Bringing God into the New Year

We are only days away from bringing this year to a close.

Some of us will look back fondly at what God has done in our lives – be it in blessings, answered prayer, healing, deliverance, restoration, etc.

All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the LORD your God. Dt. 28:2 NASB

A faithful man will abound with blessings… Pr. 28:20 NASB

…you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water; and I will remove sickness from your midst. Ex. 23:25 NASB

…how blessed are these your servants who stand before you continually and hear your wisdom. 2 Chr. 9;7 NASB

How blessed are all who take refuge in Him! Ps. 2:12 NASB

We see then that anyone who had a blessed year, would be one who obeys God, walks a righteous walk, keeps their faith in Him, serves Him, listens to Him and makes Him their ‘Rock.’

(If your year was not so hot, you most assuredly want to consider conforming your ways accordingly.)

…He answered their prayers because they trusted in Him. 1 Chr. 5:20 NASB

In my trouble I cried to the Lord, and He answered me. Ps. 120:1 NASB

Of course, you are blessed when you have answered prayer – which gets answered when you trust in Him to come to your aid.

“…for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings… Mal. 4:2 NASB

If you’ve been delivered from illness of any kind, you can rest assured it was because you showed reverence for Jehovah God.

‘Should evil come upon us, the sword, of judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before You (for your name is in this house) and cry to You in our distress, and You will hear and deliver us.’ 2 Chr. 20:9 NASB

“…the LORD your God you shall fear; and He will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.” 2 Kin.17:39 NASB

The righteous cry, and the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. Ps. 34:7 NASB

Again, what do we see? Turning to God with reverence, from a position of obedience, brings deliverance as well.  

…indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. 2 Cor. 1:9, 10. NASB

Finally, we always keep our focus on God, who delivers us from death, reconciles us to Him through the cross, and will restore our relationship with Him for all eternity.

This is how we position ourselves to have these ‘good years;’ and, God wants us to remember all that He has done for us, to bring Him glory so that we can continue to have them.

Let us turn now to those of us that may have had a year that we most assuredly would like to put behind us, and never have such a one repeat again.

The first obvious solution would be to follow all of the aforementioned scriptures.

Secondly, let’s examine what may have gone wrong. For example, did you commit some act, or indulge in a pattern of thinking, that was contrary to God’s word?

When you make a vow or a pledge to God, do not put off paying it; for God takes no pleasure in fools [who thoughtlessly mock Him]. Eccl. 5:4 AMP

“I therefore will measure [punishment for] their former work [directly] into their arms.”  Is. 65:7 AMP

“Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.” Ex. 32:33 NASB

We do our best to follow God’s word; yet, in the frailty of our humanity, we all fall short (1 Kin. 8:46). Yet, we cannot minimize the devastation of sin. 

Praise God for His favor and forgetfulness when we confess and repent (Jer. 31:34).

Sin, left to its own devices, lead to death, but forgiveness always follows repentance. However, we may be forgiven, but many times we must contend with the consequences of our transgressions. 

We can fall at our Lord’s feet and petition His mercy and pray for brevity with regards to the experience.

Then, we can do our best not to repeat our wayward behavior in the new year…

Sometimes, we run into trouble, regardless of our behavior. It may be God Himself, trying to teach us something, or trying to nudge us in a new direction:

“Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?” Job 2:10 CSB

For Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You? You who have shown me many troubles and distresses will revive me again… Ps. 71:19, 20. NASB

The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps. Pr. 16:9 NASB

Blessed is the man whom You chasten, O LORD… Ps. 94:12 NASB

It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes. Ps. 119.71 NASB

God loves you; that is why He always invests Himself in pointing you in the right direction. If you are suffering difficulty for reasons that aren’t apparent to you, ask God, “What do You want me to learn from this?” Your Father has been trying to get your attention, because there is some kind of stumbling block in your path, and He wants you to know the source of it, and how it is hurting you, so that you can be delivered.

