John 15:19 Are You Loved Or Hated?

If you belong to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. John 15:19

People love to be loved. No one likes someone to hate them. In order for people to get that love, most people will do whatever it takes to please others.

When a person is hated, he often feels left out or separated from others. He will often look at himself and try to figure out what he is doing wrong to be hated and change.

Jesus pointed out to His followers that the world hates them because He had chosen them out of the world.

Although the world appeared to love Jesus for a short time, they quickly began to hate Him. The world hates Jesus because He sets a high standard of holy living. This standard goes against the world’s way of living.

Every believer, who is truly living for God, will be hated by the world as a whole. Those who are living mediocre lives for God, will be loved by the world. They live in sinful ways and accept others to live in sinful ways. They are not separate, set a part from the world.

Followers of Jesus will call sin for what it is…sin and will not compromise their standards. The world does not like that type of talk or living, it makes them feel uncomfortable.

As soon as the world begins to love a believer, one must begin to question his walk with God. How is it that the world loves him, when the world hates Jesus? This can be a test strip for how much a person is loving and serving God or serving self and the world.

Take not as to how much the world, those who refuse to believe in Jesus, loves you. Ask yourself how much you are being a witness to them of who Jesus is.

If you are living for God and speaking His words, the world is going to hate you. The only ones who will not hate you are those who choose to follow Jesus.

Your primary job is to be a witness to the world, not to be loved by the world. Do not turn away from being that witness, just because some, or many, do not love you.

Are you loved or hated by the world?

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that God will strengthen you to be separate from the world; that you will know God’s love; that you will live a holy life before God and the world; and that you will be a witness for Jesus.

Exodus 33:16 Standing Out As Different

different light bulb

“How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” Exodus 33:16

Standing out as different is something that the majority of people do not like to do. They want to blend in with everyone. Standing out causes one to be seen by everyone, they are on center stage in the spotlight.

Often standing out means that a person is going against the flow. They are being different and rebellious. There is a small group of this world that thrives on being different. Currently the world tells people to be themselves, regardless of what that looks like to the rest of the world.

Yet, when some people stand out as different, they are treated differently. They are not always accepted.

As Moses was leading the people in the desert, he knew that they had to be different from the world. In order to be seen as different, they needed God’s presence to be with them. God’s presence would set them apart from the rest of the world following idols, dead gods. Moses pleaded with God for His presence to be with them.

Having God’s presence in one’s life has not changed how it looks since Moses. It sets the person apart from the rest of the world. The believer is different from the world.

People will see that a believer, who is walking in God’s presence, is different from them. The believer will walk, talk, and act differently than the rest of the world. He will walk in love, mercy, forgiveness, grace, and holiness, because God’s presence is in him, guiding him and leading him.

Too often believers look like the world. They act like the world and God’s presence is not with them. They are doing their own thing, not God’s. They are no longer distinguished from the world.

As a believer, your life should be different than that of the world. You should be distinguished with God’s  presence. You should be standing out as a shining light for the world to see.

When people look at your life, what are they seeing? Are they seeing someone just like them, like the world, not different or set apart?

Or are they seeing someone who has God’s presence in his life?

I pray today that you will know God’s presence in your life; that you will not move without God’s presence and guidance; that you will be separated from the world unto God; that you will stand out for all the world to see Jesus in your life; and that the world will know God is with you.

1 Peter 4:4 Are You Surprising The World?

 

Surpised man

They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. 1 Peter 4:4

The majority of the people in this world like to live having a good time. They want to do what they want, when they want and how they want.

Teenagers and college students are commonly looked as the ones who live wild and reckless lives. They are often portrayed as party animals, that do nothing but party and be reckless. While it is true that a vast majority do party and have a reckless time in that part of their life, they are not the only ones who live wild and reckless lives.

Millions of men and women get drunk or do drugs everyday. Millions daily sleep around outside of marriage each day. Millions engage in activities that are dangerous and sinful, that will cause problems down the road. This can be seen with people from teen-age level all the way to senior citizens.

Peer pressure is applied to anyone who does not agree with them and join in the wild living. Because of that peer pressure, many more cave in and join them.

True believers in God will stand out as different. Their lives are not guided by having fun in the moment. They are guided by God’s Holy Spirit to live a holy life, that is pure before God with everlasting benefits.

As a believer refuses to be a part of the wild life of this world, people see them as strange. They are surprised that anyone would not want to be a part of that lifestyle. It is often seen as hate and rejection of the person. It is common for believers to be called haters, because they will not accept or partake in the sinful, wild activities of this world. Yet, God has called the believer to be separate from this world.

The world is watching what you say and do. They want you to be like them in every way, so that they do not feel the conviction of being wrong. The life the world is living will only end in death. Do not be a part of that death. Jesus pulled you out of it, stay out of it.

Allow the world to be surprised at how you live.

Is the world surprised at why you will not act and live the way they do?

I pray today that you will know the life Jesus has given you; that you will live your life for God and not this world; that God will give you strength to turn from the wild living of this world; and that the world will be surprised at how you live for God.

1 Corinthians 6:11 What You Were

 
caterpillar to butterfly

And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11

Paul had just listed of a long list of what the Corinthians were like at one point: sexually immoral, idolaters, homo-sexual, thieves, greedy, drunkards, slanderers, and swindlers. All of these were listed as ones who would not inherit heaven. He states that they were those types of people, but were now different, washed, sanctified, and justified by Jesus Christ.

The people of this world are like they are because they don’t know any different. That is the way they were brought up. They will live lives that are cheating, lying, immoral, drunk, and many other bad ways of living.

Without God in the picture, there is no list of rules or absolutes on how to live life. It is ‘anything goes’ mentality. Everyone is out for their own good, no matter what it takes.

