A Vessel of Honor

Did you know you can choose what type of vessel you become in God’s house?

But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 2Timothy 2:20-22

The Lord’s house is full of His people. While He has bought us with His precious blood, redeemed us from our former ways of life, we choose how valuable we become in His kingdom based on our obedience. The scripture tells us that in a great house there are vessels of gold and silver, and vessels of wood and clay. The vessels of gold and silver are vessels of honor and the vessels of wood and clay are vessels of dishonor. According to the above scripture, we can choose what type of vessels we become.

What are some of the characteristics of a vessel of honor? 

The word vessel means: a container for holding something b: a person into whom some quality (as grace) is infused.

These individuals are living a sanctified life. That means they know their lives are set apart for God’s purpose. They can’t fulfill their own desires.  The vessels of honor are empty containers used for His glory. They have been emptied of themselves, so the Holy Spirit can have them entirely.  Being emptied is not a fun process!! It’s hard and it’s painful!

The vessels of honor are not a mixture of worldliness and spirituality. The carnality has been purged out of them. They are useful vessels because they can be trusted to represent the kingdom well. They don’t speak for themselves, but they are ambassadors and spokespersons for the kingdom.  They are also individuals that through a season of God working on them are prepared people for His work. They are trained soldiers, and polished arrows capable of accomplishing His tasks successfully.

How do we become a vessel of honor? According to verse 22, we are called to flee youthful lusts. We may not be young in age but youthful lusts can follow us into old age. When you think about your younger years, do you have distaste for your lustful ways or do you think of them as the good old days? Have you outgrown the past passions, ambitions, and desires? The formula for dealing with lust will not change regardless of our age. If you sense you are getting tempted in any area, you must train yourself to resist the temptation and hold every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. James 4:7 & 2Corinthians 10:3-5

We are also called to pursue righteousness, faith, love, & peace and do it with a pure heart. If we do these things and avoid foolish and ignorant disputes we will become vessels of honor. We will be the gold and silver who have been tested over the years by various trials and have become more and more pure over time. We will be a treasure in God’s house, useful for His kingdom, and a showcase of His nature and His glory. Our lives will bring honor to His name. When people think of us, they will think well of a Christian because we represent Him beautifully!!

Praise God for His goodness. He chooses us, calls us to himself, and then desires for us to partner with Him on a journey of life that will change us, mold us, break us, purge us, and make us more like Him. Useful for His purposes!!!!!

 

Are You Offended?

Being a Christian does not exempt us from being offended. On the contrary, it may even give us more opportunities to get offended than before. Generally, we seem to get more offended with our brothers and sisters in Christ than with the world. To some degree that is understandable. We’re the ones who are the new creation. We should know better because we read the word of God and should know how to live a life pleasing to the Lord. So when a believer does something that is out of character for a Christian, or they claim to know the truth but their actions don’t bear the same witness, we get offended.

The best thing to do with a personal offense is to follow Matthew 18 instruction in the Bible which describes going directly to the person who has offended us and settle/reconcile the matter. If we are an observer to another person’s offense, we need to remind ourselves that we don’t see/know the whole picture and let go of the offense before it develops into a root of bitterness.

However, there is another form of offense which is more dangerous. Let’s look at the scripture below:

And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”

 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see:  The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” Matthew 11:2-6

John the Baptist was the forerunner to Christ, and he was the one who baptized Jesus. But now that he is in prison, things haven’t turned out the way he thought they should. So He questioned if Jesus was really the one or if they should look for another one.Jesus had to remind John the Baptist of what had transpired in his time of ministry. However, John the Baptist was offended because Jesus did not conform to his ideas of Messiah.

This is the more insidious and dangerous offense than the normal day to day offenses. We hear God speak to us through His word or His spirit. Some may have received a prophecy about their lives, and then we wait and wait and wait a little longer. We wonder what is happening

The same Jesus who was the rock of offense for the Jewish people and even John the Baptist can become a rock of offense to a mature believer. We think we have understood God and we have figured out how He works; and when He doesn’t meet our expectations, we are offended.  We’re “too mature” to think that we are offended by God, so we don’t admit it. Instead, we project our disappointment on others and we question their integrity or their leadership.

When we look at the Biblical accounts of men and women who served God, we always find God moving in unexpected ways!! When Jesus heard about Lazarus’s sickness, he waited a couple of more days before going back to Judea to Mary and Martha’s house. By then Lazarus was already dead!! Talk about disappointment!! But Jesus had a more beautiful and powerful plan than what the sisters had envisioned. He brought Lazarus back to life! We cannot box Him in. We can read the Word and walk faithfully with God, however, it doesn’t mean that by doing right we can control God’s actions on our behalf. We do right because it pleases God, but we always have to give Him room to be God and do it the way He knows best even when it doesn’t make sense to us. The scripture says, “… the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate ” (1Corinthians 1:19b NIV).

