Honoring Your Name

Psalm 86: 11 – 12                  TPT

Teach me more about you, how you work and how you move, so that I can walk onward in your truth until everything within me brings honor to your name. With all my heart and passion I will thank you my God!

I hardly know what to write about this passage. This is a prayer from David, and it sounds like it, doesn’t it? I was first attracted to the section about teaching us to move like Him, work like Him but then I am over-taken by David’s entreaty that God teach him so that everything about him brings honor to God’s name. Oh my! How short I fall of that goal. What if I made that a cry of my heart, to live my life, to follow my Lord so closely that everything within me, everything about me brings honor to my Lord? What a life that would be!

And why not? Why not set that as a goal, but it really isn’t about it being a goal or setting this before us as a goal. It is about the cry of a heart which longs to know God so precisely, so intimately that every thought, word and deed reflects an all encompassing passion for the Father.

It is a good thing to want to know how the Father works, how He moves and I have prayed that for years. Now, though, I ask myself why. I believe the answer is out of a desire for success. If we do things the way Father does then we are assured of being successful, right? Perhaps, now, I am growing up and because of that bringing honor to His name impassions my soul.

God was good to David and David trusted Him explicitly. However, it seems that David loved God for more than just what God could do for him. He knew how to trust God for daily provision. He knew how to believe God for rescue even in the most dire circumstances. Above all else, though, he loved God for who He is and he longed to honor Him and give Him praise. I want to be like David. I want to walk in truth until everything within me brings honor to His name. That is an aspiration for a life eternal.

Honor and Respect

Psalm 105: 15, Isaiah 49: 25, Genesis 12: 3

Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm. For I will contend with the one who contends with you. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse.

These three verses come together to make one big point, don’t mess with God’s anointed. First, I think of our pastors. God has called people out of other professions they might have chosen to apply themselves to His work. The pay scale is not typically commiserate with what they could make in the secular world. They often have limited budgets and limited personnel to work with but despite all the limitations they are expected to be miracle workers. I believe the expectation is even reasonable. Where I think we have a problem is in our respect for those God has called.

It is very easy to criticize the pastor. We live in an egalitarian age which I believe is good but that does not entitle us to demean anyone much less our spiritual leaders. It is in our best interest to honor our pastors because our own blessing is included in our homage and respect to them. God Himself says He will contend with those who oppose or denigrate His called ones. This should be a loud warning to us. People aren’t perfect, not even our pastors but they are called by God and anointed by Him. His protection is on them so we criticize them at our own peril.

It is important to note that you are God’s anointed to. That means these protections extend to you also. All of God’s children are ministers of God’s grace and called to carry the gospel to the world but His teachers, pastors, prophets, etc. are appointed to prepare us to take the good news into all the world. So even though we are all ministers, and all loved by the Father, He still does not allow us to run down those He has chosen to minister to us and to Him.

Heed this warning, because God has said and intends to honor and protect his elected. Stay in the blessing by blessing those God has given you.

Jesus is Lord?

Romans 10: 9         NIV

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Do you call Jesus Lord? Do you worship him as Lord? Do your daily behaviors reflect his lordship? Do you obey him as lord?

The first question is easy, but I find each subsequent one gets harder. First, I must ask myself what it means to worship him, obey him and reflect him as Lord. We do not live in the feudal Europe of the past, so the idea of lordship is a bit foreign to us. Add to that the high value we place on individuality and independence and we become even further removed. Yet, we are called upon to serve him as our lord. In fact, wasn’t it a prerequisite of your salvation? Didn’t we accept him and confess him as our lord?

The best tool I have is movies. I think about the medieval era movies I have watched and that adds texture to my thoughts. Jesus’ obligation is to care for me. He is to defend me against my enemies and I owe him fealty. I owe him obedience, respect and honor. In return, all my problems become his. I am his responsibility.

