Monday, November 30, 2015

WISE

Proverbs 3:7 “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.” (KJV)

WISE

Washed -- Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed                         by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (KJV)

Inspired -- 2 Peter 1:21 “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man:               but holy men of  God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (KJV)

Sensitive -- Proverbs 16:21 “The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the         lips  increaseth learning.” (KJV)

Engaging -- 1 Corinthians 2:4 “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of       man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:” (KJV)

            Everyone has an opinion! Anyone will freely offer unsolicited advice! Someone thinks he understands; but, No One is asking God for His wisdom.

            As the Christmas season has now begun, and actually has been in full swing since Halloween, we effectively skipped Thanksgiving! Our celebration of that holiday has morphed into an exercise in gluttony.  I am struck with the thought, “We as a society have replaced appreciation and thankfulness with greed and self-importance.” This world is lacking God’s Wisdom and we have become puffed up with knowledge instead on being built up in love.

            According to the Psalmist, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…”, so the invitation is graciously extended. Today join me on the journey to become wise. We can be renewed by the washing of God’s word through our minds. We will be inspired as His Spirit moves among us in a fresh outpouring of Pentecostal Power. Sensitivity to the needs of others develops as we respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit, our ministry one to another is engaging as the manifestations of the power of God are demonstrated by His LOVE at work in us.

Be WISE! 

Washed
Inspired
Sensitive
Engaging

Friday, September 11, 2015

Ready or Not Christ is Coming Again

Acts 1:11 They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” (NASB)

            Christ established His church upon the revelation that He was, is, and always shall be, the Messiah. He is the deliverer of all who put their trust in Him. The church has been Christ’s ambassadors on Earth for centuries, and yet, we have continually focused our attention on the wrong question. We have been asking, “When will Christ return and take us into Glory?”

            Our focus should be, “Are we ready for His return?”

            Because I believe the return of Christ is imminent, the focus of my messages for the near future will reflect the theme READY or NOT. Jesus promised when the “Son of Man” comes He will bring justice, but He questioned the presence of FAITH when He returned.  It is past time that we stop asking “When will Christ return?” and start asking, “Are we ready for His return?”

            READY or NOT Christ is coming again! The first step in being READY is living a repentant life-style.

Repentant – Psalm 51:16-18 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. (KJV)

            To be ready for the return of Christ we must humble ourselves. God is more concerned with the condition of our hearts than in the abundance of our offerings. He will openly receive us when our hearts are broken over the same things His heart is broken over. God’s desire is that ALL would turn to Him and accept the Gift of salvation through Christ. When we recognize our wickedness and turn away from our desires God will create in us a desire to seek and serve Him.

Excited – Acts 15:2-4 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.

            Disagreements and arguments are not a 21st century arrival within the church. People can always find issues to divide us. However, if we are living a repentant life-style, excitement about all that God is doing in and through us breaks down the dividing walls we construct. Being enthusiastic about the life changing power of God unifies us. Repentance and excitement propel us into the realm of servanthood. Step one, be repentant! Step two, get excited about what God is doing! Step three, make yourself available!

Available – 1 Samuel 3:7-9 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him. And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child. Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. (KJV)

                        Isaiah 6:4-9 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. (KJV)

            These two examples demonstrate the willingness of God to use those who make themselves available to Him. Samuel was an answer to prayer for his mother. Out of obedience she gave him back to the Lord to serve in the temple. Even before he knew the Lord God called him. He answer the call.

            Isaiah had an unmistakable experience in the presence of the Lord. He (Isaiah) recognized his inability to stand up to God’s holy standard, and yet he accepted the purification offered and willingly answered God’s call.

            We hesitate to put ourselves in the position of these two prophets. We can readily list reasons God will not use us, but the truth is God is looking for willing servants. He is not interested in our excuses! He is well able to sanctify and empower us to answer the call. God wants to use you! The fourth step, is being devoted to God’s purpose.