Pray for understanding, revelation, the right path, and for mercy…

The last thing that may have made your year less than it could be, is unforgiveness.

God, (whom we are to emulate), always leads by example:

But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared and worshiped [with submissive wonder]. Ps. 130.4 AMP

He is always ready to forgive you, providing you confess and repent:

To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him. Dan. 9:9 NKJV

All unforgiveness is rooted in judgment; and being sinners ourselves, we are decidedly proscribed from practicing it:

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged… Mt. 7:1, 2. NKJV

Forgiving is a hallmark trait of being a Christian. If you walk like Jesus, you have to forgive like He did. In fact, He died for your forgiveness. If you implement unforgiveness, you will not be blessed on any level, until you stop. In fact, you will suffer for it:

“But if you do not forgive others [nurturing your hurt and anger with the result that it interferes with your relationship with God], then your Father will not forgive your trespasses.” Mt. 6:15 AMP

Everyone, including yourself, requires forgiveness. At the heart of being able to forgive, is a continual focus on Christ’s sacrifice so that God could forgive you. You must position yourself to be forgiven, so that you can have a good life:

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. Col. 3:12, 13. ESV

You can’t wait for your situation to get better with your target, you can’t get away with a weak and insincere ’I’m sorry.’ You have to genuinely repent. You can’t tuck the supposed infraction in some ‘tickler file,’ to use for future abuse. You must take on amnesia. 

Forgiveness needs to happen no matter whether you think they deserve it or not. It’s not an easy task, but as you can see, it must be done to get right with that other person and for you to get right with God. 

We also need to forgive ourselves. I know this goes against the teaching of many biblical teachers, but I’m just going to throw it out here, and you can decide for yourself.  

They would rightly claim that self-forgiveness is not mentioned in the Bible. However, we know that there are some issues that the Bible does not address. They would also rightly point out that it would be audacious to forgive yourself for sins that you commit. For it is true, that would negate the sacrifice of our Savior in our eyes. 

However, I would offer that no one in the world is a worse critic of ourselves than ourselves. It is this destructive and many times blind and automatic behavior that we need to forgive ourselves for, to let up on ourselves – to get that conversation out of our heads so that we can hear our God…

So, we’ve seen how to partner up with Jehovah God to make this next year a stellar one, how to get Him into our new year. What kind of year can we look for?

Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, the God who is our salvation. Ps. 68:19 NASB

The blessing of the LORD brings [true] riches, and He adds no sorrow to it [for it comes as a blessing from God]. Pr. 10:22 AMP

Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; how blessed are all those who long for Him. Is. 30:18 NASB

Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of sin. Rm. 4:8 NLT

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; who pardons all of your iniquities, who heals all of your diseases; who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle. 

The LORD performs righteous deeds and judgments for all who are oppressed…The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness…He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. Ps. 103:2 – 6, 8 & 10 – 13. NASB

Now that’s a year to look forward to…

Goodnight and God bless.

Balancing God Time

There is a season (a time appointed) for everything and a time for every delight and event or purpose under heaven—

A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.

A time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build up.

A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.

A time to throw away stones and a time to gather stones; a time to keep and a time to throw away. 

A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; a time to keep silent and a time to speak.

A time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace. Eccl. 3:1 – 8. AMP

With the new year looming imminently around the corner, I thought we might consider the passage of time…

God is omniscient, knowing all things, in all time-frames simultaneously. He is also eternal, outside of time. 

Jehovah cannot be measured; He is everywhere, even outside of space. 

It has been said that God gave us ‘time’ so that everything wouldn’t happen at once with regards to our human viewpoint and gave us ‘space’ so that everything wouldn’t happen in the same place. 