In our walk of faith there will be times in life that we will not understand things or see things clearly. Sometimes other people’s actions or lack of action will cause great disappointment. That cannot change us. We keep doing the same thing until the Lord’s instruction changes, but we don’t act on an offense. That’s not God, and it can make us go around the same mountain over and over again without gaining spiritual ground!!

Is there any offense in your heart toward God or anyone? Repent and release people from your grip!!

Ultimately this isn’t about your relationship with the people. It has to do with your relationship to the Lord. Speak to Him about your aching heart and let Him heal you.

Why Do We Need to Look Like Jesus?

As Christians we use a lot of words or statements that are true, but after a while, we have forgotten why those statements are so significant.  A few days ago, I was reading a devotional that was exhorting people to persevere in their faith because perseverance molds us into the image of Jesus. As I continued reading, the thought occurred to me, “Why do I need to look like Jesus?”

Jesus accepted us the way we were, and His blood washed away our sins. This means if the day of your salvation is the last day of your life, you will go to be with Him without ever looking like Him on this side of eternity. This tells us that looking like Jesus doesn’t make us anymore acceptable to God.

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29

Clearly,  the scripture tells us that it is the Lord’s design and desire for us to look like Jesus, but why is this important?

First of all, we need to look like Jesus in order to be freed up from our past behaviors, thoughts, emotions, and start living life from a spiritual perspective. This can also be called sanctification. We come out of the world and worldliness, and we take on more kingdom mindset. This allows us to enjoy the benefit of our salvation by continually being freed up from our soulish desires. This also gives us the strength to not fall prey to the enemy’s temptations because the things that so easily and quickly affected us in the past don’t have that kind of hold on us any longer.

Secondly, we need to look like Jesus, so we can fulfill the great commission. In order for us to effectively reach a lost world, we need to have a heart and mind like Jesus. This is the only way we can reach the lost with His love. The more we look like Jesus, our words and our actions will be in congruence. We don’t get impatient with people who don’t see it our way. Instead of people seeing a hypocrite or someone trying to jam Christianity down their throat, they will see people whose lives speak of God’s love and their words match up with their lifestyle. People will be drawn to us because of Jesus in us. We don’t want people to be drawn to us because of our wealth, success, charm, beauty, or intelligence. We want them to be drawn to Jesus in us because He is the one who can make them whole and give them eternal life. All our great qualities cannot produce eternal life for someone else.

Let’s pray for ourselves and the body of Christ that we are willing to go through the process to look more like Jesus as there are so many lives at stake. When we are willing to be formed in the image of Jesus, we bring hope to a hopeless world!! The world needs us to look more like Jesus!!!

A Rebellious Christian- an Oxymoron

Does the word “obedience” rub you the wrong way? Does it make you feel restricted and tied down to be yourself?

The issues of obedience or rebellion are not issues of personality and being free- spirited. Let’s look at a couple of scriptures:

“If you love me, keep my commandments.”  John 14:15

 “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9

The issues of obedience and rebellion are issues of relationship.  Many times we think of obedience as avoiding sin, and rebellion as falling into sin, but ultimately the issue is the condition of our relationship to the Lord. In obedience we are building trust, and we are growing in relationship towards the Lord, and in rebellion we are destroying trust, and jeopardizing the relationship.

In 2 Chronicles 16:9 the King James Version uses perfect instead of the word loyal”.

Perfect : In Greek:  Complete, friendly, peaceable, to be safe, make restitution, restore, give, make good, reward.

The loyalty/perfection of our heart shows the condition of our relationship to our Lord. It is an indication of the level of peace we have with Him. It reveals how safe we feel with Him. It also emphasizes the level of restoration that we have walked with God. Our obedience isn’t so the Lord can say, “Look, they finally listen to me.” Our obedience restores us from the condition of insecurity, anxiety, & brokenness to a place of wholeness. It is a reward to walk with the Lord in trust and in obedience. It means we no longer wrestle with God, but we have come to believe Him and trust Him when He speaks. Jacob finally stopped wrestling with God and the Lord changed his name (Genesis 32:22-28). Jacob no longer walked in deceit, self assertion , and strife, but was willing to surrender it all to God.

When our heart is loyal towards the Lord, we are no longer double-minded.  We cannot hold on to Jesus and hold on to our own understanding anymore. We can’t serve two masters!  We will either hate one and love the other, or love one and hate the other. There cannot be a mixture of faith and human understanding anymore. A heart that is loyal to God, instead of doubting, is acting upon His word. Praise Him!

