Tag Archives: representing Jesus

April 26; God Told Me To

2 Samuel 2:1-5:5; 1 Chronicles 3:1-4, 11:1-3

What happens when we do things in Jesus’ name that were never part of His plan? Does God bless it anyway? The Old Testament is full of examples of individuals, kings, entire nations doing things without God’s direction. And it usually ends very badly.

Ask Recab and Baanah for instance. Ish-Bosheth was standing in the way of David becoming King. At least that’s what Racab and Baanah seemed to have thought. So they decided to clear the path for David and kill Ish-Bosheth. Then, and this is what struck me today, they went to David and said:

Here is the head of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, your enemy, who tried to take your life. This day the Lord has avenged my lord the king against Saul and his offspring. (2 Samuel 4:8)

They actually gave God credit for what they had done. But do we read anywhere that God had directed them to murder Saul’s son? We don’t. Did God bless them anyway, seeing they had acted with good intentions in His Name? He did not.

They received a swift death penalty. More blood shed.

But look closer. Did that death sentence come from God? Scripture doesn’t say anything about David asking God what to do. It appears David, who was closely identified with God, made that call on his own.

We who are closely identified with Jesus need to be intentional in our walk with Him. We need to be careful not to do something we want, slap God’s name on it, and assume He’ll bless it.

We need to be aware that non-believers are watching us, and judging God by what we do. If we say, “God told me to,” they are going to believe God told us to do that thing. Whether or not He did. And that’s serious.

I think God sometimes gets a bad rap because His children are misrepresenting Him. And I don’t think any of us who love Jesus want to make Him look bad. God help us to do what He asks us to do in His Name.

And may He help us not be guilty of dressing up our own will and actions by saying,

“God told me to.”

 

January 27; Blessed To Bless

Genesis 37-19

Does your relationship with God have an impact on others? It should.

Joseph’s relationship with God blessed Potiphar and Potiphar’s household. The teenage boy was a slave, but listen to what Scripture tells us about that:

From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. (39:5)

Even in prison, Joseph was blessed by God, and a blessing to the warden:

The warden paid no attention to anything under Jospeh’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. (39:23)

So let me ask you again. Does your relationship with God have an impact on others, so that when He pours His blessings out on you they naturally spill over and touch the people close to you? Your family? Neighbors? Friends? Coworkers? Church? Community? Do people acknowledge that God in your life has benefited them, too?

What a privilege we have of being instruments through which God reveals Himself. We are blessed by God to be a blessing to others so that they will be drawn to Him, and find the same relationship we have with Him through the blood of Jesus.

May you be blessed, and a blessing to someone today.

January 13; Spiritual Inventory

As Job was taking inventory of his life, I am encouraged to do the same. Can I, like Job, lay it all out there and know in my heart I have done what is right and good? Join me as I look at my heart’s condition before my God.

31:1-4; Job determined not to lust after another woman. This takes an intentional act of will.  So I’m checking my own lust-level. I can hardly watch TV without something popping up to try to get me to think about sex. Sex sells. God is asking me if I intentionally guard my heart even in front of the tube.

31:5-8; Job tells me he didn’t “walk in falsehood,” or hurry “after deceit.” Again, speaking the truth, living the truth is a choice. God is asking me how important it is to me to always speak the truth, even in these days when the truth is something to be laughed at and denied, and when people think there’s such a thing as a “white lie”.

31:9-12; Jealousy. Can I really be genuinely happy for my neighbor over their good fortune without longing for what they have? Job says jealousy is a sin to be judged.

31:13-15; Job reminds me that everyone is born in the exact same way. So, how do I treat people? If I consider myself more important, or better than someone else, I will be called to account.

31:16-23; Job tells me he had compassion, that he gave to needy people. God is prompting me to check my heart’s ability to feel, and my resources to do. I don’t want to be so desensitized that I can ignore someone who is hurting, or in need of something I have the ability to provide.

31:24-28; Job didn’t put his trust in wealth, or the universe. How faithful am I to God? If my bank account becomes more important than my relationship with God, that is a sin to be judged. If I entertain the idea that God plus anything is worth worship, I am unfaithful to God, and that is a sin to be judged.

31:29-34; What is my attitude toward an enemy? If I find myself even a little glad someone who wronged me is facing a trial or a hardship, I cannot please God. And Job reminds me that I don’t even need to express my feelings out loud. Trying to hide any sin is a futile effort. God always knows what’s in my heart and mind.

