Know Yourself, Know Jesus

II Corinthians 13:5,6 (NKJV) Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified. 

God knows you, knows your heart.  He knows me.  I know this, through study of His word and prayer and conversation with Him.  By faith, I know that He knows you and He knows me.  

How well do you know yourself?  How well do I know myself?  In verses 5 and 6 above, Paul is challenging us to do just that, examine, know yourself.  Why?  When you surrender your life to the lordship of Jesus Christ, you receive the Holy Spirit.  God takes up residence within you.  To know yourself, I mean really examine yourself, is another way expand your knowledge of who God is.  It’s another way to draw closer and strengthen the relational bond we should all be striving for.

So what’s that introspection look like?  What does it require?  I think for starters, it takes a thoughtful evaluation of the things we do or don’t do.  What are our thoughts, feelings and ultimately actions, reactions and responses?  What do these things say about us?  What kind of person do we see?  What kind of person do other’s see?  

Secondly, I believe a great deal of answers of who we are can be found in scripture.  Reading the history found in the Old Testament unlocks where we’ve been and the progression of God’s grand plan.  It illuminates past transgressions from which we can learn.  It allows you to draw parallels between ourselves and those of antiquity, where they fell short, the results of those shortcomings and God’s response.  The New Testament further shows us who Jesus is, who we are and who we should be.  It softens our hearts and turns on the light.  The bible helps us to know God and consequently, no more about ourselves.

Thirdly, Pray.  Too often for too many of us, prayer is reserved for times of need, crises, rescue or want. Prayer should be constant, conversational, worship filled.  Ask God to open our hearts that we may see, hear and feel Him more fully.  I have never asked God to help me see me, my heart the way that He does.  I believe my faith is very strong, growing daily, but what does God see?  I haven’t been testing it, as Paul suggests.  

Heavenly Father, show me what you see, Lord.  Open my eyes and heart to what you see so that I may draw closer to you Lord.  Amen

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace 

Clean House

Are you ready to have guests stop by today?  Keeping a house clean and in order takes work and regular vigilance, if not by you, then by someone living there.  When you were younger, maybe keeping things in order was not a high priority.  As we get married and households grow, so does the speed with which it can turn into a mess.  Sometimes we end up cleaning up one another’s messes to get the job done.  If it is our mess, we may feel a bit guilty, and if it is not our mess, we may feel a bit resentful, but the goal is to put things back in order.  We may never fully have everything perfect, but to an acceptable level where everyone can function, or at least have clean dishes to eat from. 

For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.  2 Corinthians 8:21

Living a life for God takes work, it doesn’t just happen naturally.  Our natural disposition is to do what feels best for me, to live for myself.  When we ignore God, and the message of his Word, this is where we most often end up, worshiping the sensual and the created instead of the creator.  If we are living a life to impress others around us and not for God, we will have the appearance of a good Christian, but still be empty on the inside if we have not given our all to God.  Sometimes we rely on the help of others to get us through a difficult stretch, sometimes we can’t do it and God shows us our limitations to humble us and bring us back to him.  Keeping our spiritual ‘house’ in order takes as much or more vigilance as does the house that hides all our stuff. 

So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.  Matthew 24:44

If we knew the Lord was returning a week from today, a lot of people would make a lot of changes in a short amount of time.  The same would happen if we knew our lives would be ending soon.  When we know guests are coming over, a sense of urgency takes hold of us to get our houses in order.  We are not often given a timeline of when to prepare for the end of things, but we can live as if we did.  If I am regularly demonstrating patience, forgiveness, and love toward my fellow man, then I should be ready to meet my maker on any given day.  Let us strive to live in expectancy of the coming of our Lord, and if we are not ready to receive him, let us prepare our houses and our hearts to do so. 

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.  Philippians 4:8

Strength and Courage in Christ,
Clark

Acting Humbly vs. Living Humbly

Male hand with microphone isolated on blackIf I’ve seen one sports post-game interview I’ve seen them all. It seems as if every victorious athlete gives the same response to the sideline reporter: the other team played great, I could not have done it without my teammates, a huge thanks to my coach, and all the credit to God. All really great responses. But, is that really how the athlete feels? So many times I hear an athlete give those responses, only to read later in the week that they are ridiculing the other team, bashing their teammates, begging management to fire their coach, and taking all the glory for their accomplishments. It seems that most athletes know they are supposed to act humbly in the post-game interview, yet forget to live a life of humility the rest of the week.

