The God Who Serves

Mark 10.45 comments the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for images
many.

In the Christian religion Jesus is identified as God and God when He lived among us as one of us, said He came to serve and not be served. God came to earth to serve: this should astound us making us fall down in wonder and praise to the only God Who is truly loving and humble.

Allah never came to earth and he certainly isn’t in the business of serving anyone. Neither have any of the Hindu gods come to earth to serve humanity. All of the gods people have created have burdened people with demands impossible to accomplish. These false gods discriminate among gender, race and class preferring the group that manufactured them above all other peoples.

The One True God created all peoples in His image and makes no distinction in value between race, gender or class. He does warn the wealthy that they will have the hardest time getting to heaven because they have a propensity to trust and desire wealth over loving Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength.

The idea that God came to serve is unique to Christianity and demonstrates the deep love God has for humanity. God so loved He gave the ultimate sacrifice, His own life, being sacrificed by men for all the evil of all men from all time.

His resurrection from the dead proved both His deity and His sufficiency as the necessary sacrifice so that He can generously pardon everyone who comes to Him seeking reconciliation with God.

The God Who gave and the God Who serves is the God Who one day will take His rightful place as Lord of lords and King of kings requiring every knee to bow and every tongue to confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

The wise person comes to The Servant now for forgiveness rather than playing the fool and waiting until He returns as Judge to sentence forever in torment those who rejected Him as Savior.

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God isn’t deceived by our Religion

Mark 7:15 declares your souls aren’t harmed by what you eat, but by what you think and say!image

Unlike all other religions that are performance and thus externally based, the One True God, Who is Jesus the Christ, measures the motives, thoughts and intents to the same degree as the actions. He is the One Who said clean the inside and you wont have to worry about the outside.

Religion focuses on the outside activities such as attendance, offerings, prayers, fasting but God focuses on the inside motives, desires and true loves.

God’s command is that we love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength not perform perfunctory religious ceremonies to buy Him off. If there really is a God doesn’t it seem like He would really be this way?

Does it really make sense for God to reward a terrorist when He has commanded we love one another? Does it make sense that only through marriage can a woman get to live eternally when God said He created them male and female in His image?

Religion always divides, separates and burdens people with nearly impossible demands for entering heaven.

The idea that we can get to heaven by being good when all of our thoughts and desires will be measured against the perfect will of God confirms the impossibility of our ever earning our way to heaven through good deeds. This impossibility is God’s plan for driving us to the only means for salvation: a substitute Who could take our justifiable punishment and give us His perfect obedience in order for God to declare us perfect in His sight.

This was the work of God in Jesus the Christ, the work He continues to do daily every time a person comes to God admitting they are not good, that God alone is good in Jesus and that He alone is able to pardon the repentant and declare them forgiven by God.

If there really is a God do we really think we can please Him by doing small acts of charity, showing up at certain functions or giving a few bucks to someone in need?

The One True God is the Creator of everything and sustains all things by His Spirit. He knows all, sees all and judges all; from the inside out.

We would do well just to be honest with God and seek Him for Who He is in all of His wonder, love and kindness.

God’s not impressed by our religious activity, He’s impressed by our love for Him demonstrated by our love for others.

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Does God exist?

Mark 6:52 proclaims they didn’t want to believe!image

Why don’t we want to believe God lived among us as a man? If God really did come to earth to live as and like one of us what does that mean?

First, it means there really is a God and that we will one day be accountable to Him. Everyone asks if God really exists. Inside all of us is an inherent need to know that there is more ‘out there’ than just we ourselves and our short duration of life on this earth. If God exists then the answer to the question is affirmative which forces us to consider our own lives and their alignment with the will of God.

Second, it means God is good. If God came to earth and did only good while He was here then we must come to a different explanation as to why the world is bad. God’s visitation demonstrates His care and concern for His world but then why doesn’t He just fix it? Why is it broken in the first place? We want to believe God is bad and we are good but if God is good then we are bad and if we are bad then we are the ones who need fixing. Believing God came to earth to fix us forces us to humble ourselves before God and seek His help: many don’t want to do that.

Finally, God’s coming to earth means we are obligated to live life God’s way if we are going to please Him. Its our way or God’s way and most of us prefer our way. Believing God exists and that He lived among us to show us how we are to live forces us to align with His commands if we are going to live consistently with our beliefs.

It is not surprising people didn’t want to believe that God was really among them when God did live among people.

We still struggle today to believe that God exists and that God is good because if He does and if He is then we must change and admit our need for His mercy.

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God sees our Good Deeds

Acts 10:4 promises your prayers and charities have not gone unnoticed by God!image

God sees all, not just the bad but the good too.

It pleases God when His people obey His commands demonstrating their likeness of Him before others who have yet to discover their Creator.

God is called Father and like any estranged parent from their child, the Father God desires reconciliation and restoration with all of His children who are all the people of the world. As every parent enjoys and takes pride in the doing of good by their children so too God is pleased when our good deeds done for the benefit of others cause them to praise God for His goodness demonstrated through His people.

