Month: June 2018

Live purposeful lives flavoured with God’s integrity

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It’s all very well using words like ‘purposeful and integrity,’ but how can they translate into daily living which is meaningful to both God and you?

Live purposeful lives flavoured with God’s integrity

Consider Paul’s brief benediction where he summarises the Lord to Timothy. He not only puts God’s character on display, but shows our responsibility. “To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:17). It’s for mankind to acknowledge the one true God for who He says He is. Likewise, it’s for believers to honour and glorify the Lord by making the required effort to live His character while being transformed into His likeness with ever increasing intensity (2Co 3:18).

Authenticity is everything

Authentic faith is easily recognised by others. Equally, it catches the Lord’s attention as His people become like Enoch, who “was commended as having pleased God“ (Hebrews 11:5). Realise that your character, speech, motives, and actions are to be surrendered to “God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Here you will find fulfillment, satisfaction, contentment, and assurance; when your daily purpose in life is to bring pleasure to the Almighty. This is what you were born for. This is why the Lord has brought your life to this point of understanding.

Listen to the Apostle Paul’s prayer for the Church in Rome. “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15:5-6). You see, believers need each other in order to fulfill God’s intended purpose.

When Christians are in fellowship together, united in the Church body, Christ works in association with them for the Father’s glory. I encourage you to be an active, serving member in a local Bible teaching Church. Just as God is a God of endurance and encouragement, so He is purposeful in His design for you to be in Christ and to live and serve together in harmony with other Christians.

Tragedy is optional

However, the tragedy is if you understand these Bible truths yet choose to disbelieve. Don’t allow all the blessings of eternal life; of knowing and experiencing the Lord Jesus Christ to pass you by, which is a disaster of eternal proportion. Jesus’ invitation to you is as valid and powerful today as it has ever been. “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29). “I (Jesus) have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Of course, this is only possible through a personal faith relationship with God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19 NIV). Don’t put off the most significant decision any human can make. Confess that Jesus died your death, paying your debt to God in full so that you can receive full forgiveness and acceptance by God. Today, I encourage you to live purposeful lives flavoured with God’s integrity for His pleasure and His glory.

 

Live for Christ’s purpose

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God is the God of purpose, who does NOT randomly interact with mankind on a whim.  All that He is and does has design, reason and intent, and this includes you and I. No-one escapes the Lord’s attention, especially those who try to ignore or deny Him.

Live for Christ's purpose

Lives for thought

The Lord speaking through Moses, informed obstinate Pharaoh; “for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth” (Exodus 9:16). Even wicked Pharaoh was used by God to put on display His character. And didn’t Pharaoh do a spectacular job of it? The more determined and rebellious Pharaoh became against God, the more he drew everyone’s attention to the Lord’s even greater determination and remarkable power.

Likewise, King David, “after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep…” (Acts 13:36). David, like us, wasn’t a random accident who served no purpose other than pleasure and self-fulfillment. Each person has a God ordained purpose to uniquely fulfil during their allotted time in history.

Consider what “you have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful” (James 5:11). Job’s complex life with all his suffering and blessings expose humanity to the merciful character of God through the extremities of life. Life is not just about fun, although fun is OK. Life is to be an array of experiences lived through the lens of Jesus Christ for the acknowledgement and expression of God’s character. This is what we mean when we say, ‘we live for the glory of God.’

Then there’s Barnabas, who exhorted the Church in Antioch “to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose” (Acts 11:23). There is no short-term test-drive thinking here. You don’t add Christ to your existing beliefs for the purpose of evaluating His performance. The deceptive feelings of your heart in this matter will always lead you away from Christ.

Your highest thoughts

However, your highest attention should be given to the reason Jesus Christ came and lived. Shortly before He was crucified for your sin He prayed; “Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name” (John 12:27-28). Christ was compelled to come to earth in His period of history for the single minded purpose of Glorifying His heavenly Father. This He did through crucifixion; dying your death in order that the Father’s justice against your sin could be satisfied. Faith in the substitutional death of Jesus permits peace from God to be dispatched into your heart and life (Romans 3:21-26).

You see, to know Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Saviour, is to know why you were born and what your purpose in life is. This realisation is what enabled the apostle Paul to say; “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Christ was His daily reason for living, and physical death served simply as the doorway to the eternal benefit of being in the presence of Christ in Heaven. This is the wonderful hope believers have in Christ.

An authentic surrendered relationship with the Lord Jesus gives purpose and significance forever. However, the sin of living independent of Christ will rob you of understanding your design, purpose, and hope of eternal life.

Today, I encourage you to live for Christ’s purpose through your faith and life.

