Volume 14, Number 9 – SEPTEMBER, 2020
Greetings. I see a correlation between the two articles this month. Isaiah 66:1-2 has challenged me and is doing surgery on my heart. Plus, as you know in America, we have been struggling with the racial issue and the latest chapter of our struggle occurred in my home state of Wisconsin several days ago. How is the Church in America responding to this curse on America? We fought a civil war over racial issues and then did not get it right after the war. Covid is bad but our racial problem is from the pit of Hell. Mike
A common characteristic of Billy Graham and Luis Palau, two of the greatest evangelists the world experienced in the past 70 years is humility. For as famous and as prolific these two servants of God have been used for the glory of God and the Kingdom of God, they have been, and Luis Palau continues to remain humble. Recently I heard Luis share that he wants to be remembered as, “Wasn’t Perfect, but Loved Jesus”.
A short passage of the Bible comes to mind that many Christians may not quote often is Isaiah 66:1-2 – This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you build me a temple as good as that? Could you build me such a resting place? My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine. I, the Lord, have spoken! I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word.” Luis Palau indicated that the first time someone shared this passage to him, he honestly did not tremble at God’s Word.
He shared that story with remorse because he did not have the awe and respect of God’s Word when he was a young man. When he spoke this passage this time around, there was emotion and sincere humility in his voice as it cracked because tears were coming to his eyes. Oh, that you and I would tremble at God’s Word.
Who is more important in my eyes, God or me? Do I want people to remember the ministry I have been doing for 39 years or do I want people to simply see Jesus in what I have done? If you are like me, you will answer the way I am supposed to do as a spiritual leader for God, that I want people to see Jesus. Yet have I humbled myself to fear God and tremble at His Word?
When I read the Word of God, I have a great respect and know that God authored the scriptures though several dozen men who spoke or wrote the word down. But do I really tremble at His Word? Whenever reading a portion of scripture and I have the Holy Spirit prompting me to be obedient to or applying the portion, do I do it? At times, I definitely desire to rationalize why I am not needing to make the application or obeying the biblical truth would mean change in my life. At that moment my heart is not humble and contrite, and I definitely am not trembling at His Word.
Contrite means to have feeling or expressing remorse or penitence, that I am being affected by guilt (from the Holy Spirit). Having a contrite and humble heart, I am willing to change, to do things differently because the Word of God has shaken me to the core of my being. With a contrite and humble heart, whatever God says in Scripture is my standard and I will do whatever necessary to conform to the likeness of who God is. The Bible reveals God’s (Jesus’) character and nature and my life pursuit is to be the best ambassador and reflection of who Jesus is, so that people in this world will see Jesus through my life, words and actions.
Do I really want people to simply see and remember Jesus in my life or does pride creep in and my desire is for people really see Mike? That is a difficult application because pride is a strong sin in all of our lives. If you find it easy, please share what your secret is. Lord, please help me to have a humble and contrite heart so that I tremble every time your Word enters my mind. Help me to humble myself so that You reign supremely in my life.
APPROACHABLE LIKE JESUS
How approachable are you? Do people feel they can be comfortable around you? Some of you crave spending time with friends and others. Your worst punishment is being sent to your room and have to be isolated. Others are very comfortable with being by themselves and no need be around people. Your worst punishment is having to make phone calls or being made to sit in a roomful of people and engage in conversation.
Regardless of where you put yourself in the categories from this last paragraph, your approachability has more to do with your attitude toward others and how you treat people. Jesus was accused of being a friend to sinners, an accusation He readily was willing to be attached to. Sinners’ lifestyles did not influence how He lived, rather His lifestyle and attitude rubbed off on them.
Jesus was visiting the home of a Pharisee, Simon in Luke 7:36-50. While having the meal, a woman of ill repute or terrible reputation came walking in and humbly washed Jesus’ feet with her tears (something Simon did not do for his guest by having Jesus’ feet washed). Even with her very sinful lifestyle, Jesus accepted her and allowed her into His world without condemnation.
We need to consistently grow in our faith so that the lifestyles of others do not change who we are and what we do but our treatment of others draws them to the Savior. We need to allow the words from the Bible to become real in our lives and we need to let the God’s Word humble us, to have us tremble with awe and deep reverence for Jesus and the Word (Isaiah 66:2). Then we will be inviting to those we come in contact with.
Being humble is not thinking less of ourselves but thinking less about ourselves and more about others (Philippians 2:3-4). In Luke 8:1-3, we read that Jesus allowed women to be part of His ministry group to include women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases like Mary Magdalene who had numerous demons cast out of her. First it was revolutionary that women were allowed to hang out with men, especially a religious teacher and second, that women of such repute were associated with Jesus.
As Christians we have the tendency to not associate with those who either do not practice their faith in the same way we do and secondly, not associate with people of the same lifestyle as us. This absolutely does not mean we start participating in the activities of those who live contrary to Scriptural guidelines. Let the Bible give you the standards to live by and let others see that. Have the spiritual courage to do the right things and to live like Jesus would live.
We can treat everyone with respect and love even if we do not agree with or live like others do. Show love like you want to be loved and respected. Figure out how you want to be loved and live that way. That is why the sinful woman had the courage to walk into Simon the Pharisee’s house and be completely broken at the feet of Jesus.
What would our world be like if we as Christians would be that inviting to people who are struggling with sin, where they knew they would be accepted and loved unconditionally and want to change their life and live like Jesus? Racism, hatred and vengeance would begin to dissipate. Jesus would use people like you to impact your generation for His glory and your generation would lead the rest of us to the feet of Jesus.