Don’t Leave Jesus in Ruins

Haggai Late nights with Jesus are my absolute favorite. Everyone is asleep, it’s quiet, and I can really focus on what the Lord is telling me through His word. Tonight, it took me a whole four verses in the book of Haggai before I knew that I’d be typing up a blog post before I could even think about going to sleep! It was these words that spoke to me:

 “Then the Lord sent this message through the prophet Haggai: “Why are you living in luxurious houses while My house lies in ruins?”

~Haggai 1:3-4 (NLT)

So many different thoughts went flying through my head as I read those words, so many different ways to look at them and use them to better yourself and your relationship with the Lord. I think I’ve managed to choose two points that I want to share.

1. Are you too busy living a life of luxury to notice that your relationship with Jesus is in ruins?

There are so many prosperity preachers out there today that try to push a “how to use Jesus and His teachings to get rich” kind of message. I’m personally not a fan. Jesus didn’t die on the cross for us to pull His teachings out of context, try our best to then use them to get rich and live a luxurious live of ease, then die and go to Heaven.

NO.

Jesus died on the cross so that we could find forgiveness, joy, comfort and love in Him and live a luxurious life in eternity with Him, in Heaven, when we die.

Yes, some people have worldly riches and possessions and are just as good of Christians as anybody. I’m not saying that having money is a negative thing, We can do so much good with money, as far as donating and helping the needy. I’m just saying that we need to be careful that it doesn’t cause us to forget about Jesus and turn Him into an after thought.

When He says “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance. (to the full, till it overflows.)” (John 10:10 AMP) He isn’t necessarily talking about living a life overflowing with worldly riches and possessions. Jesus Himself can and will give us a life overflowing with joy and blessing. So don’t get comfy and cozy in luxury and leave Jesus out in the cold and ruins! Like the temple in the verse, do you need to “rebuild” your relationship with God?

2. Are you living in the warmth and comfort of Jesus’ love while your friends are left in the cold ruins?

I think all of us are probably currently, or have been in the past, guilty of this one. Are you letting your light shine so that others can see it, or are you hiding it around certain people because you’re ashamed of it, or even afraid to “offend” someone with your Biblical views? I struggle with this as much as anyone! I want everyone I encounter to know the love of Jesus, but I worry so much about “shoving Jesus down their throats” that sometimes I miss opportunities to share Him with others! I just pray that through my blog and my Facebook page I can at least reach a few people and change their lives because of something I post or mention in conversation.

Share the warmth of Jesus’ love this Christmas season, don’t leave others out in the cold without it!

 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

~Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

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Don’t make Jesus smell like stinky socks…

Yes, it’s true, you did just read that title right… Stinky socks

No, I’m not crazy. Okay, not completely at least… ha!

 

“For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”

~2 Corinthians 2:15 (NKJV)

I also like the way that the Contemporary English Version words it:

“In fact, God thinks of us as a perfume that brings Christ to everyone. For people who are being saved, this perfume has a sweet smell and leads them to a better life. But for people who are lost, it has a bad smell and leads them to a horrible death.”

As I was flipping through my Bible this morning, skimming some of the notes I had scribbled in the margins, this verse basically jumped off the page at me. It wasn’t one that I had paid much attention to before, I think I had maybe underlined it in pencil as I listened to a sermon in the past, but I couldn’t let it go this time.

As Christians, we carry the “fragrance” of Christ. Our lifestyles, how we treat others, the language we use, all point back to Jesus. We need to be mindful of these things on a daily basis. Is the way you live your life giving others a good or a bad fragrance of Jesus? Is your life drawing others to a life with Christ, or “stinking” them out and pushing them away?

Don’t live your life so that you label yourself as a “Christian” but act, speak and treat others like you’re not. Being a Christian isn’t just a title, it’s not just a box you check on your Facebook profile, it’s a way of life. Those that call themselves Christians but treat it as just a label are those that end up pushing others away from Christianity, or make the “fragrance” of Jesus smell like “stinky socks.” No one is perfect, we ALL make mistakes on probably a daily basis. Yes, we have the grace of God, but that doesn’t mean that we should take advantage of it and use it as an excuse to sin.

Live your life

 

 

God wants us to give it all we’ve got and make Jesus smell as sweet as possible to those around us. We need to live lives that draw others to Him. Love and forgive others as God loves and forgives us. As followers of Christ we have been trusted to carry the message of life or death, if we don’t live a lifestyle that gives Jesus a sweet, welcoming fragrance, we’re ultimately pushing the people we encounter throughout our time on earth towards “death” instead of a life with Jesus.