“For by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” Romans 5: 19

Jesus the perfect one set the example for obedience. Imagine if he hadn’t obeyed the father; we would have no hope of salvation. He didn’t obey because it was comfortable or He was popular. On the contrary, the Son of God while He was on the earth, he was ridiculed, persecuted, disrespected, and finally was crucified. He chose to the obey the father, and He changed the world by His obedience!!!

Next time you consider the issue of obedience versus rebellion, think about the condition of your relationship with the Lord. Obedience versus rebellion are not an issue of whether we are free-spirited or not. They apply to all of us. When Jesus told us that if we love Him, we will obey Him, He wasn’t saying this to take our joy and freedom away, but He was saying that our obedience is a fruit of our love towards Him. It is a by-product of our trust towards him. Our obedience will set us free from ourselves and bring greater freedom into our lives.

Unfortunately, the body of Christ has adopted either a great adherence to obedience where it has become legalistic and man pleasing. Or on the flip side some have tried to use the grace card and have not taught or trained people into obedience of God’s word. The Lord calls us to obedience but it is an obedience that is directed towards Him, and it is based on Biblical principles. If we are not obeying Him, then we really don’t have the kind of relationship we think we have with Him!

 

 

 

 

Jesus Declared & Differentiated Himself…

Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”.John 14:6

Jesus made a very bold statement that contains four important elements. Jesus is the way. Jesus is the truth. Jesus is life. Finally, no one can come to the father except through Jesus. These statements are not made by a politically correct person. Jesus cared to tell the truth to the world, so each person can have the opprotunity to live a free life. Every delcaration about himself is powerful, and we cannnot take it lightly. We have a tendency to concentrate on only one aspect of who Jesus is.  As a result, we can only experience a limited level of victory, not a complete victory.

If we concentrate on only one portion of Jesus declaration about Himself,  it causes a couple of problems. The first is we are not getting to know Jesus in His entirety of character and person. The second is we will not have complete victory in our walk with Him. We may talk about it, preach or teach on it, but we will not experience it. Let’s look at all four elements.

Jesus is the way. All wisdom and the right paths are found in following Jesus. The scripture tells us His ways are perfect.  We need to go the right way in life or we will be lost, confused, & distracted.

Jesus is the truth. Jesus encompasses that entire Word of God. He was the last lamb who came to take the sins of the world, and He is coming back for His bride, the church. The Bible calls Him the chief cornerstone”. We must build our lives on this rock. He is our foundation.

Jesus is life. Finally, we can have the truth, go the right way, but not experience the fullness of life and joy of the Lord. Jesus is life. He needs to be the one who consumes all our attention, love, and dedication. Anything that takes His place, will also take away from us experiencing fullness of life. We need to fight the battle of not being owned by anything other than Jesus. We can’t be in bondage to anything. We must be free to worship Him and keep Him on the throne. He is the only one deserving of the throne. No man, or thing, is qualified to take that place. If we give anything that place, eventually it will fail us, disappoint us, and break us. We will then need to be purged of what has diluted and stolen our affection from the King of kings and the Lord of lords.  This will steal our joy and peace.

Do you find yourself losing your joy and peace frequently? Ask yourself what has taken the place of Jesus on the throne of your heart.

Finally, Jesus declared,”no one comes to the father except through me”. There are many religions out there who claim to have the truth, but they are trying to reach God by good works. Some of these religions will even recognize Jesus as a prophet or a good teacher. But that is only part of the truth. The whole truth is that Jesus is greater than a teacher or a prophet. The son of God came to reach us. He came to save the world from sin and darkness and open the door for us to be in relationship with a holy God. There is no other solution to our problem of sin and the restoration of man’s relationship with the one and only Holy God. Other religions may have a portion of the truth, but the whole truth lies in the person of Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross.

Jesus didn’t make many declarations about Himself. However, the declarations He made you don’t want to miss them because they are life changing.

If you have never accepted Jesus as your savior and Lord, today is the day to make that decision. It is the most important decision you can ever make in your life. You can click on ‘Salvation Prayer” menu item on the top part of this page to guide you into a prayer to receive Jesus as your Lord and savior.

If you have received Jesus as your savior, but you find that in one or more of those areas that you can grow more, then ask Him to change you in those areas.

The Faces of Rejection – Part II

Circumstantial Rejection

Do you find yourself that one conversation can sometimes throw you into the pit of rejection?

