Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Awake! {Decide today which master you will serve.}

There is a theme I can't escape.  It consumes my thoughts by day....my prayers moment by moment.

There will be a separation.

The remnant will go one way and the false look-alikes another.  When I look around, I see sleepwalkers.  We have no idea what is going on in the spiritual realm.  Just yesterday, the constitution continued in its death spiral as freedom of religion was stripped away in Georgia.  But, most didn't even notice.

Awake, awake!  Clothe yourself with strength!

It's only at harvest time that the wheat and tares are separated.  They grow in the same environment and even look the same.  The difference is that one offers life, seed, and food.  The other, death.  "There will be an end of this mixture in due time; the hypocrite shall not always stand in the congregation of the righteous; the wheat and the tares shall be separated 'in the time of the harvest.'"  Spurgeon

Awake, awake!  Clothe yourself with strength!

Nail down the stakes of your tent called faith. Strengthen what God has planted.  Seize the Word and ingest it daily.  "Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ."  (Romans 10:17)  Fear not and hold fast to the promises. Hold fast to the truth; it is our lifeline.

Determine today whom you will serve.  Modern American Christianity hasn't required much as a collective whole.  Christ won the mental battle of going to the cross while in the garden---before he was put on trial---before the bone laden whip cut off muscle and skin---before the humiliation of being stripped down---before the asphyxiation---before the weight of carrying such heinous sin.  The road to the cross was won in the garden in a moment of complete surrender.

Not my will, but Yours.

{Lord, give me grace to fall on my knees and cry out in complete surrender--Not my will, but Yours.  Give me grace to choose You above all, no matter how daunting the road ahead.}

Awake, awake!  Clothe yourself with strength!

It pleased our Good-Good Father to bruise His only Son by sending Him to the cross.  In Hebrew, Isaiah 53:10 reads something like this:  "It delighted the Father to crush, destroy, break to pieces, cast down, humble, beat to pieces His Son."

It brought the Father delight to humble His perfect Son so that you and I could be restored to His heart. 

Hard words.

What if it pleased the Father to break me to pieces?  What if my crushing is what brought Him the most glory?  Would I have faith to continue to call Him my Good-Good Father no matter what my circumstances shouted?

In the Sermon on the Mount, we see our Savior lay out the Beatitudes.  "Beatus" is Latin and means to be blessed and happy.  Jesus is telling us how to live a fulfilling, content, and joyful Kingdom-Life as we walk this earth that really isn't our home.

The beatitudes are a harsh juxtaposition against the world's standards of joy and success.

Poor in spirit?
Craving Righteousness?
Pure in heart?
Creating spaces of peace?

Then in God's Kingdom realm you are blessed.  You are even happy.

"Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account."  Matthew 5:11

Why do we in comfortable America shy away from verses like this?  Why do we snub our noses and say that surely God wouldn't mean such things for us...after all, we are His children!

We have watered down the gospel and forgotten that we are trying to be like Christ: the Suffering Servant who laid down His all.

When the separation comes, persecution may very well be right behind it.  Are we ready?

Awake, awake!  Clothe yourself with strength!

Persecution is simply this:  being wrongly treated because of our faith.  Yesterday, a bill should have passed in Georgia.  It would have simply allowed those in the religious workplace to exercise their faith in God by holding to the teachings of God found in the Bible.  Instead, now the religious leaders will be faced with either choosing man's law or God's. 

To think we are immune to this kind of treatment is either arrogance or apathy. When we are being faced with wrong treatment due to our faith, what will we choose?

Jesus paid it all.  All to Him I owe.

Today is the day of decision.  Decide today, while in the comfort of the garden, which master you will serve.

Awake, awake!  Put on thy strength!

"Then Joshua said to the people, 'You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the LORD, to serve Him.'  And they said, 'We are witnesses.'  He said, 'Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your heart to the LORD, the God of Israel.'  And the people said to Joshua, 'The LORD our God we will serve, and His voice we will obey."  Joshua 24: 22-24

No comments: