Friday, November 23, 2012

Gems in the rough

Gems... Rubies, Diamonds, Sapphires, and others I can't remember. These have been used so many times to describe our Christian walks. I would agree they are very good for illustration because of the picture it paints of how much God values us in our human minds. Think about it, to describe how much something is worth to us we use something extremely valuable in our minds and compare it to that. Now I guarantee God would not use a Gem to describe how much we mean to him but to our fragile human minds thats the best thing that makes sense. I mean to God gems are as worthless as dirt. However to describe his love he takes something we value and says, "You are worth million times more to me than this small thing you call valuable."

It is a beautiful picture to have a God so big call us beautiful in his eyes and say he wants to work on us. It is more than we deserve and could ever ask for! I mean in a sense we are all really gems in the rough at the beginning. God hasn't started to work on us(or we haven't let him) yet and we still have rough edges and don't look pretty. Now while I really like that picture of God smoothing us out and working on us I just realize something recently. Why do we need to smooth out gems? Why do we polish it and work hours to make it look beautiful? Well just that! To make it beautiful! But what makes it beautiful? Well most people would tell you the color or the purity. Well I must point something out first. You know that gleam a gem gives off? Or that color it has? Would you see that if it were dark?

So often we get caught up in letting God work on us we forget to be a beacon of hope to others. To show others what life with Christ looks like. I am not saying letting God work on us is a bad thing! By all means no, it is a great thing! However when we don't shine out for Christ what was the point of letting God work in us? Just like you can't see a gem without light neither can people see Christ if he isn't reflected in us. With out light reflecting of that polished surface you wouldn't be able to see that amazing gem. We need to reflect Christ with our entire being to let God work in us then let him shine in our lives!

I would like to point out there is another problem with this. During this process it can be very easy to start to show off our own beauty(beauty God created in us nothing we did on our own). When that happens we are giving off a wrong impression. We are taking credit for something amazing God did in our life. That is the other side of the ditch. We must never let that happen. We must let God work in us, polish us, smooth us out, then reflect him, and finally point those who see our beauty to the one who actually did the work.

So I challenge you my brothers and sisters to shine for Christ. Not only shine for Christ but when people comment about that beauty in our lives don't just smile and nod but boldly speak out for the one who made that beauty. Don't let Satan deceive you into thinking you did all that work. In every aspect of your life give God glory and let His kingdom reign! May God bless you all this week.

Your bro in Christ,


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Emotionless God Myth

It feels like so often Christians nowadays see God as distant and not emotionally attached to our decisions. What do I mean by that? I mean that so many people assume that whatever we do doesn't affect God. That he doesn't grieve, feel hurt, or joy. Yeah we hear about things that hurt God and things that make him happy but how often do we actually think about how our actions affect God? I know I am guilty of not thinking about it as much as I should.

In my Old Testament class we went over Ezekiel in detail. To set the stage Ezekiel was a prophet in Babylon during the time of the taking of captives from Jerusalem to Babylon as well as the destruction of Babylon. Ezekiel was a one who saw visions of what was exactly happening in Jerusalem while he was in Babylon. With those visions he then described them to his fellow Israelites to tell them what was going on in Israel. Another interesting thing about Ezekiel was the fact that he was very in tune with God's feelings and emotions. What God felt he portrayed through Ezekiel to give us an example of how he really feels.

So with that setting there are many times that God portrayed his emotions through Ezekiel but I wanted to point out one main event. That was the day Jerusalem was destroyed. Before that day God had told Ezekiel that on that day he would lose something. God lost Jerusalem along with his temple and at that same time Ezekiel lost the closest person to him besides God... his wife. The same day God was grieving for his people who had walked away from him Ezekiel was grieving for his wife. Talk about a massive blow and what an example to show what God was feeling!

Yesterday was exactly six months from when my closest friend died. That was a dark day in my history. I have neglected to write about how I feel about it or how I was dealing with it because words seemed to small to describe what I was and am going through. Every memory of him is sweet yet at the same time it feels like someone stabbed me in the heart and was slowly twisting the knife. Every time I see a picture of him I want to cry. He means more to me than words can describe but many times I try and fail. Yet through all of that I realize now that God was grieving with me. God feels what I feel he is not just sitting up there watching expressionless. During those times God came by me and comforted me giving me hope for the future and the strength to go on.

With that we also have to remember that he doesn't only feel what we feel but he feels what we do. Have you ever tried to imagine every time you sin what God's reaction is? I know I haven't done it as much as I should. God does indeed feel pain and hurt when you sin against him. He is grieved when you fall away and don't follow his words. He wants us to be joyful and satisfied in him. When I thought about the pain I feel every time I think about my friend and then took that and applied it to what God feels when we sin against him it really put things into perspective. Because I know my pain is nothing compared to what He feels when we sin and when you put it that way it really helps you visualize that pain He feels. Would you really want to cause God so much pain just to please yourself? I know I wouldn't!

So what would happen if you took all the things you do and thought about if they please God or not?
Would you find that a lot of what you do is God pleasing or does it cause him grief?

So I challenge you to evaluate your life and look at what causes God grief and change that. Turn that into something God can take joy in. This life is so much bigger than living for ourselves. There is so much joy and fulfillment to find in following God and his word. Don't give up just because you feel depressed, sad, or angry. Remember God knows what your going through. Tell him about it and ask him to help you through it. Remember the power of prayer! Stay Strong!

Your bro in Christ,