The Color of Christmas

12/25/2017 § Leave a comment

I have something to share with you that I have never shared to anyone except my wife.  It’s very personal.

Are you ready? Here it is…

I associate the days of the week with colors.  Yep, that’s it.  Each day of the week for me represents a unique color.

Some of you may be asking “what in the world are you talking about” or “have you been eating well lately,” and I assure you that I have been eating just fine, and maybe too well.

There is actually a name for this phenomenon.  The clinical term for this is referred to as synesthesia.  By definition, synesthesia is a stimulation of a sensory or cognitive area of the brain that involuntary leads to another sensory or cognitive path.  In its simplest form, synesthetes, depending upon how they are wired, associate colors to different stimuli.  Some people can actually associate the different sounds of music with colors.  Some will visually associate letters and numbers with individual, unique colors.

The association of colors with days of the week seems to be more common among synesthetes, and it all has to do with one’s personal perception.  This trait seems to be associated with creative people or artists, and it can be hereditary, but there is not a lot of science or psychology on this, and its probably because some people may not even realize that they have this ability.  I wasn’t able to put a name to it until a few months ago.

Anyway, for me, here are the colors that I see (as close as I can get according to my perception) for the days of the week.  Sunday is close to a white color with a warm, soft cream-like tone.  Monday is a basic blue.  Tuesday is a light gray.  Wednesday is a solid brown.  Thursday is orange, or close to what I would call a burnt orange.  Friday is a solid red.  Saturday is a bright yellow.  As I thought of this subject, I also realize that I associated colors with subjects in high school, which have nothing to do with the day of the week color scheme.  Chemistry and biology, for example, was a solid green.  English was a light blue color, and algebra and calculus were a bright red.  I have no explanation for these, but I can share that English and math were my best subjects in high school.

Many of us probably associate colors with different times of the year and we don’t even realize it.  The four seasons have relatively distinct colors for those of us who live around here.  Spring has a multitude of colors, but many will think of pink and yellow for flowers and cherry blossoms (April showers bring May flowers).  Summer is green and more green.  If you have allergies, you know about pollen, which is yellow.  Autumn means changing leaf colors and pumpkins, which are orange.  Winter is white, and sometimes can take on a rather dreary color of a slushy gray.  With that in mind, how wonderful it is to see Christmas lights this time of year!  We haven’t always had Christmas lights (before electricity we had candles, of course), but even a solid string of white lights in the evening seem to brighten up the surroundings.  Some lights that we see will cover all of the colors of the spectrum, and you can now even see colors dancing in the form of stars or angels projected onto houses with newfangled yard gadgets that run throughout the Christmas season.

Now, I like those kind of colors at Christmas.  We will kindly excuse the people who buy the gargantuan displays of Santa or Rudolph or Star Wars characters that are blown up with an air compressor only to collapse in a heap of wrinkled ruin on the lawn.  I can barely see the beauty of color when I look at those bodacious displays.

Color means a great deal to us.  There’s nothing more boring to look at than a blank canvas or pale white walls.  It’s amazing how something as simple as color stripes or accents on walls can change one’s entire perspective.  Christmas has a color scheme of its own that helps us to get into the spirit of the season after the browns, tans and oranges of Thanksgiving take a back seat for another year.  The reds and greens of Christmas are accented with the light blue colors of sparkle and the snow-white lights that reflect off of the snow on the roofs of houses.  All of these colors are quite prevalent throughout the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and yet they still fall short of the true meaning of Christmas.  The true color of Christmas is not in a shade or a hue, because that would be a limitation of its meaning and purpose.  The purpose of Christmas, in Himself, does not wear a red suit, sport a long white beard, or even go “ho, ho, ho!” The true color of Christmas is in the person of Jesus Christ.

He is the true color of Christmas.

Luke 2:8-14 CSB

In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

Glory to God in the highest heaven,

and peace on earth to people he favors!

So when you look at all of the different colors of lights that you see when you drive through your neighborhoods, you can readily conclude that all of the lights of color that you see actually do provide a great reminder of who Jesus Christ is.  He was born as a Savior, Christ the Lord, and He came to us for the purpose of showing us what it is to be a light in the world.

