The SELF Diet

The SELF Diet

 Have you ever spoken to your self? Good

Not what if I asked you to hold your cell phone high for a moment. Now, I want you to stand up and put your cell phone on the chair behind you.

Next, I want you to remain standing and put your SELF on the chair beside your cell phone.

Why is there so much confusion with that request? Read it again.

You agreed that YOU spoke to your SELF. That suggests that YOU and your self are not the same.

Why then is it so challenging to separate your SELF from YOU?

The issue is that you have been hypnotized into accepting an illusion as YOU. The fact that you and that illusory sense of identity are NOT the same has become blurred.

You have no problem in establishing that your cell phone is not YOU. Your chair is not YOU. Your dress or shirt is not YOU. Your SELF is also not YOU.

The truth is that when we say “I” we usually have in mind our SELF.

What we accept and think of as “me” and “I” is really a masterful act of deception by our SELF. This is high class identity theft that usually goes undetected.

If you do not take care to recognize SELF it will trick you into thinking that it is YOU. You will be lulled into failing to separate the two and to identify with SELF as if it is YOU.

It is critical to recognize that we are NOT the voice in our heads – the prompter. That voice in our heads is our SELF. It is actually the motivation for dysfunction that you carry around with you and indeed, appear to be YOU.

Humans in the normal state are fundamentally defective and collectively dysfunctional….. Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Sin means to “miss the mark”. There is something in us that leads us to miss the mark…. We do not quite get it.

This impostor SELF has been nurtured by events in our lives. In its fully grown state, it takes control of what we perceive to be our reality. It provides the filter through which we screen everything – thoughts, events, interactions, relationships. This illusion – Your SELF – shapes how you view life and its unfolding events.

It is His appreciation of this distinction between you and your SELF that caused Christ to say to His disciples: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Matt 16:24).

Denial of SELF becomes harder when SELF is well fed and fully developed.

Today, we want to put SELF on a diet.  In order to do so, we need to identify the favourite foods of SELF.

Spending time identifying how SELF is fed is essential to achieving the transformation of our minds which is at the core of Christian living.

So as you would imagine SELF is not a healthy eater.

Its favourite is My sCream.

The SELF Menu is simple – “Me”, “Mine”, “More than”, “I want”, “I need”, “I must have”, “Not enough”.

If you want to put SELF on a diet you have to remove those items from the daily menu.

It is critical that you identify the impact of those words. Failure to do so will give them control over you and you will find yourself acting out the unconscious thoughts and actions that are tied to those words.

One fundamental problem is that SELF tends to equate HAVING with BEING. SELF grows and feels more secure the more it HAS.

The problem is that things are temporal – they are not permanent and consequently SELF inevitably experiences heartfelt dissatisfaction and a sense of incompleteness. There is a sense in which we are “not enough.”

It is important to recognize that none of the things that SELF seeks will satisfy you as long as SELF is in control. No matter what you have or get, you will not experience lasting joy. You will be constantly seeking after fulfilment.

Ecc 1:14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.

 One side effect of this feasting on My sCREAM is the constant need for comparison. We compare ourselves with others.

A spin off of that is that how they view us is how we see ourselves.

Spiritual maturity is tied to our ability to clearly see and live out the reality that what I perceive, experience, think or feel is ultimately not who I am. Who I am cannot be found in things that continuously pass away.

1 John 2: 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

 For this reason it is important to learn more about your SELF so that we can identify it in action. Once you recognize the actions of SELF, it is weakened. Recognition weakens it and its hold on you.

 SELF also feeds on NOT Me PIE.

 For the concept “I” to have significance it needs to have something as a contrast. If you place a white object on a white background it does not stand out.

Think about it. If everybody was IDENTICAL there would be no room or need for SELF to boost itself.

In order to grow SELF needs to feast on NOT Me PIE.

The more SELF can identify differences with others, the more special it becomes and a UNIQUE SELF is really special. One of a kind or rare things have increased value. SELF knows that and does everything to get the corrupted you to find ways in which you are different.

Amazingly, the difference does not have to be positive in SELF’s favour. Being really bad also makes SELF stand out and exposure has value.