God created time and space the moment that He said, “Let there be light…” Gn. 1:3 NKJV 

And He controls it: 

“Remember [carefully] the former things [which I did] from ages past; for I am God, and there is no one else; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things which have not [yet] been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will do all that pleases Me and fulfills My purpose.” Is. 46:9, 10. AMP

So, time, on the surface, is a good thing. However, while we live on this earth, our flesh is prisoner to its finite quantity:

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring – what your life will be! For you are like a vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes. Jas. 4:13, 14. CSB

The fleetingness of time makes it precious.

Let us consider the moments that have passed. Clearly, from Isaiah above, we are to remember what God did in the past – both to give Him glory and to bolster our faith. However, we can become trapped in our past (which we cannot change), if we allow our focus to wallow in it. 

The devil loves it when you do that. Why? Because when you focus on yourself, you are separating yourself from God and hemorrhaging your faith. 

Why would you obsess about your past? It always begins in childhood. Some event occurred where you made it mean something that it didn’t – where you take on a belief that either that you are ‘not good enough’ or ‘unlovable.’ This self-judgment lies at the root of every problem that you have. Add to that some of the unconscious parenting that you’ve been subjected to, (variations of the same as what they were put through), as well as being exposed to other troubled kids, and governmental schooling (with many agendas – just like the media), and the damage is done.

Almost everyone believes that they are sullied in some way; and they keep reliving their past in their heads, to prove its veracity:

For as he thinks within himself, so is he. Pr. 23:7 NASB

As a result, you are frozen in time, missing out on the only moments that matter – those that occur in present time. You are the author of your own vexation – filled with anxiety, fear, inappropriate anger, obsession with your self-image, and you lose your ability to effectively communicate. Thus, you have no meaningful relationships.

What a mess! We have to leave the past in the past, and look to God for our healing:

And He will be the security and stability of your times, a treasure of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; the fear (reverence) of the LORD is your treasure. Is. 33:6 AMP

“Because he who blesses himself on the earth will bless himself by the God of truth and faithfulness; and he who swears [an oath] on the earth will swear by the God of truth and faithfulness; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hidden from My sight.

Behold, I am creating new heavens and a new earth; and the former things [of life] will not be remembered or come to mind.” Is. 65:16, 17. AMP

“For I will forgive their iniquity and never again remember their sin.” Jer. 31:34 CSB

If God has taken on amnesia with regards to your past, your slate has been wiped clean. Let up on yourself and embrace His forgiveness…

What about the future?

“It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority.” Acts 1:7 CSB

For man also does not know his time [of death]… Eccl. 9:12 AMP

“…the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Mt. 24:44 CSB

So, we don’t know what will happen in the future, how long we will occupy this earth, or, when Christ will return. Thus, we need too drop obsessing about that as well. 

However, we can fill ourselves with a guaranteed hope about God’s future for us:

The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your life. The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in [everything that you do] from this time forth and forever. Ps. 121:7, 8. AMP

…put your hope in the LORD, both now and forever. Ps. 131:3 CSB

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Pt. 1:3 – 6. NASB

And we know that the eternal future is where He wants us:

He has made everything beautiful and appropriate in its time. He has also planted eternity [a sense of divine purpose] in the human heart [a mysterious longing which nothing under the sun can satisfy, except God]… Eccl. 3:11 AMP

Okay, God’s got our future handled. We can be at peace when we stay by Him.

What does that leave us with? THE PRESENT MOMENT! That’s the only place where life happens. You can’t experience life in the past because it’s already gone, and you can’t foretell the future because it hasn’t happened yet. 

The present is all we’ve got, and we need to be prepared for it, because we are here to use it to advance God’s kingdom:

“And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 NASB

God equips us all for our part to play. 

In addition, Jehovah tells us how to get the most from our precious present movements:

His ways prosper at all times… Ps. 10:5 NASB

I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. Ps. 34:1 NASB

Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him, God is a refuge for us. Ps. 62:8 NASB

Now Jesus was telling the disciples a parable to make the point that at all times they ought to pray and not give up and lose heart. Lk. 18:1 AMP

Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. Eph. 6:18 CSB

…for it is written, Be holy because I am holy. If you appeal to the Father who judges impartially according to each one’s work, you are to conduct yourselves in reverence during your time living as strangers. For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from your fathers… 1 Pt. 16 – 18. CSB

Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God [set aside self-righteous pride], so that He may exalt you [to a place of honor in His service]… 1 Pt. 5:6 AMP

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another.” Jn. 15:16, 17. NASB

So, if we put serving our God first, walking in His ways, keeping in continual prayerful contact, living humbly and loving bountifully, and sharing the Good News, God will give us the best of present moments for out stay here, and an unimaginable eternity to come…

For I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Rm. 8:18 NASB

And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him. Heb. 9;27, 28. NASB

When we can discard the phantom ends of the plank we walk, that is, the past and the future, we can live in an exalted balance with our God time. 

Amen. 

Goodnight and God bless. 

Christ Is Christmas

There never would have been a Christmas without Christ. Yet before He came to this earth, He was somewhere and something else:

In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. He was [continually existing] in the beginning [co-eternally] with God. All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him not even one thing was made that has come into being. In Him was life [and the power to bestow life], and the life was the Light of men. Jn. 1:1 – 4. AMP

And the Word (Christ) became flesh, and lived among us; and we [actually saw His glory, glory as belongs to the [One and] begotten Son of the Father; [the Son who is truly unique, the only One of His kind, who is] full of grace and truth (absolutely free of deception). Jn. 1:14 AMP

What do we see? Christ is the only begotten Son of God and He was begotten before time, when there was nothing but God. So, no one else had anything to do with this special creation. Thus, Christ was created (for the lack of a human descriptive) from the essence of God Himself.

Given that is so, Christ is every bit as God-like as His Father – a Spirit Being; but that was to change:

He is the exact living image [the essential manifestation] of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible], the firstborn [the preeminent one, the sovereign, and the originator] of all creation. Col. 1:15 AMP

That ‘visible representation’ did not manifest until God sent Christ to Earth:

…although He existed in the form and unchanging essence of God [as One with Him, possessing the fullness of all the divine attributes – the entire nature of deity], did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped or asserted [as if He did not already possess it, or was afraid of losing it]; but emptied Himself [without renouncing or diminishing His deity, but only temporarily giving up the outward expression of divine equality and His rightful dignity] by assuming the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men [He became completely human but was without sin, being fully God and fully man]. Phil. 2:5 – 7. AMP

Why did God send His Son?

For God so loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. Jn. 3:16 CSB

You see, ever since the fall of Adam and Eve, God had a plan to save sinful humankind, because they could not do it themselves.

What happened next? Ahh, that is the beginning of Christmas:

It began when God sent the angel Gabriel to an elderly priest by the name of Zacharias, husband of Elizabeth, who had prayed for a long time for children:

…the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John…He will be filled with the Holy Spirit while still in his mother’s womb. He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.” Lk. 1:13 – 16. CSB

Of course, we are talking about John the Baptist, the co-existing herald of Christ’s coming.

Six months into John’s gestation, Gabriel returns, but this time to a virgin named Mary, and he said:

“…you have found favor with God…You will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and eminent and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob (Israel) forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end…The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you [like a cloud]; for that reason the holy (pure, sinless) Child shall be called the Son of God.” Lk. 1:30 – 33 & 35. AMP

God is meticulously directing the chain of events for the most blessed gift to humankind – the ‘Christmas’ birth of the sinless incarnation of the Son of God, sinless because He was born to a virgin – thus avoiding the delegation of the original sin passed generationally through man.