John 8:12 ESV

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Since He is our light, He gives us the example as to how to live as His disciples:

Matthew 5:14-16 ESV

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Jesus wants us to share His light with others.  How are we to do this?  With love.  With kindness.  With compassion.  With a presence…words are not always necessary.  With service.  With prayer for others.  We are to be lights in a world of darkness and suspicion.  It’s no wonder that charities ramp up their efforts around Christmas to raise money.  It is a giving season, and what better way to express the love of Christ than to unselfishly give to those who are in need?

Colors are what add to the ambiance of Christmas, but all of the colors we see should point each of us directly to Jesus Christ.  So before we pan the secularism of the season and bemoan all of the light displays, let’s reflect on how the bright, colorful lights invigorate our spirits and lift us beyond the doldrums of the cold and the snow.  And if lights can brighten the night, what does Jesus Christ do for us?

How much more does Jesus Christ, with His very presence, lift us up when we are down?

How great it is that He who knows how we feel before we can express it?

How wonderful it is that Jesus shines His light of favor, mercy and loving care upon us!

With His light, I can readily declare that at one time I was blind in my sin, but now I can see!

He wants us to see Him in the light of His glory and grace. Amen. His true color is the color of light, which happens to be all of the colors that we see combined into one bright, beaming presence.  And His light has no end to it.

Remember Christ’s words to His followers: “You are the light of the world.”  He came to us in love and for the purpose of our salvation.  He wants us to see His true colors.  Not just at Christmas time, but all year round.  The color of Christmas is not limited to just one shade, hue or texture, and in the same way, let’s not limit our view of who Jesus Christ is for us.

Jesus wants you to see His true color shine.

“We are to walk in the light, beautiful light, come where His love and His mercy are bright.  Shine all around us by day and by night…Jesus, the light of the world!”*

 

*Lyrics from Jesus, the Light of the World. Words by Ken Bible and George D. Elderkin. Music by George D. Elderkin; arr. by Ken Bible © 1998, 2000, 2009 by LNWhymns.com. CCLI Song #3084764.

 

Copyright © Melvin Gaines

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Brian Williams and the Temptation of Exaggeration

02/10/2015 § Leave a comment

A repost from Dr. Jim Denison of the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, February 10, 2015:

Brian Williams recently told the nation that a helicopter he had been traveling in during the invasion of Iraq had been forced down by a rocket-propelled grenade.  As everyone now knows, the NBC Nightly News anchor exaggerated the extent to which his helicopter took enemy fire.  Now he faces a “fact-checking inquiry” regarding the Iraq incident, his reporting during Hurricane Katrina, and other issues that arise during the investigation.  He has announced a voluntary leave of absence, and his professional future is in doubt.

While many are debating Williams’s actions, I’d like to focus on his motivations.  He had clearly climbed to the top rung of his professional ladder.  His nightly broadcast was the top-rated newscast on television.  He achieved rock-star status, hosting Saturday Night Live and appearing on late-night comedy shows.  He was trusted by three-fourths of the viewing audience, and was recently ranked one of the most trusted people in America.

Yet his achievements were not enough for him.  His exaggerations were an apparent effort to make himself even more historic or heroic.  If Brian Williams was the only celebrity to sacrifice personal character for cultural status, I wouldn’t be writing this Cultural Commentary.  But his story is far from unique.

Richard Nixon’s presidential reelection was virtually assured before some of his staff broke into Democratic Party headquarters and cost him the presidency.  James Frey wrote a memoir of his experience with addiction, topping the New York Times bestseller list 15 straight weeks before sections were found to be fabricated.  Alan Malarkey says he made up his bestseller, “The boy who came back from heaven,” because “I thought it would get me attention.”

Significant biblical characters exhibit the same need for more.  King David had all a man should want before his affair with Bathsheba stained his legacy for 30 centuries.  Solomon was granted inestimable wisdom and wealth, but his desire for still more led to horrific immorality and idolatry.  In the early church, Ananias and Sapphira wanted credit for more than they gave and became a parable on the perils of pride (Acts 5:1-11).

