Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Benefit Package

Psalms 116:12 “What shall I render unto the Lord for all His Benefits."  A few months ago during what is referred to as open enrollment on my job, I had the opportunity to change my benefits. And as I carefully looked at the coverage, it occurred to me that being a Born Again believer in Christ gives us the opportunity to receive the greatest benefits package known to man.

This benefit package comes with a policy book known as the Bible which shows us how to access the benefits and abide by the coverage criteria. And the primary requirement is a willingness to accept Jesus Christ as one's personal Lord and savior. Hence, when we depart from this life, we are afforded the opportunity to receive the greatest benefit of all, eternal life through Jesus Christ

Besides everlasting life, the benefits of God are unsearchable, innumerable, and unmeasurable. From the hair on your head, to the blood in your veins, even down to the breath you take, the benefits of God are a wonderful gift to the world.

In fact, Psalms 68:19 puts it like this “Bless be the Lord who daily loadeth us with benefits.” Indeed God “makes the sun rise on the evil and the good and gives rain to the just and the unjust.” (Matt 5:45) Every day, every hour, every minute, every second is filled with benefits.
On a daily basis, blessings are distributed to us all.

So even in times of great difficulty and despair, we must not fail to remember the great benefit package in God. This is why Psalms 103:2 declares, “Bless the Lord oh my soul and forget not all his benefits.” Don’t categorize God into one area of your life. Let Him take full control so that you can reap all His benefits. Don’t forget how He saved you; healed you; delivered you. Don’t forget how he made away for you and opened doors for you. Remember from where He brought you. Forget not all His benefits.

And because of the awesomeness of this benefit package, we owe a debt to God. So the psalmist decrees “What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits.” We must also ask ourselves this question. What can we say, do, give, or present to the Lord for His many blessings. Ultimately, every gift, talent, or treasure, in some manner needs to be presented back to God.

If we could survey just a few of the Bible leaders of old, each would have his own unique response to this question -What shall I render? If you ask Moses, he would say “whose on the Lord’s side.” If you inquired of Joshua, he would say, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  If you posed this question to David, he would say, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

If you questioned Malachi, he would say, “Bring all the tithe into the storehouse that there may be meat in My house.” What shall I render? If you ask the Apostle Paul, he would say: “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." The writer of Psalms 150 would respond with three words: "Praise the Lord."

Finally, our benefit package in God through Christ is unparalleled to what man offers. Our benefits are better than Prudential because Jesus is a rock in a weary land. He’s my rock, my sword and shield.

Our benefit package is better than All State knowing that you are in good hands with Jesus and nobody shall be able to pluck you out of his hand. These benefits are better than State Farm – Like a good neighbor Jesus is there. He is a very present help in the time of trouble.

Our benefits are better than Nationwide because Jesus is on your side. He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. Our benefits are better than Geico because In 15 seconds or less you can save your soul by switching to Jesus for salvation insurance. And serving the Lord is so easy a cave man can do it. Wow, what a great benefit package. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Weapons of Christian Warfare

II Corinthians 10:3-5 The apostle Paul wrote, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

Since the beginning of time, man has been at war for a variety of reasons. And while pursuing one’s enemies in war, mankind has relied on different types of weapons to fight. From the stone and stick to the sword and spear and from the bow and arrow to modern day times, weapons have always played a primary role in war.

Even in the spiritual realm, weapons are paramount in one’s walk with Christ. As Christians, we need weapons because we are in spiritual warfare. And Jesus outlines the strategy of the enemy in John 10:10 which says “ The enemy comes for no reason except to kill, steal and destroy but I come that you may have life and life more abundantly.” Moreover Paul writes in Ephesians 6: 12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of generation, against spiritual host of wickedness in high places."

Therefore, although we walk in the flesh, we must utilize a different strategy for spiritual warfare. As Christians, we get in trouble when we battle in the flesh. We say the wrong things, make bad decisions, and exclude God from the process when we war after the flesh. The flesh is carnal which pertains to or is characterized by the body and it’s passions and appetites. And carnality is not of God. So our weapons in Christ are not carnal. This means they are not based on deceit, lust, physicality, human knowledge or influence.

One should not underestimate the spiritual weapons of Christ because they are extremely potent or as the scripture says “mighty through God. . .” Hence, our spiritual weapons are not mighty through revenge, spite, or envy; and not through gifts, talents or worldly knowledge, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. The Greek explanation for pulling down (pros/kathairesis) describes moving towards demolition and the Greek word for stronghold is taken from the word ochuroma a military word meaning to fortify. This suggest that our spiritual weapons through Christ are able to totally demolish the strongholds or fortresses of Satan.

In conclusion, it is important to remember that our weapons are not carnal. So while I’m thankful for my academic training, and the influence of knowing people in a position of power, I recognize that the weapons of Christian warfare are not based on education or personal connections.

And while I am grateful for eloquence of speech, and the ability to articulate, I know that the weapons of our warfare are not based on fancy words. And even as it relates to brute physical strength or the science and technology of modern inventions, the weapons of our warfare are not based on gifts of man or modern science. While these things do offer advantages, ultimate victory comes from God.

So as you face your own struggles, let us remember the advice of the songwriters who said “hold your peace and let the Lord fight your battles.” And ask “Jesus to be a Fence all around you every day.” God is the maker and dispenser of the weapons of Christian warfare.