So, in many instances anti-social behaviour and disobedience are really strategies for SELF to grow by getting attention from being different.

 Where are we going with this?

  •  We are looking at how we can actually go about self denial.
  •  We first sought to identify the SELF that is to be denied.
  •  We then started to look at what sustains SELF. How can we weaken it?
  •  We looked at SELF’s dietary habits…. My sCREAM and NOT Me PIE.

One effect of NOT Me PIE is the drive for “Me” to stand out. So it has to focus on finding differences with others. This actually leads to finding fault with others and complaining about them. When we put down others it makes us feel superior.

Fault finding is a core function of the impostor SELF that you so happily embrace as YOU.

Christ is alert to this deceptive plan.

Matt 7: 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?

Complaining and its emotional counterpart Resentment add energy to the false SELF. When we complain, we add emotions to it. We feel bitter, angry, aggrieved, offended. This strengthens SELF.

It has been observed that the things that you react to most strongly in others and mistakenly take as their identity tend to be the same faults that are also in you. You have just been unable or unwilling to detect them within yourself.

The key is to recognize that in your interactions with others, the actions of their SELF is not who they really are. We live in an environment in which rogue SELFs are engaging one another.

That is why conflict, competition, distrust, hate and other ills abound.

It is important to note that resentment is not limited to persons but also to situations which give the false SELF even more scope.

This capacity to look beyond and to avoid reacting to the SELF-driven actions of others is the essence of humility, longsuffering and forgiveness.

Humility takes us to the understanding that we all have imperfections and that fault finding is not a very useful activity.

Longsuffering allows us to be patient when things do not go the way that we want them to.

Forgiveness comes naturally when you recognize that the only purpose of grievance and resentment is to strengthen a false sense of SELF and to feed it more NOT Me PIE.

Whatever the behaviour that comes from SELF, the hidden driving force is always similar: Need to stand out, to be special, to be in control, to have power, to get attention, to get more. Also, the need to feel a sense of difference (I am not like that).

SELF is dysfunctional. It always has a hidden agenda. That is why Christ requires of us that we deny ourselves (that false SELF).

Why then was it so challenging to separate your SELF from YOU?

The point is that you have been lulled into accepting all that goes on within you to be YOU. The reality is that you are a victim of identity theft. An impostor has slipped in mostly unnoticed and taken up residence in you under the guise of being the real YOU.

The real problem is that the identity theft has been so slick that the vast majority of persons do not even realize that there is a false self in place. They mistakenly see this impostor as themselves. They think: “This is who I am!” They live that lie to the point where in some instances the two are undistinguishable to them.

The failure to recognize the impostor and to blow the whistle on the threat of identity theft gives the impostor more strength. The impostor thrives on the ignorance and lack of attentiveness and takes over more and more of what should be YOU.

The search for who you are is greatly assisted by knowing who you are not. We must understand that we are NOT SELF.

It is interesting to note that, who you think you are is directly linked to how you think others are treating you. That shapes how you think about yourself. If you think that others are lavishing love upon you, you think that you are loved person.

One important consideration is that whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are in fact withholding from the world!

So, if you feel that you are missing something – start giving it. If you do not think that you have it – act as if you do and it will come to you. Then you give it and in turn you will receive it.

Luke 6: 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

 A failure to starve SELF will condemn us because it moves us away from being able to observe the two great commandments – Loving God and Loving our neighbour as ourselves. Mark 12:30

Salvation can only come when you recognize SELF for what it is and take care to separate your core, true YOU from it.

Once you make the distinction, your responsiveness to the Gospel call becomes easy. The cares of the world no longer choke the Word and it bears fruit in your heart. You recognize that you are a creature of Almighty God and that you are in a sinful state. You accept the need for you to take steps to change your status and to change your ways. You are willing and ready to announce to the world your belief that Jesus is Lord. You accept and are ready to put on Christ in water baptism for the remission of your sins and to walk in the newness of life.

The untutored, unattended SELF is the advocate of the flesh.

The transformed YOU manifests the fruit of the spirit:

Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Be on guard, be alert. There is an impostor taking over your identity.  Once you identify him and monitor him closely the scam is defeated and the TRUE YOU is able to present itself. This YOU is in Christ and is obedient to His will.

God bless YOU!

 

 

Advertisements

7 SIGNS OF A LIFE THAT C.A.R.E.S

7 SIGNS OF A LIFE THAT C.A.R.E.S

C.A.R.E. is defined as:

Being Connected to the Divine Source

Making use of the Access to the Diving Source

Being Ready to accept the blessings that are available from the Divine Source

Being Engaged in leading a life that is pleasing to the Divine Source.

 

  1. The life that CAREs has a vibrant Prayer life

The life that CAREs has a deep-seated belief that prayer is effective. Its conviction is boosted by evidence from its own life, cases from the Scriptures and from the experiences of others.

It has great confidence in approaching God passionately and frequently.

It embraces 1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

The life that CAREs prays about its personal hopes, its fears and its aspirations. It asks for relief from illness; seeks guidance with critical decisions and begs for safe-keeping.

It is note-worthy that the life that CAREs has a 360 degree approach to prayer. It prays for family, friends, colleagues, neighbours. It includes its community and takes a world view into consideration in its prayers. It asks for reconciliation with those with whom it is in conflict. It prays that God will straighten the path of those who have gone astray and that evil doers will be brought to repentance.

It invites God to intervene to make His will for our collective lives come to fruition.

 

  1. The life that CAREs is its brother’s keeper

The life that CAREs has a sensitive antenna. It is somehow aware of what is going on in the lives of others. It has an uncanny way of remembering things that are important to others.

It surprises you with a call …just when you needed it. It recognizes that your lips are turned down and not up with your usual radiant smile.

The life that CAREs is in the know in respect of what is happening in the lives of others. It shares updates and is able to rally support when needed.

The life that CAREs embraces the call of Galatians 6:2 – Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

It manifests Eph 4: 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another……..

It shows concern for others and wants the best for them even to the extent of making personal sacrifices:

Phil 2: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

 

 

  1. The life that CAREs is generous

The life that CAREs relishes the opportunity to assist others. It looks outward. It has palms that are more often turned down in giving that up in receiving.

It gives freely of its time and resources. It accepts 2 Cor 9 to be real to it and acts accordingly in its generosity.

2 Cor 9: 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.

 

The life that CAREs is sensitive to the needs of those that are challenged by their circumstances.

Matt 25: 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

The generosity of spirit goes beyond the material giving of resources. The life that CAREs has a forgiving heart. It is long-suffering. It is not so smart as to find hidden insults and disrespects in everything that others say and do.

1 Cor 3: 18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”[a];

 

  1. The life that CAREs allows joy to be manifest in it

The life that CAREs is not spared life challenges. It is not immune to illness, conflict, financial and other woes.

However, the life that CAREs fiercely protects its JOY. It refuses to let any of life’s problems to steal its Joy.

Phil 4: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

That inner peace that is the blessing that those who are in Christ receive is the secret to joyfulness and being able to rejoice in the face of adversity.

The life that CAREs is a model of calm assurance when the storms of life assail.

 

  1. The life that CAREs trains the “prompter” in its head

The life that CAREs relates to the fact its thoughts, words and deeds are inspired by the equivalent of a teleprompter in its head.

The teleprompter presents words that it might say. It can opt not to say those words. It realizes that the teleprompter develops prompts that it thinks reflects what the life that CAREs would want to say.

The teleprompter is not infallible and will produce prompts that are not in keeping with what the life wants. The life that CAREs spends time training its teleprompter.

It conducts the training through deep meditation and constant affirmation of what it wants to express. By constantly working to renew its mind, it trains its teleprompter and gradually eliminates undesirable prompts. The process also encourages the presentation of prompts that are aligned to its principles.

The danger with an untrained teleprompter is that an undesirable prompt might be used in a moment of distraction. This reflected in those “I feel like biting my tongue” moments.

James 3: We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.

The ability to bring its teleprompter under increasing control is a hallmark of a life that CAREs.