The day to day rejection is another battle that has to be fought by some of us. I just realized today, there needs to be a certain level of authority before one has the power to reject someone. For example, if you wish to travel to a foreign nation that requires a visa, you must go to that nation’s embassy and get a visa or permission to put foot on their land. The consulate has the power and authority to accept your request or reject it.

When I’m feeling rejected by someone, I must ask myself,

1. Is there factual evidence for the feeling of rejection?

2.Does this person have the authority to reject me?

3. Is this a rejection or a correction?

In the court of law, if you are going to accuse someone of wrongdoing, your evidence has to hold up before the judge or the jury. Do I have enough evidence that a jury of 12 people can be convinced that I was truly rejected? Or is this all the figment of my imagination?  Many times, there is not enough evidence to convince myself let alone 12 other people!! That’s when you have to reject the thought because it holds no water.  By the way, 12 of your friends don’t count as a jury!!

The scripture says, “If God is for us, who can be against us? If the Lord of the universe who could have chosen to reject me has accepted me, then who can bring a charge against me? I have to remind myself of what God says about me.

Finally, I don’t have to be perfect!! I can be humble enough to receive correction. If I have done something wrong I need to ask forgiveness from the Lord and from others and then keep moving forward!! Just because someone doesn’t approve of something I have done, it doesn’t mean he/she is rejecting me.

Rejection is an identity issue, and we should rarely allow situations to have that kind of power over our lives!!

Rejection is a powerful spirit that tries to take you out of your game!! Don’t give it a foothold! Fight back!!

The Faces of Rejection (Part I)

 Rejection hurts!! It can be so strong that it tries to take us out of our game! Unfortunately, many of us have experienced it in our lives in one way, shape, or form. Rejection comes in different forms and it can catch us by surprise. There are two areas that rejection seems to affect us deeply. One area is when we have built a faulty foundation on some past painful experience. This becomes what we are familiar with, and we must recognize it in order to put a stop to it. The second area of rejection is one that comes in our day to day interactions in life.  

In this devotional, I’ll talk about the voices from our past (Tradition or Transformation). In my next devotional, I will talk about the day to day circumstantial rejection.

Tradition or Transformation

How many times have you rejected something because it didn’t fit your picture?

We can reject God’s truth even when it has great benefit to us because it is not something we are used to believing, or it didn’t come in the form in which we expect to see it.

He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. Mark 7:9

The word “reject” in the above passage means- to do away with, to set aside, disregard,  to thwart the efficacy of anything, nullify, make void, frustrate, to reject, to refuse, to slight.

Tradition can become the old tapes that we are accustomed to hearing constantly. It is those voices that we are not willing to let go of and are familiar to us. As a result we reject what God says about us.

I know, many times I am against myself.  I sit and dine with the enemy at a banquet table and our table is full of lies, hurtful statements of the past, bad memories, & past mistakes. I allow myself to take in so much garbage, that I turn against myself. I don’t need any other enemy. I reject myself. Many times the voices from the past are no longer in my life anymore, but their voices are louder than what I hear today and know to be true.

Ultimately when we reject ourselves, we are rejecting His work in creating us, and we are rejecting His work in our lives. As in the above definition,  the word “reject” in Greek means  “to thwart the efficacy of something”. We don’t want to become a hindrance and a stumbling block to God’s effective work in our lives. We want to be aligned to His plan, in unity and harmony with His will, so that our understanding   is lined up with the Truth.

What voice of rejection from the past are you hearing today? Is it consistent with what the Lord says about you?

Forgive others and yourself and destroy the old tapes!! It’s time to let them go!

Stop rejecting the Truth and you’ll stop the rejection in your life!!!

Love To Be a Winner

Are you a winner in life?

As we embark upon the Olympics this week, the world will be cheering on the greatest athletes in the world. These athletes have worked hard, laboring endless days perfecting their skills for this once in a lifetime opportunity. We, as spectators, will do our part to cheer them on. During our time of watching the Olympics, some athletes will be highlighted giving us a glimpse of their personal sacrifices, which allowed them to get to this point.

We love to be winners in life and we like to associate with those who are winners. Winners inspire us and we can learn a lot from them.

Jesus came with a different defintion of winning. The Biblical standard of winning is a paradigm shift from the worldly perspective. The more you lose yourself the better winner you are. The less you strive, the more progress you make. The tighter you hold on to things, the more you lose. You may not lose physically, but you will lose in your soul. You will lose your peace, joy, and love.

The Bible says:  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1Corinthians 13:13

If you want to be great and to outlast the trends and the voices of the culture, just love. Allow God to love you. Love yourself in a healthy way and love others as you love yourself. Love will demand that you deny yourself.  Let go of your self- preservation and self-rejection even when it feels scary. The more you love the more of a winner you are.

