Saturday, December 29, 2012

Living Exception-ally

I am very proud and pleased with Lori's many words of wisdom ingrained in her by the Spirit through her consistent study of God's Word and all of the many marriage books and magazines she is always reading. It amuses me sometimes to see comments about all the exceptions to God's ideals. We all know exceptions occur in this imperfect world, but the exceptions are almost always caused by sin, and missing the mark of doing things God's way.

We need the Loris and the preachers of the world to teach God's Word and His ideals plain and simple, so that the Spirit can work in the lives of God's children. The family of God is filled with imperfect people, flaws in husbands and wives, yet we are told to believe that the God of the universe has come to make His home within our hearts and minds, and whole being. We are the temple of the living God, and our imperfect being houses complete perfection. His desire is that we become "like Jesus" and this must mean shooting at all of God's ideals with no exceptions.

Grace and forgiveness abounds to all of the exceptions to God's ideals, but I would hope that Lori's readers would understand that truth always remains truth, even when I do not live up to it. To treat all of God's Word as one big exception filled with grace is to miss out on what God desires to do with our lives.

God is in the business of transforming lives and making us more like Jesus. He does this with His truth that pierces to our soul where His Spirit can take the seeds of truth and make us new… brand new… in the gardens of our hearts and minds. Truth is the only vehicle that can move us from where we are now with any sinful thoughts and habits to where God desires to take us. He wants to take us to a place where our lives shine His truth, not the exceptions, for all the world to see Jesus in you and in me.

Yes, Jesus can and does shine even in the exceptions when grace and love abounds. Thank you, God, for your Son who delivers us all from sin and makes us whole. We are delivered from sin the moment we believe in the truth of Christ’s saving grace on the cross, and we are made whole in every area of life that we surrender to Jesus through faith. That faith is in the truth, not in the exceptions. If we live a life believing exceptions all day long we miss out on what God is able to do in our lives, for we set standards far below His ideals. No, to grow in Christ demands that we first know God’s Word, and His truth, looking to a perfect Jesus as our model for life, not a weak and dying world, nor a world filled with weak believers.

The impotence of the church today comes from a lack of faith in God and God’s Word. I pray regularly and thank the Lord for my faith, and then ask for more faith to believe God is all that He has to say to me. It is so easy like Peter, to take my eyes off of Jesus and see the stormy sea below my feet, and to watch the imperfections of others as an excuse for my failings. This is not the design of the Christian life to look to forgiveness and grace before desiring perfection. No, if God calls you and me perfect in Christ, should not our heart and mind follow by faith to a spiritual place so much higher than exception upon exception.
Listening to God’s ideals, and trying to apply them to your life, through faith, is how God works with His people. He gives the unqualified promise with no exceptions so long as we live out the promise through faith. Many of God’s promises may be slow in coming, but when we run up to Father Abraham soon one day and ask, “Father Abraham, did God keep all of his promises?” I am sure he will smile and say, “Look around you my child and you will see the New Jerusalem sits upon every square inch of the land I trod looking for the promised land. God’s promises are at times slow in coming, but with hope, patience and faith, they always will come true in your life.”

I appeal to those who continue to live their lives based on exceptions to God’s ideal, to not use God’s grace as an excuse to not grow in the knowledge and maturity of God’s Word. Allow God’s Word and His truths to speak to your hearts without exception and to believe in all of His promises, even those that are hard to understand and accept. Lori and I have found so many of God’s promises coming true in our lives, and we wait with confident expectation that each and every one of them will be fulfilled to the degree we are willing to believe them in this life.

May God bless you all this wonderful New Year as you seek to love and serve our God and Savior, and may we all give Him His rightful place as King over all in our lives, without exception.
~ Ken

Finally, brothers, good-bye.
Aim for perfection,
listen to my appeal,
be of one mind,
live in peace.
And the God of love and peace will be with you.
2 Corinthians 13:11