Great is My Faithfulness?

Why is it, that conflict, hate, slander, and anger seem to find their way into the church body? Why is it the smallest of things so often end up causing the biggest division and hurt? Sometimes those things, those events, are so ugly and hurtful. They tear your heart out and leave you wondering… What just happened? Why our church? Why our Pastor? Why my best friend? The hurt cuts deeply and the pain and questioning seem to linger for far too long. Why God…why?

It is so important during these times that we remember that through it all we are called to be obedient to God and make sure we do not lose sight of our priority of serving and worshiping Him alone. In Deuteronomy 6:5 God commanded Israel in saying: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Then, in Matthew 22, Christ responds to the Sadducees and Pharisees regarding the greatest command and once against reminds them of correct priorities regarding our relationships, especially to the Lord, and he says: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.

But what does that have to do with the pain that we experience when turmoil and warring finds its way into our church family and tears the body apart? It seems that more often than not, people forget the truth of God’s word. We forget His character. We forget who it is that we serve. We forget that when we gave our lives to the Lord we became his slave. Our heart, mind, soul, strength…they are not ours anymore…they are His. As a new creation we are to worship God. We are not supposed to worship pastors, or people, things, programs, processes, budgets, or even ourselves. We are supposed to love and worship the Lord…and love our brothers and sisters.

In John 15:17 there is a commandment from Christ and it is not the least bit vague. Christ said “This I command you, that you love one another.” In all of our trials and disagreements, we need to continue to love the Lord and love each other. If our mindset was first and foremost consumed with that command, if we were modeling the love that Christ has for his Father, and the love he has for us, we would guard our hearts, our mouths, our minds, everything, and bring it into submission before the Lord.

Consicross logo 2der for a moment how Christ reacts when we disagree with Him…when we willingly disobey His commands…when we sin. How does he respond? Does he leave us in anger? Does he condemn us and hold that sin against us? Does he go before His Father and slander our name? Does he gossip about us to the Holy Spirit? Does he change His holy character and suddenly become unfaithful and unloving? Never. Never. Never.  He is loving.  He is gracious.  He is merciful.  He is forgiving.  He is faithful.

God has called us to live righteous lives, to be holy, so we should look to Christ as our example and evaluate our holy or unholy responses to others. When we go through these times we should ask ourselves if we are acting with a character that models the Risen Savior that died on the cross and rose again, that is forever gracious, merciful, faithful and loving? He is forever faithful.

Lord, we are your new creation. Help us to demonstrate righteous behavior towards each other all of the time and teach us to do it with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Amen.

“Completely”

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.””  1 Peter 1:13-16    New American Standard Bible (NASB)

When Peter wrote these words, the Holy Spirit put on Peter’s heart the need to encourage fellow believers in the early church to live holy lives, not as a means of salvation, but as a result of their salvation.  In a time of tremendous persecution Peter wanted to call people to live a life that was seemingly impossible.  The greatest encouragement in the passage above is the first word…therefore.  Peter is referencing the first dozen verses in his letter in which he reminds fellow believers of the AMAZING gift of salvation, the Living Hope, found in the sacrificial work of Jesus Christ on the cross and his resurrection.

half appleSometimes in our lives as believers we can forget the blessing and the cost of our salvation.  We sometimes forget that as a true disciple of the Lord we are called to fix our hope completely on the grace of God that will be ours when Christ is revealed.  The word “completely” in the original Greek is teleiós which means “perfectly, completely, without wavering, to the end”.  Our hope is to be fixed perfectly, completely, without wavering, until the day Christ returns.  It is to be fixed teleiós because of the mercy and grace of God.

Living a life for Christ is not based on our happiness or comfort, on wealth or health.  It is a life that is based on the gospel message and is reflects an attitude of the heart that is fixed completely on the living hope Christ Jesus.  If you are truly a child of the Most High God your hope completely each day and for eternity is found in Christ alone.  Find encouragement, confidence, and refuge in that truth and live a holy life for your Savior.

His humble servant…

In recent months the Lord has put it on my heart to express some thoughts and insights around servant leadership, discipleship, and evangelism.  While I am quite certain that my thoughts will at times ramble a bit, and my punctuation may miss the mark sometimes, you have to remember that that this is a blog and not a thesis!  I am confident that in time the Lord will put topics on my heart through His holy word as well as through the events that happen while living and serving Him.   It is my prayer that at the very least you might be encouraged or challenged in your own walk with the Lord as you seek to love and serve Him with all your heart, soul, and with all your might (Deuteronomy 6:5).

I am not usually very bold in taking a position or in “putting myself out there”, but as a believer I am called to be bold in my faith.  I am not ashamed to proclaim my faith before men.  Seriouscropped-rock-of-my-salvation.jpgly, how could I possibly be ashamed of the Lord who, by His grace, through faith in Him alone, has fully paid the ransom for my sin, granted me salvation, and blessed me with eternal life?   I pray that the Lord will give me the strength and courage to write in a manner that will shine the light of His truth and that will only bring glory and honor to Him, and Him alone.  Please know that I am not writing that I might be seen or heard,  rather I want to write that those who read will see the Lord at work and to share some of the incredible, and sometimes painful, trials and lessons that the Lord has sustained me though.

If you do not know the Jesus as your Lord and savior and you want to know more about who Jesus Christ is I would love to let you know about who he is…but know this for a fact…He loves you.  No matter what, He loves you.  John 3:16-17 says “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”

His humble servant.

Tim