As Christians, we should get more out of life than anybody! Unbelievers head’s should snap back when they see us, and say, “Whoa! Look at their joy and the freedom in their lives!” Why? Because, we are living life the way it is supposed to be lived. I am not referring to happiness. We are not continuously happy because happiness is based on happenings. Instead, when we are obedient to God, feelings follow. I’m talking about outrageous and contagious joy; it is the tranquility of the soul. It is deep. Happiness is shallow. True, as believers we should be the happiest people on the planet. But far deeper than that we have constant and unending joy, because we are making a fashion statement of faith.
As you look at your life, as you look at your wardrobe, what do you see? What are you wearing? Who are you wearing? How are you wearing Him? Looking into the mirror, do you see God?
“Concentrate on healing not hurting.” Colossians 3:13 states: “Be gentle and ready to forgive.” Jesus doesn’t just forget our moral mishaps—He’s ready and willing to forgive us. Are you ready to forgive those who have hurt you? If I say, “Jesus, I’m sorry, forgive me of this sin,” He doesn’t just say “It’s okay, Ed.” We should never say that because it’s not okay. It’s definitely not okay to sin before a holy God. It’s not okay if someone has caused us pain. However, many of us concentrate on hurting don’t we? We keep score. The grudge builds and escalates until we are ready to just hammer them—but we must forgive them. Notice the word “give” in the word forgive—we must give forgiveness. My wife says, “You can’t say the word forgive without smiling.” Whoa! God is saying, “Be gentle and forgive without holding grudges.” Remember the Lord forgave you!
“Concentrate on My power, not your problems.” We get way too enmeshed in our problems, often leading to anxiety and stress. But, if we look to Psalm 62:8 we are reminded: “Trust in God some of the time…most of the time…” No! “Trust in God at all times.” A great example of this is the Apostle Paul. As a prisoner in chains he wasn’t singing Johnny Cash songs. He wrote a letter known as the book of Philippians in the New Testament. Take a wild stab at the theme of his letter—you guessed it—joy! The apostle penned the words “joy” and “rejoice” nineteen times. Paul was joyful even in prison! Isn’t it great knowing our Lord Jesus uses all situations and circumstances—all things good, bad, or mediocre—to do wonderful things in our lives? Knowing this should bring us joy in the midst of trials and tribulations.
Trust in God at all times. Pour your heart out to Him whether in anger or laughter. Our great God wants our hearts to overflow with joy; singing, dancing, and shouting with zeal. Recently I was thinking about God’s grace and how I don’t deserve it. So, I looked up the Greek term for grace—“karis”. Then I looked up the word for joy—“kara”. Grace and joy are inseparably linked. Thus, when I think about God’s grace I’ve got to have joy. I’m talking, “joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.” You see, God is simply saying to us, “There’s a seat open, jump aboard, and let me take you on the ultimate joy ride!
It is a Spirit thing and let me tell you something about the Spirit, I am talking about the Holy Spirit, the third person of the God head or the Trinity. The Holy Spirit never calls attention to Himself. He never asks us to worship the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit always points us to Christ.
He is our convictor, our counselor, our guide. He is pointing us to Jesus because remember, friends, it is all about Jesus. We were sought and bought by His blood and if we receive that, it is our first act of worship. Then we begin to climb the mountain of worship and while we climb we have got to be producing fruit. Our Lord said that He would know His followers by the fruit they produce.
Ed Young’s new blog will show you how to dress your best every day
Ed Young’s new blog will show you how to dress your best every day. Pastor Fashion, born from Ed Young’s idea that most pastors can use some tips on how to dress on and off the stage, is full of inventive posts and ideas about fashion and trends. One particular post “10 Simple Fashion Tips for the Faithful,” highlights simple fashion tips from Ed Young that can help keep anyone, not just pastors’, style in check.
Pastor Fashion offers fashion advice to women as well. Take a look at the post from LeeBeth and Hope, who have an engaging conversation about dressing both fashionable and modestly. These two lay out easy tips on how to keep today’s trendy outfits both classy and cute.
Check out this fun and fashionable blog from pastor and fashion advisor Ed Young.
David as a young man who literally jumped on the fast track after his upset victory over the giant Goliath. David found himself working in the administration of King Saul, schizophrenic Saul. Saul so freaked out one day in anger and envy and jealousy that he tried to rub David out. He tried to kill him. And the Bible mentions instance after instance, opportunity after opportunity, that David had to seek sweet revenge. I’m talking about opportunities to settle the score. Let me stop here and ask you a question. Quickly run through the relational Rolodex of your mind. Can you think of anybody, an ex-spouse, a neighbor, a friend, a wayward son or daughter, an ex-employee or employer that you are lying in wait for, ready to pounce on, to settle the score? Can you think about someone like that in your life? Can you? David dealt with these feelings. He dealt with the pull of revenge.
Ed wants us to know that God gives us these opportunities for revenge. What did David do? Because what David did, is what we should do. I Samuel 24:12, David says to schizophrenic Saul, the guy who is trying to rub him out, “May the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me but my hand will not touch you.” David had discipline, didn’t he? He had patience. He had endurance. And every time we have the opportunity for revenge and we are patient and disciplined, God will use it to build character. It will also allow God room to handle the situation. And if you read the rest of the story about Saul, God took care of him.