James highlights the magnitude of the task of getting your teleprompter to produce the prompts that ought to reflect your life in Christ. The teleprompter is actually caught up in a battle for your mid. It receives contradictory instructions based on the remnant of self that is still alive.

James 3: All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

But there is hope:

James 1: If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

There is a distinction between man-made, earthly wisdom and the wisdom that comes from heaven. The life that CAREs educates its teleprompter with respect to the differences.

James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

 

  1. The life that CAREs is willing to share its faith

The life that CAREs is not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. It is not shy in identifying its commitment to living a life that is obedient to God and His commands. This intention to serve God is expressed in word and in deed in the family, at school, in the workplace among friends and indeed, among any one with whom the life that CAREs makes contact.

1 Peter 3: 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

The life that CAREs is evangelical. It has the message of salvation to share and does it. The life that CAREs is conscious that all of mankind have sinned. It knows that there is a price for sin – the second death. It knows that unless it presents the sacrifice of Christ as the only cure for sin many souls will be lost.

It is deeply aware that many well-meaning souls are being lost daily because of ignorance, procrastination and false doctrine. The life that CAREs sets about sharing the truth to family members, friends, colleagues, neighbours and those with whom it comes in contact.

 

  1. The life that CAREs makes its calling and election sure

The life that CAREs understands that this present life is a way station. We are here for a little while. It is concerned about ensuring that the next phase in its journey goes well. It prepares itself for its existence in this life and the next.

2 Peter 1: His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is near-sighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters,[a] make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

Remember, the life that CAREs is first of all connected to the Divine Source. In order achieve that you must access Him through Jesus Christ. The access through Christ involves believing that we are under the sentence of death because of our sins.

We must accept that Christ paid the price for our sins when He died on the cross and was resurrected from the dead. The price He paid is applied to our debt when we confess Him as Lord and decide to pursue a life that follows the principles laid out in the Bible, including being immersed in watery baptism for the removal of our sins.

2015 The Year to C.A.R.E. – Parables for Implementation

2015 the Year to C.A.R.E.

I want to share some thoughts related to making 2015 the Year to C.A.R.E.

C.A.R.E. represents CONNECTION to God the Source, ACCESS to Him, READINESS to accept His Blessings, and active ENGAGEMENT in His Service.

Today, I want to present three parables that might help to make C.A.R.E. more real for you and those with whom you share its principles.

Firstly, C.A.R.E. is like a smart phone in the possession of a young person – especially one in love. Or C.A.R.E. can be likened to a small businessman and his cell phone.

What does Connection mean to that young person or businessman in relation to their phone?

24/7/365 proximity

  • They are constantly in contact with their phone. If they are going through the gate and realize the phone is not with them, they are going back for it.
    • Are we as serious about ensuring that we are never out of contact with God?
    • How often do we rush into our daily activities without even a reflection on the God who gave us another day?
    • The songwriter asks “Ere you left your room this morning did you think to pray?”
  • They ensure that the phone is constantly charged. If by some fluke their battery dies they scramble to get it recharged. It is amusing to go into airports to watch how people search out electrical outlets and gather around the charging stations that are now increasingly in place.
    • Are we as serious about ensuring that our spiritual batteries are fully charged?
    • Do we allow our spiritual batteries to run down to the point where the devil has a field day with us?
    • Ever wondered why sometimes temptations seem to come from every direction and our capacity to reject them is not as strong as it should be?
    • Could it be that we have allowed our Bible study and prayer life to run down?
    • Could it be that we have neglected meditating on God’s word and allowed wandering thoughts to occupy our minds?
  • They are profuse in their apology if for some reason they are out of touch with their phone for any period or have allowed the battery to die. “I am so sorry, I missed your call.”
    • How sorry are we when we ignore God for extended periods?
    • How terrible do we feel when we repeatedly miss God’s calls? “Don’t go to that party tonight, those are not people with whom you should associate!” 6 missed calls. So you turn up and end up in the devil’s tentacles.

