Today, we are on #6 of the Top 10 Things I Would Like to Say
Their importance is not necessarily rated, but their order has a flow to it. They move from initial contact to ultimate destiny.
- Absolute truth is based upon empirical, changeless evidence. When followed to its logical conclusion, it must stand the closest scrutiny.
- Debating Evolution vs. Creation does no one any good unless a person is willing to consider that the other person may be right.
- Faith comes by hearing; are you ready to listen?
- Why I believe in Jesus.
- We are designed to create, but not by ourselves. The Spirit wants to create with us!
- Every decision we make shifts our direction, vision, and course. How much depends upon the decision, and how long depends upon our own stubbornness.
- Jesus is Jewish.
- We owe quite a debt to Israel.
- Jesus is coming soon! How do we get ready?
- What awaits us in heaven?
32 If you have been a fool by being proud or plotting evil,
cover your mouth in shame.
33 As the beating of cream yields butter
and striking the nose causes bleeding,
so stirring up anger causes quarrels.
Every decision we make shifts our direction, vision, and course.
How much depends upon the decision, and how long depends
upon our own stubbornness.
“The devil is in the details” may be a phrase for visionaries (they hate details), but we are made up of a lot of little decisions, i.e. details. The “little decision” by the five foolish bridesmaids to not have extra oil cost them the banquet (Matthew 25:1-13). The “little decision” by the foolish servant in not investing his master’s money cost him his position (Matthew 25:14-30). Our “little decisions” cost us in ways that we cannot see from where we are.
Here’s how it works:
The fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
- The first three (1-syllable words) are given us by Jesus: Love, Joy and Peace. By the way, these are how we sense God’s Presence; they radiate from Him. They form the fragrance of Christ and are His “aroma.” See 2 Corinthians 2:15.
- The second three (2-syllable words) are work: Patience, Kindness, Goodness
- The third three (3-syllable words) are character: Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control
We share the first three through the second three; they create in us the third three. If we don’t share the first three through the second three, then we miss the character-building activities of the Spirit in us to get the third three.
Here are two examples:
- A ship’s captain in the old days would go up on deck at night and check his position using the stars. If he didn’t do it every night, but, say, only once a week, he could miss his destination by quite a bit.
- When the weatherman shows a tornado on his “board,” he uses an expanding cone to show the path the tornado may take. As the tornado moves, the cone adjusts to keep the most likely path in the center of the cone.
If we decide for a day to ignore the Holy Spirit within us and go our own way (actually, it’s every decision), we will drift off-course just like the ship. As we move away from God’s intended path to build our character (to look like Jesus), the expanding cone that indicates our likely path shifts. Now, instead of God’s best in the center of the cone, it moves to the outside and whatever it is that we think we want is now in the center. Do that a few more times and God’s best is no longer in the cone at all! We will surely miss our destination, which is to be transformed into the image of Christ.
The Church at Laodicea in Revelation 3 had wandered off-course. The problem was that they didn’t know it. Jesus explained it to them:
17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
For a city known for its banking ventures, thriving textile (clothing) business, eye salve industry, and piped-in water, that’s a pretty harsh assessment! Jesus was more concerned with their character than their bank account. How did Jesus view them?
15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
The water piped in from Heliopolis was hot; the water piped in from Colossae was cold. By the time the water reached Laodicea, it was tepid (lukewarm). They knew exactly what Jesus meant by His terminology. Even His exhortation was pointed:
18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
Their banking industry wouldn’t save them; their textile business wouldn’t save them; their eye salve business wouldn’t save them. Only what Jesus had to offer would save them. What is it that Jesus offered them?
9 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.
His personal attention! If we sincerely repent and put Him back in the center of our path, we get back on course. His rebuke shows that He loves us and refuses to allow us to continue in our destructive behavior. His discipline teaches us and builds character–His character–in us. We look more like Jesus!
Here’s the best part:
20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
Jesus wants to be with us and have sweet fellowship with us! All we have to do is open the door and invite Him in. This fellowship is ongoing if we will keep Him in the center of our path. He is our North Star for every decision. How long will it take you to admit it and come to your senses? The Prodigal Son did (Luke 15:11-32). He went home and his Dad ran to meet him (unheard of back then), hugged him (even though he smelled like pigs), reinstated him (even though he had all but said that his dad was dead to him), and threw a big party (much to the chagrin of the older brother). Until you do, I reckon you’ll smell like a pig and long to eat pig slop. Lift up your eyes! Change your course! Turn your eyes upon Jesus! He’s waiting for you–even as He is rejoicing over you. You have everything you need in Him:
7 Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8 He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 9 God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into fellowship and partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Abba, I pray that Y0u will lock into each of us the passion to follow You diligently, daily, and with great fervor. Yet, in our zeal, keep us close to You so that we will not run ahead of You or lag behind You or wander off to the left or to the right. Help us through Your Word to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, our Beginner and our End. To this End I commit myself today. Amen.