31:35-40; Job challenges me to look at my stewardship. God has blessed me. Am I using what He has given me to be a blessing to others? I am reminded I am blessed for that purpose. How am I doing?

Aren’t these things that Job spoke about the things that should identify us as God’s? I know that nothing I do – no matter how sacrificial – can make up for even one sin I’ve committed. I don’t believe the lesson here is: do good so God likes you better.

But as a woman who is saved by grace, a child of God through the precious blood of Jesus, I want my life to be above reproach. After all, I wear His Name. I want my testimony to be true, my heart in tune with God’s.

Thank you, Job, for helping me take inventory. Help me, God, to address the things You have laid on my heart. I want to represent you well today. For Jesus’ sake.

 

I Chronicles 1-9; Everyone Has A Story

It’s taken me a couple days to get through the genealogy listed in these chapters. Name after name of people I know nothing about. But, even though I am tempted to skim through this section, I read every hard-to-pronounce name, knowing that with it is a story known only to them and God. Each one with hopes and dreams, good times and bad, responsibilities, and temptations. Each one with a relationship with God… or needing one.

It’s kind of like walking through the mall. I walk past dozens of people I know nothing about. But I know each one has hopes and dreams, good times and bad, responsibilities, and temptations. Each person I pass has a relationship with God… or needs one.

I’m convicted that I can pass them by as easily as I can pass over the names in Chronicles.

God, help me see people – really see people – as eternal souls You love, for whom You died to save. Remind me that my smile, or greeting may be the only positive contact they get that day. Forgive me when I avoid eye contact, or dismiss someone because I don’t like how they look. How are they going to know I represent their Savior if I don’t let them see Jesus in me?

2 Kings 9-10; Pride Isn’t Pretty

It is believed Jezebel was a very beautiful woman in her youth. In fact, one source I read said she may have been the most beautiful woman in the world at the time. But let’s face it. Age does something to beauty. Some women age better than others, but we all age; wrinkles appear, skin thins, dark spots pop up, and our hair grays. Not too many of us like what we see. The cosmetic world thanks us for that.

Jezebel may have been beautiful on the outside, but she was a very wicked woman, too. She was a murder, a persecutor of God’s people, and an idolator. You did not want to be her enemy. I’m not so sure you’d want to be her friend.

In the chapters we read today, Jezebel is no longer young. She is a grandmother, a widow, a former queen, living off her son. Kinda a has-been, so to speak. Jezebel knew that Jehu was coming to town, and he wasn’t on a social call. He was coming to make her pay.

So Jezebel “painted her eyes, arranged her hair, and looked out a window,” positioning herself to be seen when Jehu walked through the gate. “Have you come in peace, Zimri, you murderer of your master?”

We, of course, cannot hear the inflection in Jezebel’s voice. One source said the poor old woman thought she could flirt with Jehu, and win him to her side that way. (Norma Desmond comes to mind, and if she came to your mind, too, I know something about your age! or at least your taste in classic films 😉 ) Another said she was playing the innocent, sweetly teasing Jehu out of rendering judgment.

But it does appear the delusional former queen was still thinking she’s got it, made up to look like a clown, and not even realizing it.

I’m not going to pretend I know what Jezebel was thinking. Scripture doesn’t tell us. But it does tell us her tactic: Deflection. She, whether using her feminine wiles, or feigning innocence, in reality attacks Jehu by calling HIM the murderer. It’s a passive aggressive technique intended to remind Jehu that he’s no better than she.

A dear friend of mine shared with me a conversation she had with a co-worker this week. Both profess to be Christians, so very often their conversations center around spiritual things. The co-worker shared a problem he and his family are having, and he showed my friend a text he had sent to his daughter-in-law, telling her how he felt about the conflict. My friend was shocked to read her co-worker used vulgar language toward his daughter-in-law in that text, and she called him out on it. “Do those words represent Jesus?” she asked him.

His response was to attack my friend, and question her faith. Deflection. Later, he texted her and continued to point out every flaw he could think of in her walk with the Lord. He never addressed the real issue, which is his own sin.

When a brother or sister in Christ lays a finger on a sin in our own lives, what is our reaction? Jesus Himself said we are to address the speck in our brother’s eye, once we have addressed sin in our own lives. So, when that person is obedient and holds us accountable, what do we do? Do we humble ourselves, take the correction, and confess our sin to God? Or do we play the deflecting game, and refuse to face the evil in us?