 

Heavy reliance on access

  • Today’s smart phone is a wrist watch, clock and calendar. Ask the time and people go into their pockets. Do a survey of how many people actually wear a watch these days.
  • The phone is today’s newspaper. This is where we go for news.
  • Ask me something that I don’t know and give me a minute or two and I will consult my trusty phone for an answer.
  • How much will it cost to get 7 of those, 9 of that and 14 of the other……moment …. Trusty phone calculate this for me.
  • The phone might not be oxygen but our reliance on it is remarkable.
    • Are we as reliant on God for direction as to how to navigate each day?
    • Do we consult God’s word for answers?
    • Are we constantly tapping into God’s bountiful blessings that He has prepared for us?

Eph 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Remember, God is the source of solutions. He can provide answers to the challenges you face daily. The key is that you need to get connected to the source. You need to be in Christ to access “every spiritual blessing”.

Let 2015 be a year of constant ACCESS.

Christ invites us in Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

Prayer is a very powerful tool. It acts as the plumbing through which the blessings of God may be channeled into our daily existence.

The beautiful thing is that we do not need any credit to talk with God!

2015 should be a year in which we dramatically deepen our prayer lives. Let us pray often and fervently for others, for our projects and for God’s continued guidance and protection.

Let us pray fervently and without ceasing. James 5:16; 1 Thessalonians 5: 17-18

Responsiveness

  • They answer the phone after a couple of rings. Extremely responsive to incoming calls.
    • That is how we are to be to God and His constant attempts to reach out to us through His word and His representatives.
    • How responsive are we to opportunities to hear what God has to communicate to us?
    • Is God listed by name in our contact list so that we can jump to get His calls as a matter of priority or is He coming through to us as a Private Number?
    • Take your Bible Study off SILENT!!!

Let 2015 be a year for READINESS. Let us prepare to maximize the benefits that are available to us as baptized followers of Christ. Let us respond eagerly to God’s incoming calls.

  • Is this a text to share the Gospel with the individual that is beside you right now?
  • Is this a text to call a brother or sister who needs some encouragement right now?
  • Is this a text to remind you of a passage that will lift you out of the ugly mood that is taking you over right now?
  • Is this a text advising you to make an important call right now that will land you the job that you have been praying about?
  • Is this a text to reconfirm that Christ has paid the price for your sins and that your plea for forgiveness has been accepted and you can release yourself from the guilt trip that is depressing you right now?
    • Like the businessman who feels that this call could result in a large contract, be ready respond to spiritual calls.
    • Like lovers who have not communicated for over an hour, answer spiritual calls on the first ring with excitement and expectation.
    • Stop treating God’s calls as a “Please call me” from a stranger.

Social integration

Gone are the days of visiting friends physically. Now we have many more “friends” and we keep abreast of what is happening with them via our phones.

We can recite what is happening to friends, “friends”, celebrities and even animals injured in forest fires.

  • What if we were as engaged in what is happening to our brothers and sisters?
  • What if we were not only engaged in gathering information?
  • What if we were to get information in order to add value and provide support?
  • Romans 15:1 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
  • Phil 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,4not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

 

C.A.R.E. can also be likened to an ambitious young lady with significant responsibilities who lands a well-paying dream job.

Front of mind

  • The job immediately takes up residence in the front of her mind.
  • She is constantly thinking about things that she can do to improve her performance. She definitely wants to be confirmed in this job.
    • What if God and His people could be given as much space in our minds?
    • What if we could be so occupied with reflecting on how our day as a servant of God went?
    • What if the last thought we had before going off to sleep was completion of an action plan for God’s work tomorrow in His vineyard?

Compliance

  • She is the model of compliance.
  • She is never late for work.
  • She drags herself to work despite flu, Chik-V and other ailments combined. She is not missing a day.
  • She follows the guidelines. She can’t see the logic behind some of them but who is she to question and challenge their rules.
  • She completes assignments without a murmur and makes herself available for other responsibilities. An early promotion is her career goal.
    • What if we treated the church and its leaders with similar respect?
    • What if we did everything possible to be on time every time?
    • What if we were determined never to miss a day of worship?
    • What if we bought into the leadership of the evangelist, Youth Group and Ladies Group leaders?
    • What if we were quick to put up our hands to volunteer for spiritual work in the hope of an early promotion by God?
    • Heb 6:10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