That brings me to a hypothetical situation. Let’s say that you just jumped on board a brand new company and your manager saw you and utilized your skill set to such a degree that you doubled the profits of the company in a couple of months. And let’s say that the person who befriended you, hired you, interviewed you and showed you to this manager, suddenly began to do a smear campaign against you.
It is a book written by a professional fisherman, Jimmy Houston entitled HOOKED FOR LIFE.
And here is the kicker. It always messes us up. The consequences are not always immediate but always inevitable. They are not always immediate but they are always inevitable. And that trips us up almost every time, doesn’t it?
Solomon searched and searched. He wasn’t having that much trouble. He was kind of having a fun time. But one day after four decades of searching, the inevitability and the consequences of sin hit and it bowled him over. He looked back an angry and bitter man and asked himself what he had done. He knew he had blown it, messed up.
You know what the great news about our great God is today? I don’t care how far you are into the search, how you are looking for satisfaction, what you have been involved in, God can change your life today if you come clean. You can tell God that you have been living this numbing lifestyle and that today, as a result of the message, you have decided to go His way.
I love coffee. Ed said that yesterday morning I made my daily trek to Starbucks. I have a big truck, a Ford F250, which is hard to park. I pulled in next to a little Cherokee Chief. When I open my big old heavy door, I just rocked that Cherokee Chief. I put a door ding in it. People were milling around inside Starbucks and I started asking who owned a Cherokee Chief. I asked and asked and asked. I went back out and looked at the door ding again. I jumped in my truck, grabbed my briefcase and started to write a note. I was going to leave my phone number and the whole deal. A young lady walked up and said, “Sir, did you put a door ding in my car?” I said, “Yes, I was writing you a note right now.” She looked at her door and turned and said, “Don’t worry about it. Have a great day.” She got into her car and left. I thought, wow, that is just like God.
You see, Jonah should have obeyed him when he picked up the cellular phone and just kind of inquired about the trip. He should have obeyed God when he set foot on the Disobedience Two.
Also experience a sense of security when you know Christ personally. Do you realize the Bible says over 360 times, fear not. Fear not. Jesus said words like this, “I will never leave you or forsake you. I will never abandon you and make you feel disconnected. Call upon Me during turbulent times and I will always answer you.” Can you identify with turbulent times over this holiday? You see if you know Christ personally, if He is at home in your life, I don’t care where you are, in Bosnia, in Miami Beach, in Aspen, in the Bahamas, you will always, always, always feel a sense of home.
He will also give you true optimism. In fact optimism is one of the major themes of Christ’s teaching. He said, “Those of you who feel like you have lived in last place during this life, cheer up, because I am going to make sure that you will live in first place in the next life. Those of you who have lived humbly in this life, will be exhaulted in the next. Those of you who gave your resources to others and to the church, someday you will be richly rewarded in heaven. Ed Young Jr said whose of you who are mourning, I am going to comfort you. Those of you who have suffered, you are going to be honored some day.” You know at times the disciples, those guys who were really tight with Jesus, would feel down now and then. They would enter the moan zone. They would have their own black tie pity party. And when Christ would see this dark cloud hanging over them, He would draw them together and I will paraphrase what He said. “Chill out. I am going to give you power, I’ll give you strength, I’ll give you contentment and one day you are going to have a home in heaven.” Check out history. Get to know some folks who have known Christ for a long time. They usually are the most optimistic people you will ever run across.
And he takes two pennies from his pocket. All these people going back and forth. And he does this
God doesn’t. If he is in our lives, we should not show favoritism either. We need to treat people the way the Bible says to treat them. The Bible says we have never met a person who does not matter to God.
If we are going to do that, the Scripture is our standard, also love has to be our law. The essence of Christianity is love. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world.” Romans 15:7, “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” That is a cool verse. We are to love people. I am to love people. I am to love you because God loves me. God has accepted me, warts and all, shortcomings and all. He has accepted you too. So we should accept others.
We confuse acceptance with approval. We mistakenly think, “If I accept this person, that means I approve of their lifestyle.” No, it doesn’t. It goes back to Landra’s letter to LeeBeth. We are to do what? We are to hate the sin and love the sinner. Don’t confuse acceptance with approval.
The last line in verse 13 says, “Mercy triumphs over judgment.” I like that.
Hope we are tracking now. One more time, do life from the inside out, upside down, right side up. So if we say, “God, I am ready to do this. I am ready to make this decision.” What happens? What must we do?
We must do several things. Number one, we must allow the Scriptures to be our standard. From this day forward we have got to say, “God, I resolve to make the scriptures my standard. I am going to operate from a biblical mandate here. Not from what I feel like, or what the world tells me to do, or what the culture tells me to do. I am going to do what you tell me to do.”
Romans 2:11, “For God does not show favoritism.” He doesn’t do it. It is pure and simple.
He gives us the desires to do what God requires and we can do that. That’s true in every realm of the Christian life. It’s a God thing. We must acquiesce to him. We must defer to him. We must follow his leadings and follow his word. Once we do that, we are on our way. Then when we face God one day, we can say, “You know what, God? With my words and with my works, I honored you to the best of my ability empowered by your grace and mercy.”
Look what James says in James 2:13, “Because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.” That means if I put down others all my life, and I am always ridiculing others, thumbing my nose at others, God is going to do the same thing to me when I lock eyes with him, when he makes me give an account for my words and my works. That’s a heavy burden. What a great responsibility and accountability we carry for being Christ-followers.