Devoted – 1 Chronicles 22:19 Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God; arise therefore, and build ye the sanctuary of the Lord God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and the holy vessels of God, into the house that is to be built to the name of the Lord. (KJV)

            Building the sanctuary of the Lord has been transformed from a physical building. It is the knowledge that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. God has chosen each of us to respond to His calling. He is building us into a royal priesthood of all READY believers. The final step, allow the yearning for God’s Kingdom to grow within us. We need to hunger for the things of God.

Yearning – Romans 8:23-26 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (KJV)


            Our weakness, our lack, our inability is overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit! READY or NOT Christ is coming again! My prayer for all of us is that we be READY when He comes.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

EASY

Matthew 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.’” (KJV)

Energy Allotted Satisfying Yourself

            It is probably true; each preceding generation says of the next, “They just don’t know how easy they have it.” Advancements in technology make our lives increasingly easy. Comfort and convenience are two very strong motivators, but have we stopped to examine the price we pay chasing the easy life?

            We spend vast amounts of time, energy and financial resources to ensure our comfort. We seem to measure our commitment to every task based upon the convenience of its accomplishment. We like things to be EASY. When events in our lives do not seem to run as smoothly as we plan we question every aspect of our lives, usually arriving at some level of doubt and disbelief.

            Where are you right now? The question is not reflective of your physical location. It seeks to expose your spiritual position and state of being. Personally I’m facing the most difficult challenges of my life. Crises in my Pastoral Ministry, aging parents with all the “joys” of declining health, and career confrontations as an educator in the public school system, all converge to create huge stress in my life. Oh, how I wish life could be EASY. The sheer pleasure of Energy Allotted Satisfying Yourself is not without appeal. Strangely, that attraction is in direct opposition to following Christ. He says, “deny” –– NOT “satisfy yourself”.

            The conflict between discipleship and the EASY life drives us toward deeper dependence upon God and a feverish search of His Word. Or, it pulls us into an ever-increasing spiral of destruction. Most often we look for answers that will eliminate our discomfort, but the situations we face are not new problems. Everyone — Prophets, Kings, Priests, and common people throughout history have all wrestled with denying their desire for what is EASY and had to balance the demands of natural life with spiritual life. These verses from Isaiah may help us understand and apply God’s answer to our dilemma. (Isaiah 49:3-4)

            We search for destiny and purpose. God answers our questions with a reminder that He is Master of our destiny. He is using our lives to bring glory to His Name. We make the counter point that all our hard work and sacrifice is worthless. We do not see the value in anything we have done, yet we begin to accept that God is keeping score –– not us. He will reward faithful service. Depression and disillusion is a common problem in contemporary society. In my opinion, it is worsened by the need for instant gratification, but God in His love holds the solution.

            God is aware of everything that is going on in our lives and He will be glorified. What we have done to advance the Kingdom Of God is the only thing that will ultimately matter. Do not derail your life by accepting what comes EASY. Energy Allotted Satisfying Yourself will not bring about the glory of God and cannot result in a Crown of Life. The cosmic clock is ticking away and time is at an end. Jesus is coming and He is coming soon. The popularity or lack of popularity the message holds does not enhance nor diminish its truth. We are not qualified to judge our own lives. Our perceptions and expectations color our judgment, but scripture says: (Revelation 22:12)

            Faithfulness, commitment, and persistence in service are to be valued and God will both honor and reward them in us. We must overcome the tendency to go with the flow and accept the path of least resistance. Often we measure our success or failure by our evaluation of the lives of others. We mistakenly believe God ignores our need.