 

Lifestyle changes

  • Soon after her confirmation and a few months in the job, lifestyle changes start to be manifested.
  • Wardrobe changes become noticeable.
  • She starts to make plans to add more items to her list of monthly expenditure.
  • She makes preparation to accept the positive impact of the increased income in her life.
  • That in turn, inspires her to ensure that nothing happens to cut off the supply. Instead, she ponders how much better life would be if she could reach an even higher level.
  • She devotes herself to preparation that could make that a reality.
    • What if we viewed God’s providence in the same way?
    • What if we treasured how richly we are blessed?
    • What if we took time to name every blessing, every answered prayer?
    • What if we were careful not to make anything hinder the flow of blessings from God?
    • Deut 28: 15 However, if you do not obeythe Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you: 16 You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country.

 

Networking

  • Our ambitious lady understands that networking is a key to success with respect to her career.
  • She takes care to engage her colleagues in the lunch room.
  • She does not miss opportunities to socialize with them.
  • If the opportunity arises she reaches out to clients and potential customers.
  • She is never shy to share information about her dream organization.
    • What if we took that same attitude to engaging brothers and sisters?
    • What if we were keen to share how great this organization is?
    • What if we told all who would listen how great a boss God is?
    • What if we freely shared that there were vacancies in this organization and a dream position was available for them in Christ’s church?

 

Finally, C.A.R.E. can be likened to a first time, caring mother and her infant child.

  • At no point is the mother unaware of where the child is.
  • She is constantly there to attend to the child’s every need.
  • She is overly protective. She ensures that no harm comes to the child.
  • She does all in her power to see to the comfort and orderly development of her child.
  • She grooms the child to master life challenges and to lead a successful life.
  • She spends time communicating with the child.
  • She builds a strong bond with the child.
  • She leaves no doubt that her love is unconditional and unfailing.
    • That is how God sees us!
    • What if we could be as dependent and comforted as the infant is in God’s love and care?
    • What if we could allow ourselves to fully appreciate the amazing love that God has for us?
    • What if we could really understand how much God wants us to succeed and do great things to His glory?

If I can cast your minds back to the Smart Phone there are some fundamental lessons to be learned:

  1. The smart phone is only available from a service provider.
  2. You have to complete their application process to get the phone.
  3. You have to comply with their rules to maintain access.

Christ is the sole source of spiritual blessings.

To get those blessings you must comply His rules for access.

 

  1. Why Jesus? He saves us our souls

Acts 4: 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.

What must WE do to save our souls?

  1. Hear the Word – the Gospel
  • John 6: 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
  • Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

 

What must we do to save our souls?

  1. Believe
  • Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
  • John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

 

 What must we do to save our souls?

  1. Repent

 2 Cor 7:Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter,(N) I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation(O) and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern,(P) what readiness to see justice done.

  • Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.
  • Luke 13: 1 Now there were some present at that very season who told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered and said unto them, Think ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they have suffered these things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish.

 

 What must we do to save our souls?

  1. Confess Jesus is Lord
  • Matt 10:32 Every one therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven.
  • Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

 

 What must we do to save our souls?

  1. Be baptized for the remission of your sins
  • Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
  • Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
  • 1 Pet 3:21The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

  What must we do to save our souls?

  1. Remain in Christ
  • John 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
  • Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
  • 1 Pet 2: 1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.

 

  1. Why Jesus? He provides solutions to our problems in this life

Now that you are in Christ, the amazing rewards are open to you.

Is 59: 1.Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

Eph 1: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

John 14:6
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

This is the Father who says:

Jer 32:27 Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there any thing too hard for me?

 Why Jesus?

Because it makes SENSE!

If you are here and you have not put on Christ in baptism. Get connected today by having your sins washed away in baptism and take up your post in Christ’s church…..a dream job.

If you have allowed your spiritual battery to run down, recharge. Access the blessings that are in store for you in Christ.

If you have not been taking your role as a Christian as seriously as a new employee works to ensure confirmation, commit today to shake off your slothfulness.

Let 2015 be the year that you C.A.R.E. >>> Connection, Access, Readiness, Engagement.

