Saturday, July 12, 2008

# 257: Stunning Short Notes and One Liners

This is a repeat of post # 140, which was first published on 4/16/06. As I reread it recently, I was impressed with some of the mind-provoking truths it presents. I believe new bloggers may also be impressed.

What follows are a few short themes for contemplation, meditation, and prayer. Many are something of an encapsulation of issues already covered in this blog. Others were more briefly touched upon, while some are new concepts. Study them; live them; they are great jumping-off points in one’s Christian walk.

In the Christian life, the main, if not the only, way to put prosperity and wealth in its proper place is to actually start experiencing the holy life of Jesus Christ.

Having Christ-like belief leaves little room for ego.

Only a big person who knows how important he/she really is can be truly humble without fear of losing any of his/her greatness.

Don't tell me about Christ; show me Christ.

To love people as Christ would is to tell and give them what they need and not what they think they need or want. In most cases, this kind of love will be blatantly rejected and called judgmental.

Do you know on exactly what day Christ will return to Earth, not in the sense that one can mark it on the calendar? Read on. We know that Jesus Christ will return at the end of time to square things up with mankind. If, at a given time, there was the remotest possibility that several more people would believe Him and be saved if He waited a few more days, would He wait? Certainly! He would wait and He will wait until the world is so evil that there is absolutely no chance of even one more person repenting and believing in Him. That is the day He will return. I think we are getting close to that day, don't you?

I want to ask you a two-part question. Don’t tell anyone your answer, but you must give yourself an honest answer, right from your heart. Don’t lie and tell yourself something that will make you feel good. If you do, you will only be cheating yourself. If your answer makes you feel bad, it might be closer to the truth. Here are the questions: 1) What is/are the most valuable thing/things in your life? 2) What is the greatest desire or aspiration in your life? By giving yourself honest answers you have revealed who your god is, your source of worship, and the name of your true religion.

The name of my religion for years has been “self-interest”—staying young and healthy—in the name of good and God. What a rude awakening I got when I found out. Now, my God is Jesus Christ. My life now displays Him as my source of worship.

When Christians are certain of their future, they can borrow from that future to meet present-day needs. In other words, since many live in the past, why can’t they live in the glorious future? Our belief in what the future will be is converted into reality by our faith.

How do you think Jesus Christ felt, being the Son of God? How do you think we should feel, by faith, having been given the same status as Jesus, which is being clones-of-Christ-in-the-making? Of course, we should feel the same way He did. When we do, oh what power we will have to believe and love as He did. Then we can rightly say, “Look out world; here we come.”

One of the biggest crimes against God that one of His own can commit is to waste time on things that do not spiritually enrich our lives—good, innocent, and important as they may seem and more.

We are not made Christ-like as a means in itself, but for God to bless others through us.

When we say we are Christians but our lives do not display Christ, what evidence remains to substantiate our claim?

It is immoral not to help those who truly have needs and actually cannot help themselves. Conversely, it is immoral to enable those whose needs are fraudulent.

When we suffer for the cause of Christ, He actually shares our pain with us.

To know the truth of Jesus Christ is great, but that truth must be put into practice to be of any value. To know this truth, which makes one feel knowledgeable and important of sorts, without having a desire or ability to live it, is much more deadly than not knowing any truth at all. In other words, the deception of having knowledge of the truth and thinking it is of value, without applying it, is a greater deception than being deceived by ignorance of that truth. Are any of us guilty of this?

When someone loves you in truth, their love is like a magnet; it can either attract or repel, hurt or bless. You choose.

Any religious worship is false if it doesn't bring us closer to God so that the world can see Christ more clearly through our lives.

Our personal defeats are a great instructor in that they can bring us to Christ and His victorious life.

When we purposely do not do all the good we can in our Christian life, will grace take up the slack? I don’t think so. Grace enables us to apply our maximum effort.

What and where a person is at present is not as important to God as the future. He looks at the true desires of one’s heart.

When we love someone, they are our business. Since they are our business, THEIR NEEDS ARE OUR DEBTS. Pour our lives into theirs. Love makes unity.

Grace does not release us from the responsibility to give our all; in fact, when we start to understand the value of grace, we realize that grace empowers us to give our all.

Satan has the ability to mimic, through his people, all that God does through His people. This is a solemn warning to examine the motives behind any life.

A face is worth a thousand words: As Abe Lincoln said years ago, “By the time a man is forty, he is responsible for what his face looks like.”

Debt is the worst kind of hidden poverty, since one usually doesn’t recognize it as poverty. If that is the case, this country is in sad shape with its $ 8 trillion debt and counting. It will be our downfall.