When John the Baptist is born, God steps in again, by stirring up his father Zacharias to prophesy about the coming of the Messiah by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit:

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people, and He has raised up a horn of salvation for us…” Lk. 1:68, 69. NASB

Redemption, pardon, salvation – a chance to be reborn…

When Mary’s pregnancy became obvious, Joseph, her intended husband, began to have thoughts of sending her away. But God steps in again to form the family structure so that His Son can experience what it means to be completely human. He appears to Joseph in a dream:

“…do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Mt. 1:20, 21. NASB

Saved from our sins…

Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem to pay their taxes. They sought lodging but there was none to be had. The only place they found to sleep was in a barn. Such a place of humility for the birth of our glorious Savior. It was the moment that the Love of God came to live amongst His creations.

Simultaneously, God sends His angels to proclaim the significance of the birth to nearby shepherds:

And an angel suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them…the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all people; for today in the city of David there has been born to you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord”…And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” Lk. 2:9 -11, 13, 14. NASB

Bringing peace…

Within a few days, the baby Jesus was brought to the temple in Jerusalem to be dedicated to the Lord. In the audience was a man named Simeon, who was led there by the Holy Spirit, and being filled with the Spirit, took Jesus in his arms and proclaimed:

“For my eyes have seen your Salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles [to disclose what was previously unknown], and [to bring] the praise and honor and glory of Your people Israel.” Lk. 2:30 – 32. AMP

Revelation of the Good News to all people…

News of the Christ Child’s birth spread far and wide. A star in the east had appeared to guide three magi (wise men, sages, wizards) in that region to Him. When they entered Judea, King Herod gathered them to him and asked them to report Jesus’ whereabouts when they returned, so that he too might worship Him. What Herod was really doing was plotting to kill baby Jesus, as he had heard that this Child was destined to become the ruler over Israel – usurping his throne.

And yet, God had a mission for His Son, and He will have it completed.  After the magi worshipped the Son of God, Jehovah warned them in a dream not to return to Herod, but to take an alternate route.

At the same time, God sent an angel to Joseph in a dream as a warning:

“Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt., and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.” Mt. 2:13 NASB

So, Jesus and family remained safe in Egypt, when King Herod came to Bethlehem, angry, because he knew the magi had tricked him; and he ordered all the male children 2 years of age and under killed.

Later, when King Herod died, God sent angel in a dream to Joseph, who instructed him to bring his family back to Israel to live in the city of Nazareth.

And so, the Son of God was preserved for our sakes. What happened next?

And the Child continued to grow and become strong [in spirit], filled with wisdom; and the grace (favor, spiritual blessing) of God was upon Him. Lk. 2:40 AMP

And so, this is Christmas because Christ is Christmas, by virtue of His birth. We celebrate because Jesus is the love of God, even God incarnate, who came to save us from ourselves. Through that birth, the greatest event in history, we got to see God, learn from God and feel His unconditional love.

The Son of God took on human form, (the Son of Man), so that He could empathize with our fears, desires, anxieties, temptations and our frailties, and yet He remained sinless in the face of His sufferings at the hands of humans.  

Christmas reminds us that we have fallen far away from the pure image of God that we were created to be; yet God sent His Son to redeem us to Him that we may be cleansed from our self-induced tarnish and glow anew.

Jesus came to bring peace to our souls by removing the fractionation of them through our dissatisfaction in life, that is birthed out of the lies of the enemy. He did not come to condemn us is our wayward behavior, but to show us the way out. How? By revealing God’s truth so that we can shrug off the lies that bind us and be free of our old selves.

God moved heaven and earth to bring our Christmas Christ Savior. When Jesus grew into a man, He stepped into God’s foreordained 3-year ministry, where He taught God’s words of love and salvation, worked miracles to demonstrate the veracity of who He was, opposed the religious charlatans of His day, and at the end of it all, He laid His life down for all of us.  Was it enough? What did Christ say as He died (so that we may live) upon the cross?

“It is finished!” And He bowed His head and [voluntarily] gave up His Spirit.” Jn. 19:30 AMP

Did it work?

…the righteousness of God has been manifested…the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood… Rm. 3:21 – 25. ESV

For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Cor. 15:22 ESV

There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. Rm. 8:1, 2. NASB

Resoundingly yes, it worked! Free from our sins to live an eternal life in paradise with the Father and the Son and all the children of God.

