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Getting Back To Basics

And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.  —  Deuteronomy 8:3 (KJV)

 

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.  —  Luke 9:23 (KJV)

 

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  —  Romans 12:1 (KJV)

 

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.  Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.  And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.  And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.  Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.  Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar   And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.  Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.  —  Isaiah 6:1-8 KJV)

 

These are a few of the verses or passages  I have read recently that convince me that I need to get back to basics.

Have you ever found yourself doing so much for The Lord that your relationship with Him suffers?  Like, your time is so full of godly activities that you miss God in all the hustle and bustle?

That is where I am finding myself now.  I should have seen the warnings, like picking up new activities without really being sure that the activities are really God ordained, or did I just decide to do them because I thought God would be impressed with my faithfulness.

I need to stop listening to the flesh, stop doing things for God that He may be impressed with my faithfulness, and begin again to make myself available to God, so that He can lead me in what He wants me doing.

Am I the only one?  Do others feel this as well?

July 14, 2016 Posted by | Follow Jesus, Godliness, Repentance | , , | 1 Comment

Let Jesus Be Our Example

Follow JesusI want to share a few brief passages from the New Testament that show how Jesus ought to be the example that we live by.  First Philippians 2:5-8 shows us that as Jesus was radically obedient to the Father, so ought we also be:

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

In 1 John 3:16-18 we see that Jesus showed us love by laying down His life for us, and that we ought also to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters in need.

By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.

We also se that it is not enough to give verbal assent to this truth, we need to put it into action.

In 2 Corinthians 8:9-15 we see another example.  In this one we see that Jesus made Himself poor that we might become rich.

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have. For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have. For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality. As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”

And Paul then applies Jesus’ example to the Corinthian Church, a congregation that was experiencing a time of great abundance, and encouraging them to share their abundance with the poorer Church at Macedonia.

I would like to close with a reiteration of John’s admonition to act in deed and in truth by sharing a passage from James.  In chapter 2 verses 14-17, James shows again how our faith must be more than just verbal assent, it must play out in action as well.  

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

And James gives another example of a brother or sister in need, and how we, as followers of Jesus, must not simply say that we will pray for that brother or sister, but must also do a concrete action to help alleviate the situation.

It may seem obvious, but following Jesus is more than knowing what Jesus said, it is doing what Jesus does.

May peace go with you.

 

 

April 27, 2014 Posted by | Christian, Discipleship, Faith | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

If I Firmly Believed…

Church Building“If I firmly believed, as millions say they do, that the knowledge and practice of religion in this life influences the eternal destiny of others, then religion would mean everything to me. I would cast away earthly enjoyments as dross, earthly cares as folly, and earthly thoughts and feelings as vanity. Religion would be my first waking thought and my last image before sleep sank me into unconsciousness. I would labor in its cause alone. I would take thought for the morrow of eternity alone. I would esteem one soul gained for heaven worth a life of suffering. Earthly consequences would never stay my hand nor seal my lips. Earth, its joys and its griefs, would occupy no moments of my thoughts. I would strive to look upon eternity alone and on the immortal souls around me, soon to be everlastingly happy or everlastingly miserable. I would go forth to the world and preach in season and out of season, and my text would be, “What shall it profit man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?”

–Written by a professing atheist in 1787

If we are in Christ, we should share His burden for the lost and be moved out of our pews in Church and into the streets or wherever the lost are found.

April 26, 2014 Posted by | Christian, Evangelism, Faith, Great Commission | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Turning The World Upside-Down For Jesus

But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world Surrenderupside down have come here too.  —  Acts 17:6

This was a complaint against Paul and those working with him made by the Jews when Paul came to Thessalonica.  The Jews were not happy because Paul was upsetting the status quo and many Jewish followers were instead following Jesus in every city that Paul visited.  The Jewish complaint was, in fact, a complaint against Paul’s overwhelming success in persuading people to follow Jesus.

Paul’s success as an evangelist is undeniable, and “turning the world upside-down” seems a proper description of what Paul accomplished.

So, as I look at the Church today, I don’t see nearly the intensity that I see recounted in the Bible.  In fact, in the Western World at least, I see the Church as being ineffectual for the most part, and I wonder why.  And in wondering, I think I have some idea why we are so ineffective.

So lets look at the average Western believer for a minute.  He, or she, is likely married, working and with children, supporting a mortgage payment, two or more cars, looking to get ahead in their career, and looking for ways to make life a little easier and more comfortable.  More likely than not, these people came to Jesus by praying a simple prayer and were told that if they were sincere in their prayer, then their eternal destiny is safe in Jesus.

Okay, done.  They will go to Church when they get tje chance, maybe even put a few dollars in the offering plate.  But their eternal destiny is secure, so they don’t need to let any religious exercise get in the way of pursuing their next raise or a better car or even a bigger house.