Jesus is certainly our brother and our best friend, and we should not lose sight of that, but he is also Lord. His lordship is weighty and should be. He takes his responsibility towards us seriously. We must bear our responsibility towards him just as soberly. His commands are life and death. They are not just wishes. He gives them to us to impart abundant life to us, but obedience is a value unto itself. We should hearken to his word even when we do not understand. His having spoken should be enough.

What is Jesus saying to you today? What has he told you in the past? What are the goals and directives he has given for your life? Has he given you something to do that is yet undone? We are all given this day to begin anew. Each day we have the opportunity to improve upon yesterday. Each day is new and carries new promise. We are not called into condemnation but rather reevaluation. Are we where we want to be in our walk with Jesus? What does he wish to speak to us? Where is he leading us?

Jesus is Lord. He is our leader. His word is command even though it is also blessing. He is a benevolent lord and that is a worthy statement. He is worthy of honor and service. We should enter his court with high praise. He is our lord and our king.

Honor and Esteem

Isaiah 43: 4

You are honored and I love you.

This quote is part of verse four. I left out the word “since” because it is italicized which means the translators added it. There is another part I left out which I really do wish to share with you. It reads that you are precious in God’s sight. So, let’s see if we can really take this in. God is saying to each one of us that we are precious, honored and He loves us.

At some point you have to wonder why the ruler of the universe would even stoop to say such crazy stuff to us. Why does He really care? I mean, look around. Are we really such a great prize? You would think that the guy who made everything we can see, the one for whom miracles are common place could do much better than us.

At one level, He loves us because in the beginning He chose to. He made a decision and He hasn’t backed off of it. Are we worthy? No way! But God knew what He was doing. He knows, even now, who we will become. When we finally see His face, we will be transformed and we will become the family He has long desired. He sees who we are on the inside and He knows the journey we are on. There is no mystery to Him. We may be stumbling around now but He will lead us in the way and we will finally see in ourselves what He has seen all along.

There is something about you that made you worth sending Jesus into the earth as a ransom. God loves us. It sounds silly when you really think about it but the sooner we can accept it, the better for us all. If we are honored and precious, it is because of whose children we are and in the end, our love for Him will shine like the sun, perhaps even like the “son.”

God knows you and even so, still loves you. He sees how precious you are. He sees in your heart and you are a delight to Him. Okay, we mess up routinely but He knows we are growing and we will outgrow all of this foolishness. We have been made completely worthy, even as we are now, in Jesus. There is nothing more precious than the blood which has redeemed us.

Today, start this week as the honored, precious and highly esteemed child of the Lord. Let Him raise you up in your own eyes, not because of anything you have done but because of who you are – His child. Be humble, but be accepting. Let God love on you. I tell you the truth, if you will let His love permeate your being, you will grow and you will find His manifested presence with you constantly. If you have been looking for the secret, this is it. Let God love you. Accept His love. Believe in His lovingkindness towards you. There is no greater power in the universe than His love and nothing better you can do to live in power than to surrender to His uncompromising love. Go, highly honored, precious child of the King, and have a great life.

Wisdom’s Fruit

Proverb 8: 32 – 36

Now therefore, O sons, listen to me, for blessed are they who keep my ways. Heed instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at my doorposts. For he who finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, “but he who sins against me injures himself; all those who hate me love death.”

The speaker in this passage is wisdom. Wisdom was in the beginning with God and by her He founded the earth. “Long life is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor” (Proverb 3: 16). In her are blessing and life, so if we want either those or riches, we should seek wisdom. She promised that those who diligently seek her will find her (Proverb 8: 17). This book of the proverbs is her book. She discloses herself here and the fruit of seeking her.

One of the first things I noticed from this excerpt from the eighth proverb is that we must heed instruction. That, I believe, creates a rather large stumbling block. To receive instruction requires humility and we are loathe to humble ourselves before anyone, even sometimes God. God gives wisdom to people on earth and they are meant to share it with others. However, one cannot share what others will not receive. However, wisdom teaches us that it is in our own self-interest to seek and receive the offerings of wisdom.

