Romans 9:1-5 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, 2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. 3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: 4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; 5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.
Within the context of this passage, we are given a glimpse inside the heart of Paul. I read this passage only to feel weighed and measured and found wanting. Paul’s burden is so great that he experienced and expressed both a burden as well as brokenness for the lost. Paul’s heaviness is so great that he was in constant and continual sorry. He looked to Christ to find joy. He looked at humanity and found sorrow. The condition of those he loved brought him to a place of complete brokenness. It brought him to a place where he actually wished himself separated from Christ for his brethren. I read this and say, “he does really mean that.” Then I study Paul’s life and realize he lived his life motivated to see those he loved come to know Christ.
I read this passage and begin to ask myself, “Where did my burden go?” I guess the real question I asked is’ “Where did my brokenness go?” I think every believer has a burden for those they love. Everyone wants to see those they love experience what we have in Christ. However, how does it impact our everyday lives? I have read this passage and then evaluated my prayer life. Somewhere along the lines there has been a coldness and callousness established in my heart toward those that are lost. Here are some principles that I am starting to address in my own life:
I cannot let the things that are delayed by God affect the burden of my heart. Instead of allowing delayed answers to our prayers dry up my tears, use the delays to intensify my brokenness.
Ask God for a revival of brokenness. This is not something a person can just make happen. I need to ask God to soften my heart toward those that are lost.
Have a heart and mind centered on the gospel. One of the things that has replaced brokenness is busyness. I cannot allow the busyness to distract the need for others to receive the gospel.
I need my burden back. It is more than just being concerned, but it is about being consumed.
It is time that God’s people start grabbing the mantle. There has been a many believer that has passed on from this world to the next. God’s people must maneuver themselves into a position to receive the mantles that are still floating around. As God’s choice servants are leaving this world it is my fear that fewer are desire to be used by God. It is not that God is not calling, but we are not positioning the next generation where they can hear the call of God on their lives.
Revelation 12:10-11 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
Satan does a great job of making accusations against us. For me, he has plenty to make to the Lord. I cannot even begin to imagine what he is saying about me. Sadly, it is one of the few times where he is not making up lies. I am going to go out on a limb and say most of it is probably true. What are we to do when the accusations made against us by Satan are true? What do we do with accusations? How do we live in such a way that accusations have no footing to grow into a nightmare?
The way they overcome the accusations is two fold: The blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. Eternally speaking, the blood of the Lamb is how accusations lose their footing before God. The accusations made by Satan are most likely true but what he fails to see is that the blood has been applied. Yes, we are sinners. Yes, we are full of mistakes. The blood applied erases the record of the mistakes. Satan comes around looking for all the darkness in our life, but God only sees the blood of Jesus Christ in our life. Thank God for the blood of Jesus. It is the blood that cleanses. When God sees a Christian, all he sees is the royal righteous blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. The application of the blood completes the story. Satan may be making accurate accusation, but he is not giving the complete story. His accusations fail because the blood applied erases the record of those accusations. Now, it gets more convicting. They also overcame by the word of their testimony. I think we have forgotten the power of a personal testimony. There will be accusations against us in this lifetime. We will be accused of so much. The question is whether or not we will have to defend ourselves, or will the word of our own personal testimony speak for itself? If accusations were made against us would we be able to sit still and quietly allow our testimony to speak for itself. Would we be required to provide an explanation for our actions or would our own testimony speak for itself? God does not want us nullify the work of the blood in the realm of eternity. God wants us to live in such a way that our testimony speaks for itself. God sees the blood applied, but can this world see the blood of Jesus applied to our lives? May God help us have a life that allows the world to see a life where the blood of Jesus has been applied.
Today, we need to concentrate on our life in Christ. With that being said, we can also concentrate on making sure our testimony is intact. Pray today that God will allow the world to see overcoming power of the blood applied in our lives.
The world has a very distinct pull. Satan strategically utilizes the world’s systems, philosophies, and ideologies to deceive, draw, and ultimately destroy us. It is method that appeals to the flesh. In this world we will face tribulation, but the Lord offers each one of us peace in the midst of this tribulation. Through the resurrected life of Christ as well as the crucified life of Christ we are given the power to overcome the appealing draws of the world. This week we will further study the ability to overcome the world, the flesh and Satan.
We just celebrated Easter. The celebration of a risen Savior is what set Christianity apart from everything else. Between the death and resurrection Jesus Christ defeated Satan, sin, death, hell and the grave. Together the cross and the resurrection combine for some major victory. One of our challenges this week is not to just look at the resurrection as a future blessing, but also look at it as present victory. We all need to learn that there is victory in Christ. I hope and pray this week will help you.