Christ is Christmas. That’s why we celebrate it!

Merry Christmas!

Goodnight and God bless.   

Keeping the Dust Off Jesus

It’s sort of like that family Bible on the living room table that no one reads. Many Christians treat Jesus like that – keeping Him in the background, gathering dust from misuse. Oh, they call on Him in times of crises, or if there is something tangible that they desire.

Why would we relate to Christ that way? Often, we forget about whatever led us to Jesus in the first place – be it in response to crisis, or because we answered the call of God.

Why in the world would we put our relationship with our Savior on the back burner? In the world indeed. It’s either due to a love of self (pride), the ‘I can do it myself’ attitude, or, because of having a love for the world that is greater than one’s love for Jesus. Both are rooted in cravings, be they unsatisfied, or inordinately indulged in. 

Likewise, they are the frank expressions of the natural human, which makes them so prevalent. If we let the flesh lead, we cannot perceive of an advantage for leaving the world behind. Yet this runs contrary to how we first realized who Christ is and accepted Him in our hearts. He is not impressed:

“…I have this [charge] against you, that you have left your first love [you have lost the depth of love that you first had for Me]. So remember the heights from which you have fallen, and repent [change your inner self – your old way of thinking, your sinful behavior – seek God’s will] and do the works you did at first [when you first knew Me]; otherwise, I will visit you and remove your lampstand…” Rv. 2:3 – 5. AMP

What stirs up your flesh, enticing you to stay in the world? Is it not the tempter, he who desires that you should perish at the end of time? The devil continually assaults the followers of Jesus, even at the outset:

“The sower sows the word [of God, the good news regarding the way of salvation]…but when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. In a similar way…one whom seed was sown on rocky ground, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy [but accept it superficially]; and they have no real root in themselves, so they endure only for a little while; then, when trouble or persecution comes because of the word, immediately they [are offended and displeased at being associated with Me and] stumble and fall away. And others are the ones who have heard the word, but the worries and cares of the world [the distractions of this age with its worldly pleasures], and the deceitfulness [and the false security or glamour] of wealth [or fame], and the passionate desires for all the other things creep in and choke out the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” Mk. 4:14 – 19. AMP

Now you have a dusty Jesus.

We forget why it is so vital to be in a right relationship with Christ, a connection that we cannot have if we’ve got one foot in the world:

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other.” M.t 6:24 ESV

“Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” Lk. 2:49 NKJV

God’s word must constantly be in our hearts – concentrated upon the center of it all:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world though Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Jn. 3:16 – 18. NKJV.

Condemned. To believe in Jesus is to emulate Him to the best of our ability:

But are you willing to recognize, you foolish [spiritually shallow] person, that faith without [good] works is useless? Jas. 2:20 AMP

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” Mt. 7:21 NKJ

Remember the Father and the Son and what they did for you:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Pt. 1:3 – 5. ESV

That should take your breath away. Shake off those distractions and return to your Redeemer. Ask Him for help; He will deliver you again:

But the LORD is faithful, and He will strengthen you [setting you on a firm foundation] and will protect and guard you from the evil one. 2 Thess. 3:3 AMP

If the world has chiseled away at your faith, Jesus is the only one to ask for restoration:

…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith… Heb. 12:1, 2. ESV

The world and its pleasures are temporary. Leave it behind and latch onto eternity. The choice is yours to make:

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Mt. 10:37 ESV

“No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back [to the things left behind] is fit for the kingdom of God.” Lk. 9:62 AMP

“Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you…” Jn. 6:27 NKJV

Jesus is talking about the world. Let it go. Come on back to His open arms. Dust the world off yourself, that same grime you left on Jesus when you forgot that He came into your heart. Let Him shine through you.

“To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” Rv. 2:7 NKJV

Goodnight and God bless.