The Reformation Study Bible expands on these verses saying:

“Figuratively speaking there is a pleasant fragrance, spiritually perceived, about true Christians. On the other hand, this fragrance is a “fragrance from death” to unbelievers, for it warns them that they are unprepared for the day of judgment.” 

“Carrying a message of eternal life or death is a sobering responsibility. No one is worthy of this solemn task, but God qualifies us for it nonetheless.”

Just a few things I thought about as I came across that verse thins morning. Take a minute to look at your life and ask yourself:

“Am I living a life that’s making Jesus smell sweet to those around me, or is my life making Jesus smell more like stinky gym socks?”

 

 

 

God Uses Struggle for Good

Inspire  The other morning, before I went into work, my heart was pulled into the book of Philippians. I’ve read through this book probably four or five times, but the Lord is ALWAYS revealing new things in His word, so I went back. It only took me until about halfway through the first chapter before I stopped dead and went back to reread this again and again:

“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel…”

~Philippians 1:12 (NIV) 

As Paul is writing to the Philippians about the goodness of God and His Gospel, he’s in jail. If Paul can praise God while he sits in prison, why is it so hard for us when we hit a minor bump in the road? We blame God, or even get angry at Him when things don’t go our way, or the way we think He should let them go. Let’s put that verse back in context and see the rest of Paul’s point…

“(12) Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters,  that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. (13) As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. (14)  And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.”

See there? God uses our suffering or “chains” to further the Gospel and inspire others through our testimonies. It should be clear to those around us, our “palace guard” we’ll say, that even though life isn’t going the way WE wanted it to or planned for it to go, that we’re pushing through the tough stuff to glorify Christ. Our struggle should inspire others to want to live for Christ, even through the difficulties. They too should want to look at their lives and say “Hey, I may be stuck right now, but I serve a good God Who will lead me through this and bring me out a lot stronger on the other side!” It’s a win/win situation, we get through our tough stuff and the name of the Lord gets lifted up and praised because we trusted Him to walk us through it!

“(16) Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. (17) For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (18) So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

~2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the raceand complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”

~Acts 20:24 (NIV) 

I’ll leave you with this…

 

“If it Pleases the King…”

Esther As I dove into the Scriptures this morning, I was especially drawn toward the book of Esther. So, I followed the nudge of the Holy Spirit, (of course!) flipped to it, and started reading. I was surprised at how much I was able to actually pull from this book! There were a couple of things that jumped out at me as I read.

1. We don’t have to compete to obtain grace and favor in the eyes of Jesus:

After Queen Vashti disobeyed King Xerxes, he decided that she had made a fool out of him and didn’t want other women to get word of her behavior and think that it was okay for them too to be disobedient to their husbands. So he basically banished her from the kingdom. King Xerxes then appointed officers throughout all of the provinces to gather all of the young, beautiful, virgins and bring them to Shushan to begin the process of selecting a new queen. Esther had to work to stand out from many other women in order to obtain grace and favor inn the eyes of King Xerxes.

Thankfully, Jesus isn’t looking for the prettiest, or the smartest, or even the holiest of us! There’s no competition to obtain the Grace and favor of our Heavenly Father, we already have it. If you’ve confessed your sins and asked Him into your heart and to be a part of your life, BINGO! You’ve already won!

““Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13) Every single one of us is given a chance to obtain God’s grace and favor, not just a select few Bible scholars, or pastors, or Sunday school teachers. The question is, will you take what He’s offering to you? Take on His marvelous will for your life?

That brings me to my second “Ah ha!” moment.

2.We should want to please our King:

Each time Esther (or anybody, really) approached King Xerxes with a petition, she always began with “if it pleases the king…” and continued on with her petition. Shouldn’t we have the same attitude as we approach Jesus with our wants and needs? Instead of coming to Him “Dear Lord, I NEED…” “Heavenly Father, I would really like…” “Lord, would You please…” maybe we should take a page from Esther’s book and only want something if it pleases Him. After all, He knows what’s best for us, shouldn’t we want His will for our lives over our own? I know I do! I’m positive that whatever He wants for my life is WAY cooler than anything I could ever want for myself. I want to live my life to please Him, even when those around me are living to please the world and obtain worldly possessions.

“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I (Jesus) came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” John 10:10 (AMP)

“You can have all this world, just give me Jesus.”