God led me to write this today as a major portion of a message for our Men's ministry emphasis weekend. It will get preached tonight. I give God glory for his grace...and that we all have a without Christ and a With Christ experience. May We all be WITH Christ...today.
Every Man...needs Revival and Renewal.
We need....A transformation.
With Christ...Like Adam, we eat from the tree of life.
Without Christ...Like Adam, we eat from the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil.
With Christ....Like Adam...we get another shot at the tree of life.
Because of the Tree of Life at Calvary!
Without Christ...Like Cain, we rebelliously offer the fruit of the field.
With Christ...Like Abel, we obediently offer the firstlings of the flock.
With Christ...Like Noah, we hear the voice of God: Flood, Ark, Saved.
Without Christ...Like Noah, we found Noah and Son's Winery...and enjoy the alcohol our self.
With Christ...Like Abraham, we launch out into the unknown, leaving our comfortable lives.
Without Christ...Like Abraham, we fear the unknown and grow impatient, and so we settle for results of our own making, instead of waiting on God.
With Christ...Like Isaac, we are willing to lay down our lives when called upon to do so (Genesis 22)
Without Christ...Like Isaac, we permit strife in our marriages and play favorites with our children.
Without Christ...Like Jacob concoct creative ways to deceive those around us, just to get our own way.
With Christ...Like Jacob, we cling to God and say "I will not let you go unless you bless me."
Without Christ...Like Esau, we swear we're gonna kill that blankety-blank brother of ours!
With Christ...Like Esau, we mellow in time, and let go or our angry tempers and can find forgiveness and reconciliation with family and friends.
With Christ...Like Joseph, we do our work well and faithfully, tell sexual temptation to take a hike, weep when we feel like it, and freely forgive others, even without them asking us for it.
Without Christ...Like Joseph, flaunt our favored status and create jealousy and hatred where none should exist.
With Christ...Like Moses, we hear God's call and do God's work, hard though it may be. We intercede for "our people", and beg God to "show us your glory."
Without Christ... Like Moses, we kill our perceived enemies (in our hearts if not with out hands), throw things, (10 commandments) and lash out with violent words and actions. (Strike the Rock)
With Christ...Like Samson, we see through our blindness, come to our senses, and ask God to use us "just this once."
Without Christ...Like Samson, we spurn the wisdom of our parents and consort with multiple women and prostitutes who don't share faith with God.
With Christ...Like Samuel, we can reverently say "Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening."...and hearing the voice of God in directing our lives.
Without Christ...Like Samuel, we become depressed and settle for our own pity parties...and take rejection too personally.
With Christ...Like Saul, we can stand head and shoulders over the rest, see visions and prophecy.
Without Christ...Like Saul, we usurp proper authority and don't keep what the Lord has commanded us (1 Samuel 13:14) flaunt God's prophetic word, our family falls apart and we end up resorting to the dark side. (Witch).
With Christ...Like David...we are a man after God's own heart, writing prophetic poems and spiritual songs, and slaying the Giants in our path!
Without Christ...Like David...we end up separated from our good friends, we linger over the sight of a naked woman or two, plan elaborate cover-up scenarios or give destructive orders to subordinates...and become men of blood!
With Christ...Like Solomon, we choose the path of wisdom (Wisest), Accurately reflect on the meaning and purpose of life, solve problems in creative ways no one would ever think of, (The Two woman and the baby) and build up the temple of the living God.
Without Christ...Like Solomon, we make alliances with wickedness, that draw us slowly but surely away from God's will. (700 wives + Concubines)
With Christ...Like Elijah, we see amazing answers to prayer and see miracles happen and hear the still small voice of God himself!
Without Christ...Like Elijah, we fall exhausted to the earth with the plaintive cry. "I've had enough....let me die."
With Christ...Like Jehoash (King at age 7, 2 Kings 12) and Jehoiada (Priest), we bring about revival and reformation...and cast a vision for the temple of God. Stewardship Example!
Without Christ...Like Ahab, we tolerate our own Jezebels, pout when we don't get our way, and behave like a little boy...and not a man.
With Christ...Like Gehazi, we witness the miracles of God up close and personal. Resurrections, Healings, Bad Potluck Food Transformed...
Without Christ...Like Gehazi, we succumb to our greed, taking advantage of our positions, and lie to those closest to us.
Without Christ...Like Jonah, we end up running from our callings and duties, and end up going the wrong way. We end up sea sick in storms of our own making, and eventually end up being or feeling nausious and thinking something smells fishy. Oddly, we somehow resent it when people find God and the sparks don't fall.
With Christ...Like Jonah, we finally get it right, say a few words and watch the Holy Spirit bring revival.
Without Christ...Like John the Baptist, we give room to discouragement and doubt when it's our time to die, rather than standing on the promises.
With Christ...Like John the Baptist, we can say "He must increase, and I must decrease."
Without Christ...Like Thomas, we cynically sneer at the good news we hear...and scoff at other's gullibility.
With Christ...Like Thomas, we kneel before our God and whisper "My Lord and My God."
Without Christ...Like Zacchaeus, we cook our books and rob both Peter and Paul to pay ourselves, all the while trying to look respectable on the outside.
With Christ...Like Zacchasues, we might do silly things just to get close to him...and then find that our greed has been replaced by generosity!
Without Christ, Like That Woman with the Perfume....we seek to find meaning in opening our soul to any man that will have us.
With Christ, Like that Woman...we take the sum total of our past mistakes, and convert it to "sweet aroma"...and pour it ALL out over the feet of our LORD and FORGIVER.
Without Christ, like Boyfriend #6 (John 4), We think a woman who has had 5 marriages will think we are finally a "keeper."
With Christ, like Boyfriend #6 - we either break off the relationship and say "Ma'am, for give me for using you." or we get on a knee and say "Will You Marry Me....?"
Without Christ...Like James and John, we seek to salve our rejections by calling down heavenly fire on people's heads. When positions are up for grabs...we grab for them... "We'd like #1 and #2 please."
With Christ...Like James and John, we are willing to perish by the sword, if it will mean others are in the kingdom. We learn that to follow Jesus...you need a basin and a towel...and a humble heart. (John 13)...We learn "We learn that we really are quite ignorant of spiritual things. "I've just written a few things down...and if they were all written down...that I'm sure the world could not contain all the wonderful things that could be written about Jesus." John
Without Christ...Like Peter, we open our mouths without thinking, boldly declare that we know best, and make rash promises we have no clue even what they mean. We scream help as we slip beneath the waves. We have also been known to pull a weapon...and draw blood: either physically or emotionally. And I won't even mention the foul language!
With Christ...Like Peter, we swallow our pride and say "Lord, depart from me, for I am a sinful man." "Lord, don't just wash my feet...but my everything too!" In Christ, we are willing to boldly proclaim that He is our everything.
Without Christ...Like Paul, we think we are doing God's work by hurting others and running them out of church for not observing our traditions or seeing the nature of Christ exactly like we do. We get the church board on our side and then we pass laws in our favor.
With Christ...Like Paul, we learn to say "This is a true statement, deserving full acceptance. Jesus Came to save sinners...of which I am the chief, #1, head sinner." We conclude that "Love is patient and kind...it isn't jealous or bragging or arrogant. It doesn't act unbecomingly. It doesn't seek it's own way. Love can't be provoked. It doesn't keep scores or hold grudges....Love NEVER FAILS. Faith is good. Hope is Good....All Godly fruit is good....but LOVE is the greatest thing of all." 1 Corinthians 13.