Bible Devotions · Commentary · Uncategorized

Cut to the Heart

Do you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength?

This was the question Jesus posed to the religious leader in Mark 12. He, like us, interpreted Jesus’ cutting words as “THAT is some really good teachin’!” Because we have the enormous privilege of having all access to God’s word we have allowed the most amazing words ever to be uttered to become too familiar. We’ve  turned them into pleasantries, instead of heart breaking challenges.

Jesus establishes His Kingdom by helping people come to terms with their deficiencies, so that they might find that His provision is more than enough. In like fashion His people are called to do the same.

This is how Hell fire and brimstone preaching works. Not that it is right or the way of Christ. But it shakes people out of their slumber.

Jesus did it over and over again in the gospels. He cut people straight to the heart. Nicodemus came to Him in the night pontificating and Jesus CUT STRAIGHT to his heart “You must be born again!” The rich young ruler came to Him wanting to be justified and He told him to “Sell all you have and follow me!” Peter did it at Pentecost.

Yes, there are wonderful things we can learn about the statements, about the Greek, about the culture of that time etc. etc. etc. But don’t miss the fact that Jesus most always needed to sober people up to the Kingdom.

The reality is that God’s love for us is so very immense that whatever causes us to crack and see Him gets overshadowed by His goodness. There is no dark thing that the Light of God’s love can’t out shine.

Application:

  1. Ponder that first question I asked at the top of this page. Bring it into prayer and allow the Lord to meet you in the answer.
  2. Realize the enormous love God has for you and depend on it. Make it such a fabric of your being that you become willing to call someone else out of the slumber of their sad lives unto that same love. Be willing to be that girl or guy. It’s the way of the Kingdom.
Bible Devotions · Commentary · Uncategorized

Supposed (Luke 2:44 Reflection)

The first red letters of the New Testament come at the climax of Luke chapter 2 when Jesus’ family visited Jerusalem for Passover.

“Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”

In the midst of this short story I believe we are exposed to a CRITICAL character trait about the Lord Jesus, to follow Him. His family “supposed” Him to be in the caravan but He was not.

How many times do we do things and suppose Jesus is with us? How many times do we take action and suppose this is what Jesus wants us to do? Are we at a job we suppose Jesus has called us to?

In fact, supposing goes against the act of following. People who are fond of Jesus are sharply separated along these lines. We can confidently recognize one group as disciples and the other group…. not.

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Bible Devotions · Commentary · Uncategorized

Habits of Strong Disciples

(I totally hijacked an entire article on weight training/power lifting by Jim Wendler and changed about 25 phrases to reflect a life of discipleship. The bold words are mine the rest is his. The original article is here www.jimwendler.com/2015/09habits-of-strang-lifters/. He has some pretty brilliant training perspectives. As you’ll see bleeding through this re-written article)

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Consistency

Without a doubt, the strongest and best disciples in the world have consistently busted their buns in the prayer room. For decades. Not weeks, not a year, but decades.  There are genetic freaks out there that achieve a high level of spirituality quickly, but comparing yourself to them is unfair and will probably drive you out of the faith and into a 10-year “I hate church” bender. Now, consistency doesn’t always mean they’re going all out, every day. It means they chip away slowly, but surely.

Drive/Perseverance

Even with failures, hard times, faltering of spiritual leadership, terrible churches, etc., the great disciples will find a way to adapt and overcome. If that means following Christ alone in your own sanctuary at your house, they do it. If that means having to train in a mega church by themselves, they get it done. If that means they have to train around wounds, they research and find a way. Nothing will stand in their way and when an obstacle appears, they don’t get frustrated; they simply find a different route around it. It’s easy to be motivated and excited to pray when everything is going your way. It’s another thing to hit a wall, scramble, kick, and scratch until you look back and see the marks of blood and sweat you leave behind.

