Do you pay your debts?

How’s your credit? What’s your credit score?  I had these questions asked of me recently when I purchased a new to me vehicle.  I had no idea, but I found out both my wife and I had a better credit score than 95% of folks. But it got me thinking about debts and who we owe for what. And the gut wrenching, character revealing question, do you pay your Debts?

The apostle Paul hits on this topic in Romans and proclaims we are all debtors.

8:12 So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh–

8:13 for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

But the revealing issue is not that we owe, but who we owe a debt to – not to the Flesh! We owe nothing to ourselves, our bodies, our physical wants and desires, which gratify the flesh. We owe no debt to the flesh, such that we should live according to the flesh, and be driven by the flesh and its desires. Rather it’s the Spirit to which we are indebted, to which we owe our lives and our living, and the energy and days of our lives. As Christians, we all should be ones who pay our debts, especially our debt of gratitude to God.

But Paul reveals the frightening truth about life and whom we choose to live it for in verse 13. “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die.”  Well, yes, everybody dies you might think. But the death of which Paul speaks is an eternal death, where the grave is victorious and the sting of death is eternally painful. If we give our lives to living for the flesh, living selfishly, self-centered and me-only focused, in the end we fail to repay our debt to God.  We fail to repay our debt to Christ for the grace we have been shown, to the Spirit for its indwelling presence, and in the end we tragically lose everything.

No, Paul exclaims it’s the Spirit to which we are debtors, for its indwelling, for its presence and power in our lives, and for the pardon and grace we have received.  And heavenly truth is revealed to us – “but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”   If by the Spirit, we live our lives leaning on the Spirit, with its guidance, strength, and power, we can crucify and put to death the desires and deeds of the flesh which do not please God.  We acknowledge our indebtedness by submitting the living of our lives to the Spirit thereby pleasing God. In doing so, though it seems contrary, we truly live and experience life in abundance with peace and joy.

But there is more, there is a greater truth at play here, we become more than merely ones who pay our debts. We become more than just ones who have a good credit score and reputation. Paul saves the best for last and slams the gavel down and shouts, as if to say, don’t you understand – “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.”   We move from debtor to family member. Through the Spirit we are reborn and are adopted into the family and become children of God. We become joint heirs to the kingdom and just how awesome is that?

So my dearest brothers and sisters, quit living for and serving the flesh – that brings only death. Choose instead to live in and by the Spirit. Life, joyously abundant life, and an awesome family awaits you!

Come into the Light

Darkness. The absence of light. Complete utter darkness. That place where our fears run wild, where evil hides and plays its devilish games. That place where God is absent. It’s the year 2018 today and darkness is spreading, invading spaces that once were light. Darkening thoughts that once were bright. Hearts and homes, cities and countries have fallen to evils delight. And yet, in the darkness there is a great light.

1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all…

Come ye, yes you, come into the light. It’s safe here in the lights presence. It’s warm in the light. There is no fear and no condemnation here where grace reigns. There is joy and peace and comfort in the light. Come ye to the light. Come all ye who are heavy burdened, who are laboring in life’s valleys of trials and tribulations, of sorrows and sin. Come to the light and rest in its peace. But leave the darkness and the thoughts and ways of darkness behind you…

1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true;

Come join in fellowship with the children of the light and the God of light. Come and follow with us Jesus the Christ, the one who brought light into the world. We welcome you! We are the church. Let us walk together in peace and harmony with Him on this journey of life. Let us experience together all that is good and right and honorable on the paths of righteousness. Let us experience together the Joy of the Lord and His peace that surpasses understanding. Let us walk together beside still waters and through green pastures as He restores our souls and calms our troubled hearts. When we faithfully walk in the light we have fellowship together and we are made whole again.

1 John 1:7 but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Goodness and mercy abound here in the light. Jesus, Gods son, is the light of the world. Do you know Him? He knows you and He loves you. He knows your name, He knows your heart, He knows everything about you – even the number of hairs on your head. And He still loves you. His love for you knows no bounds. He loves you so much that He died for you, so that your sins might be forgiven. So that your life might be restored. So that you might be a welcome guest in his father’s house, in His house.

In His house there is no deceit, no evil, no darkness and His perfect love casts out fear. In His house it is well with my soul and yours. In His house the table is set and bountiful and our cups overflow. In His house there is always a place set for us and rooms to dwell in. In His house our heads are anointed with oil and His rod and staff comfort us. In His house we are invited to dwell forever. Won’t you come join us here in His house? He’ll keep a light on for you.

The King is Coming

In the Church, we are about to enter the season of advent and it occurred to me maybe some are not exactly sure what that means.

Here is an excerpt from the UMC.org what is advent page: (The season of Advent, which comes from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming” or “visit,” begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year for Christians. [Liturgical — from liturgy, which means the forms and functions of public worship.]

During Advent, we prepare for, and anticipate, the coming of Christ. We remember the longing of Jews for a Messiah and our own longing for, and need of, forgiveness, salvation and a new beginning. Even as we look back and celebrate the birth of Jesus in a humble stable in Bethlehem, we also look forward anticipating the second coming of Christ as the fulfillment of all that was promised by his first coming.)

As you can see from the above Advent is a time when we look towards the coming of Christ, his second coming in the clouds as the judge of the world, even as we remember his first coming in the manger in Bethlehem.

The question in my mind at least, becomes how do we anticipate his coming? How do we best respond to the truth that he is indeed coming, and by all indications soon? One example we have is that of the wise men.

Matt 2:9-11  9When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Three quick things come to mind in the example of the wise men that perhaps we would be wise to follow.

  1. When they became aware of the coming of the King they made preparations and followed the star that led them to the place of his birth and into his presence. The star was the light, the guide that they followed to lead them to the King. We don’t have a star to follow but we do have the Holy Spirit and its leading. I know we are aware of the Kings imminent return but as “wise” men and women are we making preparations now for his return? Have we put aside the things of this world to faithfully follow where the Holy Spirit leads us?
  2. Scripture tells us that “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy”. This was the attitude with which they traveled towards their meeting the King. This should also be our attitude as we journey towards our meeting the King. Far too often we begrudge the journey and our attitude is less than “exceedingly great joy” while we are going along the way. Rejoice! This is the day that the Lord has made! This is the journey he has laid out for us. This is the path of service he desires us to follow. Matt 25:21His Lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the Joy of thy Lord.” The Journey is not a wasted time, it is everything. It is what draws us nearer. It is the path of our growth. It is our fellowship with the Lord. It is the joy of our Lord and he has invited us to share it with him!
  3. Last the wise men brought their treasures to him, gifts to give him. As wise Christ followers we should be “laying up our treasures in heaven” and bringing with us gifts to give to the king. Adrian Rodgers writes – “What will you give Jesus this Christmas? Your wealth? All that we have belongs to Him. Your worship? Fall on your face before Him. Your witness? I want the world to know that He died for me. Do you? My wealth, my worship, and my witness belongs to my Lord. And so does yours.”     see (gifts-of-the-wise-men-and-our-gifts-to-jesus)

Advent 2017 is upon us. The Jesus is coming. The glorious day of his arrival will be upon us soon. Are you ready to greet the King?