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And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. – Titus 2:7 (NLT)

How often do you think of a Hindu as  good example of “good works” for a Christian to follow?

Would you really feel comfortable recommending an existentialist’s political views and ideology as a ‘pattern of good works’ that Christians could imitate?

Henry David Thoreau had such an influence.  His words of social change and individual ideological protest had an influence that span across decades and then centuries.  Walden and its escape from societal norms of the 19th century was combined with Civil Disobedience and its core message of anti-war protest and nonviolent, pacifist yet disruptive social action.

Gandhi bought into it over a hundred years later.  He used its powerful message to turn the British Empire upside down as he held hunger strikes and nonviolent protests to free India from the imperialistic reign and rule of the British.

MLK read Thoreau as part of his study of the social gospel.  His own words in Why We Can’t Wait exploded with the very essence of Thoreau’s fit with taxing Americans for the war with Mexico that no one really wanted except Texans and the federal government.

Thoreau’s influence went beyond these two and continues.  Yet, as Christians, we act as if a many of the faithful men and women of the Bible’s early church period and history’s Roman Empire were not persecuted for their faith.

Yet, Thoreau is a not  a sole voice speaking up against social ills and unchecked injustice and tyranny.  The Bible speaks of speaking up and taking a stand against such earthly rulers and social chaos.

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,

– Ephesians 4:1 (ESV)

Was Bonhoeffer influenced by Thoreau’s words of wisdom or the red letters of the New Testament as spoken by Jesus? Did not the Apostles stand up before the Sanhedrin in the Book of Acts, vowing to follow God rather than to listen to man? Was Paul not a persecutor of the people of the Way, later known as the church, as a Pharisee only to later be punished by the Roman government in spite of being a Roman citizen himself?

8 Open your mouth for the mute, For the rights of all the unfortunate. 9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy. – Proverbs 31:8-9 (NIV)

Suffering in Sin

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins– Ephesians 2:1(NASB)

“Grace is but glory begun, and glory is but grace perfected.”- Jonathan Edwards

Sin had us in a state of deadness.  Our trespasses and iniquities held us captive.  As Paul wrote in the New Testament, we were “slaves to sin.” Sin prohibited any ability to truly live.  We could see any way out of the grasp of sin.  Its stronghold had us blinded.  It blocked any sign of light from penetrating into our dark dwelling place.

God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins

– Colossians 2:13 (NIV)

Set Free

God set us free.  He freed us from guilt by grace.  He freed us from shame with salvation.  He freed us from pressure with perfection.

He set us free.

He set us free without condemnation.  He set us free with forgiveness.  He set us free through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.

No Longer Dead But Alive with Christ

By freeing us from sin, He made us “alive with Christ” (Col. 2:13).  He took us from one state of being (dead) and led us to another state of being (alive).  He freed us that we might have life and life more abundantly (John 10:10).  We have that abundant life in and with Christ Jesus.  He’s the reason we are free, but He’s also our Redeemer.

Suffer No More

He freed us, but He wants us to live like Christ.  He saved us, but He desires us to follow the example of His Son.  He set us free so that we might not suffer any longer.

Live today fully liberated by the might work of the Lord’s saving power.

So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. – Romans 6:11 (ESV)

“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”  – Mark 1:15 (NIV)

Doing as He Says

Repentance and belief are what lead to salvation.  The first calling for us as believers is to salvation.  We are called to believe the Good News (the gospel).  Upon our internal belief in it, then we confess our belief in Jesus as Savior before men.  This our public profession of Him as our personal Savior.

This is our first calling as Christian.  It is what makes us Christians.  We accept Christ as Savior and enter an entirely different realm of existence, for His Spirit indwells within us upon belief.  That is the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Many of us may differ upon the numerous other things that transpire upon belief.  Some things are more inherent to our denominational traditions and beliefs rather than biblical facts. However, as believers, we all have a common faith with Christ as the head authority over us all.