Continue reading “Habits of Strong Disciples”

Commentary

From the Future

History has the ability to haunt us. Be it our personal history, family history, or the history of our nation. Yet, the future has a way of bringing us hope, optimism, perseverance, and a bold joy that breaks down the structures of evil.

In recent weeks and months, we have all been reminded as a nation of the extended struggle we’ve had with racial injustice. Although we’ve made gigantic strides ahead throughout the last century, in recent months we’ve witnessed grave injustices in our law enforcement, the tragedy in Charleston, the hate crimes towards local churches and their congregants, and numerous other incidents. It seems that with each of these instances a corporate shudder strikes in us and is a reminder of our painful and shameful past; A past that some choose to use to fuel hatred and bitterness. But for most of us, this past is a very real bruise from which we’re trying to recover. (I think it would be wise to add here that no two of us have had the exact same experiences that would allow any other person to bring complete resolution or speak exactly where we all are. Only God has that capability.)

It seems that no matter how hard we try to outlive our past, with the grave infractions perpetrated by a very small percentage of our population, we are seemingly brought back to square one. I say “seems” because we are so susceptible to allowing the events of the past to dictate our lives. But that does not have to be the case. Continue reading “From the Future”

Christian · Commentary · Street Corner Devotions

Discussing Righteousness

Being a righteous person and being perceived as a righteous person are not always synonymous. Being righteous sometimes causes people to perceive you as wicked. And being perceived as righteous sometimes requires a person to do wicked things to maintain that perception. The difference is in the secret motive of a person’s heart. Take the Christ for example – the only perfect Person ever. Misunderstood, rejected, crucified and killed. Righteous.

A Friend: What wicked thing can be done with a Christian motivation?
Me : Is the word Christian an adjective or a noun?

Continue reading “Discussing Righteousness”

Bible Interpretation · Commentary · Confessions

Peeing in the Easter Basket

After listening to a sermon the other day I posted on Facebook a very strong opinion about how preachers should do their basket-making-easter-craft-photo-420-FF0302ALM5A01preaching. The specific preacher I was listening to at the time was circling round and round a point for what seemed way too long, never really saying much. Being entertaining, but not communicating the point he had set out to make. I was fed up, as I am with most preaching, and spoke my mind in public.

Most people loved what I had to say. Many people have never been on the underside of ministry like I have, nor have the perspective of church things like I do. And they seem to act giddy when someone is willing to speak the truth, even about the church.

The truth that I’ve found and that is central to my message to the Church is that Christ is the One who has earned ultimate authority over man kind and it is our job as the Church to point others unto the glory that is completely His. So that they may begin to walk uprightly with God through the life and presence of Jesus Christ… and in and amongst those who call themselves church.

Continue reading “Peeing in the Easter Basket”

Christian · Commentary · Meditation

Relational vs. Robitic

Faith when rightly approached develops into the most stable relationship man can ever know. And relationships are based on interactions. Conversations with warm fuzzies, tough talks with ultimatums, fights, silent treatments, romance, cuddles, emotions, commitments, promises, love sickness, etc. etc.
Soooo, it might be best if we quit faking the funk. Some days are hard. Even for the best of us on the best of days.
Maybe if we quit pretending to portray things that we’re not we might be able to be honest enough to live rightly as the love struck Bride of Christ, revealing the goodness and active engagement of God. Revealing the eternal dance that we’re involved in. And hang up the robot act; religious, stoic, unmoved, “happy”, and seemingly disinterested in reality.

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Christian · Commentary · Confessions

Right Aim

People who live in an active pursuit of relationship with God may find themselves directly or indirectly associated with a set of doctrines, a denomination, or a sect. By proximity.
Yet the embrace of a religion, a set of beliefs, a sect or a denomination does not necessarily put us in proximity of relationship with God.

Sometimes it does exactly the opposite.

Relationship with God must be the most central target of our spiritual unction. When that is primary God can and will take care of all the other minor details. As well as put us in harmony with the people He is calling us to love.
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