            Whatever you are facing rest assured God knows all about it. Financial distress does not shock God. Physical illness and disease cannot scare Him. Emotional entanglements do not confuse Him. He does not have favorites. He does not have a switchboard operator saying, “Please stay on the line and your call will be answered in the order it was received.”  (Romans 6:12-13)

            God is not indifferent to your need. He will answer it in the way that allows the maximum glory to be given to His Name. When we seek the EASY way we run headlong down the path of sin. Energy Allotted Satisfying Yourself denies the Lordship of Christ and allows us to slide into the wickedness that is a sign of the times in which we live. However, sin is not new and wickedness has been around since the dawn of time –– no doubt it will continue until the end. In fact, it has been the catalyst responsible for divine judgment on more than one occasion during recorded history. (Genesis 6:5)

            The EASY road leads to judgment. First Satan was cast out of heaven for attempting to exult himself above God. Then Satan began his long campaign to corrupt mankind. Adam was influenced and took the EASY way. God judged mankind for Adam’s sin of disobedience. Cain took the EASY way and allowed jealousy to become murder. God judged Cain and he became a marked man. Sin increased and the world was purged of wickedness by a catastrophic flood, and still we gravitate toward what is EASY. Energy Allotted Satisfying Yourself will lead to destruction. The cities on the plain were destroyed for sexual sin and drunkenness. The vast and varied languages of the world were created as a result of a man’s desire to exult his throne and bring himself to God’s level.
  
            The antidote to the problem of sin is committing our lives to Christ. Remembering where we started this conversation, Jesus calls upon us to follow Him by denying ourselves. Once we make that commitment we no longer fall under the condemnation of sin; however, we have a daily struggle to overcome the pull of the EASY way. (Romans 8:1-3)

            Living according to the Spirit is not a once-and-for-all magic transformation. It is a daily choice to accept the grace of God, follow His plan for your life, and allow His Lordship to override your desire for comfort and convenience. The righteous requirements of a godly life do not vaccinate us from difficulties. They simply equip us to face them with faith, hope, and perseverance. Energy Allotted Satisfying Yourself leads directly to an eternity of suffering and separation from God. Spending time in the study of the Word of God, fellowship of believers, and heartfelt worship leads to joy, fulfillment and life everlasting. I know on which road I want to be.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

REAL

2Chronicles 29:26 “And the Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets.” (KJV)

Reliable Energetic Anointed Leaders

            Modern life pulls and twists us in so many directions at the same time that it feels we are in a perpetual game of twister. You remember twister that game which was played on a mat with colored spots, a spinner and a group of people all trying to accomplish the task of putting their hands and feet on the colored spots which were called without falling down. “Right hand blue, left foot red, left hand yellow, right foot green” — well I was always the first to fall down. Life in a bizarre turn of events resembles that game. We always seem to be chasing some impossible dream, but as Christians we need to be reliable, trustworthy, dependable and sure-footed. The apostle Paul instructed Timothy to avoid worldly pursuits.

            It is that avoidance that allows us to demonstrate reliability to a lost and dying world. Chasing success in this world leaves us empty and most often undependable; on the other hand, chasing after God and the righteousness He offers gives us stability. Through the attributes God brings into our lives we become reliable witnesses of God’s glory and grace.   (1Timothy 6:11-12)

            In this world there is no shortage of broken promises. Everything is unreliable. At the most basic level of human interaction, marriage by the world’s standard, once an unbreakable covenant, is now an optional contractual relationship. Everything from career choice to product warranties leaves us empty, hurt, and searching. God is inviting us to be REALReliable Energetic Anointed Leaders. God is the only one keeping promises today. Because of His promises we are able to be reliable. The promises become our source of energy and anointing. God supplies all that we need according to His purposes. (2Corinthians 1:20-22)

            Authentic exercise and expression of our faith demands that we live up to the standard set in God’s word. Our lives should reflect what we believe. One key element in a life that is pleasing to God is reliability. The Pastoral Epistles, 1st and 2nd Timothy along with Titus, repeat the phrase, “This is a trustworthy saying” over and over as the Apostle Paul offers practical advice on living to please God. Today more than ever we (the church) run the risk of too close an association with the world. Are there any REAL Christians?