It’s been said, “I am not who I think I am.  I am not who you think I am.  I am who I think you think I am.”  Many people live with a deep-seated sense of inadequacy and a constant need to prove themselves.  No matter what they do, it’s not enough.  A dear friend suggested to me at lunch yesterday that confidence is not the result of success.  We can never have enough success today to be assured of success tomorrow.  Rather, confidence is a decision we make regardless of circumstances.  Success is its result, not its cause.

Christians of all people should be confident, because our Father is omnipotent and his Holy Spirit lives in us.  The question is not who we impress today, but whose we are.  Tim Tebow was right: “We never become who God created us to be by trying to be like everybody else.”

The psalmist could say, “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2).  Can you?

©2009-2015 Copyright, Denison Forum, Dallas TX

 

A Recipe for a Missional Church

07/03/2014 § Leave a comment

One of my favorite milkshakes of all time is Chef Michael Symon’s Vanilla Bean Apple Pie Bacon milkshake.  While you can have variations within its recipe, the right amount of elements will make for a rich and satisfyingly delicious milkshake.  It has to begin with a great tasting apple pie (anything less than that would affect the taste of the shake, of course), 3 scoops of vanilla bean ice cream, 6 ounces of half and half and (the piece de resistance for me) two strips of cooked bacon!  Put them all in a blender and puree until smooth–serve immediately.  Out will come two servings of deliciousness! The end product is what we see, but the ingredients are very important to form the memorable impression of an enjoyable milkshake.  And so it is with a church’s governmental structure.  We should not be able to necessarily see the structure of a church, but the end result must be a missional church in having its greatest effect in reaching the lost. A simple definition of “missional” is to present the gospel of Jesus Christ according to the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).  It is a process of bringing along new believers in Jesus Christ and developing them (discipling them) in order that they will grow within the body of Christ and carry on Christ’s Great Commission to others. Ed Stetzer correctly notes that “church governance should function like a human skeleton, as a necessity for structure and well-being but invisible to the naked eye.” (Stetzer, 92)  Any great organization must have a structure in order to maximize success.  A corporation starts with a mission statement and has a governing board and executives that carry out that mission.  A church, and a planting church, should have EXACTLY the same thing…a mission statement for guidance and a governing board consisting of visionary leadership.  Each person involved, in order to ensure a successful implementation of the vision, must be seeking the guidance of the Lord through the Holy Spirit and literally dying to self on a daily basis (Matthew 16:24-25; Mark 8:34-35; Luke 14:27). Without this, there will always be fleshly struggles and battles over the importance of carrying out agendas, which take away the focus from the quest to be a missional church and remaining focused on having a heart for God’s people. The type of governance for a church is as individual as the type of church plant for the target area involved.  While there is no equal in my mind to a Vanilla Bean Apple Pie Bacon milkshake, it is not for everyone.  A friend of mine tried one and acknowledged it was delicious but it caused a significant gastronomical discomfort–it is very rich.  We can agree that a church government should have a pastor-elder or a group of the same, or even go further within the New Testament examples of elders and deacons, but it really depends upon who God has called to serve and for each person involved to not count himself as more important than another believer.  Not all church plants need the same governing structure—there must be flexibility within the forming of the structure, but it must exist to fulfill the guidance and the vision of the plant.  The mission statement must reflect a missional church movement.  There must be a pastor to shepherd the church (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2), and ideally a great supporting cast of at least one other like-minded person, but all involved must be willing, as noted earlier, to die to self and serve under Christ.  If you see a person or persons caught up in titles or accolades in order to project oneself as significant, we are seeing too much within that structure.  If the church government is transparent, like a good recipe, we will only “taste” the end results in that people will be reached for Jesus Christ and that God will be glorified.  Amen. Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him! (Psalm 34:8 HCSB)   Ed Stetzer (2006). Planting Missional Churches. Broadman & Holman, Nashville TN Copyright © Melvin Gaines

The Moment of Truth

03/31/2013 § Leave a comment

The text from a sermon presented at Akron Alliance Fellowship Church on March 17, 2013:

Each one of us has had an experience with what we would characterize as a moment of truth.  A moment of truth is the time when you have to make a decision or take an action because there are no other options under the circumstances.  The moment of truth is the ultimate enemy of one who procrastinates, or the person who has trouble with commitment.  It is when the person who normally puts things off realizes there is nothing else to do but to finally take action.