God hates it when we replace Him with religious rituals and formalities.

We all need attention. When our attention comes to us from God through faith, we don't need attention from men/women.

Although a clear conscience does not justify us in God's sight, we need a clear conscience as to our lifestyle to make sure we are not working for the enemy without knowing it.

What is of greatest value in one's life will take over and control that life.

A person can experience the future in the present when one is sure of what the future will be.

When we are living in God's will, everything that happens to us is according to God's will because He is in control. Praise The Lord.

No one is able to know Jesus Christ or even have a desire to do so, as long as any self-interest (ego) dominates that life.

The closer one gets to being like Jesus Christ, the more one will be misunderstood by the religious. It’s a very reliable barometer.

The face with a smile that is genuine will continue to smile even after it is slapped.

I read good into all that God allows to happen to me.

The sin that doesn't seem like sin to us, especially the kind we theologically rationalize, will get us if we don't recognize it as the sin it is.

To have God's love is to treat everyone equally, regardless of how we feel about them.

A person’s teaching must spring from one's Christian life that is lived in belief of and obedience to God, and not merely from religious books written by others; otherwise, words get passed on and then become the criteria for Christianity. Repeating, teaching must be based on Christian truth, and truth must be experienced to have any value in God’s sight.

The seal or mark of the presence of God's Spirit in a person is the holiness and love in one's life that springs from belief.

God never fails us; it is we who fail when we don't continue to believe and obey with our lives.

If there is no controlling, dominating purpose and direction in a person’s life, then there is no real reason for life, just existence.

Miracles are not for the comfort of the church, but to display the greatness and power of God in His people and all for His glory.

If obedience to His commands is LOVE for God, then disobedience to His commands is HATE for God. Amen.

The relationship we will have with Christ in eternity can be ours now through faith. In fact, we must experience it now, if even in a small way, to live as He requires.

When God gives someone more than he needs, though it may seem deserved since it came by his/her effort, it is to be used for others in need or to promote the gospel, and not for one’s pleasure or security.

An unbeliever grows older until final death. A believer grows newer day by day as he/she grows into the likeness of Christ, and culminates with true life at the end of spiritual growth in this temporal life.

“I don't want to go to that church; they are a bunch of nuts. They actually love their neighbor as themselves.” Is this said of your church?

The big difference between true Christianity and all of the other religions is that the othersthey may center on the desire to live a selfless life through self-improvement, whereas Christianity’s primary goal is to know and love God and care for others.

Only by doing what one believes, does one become what one believes.

Every Christian needs to believe the Father as Jesus did and then demonstrate Him to the world with the power of Jesus.

When someone does not give in to any of the body’s desires, excluding the essentials for existence, then one can be assured that they are living in Christ.

All doubt comes from the Devil. Everyone who doubts what God says is doing the Devil’s work. God says, “Love others.” Satan says, “Love and care for self.”

The truth doesn’t get much more hard-edged than the aforementioned. God bless all who take it to heart.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

# 256: The Kingdom of God is Within You

I was inspired to explore this profound truth and the depth of implications it can reveal even though I do not feel qualified to do so. Regardless of how inadequate I feel, I must start.

The basic truth it suggests is that the love, holiness and all other Godly attitudes which are in God’s kingdom in heaven are available to anyone on earth who—through faith, love and obedience—are genuine disciples of Christ. That would make our planet a place where God and His holiness abide through His children. That, by all means, is the loftiest goal anyone can strive for. But is that even possible? Yes. The answer is that no matter how much we do to promote the cause of Christ, we could do more. There are no limits in experiencing God’s goodness. This tells me that we as God’s children have our work/obligation cut out for us.

The aforementioned statement says that when we are in the company of a truly Godly person, we are in the midst of God’s kingdom. It is like being in the presence of Jesus Christ. We are vibrant, active ambassadors for God. That leaves no room for goofing off.

Colossians 1:22. “. . . the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you the hope of glory.”

Could there be a more splendid lifestyle? Absolutely not. Then what are we waiting for? Let us get our butts off the couch and make this holy goal a reality. It won’t be easy to even start on this path of God’s holiness, and thus fulfill Scripture and our spiritual potential. By the way, with the Spirit’s help, it will take every bit of spiritual backbone we can muster up. Let us not forget that the more difficult the challenges life gives us in accomplishing our Godly potential, the greater the glory for God, Jesus Christ and all His holy ones. This and only this will display to all that the kingdom of God is really in us. We are the only ones who will be qualified to tell the world, by our lives and words, the grandeur of living, empowered by the kingdom of God which is within us. Never forget this promise: 2 Peter 1:4. “Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world by evil desires.” Also a promise of confidence: Philippians 1:6. “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.”

