Necessary Interests

But seek ye first the kingdom of God
and his righteousness.
.
.”
Matthew 6:33

The first thought for this post was the title, Unnecessary Interests, as the Lord has been revealing interests that are not for my growth or are a waste of time. There are some that I need to let go, but as He has been leading me to stop looking at the underside of this world and its interests, and to focus on the upper side and the interests of His kingdom, my thoughts turned to where my interests should be.

From our thoughts to our words and actions, we have much to desire beyond normal and common interests. We can compare what is holy to what is unholy; what is common to what is uncommon; what is clean to what is unclean. Our interest in the news of the world keeps us from the interests of His Kingdom. The interests of the world ~ its entertainments and influences ~ impede our journey with Him.

For the child of God, known as a Christian, our life here has a definite purpose. The purpose of this physical life is to prepare us for eternal life with Him in His glory. We now live and serve Him in what is known as the Kingdom of Grace; His keeping us, sanctifying us, purifying us; making us compatible for Himself.

 If ye then be risen with Christ,
seek those things which are above,
where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 

Colossians 3:1

Necessary Interests for a Child of God
So, what are the necessary interests for a child of God? What raises us above the world’s standards; even Beyond a Mere Christianity?

We must start with an in-depth interest in His Word, where we learn to love what He loves. Here we find the truths of God and the filling and leading of His Holy Spirit to the necessary interests that He wants for us. He teaches us how He conforms us to the image of His own Son

Through His Word, He teaches us how to communicate with Him; to pray for the things He has prepared to give (1 Corinthians 2:9-16).

He leads us in the interests of His other children, of like-mind and heart; to participate in worship and the Word preached within His church.

He brings us to others with an interest in their souls, to witness of Christ to them.

There is much that we could cover here, but we don’t have the time or space. If you are reading with an interest in what is necessary for growth as a child of God, I implore you to take your Bible, shut out any other interests, ask the Lord to fill you with His Holy Spirit as you read His Word; to speak to you through His Word; to show you His will.

As He has been speaking to my heart, He has pointed out certain interests that I need to forsake and leading me to more of the interests He has for me. One thing for sure is the desire for me to draw closer to Him.

“Set your affections on things above,
not on things on the earth.”
Colossians 3:2

Gracious Father in heaven, whose name I want to hallow, draw me closer to you, to love you more; to seek a deeper understanding of what it means to be your child and a disciple of Christ. Open my mind and heart to those things of your kingdom and displace anything of this world that would hinder your image and your work in me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran
Show Me Thy Ways, O LORD Psalm 25:4-5

Related Post: Letting Go
(Suggested Reading: The Garden of GOD’S WORD ~ The Purpose and Delight of BIBLE Study)

Why Should God Spare America?

This article “Why Should God Spare America” was patterned after a sermon “Things That God Did Not Spare preached by a young minister, Andrew Stewart, in Northern Ireland August 7, 2016.  It included the main question: “Why should God spare you?” I strongly urge you to listen to this sermon, for your own personal blessing and hope.

The Angels in Heaven

“God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment.” 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6

In Isaiah 6 we see the angels who veiled their faces, showing reverence and respect, humble before the Creator. But because of pride, in a moment of time, the devil and his angels were cast out of heaven. Ezekiel 28:13

God did not spare them. Why should God spare a nation that lives in pride and gives no respect to His authority and rule over us? Are we better than the angels?

The Ancient World

“And God saw the wickedness of the earth” and the evil hearts of men. Genesis 6:5

“He did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly. 2 Peter 2:5

They had a preacher.

They also had the blessing of God’s patience, of His long-suffering toward a wicked and rebellious world.

God did not spare them. Why should God spare a nation that pays no heed to the word of God, but lives independently of Him? Are we better than the old world?

The Cities of the Plains

He did not spare Sodom and Gomorrah. Genesis 13:10

They knew what it was to enjoy the natural and temporal blessings of God.   They had a godly man in their midst. They had an intercessor. Abraham prayed for God to save them. (Genesis 18:22)

“By turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;” 2 Peter 2:6

God did not spare them. Why should God spare a nation that openly and defiantly approves and practices the things that are an abomination to Him? Are we better than Sodom and Gomorrah?