The word “truth” is relevant in “moment of truth” because it stands for something that is factual and is undeniable—it is the ultimate reality.  Remember what Pontius Pilate said when Jesus stood before Him…

John 18:37-38

37 “You are a king then?” Pilate asked.

“You say that I’m a king,” Jesus replied. “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.”

38 “What is truth?” said Pilate.

There are moments when we may have asked that same question—“What is truth?”  When we reflect upon moments like this, we may have denied that the truth was right in front of us all along, but it doesn’t change the reality.  Aldous Huxley, a famous writer, was quoted in his writing of Complete Essays, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

Author Flannery O’Connor stated, “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.”  Many people choose to ignore the truth or just flat out can’t deal with it.

A moment of truth can bring out the best in a person, or the worst in someone.  It is often accompanied with some degree of pressure, and it is usually at a very high level at this point.  Some people can handle pressure very well, while others seem to shrink when things get tough.  The best response to these moments is when the right decision is made.  But what if the wrong decision, or even no decision is made at that time?  Pontius Pilate also had his moment of truth when Jesus was brought before Him.

John 19:1-16

1 Then Pilate took Jesus and had Him flogged. The soldiers also twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and threw a purple robe around Him. And they repeatedly came up to Him and said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and were slapping His face.

Pilate went outside again and said to them, “Look, I’m bringing Him outside to you to let you know I find no grounds for charging Him.”

Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

When the chief priests and the temple police saw Him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”

Pilate responded, “Take Him and crucify Him yourselves, for I find no grounds for charging Him.”

“We have a law,” the Jews replied to him, “and according to that law He must die, because He made Himself the Son of God.”

When Pilate heard this statement, he was more afraid than ever. He went back into the headquarters and asked Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus did not give him an answer. 10 So Pilate said to Him, “You’re not talking to me? Don’t You know that I have the authority to release You and the authority to crucify You?”

11 “You would have no authority over Me at all,” Jesus answered him, “if it hadn’t been given you from above. This is why the one who handed Me over to you has the greater sin.”

12 From that moment Pilate made every effort to release Him. But the Jews shouted, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Anyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar!”

13 When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside. He sat down on the judge’s bench in a place called the Stone Pavement (but in Hebrew Gabbatha). 14 It was the preparation day for the Passover, and it was about six in the morning. Then he told the Jews, “Here is your king!”

15 But they shouted, “Take Him away! Take Him away! Crucify Him!”

Pilate said to them, “Should I crucify your king?”

“We have no king but Caesar!” the chief priests answered.

16 So then, because of them, he handed Him over to be crucified.

Think about what it means to make a critical error at the moment of truth.  There is often not the opportunity to get a do-over or to correct any mistakes.  The stakes are high, and the consequences can be devastating and regrettable.

Life is a series of decisions, and life progression is a part of our decision-making.  On the surface, it is fair to conclude that a person who makes good choices can benefit from those choices, but we should also remember that one bad decision could undermine a lifetime of good decisions.  That one bad decision may be the “moment of truth” that comes down to a test where you will either pass or fail.  While there’s no changing the past, we can learn lessons from our previous life experiences to help us to be able to handle these situations better.

1.  Be calm, cool and collected.  The best decisions come from those who don’t lose their cool and get panicked.  Notice in this passage where the true focus is:

Psalm 131:1-3

Lord, my heart is not proud;
my eyes are not haughty.
I do not get involved with things
too great or too difficult for me.
Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself
like a little weaned child with its mother;
I am like a little child.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
both now and forever.

The person who is calm is able to focus on and draw their energy upon Jesus Christ in the midst of a difficult situation.

2.  Be patient.  Your patience prevents you from making a hasty decision, and it also allows you to see how God is working in the situation.  He does not want you to miss his blessing and how He receives the glory from a great outcome.

Psalm 40:1-3

I waited patiently for the Lord,
and He turned to me and heard my cry for help.
He brought me up from a desolate pit,
out of the muddy clay,
and set my feet on a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord.