Another fruit of receiving wisdom is favor from the Lord. I like to think of God’s favor as the grease on the wheels of life. As you enjoy the Lord’s favor, life simply goes more smoothly. All sorts of things, both small and large, just seem to go your way. From getting a good parking place to securing a major contract for your business, God’s favor greases the way and we obtain that favor when we seek wisdom and heed her lessons.

Wisdom is calling out in the streets. She wants to be your ally. If you seek her, you will find her and one great way to seek her is in this book of wisdom , the Proverbs. Honor is with her; success is in her hand. She wants to bless you. Call upon her and receive, of the Lord, all His goodness.

In Hot Pursuit

Proverb 21: 21            NIV

He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.

Yesterday we saw from verses 17 and 18 of Proverb 21 that the pursuit of pleasure leads to poverty. Today we are fortunate to get to see the other side of the coin. If we wish to have abundant life, prosperity and honor then we must pursue righteousness.

Now, before we fall on our faces, let us review our thinking on righteousness. Many of us were trained in the notion that righteousness equates to good works. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, that kind of “righteousness” is repugnant to God. It is a rancid odor in His nostrils. Righteousness, in a word, is Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5: 21 reads, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” This means that Jesus, who is and was the righteousness of God, traded his righteousness for our sin. He became our sin so that we could become the righteousness of God. Therefore, our pursuit of Jesus, is necessarily a pursuit of righteousness.

There is an interesting passage about this very topic from the Apostle Paul. “What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone” (Romans 9: 30 – 32). The stumbling stone was Jesus. I find this passage amazing. The Israelites, the chosen ones, who pursued righteousness through their works failed while the Gentiles who by faith sought Jesus attained righteousness. Wow!

Shall we, though, take it one step further? The verse for today also says that those who pursue love find life, prosperity and honor. This one is really easy, isn’t it. “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love (1 John 4: 8). Yeah, you don’t need a theology degree in order to knock this one out of the park. God is love. Therefore, if one pursues God, then that is a pursuit of love and thus the result is life, prosperity and honor. 1 Corinthians 14: 1 says “Pursue love . . ..” It really is that simple.

So, what is the conclusion of all this? Our happiness, prosperity, peace, joy, well-being, life, and honor are found in the pursuit of the Father and the Son, merely in the pursuit. It is not in the tracking down or even in the finding. Your Father and God does the revealing. Your only part is to pursue. “If you seek Him, He will let you find Him” (1 Chronicles 28: 9).

Thanksgiving Joy

Jeremiah 30: 19

From them will proceed thanksgiving and the voice of those who celebrate; and I will multiply them and they will not be diminished; I will also honor them and they will not be insignificant.

We offer the sacrifice of Thanksgiving because God so deserves it but did you ever realize that God treats it as seed. And honestly, is it any sacrifice at all to give thanks to our Father? I surely don’t think so.

Some people may think they have nothing to be thankful for this year. Well, I asked our family member who is sick if we had anything to be thankful for this year and she gave me a resounding, “Yes.” “We have friends and family and all the people around us,” she said, adding that some people are alone. Well, on this Thanksgiving Day if you can’t find something to thank God for you just aren’t trying hard enough. Even if nothing drives you other than self-interest look at how God honors and promotes those who can get out of themselves for one moment and honestly thank Him for any one of the blessings in their lives.

I am sitting in a warm house right now. Someone is cooking dinner for us. There is electricity, music playing, an HD television twenty feet away, I am typing on a nice little computer, I have all the drink and food I need. My family is safe, I am loved and Jesus is here. Although, this is a difficult time in my life, I realize that I have very much to be thankful for. In some parts of the world people’s lives are threatened just for reading this. 

Let us give thanks with a joyful heart. No matter the troubles, regardless of pain, there is light and love. Our Father loves us with a love that is beyond words. He wants to honor you and magnify your name in the world. Give Him seed to work with. Your offering of thanks builds mountains.  Let your voice celebrate our God and Father with thanksgiving.