relationship with God.He expects certain things from us and when we don’t deliver on our end,this relationship suffers.Think of it this way: God will not bless a relationship He is not involved in. Let that sink in for a minute.

So lets look at a few of those expectations,beginning with a question that the Lord posed to Israel:

He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?   Micah 6:8

act-justly

Jonathonsigmon.com

At the time of Micah’s tenure as a prophet in Israel,God had a problem on his hands with this people.

They had developed a malady not unlike us today in that they suffered from a serious case of ingratitude.

So deeply embedded was this ingratitude that the Lord even asked them “what have I done to you”?(v.3).

In telling them that He has showed them what is good,God is reminding them that for centuries they have had the Law and the Prophets to instruct them in how they should live.In other words,don’t even act like you don’t know what is expected of you.

He then gets to the heart of the matter by telling them three things He requires of them.

  1. to do justly,or to exercise Godly,righteous judgement in their dealings with one another
  2. to love mercy,to willfully and joyfully extend love and compassion to others
  3. to walk humbly with your God,meaning to acknowledge Him in all your ways

Notice something missing here? God did not require them to offer a ram,or a goat,or a calf.No,what He required of them was a different kind of sacrifice.One that came from within their hearts.

What He required of them necessitated a renewed heart.He wanted relationship.The same relationship that He desired when He delivered them from Egyptian bondage,and when He delivered to them His Law.

God has always yearned to have a covenant relationship with His people. Now lets take a look at this question as it was asked in Jesus’ day.

There was a certain lawyer who in trying to tempt Jesus,asked him what the requirements were for him to inherit eternal life.

And he answering said, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.   Luke 10:27

Once again we see the answer to the age old question of “what does God require” to be something other than rules,sacrifices,or tradition.Jesus made it as clear as it could be that what the Lord requires must come from the heart.

Loving God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself is only possible when the heart has been transformed.It cannot be done from the mind,or because it’s the morally right thing to do.

No,the expectations set forth by Jesus bespeak intimacy with God,and that can only come with spending time with Him in prayer and in the Word.Which brings me to the title question of this post:”how to know what God really expects of us”.

The answer is found within the pages of God’s Word.The two examples I shared with you are representative of the content found within the sixty six books of the Bible,nearly all of which contain an abundance of instruction and admonition for our spiritual development.

My hope,my earnest prayer is that we first understand that God does indeed expect something of us.He expects US. Not our things,not our money,not our deeds or even our sacrifices,but rather our hearts.

Secondly,that we regularly read His Word,because the Word of God is alive and more relevant for today than most can imagine it to be.It will keep and sustain you in the darkest hours you may face.It will compel you onward as you draw near unto Him.

since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God“.   1 Peter 1:23   ESV

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!

Ron

 

 

What’s Important,or Not?

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What’s important to you? I mean, what’s really important to you?

  • Family?
  • Job?
  • House?
  • Car?

Sometimes it seems as though what’s important to us doesn’t turn out to be so important after all.Think about it:have you ever worked and saved,sacrificed and gave,until you felt there just wasn’t much left to give as you were climbing the ladder to the next position?

Only to finally get there and after just a little while wonder what the attraction was?

I know people like that. People who could see the “prize” from a distance and set their heart to attain it no matter the cost,only to realize once they had it that it wasn’t what they thought it would be after all.

I’m a good example of this.I love acoustic guitars. Especially Martin guitars. I’ve had an affection for them for going on 40 years. A few years ago I finally acquired the guitar of my dreams-only to trade it away for the next greatest thing-that soon got traded for another-and still another.

It’s kind of like no matter what we have we want something else. No matter the job we have we are not satisfied and long to do something different.Same with cars,boats,houses,whatever.

Sometimes we forget the admonition of scripture that teaches us to be content in whatever state we find ourselves in.Our human nature does that to us at times,doesn’t it?

In the Genesis account of Abram and Lot,there came a day when the land could no longer support both of their families and all the livestock that went with them. They came to a place where a decision had to be made regarding their futures.

Read along with me and lets see what happened in Genesis 13:5-13

5 Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks and herds and tents.