Proverbs 14:29

A patient person shows great understanding,
but a quick-tempered one promotes foolishness.

Isaiah 30:18

Therefore the Lord is waiting to show you mercy,
and is rising up to show you compassion,
for the Lord is a just God.
All who wait patiently for Him are happy.

3.  Be humble.  Humility is the key to being open to good suggestions, wisdom and knowledge, and the realization that God may be speaking to you in your time of need.

Proverbs 11:2

When pride comes, disgrace follows,
but with humility comes wisdom.

Philippians 2:1-3

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal. Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.

Your exercise of calmness, patience and humility will help you to perform at the optimal level when it is time to make an important decision in your moment of truth.  Don’t miss the fact that calmness, patience and humility are all godly attributes.  In order to exercise these godly attributes, you need to rely upon the One who provides each of these things for us—Jesus Christ.  Without the Holy Spirit operating as the Helper for Jesus Christ, we are incapable of success in the moment of truth.

Relying upon Jesus Christ leads to the one moment of truth that has a direct impact on where you will spend eternity.  In your moment of truth, will you make a decision for Him, or will you put it off?

In order to live for Jesus Christ, it is necessary to acknowledge the following:

Luke 10:27

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.

John 3:16-17

16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

2 Corinthians 5:15

 And He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised.

When you make a decision for Jesus Christ today, it is the beginning of a beautiful, rewarding relationship that will help you to grow and develop your life for today and into eternity.  Make today your moment of truth.

Copyright © Melvin Gaines. All rights reserved.

The Moral Responsibility of Leadership and Our Choice of Leaders

11/07/2012 § Leave a comment

This year’s presidential election was very close—much as expected. The margin of victory for President Obama was about 2 percent of the total number of votes cast. His victory in 2008 was only slightly larger, but the smallest of a majority is all that is needed to compel his supporters that his leadership will keep the country moving in the right direction. Only time will tell what that really means for all of us.

Prior to the election, all of us are mercilessly bombarded with information with reasons why to vote for a candidate and just as many reasons why you should not even consider the opponent. All of this is considered a “sport” by political insiders, but the combative ads and condescending rhetoric is often misinterpreted as spiteful and mean-spirited to the casual observer—it puts more people off than informs them. This approach is still very successful in shaping—or even affirming—the thoughts and views of the voters who are willing to participate. You will find yourself disillusioned if you allow yourself to get swept in like a whirlpool with all of the negative ads and election hype. In fact, some people are so put off by the process that they conclude that neither candidate is likeable or trustworthy; as a result, they choose not to vote at all. I have had many discussions with people over the years where they have concluded that it is not worth the aggravation to research and decide who the better candidate is. Much of this also has to do with the fact that it does not seem to matter to the non-voter who is in charge in Washington. The perception is that nothing really changes and nothing is getting better anyway, right?

The fallacy of this way of thinking is that it has always mattered who our president is. This also applies to any elected government official, as well. We have become desensitized to a state of paralysis over the years because of all of the bureaucracy, red tape and poor stewardship in how our tax dollars are used, but that does not mean we are to be complacent or to lower our expectations on our leadership just because “it’s always been this way in Washington.” In fact, our expectations of quality leadership in the White House and in government should be at an all time high. We should not be settling for anything less.

Leadership has a paramount responsibility to those that are being governed. A leader should be openly challenged in areas where promises are made in order to get elected when those promises aren’t kept or fulfilled. A leader should be accountable to all of his constituents in his decision-making process. All told, an elected official at all levels of government is selected for leadership with the understanding that he or she is held to a higher standard—a higher moral standard.

In the same way, these higher moral standards must never be compromised in the same way that voters should never take the easy way out in the candidate selection process. The electorate should always be compelled to pray for who their leaders are to be, and for them to hold a higher moral standard—not the standard determined by freedom of choice according to human reasoning—but God’s holy standard.

