This past weekend our Men's Ministry attended the Bay Area Men's Conference. The theme verse was Psalm 86:11 "Teach me Your way, O Lord: I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.
As I listened to the various studies I was reminded of just how much the Lord loves us, but more importantly, like David we should desire the Lord's instruction in our daily lives. Just as we nurture, teach and instruct our children to do that which is right, our Father wants to instruct us. In Psalm 119:11, David made a very profound statement before the Lord, " I have hidden Your word i my heart that I might not sin against You." That implanting of God's word was the result of David allowing God to instruct him in accordance to His will for David's life.
I am reminded that it isn't just enough to be instructed, I must be willing to act upon and implement those things that God reveals to me. It's the idea of "walking the walk, not just talking the talk." My wife often times reminds me that talk is cheap, but acting on that talk is to be cherished.
As the result of the teaching from God, the walking out of His truth in our life, we will have our hearts united with His. We should remember the words of Christ in relation to the heart. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; Matthew 6:20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19–21 NKJV)
I was setting in my office this morning looking at all the things that I needed to accomplish, I was so overwhelmed that I decided to pick up my guitar and spend some time worshipping the Lord. Yes, all the other tuff is still there to do, but I was lifted from the drudgery of task obligations to simply resting in His divine presence for a while. I have come to understand that worship has never really been about music or even musicianship, but rather it's about relationship. The very nature of the word worship is to engage with the Lord in a time of love and affection for who He is and what He has done in our lives. I may not be a great guitar player (and I am not, just the basics) or even a great vocalist. But what I am is a child of the living God who can come to Him with praise and thanksgiving on my lips, with hands raised in adoration of all that He has done for me. So this Sunday as you set in church and the worship team begins to sing and play, worship! I mean really worship Christ for who HE IS THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD, SAVIOR OF THE WORLD, AND GIVER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. (Read John 4:1-26)
“So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.” (Nehemiah 4:6 NKJV)
Nehemiah, contemporary of Ezra and cupbearer to the king in the Persian palace, leads the third and last return to Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile. His concern for the welfare of Jerusalem and its inhabitants prompts him to take bold action. Granted permission to return to his homeland, Nehemiah challenges his countrymen to arise and rebuild the shattered walls of Jerusalem. In spite of opposition from without and abuse from within, the task is completed in only fifty-two days, a feat even the enemies of Israel must attribute to God's enabling. By contrast the task of reviving and reforming the people of God within the rebuilt wall demands years of Nehemiah's godly example and persistent leadership.
The greatest obstacle to rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem was the people. For Nehemiah just getting them started was his greatest task, but once they started they caught the vision of what God could do through their efforts. Remember, "...the people had a mind to work." When we set our mind to the task of working and serving God, we too can build the Kingdom of God.
Academics studying the subject of religion have defined religion into three broad categories: world religions, a term which refers to transcultural, international faiths, indigenous religions, which refers to smaller, culture-specific religious groups, and new religious movements, which refers to recently developed faiths. Religion by the very definition of the word refers to a belief in someone or something.
What is it that God would really desire from those who truly believe in Him and the salvation that comes through His son Jesus Christ the Lord? Oh! I would believe that based on His word, that He would desire relationship much more than religion.
The passages of Scripture dealing with this very important subject of relationship are far too numerous to even list, much less quote. so I will let the apostle Paul have the last word on this particular affiliation between man and God. In his classic letter to the Romans, he makes one of the most straightforward statements concerning this matter:
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are THE SONS OF GOD, For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, by which we cry, ABBA, FATHER" (Romans 8:14-15).
These words of Paul to the young Pastor Timothy remind me of just how radical Paul was about his faith, the Gospel and serving Jesus.
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 2Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2Timothy 4:8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:6–8 NKJV)
There are four things in this passage that stand out to me as the true marks of a radical, sold-out Christian.