Truthful Tuesday: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

respect

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

When we understand that we are all on equal footing, respect is a natural default for how we treat others.

Scripture of the Day:

Isaiah 66:2

“My hand made them; that is how they came to be,” says the LORD. “I show special favor to the humble and contrite, who respect what I have to say.”

1 Peter 2:17

“Honor all people, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the king.”

Respect is almost a dirty word today. No one wants to be humbled, yet it is the truly humble that God elevates. When we recognize that anything good in us is truly God alone, we cannot view anyone else as less than ourselves.

Treating one another respectfully is a beautiful response of love to those we value. It is saying, “you are valuable and worthy”. We each have worth before God because He chose each one of us and died for us.

Respect does not demand or expect that others treat us a certain way; instead it views others through God’s lens, each one precious and unique.

The loving system of authority God set in place was not just so youths had to respect their elders, but so their could be loving guidance, trust and care in a special relationship. Marriage is not just about a wife respecting her husband, and employment is not just about an employee just respecting their boss. In all these examples, both mutually respect one another. In this way, God is glorified and each person is encouraged and built up in Christ.

Paul said it beautifully in 1 Corinthians 12:23-24, “and those members we consider less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our unpresentable members are clothed with dignity, 24 but our presentable members do not need this. Instead, God has blended together the body, giving greater honor to the lesser member.”

When we consider how we have been treated unfairly by others, remembering that Christ loved people who hated Him. The Ruler of all the earth, He chose to stoop and wash our feet though He was King of Kings and we should have bowed down before Him.

Lord, thank you for modeling perfect humility. Help us to remember the undeserved grace You have so abundantly given us so we can extend Your grace to others.

 

 

Thoughtful Thursday: What’s in a Name?

Whats in a Name.jpg

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

There is None like our God.

Scripture of the Day:

Judges 13:18

“The LORD’s messenger said to him, you should not ask me my name, because you cannot comprehend it.”

Genesis 32:29

“Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.”

When the God of the universe says we should not ask His name, the only response we can have is complete awe.  In a culture that screams familiarity and a lack of reverence, it is perhaps foreign to consider that there is One in authority Who has the right to permit and prevent access to whatever He desires.

I don’t like secrets.  My flesh does not want to be left out of knowing things – especially if it is something important.  The Name of God is esoteric and yet revealed in part to His children.  We see His Name by observing His character, and yet we cannot fully know Him.

I might not understand this boundary fully, but when I consider how He is Spirit and I am flesh, He is Holy and I am unholy, then I contemplate the miracle that we can know Him at all.

I am thankful that God has established in His Word that He is so far above us and yet demonstrates unconditional love and lets us – frail man – get a glimpse of just a fraction of how awesome He is.

Manoah offered a sacrifice right away when he realized He was in the presence of the LORD’s messenger.  Moses was hidden in the cleft of the rock when the glory of God passed by.  When we, God’s people, have the indwelling Holy Spirit – the very presence of God – within us, how then should we respond?

Oh God, You are Holy!  You are far above anything I could ever imagine!  Thank You for Your mercy!  Help us to know You more and to never cease to be amazed by You, our Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Prince of Peace, King of kings, Omniscient One, Righteous, Holy Savior and Creator of All.

The Guilt Complex and False righteousness

Romans 8:1-4; 31-35, 37-39

1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus2 For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For God achieved what the law could not do because it was weakened through the flesh. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and concerning sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the righteous requirement of the law may be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit31 What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 Indeed,he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him,freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is the one who will condemn? Christ is the one who died (and more than that, he was raised), who is at the right hand of God, and who also is interceding for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  37 No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulersnor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Hebrews 9:13-14

13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow sprinkled on those who are defiled consecrated them and provided ritual purity, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.

I suffer from a natural proclivity of feeling guilty.  Those who can identify with me on this know why I say suffer.  I can pick up the same sin that I have already brought before my heavenly father multiple times and feel the judgment afresh.  I cannot imagine someone willingly doing this in our court system, yet in the court process of our own minds, our guilt echoes loudly.

Perhaps recognizing that we do not deserve forgiveness can seem like a worthy, humble quality.  Indeed, we do not deserve anything but God’s wrath.  But wallowing in past mistakes does not bring God glory nor help us to walk victoriously. Instead, it saps us of strength and is yet another filthy garment, sometimes cloaked in false righteousness, as if our guilt will earn us a reward or make us feel better for the suffering that guilt incurs. Any punishment for our guilt would never earn salvation – only Christ could bear the punishment for all of our sins

Our accuser is always ready to agree with us on our wretchedness.  He and our flesh can even offer potential things to feel guilty about which are not even our own offenses.  What to do with the constant vicious cycle of judgment and guilt?  Accept God’s gift and believe Him at His word.  I, for one, do not want to doubt Him and that He has the authority to justify.  Instead of feeling sheepish about our unworthiness, such amazing forgiveness can be an incubator for a life of gratitude and serve to motivate us to live lives worthy of such lavish grace that has been given to us.

The guilt complex is just one aspect of the battle that takes place in our mind.  Unseen by those around us, it is a sharpened tool in the enemy’s arsenal to attempt to discourage Christians and lay the groundwork for us to live unproductive lives.  What a waste.  That is not why Christ died.  He died to free us not just from the sinful lifestyle, but from the guilt of our sin, too.

Hallelujah!  What a Savior!  God help us to ever allow such a salvation to become merely a means of forgiveness.  Christ carried all of our sins, all of our pain, all of our judgement that we deserved. I must pause to worship Him.  I hope you are, too.  He loves you so much and does not want His children any longer to be imprisoned by their own faulty application of what it means to accept His salvation.  No more guilt, no more judgment.  We are free indeed!

Oh God, I am overcome when I consider how great your gift is!  Help me to daily remember this undeserved forgiveness and live in a way that reflects being accepted by the King of all kings, my Lord, Jesus Christ!