Psalms 90:12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
We have to learn to make each day count. Time is the one thing we experience that gives zero second chances. Our days here on earth are truly numbered. We clock in each day not knowing if this day will be our last. Personally, this is very convicting because I look back and wonder if I have made my days count for something worthwhile. Making each day count is a learning process. We must learn to order our days and then attack them with the realization that we may not get another day.
We tend to approach life with a sense of carelessness. We live our lives thinking that each day is a guarantee. One of my personal problems is the thought of putting things off for another day. We say things like “I will get to that later”, or “I will tackle that in a few days.” The reality is that we are numbering our days. We are assuming we have a few days or that “later” is some God given guarantee. The reality is that we are not promised anything. We have to approach our days with purpose.
How would a person make each day count? For me, I struggle because my “to-do” list is longer than my day. It is hard to me to find a starting point as well as a finishing point. There is always something that needs to be done. Here are some thoughts I am personally considering in order to make my day count:
Make my relationship with God a priority: Will I purposely and passionately pursue the Lord today?
Consider my family: When I became a parent, I truly relinquished my own rights and made a decision to personally invest into the next generation.
Be Unselfish: My day will have a greater impact if I do not make it about me.
Make a List: If I know what I need to do, then it helps me prioritize my daily task.
Rest: One of the most spiritual things we can do is rest.
Be Healthy: It is going to be impossible to make the day count if I do not have the energy to finish it.
Maybe you can add to this today. How would you make your day count?
Hebrews 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
There are a lot of ways to approach the thought of falling into the hands of a living God. The key to this is understanding that God does not want us to be afraid of Him. God does not intend for us to read such a verse and not desire His presence in our lives. When we consider falling into the hands of the Living God we must understand it an attitude of reverence and respect. It is something that should not be done with carelessness. I remember one time getting on a four wheeler when I was in high school. It was a racing four-wheeler. I had never been on anything like that before. I remember getting out on that back road and catching 3rd gear doing about 50mph. 50 mph does not sound that fast but I still had two more gears left. That machine would flat out fly. It was so much fun but at the same time I got off and told my buddy, “If you are not careful, that thing will kill you.” You see, this four-wheeler could be enjoyed if handled with care and respect. However, operating such a machine with carelessness and fearlessness would be dangerous. Our relationship with the Lord is much the same. We do not have to avoid the Lord because we are scared of Him. Our relationship with the Lord has the ability to be enjoyed if we handle it with caution, care, and respect. When people approach God with a sense of carelessness is when things become eternally dangerous.
We all need to approach God in the same manner. He is a God that should be experienced and enjoyed, but He is a God that should be respected and reverenced. When we live our lives with carelessness and recklessness,there is potential danger on an eternal level headed our way. God loves us, but at the same time we have to realize what He is capable of doing with us.
Romans 14:11-12 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
There is a pay day some day. There is coming a time when every one of us will have to stand before God, bow before God, and confess to God. All of us are going to have to answer for ourselves before God. We will not have to imagine what we will be doing when we get before God. While I understand that God already knows the answer to everything, I have often wondered what questions will be asked before the Lord and how the answers will be revealed. The exposure of our entire lives both public and private will be open before the throne of God. There will be total exposure, and we will have to give an answer for each moment of our life. I am not even sure how this process is going to happen. Here are some of my thoughts regarding this event:
The internal thoughts and motives of my heart will play as everything in my life is exposed before a Heavenly throne. There have been a lot of times people have been fooled by actions while they never knew the matters of the heart. The intentions, the internal thoughts, and the motives of the heart will be played out loud throughout each event.
Nothing will be hid from God. We seem to want to play a dangerous game of roulette with God, each moment taking chances on whether or not we will have another moment to live. We have to understand the reality of having to answer to God. It is inevitable, but at the same time it is going to be brutal. Nothing will be hid. There is no small compartment within the heart where we will be able to hide our secret sins.
What will I be able to say? Seriously, in the midst of total exposure there will be no excuses. We will not be able to pass blame, and we will not able to talk our way out of it. I can imagine something in my life getting exposed and just having nothing but shame because I failed in my relationship with my Heavenly Father.
How long will this last? Everyone is going to be bowing and confessing. It may last for only a moment, it may last for an extended period of time. Operating in eternity may not be something that will have time attached to it. That alone is hard to comprehend, but it is completely possible.
What will happen next? This is where things get serious. We will be judged. Actions, motives, and intentions will all be judged by God. This is a point where even our own salvation experience will be judged. I foreshadow a lot of weeping, sorrow, and genuine confession during this time. To stand before a perfectly holy God completely exposed. Maybe the holiness of God’s presence will be what brings total exposure to our public and private lives. I truly believe that it will be then that God will take those who have been saved and wipe away their tears. I cannot imagine a greater time of grace and mercy. He will also cast those who are lost into the lake of fire. Rather than having no memory, those people will live throughout eternity with a constant memory of what could have been if they had not allowed pride into their lives.