Accepted in the Beloved

The text of Romans 5:1-6 begins with the term justified.  To be justified means to be proven, to be accepted.  Have you ever heard of a person who has done something wrong try to justify their wrong behavior, or in essence make their bad behavior acceptable. It appears, therefore, that this text basically deals with the notion of acceptance or being accepted.

Friends, I find myself amazed at the great lengths that people will go and with what people will do to become accepted, even sometimes to the extent of becoming annoying, overly dramatic, overly compensating, or even being over or underdressed.  What causes a person to go to such great measures to be seen or accepted? One would only need to watch TV to see some of the most insecure, unhappy, dejected, disheartened and demoralized behavior.  I believe people, most often, behave this way all for the thought of being accepted by others.  I say all for the thought because it is all in the mind of what people think and believe. Everybody’s chasing after a thought.  What do others think of me?  Do they accept me or reject me.  Most people just want to be accepted for who they are. Continue reading

A Fresh Start

“And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart.” (Genesis 6:6)

The New Living Translation says– so the Lord was sorry He had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke His heart.

Friends, if God suffered a broken heart, think it not strange that those who follow this God, the one who is the Word, who was in the beginning with God and was God, even our Lord Jesus Christ may surely suffer a broken heart. There is nothing that you can possibly endure that God has not experienced first-hand. When God’s heart got broken, change occurred. When our hearts get broken change occurs. Our whole world sometimes gets turned upside down. A divorce, a cupid relationship breakup, the death of a loved one, betrayal, abandonment or rejection – all can cause a life to dramatically change. The initial change may be one of shock, bewilderment, depression, or even anger. Whatever the case, it is unhealthy for us to stay in this negative state. God looked for the positive and found it in Noah.

When we look for the positive in a situation we open ourselves up to new ways of improving our situation and our life. When we look for the positive in a situation, we move into position to anticipate happiness, good health and success. When God knew that He no longer wanted to strive with humans, He invoked a positive search for someone that was righteous and therein changed a situation of utter despair and destruction into a situation of reposition and redirection. God would no longer wipe clean every living thing from the earth. He would just reposition Noah for a fresh start in life. I have noticed that those who experience a great heart break often are repositioned for a great and positive change. Whatever caused the broken heart, my friends, was not meant to take you out, or for you to stay there and wallow in it. It is not for your defeat, but rather like Noah for your victory, and for the new world that God will cause you to inhabit and to become fruitful and multiply.

Unfortunately, I know of many people who refuse to follow our Lord and look for the positive or the righteous in their situation, but have chosen to remain broken and defeated. Some have even died of a broken heart, refusing to seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness so that healing, deliverance and a new praise might arise.

If this message describes your situation, you are alive today and therefore have survived yet another day of the pain of a broken heart. Decide now that you will no longer contend with the life of defeat, a life ruled by the defeated attitude of a victim. In essence, look for God’s way of thinking, doing and being. Choose the ways of righteousness, and look to the Word for instructions on how to build an ark of safety to hide in the presence, care and protection of Jesus. He came to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. Allow Him to heal your broken heart, wipe the slate clean and reposition you for a fresh start, a life of fulfillment of His purpose and plan for you.

Renewed in His Love

Zephaniah, whose name means “the Lord has hidden,” was sent by God to tell the remnant of His people that He had prepared a sacrifice for their sins, consecrating them and removing judgment so that they could be hidden on the day of the Lord’s wrath. God has done the same today, through the sacrifice of His beloved Son Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Friends, if you have the Spirit of Christ residing in you, then you are hidden. If your spirit bears witness that you are the son or daughter of God, you are hidden.

God is letting His remnant, the hidden ones, know that there is nothing to fear – not fiscal cliffs or tax increases, not gang violence, economic disparages or injustices. Don’t even let your hand grow weak. In other words, don’t stop working, don’t stop creating, don’t stop dreaming, don’t stop trying to bring about change, and don’t stop putting your hands to the press – for whatever you set your hands to do shall prosper.

Why, you ask, should I keep pressing when it looks like I might lose my house; why should I keep pressing when it looks like I may never be gainfully employed again; why should I keep trying when the bill collectors won’t quit calling and nagging me; why shouldn’t I stop fighting for my marriage, my children, or my sanity? Because verse 17 says, “the Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; He will rejoice over you with gladness…” I hear some asking, why is God rejoicing over me when my life seems to be all out of sorts? I don’t feel successful. I don’t feel that I even know his voice well enough to not question what I am hearing. Friends, God is rejoicing over you with gladness because he knows and sees your end. He knows your beginning from your end. He knows that your best is yet to come. He knows that you are right on target for a blessing – right now – for a miracle, for a mighty move of God. He knows that you are just ripe for Him to renew you in His love.

This year, Friends, God is inviting each and every one of us to spend more time in the secret place where He will be able to abundantly pour out and saturate us and cause us to bask in His love. As He says in Ezekiel 34:24, “I will cause the shower to come down in your season; there shall be showers of blessing.”

Zephaniah is instructing all those hidden by the Lord not just to sing, but to sing with a loud voice. In essence, you should sing like someone who knows that their sins are forgiven, that the Lord your God is in your midst. You should sing like someone who will boldly proclaim “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16) You should sing and rejoice that you have been hidden under the shadow of the wings of the Almighty. Rejoice because the Lover and Bishop of your soul is renewing you in His love.

Scripture Reference: Zephaniah 1:7, 2:3, 3:14-17 (NRSV)