Christians are to do good not for recognition but because doing good is the normal result of being related to Him Who is always good.

Jesus was desired for His good deeds but He certainly wasn’t rewarded by men for those good deeds. In His moment of crisis people turned on Him and shouted, ‘crucify Him.’

If we do good to be recognized by others we lose the reward God has planned for those who do good in obscurity just as He did when He lived among us as Jesus.

God is not ignorant of our prayers and offerings but like His daily demonstration to all people of His goodness through rain and sun, He expects us to persevere in doing good until He returns to reward every person who remained faithful until the end.

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What type of Fruit are you bearing?

Mark 4:19 observes all too quickly the attractions of this world and the delights of wealth, and the search for success and lure of nice things come in and crowd out God’s message from their hearts, so that no crop is produced.image

When a person becomes a Christian ‘all too quickly’ they revert back to doing and seeking the same things as those who do not claim to be Christians.

What separates Christians from everyone else? Is it merely what we believe? The demons believe in God and in all things spiritual yet their destiny is not heaven.

Was Jesus different only because He believed He was God or was there something else that made Him different? Fruit is what God says is inherent to the Christian identifying a person as a Christian.

What is Christian fruit? It is a combination of character and witness.

Fruit is character in that it is identified with attributes of God the Holy Spirit such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. While these are hard to measure as to quantity they are easy to see practically.

God expects this fruit to come from the Christian as opposed to sexual immorality, impurity, idolatry, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, envy, drunkenness, orgies and the like which is the fruit of those who don’t claim to be a Christian.

Fruit is also the works that demonstrate the love of God to others. The feeding of the hungry, clothing of the naked, and visiting of the prisoner all of which when done to others is done to God Himself.

Finally, the fruit that lasts forever is that which causes people to live forever, the conversion of people from animosity or indifference to God to love for God. It is this fruit that causes parties to occur in heaven.

The tree is known by its fruit. What kind of tree are we? What fruit are we yielding?

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What is a Christian?

Acts 8:22 commands turn from this great wickedness and pray. Perhaps God will yet forgive your evil thoughts.image

What’s interesting about Peter’s comment is that he was speaking to a person who believed Jesus was the Savior and had been baptized to prove it (vs13).

Most Christians would agree that if you believe and have been baptized you are on your way to heaven. Apparently the Apostle Peter held to a different doctrine.

The problem with this new follower of the faith was that he hadn’t really repented from the sin he was committing before he believed and was baptized. The man believed the gospel, he understood its power and sought to become an adherent so took the steps necessary to be part of the community.

The only problem was that he loved power and prestige. He loved these things before he became a Christian and he still loved these things after becoming a Christian. Peter saw this problem revealed by the desire to possess the power of the Holy Spirit and warned this man that he had better get right if he hoped to get home with God.

Repentance involves three parts: admission, confession and separation.

Jesus preached a repentance from sins as part of His gospel. While He invited people to believe in Him He demanded they admit their need for Him, confess Him as the only means to heaven and separate themselves from those things they had been doing that kept them from God.

Baptism is the symbol of repentance; the washing away of the stain of sin and its consequences upon the repentant person, who now confesses with his mouth Jesus is Lord and believes in his heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, which proved God’s acceptance of the Savior’s sacrifice at Calvary.

Unless we separate from our sin we remain in our sin and anyone who remains in sin remains separate from God and His salvation no matter what they confess or in what water they were baptized.

Those who are born again are a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come.

To become a true Christian a person must first repent.

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We Shall All Be Raised from the Dead

Matthew 27:52 declares many godly men and women who had died came back to life again.image

Upon the Author of Life’s crucifixion those who were godly experienced a resurrection. God, Who is eternal, created humanity in His own image which means we too were destined for eternity. This is why the will to live is so strong within us: death is the antithesis of the nature of God and thus our true nature.

In the beginning God created the perfect environment for humanity within which we were supplied the means for living forever – the tree of life. Upon our rebellion against God we were banished from that environment lest we live forever in animosity with God and our fellow man.

We are inherently infested with a corrupted nature, one that ignores God and focuses upon ourselves being supreme. We see this most obvious in the toddler whose nature is to ignore the will of his parent and the desires of his fellow man. The toddler screams when they don’t get their way because they are self-absorbed, the result of our broken nature.

God was crucified as punishment for humanity’s rebellion against God and was raised from the dead as proof that His payment was sufficient for all people from and for all time.

Those who do, and have always, loved God, now in Jesus the Savior,  were and will be raised from the dead so that they might receive their new body which is incorruptible and eternal where they will live in the presence of God forever, first in His heaven and then upon the new earth.

Those who continue to ignore God and disobey His commands will also be raised from the dead but will be sent to hell where their souls will exist in torment forever and ever.

The good news is that we will live forever, this life is not the end but the means to our eternal beginning.