 

Consider integrity through God’s eyes

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Integrity, it’s not a word used much in today’s society; still, integrity is of the utmost importance to God. In the Hebrew language of the Old Testament, integrity carries the idea of completeness in moral innocence. Here is mankind’s deepest problem, even though it’s denied most of the time. Typically, we think of ourselves as better, more righteous, more worthy of God’s approval than what we really are (Rom 3:10-18).

Consider integrity through God’s eyes

There’s a sense of self-righteousness within the human heart that says; “I don’t need God.” An attitude that determines that because life has not gone the way I considered correct or best, there cannot be a God. In spite of this, it’s that independent attitude that says; “I’ll sort God out if and when I see Him.” This defiant attitude which is belligerent toward God is identified in the Bible as sin which places the sinner under the wrath of God’s justice (Eph 2:1-3).

Integrity interests God

Therefore, integrity which is of interest to God starts by agreeing with Him as to our natural heart condition. The first acknowledgement is admitting that we have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). It confesses “with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believes in your heart that God raised him from the dead…” (Romans 10:9). Then it aligns itself with God, who “has spoken to us by his Son” (Hebrews 1:2).

A healthy heart toward God recognises that “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17). In this step of faith there is an exchange of animosity against the Lord for trusting belief in Him. John speaks of this as receiving and believing in Jesus, it’s the work of God in the human heart that generates spiritual rebirth into God’s family (John 1:12-13). Spiritual integrity must start here!

Now, this new life in Christ has responsibilities. In this regard, the Lord connected two critical realities for King Solomon; “…walk with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you, and keeping my statutes and my rules” (1 Kings 9:4). The bottom line is this; belief has to synchronize with behaviour. Why, because “faith apart from works is useless?” (James 2:20). We know and evaluate what we truly believe by what we do. The things we believe and put into practice will be the things we tend to persevere in, for good or for bad.

God’s always on the lookout

The Lord looks to see a correlation between your claimed faith, and your behaviour. He looks for this integrity connection which is evidence of “redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7). This God generated reality is what enables you to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).

The mark of spiritual integrity is this; faith produces the desire to live for God’s pleasure and His glory. You see, the Church is all about God, and very little about us. It was God who “in love… predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:4-6). We, the Church, exist for God’s glory through Jesus Christ! Today my friends, I encourage you to consider your integrity through God’s eyes.

 

Be led by Jesus Christ and follow willingly

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“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19 NIV). Simon and Andrew didn’t see this one coming. The brothers weren’t looking for a new religion or prophet to follow. No, they were quite happy without Jesus; dead in their spiritual blindness, but happy in their darkness.

Be led by Jesus Christ and follow willingly

Through this simple intervention Jesus called two brothers to a radical and permanent transformation.  Should they follow, fish would no longer satisfy. Their entire world would be irreversibly changed. Jesus gave them no options, no consideration for feelings, and no opportunity for negotiation. Either abandon all to follow Jesus, or ignore the God-man and continue fishing. Surprisingly, the only promise given by Jesus was this mysterious business of becoming “fishers of men.”

Should they follow, they would be part of humanity’s bulls-eye events, integrated into a 3 year world changing intervention by God. To follow would mean a change in every priority, every relationship would be recalibrated to fall under Jesus as Lord and God. Popularity would be irrelevant, wealth would seem immaterial, health concerns would be inconsequential, and Heaven would be the indisputable destiny.

A historic choice

What were these brothers to do? “Immediately they left their nets and followed him” (Matthew 4:20). That was it, the choice was made, there would be no turning back. Next, James and John were confronted by a similar life changing demand that left no room for compromise or blending of the old and new life. Likewise, “Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him” (Matthew 4:22). Christ’s call permitted no bargaining, no terms of acceptance were permitted, and no telling Him to come back later when it suited better. No, following in total surrender was the only appropriate response.

Many months later, Jesus told his disciples, including Simon, Andrew, James and John; “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). These men had already walked away from business, family, community and lifestyle. What more could Jesus expect? Turns out, Jesus wanted everything! He was calling for a willingness to accept the possibility that followers may suffer the same crucifixion which He would suffer shortly.

As we know, they willingly followed Jesus into a life of fishing for the souls of people to be saved for eternity through faith in Jesus Christ. Theirs would be a life of making “disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Their single minded focus would be to “proclaim him (Jesus) by instructing and teaching all people with all wisdom so that (they) may present every person mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28 NET). This was no Jesus vacation, no party here; it was mission with a purpose, and they followed!

Christ has the authority

In Jesus own words; He could claim this over their lives because “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me…” (Matthew 28:18). When you hear the call of Jesus on your life, you’re hearing sovereign God, the one who created you, who has preserved your life to this point, who claims your life for His purposes and His glory.

Today, I encourage you to be led by Jesus Christ and follow willingly. No matter if you know Christ already or not; whole-heartedly follow Him as Lord and be His fisher of men. Live Christ, share Christ, and enjoy Christ.

 

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