2002-09-13 - Staking Our Claims
I work in the justice system. As in some other states, someone pleading guilty to a felony for the first time can be sentenced under the "First Offender Act." After they fulfill the terms of their probation, their records are cleared. The hitch? If they break the law again, the consequences will be harsh. Most people take this opportunity for a new start, but on rare occasions, people turn it down. It's the decision of each defendant. They must say yes.
Likewise, God has many blessings that He yearns to shower upon us, but we must claim them, and sometimes we must do something in return. I don't mean "Name it and claim it" theology, which caters to materialism, wherein we claim a new car etc. I mean claiming God's gifts that He truly gives us, as described in the Bible.
Through His Son's sacrificial death and His resurrection, God has provided salvation for the taking. But we must do the taking. We must believe in Christ as our Savior.
He gives us a treasure trove of wisdom, guidance, instruction and encouragement, his Holy word. But we need to read it daily. I can't remember the exact numbers, but I was stunned recently, to find out the low numbers of Christians who read the Bible daily. This should be a non-negotiable in our schedules.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (Amplified Bible) Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God's will in thought, purpose, and action), so that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well-fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.
He gives us our Christian family, to love, provide mutual encouragement and people with whom we should serve God. But we find excuses. "Too many hypocrites in the church. " Jesus encountered many hypocrites, but He lived his everyday life among them, ministering to them, guiding them, teaching them, shining God's light in their lives. If there are hypocrites, it's our responsibility to love them and encourage them to be more like Jesus. Ironically, by using "hypocrites" as an excuse, we become hypocrites ourselves.
"Too busy." But fellowshipping with other believers is something God intends us to do, and it should be a priority on our schedules. If we have time to watch television for several hours per day (adding up sometimes to over 50 hours per week for some people), we can find a couple hours per week to fellowship in a local church.
God provides a beautiful world for us to enjoy. A rainbow variety of birds, majestic mountains seashores and more. But we sometimes fail to take the time to enjoy it, and to thank Him for it.
God furnishes our lives with a plethora of blessings, but we have to claim them. We can't be passive about it.