6 Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together.

7 And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. The Canaanites and the Perizzites then dwelt in the land.

8 So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren.

Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.”

10 And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar.

11 Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other.

12 Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom.

13 But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord.

Lot did exactly what most of us would have done when he looked and saw the green grass and water in abundance:he took what looked to be the best selection.Don’t we do that sometimes?After all,the grass is always greener,right?

If you will take the time to continue reading this and into the next chapter you will see that the land where Lot settled was not at all what it first appeared to be.

Looks can be deceiving,can’t they?

Contrast that with Abram who took the “leftovers” and instead settled in the land of Canaan.Because he was following the Lord and not his own desires,he received an incredible blessing from the Lord,whereas Lot inherited more trouble than he knew what to do with.

Beloved,we are living in uncertain times,times that can be perilous and frightening.What used to be is often no longer.What once made us comfortable is gone forever and we are left to wonder what happened.

We live in a broken world.A world broken by sin and disobedience.A world seemingly spiraling out of control and headed towards the abyss.

A world in which the only truth that remains is found in God’s word.Only God’s word has stood the test of time.Every prophecy that was supposed to be fulfilled,has been.

Every prophecy yet to be fulfilled will be and we can rest assured that nothing can change the course that God has chartered.

What’s important,what we cannot take our eyes off of is this:Jesus is a sure Foundation.A very present Help in the time of trouble.He is the Rock in a weary land.My Defender.My Shield.

Things are usually never as good as they first appear to be,which is why we are so often disappointed with them once we have them.

Not so with the Lord.He’s as good today as when I first met Him nearly 40 years ago!

Be blessed,

Ron

When God Has Another Plan

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I’ve spent my entire adult life either making new plans or working to bring existing plans to fruition. Everything from creating business plans at work to helping my wife plan our annual family vacation,planning is something I’ve always been involved in.Depending on who you ask,I’ve been more successful in some areas than others and I’m sure you can all relate to that.

Yet when it comes to serving God,our best laid plans are often reduced to shreds.All of our planning,strategies,and hard work can be brought to naught when we feel the Lord leading us in a new direction.If you’ve ever been in this place then you know that when you feel the Holy Spirit begin to tug at you to go a different direction, it can be a very hard thing to do.After all, whoever said that obedience is easy?

Abraham was a man who came to a place where he had to make a decision about which way to go with his life. Read with me the Genesis account of this story(emphasis mine).

Genesis 13:1-18 (NKJV)
1 Then Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, to the South.
2 Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold.
3 And he went on his journey from the South as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai,
4 to the place of the altar which he had made there at first. And there Abram called on the name of the Lord.
5 Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks and herds and tents.
6 Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together.
7 And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. The Canaanites and the Perizzites then dwelt in the land.
8 So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren.
9 Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.”
10 And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar.
11 Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other.
12 Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom.
13 But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord.
14 And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are— northward, southward, eastward, and westward;
15 for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever.
16 And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered.
17 Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.”
18 Then Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built an altar there to the Lord.

Abraham gave Lot the 1st choice of the land before them, and like most of us Lot chose the best of the best. Who could fault him for that? Again, wouldn’t we do the same?

Yet God had another plan for His servant Abraham.While Lot was busy with moving toward the green grass and wells of water in Jordan,it would be easy to say that Abraham got the short end of the stick. But God had something much better than wells and fields in store for Abraham.Instead of real estate,He gave Abraham a covenant, or a promise.A promise that his seed would be as the dust of the earth for multitude.A promise of blessing.

Sometimes God’s plan calls for there to be a separation,or parting of the ways.We can trust Him to have our bests interests at heart if we will choose to follow His plans and not ours.Leaving our comfort zone is never easy but leave we must if we are to continue to grow in Him.

I find myself in this exact same position at this time in my life.The Lord has uprooted our family and we have begun a new journey,a journey that we are taking by faith for we do not know what is beyond the next bend in the road.All we know is that we feel His call to step out and obey.A journey that is both frightening and exciting at the same time.I pray that this is not a selfish request, but we desire your prayers.

Be blessed,

Ron