Here is where many people will depart from the use of God’s standard of viewing these matters because it is viewed as being “old-fashioned” or “unrealistic” in today’s world. My contention is that it is the only standard for looking at everything that we do and every choice that we make. Why? Simply because our lack of such a standard has been prominent throughout society, and that the absence of a godly standard has perpetuated a steady and steep decline of our societal value system. At one time in United States history, for example, our education system had a biblical foundation and principles within its classroom instruction along with a regular teaching of the bible. Today, we will only see these same practices in a private school environment, and in not nearly the same way it was done a century ago. As our educational values and standards have slipped, so too has our societal moral compass when it comes to what is right and wrong and our ability to make decisions. The absence of the bible is when decisions are made based upon what we think is right as opposed to measuring these issues with God’s uncompromising standard.

Keep in mind that God’s standard is what is good for us—it is not punitive. The world views God’s standard as inhibiting and rife with limits as to how we live. In fact, it is exactly the opposite.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him!” (Psalm 34:8)

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

The responsibility of leadership is to heed God’s Word and follow it as closely as possible as they make important decisions. It does not mean that a leader is to be perfect. Many complex issues that a leader faces can often lead to mistakes, but it is the heart of the leader who is sincerely seeking God’s wisdom in decision-making that leads to success in their stewardship under God. Moreover, the leader’s focus on God sets the example for those under his leadership to follow the same principles in their own decision-making. That’s the kind of trickle-down effect that we really want as a people and as a nation.

“…and My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” (2 Corinthians 7:14)

President Obama’s challenge for his second term is to do more than just claim that he is making his decisions based upon biblical principles and prayerful consideration—it needs to be evident in his existing policies. The bible is very clear when it comes to same-sex marriage and abortion. While there are existing laws that may support the worldly views of same-sex marriage and abortion, it does not mean that the president has to publicly endorse them. He does not make law according to our government structure; therefore, why take a stand in support of these things? Are his public positions good for the overall moral fiber of our country, or are they merely an ongoing perpetuation of a greater moral weakness of the United States that desperately needs to be addressed? A true believer in Jesus Christ cannot support these positions and should do everything possible to educate others on what it means to resist any compromise of God’s Word. If you compromise here, you’ll find other ways to justify behavior contrary to God’s holy standards—complete disobedience of His Word. When there is prayerful consideration of how God’s standard is to be applied, God will shed the appropriate light on every situation and circumstance and provide direction. From there, you can pay attention to it or dismiss it for your own view or rationalization (at your own risk).

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline.” (Proverbs 1:7)

“For wisdom will enter your mind, and knowledge will delight your heart. Discretion will watch over you, and understanding will guard you.” (Proverbs 2:10-11)

“Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)

My continuing prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17) is that President Obama will truly heed God’s Word in all decisions that he makes and that he will be the best possible example of leadership for our country. In our view of the existing evidence and track record, this appears to be a very tall order; however, Jesus, in the only way He can, puts it best:

“…With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26b)

Amen.

Copyright © Melvin Gaines. All rights reserved.

All verses from the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.

How To Glorify God

01/28/2012 § Leave a comment

Every day that we live is a day of opportunity.  There are many different events within the day that, when they are all lumped together, make up the events that summarize your day of opportunity.  The mini-events have such an effect where we can conclude that the overall day was “a good one” or “a bad one,” and we readily recognize days where there are triumphs, successes, and, of course, setbacks or tragedies.  We often measure our personal progress in segments that are broken down to the days we live, but we need to always remember that personal success or failure are not to be the defining measurement of our life.  Our true success is in how we glorify God in everything that we do.

When we look at the things that we do each day, we don’t often think about glorifying God in what we do.  We don’t, for example, look at the act of brushing our teeth as a way of glorifying God, but consider that your good habits of caring for your teeth will keep your healthy and make a contribution towards your overall appearance as you do your work for the Lord! When we look at this verse, it gives greater evidence to the fact that the Lord wants you to have the same focus in everything you do:

Colossians 3:23-24

23 Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.

This includes everything that you do in work, in leisure, at home, at the grocery store—everywhere that you go.  This involves a lifestyle of living eagerly for Christ—and it means that everything that you do will reflect your love for the Lord.  It will be evident in your appearance, your speech, and your actions.  You are a living testimony for Jesus Christ, and it will be evident to everyone who sees you.  All of your words and actions will, in turn, glorify God!

