Three Pounds Of God, Please

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I came across this poem recently –  and wanted to share it with you.

I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep,
but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk
or a snooze in the sunshine.
I don’t want enough of God to make me love a black man
or pick beets with a migrant.
I want ecstasy, not transformation.
I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth.
I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack.
I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
— Wilbur Rees

My first thought when I read this was, “EXACTLY!” Isn’t that exactly how Christians act? We want all the benefits of the title “Christian” but want nothing to do with any of the sacrifices that would come with more than just a small portion on our plate. Study after study shows that there is little difference between the Christian and the non-believer in the way we act when it comes to divorce, pornography, domestic violence, charity, volunteerism, or basically any other category you want to pick. The reason? For the most part, we’re $3 Christians. The key line in the poem is this: I want ecstasy, not transformation. People want to be happy, not Christ-like.

I am thoroughly convinced that the majority of people who profess to know Jesus Christ as their Savior do not. Allow me to explain. I believe that they (and most ‘Christians’) have conformed to a lifestyle without being transformed by the Holy Spirit! They know that being a believer means you do certain things [read your Bible, attend church, give money to the church, etc] but they have not been transformed; there has been no change internally. 

When you talk to them about a real, dynamic relationship with Christ; they stare at you like you are speaking a foreign language and you are. ” But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” They cannot understand because there has been no change in their spirit. 2 Cor. 5:17 

For many $3 is all they’re willing to pay. But for them I ask this simple question: When you die and stand before Jesus (and you will) what are you going to tell him? When Jesus asks you why you didn’t go all in knowing what he expected of you and instead you chose to be a $3 Christian what are you going to say?

Don’t be a $3 Christian. Stop conforming to the pattern of this world! Make God and His ways your priority! Allow God to transform your life – go all in. 

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Blending in? or Standing Out?

There are many things that hinder a Christ-follower was from maturing and growing in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Too often we settle for the status quo and do not make the effort to rise above the ‘norm.’ Worrying about other people’s acceptance of us is one of the greatest strongholds to overcome. Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in our teen years. Socialists use the term “peer pressure” to describe this natural emotion. This explains why some good kids do some bad things they would not normally do. They would rather “blend in” than “standout.”

Image result for Pleasing God Before Man

The Apostle Paul faced this in writing to the Galatian church. “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Paul is saying it is possible to be more people-oriented than God-oriented. Proverbs 29:25 tells us,“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”

It’s sad to see people who try to please everyone – one minute they are pleasing one person; the next minute pleasing someone else. They remind me of the chameleon. They change with the environment; trying to fit in with whatever crowd they are around.

Jesus told us there are rewards for whoever you are trying to please. If you are trying to impress and please people; their response is your reward.Mt 6:2, Mt 6:5; Mt 6:16.

If you are seeking to please God, your reward will come later: Mt 5:12 Mt 6:1 James 1:12 Just to name a few.

If we displease God, does it matter whom we please? If we please Him does it matter whom we displease?” ― Leonard Ravenhill, Why Revival Tarries: A Classic on Revival

 

God With You

Image result for Genesis 39:2

 

Somewhere the Church has wrongfully presented the Gospel as the answer to all your problems. If you repent of your sins and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior; God will protect you and you will never face any difficulty. As they say down South, “Sorry but it ain’t so!” Country western singer Charlie Pride was right when he sang, “I never promised you a rose garden.” 

Many Christians {especially new convert} begin taking their spiritual pulse when things go wrong. Why is this happening to me? Is God punishing me for some wrongdoing in my life? Is God displeased with me? Nowhere is this fallacy seen more clearly than in the life of Joesph as recorded in the Book of Genesis. Space does not allow me to unpack this truth completely; so read the complete story for yourself. 

One phrase stood out to me as I read this story: 

  • Because of Joesph’s brother’s jealousy, he was sold into slavery but The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered… Genesis 39:2   Acts 7:9
  • Joesph became a slave in an Egyptian household but The Lord was with Joseph and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Genesis 39:3 
  • He was falsely accused of rape and put in prison but The Lord was with Joseph Genesis 39:21

If you read the biographies of great Christian leaders you will discover that many (if not all) faced great difficulties. The next time something goes “wrong”, remember you are in good company! 2 Timothy 3:12

Modesty

 

After living 71 years on this earth and serving 30+ years as a minister of the Gospel, I have learned much about people just from observation and interaction. I grew up in a church that was very legalistic where keeping all the “rules” meant that you were holy and pleasing to God. Ephesians 2:8-9

These were good people who loved God and people. I believe that in their zeal to help people; they went astray. They began teaching the principles of God’s Word but somewhere they started giving new converts “guidelines” how to apply those principles. John 16:13 It was not long before the guidelines became rules and the focus of Christian living and the principles of God’s Word took a back seat.

