BE Real and Beware of Hypocrisy

 Luke 12:1

The word ‘hypocrisy’ could be translated as ‘hype.’ And hype, no matter how religious it is, is only a charade. Jesus denounced it. Speaking about the religious leaders of His day, He said: “…Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops” 

(vv. 1-3 NKJV). Why was Jesus so hard on hypocrites? Because hypocrisy accuses in others what it excuses in us, says one thing but does another, puts popularity above principle, loves admiration but cuts corners when it comes to integrity. 

Take Peter, for example. He preached that all people are equal in Christ, but he practiced it selectively. 

And Paul confronted him on it. “When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth …I [spoke] to Peter in front of them all…” (Galatians 2:11-14 NIV).

God understands your weaknesses and He will work with you on them, but He won’t put up with your hypocrisy. So be real!  

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Why God Accepts You

‘..Approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him….’ 2 Corinthians 5:21
God loves and accepts you as much on your bad days as He does on your good ones. In a  performance-based society, that’s easy to forget. But you mustn’t!
God’s acceptance is  based on your standing in Christ, not the state of your life at a given time.
 
‘For our sake He  made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might  become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what  we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His (not our)  goodness].’ 
 
Think of the cross as a trading post. There God took every sin you’d ever  commit and laid it upon Jesus. And the moment you place your trust in Christ, God takes all of Christ’s righteousness and wraps you up in it. From that point on, He sees you only one way – in Christ.
 
How liberating! Liberating, because now you realize that your worth isn’t  based on what you do but on who you are in relationship to Christ. God actually assigned  value to you by allowing Jesus to die for you. ‘But I can’t believe that God doesn’t care about  what I do.’ You’re right! And your rewards in heaven will be based on your stewardship here  on earth. God wants you to do good works, but He doesn’t want you to depend on them; He  wants you to do them out of love for Him. Once you understand your position, who you are in  Christ, you begin doing the right things for the right reasons. Amen.

Living Fearlessly

‘…You are my servant; I have chosen you…’ Isaiah 41:9

Have you ever wondered how animal trainers used to control a five-tonne elephant and keep it from running away? They did it by controlling the animal’s thinking. When a baby elephant was being trained, a rope was put around its leg and then tied to a wooden post secured in the ground. The elephant, which was not yet very strong, pulled at the rope but was unable to break it or to pull up the post. Eventually it gave up. From that point forward when the elephant’s leg was secured it believed it couldn’t get away-even though it was fully capable of escaping, and had been for a long time. It remembered its struggle. That’s one reason it’s said, ‘Elephants never forget.’

And we are like that too. Our thinking limits us, just as an elephant’s does. Usually it’s because of fear. The truth is fear can steal your dreams. You may be afraid of failure. You may be afraid of rejection. You may not want to make a fool of yourself. You may be afraid of trying because you believe you can’t succeed. If you give in to these thoughts and believe that you can’t achieve your dream, you’ll be right-and therefore unable to achieve your dream.   Often what we fear has no connection to reality. But here’s the good news: Fear can be overcome.

The first step to overcoming it is to believe God when He says about you: ‘…You are my servant; I have chosen you…do not fear, for I am with you…I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand’ (vv. 9-10 NIV).

Get to Know God Better

Can you discover the depths of God?… Job 11:7
You’re on the adventure of a lifetime when you pursue a greater knowledge of God. What you’ve learned about God so far should give you a hunger to know Him even more. You must never be satisfied with what you know about Him already. Here are four practical benefits of knowing God:

1) Blessing. The more you know God and obey His will, the more you’ll experience His blessings. ‘If you obey all the decrees and commands I am giving you today, all will be well with you and your children…’ (Deuteronomy 4:40 NLT)
2) Peace. ‘Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God…’ (2 Peter 1:2 NAS). The more you know God, the more at peace you’ll be. Yes, struggles and setbacks will come, but even then you’ll have a sense of well-being because you’ll feel His nearness
3) Wisdom. Paul prayed that God would give the Ephesians ‘…a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him’ (Ephesians 1:17 NAS). Wisdom is seeing things the right way. Revelation is when God bypasses the limitations of your mind and shows you things you otherwise wouldn’t know. Instead of finding a solution to life’s problems every now and then, you can walk each day in a ‘spirit of wisdom and of revelation.
4) Freedom. ‘…when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods’ (Galatians 4:8 NAS). Without the confidence that comes from knowing God, and your standing before Him, you become a slave to circumstances, emotions, or other people’s opinions. Refuse to live that way. Instead, get to know God better.

Pastor Charity Kamau
Kenyan Community Interdenominational Church
(206) 852-2024

Always Take the High Road

Pray for them which despitefully use you. Luke 6:28
Don Shula, head coach of the Miami Dolphins American Football team, always held his players to ‘the 24-hour rule.’ He gave them 24 hours to celebrate victory or sulk over defeat, then put it behind them. What a great rule to live by!

