One Degree

One Degree

Psalm 118:25-28 (NLT)

Please, Lord, please save us. Please, Lord, please give us success. Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord. The Lord is God, shining upon us. Take the sacrifice and bind it with cords on the altar. You are my God, and I will praise you! You are my God, and I will exalt you!

 

All of me. That’s right every single bit of my life. The requirement of God in exchange for my salvation and success. Sacrifice is subjective. It is up to us to decide what we deem to be sacrificial giving to God. The problem with subjectivity is that it is based on personal feelings, tastes and opinions. Dangerous gray areas are formed when influenced by our emotions not the truth. Objectivity is the complete opposite meaning NOT influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing the facts. Big difference. Yet, many churches, doctrines and religions are based on subjectivity rather than objectivity posing a danger zone for Christians in the modern day church. The primary goal in church attendance and participation should be to grow in one’s relationship with Jesus Christ. To know God more. To study and apply God’s Word, the Truth, to our life effectively. To mature and develop in our bond with the Lord and to share the Light of His Love with others. Just going to church requires some level of sacrifice. You have to set the alarm rather than sleeping in. Pajamas must be exchanged for suitable attire. A day off is given up to gather together, but is it enough?

 

This is not to dissuade anyone from being involved with a congregation of choice. It is not an excuse to quit the small group or stop trying to live for Jesus. From time to time, we must forsake the comfort of routine and habit to decide if our love for Jesus is still the main objective of our life. It is easy to sway ever so slightly to the right or left without even noticing.

 

While flying home from Mexico, I heard an interesting fact. A young lady sharing with her friend across the aisle about this great self-help book on success that she was reading. The fact was ironically about flying. For every single degree a plane flies off course, it will miss the target destination by 92 feet for every mile. That amounts to about one mile off target for every 60 miles flown. The longer you travel off course, the further you will fly away from the intended destination. Is that acceptable? On a flight from JFK to LAX, it would put you about 40 miles into the Pacific Ocean which is fine if you are ready to use your seat as a flotation device and swim the rest of the way. Just one degree off makes the difference.

 

Perhaps you may be wondering, what does this have to do with me? I am believe in God. I serve Jesus Christ. I go to church. I try to do the right things. I give to the homeless guy on the corner. I donate stuff. I am “doing” everything that I am supposed to do. Are you? How do you know for sure that your life is in alignment with God? Your pastor, group leader, Christian friends, or anyone else cannot be the source for our life. Jesus must be the Source of our life. His Way is not subjective but totally objective. The Word of God lays it all out in careful and complete detail how to live, what to do and who we will be as Christ lives in us and vice versa.

 

Matthew 13:24-30 (NLT)

Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew. The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’ ‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed. ‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked. ‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’”

 

Today I want to know that all of me is all for Him. I want to know that my commitment to Jesus Christ is complete and that there is nothing that I am holding back knowingly or unknowingly and here is why. In the parable about the wheat and weeds, both were allowed to grow in the feed untouched until the harvest. When the harvest came, the workers separated the wheat and burned the weeds. Obviously this is plant-life and symbolic, but I wonder if the weeds knew they were weeds? The farmer did not pull out the weeds as not to disrupt the wheat…his harvest. I believe that Jesus does not disrupt the church because there is wheat among all the weeds. This is concerning as I am in that field and desperately want to know and be sure that I am part of the harvest and not that subject to destruction. It is a subtle difference but in the end, when Jesus comes it will make all the difference in the world.

 

Galatians 6:7-8 (NLT)

Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.

 

Sowing and reaping are a basic principle of life. You will harvest what you plant. Plant an apple seed, get an apple. It would be foolishness to plant wheat and expect corn. If you attend church and follow the principle Biblical teachings, the conditions of your life will improve even if your heart is not changed. Sowing and reaping will continue regardless of our heart condition because it is a worldly principle. It is not until we begin to sow in the Kingdom of God that we will harvest there, too. You cannot sow in the Kingdom and live for the flesh. It is when we sow in the Spirit that supernatural harvest begins. We must live to please the Spirit which will always be a sacrifice in the natural flesh. So again, how do I know if I am truly harvesting supernaturally or my life just go a little better cause I go to church? The parable is explained in Matthew 13:40-41. “Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.” The image of the final Passover. Oh Lord let there be the Blood of Jesus on every mantle and doorpost of my life!

 

Hebrews 12:29 (NLT)

For our God is a devouring fire.

 

Luke 12:49 (NLT)

“I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning!” (Words of Jesus)

 

The modern day church has produced a doctrine that is contrary to God’s True Nature and the Purpose of Jesus Christ. It was never the intent of the Cross to allow God to change in any way. He is Sovereign. He is Righteous. He is Holy. It was always to produce the grace necessary for us to raise our standard of living to God’s Standard. So that we could overcome sin and leave the darkness behind to pursue God and live in the Light of His Love. Grace is not an excuse. It is not a crutch. It is not designed so that God can come and help us out or make this life better. The sum total of God’s Grace in our life is to make our life acceptable to Him because it is covered in the Blood of His Son – Jesus Christ. The problem is many people do not recognize subjective versus sound doctrine.

 

Today I am once again drawn to the Cross. I want Jesus to examine my heart, mind, and soul for anything that is not of Him and reveal it to me. I want to know Him. I want to live with Him forever. I will sacrifice anything that is required to be with Him. Justice consumes a life of sin. My life must be covered in the Righteousness of Christ to survive the final fire.

 

I Corinthians 3:12-15 (NLT)

Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.

 

We all know the story of the Three Little Pigs. Each chose the foundation of their home and each one experienced the consequences of their sacrifice. Two would quickly find themselves in immediate danger. But the one who decided to take the time and build his home on a strong foundation with a solid structure was safe when the enemy came and was able to house his two foolish friends. Our body is the Temple of the Living God. And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.” Trials in life allow us to inspect the foundation of our faith and contents of our hope to see if it solid and genuine. In my opinion, this is just one more facet of grace as the Lord allows us time to get our house in order before He comes or we venture into Eternity. I want to know. Do you?

 

Hebrews 6:7-8 (NLT)

When the ground soaks up the falling rain and bears a good crop for the farmer, it has God’s blessing. But if a field bears thorns and thistles, it is useless. The farmer will soon condemn that field and burn it.

 

I must know. I have to know. The Bible says that rain falls on the just and unjust. It is not enough to look at the productivity of my life to determine if I am a good person. I have to know that I am God’s Child to survive the test of time. I must endure to the end to be saved. I want to be a blessing. This is living, breathing, moving and doing life God’s Way and not my own. I cannot let one degree of my life veer off course without risking my whole life.

 

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!” (John 15:5-7) I must remain in Jesus. I must be found in Him to survive the fire. When we receive the Holy Spirit, it is called the baptism of fire. One day when I meet Jesus face-to-face this is what will connect me with His Kingdom forever. I am part of something so much bigger than here and now. It is not based on my emotions or feelings but the constancy of God, His Unfailing Love, Overflowing Grace and Unending Mercy. Lord, bind the sacrifice of my life to the altar again today! All of me Lord for all of you!

 

Luke 3:16-17 (NLT)

John answered their questions by saying, “I baptize you with water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.”

 

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