There are many in the church who claim to be Christian, yet never change their way of living. They continue to live as the world lives, in open, purposeful sinful lifestyles, believing that they will still get into heaven because of God’s great love and mercy. Some churches claim that is acceptable to live in sinful lifestyles and still be a believer in Jesus and can expect to get into heaven.

Believers are to be different. They are to be changed by God to a new creation. Paul said that the Corinthians were like the world, but are no longer like that. They are no longer immoral, or thieves, or any other sinful lifestyle that the bible talks against. 

Being washed, is being cleansed from sin by the blood of Jesus. Being sanctified is being made clean from past sin and made holy to God. Being justified is being made clean as though one had never sinned in the first place. This is all done by the work of Jesus on the cross and the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

As you look at your life, are you holding onto any past sinful lifestyles? Have you allowed God to change you and make you into a new person, clean before God?

As a believer, you must be different from those of the world. You were that way, to not live or act like the world anymore.

I pray today that you will know the salvation Jesus provides; that you will allow God to change you; that you will know the cleansing God has done in you; and that you will live like Jesus.

Jesus Freaks

Last week I was blessed to be able to go on a cruise with one of my boys. This cruise was the Jesus Freak 2017 cruise. The Christian band, DC Talk, had reunited after a 16 year hiatus for a one week cruise tour. They set up the cruise with several other bands, Newsboys, Hollyn, Capital Kings, Ryan Stevenson, and Finding Favor.

For anyone not familiar with the band, DC Talk, they had started out in 1987 and performed until 2000. During that time they became one of the most popular Christian bands of all time. Their music was one of a mix of rap and rock in each song. The band was known for being bold in talking about Jesus and pointing people to Jesus. They wanted their message to be one about the gospel message.

One of the songs that they came out with was, “Jesus Freak.” It was their most popular song and portrayed their hearts.

One of the lines in that song is: “What if people think when they hear that I’m a Jesus freak? What will people do when they find that its true?

The term “freak”, to be used to describe a person is not a popular term to be used in today’s society. It would probably be listed as a politically incorrect term.

Freak has the meaning of a very unusual and unexpected event or situation. It can also mean a person, plant or animal with an unusual physical abnormality.

Adding the term freak with Jesus, makes an interesting combination. What exactly is a “Jesus Freak”?

It is the idea that one is very unusual in following Jesus. They are abnormal from all the other people. It is a very unusual and unexpected situation in life.

Take a look at the life of Jesus. He was a different type of person when He walked on this earth. Another line in this song is: “People say I’m a strange, does that make me a stranger? My best friend was born in a manger.

Think about this: Jesus came to this world to save the world and  be king of this world. Yet, the method of coming in this world was not normal. He was not born in the palace, or even in the hospital as most people were. He was royalty and yet, was born in a manger, a place for animals, not kings.

Jesus talked about loving your enemies, instead of fighting them. He tells you to bless those who curse you. These statements go against the thoughts and ways of most of the world. The world says that you have a right to fight against your enemies and that it is acceptable to curse those who do you wrong.

Along with some of the strange teachings that Jesus taught, He also died on a cross. Why would a person die who wanted to save everyone else? How can He save everyone by dying? By the world’s methods of doing things, Jesus was a freak, which is part of the reason why they chose to crucify Him.

Jesus was one who followed God with all of His heart, soul, mind and strength. He was sold-out to God. This made Him a freak, an unusual and strange person in this world.

Those who follow Him are also strange. Why would someone want to follow someone who died nearly 2,000 years ago? Why would someone want to follow someone who was strange and said to love and bless his enemies?

The whole reason Jesus was a freak was because of love. The reason a person is willing to follow Jesus is because of love. God’s love is the best thing that there is in all of this great universe. God has the best in mind for every person.

Now going back to the song about the line saying that he is a Jesus freak. What makes a person a Jesus freak?

Take a look around you and you will probably see a lot of people who claim to be Christian. Some churches have a lot of people in them. Yet, at the same time, take a look around you and watch how many of these same people act in this world. How do they treat each other? How do they treat their enemies?

The sad part is that most do not treat others with the same love that Jesus shows them. Christians are often known for acting and looking just like everyone else in this world. They do not stand out as different.

The few people who do stand out as extremists for Jesus are rare. They are seen as radicals and crazies–Jesus Freaks.

When a person comes out in this way in this world, the world will rise up against them, just as the world rose up against Jesus when He walked on this earth. Today the term used is usually politically incorrect, or extremists. This will even occur within the church. Very few people live as an extremist for Jesus. It is highly unusual to see someone live wholeheartedly for God, abandoning their own life and ways to follow God–thus a Jesus Freak.

Take a look at your own life and see how you are living. Are you living for yourself? Or are you living for God?

Are you concerned with what people think or what they will do if you live sold-out to God?

Allow yourself to be sold-out to God. See what God can do in and through you when you live in the same way that Jesus did. As a believer in Jesus, you are to live, talk and act just as He did. Everything that Jesus said and did was what God wanted Him to say and do.

Just as Jesus was a stranger in this world, so are you. This world is not your final home, you are just a stranger passing through.

Are you a Jesus Freak?

May the final words of that song be yours: “I don’t really care if they label me a Jesus freak, there ain’t no disguising the truth.”

As for the cruise, it was an awesome cruise! It was amazing to see 4,000 people all being excited about serving and loving God. They were not ashamed of the gospel message. It was awesome to hear the various Christian bands proclaiming God loud and clear for five days.

I was able to talk with many people from all over the world and hear many great testimonies of what God is doing or has done in their life. It was encouraging to hear. God is alive and being served in this world by many, though not the majority.