ARE YOU AN EFFECTIVE CHRISTIAN?

salt2I’m reading through Matthew. Whenever the voice of the enemy or the activity of the enemy starts escalating, I run to my commanding officers standing orders. Whenever Lucifer starts influencing the world I operate in, I turn to Jesus. What did HE say? What does HE expect? What is has asking of me? That’s what I need to know.

THIS MEANS WAR!

I believe as a result of reading Ezekiel 28 and Genesis 1-2, that I exist and have my life behind enemy lines; that every day I get up I need to be quiet, and spend time on the “Horn” with the home base. I need to stay in touch with God. He sees me down here and he has work for me to do. Now, I get that I need to be bold, and no one ever accused me of being too gentle. (God forgive me that is not always a positive, sometimes it is a sin.) But as I go about my calling, I recognize that the enemy is coming after me, just like he is coming after you. How’s your day going by the way?

WHAT GOD SAYS

So a lot is transpiring and not all good, but I would agree necessary. So I’m sitting in my office and I think the answer is to be with God. So, I turn to Matthew 5 and I begin to read.

POOR ISN’T ALWAYS MONEY

Blessed are the poor in spirit – for theirs in the Kingdom of Heaven.
The economic poor, the spiritually poor, the relationally poor. The depressed, the anguished, the abused, raped, jobless, cast aside, the mean, the ugly, the loud, the hiding. The poor. The drained, the empty, the “don’t have anymore” kind of people. Blessed are those, Jesus is saying, who have come to the end of themselves. Enough of the lies, the belief you are more than you are, or that you have more than you have. You are wrecked. There is nothing. God here I am. A leper. A cripple. An Oil-less virgin, waiting, crying, now fallen asleep waiting for the bridegroom. The less than, the least of these, those mourning.

MOURNING CAN BE GOOD

Blessed are those who mourn – for they will be comforted. They are crying out, they want to be heard, they have no voice. They are beaten down and oppressed. They are those who are imprisoned; rightfully and wrongfully. Imprisoned in a skin color, imprisoned in a sexual orientation, imprisoned in racism, imprisoned in hate, imprisoned in the need to be a victim, to be important and stand on a stage, imprisoned in a besetting sin that will not go away, or be healed, or be satisfied; so they cry. They mourn inside, they are weak, they are scared and meek.

MEEK MEANS FREEDOM

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. They recognize their situation, they finally come to the end of themselves and they wait. They are waiting on God. They want to rise up on wings of eagles but they are willing to wait. They don’t chase their education and then wave it around like a flag. They don’t come in and pretend to be humble telling you all the while how humble they really are. They know their calling, more importantly their role, and they long to play it. They move forward seeking those that they can move forward. They don’t want things; they just care. As a result of caring, the world is at their feet. They aren’t easily offended and they aren’t easily robbed. They just love. Jesus showed us this character. In their obedience, they hunger for more of God.

HUNGRY MEANS VICTORY

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness – for they shall be filled. Not gluttonous, not covetous, but hungry. They are not satisfied with the status quo, they believe things can be better. Not through hate and violence, but through hunger and meekness. They want a better marriage, so they serve more, give more and leave more: like Jesus did. They are hungry for a chance to serve the less fortunate, hungry for an opportunity to give to the needy. Their hunger is a godly hunger, not the perverted hunger of the prince of the power of the air. As a result, they just long to be filled: filled with the Spirit, filled with the presence, filled with the opportunity, and filled with love for the lost and the despised. They will be filled.

The list goes on and it goes through the merciful who will receive mercy, pure in heart who will see GOD himself in all that is around him, the peacemakers who shall be called sons of God (no gender intended from me), and then it lands on the persecuted.

WAIT, THIS ISN’T FUN

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness – for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. They have already received the Kingdom. They are already citizens of the glorious home we long for.

IT GET’S REAL

You know all the other “blessed are’s” feel good, feel spiritual, feel like God is up there just caring for us all, watching over us. Feel like he is keeping us from all harm; and then there is this. Blessed are you when you are persecuted. When you read that word, don’t think of the professor that mocks you in class, the fellow students that make fun of you for being a “goody-goody.” No, this is persecution for doing what God called you to do. This is being harassed by the enemy to the point that things break, sickness is thrown at you, people show up to lie and deride you, even take credit for what you did. It is THE ENEMY!

We know the enemy is coming. Shoot, we started this with the understanding that he is here and we are in his territory at war. Of course he is going to get mean and nasty, and ugly; he is the father of lies. But you are blessed when he takes notice of you. Jesus says you are blessed when you are so involved in the kingdom they the enemy persecutes you and falsely says all kinds of evil against you because of Jesus, for your reward in heaven is great AND they (enemy) also persecuted those prophets who went before you. You are in good company.

