What Does God Require?

To be honest, the requirements that God has of us are so simple they are almost too good to be true. There are those who believe that you must meet as a large gathering in a mega church (5000 or more seated at once) because the more people raising their voices to Him in one place in one accord will get their personal prayers wants and needs answered. Some believe that God requires total seclusion as to avoid the temptations of the world. Some firmly believe that placing ten percent of earnings covers all things and they do not have to lift a finger to help another because the money will take care of them. But, God does not need our worldly possessions. These are extreme measures for a God who desires only a completely personal relationship requiring our devotion and obedience.

God desires our worship as a community of two or more, however, too many in one place means someone may be forgotten or ignored. Yes Jesus preached to large crowds but that does not mean we should try and do that today. He wants quiet individual moments but there is no need to totally ignore the suffering world. Relying on money to take care of everything, that replaces God with an idol and does not even qualify the person as a lukewarm Christian.

God’s Grace

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

Titus 2:11-15

Knowing that God freely gives His grace for those who accept Him and that through His Grace, gave His Son for our sinfulness is still not what God requires. Rather, He requires our admission of guilt and seeks our desire for redemption through repenting of our shame and submission of our lives to His Son. All while understanding that the Free gift of Grace was presented to us in the form of a humble baby who would live a right life and die for us.

The Physical Requirements

All physical requirements are by products of the Spiritual requirements that are desired of us.

“With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:6-8

Do justice, love kindness (showing mercy), and walk humbly. Those cannot be done without the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Holy Spirit builds us up in order to love others as He loves us. It is the Love of God that gives us the strength to stand firm against temptation. It is the Love of God that keeps us humble. It is the Love of God that through Him, the examples of people from Scripture, and His Son that enable us to show mercy and kindness to others.

What is required of us?

To Love the Lord our God with all our Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength. This is done in our obedience to His laws and statutes requiring us to do our best to live a right life. He knows we cannot follow without stumbling so He gave us Jesus. It is through God’s Gift of Jesus that we are saved so our requirement is obedience and friendship with Jesus. Loving Him with all the love we give God because He is of God.

God also desires our worship through song, prayer, and the humble use of Spiritual Gifts. Giving of our earthly pay is good to a point but should not be considered the only form of offering. We are the offering God desires.

Brothers and Sisters, what we need to do is get back to the heart of worship and leave man’s made traditions behind. Jesus did say to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and God what is God’s. Caesar can have the worldly things, God has everything else.

Blessings  Rob, Servant of God 

The Importance of Being Humble

Jesus had a way of making the humble feel what would normally be unattainable joy. He also had a way of humbling the proud to their material ruin and those who understood received Spiritual joy. There is something very good about not having everything the world offers. Satan offered Jesus the world but He refused. During this temptation Jesus taught Satan that he was nothing compared to the Father.

 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”But he answered, “It is written,

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the templeand said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’

and

“‘On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
    and him only shall you serve.’”

Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. Matthew 4:1-11

Jesus knows the Scripture because He is the Scripture. When He took human form, He was sent to correct the proud and manmade traditions and end the sacrifices that God despised. The humbling of the Israelites was not just done in the New Testament era but the Old. Look how God humbled them in the desert.  

Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the LORD promised on oath to your ancestors. Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Deuteronomy 8:1-3

Do those words sound familiar? God was with them wherever they went even when He was silent. They bore the Tabernacle and all things put inside it carrying the Triune God wherever they went. They were humbled constantly in His presence keeping them from being proud of themselves since they recognized all things were God’s not theirs. This is a big part of humility.

This year let us return to the humility of it all by helping those in need, volunteering even when it is inconvenient, give of ourselves as Jesus and His Apostles did. Let’s show the world the true meaning of being a Christian. Are you ready? January 1st is right around the bend.

Rob, Servant of God

First Appearances Are Deceiving

Have you ever gone somewhere and felt really out of place because the others that were there looked different than you? CROSSover Praise Band had that happen last night. Basically we had a Blues Brothers experience without the cage even though it was a church function. Everyone that was there was dressed like cowboys and girls and the first thought from a couple of the band members was that we were out of place. As the night went on the first band up was a group of older gentlemen and one 18 something all playing guitars and they played classic country rock, a couple Beatles songs, and a song from the 60’s. All of a sudden the view of the two that were concerned changed. They saw how the group was received by the crowd and figured that we would fit in just fine. Myself and our bassist had no issues from the start and they were looking at us apologetically. Jesus did not deceive us with His appearance but there were so many expectations on how the Messiah would come to save the world. The Wise Men from the East thought He would be born in the palace. Others expected a fanfare with much pomp and circumstance. But Jesus came humbly in a lower to middle class family born amongst His Father’s handiwork. The fanfare came quietly to a group of shepherds who amplified the song of the angels who announced His birth, finding Jesus asleep on hay in a wooden trough. Does not sound very exciting. How many even in this day and age would consider a great ruler to enter into the world the way He did? How do we first appear to others as we walk down the street? As we enter places of worship? Our work, school, or other places we go especially for the first time. Some people want to make really good impressions dressing and acting in ways that they normally would not be only to realize they could have been themselves the whole time. If we really want to be like Christ, we do not have to dress to the nines or hide we just need to be ourselves. Brothers and Sisters, if you have to be someone different to meet people you are not being who God designed you to be. You do not have to conform to worldly ways to be liked nor do you have to change and blend in. There are so many who have no clue who they are because they trust society’s view more that their own. Be who you are by being that Child of God you were designed to be. With Love and Hope, Blessings, Rob, Servant of God

What Path Will You Follow

According to Jesus there are two paths, the narrow and the wide. One leads to light and the other leads to darkness. These two paths are totally different in nature and at one point in our lives we need to understand that it is our choice on which path we take. One path is easy yet at the end the most dangerous. The other is very hard to stay on in fact you might think you are walking a tight rope but the reward is great. After this choice is revealed to us we must decide where we go from there.

