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Stubborn

Being stubborn is not usually looked at as being a positive trait. The idea that no matter what you say or do you just cannot get that stubborn person to be open minded, to think outside of their own sphere of influence. Husbands all over the world can attest to how frustrating it is to have a stubborn wife. Thankfully, I do not know that feeling. You try to reason with them, show them a better way or at least a different way, and they will not have any part of it. For example, it is normal to put ritz crackers in your chili, but it is also better than just plain saltines. But a stubborn wife may not agree. By the way that was just a random example.

For the follower of Jesus Christ though it is a great trait to be stubborn. We must stand firm on what God’s word says and dig in on the truth that there is no room for compromise. Paul says it better than I can in I Corinthians 16:13-14, Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” Now that is a great challenge. We have to be on alert because the enemy is roaming around seeking whomever he can devour. The devil has been around for a long time. He is really good at separating Christians from other believers, getting them to doubt, and get angry and then he has them.

Then Paul tells us to stand firm in the faith, get stubborn. There is no room for compromise in our walk. Family, there must be a line drawn in the sand that we will not cross.  We must know what we need to be stubborn about and what is okay to just let go. It is okay to put ritz crackers in the chili. It is not okay to dilute the Word of God.

Be courageous. This does not mean we are not going to have times of nervousness and fear. Courage is moving forward despite the fear and concern. It is believing the Lord, not our circumstances. So be courageous. Be strong. We get strong by working through struggles. The struggles of life should not stop us, in fact they are given to make us stronger. Do not be afraid of the struggle, embrace it, learn from it, desire to know what the Father is wanting us to receive from it.

We so often forget that this life of being a Jesus follower is a war. The battle is real and there is always the enemy that wants to keep us from being faithful. Lastly, do everything with the heart of love. That is the key that makes all these other traits possible. Love separates us from the rest of the world. Oh, sure society will say they love and tolerate, but true love is always willing to do what is hard for the sake of the other person. We do the hard thing, we say the tough thing because of love. Well, at least that ought to be our motive. The love we have for each other, the love we have for our lost neighbor should drive us into being stubborn. Let us then be stubborn for the sake of the Lord and His gospel.



Ambassador

I find the appointment of an ambassador very interesting. You get selected by a king, emperor, or president to go into a foreign land and express the message the leadership of your country wants that nation to understand. I am sure sometimes the message is very encouraging, wishing congratulations on winning an election or celebrating an anniversary. There could be words of compassion for a country that may be going through a crisis and you get to send the message that your nation is willing to help. Those would be good days in the life of an ambassador I would imagine. But then there are messages that have to be given when the foreign nation you are stationed at acts in a very hostile way. A stern warning must be given that the nation you represent will not tolerate this behavior. I think that would be very difficult to have to say before that foreign nation, but as an ambassador you have no choice but to give the message in its entirety.

II Corinthians 5:20, Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” I know you probably saw this text coming. Isn’t it cool though? That as a follower of Jesus Christ we are also ambassadors for Him. Now, with great power comes great responsibility. Not only is our position one of power, but it is also one of great responsibility because we speak for the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords. We have to speak the whole message we are given, not just the good parts we think will make people happy or like us.

What is that message? We call it the gospel, the good news. It will make the hearers sad, angry, happy, and even indifferent at times. As an ambassador let me remind us that our responsibility is not how the hearer receives the message, but that we give the message and we give the whole message, the good, the bad and the ugly. The great thing is that our message is about one subject, hope. We get to give the message of reconciliation. The Creator of the universe, God, loves us and wants every single one of us to have eternal life with Him and He has made the way for that.

Therefore, go on and give the message. Those that hear it have the choice to accept it or not, but our responsibility is to represent Christ not only with His message, but to represent Him with our lives. Remember, we are not our own any longer, but we belong to the Great I Am. 



Craziness

The adventure of following Jesus is, well…let’s say it is crazy for lack of a better term. One minute you are sitting there minding your own business, then wham you get confronted by The Great I Am. The Creator wants to have a visit with you. He desires to be in relationship with you, yeah you. You quickly realize that He is right when He says we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. You agree that you need a Savior, so you accept Christ as your Savior. Then what? Then it gets even crazier. This same God then calls you to a great adventure. He wants you to do something that will bring Him glory and draw others to Jesus. I know it’s crazy, that’s what I have been saying. What do you do with that?

Well, you have a choice my friend. You can just ignore Him and keep doing what you have always done, or you can join Him on an amazing adventure. This reminds me of a guy named Gideon in the book of Judges. Do you remember Gideon? He is the guy that was threshing wheat in a winepress so the Midianites would not see him. In other words, he was hiding because he was scared. It was at that time the Lord called Gideon to a great adventure. I love how the angel of the Lord greets Gideon in Judges 6:12. “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Yeah, mighty warrior, guy hiding in a winepress. The cool thing is that the Lord saw Gideon for who he was and could be, not what he was doing at that time.

The angel of the Lord begins to unveil that the Lord was going to use Gideon to defeat the Midianites and free Israel from their grasp. The angel of the Lord then says something that I think is just so cool. Look at verse 14. The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and deliver Israel from the power of Midian. Am I not sending you?” Go in the strength you have. In other words, do not wait to be super Christian, just go with what you have. That is crazy. Oh, my friends, how many awesome opportunities have we missed because we were waiting for some great anointing of supernatural spiritual strength when the Lord has just told us to go in what strength we have?

Easter is this Sunday, and we celebrate the fact that our Savior has risen from the dead. Let me remind you that the same power that raised Jesus from the grave dwells in you. I know, CRAZY. Gideon was called to free a nation from oppression and did so with the power of his God. We are just called to invite someone to Easter service and the question is are we still hiding in the winepress or are we ready for a great adventure? I know, CRAZINESS. Go to church Easter morning. It is time to get back in the game and the crazy adventure that awaits us.



Decisions

Where do you want to eat? What time do you want to leave? Where are you going to school after graduation? Who are you going to marry? How many children are we going to have? Where are we going to live? What will be my career choice? I’m already stressed out and most of those questions I have already answered. For many making decisions is stressful, in fact it can be paralyzing. When we begin to think of all the results that come from the decisions we make it can make our heads swim.

Let me ask you, how do you go about making decisions in your life? Is it based upon eeny meeny miny moe? Do you draw straws? Or my favorite, flip the coin?  Wouldn’t it be great if we knew what the Lord wanted for our lives? Wouldn’t it make our decision-making processes so much easier? It would be wonderful if we could know the mind of Christ. That way we would not be operating out of our wisdom. Because I do not know about you, but my wisdom is not really all that wise at times.

I have good news; the Bible tells us that we can actually know the mind of Christ and not just know it but have it. I Corinthians 2:16, For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.” This is a gift given to us when we give our hearts and lives to Jesus. The Lord gives us His mind. He gives us spiritual wisdom in not only decision making, but in all aspects of life. Now the question we have to ask is will we listen to His voice? Will we allow the mind of Christ to take over our own man-made wisdom?

The way we grow in the mind of Christ is submerging ourselves in His word. What does your daily time with the Lord look like where you can ask Him questions and then listen for the answer? What does your daily prayer time look like? Remember it is not quantity, but quality of time spent with your God. In the time we spend are we really pouring out our hearts to Him, or are we still spewing out the same obligatory prayer that just checks a block? The Bible is very clear. The Lord cares about us, He cares about us as an individual. He wants the very best for you and me, so seek Him with all your heart. I promise you He will answer and give the insight we need for righteous and godly decisions.

You have been given the gift of His mind. Now let us use it for the glory of His Name.