Your approach to your life has a profound effect on how you glorify God.  If you wake up every day “on the wrong side of the bed,” your focus will often reflect on negativity rather than on being positive or having a favorable outlook on life.  Your approach to life is often about your attitude.  A person with an attitude problem is more focused on self and all of the issues surrounding the cause of the attitude than on doing anything enthusiastically for the Lord.  Your attitude will invariably have a positive or negative impact on your day of opportunity.

In order to maximize your ability to glorify God in everything that you do, it is important for you to develop a living philosophy and approach to each day.  This is not about reading more self-help books or looking for something that the world offers about feeling good about yourself, but there is a lot to be said about the importance of confidence in who you are and what you do, and that confidence comes with your understanding of who Jesus Christ is in your life and the loyalty that you have for Christ because of what He has done for you. 

1 Peter 2:24

He Himself bore our sins 
in His body on the tree,
so that, having died to sins,
we might live for righteousness;
you have been healed by His wounds.

Remember that everything that you do or say is because of your healthy relationship with Jesus Christ.  He is working within you as you work through Him, which, in turn, brings Him glory.

Philippians 2:13

For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.

Philippians 4:13

I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Glorifying God to the best of your ability consists of three important elements:

1.) Being yourself

To be yourself is not the essence of living any way you want to as we are addressing it here, for to do so means that you are focusing more upon self than upon God.  Being yourself is about living as the very person that God created you to be.  To be who you are in Christ is the opposite of living in your own strength or ability, or even living in such a way where you are conforming to the expectations of others.  God would rather that you not listen to what your friends or family say that you should be, but instead would rather that you would be obedient to His Word and to His will as you live your life.  He knows you better that anyone else does, and He reminds you over and over how much He values you as a person:

Psalm 139:13-16

13 For it was You who created my inward parts; 
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You
because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.
Your works are wonderful,
and I know this very well.
15 My bones were not hidden from You
when I was made in secret,
when I was formed in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw me when I was formless;
all my days were written in Your book and planned
before a single one of them began.

Ephesians 2:10

For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.

You should also be yourself because God knows your heart, which indicates your sincerity in your relationship with Him as you perform your daily routine.

1 Samuel 16:7

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the LORD sees, for man sees what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart.”

2.) Use your gifts and talents

Since God created you to be yourself, He gave you certain gifts and talents that He wants you to use and develop in order to be a living testimony—which will glorify God as you use your gifts.

Romans 12:6-8

6 According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts:

   If prophecy,
use it according to the standard of one’s faith;
7
 if service, in service;
if teaching, in teaching;
8
 if exhorting, in exhortation;
giving, with generosity;
leading, with diligence;
showing mercy, with cheerfulness.

Notice that our gifts are to be used with humility but also with the confidence that our gifts promote a position of leadership in our ministry for the Lord.  You don’t have to be a leader in your group to exhibit leadership qualities.  Those who are great in hospitality are performing acts of service, but it is in those acts of service you are exhibiting leadership as a member of the body of Christ.  Your acts cannot help but glorify Him because you are using your gifts for Him.

3.) Seek excellence in everything you do

As you live and grow each day, you discover that there is always room for even more growth and more improvement.  Life is meant to be a learning experience, and if you continue to find ways to grow in the use of your gifts and talents, you will continue to glorify God in your actions.  It is when you believe that there’s nothing more that you can do to improve how you do your work that there is less humility in your way of thinking and there is more self-centeredness in your approach to life.  The person who yields to the Spirit in everything that they do will conform and act according to the Spirit.  If you are seeking the best in everything you do for the Lord, you are open to learn and grow for God’s glory.

Proverbs 16:3

Commit your activities to the LORD, 
and your plans will be achieved.

Matthew 5:14-16

14 “You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. 15No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

Your good works will glorify God as you seek excellence in everything that you do.  If we always remember that God wants not only the best for us but also for each of us to be the best that we can be, we will glorify God in everything that we do.  Our best for Him comes through the realization that He loves us.

Copyright © Melvin Gaines. All rights reserved.

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