            Reliable Energetic Anointed Leaders are produced by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. God calls men and women, boys and girls, young and old to an encounter with Him. There is a spiritual battle going on all around us. Yet, we with increasing regularity heed not the warnings and walk starry-eyed down the wide road that leads to hell. Under the banner of tolerance and political correctness we turn a blind eye to sin and fall deeper and deeper in love with the world. Here is the warning, let it ring loud and clear in your ears and penetrate deep into your heart: (1John 2:15)

            Do we sing “We’ve Got The Power In The Name Of Jesus” and secretly ask ourselves where did it go? Is it any wonder the Church has lost its ability to be the agent of change in this world? The power of God, the truth of Hs word, the anointing that sets the captive free is invested in the messenger with the right message. Satan has brought the battle to us and we missed the battle cry. (1Corinthians 14:8)

            It is time to face the truth. We as a church have lost some battles. We as the people of God have missed the mark a time or two. It is time to repent and get REAL with God. Today become the Reliable Energetic Anointed Leaders God has called us to be. We know the power of God. We’ve walked under His anointing, but somehow we’ve been distracted somewhere and we’ve taken our eyes off Jesus. The hope we have is still alive. The fire of our faith has not been snuffed out. We just need some practical advice on how to be REAL.

            Recently, I told a friend, “I’m definitely not Jesus, and I have no desire to be Moses, but once in a while I’d still like to be Peter.” After mulling that statement over in my mind, I understand why I admire Peter so much. He was a man who made bold attempts because of his faith. He made a royal mess of things a time or two, but when he finally got it right, he was a man under a tremendous anointing. He is the one who can tell us how to get REAL.  He was a Reliable Energetic Anointed Leader and a precious piece of his advice can be found in 1 Peter chapter 3 verses 15 and 16.

            Re-establishing the Lordship of Jesus Christ in our lives, securing our grasp on the hope of heaven, as well as exercising both gentleness and respect as we deal with others are the three actions that enable us to be REAL Christians. These three actions working together in us strengthen our resolve to stand firm in the Lord and they will silence all the malicious talk against the body of Christ. They (the world) will become ashamed of their slander against the Church as we press on following the instructions of Solomon, who teaches us to continue our work while we are living. (Ecclesiastes 9:10-11)

            We do not usually focus our attention on the second half of verse 10 but the truth is if God holds off the coming of the Lord long enough we will all fall into the long sleep of death. If our message is going to be Reliable we must live what we say we believe. Focusing our attention upon what we can accomplish with the strength the Lord supplies to us, forces us to be Energetic. Actively exercising the authority Christ has given us, by definition makes us Anointed. Stepping out in faith, realizing that God is in control within every situation, and offering clear Godly alternatives in our lifestyle that people can follow makes us Leaders. Being REAL sometimes makes us a target. That is why we are given this warning. (1Corinthians 16:13-14)

            Problems in life seem to attack us without warning, but God does not want us to be taken by surprise.  First Corinthians chapter 16 verses 13 and 14 encourage us to take five actions that prepare us for victory in every circumstance. 1) Watch out! The enemy is real and he is looking for any weakness or any distracted moment to strike. 2) Stand in faith. In order to see the victory God has promised we must be able to stand in faith. Many times belief in God’s promises is all we have. The strength of our resolve and the force of the commitment we have made, to the cause of Christ, enable the Spirit of God to work in our lives for His glory. 3) Be courageous! No victory has ever been won without courage. The willingness to step, out into the unknown, faith in the promise, and the strength to take action, each work together to build up courage within us. If we do not lose heart, we will see victory. 4) Be strong. There is no easy road into destiny. Beyond the point of our faith and past our initial courage to step out into the fulfillment of our calling, our resolve will be tested. The warning to be strong says, “This will take time! There are no instant winners.” The final element that insures victory is love. 5) Take Action because of love! REAL Christians, Reliable Energetic Anointed Leaders, do what they do because of the love of God. Love is the driving force within our faith. Without love there is no desire to take action and any action taken lacks the power to bring about change in our lives.