What is winning in life? Jesus described it in Matthew 22:37-40 in the form of the two greatest commandments. It is to be in the right relationship with God, with ourselves and with others.  We can accomplish more in life by allowing our relationships to be healthy.  Otherwise we will accomplish things and use them to cover up our failed relationships or our weak self-worth.  It’s not worth it. The Lord is cheering  us on to success.  He gave us His Holy Spirit, so we can be on the winning side.

The Olympians spent years of their lives to get the gold, silver, and bronze this summer. How are you investing your life to be a winner?

 

 

 

Called to Hope

Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

Chances are that whichever one you are, you have seen the strengths and weaknesses that accompany your particular personality. The optimists are not afraid of jumping into new situations and experiencing new things. The optimists also have a tendency to rely more heavily on assumption and presumption, than facts. On the other hand, the pessimists usually will not get caught on being short on facts. This combined with the endless quest for more information leads to what we have come to know as analysis by paralysis!!!

Well, the Bible doesn’t tell us to be an optimist or a pessimist, but it calls us to have hope.

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5

This means to me that hope is intangible. It means believing in something that hasn’t transpired but believing it because of who has said it.

I have found over the years that I am weak in hope. I am an analytical, factual, and practical person. This makes me think in terms of the information given and how the problem can be solved based on the given facts. This ability is a gift from the Lord and it is very useful when it comes to problem solving or giving counsel to people. However, the weakness of this gift is that it overrides the intangible for facts.  Life is often about intangibles, requiring us to have hope. One of the meanings for the word “hope” is “not being ashamed”.  We don’t like to be ashamed or look like a fool!!


Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1 Corinthians 1:25

Our flesh doesn’t want to believe in something that we don’t have the facts to prove.  We feel foolish and afraid of being put to shame by people. We fear that they could ridicule us in their heart because we have believed God’s promises or His word for us. We don’t have an answer for them, and we don’t have an answer for our own questions. All we know is that we have two options. The first choice is giving up on what God is doing and rest in the mediocrity of faith. This helps in not getting disappointed again and again. Our second choice is to continue to hope in God which will painfully stretch our faith!

Faith is stretched when you feel the foolishness of what you have heard and still put your hope in what He has spoken.

 We can’t do life the way the Lord has meant it unless we are willing to be stretched in faith by continually hoping in what He has said. The prophets of old, and the Biblical pioneers continually hoped in who God was and what He was doing on the earth rather than what it looked like at the moment. Paul in 1Corinthians 13:13a said, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three…

 How is your hope gauge today? Hope is an essential ingredient in living life of faith. Do you find you have hope for others more than you can have hope for yourself? Do you see people or circumstances as obstacles to hope? Find scriptures that speak on hope and mediate on them; allow the Lord to stir up hope again.

 

Custom Made by God

Have you ever wished to be in someone else’s shoes?

I enjoy fashion and growing up I was blessed with a father who was a tailor and a mother who was a seamstress. All I needed to do was point to a picture in a fashion magazine and ask Mom to make me the dress. Mom would make this beautiful dress that was perfect in pattern, style, and size. She would do the same for herself.

 

Both of our dresses were custom made and beautiful, but  the thought of wearing each other’s dresses never entered our minds. Each dress was uniquely fashioned for the taste, body type and our age. My dress wouldn’t have looked perfect on my mom and her dress would not have been perfect on me but our own dresses were perfect for us!! My Mom and I enjoyed our newly made dresses very much.

 

Let’s see what the Lord says about the word “fashion”.

He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works. Psalm 33:15

Your hands have made me and fashioned me, an intricate unity; Job 10:8

The word fashion in the above scripture is Hebrew word 6213 asah which means: to do, accomplish, make, to work, to produce, to appoint, to ordain, to press, to be offered.

This is the same with our God who has fashioned us. His fashioning is like a dress to be put on a body. We are the dress that will be placed on the purpose and plan of God. We need to be fashioned perfectly for “our” purpose. We will not fit someone else’s purpose like we would our own. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:10) When we create and fashion something, we rejoice, we celebrate, we rest, and we delight in our production. The Lord delights in the work of His production.

 

Every one of us is fashioned uniquely. He is not calling us to be somebody else or do what somebody else is doing, but He calls us to follow Him. We are fashioned by the Lord as unique people and He wants us to stay true to our form. In a world that is full of insecurity and tries to follow or copy superstars, we can only stay original if we stay close to the Lord and hear his voice of acceptance. Stay true to who you are and you will fit your purpose perfectly!!!

 

What is the Lord preparing you for? Are you willing to be cut, mended, and shaped to the size of your purpose?