God bless you!

Safe Haven – Shelter From The Storm

Safe Haven

Christians face many challenges in their lives on a daily basis. For some, it might be health issues. For others, it may be struggles with finances. Still others face uncertainty with respect to their careers. Relationship issues burden yet others. Some are even more unfortunate as to face multiple difficulties all at once or in an seemingly unending sequence.

The Psalmist also has experiences that cause him to “wrestle with his thoughts” and to “have sorrow in his heart everyday” Psalm 13.

We do well to draw on the Psalmist’s response to the challenges that we face in this life:

“But I trust in your unfailing love, my heart rejoices in your salvation.” Psalm 13:5

He encourages us to “Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:22

Why Jesus

Why Jesus?

1.      Why Jesus? He Makes Sense Out of Nonsense

A man cuts down a tree, uses a part of it to create a “god” and sets aside the remainder to cook the meal that his created “god” will provide for him.

Today, we laugh at that as the nonsense that we associate with primitive minds.

Yet, celebrated lyrical icon Bob Marley declares in the anthem “Get up, Stand Up” …

“We sick an tired of-a your ism-skism game – Dyin n goin to heaven in-a jesus name, lord. We know when we understand: Almighty God is a living man. You can fool some people sometimes, But you can’t fool all the people all the time.”

Marley and the Rastafarian movement have moved the game up one notch from wood to human flesh and blood. They look to man who has no idea about the source of his first, last or next breath to guide, protect and provide for them.

So, some dismiss that set as being intellectually unsophisticated. The intellectually sophisticated do not need the drug that religion is to navigate through life.

They replace the ‘wood god’ and ‘man god’ with the idea that life is just one big accident. There is no intelligent design to be respected as the Source and to be revered and respected as God.

Knowing what we know about life, what we see about us, what our experience has taught us – does any of the above explanations provide a sensible answer about how this game of life came into being?

Can you reasonably expect that Ras Tafari –  whose rotted remains lie in the earth – can respond to your prayers? Can Jah really “Guide”?  Does Jah really “Know”?

Would you believe that it is by mere accident that the earth and the sun coordinate their movements so that they have not missed a sunrise or sunset for thousands of years?

Would you then also believe that there was an accident last month on the highway and out of it emerged a highly sophisticated space craft with a power source that is unknown to man but with the capacity to go to the moon in six hours?  Check google….

On the other hand, Jesus states clearly that He has been there from the beginning and knows exactly how it was designed and created.

John 8: 58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!

John 8: 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me.

John 18:37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” 

Jesus clearly states that He has the answers to our questions. He knows the truth.

The wood has not yet been able to make any claims. Selassie disclaimed divinity. The intellectuals create theories that are less rational the worshipping wooden idols. At least they could be seen. It is hard to “see” the logic in the arguments of our intellectuals.

1 Cor 1: 20 Where is the wise person?Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signsand Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified:a stumbling blockto Jews and foolishnessto Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishnessof God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weaknessof God is stronger than human strength.

2.      Why Jesus? He Answers Our Questions

Jesus and His Apostle’s who carried and reinforced His teachings give us clear answers to questions that have occupied the minds of humans throughout the ages.

What is this game of life about?

How do I know when I win?

What are the rewards for winning?

What are my chances of winning?

What are the rules?

Is there a winning strategy?

Marley expresses a philosophy that is embraced by the intellectual unbelievers:

“But if you know what life is worth, You will look for yours on earth:”

This view is that the game of live is entirely about what happens during our brief stay here on earth.

On the other hand, the Christ-anchored philosophy highlights the misery and hopelessness that is ours if everything is confined to this life on earth. (1 Cor 15:19)

Removal of intelligent design from life takes away its meaning.

If we remove the rules and objectives governing Scrabble or Monopoly or Football then they lose their meaning. Anyone could come up with their own rules and the end – confusion.

That is what we have when we remove Divine Intelligence from life – confusion.

The Christian understanding of the game of life is the clearest and most logical.

The game was conceived and created by God…..the bearer of the intelligent design that is the source of the jaw-dropping complexities and creativity that is common place in nature.