The first thing we must do is to get intimately familiar with all the instructions in the New Testament so that we, through our second nature, know what we must do and not do. Of course, we can only do this with the help of the Holy Spirit. Without God’s Spirit we are nothing in God’s sight and can do nothing, regardless of how much some “Christians” may shout to the contrary.

Acts 17:11: “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

Only thing, there is one pending difficulty: our sinful human nature. It is strong and desires its own way, not that it can’t be subdued. Here are a few tips that will help us be victors: Separate ourselves from the attitudes and desires the people of this world have. This won’t happen overnight. The best way to do this is to fill ourselves with spiritual matters, to the point where we won’t have the time and hopefully the desire to engage in them.

Colossians 3:1-2. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

The hardest activity to conquer will, most likely, be television. The vast majority of programs on TV are ungodly junk, even on public television. Another thing is to break ourselves from worldly activities, which have nothing to do with acquiring holiness. This will be more difficult if there are children/child in the family or a non-Christian spouse.

1st John 2:15-16. “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of the eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”

One of human nature’s strongest desires is to be “king of the hill.” Being a disciple of Christ, taking the lowest place, is what we must strive for and be servant of all. This type of attitude doesn’t sit well with Americans who have been taught to go for the highest place. The reason for this attitude is that humility never comes from the ones on top. The display of humility is love, and love without humility is a sly form of arrogance.

Matthew 18:1-5. “At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in kingdom of heaven?’ He called a little child and had him stand among them. ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’”

Also, Mark teaches the same principle in 9:35. “Sitting down, Jesus called the twelve and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and servant of all.’”

We must learn to do for others instead of wanting others to do for us. I will use a play on words spoken by President John F. Kennedy: Ask not what God can do for you; rather, ask what God can do through you for others. 1st Corinthians. 6:20. “You are not our own; you were bought at a price. . . .” In other words, let us not be concerned how our standing is with Christ; rather, let us be concerned with how others are doing with Christ. Genuine Christianity is to make a whole hearted effort to cater to the spiritual and material needs of others. After that we can care for our own needs. This teaching may sound strange to some, but remember, it comes from the kingdom of God that lives within us, and is not of this world.

Philippians 2:3-5. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”

We must love where love is not deserved; they are the ones who need it the most. Only one thing, if we listen to our human intellect, they are the ones we may resist helping, for one reason or another.

Ephesians 4:22-24. “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

As most of us can tell, if and when the kingdom of God is within us, it will not be your typical Christian life as we see it in America or the world. It is a life where self is left behind and God’s Spirit is brought to life.

1st Corinthians 15:58. “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know your labor in the lord is not in vain.”

Living life when the kingdom of God is within us is likened to putting money into God’s bank. What I am getting at is this: Are all the aforementioned edicts absolutely necessary to get to heaven? I will answer that strawman question this way: It all depends on where a person stands. Is one living for God’s interest or for self-interest? There is no in-between. We are either for Christ or against Him. And to have love for Christ means we will make every possible effort in every possible way to live to the point where we can honestly say, “Iit is not I who live but Christ lives in me.” That is exactly what the apostle Paul said in Galatians 2:20. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”

When we have the kingdom of God within us, it will be our desire to please God in everything we say, do and think. Of course, as mentioned previously, we must know what we are required to do and not do in order to please Him. That knowledge can come from only one source: the New Testament, and not so much from what religion per se teaches us.

There is one conundrum of sorts: Regardless of how much effort we make in pleasing our God and Father, we who have the kingdom of God within us will at all times be in the constant need of more and more of God’s grace and mercy; the holier we become, the more we will be aware of that need. That is not an excuse for compromise, but to live our lives in the holiest and purest way possible. The Christian meaning of holiness is to separate ourselves from as many things and attitudes as possible that do not enrich our relationship with Christ. If we do compromise our efforts, others will be adversely affected who hold us as role models.

I will leave you with several more New Testament verses which imply the greatness of living in the kingdom of God, which is within us.

1st John 4:12. “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

Galatians 4:19. “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of child-birth until Christ is formed in you.”

Ephesians 5:1-2. “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us . . .”

1st Thessalonians 3:13. “May he strengthen your heart so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.”

In conclusion, this post can be condensed into one paragraph: When we have the Holy Spirit of God actively living in us, we will live in such a holy way which assures us, and is confirmed by God’s Spirit, that the kingdom of God is within us. It is an actual prelude to eternity in which we experience the Godly ecstasy of the kingdom of God/heaven on earth. It must be experienced to be known, just as much as the joy of love making cannot be known until sexual maturity is reached. Amen.