Friday, July 26, 2013

Use the name of God in a way that brings him glory.

            Do you remember when you were in grade school?  Once in a while your group of friends would pick on someone.  Maybe they’d call them names or say bad things about them behind their backs.  And there were most likely times that others treated you the same way.  If you were on the side that was saying bad things about someone else, it perhaps made you feel more important.  None of us felt good, however, when we were on the receiving end, when we were laughed at or spoken against.
Even today, there are times when people get upset with us, for whatever reason, and say mean things about us.  Maybe they say them to our face or maybe just grumble behind our back.  But in either case, if and when we find out that a person is treating our name and reputation in a bad way, we’re not happy about it.  It makes us angry that others treat us that way, especially when it turns out to be a “friend.”
How do you think God feels when people use his name wrongly?  The fact is that we don’t have to wonder how God feels.  He lets us know very clearly and very strongly in his Word – You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” (Ex 20:7)
We can misuse the Lord’s name in many names. The most obvious is when someone, in anger, calls upon God to damn someone to hell.  If such a person truly realized what they were asking for, they would never make such a wish.
We misuse God’s name when we use it carelessly.  “My God, what a pretty table cloth!”  “God, it’s hot today!”  We may not think much about it but are we not using his name in a careless way?  What are we doing when we say a prayer in God’s name and don’t think about what we are saying?  God says that he will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name.  We must all ask God for forgiveness for this sin.
How are we to use God’s name? As children of God we need to know the answer to that?  The most obvious answer is that we are to call upon the name of the Lord for our salvation. (Romans 10:13)  It is the only name by which we can be saved.  God would also have us share his saving name with others.  Jesus Christ is not only our Savior but theirs.
Our Lord also says, “Call upon me in the day of trouble and I will deliver you.” (Psalm 50:15) In prayer, we invoke God’s name to help us in time of need.  He has promised to hear our prayers and help us.
We ought also to be praising God’s name.  Praising God for the wonderful things He has done.  He is worthy to be praised for the wonderful creation we enjoy, for our bodies that were made in such a wonderful way.
We will also use God’s name in thanksgiving.  We will thank God for the food we eat, the clothing we wear and the shelter over our heads.  We thank him for our government, our families, for the blessings we enjoy in our country, and so much more.  We praise Him for every good thing we have. 
            We have a most loving and wonderful God and Lord!  Let’s use his name faithfully out of love for him.

Monday, July 1, 2013

They sacrificed it all for the cause of freedom!

          Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who were the original signers of the Declaration of Independence? History says in signing this document they pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. These were not hollow words. Nine of the 56 died of wounds or hardships incurred while fighting in the Revolutionary War. Five were captured by the British, declared traitors, tortured and killed. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
I read that John Hart was driven from the bedside of his wife who was dying. Their thirteen children fled for their lives. His fields and mill were laid waste. For more than a year he lived in the forest and in caves. When he returned home, his wife had died and his children gone. A few weeks later he died of exhaustion and a broken heart.
At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed and Nelson died bankrupt.
This is just a sampling of the hardships and sacrifices these men made in the name of liberty. The freedoms we enjoy and often take for granted were bought with a high price. It is fitting that we observe a day each year to celebrate our freedom and remember those who won it for us and the multitudes since who have fought and sacrificed to keep it. Many who paid with the loss of their life.
Being a Christian calls for an even greater sacrifice. Listen to the words of Jesus. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:25 NIV) “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?” (Luke 9:25 NIV) "Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Mat 10:37 NIV)
These passages and many others make it clear that serving the Lord, being a child of God, demands total sacrifice and total commitment. There is nothing we possess that we should value more than anything we possess. Jesus must be our greatest treasure, more important than any other person in our life. While we are not likely to be asked to become martyrs, we need to believe that even our life, as precious as it is, must be sacrificed if necessary rather than lose eternal life and the blessings that accompany it.
So what does that mean? It doesn’t mean that we spend all day long in prayer and the reading of Scripture. It does mean that we treasure God’s Word. We must read it regularly, study it, let it guide us in our life. We will no longer do as we please but live to please him. Setting aside time for worship, prayer, sharing the Savior with others, serving those in need, showing love to our spouse, helping our children to know and love Jesus as their Savior – get the idea? Total commitment. Total Sacrifice.
It may mean giving up the extra pay from overtime work to spend it with our family. It may be saying no to the kids when their activities conflict with Sunday morning worship. Living for the Lord may cost us a promotion at work, popularity at school, loss of fame or fortune.
“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?” (Luke 9:25 NIV)