For years the Church taught the principle of modesty but not today. People are trying to emulate the fashions of Hollywood. We should not allow this world system to tell us how to dress. [Don’t live the way this world lives. Let your way of thinking be completely changed. Romans 12:2] The next time you go to the supermarket look at the front page of the magazines at the checkout. Almost all we tell you how you can look sexy! Why would anyone who is trying to live a godly life and please God want to be sexy? Paul thought modesty was important when he wrote “…women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty… what is proper for women who profess godliness 1 Timothy 2:8-10

This subject is too complex to fully explore it with this short blog. Therefore, allow me to share some scripture passages for your further study:

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Cor. 10:31 This includes what we wear. Ask yourself, “Is what I am wearing pleasing to God?

Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute… Proverbs 7:10 The way you dress sends a message to others.
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 When women dress immodestly, it places a burden on men to keep their thoughts pure.

This blog’s intent is not to judge or condemn but to instruct and encourage all it live a life pleasing to God. “Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord…” Colossians: 10

 

Are You Offended?

There is a new phenomenon that has occurred is changing our world. It is the big O word = Offense. Every evening the news reports another lawsuit because of a business, a person, a teacher has offended someone. Just this week the New York Times reported that the terms “fireman” and “policeman” will be changed to “firefighter” and “police officer.” The bill was passed to make the terms ‘gender-neutral’  to demonstrate our respect and appreciation for all of our first responders, regardless of gender.” 

The list goes on and on. We have to walk on eggshells so we do not offend this one or that one. While I grew up, part of life was being offended, either intentional or unintentional but I got over it! Proverbs 19:11 You should not purposely offend or be obnoxious but if you live a consistent, God-honoring life you will offend someone. 2 Timothy 3:12 The Bible speaks of the offense of the Gospel. “…In that case, the offense of the cross has been abolished….” Galatians 5:11

You cannot avoid ‘offending’ people, so the secret to living is to live a life pleasing to God and not people. When you please the Lord, you can make your enemies into friends. Proverbs 16:7 GNT

 

 

Your Legacy

Image result for legacyWe all know that no one gets out of this earthly life alive. (And just as each person is destined to die… Hebrews 9:27) Yet many come to the end of life and have not prepared a will. A will is “a legal document that indicates how the person wants his or her estate (money and property) to be distributed after their death.
Some legacies can be…

1. Thoughtful and kind. The legendary comedian, Jack Benny, stipulated in his will that his wife Mary was to receive a single red rose, symbolic of love & devotion, on the day following the anniversary of his passing away and that the practice would continue until the death of his spouse.

2. Some wills are cruel. Jerry Lewis, another legendary comedian, certainly got the last laugh when it came to his strained relationship with his children. According to his Last Will and Testament, the funnyman emphatically cut out all six children he had with his first wife Patti Palmer — meaning they would inherit nothing.

One of the definitions of a “legacy” “is anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor:” I am very concerned of the legacy I leave for my children, grandchildren, and some day great-grandchildren. I will not leave them great wealth or huge tracts of land but the legacy I wish to leave behind is that they know God intimately and have experienced His presence in their lives.

As a young believer, I was taught some very valuable spiritual “disciplines.” Prayer, Giving, Faithfulness, Fasting, Reading God’s Word just to name a few.  Practising these “disciplines” did not produces salvation but they will help me grow in my walk with Christ. I was taught the most important thing in life was knowing and serving God. 

The more I observe the church, the more I see the erosion of deeply held truths and convictions. I am afraid that Judges 2:7 “The people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work which the Lord had done for Israel.” While the memory of God’s greatness and the work he did for Israel was alive, the people maintained their devotion to God. But verse 10 says that after the death of Joshua and those who had seen God’s mighty acts, “there arose another generation after them, who did not know the Lord or the work which he had done for Israel.” And the result of this ignorance is given in verse 11, “The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord…”

I want my grandchildren (and great grandchildren) to grow up knowing, loving, and serving God.

 

Look To The Son

A few weeks ago much of the United States experienced a solar eclipse. Thousands of people flocked to areas to get the best view of this rare phenomenon. The media warned the public that looking directly at the sun, without proper protection, could cause serious damage to your eyes.

In contrast, the Word of God tells us to look to the “SON.” The Son is Jesus Christ.  Hebrews 12:2 “We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete…” 

What does it mean to look to Jesus?

1. Looking means leaning.

Looking to Jesus means relying on him. The word translated “looking” has the idea of zeroing our gaze on something with confidence. The NIV captures it: “fixing our eyes.” As our help, Jesus is the one from whom we draw power. He is the one who has given us life (John 5:21) and has sent the Helper to be with us forever (John 14:16). We run this race only because of his word and only by the power of his Spirit. So we look to him. We lean on him.

2. Looking means not looking.

Another aspect embedded in this idea of looking is that we look without distractions. When we look to Jesus it means we are not looking at anything else. Looking to Jesus means looking to him alone. Looking to Jesus means he is our reward.

It is Jesus himself. Jesus is our goal. To look to him means to love him, to yearn to be with him, to see him as he his, to live in fellowship with him forever