And that, to a large extent describes the Church and the average believer.

But lets look at Paul and see if we can see why he was able to turn the world upside down for Jesus.  I think if you compare Paul’s life to the life of the average believer today, you would say that the reason that Paul was so effective is that Paul lived an upside-down life.  Living upside-down would be taking all of the commonly accepted behaviors, things that we might consider to be our top priorities, and turning upside-down, making a top priority a bottom priority instead.

We might like to live in security, knowing that we have a roof over our head, a car in the garage, and a steady income so we can always count on our next meal.  Paul, on the other hand, might have considered it a good day if he was not both stoned and shipwrecked in the same day.

We are happy that we are saved and know it because we prayed a little prayer one time.    Paul said:

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.  —  Galatians 2:20

We may find ourselves flirting with sin from time to time, but Paul was dead to sin:

Likewise also reckon yourselves to be truly dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ, Jesus, our Lord.  —  Romans 6:11

Sin had no place in Paul’s life, rather, he presented his body to God:

Neither present your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, but present yourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.  —  Romans 6:13

And finally, Paul took very seriously the words of Jesus:

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  —  Luke 9:23

Jesus was not part of Paul’s life, not even the most important part.  Jesus was Paul’s life!  Paul’s life was upside-down from we we consider normal and acceptable, and as a result, Paul, along with the other Apostles and early believers, was able to turn his world upside-down.

Will you join me in praying for an army of upside-down believers to dramatically change the direction of the Church in North America and Europe?

 

 

April 8, 2014 Posted by | America In Crisis, Evangelism, Faith, Revival | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The 1040 Window

The 1040 Window. Have you ever heard of it? It is a part of the world, actually. This part of the world is home to over 60% of the world’s population. It is also home to over 90% of the people on earth who have never had the opportunity

The 1040 Window
The 1040 Window

to hear the name of Jesus, over 2 billion souls. And of those 2 billion souls, over 40,000 die every day, condemned to an eternity of separation from the God who created them, and who loves them.

But the real tragedy is, of all of the money collected in western churches, less than 1/2 of 1% goes missionary work inside this 1040 window.  It is as if our churches have totally ignored this area of the world.

John 3:16 states that “God so loved the world…”, not the western world, not the American and European continents, but the whole world, and all of the people who live in it.  God makes no distinction.

So, after much prayer, after much reading of my Bible, and after much study of what is happening in the world around us, I must come to the conclusion that I cannot turn a blind eye to this area of the world.  

There is much pain and suffering, much disease, and much evil committed one against another, and much of that evil is committed against women and children.  These things must break God’s heart, and as I draw closer to God, I find that they are breaking my heart as well.

About two years ago, I committed this blog to the Lord’s work, that He would use it to bring glory to Himself.  About a year ago I got my first real eye opening introduction into tragic events that are happening in some of the countries of the 1040 window.  And now, I am planning on using this blog primarily to report on those events and to offer ideas on how we may help, though we may live half a world away.

God has opened a new door for me.  Won’t you join me as I walk through that door and learn what He has in store for me and for as many as will join me?  This is a new adventure!

This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalm 118:24

March 19, 2014 Posted by | Evangelism, Salvation | , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Sacrament Of Life

“The Sacrament Of Life” is the title of the last chapter of A.W. Tozer’s book, “The Pursuit Of God” For anyone who has not read this book, I highly recommend it. It has provided so many blessings to me.prayinghands_6

But none greater than the last chapter. In it, Mr. Tozer describes the difficulty that many Christians have with the two areas of their lives, the sacred and the secular. As Christians we want to live in the sacred acts of prayer, fellowship, shared worship, etc. but we find ourselves living in a secular world which forces us to deal with such tasks of making money, maintaining our home and transportation, etc. Thus we are forced to switch back and forth between our inner spiritual life and our external secular one.

But Mr’ Tozer points out very eloquently how this view of two separate “lives” is nothing more than a misconception on the part of believers.

At the heart of Mr. Tozer’s argument are some of Paul’s exhortations to believers that point out how the Lord intends for us to approach our lives.

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  —  1 Corintians 10:31

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.  —  Collossians 3:17

Seeing these verses, and others like them, it is clear that God never intended for us to separate our lives into secular and sacred. Rather, we are to do all to the glory of God. Every act then, whatever it may be, is to be done as an act of worship to the Lord.

Another verse that should drive the point home is where Paul exhorts bond servants and their relationship to their masters. In our day we could think of this as how an employee should relate to his employer:

Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.  —  Ephesians 6:5-6

When we go through our daily routine at work, we should give our employers the same level of service as if we were working directly for the Lord.  And, by extension, when we are engaged in any of our earthly tasks, we should look to perform them as unto the Lord, glorifying Him in all that we do.

January 23, 2014 Posted by | Faith, Godliness, Uncategorized, Worship | , , , , , | 6 Comments