Jezebel never humbled herself. She held on to her pride right to the very end. And she died a horrible death. It was not pretty.

My friend’s co-worker will one day be held accountable for his actions. I pray he will humble himself and ask God to forgive him before He stands before Jesus on that day.

Just like no one really likes looking in the mirror and watching the effects of aging staring back at them, no one enjoys having a sin revealed, either. We can justify, rationalize, make excuses for our sin, or compare ourselves to that sinner sitting in the pew behind us. But until we humble ourselves before our Holy God, and accept forgiveness that is our through the blood of Jesus, we are guilty. No amount of “makeup” is going to fool God, no pointing out the sins of someone else is going to make you innocent.

Has a fellow believer pointed out a sin in your life? Instead of being angry with them, or trying to make them look guilty, I pray you will humble yourself, confess your sin, then go and hug that person.

Because pride just isn’t pretty. And it certainly doesn’t represent Jesus. Isn’t representing Jesus the goal for all of us who wear His Name?

Numbers 17-18; Budding, Blossoming, and Bountiful

Priests were highly regarded men, respected, obeyed. It’s no wonder that men from other tribes wanted to enjoy the same honor. But God made it plain that Aaron was His chosen, and only Levites were to attend to priestly duties. The staff that represented Aaron not only budded, it blossomed, and produced fruit over night.

The other staves? Nothing.

This side of the cross, as God’s kingdom of priests, we can learn from Aaron’s staff. As believers, we are chosen by God to grow in grace and knowledge, to go and make disciples, to stand in the gap between heaven and hell. We also can delight in God’s Presence, His love, His forgiveness, and protection. Buds and blossoms and bounty.

But chapter 18 reminds us of the great responsibility that goes along with all that. God told Aaron that he and his sons, “bear the responsibility for offenses against the sanctuary…

Verse 5 says: You are to be responsible for the care of the sanctuary and the altar, so that wrath will not fall on the Israelites again.

The commentaries I read seemed to agree these verses warn me that, although being God’s child through the blood of His Son is a precious gift, there are serious consequences if I don’t use it, if I hoard it or abuse it.

I must bear fruit. If I don’t, God’s wrath will be my fault. If my neighbor goes to hell because I didn’t reach out to him to introduce him to the Savior, his blood is on my hands.

My pastor is going through I Thessalonians verse by verse with us, and yesterday we got to 5:12-15. These verses talk to us about how we are to regard those who are over us in the Lord. In other words, our pastors.

He shared the grave responsibility he has as our under-shepherd, and the fact that he will stand before God some day and account for his care of us who worship with him in our church body. He asked us to pray for him, for his faithfulness to God’s Word, and his purity, that God would keep him grounded in the Truth of Scripture, and victorious over sin in his own life.

I’m teaching a Sunday School class this quarter, and would ask the same of you. Please pray for me as I take on the responsibility of being God’s voice to the dear women who trust me to speak the Truth. And pray that Satan will be defeated in my life.

My pastor also pointed out these verses address “those who work hard AMONG you.” Isn’t that all of us who name the name of Jesus? We need to be in prayer for our elders, deacons, youth leaders, worship leaders. We need to be in prayer for each other in our workplaces and neighborhoods as we represent Jesus to a lost world. These verses tell us to live in peace with each other, to encourage each other in the work we have to do, to be patient and kind with everyone, and always want what is best for everyone.

We are all in this together. We all have jobs to do so blossoms will grow and fruit is produced. I pray that God will find all of us faithful, and that our fruit will be bountiful for Jesus’ sake.

October 6 – My Food

John 2-4

Jesus’ disciples went to get him something to eat. The fact that they “urge” Him to eat makes me believe Jesus was so intent on doing what He came to do, He might not have taken time for meals. His disciples knew he needed to eat.

I know, myself, that if I am focused on a task at hand, eating is the last thing on my mind. Jesus said something that made me stop and think.

He said, “My food, is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.” (4:34)

Food. That which nourishes and strengthens, that which is necessary for life itself, that which is pleasant and anticipated. Something you just can’t do without.

Is that how I view my service to God, sharing the Gospel, sowing seed that leads to repentance? Is representing Jesus to a lost world as necessary to me as filling my belly?

It was that to Jesus. It ought to be in me.