Mag's Thoughts

Redirect

Our moral inclinations are manifested in our reactions when others violate our rights, but we don't see the moral law nearly as clearly when we violate others' rights." Norman Geisler

The world teaches us that self- preservation is above all else and certainly above the well-being of all others.  We expect others to treat us with respect, yet we often, with our words, our actions, and sometimes lack of action, disobey that which Christ taught us in our relationship with others.

In John 13:34, Jesus teaches us saying, "I give you a new law. That law is, love each other as I have loved you, so you also love each other." Christ intended that we love even those who love us not, or do not think like us,  or live differently from us. Skip Moen in his Hebrew Word Study, "Different Strokes", says, "Yeshua is telling His disciples that the Hebrew  ahav is to be understood not in terms of single devotion of YHVH, but rather in terms of the act of embracing those who are not like us."

We deny the  basic tenets that Christ taught us when self is above all others. We are to love the Lord and love others as Christ loved. There is no gray area in what Christ teaches. We are certainly the first to speak up when others treat us badly.  A more positive way to understand what Jesus is saying is to be like Christ, to embrace all others as Christ does. Again, as followers, we fish for men, we shine brightly, we reflect to  others the glory of a God who gave His Only Son that we might have eternal life.  How can we love  if we are   making sure  all is right with self first?  It is love as defined by Jesus Christ that redirects our attention from self to others.

I Surrender

"I  surrender, I surrender all!" I just sat down and played that old hymn, a little rusty on that piano for sure. I recently completed a series of lessons on Christ. Hopefully, God spoke to some about surrender to our Savior, being Christ-like. He sure spoke to me.

You see, as I understand it, surrendering of self means our days, our thoughts, our words and our deeds. Jesus said for us to take up our cross. He said make disciples and be my witnesses. He said be the light.

You could say I am a little rusty as I am now 74. Rusty or not, when we surrender to Christ our whole, we do what we physically can to serve, including the most important, going before God in prayer and reading His Word. Surrender is really an attitude change. The focus is our Lord and Savior. That shifts our focus from self to Christ.

Ephesians 5:1-2: Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant in offering and sacrifice to God.

Surrender is a change of attitude and focus in all areas, not just those seen by others.

Testify

Our pastor, Dr. Tony Taylor,  delivered a powerful sermon a while back about  our walk as Christians. His words have stayed in my thoughts. As he pointed out, we live for Christ or we live in the world, and we choose.  A follower of Christ is identified by the characteristics of Christ.  The world we live in offers so many viewpoints, ideologies, modalities, and philosophies, that many are blinded and distracted, even confused about morality, rightness, correctness, godliness.  Yet, those who carry the name Christian know the truth and  must from heart out, live in Christ. That means there is a clear distinction between Christians and all others.

Understandably, we live in a convoluted world where technology, television, and  social media bombard all our waking hours. Where do our children find the correct world view, a sense of balance, a code of morality. Our pastor made it very clear that children learn from those adults they see at church, and from those who live in their neighborhood.  The quandary that children and teens face is the opposition between God' s Word and how Christians live.  Often what they hear and see is contrary to God's Word, thus the dilemma. They are blinded by our wrong example and distracted by the world they live in. Our children need to know Christ!

If we examine the verses below in Hebrews and in 2 Timothy, they describe exactly how the Word of God impacts lives, and to a heart open to God's direction, how lives are transformed into Christ-likeness. However,  if the heart is closed, these verses fall on hardened hearts and closed ears.

"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
2 Timothy 3:16

We all at times, myself included,  fall short,  refuse to obey, play deaf, or attempt to explain our lack of obedience to God, but what about those fragile souls, our children, who watch and model our actions?   We blame so very much on young people, but where do they learn? God's Word sits in our homes on bedside tables, is taught in Bible Study, and preached about on Sundays. We hear it, or do we?  We call ourselves Christians, but are we? God equips us to teach and live Godly lives,  but the choice to do so is ours.

A young teen recently  talked to me about depression and confusion. This teen was looking for answers. I am reminded of how the new churches, established after the ascension of Jesus Christ, were often distracted by false teaching. In 2 Timothy 4:3-5, Paul tells Timothy, "For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."  We must not  live confusing lives in the eyes of our youth. They must see clearly that Christ lives within us; see evidence of our living Christ-like in all our days! Our children, they watch and learn. 

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