Called Out and Counted On

And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. . . And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.  Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. – Matthew 10:1, 7-8 (KJV)

good shepherd

How much of what you are doing today is

related to what He called you to do with your life?

Jesus calls us.

He calls us to salvation.

He calls us into service.

He calls us out from the world, to live set free and set apart.  He calls us from darkness into the light.  He calls us from sinful depravity to the free gift of salvation through grace by faith.

He calls us out from among the other sheep for service that will further the spreading of the gospel (Matthew 10:7).  His call upon our lives sends us along a different path than many of the rest of the flock.  He is the Good Shepherd and we are His sheep who know His voice.

As you go about your routine business and affairs this week, continually ask yourself: How of what you are doing today is related to what God has called you to do with your life?

Don’t forget that He called you for two things:

  • He called you to salvation
  • He called you for service

crosses

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God

– Ephesians 2:8 (KJV)

Responding to Rebuke

Unless the LORD of hosts Had left us a few survivors, We would be like Sodom, We would be like Gomorrah. – Isaiah 1:9

God rebukes us for good reason.

Rebellion.

Disobedience.

Idolatry.

We could go on for a while, you know.

The point is not that we are rebuked or the reasons for our rebuke.  The point is that we can respond to the rebuke rightly.

Reminder

Our rebuke should remind us that God is a righteous judge.  We are reminded that our purpose here on earth is to please God.  His rebuke reminds us to get our lives in line with His purpose for us.

Reflection

Usually, rebuke from God is based on His supreme authority.  Such rebuke should help us reflect on who God is and how He is to us.

Relationship

Focus on your relationship with God.  God redeemed us for us to have a relationship with Him.  Above all else, we need to maintain that relationship with God through constant communication and continual communion with God.

Shameless

Shameless

 

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You expect me to be ashamed,

To deny what I have become

And to only accept what the world has to offer.

I forsake the world’s treasures.

I reject the evildoers.

I shall not be ashamed.

 

Shame?

No, I feel none.

I refuse to accept the notion

That my beliefs should conform and not conflict

And that I must be ashamed of myself,

Ashamed of the cross,

Ashamed of My Savior.

 

Shame?

The shame is on you.

Shame on you for your cruel opinions.

Shame on you for your doubt and unfaithfulness.

Shame on you for your unbelief.

 

Shame?

As for me,

I shall remain shameless.

I reject any notion of shame.

 

Lamentations in the Storm

Lamentations in the Storm

“Be not simply good – be good for something.”

– Henry David Thoreau

Imagine if you had nothing getting in your way, nothing holding you back.

What would you do with your life?

Could you see yourself doing whatever you could to help someone else?

Could you see beyond yourself and make a difference for someone else?

Just imagine if you had that opportunity.

No obstacles.

No opposition.

No other objective.

Just being in the position to do good for someone else, uplifting their spirit and blessing them through what God has already done for you.

Now it’s time for a reality check.

The only thing holding you back from doing such mighty works is you.

YOU…Your Own Unwillingness

If you could somehow shake that unwilling spirit, then you can do it.

Oh, that’s not you?

Then it must be. . .

YOU. . . Your Own Unworthiness

That is the pitiful self image that says that you are not worthy of doing good because you know that you are of no earthly good.  Our Bibles tell us that we are a “new creation” based upon the work of the Lord.  We are worthy!

So, you still think that’s not you?

How about. . .

YOU. . . Your Own Unfaithfulness

You just don’t believe that God can use you in such a way.  You don’t believe that you can be a blessing, especially since you are in the need of a blessing yourself.  Elijah was fed by ravens by a brook, and then he was fed by an impoverished widow.  There was another widow who gave all that she had when she placed two mites in the offering.

Get YOU out of the way and let God have His way.

Sit YOU down and set yourself up to be a blessing to someone.

Give YOU his walking papers and give God an open opportunity to use you like He’s never used you before.

He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God? – Micah 6:8 (NASB)

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