God Loves Us
Every day is a gift from God to us his children. Let me say that I feel that our Father in heaven truly loves us as his children. And as His children we have the desire to please our Father. Our desires are genuine, but our actions tell the real story. It seems that everyday is a challenge to find time to do the things we need to do. Thatís also the reason that we have to meet that challenge. Lets look back on what we were doing yesterday and see if we can pick out something that helped us prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord.
Did we deny ourselves anything yesterday? Was there something we wanted that we knew that we really didnít need or something we wanted to do that would take time away from our spiritual well-being? Denying ourselves fleshly desires prepares us for the kingdom. You might ask yourself how would that help prepare me for the Kingdom, but self-denial is a crucial element in our education on the road to righteousness. If there was ever an example of self-denial in the Bible, Christ is at the top of the list. Just what did he deny himself?
And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
I find it very hard to realize what it would be like to be homeless. Not having a table to sit at when I eat or a bed to lay down in when I am tired or just a place to sit and rest after a hard day of working or preaching, as it would be in the case of our savior. The Lord has blessed our lives from the day we were born with the creature comforts that we enjoy today without a second thought unless we are deprived of them.
7. But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
In Godís infinite wisdom he has given us a mediator who knows what its like to go hungry, what its like to be poor and destitute, what its like to suffer unjustly or be the brunt of lies from strangers. Without experiencing this personally he would not be able to plead for compassion and understanding and forgiveness from our Father in Heaven. He experienced these things because of the self-denial that he practiced in his own life.
Self denial can effect us in many ways, especially in the world today. Paul told the Romans in chap 6 verses 12
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
If we all put as much time in studying as we do other facets of our lives our knowledge of the Bible would be ten times greater than what it is now. Our spirit knows what we should do but the flesh is truly weak. . Anything we do that does not put us closer to God can only take us further away from him. Hobbies or interests that take us away from spiritual things can only hurt us in the long run no matter how innocent we think they might be. Life is a struggle and self-denial I think is the biggest struggle: and that if we can control it, we control the destiny of our lives with Godís word as our navigation.
Maybe yesterday we had a time where we had to sit down and do a little self-examination. It certainly seems to go hand in hand with self-denial. It usually takes a little self-examination to deny ourselves of something that we want. Self examination is not that easy and trying to judge your own self is difficult because of this nature we inherited as sinful creatures.
Jeremiah put it best when he said in chapter 17.9
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
If we put our trust in our own human nature to help us make decisions then we have certainly fooled ourselves. From our studies of the Word of God we know what the rights choices are in life. If we examine our selves with spiritual criteria then I am sure that we will always find room for improvement. Self-examination is putting ourselves where we belong as pitiful and sinful creatures but not without hope and a Father that loves us.
40. Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord.
41. Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.
1. Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.
2. O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing?
3. But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the Lord will hear when I call unto him.
4. Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
5. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord.
6. There be many that say, Who will show us any good? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.
7. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.
8. I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.
4. Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. What wonderful words to explain how we approach this monumentus task of self-examination, with awe, with an attitude of holiness in quiet place for this self-contemplation of the memories of our savior. Isnít this our attitude when we take this bread and wine every first day of the week? We examine ourselves before we partake of it and remind ourselves of his sacrifice for us and who we are and what we believe.
Maybe yesterday we had to make a decision. We make hundreds of decisions all day long but when we have to make decisions that affect us spiritually then we are talking about decisions we make after self-examination and before self-denial . These are the decisions that are going to make life good or bad. The effects of these decisions will live with you until the day you die. We know the Bibles teachings on divided service or being lukewarm. Our decisions have to be yea or nay, there are no gray areas with this decision-making. Our criteria for making our decisions come from what we learn in the Word. What is acceptable and pleasing servitude unto the Lord. When we make these decisions we ask in prayer that the outcome of our decision be in line with Godís will.
Maybe yesterday nothing really happened that was earth shaking and you were thankful for just having another day. You were thankful for being able to read the Bible and study the word just one more time. When we put our worries in Godís hands and let him help us out the results are certainly so much more rewarding than anything we could imagine. Like children we donít always know what we want or what is good for us. We relay on our parents for direction, we also rely on our Father in heaven for a direction that is everlasting.
As Paul says it in Colossians, 15. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
There are many roles that we have to achieve if we are going to be a true follower of Christ. The first is to have the attitude of a child, humble and honest, willing to learn. Matthew 18:3
3. And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
We have the role as a saint in the aspect of holiness or separation from the world. 1 Thess.4
7. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.
8. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.
9. But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.
And we have the role of priest that we should come to our Lord daily with prayer and supplication for our selves as the priest of old prayed for Israel. 1Peter 2
9. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
10. Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
We have the role of steward in our responsibility of maintaining and upholding our belief. Meeting here and remembering our Lord is part of our stewardship. Luke 12:
42. And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?
43. Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
44. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.
And our last role is witness, witness to the things concerning our risen Lord and King and the Kingdom of God to be established on this earth. John 15
15. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
16. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
There are many ways and not just a few that can bring us closer to our treasures laid up in Heaven. If we take that extra few seconds to ask our selves before every decision how can we bring God into it, the wiser we will become as a result.
The Jewish High Holidays (or High Holy Days), the 10 days starting with Rosh Hashanah and ending with Yom Kippur, are known as the Days of Awe or the Days of Repentance. This is an introspective time, when Jews consider the sins of the previous year and repent before Yom Kippur. This is a holiday of reflection, when a person looks into the past year and decides on how he can improve is life.
We come to our time now of reflection and repentance. We remember our saviorís broken body by this bread and his shed blood for the remission of sins as represented by the wine. One without the other would have been as non-effect but together they make up one of the powerful covenants that God evr gave. Itís a reminder that we have been bought with a price. So everyday let us do in life what will make it a worthy purchase.