            Love is both the reason for action and the power behind the anointing. The result is preaching a life-changing message with hope and conviction. As children, most of us played the game of hide and seek. Do you remember the last line the seeker would say before beginning the search? “Ready or not here I come!” Ready or not the world is coming to the Church for answers. They need to find REAL Christians, Reliable Energetic Anointed Leaders, who are not afraid to share their faith and the reasons for the hope we have in Christ. (2Timothy 4:2)

            Preaching the Word will change lives. Being ready at all times to correct, rebuke and encourage requires great patience. Careful instruction in righteousness is not an easy task. The goal of our preaching is building up of the body of Christ. (Titus 3:14)

            Building a community of faith that leads productive lives in today’s society seems to be increasingly difficult.  It can only be accomplished through the anointing. No matter who you are, or how long you have been a Christian, God is calling us to be REALReliable Energetic Anointed Leaders. (1John 2:27-29)

Friday, July 24, 2015

STORE

Matthew 6:19-20 “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:”

Select
Temporal
Opportunities
Rewarded
Eternally

Living in the desert we almost never see squirrels rushing around collecting nuts and raiding bird feeders, but Michele and I have just returned from the North Woods of Wisconsin. The landscape and climate there is vastly different than Southwestern Arizona. Small woodland creatures are abundantly active.

As I was driving Michele to work yesterday, listening to America’s Morning News, planning my day, and contemplating the stages of life, for some unknown reason one of Aesop’s fables burst onto the scene in my mind. Before its arrival I had been thinking of three things: Aging, Retirement, and the imminent return of Christ.

Luke 12:34 “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

None of us can pinpoint “the hour of our death.” We cannot, by worrying over all the unforeseen circumstances in life, guarantee the avoidance of ALL tragedy. So, what can we do?

Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

The only thing we can do is select temporal opportunities rewarded eternally. We must choose to STORE up our treasure beyond the reach of calamity. With the time God has given us, we must use every opportunity to “bless and NOT curse.” The benefits of a life lived to the glory of God can and will be evident in the physical realm, but the reward is eternal. Invest your time, talent, and treasure in the Kingdom that is without end!

Yes, I do jokingly refer to our vacation as: The Garlit Shop Across America Tour, but it reminds me what is of primary importance and I hope you remember as well:

 Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Where will your tomorrow be spent? Select Temporal Opportunities Rewarded Eternally!

Before you go I’ve included the fable just for fun. A fable by Aesop, The Grasshopper and the Ants

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

SALT

Matthew 5:13 “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”

Saints
Actively
Living
Transformation

Recently, a set of shocking statistics came across my desk. The fellowship of ministries I am part of is preparing for their annual conference and I received an invitation to attend a Discipleship Ministry luncheon.  Within that e-mail, these statistics were presented.

The Barna Group reports:
7% of Assemblies of God pastors are satisfied with the state of discipleship in their churches
84% of people know at least one committed Christian
15% of people think the lifestyles of those Christians are significantly different than the norm.

"In virtually every study we conduct, representing thousands of interviews every year, born-again Christians fail to display much attitudinal or behavioral evidence of transformed lives." (David Kinnaman)

Okay, I’m in the 93% of pastors who are dissatisfied with the state of discipleship within the church I pastor. We need more relevant, life-changing, educational ministries.

The shocking message of these statistics is 85% of people cannot recognize any significant difference in the lives of Christians and Non-Christians. If we are the SALT of the Earth, this is a huge warning beacon that we have LOST our ability to flavor the world around us.

It is time to re-establish Christian values and stop re-defining our behaviors to accommodate this world’s expectations.

2 Corinthians 6:17 “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”

1 Peter 2:12 “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

When I was growing up, the question was asked, “If being a Christian was a crime, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” We seem to be rushing into a world where True Christianity is becoming a crime and sadly many of us may not be convicted based upon the evidence.


Where are we as a nation is an important question, but the most important question is who are we as individuals!  Are “WE” Christians? Can “WE” be Saints Actively Living Transformation?

