“It is good to say, ‘Thank you’ to the Lord, to sing praises to the God who is above all gods. Every morning tell him, ‘Thank you for your kindness,’ and every evening rejoice in all his faithfulness.”Psalm 92:1-2 LB
Thank you Lord, for your kindness. Thank you that you are who you say you are, and that you will do what you say you will do. Thank you for your guidance and your protection; for your mercy and your understanding. Thank you, Lord!
The past week has been an interesting time around here. Having made the decision to add my daily devotional thoughts to my blog I wasn’t exactly surprised when most of the time set aside for writing was filled up with dozens of other distractions. Writing about the weather, the garden, whatever…is easy for me. Writing about God and what he’s done and is doing in my life? Not so much.
“Why is that?” you ask.
Well…primarily because I have an intense desire to draw people to Christ, rather than drive them away. Yesterday I watched an example of how easily people can be dissuaded from earnestly seeking the Lord by well-meaning, but over-zealous, believers unfold before my eyes. Sometimes those of us who have been believers for years and years forget how hard it can be to put one’s faith and trust in a God who must be taken by faith. And sometimes the over-zealous among us, in our zeal to draw new believers in, actually end up pushing them farther away. Sometimes new believers, teetering on the brink of a complete commitment to Christ, can be overwhelmed with ‘you should’ do this and ‘you should’ do that.
So…that being said. My thought for today is aimed at taking us all back to basics. These are the basics:
Man (you, me, the guy down the street, your mother, your brother…man) is a spirit. Not has a spirit…is a spirit. If you doubt me, check with anyone who has ever done serious drug use; most of them will tell you at some point they had an ‘out-of-body’ experience. It usually goes something like this, “I was hovering above my body, watching myself….” From the beginning of time man has known, on some basic level, his is a spirit. Evidence man has always been aware if this fact crops up in the history of every ancient culture from the Egyptians to the Mayans.
Man’s spirit is eternal. Again, history shows that on some basic level, in every culture from the extremely intellectual early Greeks to the tribal pygmy in darkest Africa, man has always been aware of an ‘after-life’ as well as a ‘spirit realm’.
The spirit of man (yours, mine…etc.) lives in a body. You have a body primarily to house your eternal spirit. OK, I don’t have to convince you on that point…you’re reading this. Eyes, fingers, brain – body.
And finally, man has a soul. For the purpose of differentiating between spirit and soul – your mind, will and emotions make up your soul.
The apostle Paul, writing to the church at Thessalonica, said in closing his first letter,
“May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”1 Thess. 5:23-24
God is a spirit being.
Actually all gods, and there are many, are spirit beings. Again, I point you to what history tells us about the religions of the world and the gods they have worshiped in the past and still worship today.
The first tenant of the Christian faith says: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:2-3. We are told “whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
And we are also told:
“It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.” John 4:23-24 The Message
Third (and most important) basic:
Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
If you are an intelligent adult human being, having grown up in one of the more civilized countries of the world, you are familiar with this premise, whether you agree with it or not. Jesus Christ lived and walked the streets of Jerusalem over 2000 year ago. Historians agree this man did more to impact the world than any other single human being before or since. The rub comes when we are asked to believe that he was not just a mere man, but God incarnate.
Millions of people, worldwide, believe in Jesus, the Son of God, and accept their right to access God The Father because of their personal relationship with the Son. The basic principle here is this: each and every one of us must come to know Him and believe in Him on our own.
We are told:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”John 3:16
We are told:
“he (Jesus) came that we might have life, and life more abundantly.”John 10:10
If you are contemplating becoming a believer in and follower of Jesus Christ you’ve known it for awhile. Deep in your heart of hearts, the decision has already been made. You know there is a God. You know you need God in your life. And you know when you finally give in and say “God if you’re out there…if you really exist…please help me, show me.” your life is going to change. Probably change dramatically.
What you may not know is this – the dramatic change in your life after you give in and decide to follow Christ is going to be for the better. It is not going to be about what you have to give up or what you have to do. It is going to be about seeing God do wonderful and amazing things with your life, just because he loves you.
Don’t be put off by the over-zealous long time believers, or the self-righteous religious. Don’t be taken in by their laundry list of shoulds and should nots. Get to know Jesus and through him get to know God.
“Here I am Lord. I’d like to have you make a difference in my life, because I’ve tried running it myself and I’m doing it all wrong. Lord, you have promised to take away all the rotten stuff I’ve done up until this moment, forgive me for it, and then forget about it. I believe you can and will do that for me. Lord, you have promised to bring love, joy and peace into my life. I believe you can and will do that for me, too. So, here I am Lord. I give myself to you, spirit, soul and body – right now. Thank you for the difference you are going to make in my life, beginning today. In your name, I pray. Amen.
Welcome to the family of God!