The concept of God is in itself complex but Christians understand that there is a God-head of three Divine Beings – God (the Father), Jesus (the Son) and the Holy Spirit (the Counsellor).

God – not an accidental explosion of non-existent materials – created the universe. How He did it and how we choose to explain how it could have been done – using our limited scientific knowledge – is irrelevant.  Nothing about the order and the description of the creation process has been discredited by scientific research.

God states that He created man. His grand design was that man would spend eternity with Him. The concept of life being confined to our life on earth is flawed.

Gen 1:26 – 28 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. 

Man has a soul that outlives his body. The soul never dies.

God is a spirit and so any image of God in us must be in spiritual form – our souls.

Our souls are of critical importance

God is particularly interested in our souls.

Gen 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

The soul is more than our physical parts.

Our souls are far more important that our bodies.

 “Soul” occurs 458 times in the King James Version of the Bible.

Our souls are to be treasured and are beyond the reach of man.

Matt 10: 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

What we do here in this life on earth determines what happens to our souls when our physical bodies die.

Matt 16: 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come  in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

This is the most credible reason why it would make sense for us not to look out for our own benefit at the expense of others.

If we are playing a game without objective rules and nothing matters outside of the game, why would I not play in a way that suits me?

If there are 10 of us and 10 pieces of chicken in the buffet, why would I not go to the front of the line and take 3 pieces?

Jesus gives us a compelling reason.

We are advised that if we play the game of life right we will be rewarded. Our reward is differential treatment of our souls after we leave this physical body. If we play the game poorly we are condemned to eternal torment.

Jesus goes further by giving us the simple strategy for winning the game:

Matt 22: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

That is why it makes sense to put the common good above our selfish desires.

Matt 16: 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

This respect for a higher authority, rules and rewards is the most credible reason for doing good.

The description of a carefully designed, ongoing game with well documented guidelines and rewards and punishment gives us clarity as to how to go through life.

We understand the why, the what and the how.

 

The Why:

We were created to fit into God’s carefully designed plan. We have one guiding principle to follow:

The key principle is the need for man to do the will of God. That is our duty.

Ecc 12:13  Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.  14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

We messed up through Adam’s failure to be obedient.

Rom 5:18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people,so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one manthe many were made sinners,so also through the obedienceof the one man the many will be made righteous.

 

3.      Why Jesus? He saves us our souls

Acts 4: 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.

What must WE do to save our souls?

1. Hear the Word – the Gospel

John 6: 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

Rom 10:17  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

 

What must we do to save our souls?

2. Believe

Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

 What must we do to save our souls?

3. Repent

Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.

Luke 13: 1 Now there were some present at that very season who told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered and said unto them, Think ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they have suffered these things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish.

 

 What must we do to save our souls?

4. Confess Jesus is Lord

Matt 10:32 Every one therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven.

Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

 What must we do to save our souls?

5.  Be baptized for the remission of your sins

Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

1 Pet 3:21The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

  What must we do to save our souls?

6. Remain in Christ

John 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

1 Pet 2: 1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.

4.      Why Jesus? He provides solutions to our problems in this life

Now that you are in Christ, the amazing rewards are open to you.

Is 59: 1.Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

Eph 1: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,who has blessed us in the heavenly realmswith every spiritual blessing in Christ.

John 14:6
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

This is the Father who says:

Jer 32:27 Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there any thing too hard for me?

 

Why Jesus?

Because it makes SENSE!

Free Electricity!

Free Electricity!

There is an earnest complaint in some communities that in years gone by they did not have to pay for electricity. They are upset that they are now being pressured to pay for the electricity that they use.

Many of us wonder how those people could be so unreasonable. We have to pay for water, light, telephone, food, housing etc.

The amazing thing is that even as we look in wonderment at those who refuse to pay for electricity, we do not expect to pay for our sins. We commit sin after sin without any true penitence and there is no genuine repentance from those actions that displease God.

We raise placards in our minds that read: “We want FREE SIN!!!”

Why should the living complain when punished for their sins? Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. Lamentations 3:39-40

 God is a God of grace but also a just God. He hates sin and places a heavy price on it. Woe!