The wide path is one where God’s Word is present but not followed. It is the ways of the world with little attention to the desire of having God in our lives. If fact you could say that it is literally having the devil as your guide.

The narrow path is God’s. It is where the Word is ever present and followed the best we can in our misshapen, human lives.  We are held to a standard that is very difficult to keep but the difference between the two paths is in whom we put our faith, our trust in. It is who we turn to in times of trembling.

The narrow path leads to the Kingdom of Heaven. God sent Jesus to guide us to the path and Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to guide us and keep us on the path. Yes we have free will but unlike the wide path where free will allows for no immediate punishment for our mistakes, the narrow path corrects us and keeps us there.

The wide path keeps people in the world. It is filled with woes and worries over basic needs and wanderings. There is no clear cut edge on either side so there is much wavering. You can still know God and stay on the wide path but you will not see God and feel His presence once your path ends.

The path we take is determined by us when we reach the crossroad between innocence and understanding. It is a choice we make on our own but there is always still time to change our minds. We can choose to live in the world and gain nothing at the end, or choose Christ and gain everything.  God wants us to choose life with Him. What will you choose?

Brothers and Sisters there is a fine line where the grey is so thin that it is barely seen. It is thinner than a strand of hair. We cannot stay there but must choose the path we will take. I urge you to trust God and Keep His Word on your heart. That will help you stay on the narrow path to life.

There are so many ways the devil deceives and we could be walking the wide path while thinking we are on the narrow, that is why God gave us His Word, His Commandments, His Son. I have said before that there is a difference in believing and being in Jesus, this is where that is the most important. Being in Christ, walking in His ways the best we can is the way to stay on the narrow verses just believing and not walking beside Him.

The Choice is yours.

Rob, Servant of God

I Believe The Word of God is Alive

The Word is living and breathing inside each one of us. Though some may not know it or realize it, God put us together and left His mark in and on our hearts even in our very DNA.

See, the Word of God is alive! It is at work and is sharper than any double-edged sword — it cuts right through to where soul meets spirit and joints meet marrow, and it is quick to judge the inner reflections and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Every time we take a breath, God’s Word speaks from us. When we do what God desires of us and commands us to do in faith and trust, His Word is seen and heard. We are living examples of His Word at work, so why do so many of us fail?

We are only human

How many times have I heard that one? We are human, yes, but we are made with a purpose and should be doing our best to live within that purpose not for our own satisfaction, but His. Our humanity only gets us so far and when we choose to follow a path that is not part of God’s purpose, we stumble. Even then, we may have to stumble for another person to fulfill a part of the purpose He has for us. God is not easy to comprehend.

Because of Sin, we suffer

Adam and Eve made a choice to disobey God. It was that choice which brought sin into the world. Because of the sin, we are given free will to choose in order so God can work in our lives. God uses us for His Glory no matter how bad our suffering seems. I know it does not sound like God cares what happens sometimes but we have to remember, He designed us, He created us, and He knows our every thought word and deed.

Even in our failure we will succeed

God told Joshua when he was preparing to take over for Moses that he will succeed. This powerful message is true today for all who believe.

“Yes, keep this book of the Law on your lips, and meditate on it day and night, so that you will take care to act according to everything written in it. Then your undertakings will prosper, and you will succeed. Haven’t I ordered you, ‘Be strong, be bold’? So don’t be afraid or downhearted, because Adonai  your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:8-9

What we do in God’s name through the understanding of the Word will help us become better believers and closer to God. This is not an automatic guarantee of earthly riches but of things that boost our spiritual life and will help us through the tough times. Our success is when we are living in accordance with the Scriptures and doing our best to live in a Christ like way. It is not easy but even the little things can show that the Word of God is alive in us.

Be Strong And Courageous   

This is a message to us for when we are being persecuted. Keeping the Word on our hearts and not wavering will give us strength even in the darkest moments of our lives. We keep the Word of God alive when we do not show fear even in the face of death. How often do we just let our human emotions get in the way of God? Too often really. God knows our hearts and when fear overtakes us we should try and think only of God’s Word. I know it is difficult sometimes but calling out to Jesus and knowing He is there will relax our fears of earthly matters.

Jesus, The Word of God, is Alive

You see, the Word of God is Alive. Jesus came to us as a gift from God. Jesus is the Word made flesh who lived out a perfect life to be the example for us. In payment for this gift, we sacrificed Him on the altar of the Cross so that His Blood would redeem us from sin and death. But Jesus defeated death sealing us with the Father’s Mark on our hearts and rose from the grave, returning to the Father with the promise of His return. He will come again but He left us with the Holy Spirit to guide and protect us in His Word until that time.

The Word of God is Alive

Blessings,

Rob, Servant of God