BEGIN AGAIN ……

So, back to the top. When the enemy starts lying to me I run to Jesus, get on the horn with the home base. Today, I heard God, through a recent message I preached, remind me that it is “principalities and powers pushing people’s buttons to get at you.” See the goings on as the father of lies pushing people around to distract you from the calling, the mission, the vision! Then press on!

WHERE’S THE SALT?

The next statement is, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.”

ARE YOU BEING EFFECTIVE?

And in the margin of my Bible I had written a while ago, “Are you an effective Christian?” After all the “Blessed are’s”, and all the, “You shall receive’s” the question I am left with is, “Are you being an effective Christian?” And as I read that I have to say, not if I am whining and complaining. I cannot be effective if I am focused on people and things and comfort. I cannot receive the blessing and help if my goal is not the Kingdom of Heaven here and now!! If for just a moment the enemy makes me believe that it is people and ME, I am most vulnerable to attack and depression.

Are you an effective Christian? What’s your salt quotient and what are you doing about it?

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AN INVITATION FROM GOD

Eagle Landing at Nest LRPP1

Psalm 36 (NIV)
For the director of music. Of David the servant of the Lord.
1 I have a message from God in my heart
concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:
There is no fear of God
before their eyes.
2 In their own eyes they flatter themselves
too much to detect or hate their sin.
3 The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful;
they fail to act wisely or do good.
4 Even on their beds they plot evil;
they commit themselves to a sinful course
and do not reject what is wrong.

As we read this Psalm David speaks of evil persons in the world: “The Wicked” he calls them. They appear to be marked in this particular Psalm by a number of characteristics:

-There is no fear of God in their eyes.
-A narcissism that causes blandness to his own sin
-A filthy pattern of speech and lies
-A failure to act wisely or do good
-He is committed to an active sinful course
-Finally, he does not reject what is wrong.

Admit it, the world isn’t getting better

Let’s admit it, this world isn’t getting better. When you look at corporate greed, self-actualization, narcissism, violence, abuse, racism, sexism, this list can keep going for say, about a week? What humanity chooses to do to each other is very sad. The manner in which we can hurt one another and the reasons we have for doing so are heartbreaking. We haven’t even begun to describe what our humanity is doing to the Earth.

The “Wicked”

David initially describes the “wicked” as those who do not fear God. He is speaking of a very proud man. Notice it doesn’t say that there is no knowledge of God, nor does he say that the man doesn’t believe in God. What David says is that the man does not have a respect or honor for God. He very well may believe in him, the point is that he shakes his fist in the face of God. He will not bow down, or yield to God as ruler.

That is a tough place to be, but let’s not be too proud to admit that we may have been there ourselves a time or two. You may be reading this and find yourself mad, or shaking your fist in the face of God right now. Take a breath and ask him to be your God and then let him be your God.

Love is a great answer to the evil around you

David ends this part of the passage by describing the wicked as “not rejecting what is wrong.” David is saying he doesn’t do anything about the problems, the sin, in his life. It can also be understood that he is speaking of the fact that a wicked man doesn’t do anything about the evil and sin around him.

Love is a great answer to the evil around you. Love is the nemesis of the evil around you, the archenemy of all that is bad in the world. In an entertainment world ripe with superheroes, Jesus is my superhero of Love. Love is a verb; an action; a movement. It is what you DO not what you say.passion-of-the-christ-nail

David describes God love as unfailing. He can do that because God IS love. He is not loving, or lovely, rather he is love. Christ proved that when he went to die on the cross for you and my sins.

If love is an action that is taken on your behalf, then Calvary was the greatest. When someone who owed nothing died for people who owed everything, well, you get it.

Look at what David goes on to say in Psalm 36:

Psalm 36:7-9 (NIV)
7 How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.

David says we feast on the abundance of God’s house. I don’t know what you think of when you think about the abundance of God’s house, I think of abundantly abundant. For some reason my mind goes to leftovers, but that isn’t what it says, it says it is the abundance.

There is plenty of food iKings feastn my house. Sometimes we come in and there is enough food that we cannot decide what to eat. Other times there is food but not what we want. In both cases there is ample food. God has ABUNDANCE to feast upon. That word abundance is “midesen” and it refers to the “fatness” of God’s possession and provision.

Today I want you to focus on a God who himself, through the Prophet King David, Says you get to eat his abundance and drink from his RIVER OF DELIGHTS. Bring it on Tuesday, you are mine!!!