Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God


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26 Where is my Worth – Part 1

Psalm 8:1-9

1 O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. 2 You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you. 3 When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—the moon and the stars you set in place—4 what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them? 5 Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. 6 You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority— 7 the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals, 8 the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents. 9 O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!

Psalm 8 begins by proclaiming the power of God and then goes on to ask an intriguing question: “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” This question what is man, at its heart is asking what are we worth? Now according to evolution, man or people, are nothing more than the end product of a chance collision of molecules. Worldly wisdom would say that we came into existence as the result of an unplanned accident of nature. We could refer to this kind of thinking as going from goo to you by way of the zoo. At the core of this theory, you and I are not that much different from the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, or the slug in the mud for that matter. Because we are all pretty much the result of the same purposeless interaction of atoms, thus we really have no intrinsic value. We have no value to really speak of that sets us apart from the rest of the world. Unfortunately many of us today are letting the secular instead of scripture speak into our sense of self-worth. As a result, there are many whose behavior reflects their belief in a theory of chance, and they agree with the evaluation of evolution that we’re not worth very much. So they start to wonder if anybody would even miss them if they were gone or if it even matters that they exist. But the Word of God doesn’t agree with worldly wisdom because the Bible teaches that you are NOT an accident. The Bible proclaims that you were planned and that you have purpose. Your value is not based in the world, it is based on the Word of God because God doesn’t make junk. Psalm 8 not only asks the question: “what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” But it answers that question: “You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.” You see while evolution sees man as one step above the apes, Scripture sees him as one step beneath the angels. You are important to God and this is the same message that is proclaimed on the pages of the first book of the Bible, Genesis. The first book in the Bible is the foundational book of the Bible. It is the revelation of God’s will to man and explains in just a few chapters, how the human race was brought into existence through the power and personal activity of God. It reveals that the first man and woman were the objects of God’s love and special affection. They were created “in His image” (Genesis 1:26-27), and given the privilege of regular communication with Him (Genesis 2:15-17; 3:8). One man and one woman were appointed, not only as the progenitors of our race but also custodians and caretakers over His creation. They were created with the characteristics of mind, emotions, personality, and will. They were made creative, imaginative, inventive, artistic, and capable of loving and being loved. In Genesis chapter one we find a simple narrative of the creation of the world, and while it is simple, its scope and depth are profound. For the creation account of Genesis point to the creation of humanity as the high point of God’s creation, placing profound value of human life. You see man is the crowning work of God’s creation which is not a statement of arrogance but one of adoration. Verse 5 says “and crowned them with glory and honor” and in Ephesians 2:10 the Bible tells us that “we are God’s masterpiece.” Our problem is that either we don’t internalize this truth or we take this truth to heart but only believe that it has bearing on us. You see there is a dangerous tendency in a corrupted culture to demonize people who aren’t like us. If we don’t apply God’s truth to everyone we will be in danger of discriminating and demoralizing those who are different than us. We desperately need, to begin with the book of Genesis so that we don’t miss the treasure of this truth not just for us but for all. As image-bearers of God, we carry something of the character and nature of God. The image of God, tells us that all people, regardless of whether you like them or not are created by God with sanctity and dignity. No matter whether theist or atheist, rich or poor, African or Asian, black or white, male or female, all human beings are created in the “image” and “likeness” of God. Genesis 1:26 tells us that “God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness….'” This Scripture speaks to our significance because at every other point of creation God said, “Let there be (something),” and then it came into being and God pronounced it good. Without making any effort to plan or consider with himself what he should do, God determined that light and darkness should be, that land should be separated from water, that plants should grow on the land, and so on. But here at the apex of creation God in counsel with the trinity said ‘Let us make man in our image” We can also see how important we are to God by the way that Genesis reveals how God felt about His creation. On the first day God said “Let there be light!” and there was light. And the Bible says “and it was GOOD.” The 2nd day God created the earth’s atmosphere and then we’re told “and it was GOOD.” On day 3 God created vegetation – the trees and the grass and the shrubs and again it says “and that was GOOD.” Then on the 4th day God created the Sun, Moon and the stars and said “that was GOOD” On the 5th day God created the birds of the air and fish of the sea and He saw that “that was GOOD.” But then on the 6th day after God had created man we are told that He said “it was VERY GOOD.” Man was also distinct in that with every other part of His creation God merely spoke and they appeared. He wanted a daisy or a deer, all He had to do was speak it into existence. But when God created man He climbed down into the dust and got His hands dirty. Not only did God touch us and not just talk us into existence but He also breathed the breath of life into us. Nothing else in all of His creation involved this degree of attention, WHY? Because this part of creation was something that was made in GOD’S IMAGE. You and I are special and valuable for of all creation only we were “crowned with glory and honor” Psalm 8:5. Today don’t just let this truth touch your life but reach out and touch the life of someone else with this truth, treating them with dignity and decency.

