Monday, 28 May 2012

In Whose Hands

A basketball in my hands is worth about $19.
A basketball in Michael Jordan’s hands is worth about $33 million.
It depends whose hands it’s in.
A baseball in my hands is worth about $6.
A baseball in Mark Mcguire’s hands is worth $19 million.
It depends whose hands it’s in.
A tennis racket is useless in my hands.
A tennis racket in Pete Sampras’ hands is a Wimbledon Championship.
It depends whose hands it’s in.
A rod in my hands will keep away a wild animal.
A rod in Moses’ hands will part the mighty sea.
It depends whose hands it’s in.
A sling shot in my hands is a kid’s toy.
A sling shot in David’s hand is a mighty weapon.
It depends whose hands it’s in.
Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in my hands is a couple of fish sandwiches.
Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in God’s hands will feed thousands.
It depends whose hands it’s in.
Nails in my hands might produce a birdhouse.
Nails in Jesus Christ’s hands will produce salvation for the entire world.
It depends whose hands it’s in.
As you see now it depends whose hands it’s in.
So we can put our concerns, our worries, our fears, our hopes, our dreams, our families, and our relationships in God’s hands because –
It depends whose hands they’re in.

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Thursday, 27 October 2011

Love not the world by Gary Carpenter

1 John 2:15-17  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

The reason we have trouble understanding what John meant by these words is because we have so little revelation of who we truly are. For the most part, we still see ourselves as creatures of this world, even though the bible says we are not of the world. Our day-by-day identification is still more with the world than with heaven.

As I continue meditating the Word of God and spending many hours praying in the Spirit, my comprehension of the fact that we are "born from above" is increasing. I find myself saying things like, "I am not on earth for the purpose of receiving from the world. I am on earth for the purpose that the world may receive from my heavenly Father." Progressively, I am identifying more with heaven than with earth.

All of those old sayings that used to just sound like religious jargon to me are starting to become "Who I am." Sayings like, "This world is not my home. Heaven is where my possessions lie." I find that my affections are truly becoming set on things above, not on things on the earth:
Col 3:2-3  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

We are simply "on assignment" from heaven to earth in order that the will of our Father may be done through the life of Christ in us while we live in these mortal bodies. We only need the "material things of the earth" as they are required to fulfill our assignment. We don't identify with the earth. We are from above. We have no covetous lust for the things of the earth. If we have lust at all, it is this intense desire to complete the work our Master has given us to do. We don't feel at home on the earth anymore. This environment of sin, sickness and poverty does not seem "natural" anymore. Neither does the all-pervading "deceitfulness of riches and the lust of other things" seem "natural" to us anymore.

To spend our lives on a quest to satisfy the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life seems totally foreign to us now. These things are just simply no longer part of our nature. They are not "of the Father." They have nothing to do with our assignment from heaven. To give our affection to them is to abandon our assignment from heaven and divert us from the Father's will for our lives. To set our affection on them would be no less than treason. Are we, freeborn citizens of heaven, now to become citizens of this fallen world? I trow not! Our nature is to please the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. That's the motivational, driving force that gives us pleasure now.
2 Tim 2:4  No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs--he wants to please his commanding officer. NIV

We don't have too much trouble identifying the "lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes," but exactly what is this "pride of life?" The Greek word translated "life" in that verse is "bios."
From Strong's Dictionary: LIFE
979. bios, bee'-os; a prim. word; life, i.e. (lit.) the present state of existence; by impl. the means of livelihood:--good, life, living.
It is from the word "bios" that we get our modern word "biological." This is not referring to the "life of God" within us. The word "bios" refers to our physical, biological life, including the means of livelihood by which that life is sustained on earth. It is the same Greek word translated "living" when Jesus spoke of the Widow's Mite:
Mark 12:44  For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living [bios].

She had cast in the last of the resources to sustain her physical, biological life on earth. With that connotation of the word bios, then John's statement could be translated "the pride of how well you make a living" is not of the Father. Or, "the pride of your standard of living" is not of the Father. It is the cares of our "bios," the sustaining of our physical life on this earth and the pursuit of the "pleasures of this life" that choke the word and make us unfruitful for the Kingdom of God:
Luke 8:14  And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life [bios], and bring no fruit to perfection.

Concerning the pride of our physical life, the Greek word translated "pride" in 1 John 2:16 is "alazoneia." From Strong's Dictionary:
PRIDE - 212. alazoneia, al-ad-zon-i'-a; from G213; braggadocio, i.e. (by impl.) self-confidence:--boasting, pride.
From the New American Standard Dictionary:
  1. A braggart.
  2. Empty or pretentious bragging.
  3. Swaggering manner; cockiness.
  4. The personification of vainglory.
Sad to say, this phrase "the pride of life" seems to be the "norm" for the majority of Christian Americans who devote most of their life to "keeping up with the Jones's." This same attitude runs rampant among many Christian ministries. It is at the heart of competition and "one-upmanship." It comes from the deep-rooted desire to be thought "better" than others. This motivational, driving force is "not of the Father." Paul said,
2 Cor 10:12  For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

Needless to say, it is now more clear why John said that this sort of "pride of life" is not of the Father. This is the motivational, driving force of the world system, not the Kingdom of God. The safeguard against spending our lives floundering in the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is to LOVE NOT THE WORLD, NEITHER THE THINGS THAT ARE IN THE WORLD! Rather than setting our love on the world and the things that are in the world, we are admonished to set our affection on the things which are above:
Col 3:2-3  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

The following verses also apply to this same principle. As stewards of the Kingdom of God, we must never bow the knee to the world, nor the things in the world. Our allegiance is to "Him who bought us" … our Lord Jesus Christ alone! We are not hirelings. We are not employees. We are "owned." We are bondslaves who are single minded. We know WHO WE ARE, WHERE WE ARE FROM, AND WHY WE ARE HERE!
1 Tim 6:5-11  Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. BUT GODLINESS WITH CONTENTMENT IS GREAT GAIN [Emphasis Added]. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. AND HAVING FOOD AND RAIMENT LET US BE THEREWITH CONTENT [Emphasis Added]. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
Phil 4:11  Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
1 John 5:21  Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
2 Tim 3:1-5  This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, TRAITORS, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
2 Tim 4:10  For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.

Demas "loved this present world." The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life caused him to turn traitor to his assignment from the King. He chose to forsake his "mission from heaven" to spend his short life on earth pursuing the pleasures of the world instead.
From such … "TURN AWAY!"

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Monday, 3 October 2011