My point here is not to pick on athletes because, quite honestly, most of us are no better {and, to be clear, there are some truly humble athletes out there}. We know we are supposed to act humbly, so we try hard to give humble answers and to appear humble in public. But, in our hearts and minds, we often are not very humble. We are prideful, self-focused, view ourselves above others, and have a very me-first attitude. We seem to excel at acting humble, but struggle at actually being humble.

What does it actually mean to be humble? The word humble comes form the Latin word for dirt. Its origin is in Genesis, where God creates humanity from the dirt. To be humble is to acknowledge that we are all dirt. We are all creatures that have been created by God and have fallen into sin. In fact, the giftedness and goodness that we do have is not of our doing, but the Spirit working in and through us. Therefore, we really have no reason to see ourselves any better then anyone else. The best example we have of humility is the life of Christ, as Paul points out in Philippians 2:8: And being found in appearance as a man, he {Jesus} humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

Jesus, God in the flesh, was the only one to ever walk this earth that was not dirt. He was not created from the dirt, and was not sinful, but instead was fully God. Yet, despite his divinity, he chose to lower himself for us. He chose to value you and I above himself by suffering and dying on the cross to pay our debts. That is the ultimate example of humility.

I want us to all ask ourselves this question: am I living humbly, or am I simply acting humbly? Am I putting the needs of others equal to/above my own, as Christ did, or am I living for myself? This week lets follow Christ’s lead and truly live a humble life.

 

Description Of A Warrior

Matthew 5:1New International Version (NIV)

Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him,

The warrior is the loyal soldier. He stands up for what is right. The warrior is the guy that gets things done his way. He has no time for childish games, and he does not let his personal life get in the way of his mission. A warrior is often a hero in the making. He is on the verge of doing something great.

This sounds perfect for being a warrior in the eyes of the world. As young boys, we watched movies like Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan, and Gladiator to name a few, but are they the real warriors in which the Bible describes warriors?

If you continue to read in Matthew 5, you will see a different description of the warriors Jesus is calling for. Those who are poor, mourn, humble, hunger, merciful, pure, and peaceful. That was Jesus’ criteria for the spiritual warriors he is calling.

This steps you back doesn’t it. It does me. Yet, Jesus calls out to the multitudes and shows them if you want to be the children of God this is what a true warrior looks like. As a matter of fact, they will mock you and persecute you. They will lie and say evil things of you just because you call me Lord.

The question that I have today is when was the last time someone persecuted you or mocked you for standing up for Jesus? It is that we have become so much like a world warrior that we have lost being the spiritual warriors who look more like Christ?

My prayer for us today is that we take on the warrior spirit of Matthew 5:3-12. I hope we do not just read these words, but we live them. Jesus promises a great reward in Heaven for being a spiritual warrior.

Strength and Courage

 Michael

 

Be Salty

Matthew 5:12New International Version (NIV)

12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

What would a good steak be without salt? I do not know about you, but I like a little salt on my steak. It enhances the flavor of the meat and makes your mouth water with every bite.

Jesus also used salt as a description to the believers that we are the salt of the world. What he meant by that is that as Christians, we are his preservatives to the world. He uses us to preserve his good from the evil of the world.

So how do we lose our saltiness? Mark 9:50 says that saltiness can be lost through lack of peace with one another. It is when we choose to compromise or settle for what is comfortable, and we no longer follow the commands and decrees from Christ’s teaching.

Like is says in our opening Scripture – We will be be thrown out and considered worthless. Maybe today you have lost your salty flavor. The good news is that you can get it back. Repent of your sins and ask Jesus to forgive you.

Allowing your life to be salty for Christ will then allow the Holy Spirit to fill your life. Be salty men! Allow your life to reflect the Lord.

Strength and Courage

Michael

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