The question is not if we will be resurrected but where will we spend our eternity?

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What do YOU think about God?

Acts 3:19 encourages us to change our mind and attitude to God and turn to Him so He can cleanse away our sins and send us wonderful times of refreshment from the presence of the Lord.image

What do we really believe about God?

It is perhaps the most important question we will ever ask and answer for ourselves. Our belief in God determines our values which are reflected in our actions so not only is this question paramount individually but collectively as well.

Do we really believe in God and if so what do we believe about God, His requirements, values and promises?

The answer to these questions determine how we live today and the destiny we believe is to come. If God is real then the future He has declared will come whether we believe in it or not. God is not a creation of our belief, our beliefs only reflect our understanding and commitment to the Creator.

Mankind has always believed in God yet that understanding of Who God is has been as diverse as humanity itself. Why?

If there really is only one God why are there are so many versions of Him?

The Bible gives two answers to this question. First, we chose to disobey Him from the beginning of our ancestry causing us to break intimacy with God leading us to the creation of whatever gods worked for us. These gods are vain, petty and aloof, much like the people who created them.

Second, we are egotists bent on having our own way. The last thing we want is a God Who demands that we submit to Him. We prefer gods who promise blessings now and virgins forever rather than obedience now and worship forever.

Christianity is the only religion to declare God as One Who made everything that is and was and ever will be, Who has Himself entered our world as a Man in order to clearly communicate with humanity Who He is and What He requires.

If we really want peace with God and the pleasure of knowing the Creator of our souls then we would do well to change our minds and attitudes about God and get to know Him as He identifies Himself in the Bible and in Jesus Christ the Lord.

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Fear of Giving

Matthew 25:24 confesses I was afraid You would rob me of what I earned.images

Giving is a sensitive subject in the Church. Why is it sensitive? Because like the man who hid his talent for fear of God requiring more from him so too many fear giving to God lest He require more from them than they are willing to pay.

The assumption is that we have and God needs. The truth is He has and we have needs.

In God’s kindness, mercy and love He has provided for us through creation, our talents and our effort.

In the beginning God promised the man that the earth would provide for him though he would have to work through the thorns and thistles it would endlessly yield.

Most Christians believe God can be bought off with ten percent of their income though the smallest minority even give that much. The truth is God owns everything for He created all things and He sustains all things by His life giving Spirit.

This world is temporary but our proving grounds for testing our loyalty and obedience to God manifested in our surrender of life and means for the furtherance of His will being done on earth as it is in heaven.

Those who fear God will demand more from them than they are willing to pay are in danger of reaping the same reward as the man in Jesus’ parable: eternal damnation.

Those who use what God has given them to create an increase for God’s glory upon the earth will reap the reward of eternal blessing from God.

The Scripture declares that this world is not the Christian’s home. A new heaven and a new earth is coming where those who faithfully served God on this earth will live forever in great peace, joy and abundance.

Believing that God is good means investing now in God’s good ways looking forward to God’s good world where He will live with His people forever.

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The Truth about God

Matthew 24:10 promises many of you shall fall back into sin and betray and hate each other.image

Sometimes its really hard to see Jesus in the lives of Christians. I too wonder how my own children will ever become true believers after watching me for very long.

The problem with the perception of what Christianity is comes from false advertising within our own ranks of what Christianity promises. We invite people who are struggling in life to get right with God so that He can make their lives better.

Herein lies the fallacy: God makes no such commitment but rather promises trouble will continue in this world and most likely will increase if we keep telling others that no one can get to heaven apart from following Jesus the Savior.

It is after praying to God and expecting Him to fix our lives and they don’t get better that we become disillusioned and frustrated with Christianity. We were sold a lie.

When God lived among us as Jesus the Messiah He never promised our best life now, He promised trouble now with our best life to come after we leave this world if we are faithful to Him until the end of our days no matter how much we suffered for Him while living on this earth.

Jesus’ invitation was to deny ourselves, take up our cross (the means of our own death to selfish living) and follow Him in absolute surrender, allegiance and obedience.

Jesus promised peace with God but enmity within our own family as a result of our absolute allegiance to Him. It’s not that God is anti-family He just understood those who want nothing to do with God exist within our own families and they don’t like it when we implore them to repent, to stop sinning against God, so that they can be forgiven by God and likewise receive the promise of everlasting life in heaven.

It is very frustrating when God doesn’t do what we expect Him to do especially when others who supposedly know Him tell us He will do for us all the good things we have always wanted for ourselves.

Our purpose for coming to Jesus as the Savior is to receive forgiveness for our sins against God for which we shall receive eternal condemnation if we don’t come to Him now.

Our purpose for following Jesus is to learn to live life now with joy and peace and God’s presence through His Spirit in spite of our circumstances not because our circumstances became more friendly.

Our purpose for coming to Jesus is so that we can become children of God whereby we now call Him Father and so look forward to the new heavens and new earth He will soon create where we will live our best lives forever.

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