When you’re criticised it’s human to want to retaliate, but when you take the time to try and understand people it’s easier to forgive them. Many of the negative people in our lives just lack intimate relationships, so they keep others at arm’s length, rarely share their feelings and are uncomfortable with those who do. It’s easier for them to condemn than accept. Their hard and fast views make them inflexible. Often these people can’t handle freedom; they need rules that limit their choices, and only feel secure within their own boundaries.

Abraham Lincoln said, ‘If I tried to answer all the attacks made against me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the best I know how. If the end brings me out right, then what is said won’t matter. If the end brings me out wrong, then ten angels declaring I was right would make no difference.’

In dealing with others, always take the high road laid out by Jesus: ‘Pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either…just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise’ (Luke 6:28-31 NKJV). Is that always easy to do? No, but it always pays off!

Pastor Charity Kamau
Kenyan Community Interdenominational Church
(206) 852-2024

Be Wise – Prioritize

Oh, that they were wise…that they would consider their latter end!
Deuteronomy 32:29

The Bible says: ‘Oh, that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!’ One of life’s greatest challenges is thinking and doing the things that ultimately matter and bring success. A life in which anything goes, is a life in which nothing goes. Wisdom means having the discipline to prioritise and the ability to work toward a stated goal. The question is not, ‘Will my calendar be full,’ but ‘Who will fill it,’ and ‘What will it be filled with?’ To know your life’s priorities you must frequently pause and ask:

1) ‘Lord, what do You want me to do?’ (Acts 9:6 NKJV).
2) What is required of me that nobody else can do?
3) What will bring the greatest return?

God doesn’t reward wasted effort, He rewards wisdom. The story’s told of a lighthouse keeper on a rocky stretch of coastline who received a new supply of oil each month to keep the light burning. Being close to the shore he had lots of guests. A woman from the village needed some oil to keep her family warm; a farmer requested some for his tractor; a mechanic wanted some to lubricate a wheel. All the requests seemed legitimate so the lighthouse keeper tried to please everybody. Before the month was over his oil was gone and the beacon went out. As a result several ships were wrecked and lives were lost. When the authorities investigated, the man was very repentant. But to his excuses and pleading their reply was, ‘You were given oil for one purpose – to keep the light burning.’ Be wise – prioritize!

Pastor Charity Kamau
Kenyan Community Interdenominational Church
(206) 852-2024

Being Ready

Be dressed ready for service… Luke 12:35

God can move so quickly that one day it feels like all hell has broken loose in your life, and the next, like you’re seated in heavenly places. And in both instances: ‘…it is God which worketh in you…’ (Philippians 2:13 KJV). The Bible uses words like straightway, immediately, and suddenly to remind us that when God moves we must be ready to move too. He doesn’t announce it with trumpets and a fanfare so you must stay prepared, especially for something you’ve been waiting for a long time. You may be just a moment away from the answer you’ve been seeking.

That’s all the time it takes God to change things; a moment! Don’t let discouragement dull your faith or procrastination steal your opportunity. Referring to His second coming, Jesus said, ‘Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house’ (Matthew 24:17KJV). You’ve got to decide whether you’re going to accept what God has for you now and move forward, or return to your house, because your unfinished business can cause you to miss God’s best. And so can waiting for others.

A paralysed man missed his healing for thirty-eight years because he waited for others to act. He told Jesus: ‘…I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up…’ (John 5:7 NKJV). For years he sat beside the solution, but others caused him to miss it. Nothing is more important than what God is saying and doing in your life right now: not what’s going on in your house, not the actions or opinions of others. What matters is being ready. Are you ready?

Pastor Charity Kamau
Kenyan Community Interdenominational Church
(206) 852-2024

Are You Bearing Fruit?

…the fruit of the Spirit… Galatians 5:22-23
Notice three things about fruit:

First, fruit is visible. Remember the ‘show and tell’ method of learning in school? James writes: ‘…Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works’ (James 2:18 NKJV). It’s not enough to ‘talk a good game,’ you must ‘live it’ before others every day.

Second, fruit reflects the character of the tree on which it grows. If it’s an apple tree it’s going to produce apples The more you submit your life to Christ, the more like Him you’ll become.

Third, fruit is always borne for someone else’s benefit. You’ll never see fruit chewing on itself, or saying, ‘I don’t want to be picked.’ Good fruit makes someone hunger and reach for it.

The Holy Spirit wants to produce fruit in you so that others can feed off you and be nourished. In contrast, all deeds of the flesh are selfish. The flesh says, ‘You made me mad. I’m not happy. You have what I want. You are irritating me.’ But the fruit of the Spirit is Christ-centred and others-centred. Notice, the word ‘fruit’ is singular, even though Paul lists nine different kinds of spiritual fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control, but they all come from the same tree. This tree can produce everything you need for every area of your life. You don’t have to go to the Holy Spirit for peace, and some other place for love. Or go to the Holy Spirit for patience, and somebody else for self-control. It’s all on the Spirit’s tree. So, are you bearing fruit?

Pastor Charity Kamau
Kenyan Community Interdenominational Church
(206) 852-2024