The Natural Branches

He did not spare His chosen people, but many times brought judgment upon them because of their disobedience.

Because of their unbelief, they were left to wander in the wilderness.

They had the blessings of prayer, and of the word from the prophets .

Jerusalem was burned, and the people were taken into exile for seventy years; an equivalence of the number of years that they had profaned the Sabbath.

National Israel in A.D. 70 was scattered to the end of the world.

They had all the privileges. They had God’s blessings, His power, His precepts, the oracles, the types, the shadows of the Messiah, yet they rejected Him when He came.

God did not spare them. Why should God spare a nation that rejects the message of His Son? Are we better than the Israelites?

Why should God spare America? Why are we any different from those who fell under His wrath and judgment? We have the word of God that He has preserved all these years, translated in our language, which men have lived and died for. We have ministers who preach the Word of God; intercessors who pray for the salvation of this country.

In comparison to those whom God did not spare, we stand condemned before Him.   We can but wonder why He has been so patient with us; in mercy and long-suffering with us.

How can God spare us? Where is our hope? The answers are found in His Word.

“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”
Romans 8:32

Jesus Christ, God’s Son

God did not spare His own Son but He poured out His wrath upon Him so that we may be spared.

As God’s children, we must examine our own hearts and our confession of faith.

“For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:17

God’s patience is on our behalf, as His people, that we might be turned to Him. Persecution may be the only means to prove who belongs to Him. It is in these times that we turn to His Word and call out for the Holy Spirit’s power in our own hearts and lives, and proclaim this hope to others.

“Be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation,”
2 Peter 3:15
count-patience-jpg

Dear Father,  as we wait and hope, in the mercy and grace of our Lord, whom you did not spare for our sake, let us continue to pray, proclaim your kingdom, and “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.” In whose name we pray, praise, and thank you. Amen.  2 Peter 3:18
Audio: Things That God Did Not Spare

Photography: Mike Roberts

The First and Last Commandment

Since learning that all God’s commands are what He promises to do, I now read and understand that His words are meant to bring us to Him in our helplessness, to seek His power to know Him, love Him and obey. In this respect I see the Ten Commandments as relating to how His people live in His kingdom in relationship with Him. His words are words that we live by; not discarded under the law of grace. The whole of His commandments from beginning to end are begun, centered, and end in the one commandment of Love.

The first commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” was later stated, in Deuteronomy 6:4-6 as, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord, our God is one Lord. And thou shalt love the Lord, thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might; and these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.” This was the interpretation that Jesus used when questioned by the religious authorities of His day.

The last commandment, “Thou shalt not covet…(list)…anything that is thy neighbors.” From the first to the last, and everything between, God’s commands are based on love to God and love to our neighbor (the second commandment.). They are all bound up in the Lord, our God.

How, then are we to obey such as is commanded from our creator? We, first understand that our God is the Lord, the one Lord who created and demands our love. If we know Him as our Lord, we will love Him. How do we know Him as our Lord? The Lord God who created also redeems us from our sin of disobedience and rebellion, and our enmity against Him.  He promised to give us a new heart and a new spirit; and to write His laws on our hearts and in our minds.

imagesWe love Him only as we experience His love for us. He has shown His love by sending His Son. By the Holy Spirit, the power of His own will and grace, He reveals Jesus Christ as our redeemer, and draws us in the cords of love to Himself. Such a love is effectual to bring about what He commands in our lives. It is the only way that He can fulfill such commands in us.

From the first to the last commandment Christ becomes our Lord, our love, our life.

Our love to our Lord God is the same love we show to others. When we know Him, love Him, and receive all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) from Him we need nothing that others have. We have all in Christ. Instead of coveting what others have our hearts desire, in our love for them, is that they have what we have.

 “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all,
how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”
Romans 8:32

 Dear Father, we praise you for loving us in Christ and for opening our eyes to see your kingdom in Him. Thank you for your great sacrifice in Christ that has brought us to obedience of faith by the Holy Spirit which you sent us, by whose power you are now accomplishing all that was planned before the foundation of the world. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

You Shall Love the Lord Your God ~ Scripture Tunes