Sunday, July 5, 2015

MERCY

Romans 9:15-16 “For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” (KJV)

MERCY
Maximum Effort Radiating Christ (in) You

            Who among us does not relish being on the receiving end when MERCY is being passed out? We flourish and thrive when we feel love, encouragement, and heart-felt compassion. Our lives are richer and more rewarding as mercy flows. Every blessing in our lives, in fact our very lives, depend on the mercies of God. None of us can say we deserve His mercy, and no one can explain why we experience His mercy. We can only enjoy the mercies of the Lord.

            We cannot buy, trade, control, or change the mercies of God. His mercy does not depend upon us, but we cannot survive without it.  As a child growing up in church, there were many quips and catch phrases that were designed to help shape us into what God was calling us to become. They could be heard in any conversation with believers. “Stay under the spout where the glory comes out” is a favorite. Looking back on that time in life it is impossible to recall anyone really teaching how to accomplish that goal, and no one ever explained how much work it was to stay under that spout. Staying there takes maximum effort. It does cost something. MERCYMaximum Effort Radiating Christ (in) You calls upon each of us to work at maintaining relationship. Staying under the spout where the glory comes out requires us individually to make the effort, carry the weight, build the Kingdom, and support each other. (Romans 14:19)

            Those who have been blessed by the mercies of God have the responsibility to keep that blessing flowing. The floodgates of God’s mercy are open. We cannot control the flow. We cannot choose the direction of the flow; but we can cut ourselves off from it. We are to radiate Christ. According to Webster’s New World College Dictionary, the word means to give forth or spread out something — heat, light, love, happiness, etc.  These all flow from a central location. For us, as Christians, the source is Christ in us. (Colossians 1:24-27)

            God has chosen to reveal His truth in two ways, first through the written revelation communicated to every generation, and second through our lives as we live them in light of that revelation. His word in its fullness is proclaimed by our actions. Christ in each one of us is the hope of glory. The glorious riches of His grace are to be made known through us as we live our faith.

            Our individual relationship with the Savior, Jesus Christ, shine in the darkness of this world and we reflect the perfection of our Heavenly Father. Together we are the body of Christ. The testimonies each of us shares make the individual important. Christ in you is the hope of glory. Christ in you incorporates you into the body of Christ. Christ in you meets every need. The church is built up, encouraged and strengthened as we fill up what is lacking by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit — Christ in us. Every person has a unique calling and gift set to employ in the Kingdom of God. The responsibility is ours. The effort in preserving the unity of the body is ours. The love, glory, mercy, and grace are His. (Matthew 5:43-48)

            The standard of behavior set for us goes beyond the standard set for non-Christians. Jesus taught us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. It is by those actions that we are recognized as children of God. There is a level of dependence upon the Holy Spirit that is not easily achieved. We rarely think of the amount of effort it takes to let go of our human nature. We do not count the cost of perfection. Jesus, as our example, emptied Himself in our behalf. He had the authority to act differently. He had the power to do just whatever He desired to do; yet, He emptied Himself and was obedient to the will of God. (Philippians 2:5-8)

            Too often we attempt to make ourselves something and miss the plan God has for us. Maximum Effort Radiating Christ (in) You – MERCY, will bring every individual to the point of emptying themselves in order for the glory of God to shine out of their lives. We will stop pushing, shoving and trying to make ourselves something and realize – Christ in us is everything. (Luke 6:27-31)
            God chooses who He will have mercy on according to His sovereign will. We cannot change it. He does not depend on us to let Him know who is worthy. He does not consult us for our opinion at all concerning His plan. He simply offers us the opportunity to carry out His will, and treat everyone, as we would like to be treated. He offers us the privilege, as His children, to show His mercy, grace and love to a world in need of a savior. He allows the hope of glory to shine in us drawing the world to Jesus Christ. We all depend upon the MERCY of God and we make every effort to radiate Christ through our actions. MERCYMaximum Effort Radiating Christ (in) You; Let that be our challenge today and every day. (Colossians 2:9-10)