In between watching the 2012 Olympics games, I watched an episode of Top Chef-Just Desserts where the chefs were asked to make a “savor” dessert inspired by another country. One chef prepare a dish resembling a Cuban Sandwich. The beautiful plated dessert looked just like a sandwich with chips and potato salad. The “Potato Salad” was actually diced Asian pears sprinkled with vanilla beans to resemble pepper. It was so creative. As the judges bit into the sandwich, the creme topping that looked like mayonnaise oozed out the sides and became very messy. The filling overpowered the other components. The chef put too much in the sandwich. It looked good on the outside, but when the “test” the sandwich did not hold.
Isn’t that just like us? We spend time and energy creating our “exterior self” so it appears like a beautiful plate of good food. But there is a problem. Our execution is faulty. We add too much of this world so when the “test” comes, our beautiful but poorly designed selves starts oozing out. We overdo it; add too much, or add the wrong things trying to look good.
There needs to be the right balance of ingredients so lives not only appear beautiful, but beautifully reflect Him. That right balance is more of Jesus and less of me and you. He is the potter, we are the clay. He knows just what to do, and say. He knows our beginnings, our middle, and our ends. He understand how much we can handle, and prompts us to let Him handle our lives. Jesus said, “Come all of you who are heavy burden, and I will give you rest.” As we make our way through this life, our first order of business is to go to Christ first, and obtain instructions on how to prepare and manage for this life. Christ will provide the right ingredients in the proper proportions, and then show us how to prepare and utilize them. So when our “test” comes, and it will come, we will have just the right stuff in the right proportions for any test.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus in chapter 4 about walking in unity. Verse 3 states…”endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Unity by definition is to join; to become united in oneness. When you look at the Greek and Hebrew definitions, there is an emphasis not only on becoming one, but doing so one by one for the purpose of abundance. Abundance is an outgrowth of our oneness in unity with the Spirit. It is a reward or benefit of abiding in unity. Our definition of unity is expanded. The sum of our parts is greater because of our oneness with Christ. Further in chapter 4 of Ephesians, we are told there is one body and one Spirit, and we as believers are called into one hope through our Lord, our faith, our baptism, our God and Father. How do we become one body demonstrating unity? By equipping the saints til “we come into unity of the faith” and in the knowledge of Jesus. With the combined gifts and works of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, the church becomes a mature, stronger and fully prepared entity ready to carry out His plans. We become more powerful, more loving, more compassionate, more cunning about the ways of the enemy…all parts working together in sync [harmony] with the divine plan of salvation. We become one. Not all at once, but individually, one by one until every part of the body is in place and fully operational.
The word unity appears three times in the Scriptures, just three. In Psalm 133:1, and in the verses 3 and 13 of Chapter 4 in Ephesians. And yet despite its absence in other scriptures, the theme of unity in the house of God can be seen throughout the Bible. Even before Adam and Eve sinned, God had devised a unifying plan to restored us to “glorious abundant oneness” with Him. May you grow up in all things [one body] into Him who is the Head-Christ our Lord.
Excellence is defined as the quality or state of being outstanding and superior, or an outstanding feature: a feature or respect in which somebody or something is superior and outstanding. Some say we know it[excellence] when we see it. It is a quality or characteristic no one or nothing else possess. We call it rare-superior-unique-above all the rest. Our Lord and Savior was given to us as an example of excellence-perfection in both man and God. And he calls us to demonstrate excellence in our walk, in our work, and in our worship. Just as He walked down that narrow street to Calvary he expects us to carry ourselves in a manner befitting the King of Kings.
Colossians 1: 9-14
“We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[e] 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[f] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
As Resurrection Sunday approaches, let us not forget the price paid, the manner in which it was paid, and recommit ourselves to walk worthy of Christ the King.
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2
Alexander MacLaren said, “It is of no use to say to men, “Let not your heart be troubled,” unless you finish the verse and say, “Believe in God, believe also in Christ.”
What is compassion all about? It is about believing in the God of compassion, and recognizing even in the midst of our rejection of him, God-the Christ had compassion on us. He died for us so that transformation, restoration and salvation could be ours. Compassion is about the gift of love and forgiveness even if recipient of the gift never respond. It is still their gift. We see it as God sees our stubborn refusal to accept all that he is. He desires for us to have the gift, and it grieves him when he sees his children walking away from their birthright.
Empathy and sympathy are the two lynch-pins of compassion. The desire to love and suffer for someone else which allows us to offer compassion. God desired to relieve us of the pain of eternal separation from him by offering up his only son, Jesus.
So, when all the things that trouble us, and keeps us awake at night, turn your minds and hearts to the blessed hope of Jesus and eliminate the emotional baggage. Meditate on the compassion of God, his goodness, his grace, and the gift of His abundant love. Cultivate your compassion and show the world your faith in God.
More Than Anything
Songwriter Lamar Campbell wrote a beautiful song entitled More Than Anything. The words of the song goes like this:
“I lift my hands in total adoration unto You. You reign on the throne for You are God and God alone Because of You my cloudy days are gone I can sing to You this song, I just want to say that I love You more than anything
Love me in Your arms, You were my shelter from the storm. When all my friends were gone You were right there all along I never knew a love like this before, Oh I just want to say that I love You more than anything.
I Love You Jesus. I worship and adore You. Just want to tell you Lord, I Love You more than anything.
The sweet melody of the song resonates with complete fulfillment of scripture. For it is written, “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” Deuteronomy 6:4-6 KJV.
Today, let us each move into that quiet space with our mind, body and soul says more than anything I love you Lord.