This week 1000’s of hearts have been drawn to God through tragedy and suffering. Olivia Mills’ life of commitment to Christ Jesus before her accident has given God a launching board to proclaim His glory. Over 36,000 are following Pray for Olivia Mills and 1000’s more will probably follow. Some things to think about.
1. God is drawing masses of people to Himself. (John 6:44)
2. If you are not a believer, God is drawing you to salvation that can only be found in Christ Jesus. (Luke 19:10).
3. If you are a believer that has drifted away, God is calling you back to Himself through Christ Jesus. (Rev 2:4-5)
4. If you are a believer walking in a love relationship with Christ Jesus, talk with those being drawn about their relationship with Christ Jesus. (Matt. 28:19-20)
Some things are so much a part of us that we struggle to unlearn it. The way in which we are raised puts patterns in our life so deep that we might never consider their impact if continued. It is not necessarily bad things, just not the best way to live life. This past week I became very concerned about the state of Christianity in America and the authority of God, Jesus, Holy Spirit and the Word of God. To live under the authority of Jesus seems foreign to our church culture at times. The great commission, (Matthew 28:18-20), is clear that Jesus has “authority in heaven and on earth”. He instructs us to “go make disciples”. This is a non-negotable. That is where my concern is, “making disciples”. To make a disciple is to reach them with Jesus, baptize them and teach “them to obey everything” Jesus commanded. How many of us are doing that? How many are spending intentional time investing in the life of another by reaching, baptizing and teaching them to obey all of Jesus’ commands. My fear is that we are teaching an American church culture instead of all that Jesus commanded. If we don’t sit down and open the Word of God and bring everything in life under His authority we will have troubles that are tied to our fleshly desires. I encourage you to unlearn what is not right. The areas of your life that are not under the authority of Jesus – unlearn what you are doing. Unlearn how you are living. You will only succeed at unlearning it when you learn what Jesus said and make the needed adjustments without conversation. Just do it. Today, I encourage you to bring everything in your life under Jesus’ authority. Bring your singleness, marriage, parenting, finances, works, entertainment, etc. under the authority of Jesus. Your flesh is going to push against these adjustments, but the price is too high for us to live life with a mixture of what we want and what Jesus commands.
Why is it so important that Jesus be your Lord and Savior?
Here is one of the most clear ways of understanding this. We are all sinners for the Bible says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. We also know the problem is self is our God. Paul in writing to the Romans wrote, “but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.” (Rom 2:8) So, it is clear that there are two issues for all of us – sin and self.
If my only problem was sin, all I would need is a Savior.
If my only problem was self, all I would need is a Lord.
Jesus as Savior solves our sin problem.
Jesus as Lord solves our self problem.
So, today make sure you have repented of sin and self and are following Jesus as Lord and Savior.
I am a fan of the writings of Margaret Feinberg. I love her style, with and content. So, she does some different stuff at times and right now I’m part of one of those “different stuff”. It’s an experiment of sorts. She asks us to spend 10-minutes a day reading scripture and thinking on God’s Love. The first day kinda blew my socks off (that’s a good thing). We all have tough days, weeks, years and even sometimes decades or lives. I have found during tough times its easy to get discouraged, depressed and even want to give up. The first verse of our focus was Exodus 15:13.
“You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.”
Look at this:
We know we have been “redeemed“. (If Jesus is your personal Lord and Savior.)
Since God “has led” in His “steadfast love“, He WILL led us in our current situations because He is immutable (unchanging) in His purpose and promise. His “steadfast love“ has not changed! His guidance is so critical to us making the right decisions. “Led” and “guide” are a little different. “Led” has the meaning of “to herd to a predetermined destination” while “guide” is to “lead with care” it seems to have a connotation of holding of one’s hand.
Our desire is simply to be where God is: His “holy abode“. The basis for us being in His “holy abode” is his steadfast love. In the midst of the strong storms of life, it seem weird and easy that we can forget God loves us and seeks to lead us.
Now, what seems critically important to our situation is that it is “by your [God’s] strength” that we get to His “holy abode“. We cannot get there on our own efforts. If we will follow his leading and guidance, He has the strength to knock down any barriers or strengthen us to continue the fight.
This is my 500th post! Woohoo! I have not posted since May 1. Here is why. I took some time off from everything but my wife and family. It was a great time but life does not exist in “off”. One of the things that I needed to find out while I was out was prompted by a question Francis Chan poses in Multiply.
When you pick up the Bible and begin to read it, what is motivating you? Are you driven by guilt? Do you have a desire to know God more fully? Are you looking for arguments against other perspectives? Are you looking for material for a Bible study or sermon?
I have the responsibility and privilege to teach several times a week so this question pricked my heart. Why? Why do I study the Bible? Is it to just get material to preach and teach on. Is it always for someone else? So, in my time away I watched this. Here is what I found.
I love God and His Word. It was so refreshing to read and study with nothing to prepare. It was good to know that God was speaking into my spirit and my situations. I read God’s Word and He refreshed me. He gave me great days with my wife. So, I will spend some time posting to the blog again and I hope you missed me.
Kids ask questions. Sometimes they ask so many questions it gets on your nerves. Growing up we all were told that there were no stupid questions. It did not take long to learn that was not true, though it sounds good in theory. We were also taught to ask questions as we read an article, magazine, book or paper. Those questions are Who? What? When? Where? and Why?. This list might have changed in the last 30 years but it still remains pretty solid. As I turned 50, I realize the continued importance of asking “Why?”
Why? Why was I born? Why do people act like they do? Why do I act like I do? Why should I change? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why?
WHY? WHY? WHY?!
The answer to why sometimes begins with “so that”. I thought about “Why?” and the Bible. Why should we do what it says? In the New Testament alone “so that’ occurs 251 times. You want to know WHY you should live by biblical precepts, principles and truths? Let the Bible speak for itself. Start looking for the “so that” as you ask why and you might just get your answer.
WHY ASK “WHY”? “SO THAT” you get your answer after the “SO THAT”.