 

 

 


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25 Searching for Security and Significance – Part 3

Ephesians 5:21-29

21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. 25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.

After revealing the wife’s role Paul now points out the role and responsibilities of the husband. Now if a wife’s role is to reflect the submission of the church to Christ, then what you would expect Paul to reason as a husband’s responsibility would be to manifest the headship of Jesus Christ over His church, and thus become the spiritual leaders of their wife. If the wife is commanded to submit, then logically the husbands must be instructed to lead. But they are not, you see instead of commanding husbands to lead their wives, Paul actually instructs us to love our wives. Only when we love our spouse can we provide servant leadership in our marriage, because leadership without love always leads to lording. Paul’s main point to love is obvious because he repeats the command for husbands to love their wives three times, in verses 25, 28, and 33. But what does it mean to love our wife? It’s here that the passage provides two models to help husbands learn to love their wives, each of which is introduced by the word “as” in verses 25 and 28.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her” (25)

“In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies” (28)

This is a love that acts for the best good and promotes the well-being of the other person, demanding nothing in return. There is possibly no other word in the English language that needs more explanation than the word love. Because we use it to describe everything from our love for people to our love for pizza. But it’s here that Paul points to Christ as our example, you see we are to love our wives in the same way that Christ loves the church. This is a call to sacrificial service, because Paul does not merely say, “Love your wives as Christ loved the church,” but he goes on to describe what that love looks like: “…and gave Himself up for her.” As a husband we are not to give in, we are to give up. That means that a husband needs to give himself up for his wife, willingly, sacrificially and purposely. So let me ask you husbands, when was the last time you sacrificed something for your wife? When did you give up? Christ gave up his life for the church and I believe if a criminal broke down your door in the dead of night you would willingly give up your life for your wife. So why is it that we would give up our lives for our wives but we struggle to serve in the small things? Because we let self get in the way of service, instead of Christ being our model we follow the culture and seek to serve self. Sacrifice speaks the language of love because sacrifice says you are important and you are worth it. When was the last time you put your wife ahead of your wants? A husbands goal should be godliness and it’s here that Paul tells us to put our energy into helping our spouse pursue holiness. 5:26-27: “To make her holy, cleansing her by the washing of water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” God has called us as husbands to love and to lay down our lives so that our wives are directed toward godly living. One of our key roles is to help our wives reach maturity in Christ, by building them up every chance we get. This requires that we relating to our spouse spiritually. Many men spend time pursue their wives sexually but never spiritually. They let their relationship revolve around their wants more than God’s Will. Serving your wife means seeking to grow spiritual which means opening yourself up to them spiritually, which is a challenge for most men. Because this requires that we become vulnerable. But as we grow closer to Christ we come closer to connecting with each other. Men are you pursuing your wife in prayer, are you seeking opportunities to connect spiritual so that your spouse can be successful? Lastly Christ calls us to care for our wives 5:29: “After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church.” Not only are we called to provide a positive spiritual environment but to care for our wives physically and emotionally as well. Just as with the wife’s responsibilities, what we are called to cannot be accomplished in our strength. Just as wives need to be filled and energized by the Holy Spirit, so too we need His power and strength in order to carry out our responsibilities. The last verse in the passage gives a great summary of the entire passage: “However, each one of you also must love his wife, as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” We need to notice that both husbands and wives are to work at fulfilling their responsibilities regardless of how their spouse responds. Obedience here is based on the Messiah not on your spouse’s merits. What the culture calls us to do is to base our response on our spouse, on whether or not they deserve. Now while that may feel right we need to remember that if we do we will be placing conditions on love instead of practicing Christ’s love. Many of us are limiting love in our marriages because instead of being obedient to the call of Christ we are caving to the culture. Instead of scripture being our standard we are letting society set the bar. What we end up with is worldly thinking that says, “When he starts loving me, then I’ll submit to him.” Or, “When she starts submitting to me, I’ll begin loving her.” That kind of thinking leads to a performance based relationship instead where we end up putting our energy into trying to measure up and keeping score instead of reinforcing God’s security and significance. The truth is your response is your responsibility, you need to live out your relational responsibility regardless of how you feel or how your spouse is fulfilling their role. If it’s true that a man’s primary need is for significance, and this need is met ultimately through a growing relationship with Christ, God will use the wife’s submission to reinforce a man’s significance. And, if it’s true that a woman’s primary need is for security, and God meets this need through a relationship with Himself, God will also uses a husband’s love to reinforce a wife’s security. Are you seeking to live out Christ’s commands or are you flowing your feelings and limiting God’s love?