CALLING IT LIKE IT IS!

5 10 2019

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Not everyone who calls themselves a Christian truly is one. Just being informed about God doesn’t result in being transformed by God. Information is not the same as inspiration. There are too many Believers who know all the right truth in their heads but it hasn’t yet made a connection in the heart. The watching world doesn’t need any more empty rhetoric. There are enough politicians who fit that bill. I believe it is time for Christians to allow Jesus to show up through them by the power of the Holy Spirit. If others could see something really attractive in the way that we live, church could become the place to be.

The Bible doesn’t say, “Taste and see that the Lord is boring.” Shame on us for making something so explosive become way too ordinary. The early Christians were world shakers. Unfortunately, today’s disciples are becoming way too intimidated by those who don’t really hold the power over them that they claim to have. Nobody can make you do something that you don’t want to do. Even if someone holds a gun to your head, it doesn’t mean that you have to do what another is threatening you to take part in. If ever there came a day when I would have to choose between staying true to my Lord or losing my life, I would hope that I would have the courage to stick to my conviction of following Jesus. There are more Christians being martyred for their faith today than at any other time in history. Just because it isn’t happening in America, doesn’t mean it is not occurring in many parts of this planet.

I do know that a time of crisis is not the time to begin to pray. I challenge the Body of Christ in these United States to become proactive in their times of intercession for our Nation’s revival. We have become way too proud and self-sufficient. We don’t take sin seriously. There are many so called churches where they don’t even acknowledge any bad behavior at all. Some have gone so far that they are now rewriting the Bible. They say, “Hell No!” to any concept of eternal separation from God. And what used to be obviously wrong is now being repackaged as not so bad. I don’t know about you, but we best not put words in Heaven’s mouth.

Holiness doesn’t happen by us not getting in the game. Christians need to go after the very promises that God has given us. But the Bible won’t come alive in anyone who chooses to sleepwalk through life. I wish it was as easy as just having a big bowl of Holy Spirit O’s for breakfast with your coffee but it takes more initiative than that. Jesus has set the table for us to come and meet with Him so we can be filled with the Bread of life and take a drink of His living Water but this isn’t fast food on the run. This means us setting a time and a place and devoting our full attention to the One who has so much to share with us. If we are what we eat, who is choosing your daily diet of what you are allowing to fill your body, mind, heart and soul?

I had a Doctor look me straight in the eye and tell me that if I didn’t change my diet, I was not going to be around much longer for my wife, children, grandkids and church. I love to eat and it is very easy for me to down a dozen donuts and devour a whole pizza in one sitting if I just let my appetite go unchecked. I literally must deny myself and look for healthier options if I plan on seeing positive changes in my health. I have to get out of my easy chair and exercise. I must push my lazy flesh if I am ever going to experience the energy and vitality that I was missing when I weighed almost 280 pounds. When you think about it, American Christians should be the most on fire Believers on this planet because of the amount of biblical teaching that we have been exposed to. We know this is not the case because until we practice what we preach, our story will never change.

Falling into bad habits doesn’t happen overnight. The enemy doesn’t walk up, pitchfork in hand, and ask with a shady and snarky grin, “How would you like to become an alcoholic or a drug addict? He serves us poison dipped in chocolate. The real facts are that if we head down a highway of self-indulgence, it is very likely that we will become a thief and a compulsive liar to support our urges and because of that, we won’t be able to hold down a job, and we will exploit and misuse any positive relationships with family and friends! Do you still want to sign up?” But even godly people can get lured into compromise with the darkness through sarcasm and subtlety.

Rather than it all being too much about self, maybe it is time that we forget ourselves and concentrate on Jesus and look to obey Him no matter whatever. We need to get a glimpse of sin through God’s lens. We need to own up and admit the times that we have come up short and actually grieved the heart of God by our behavior. It is only as we see His holiness, His absolute purity and moral hatred of sin, that we will finally get it through our heads, the awfulness of sin against a Holy God. Salvation is not just a past occurrence. We are actually under construction and while we may not be what God has intended us to become, we certainly should be making progress in the process. As the old hymn says, “Just as I am, I come.” But God has no intention of us staying what we were. He is making something wonderful and beautiful in us. He is also restoring us to the original condition that we were created in before sin threw a wrench in the program.

Father Damien was a priest who became famous for his willingness to serve lepers. He moved to Kalawao, a village on the island of Molokai in Hawaii that had been quarantined to serve as a leper colony. For sixteen years he lived in their midst. He learned to speak their language. He bandaged their wounds, embraced the bodies no one else would touch, preached to hearts that would otherwise have been left alone. He organized schools, bands, and choirs. He built homes so that the lepers could have shelter. He built two thousand coffins by hand so that when they died, they could be buried with dignity.

Slowly, it was said, Kalawao became a place to live rather than a place to die, for Father Damien offered hope. Father Damien was not careful about keeping his distance. He did nothing to separate himself from his people. He dipped his fingers in the poi bowl along with the patients. He shared his pipe. He did not always wash his hands after bandaging open sores. He got close. For this the people loved him. Then one day he stood up and began his sermon with two words: “We lepers…” Now he wasn’t just helping them. Now he was one of them. From this day forward he wasn’t just on their island; he was in their skin. First, he had chosen to live as they lived; now he would die as they died. Now they were in it together.

One day God came to earth and began His message: “We lepers…” Jesus wasn’t just helping us. Jesus became one of us. Jesus was in our skin. Jesus loved us to the point that we were in it together. The story of incarnation is the story of love. Many people didn’t recognize him as God, of course. They were looking for someone a little flashier. They expected more in the way of special effects, not someone who would take on all our limitations. Many people saw him, but only a few recognized him. Those who missed him did not generally do so out of a lack of knowledge.
What blinded them was pride.

Don’t be so proud that you won’t allow yourself to be touched by the Savior. For because of Him, earth is no longer known as a place of dying, but as a place to be set apart to new life! Don’t settle for sloppy seconds when Jesus has set the table for you and I to dine with the Divine!


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