Archives For July 2017

Over the past couple of posts (see “In the Presence of God” and “Bible Study”), I’ve been looking at some foundational aspects of following Christ. We’ve discussed prayer and Bible study, which are the linchpins in getting to know God. Today I want to wrap it up by focusing on what I see as the third, and perhaps most important, tenet in living a life wholly devoted to God: practicing obedience.

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The reason I feel this might be the most important aspect of developing your relationship with Jesus is because the other two concern learning who He is and what He’d have you to do. Practicing obedience is all about taking what you’ve learned and putting it into action.

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In the last post (see “In the Presence of God”), we talked about the importance of establishing a daily time in prayer with God. Getting to know and understand Him will be the linchpin in learning to live the life you were created to live. The other side of the prayer coin is studying His Word. Reading the Bible is another way He speaks to us. I know this will be basic to those who have been following Christ for any length of time, but how many are actually taking time to engage with God’s Word daily?

Bible study,discipline,commitment,God's Word,discipleship,knowing God,Psalm 40:8,I delight in you

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I’m not talking about a checkbox reading either. We need to move beyond having a reading plan and working simply to tick off the box for that day. Rather, we need to immerse ourselves in His Word every day.

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There is no more awesome feeling than being in the presence of God. If you’ve spent time there, you know this for yourself. Its true God is always near, but in our busyness, we tend not to notice Him. Once you’ve tasted being in the presence of God, you crave more time there. Knowing this, why is it we spend so little of our precious time pursuing the greatest love of our life?

in the presence of God,mission,Kingdom of God,God's Kingdom,discipline,prayer,commitment,God's presence

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Is it, perhaps, we don’t consider Christ to be our greatest love? Or maybe we think we’ll get back to God once our lives slow down and we’ve accomplished certain goals? For those who have pledged our lives to Jesus, there is no excuse for not spending time in His presence.

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People are always looking to find out what God’s will is for their life. We’ve covered this in several posts before (see these posts), and the inevitable next question is, “What do I do to live out His will in my life?”. We confuse vocation with God’s will. His will is for you to look like His Son. Walk like Jesus walked, talk like Jesus talked, and love like Jesus loved; this is God’s will for your life.

life you were meant to live,Ephesians 4:10,created for work,Ephesians 4:11-13,spiritual gifts,some to be apostles,Romans 12:5-8,1 Corinthians 12:4-11,Ephesians 4:11-13,commitment,spiritual gifts,gifts,God's willKingdom of God,God's Kingdom

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No matter what you do, if you want to be living the life you were meant to live, you’ve got to become wholly devoted to God. There are no shortcuts or quick fixes. Until you are ready to give everything over to God, you will never fulfill your potential.

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I don’t know if it’s the fact I’m approaching 50, or a matter of what I’ve been learning, but I keep getting smacked in the face with the importance of being aware of how we spend our time. Nothing is so valuable as time, because we cannot ever get back what we spend, we can’t borrow more when we need it, and we can never acquire more once it’s gone.

maximize your time,time management,mission,purpose,commitment,Kingdom of God,God's Kingdom,Ephesians 2:10,created for work,Ephesians 5:15-16,redeeming the time,Psalm 39,life is but a breath

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Yet it appears time is the resource with which we are least responsible. We count our pennies, mind our career, and nurture relationships, but time is an afterthought. We’ve gotten this backwards. Nothing is more important to steward than the time God has given us on earth.

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Imagine your father was the richest, most powerful man in the world. Think Bill Gates or Warren Buffet rich. Now imagine also you were your father’s prize, the apple of his eye. No matter how many mistakes you made, he always forgave you, always wrapped his arms around you letting you know everything would be okay. Finally, imagine despite all his wealth and love, the thing you enjoyed most was disappointing him.

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Instead of taking advantage of the best life had to offer, you preferred cheap knock-offs. Once more imagine every time he reached out to hold you, you laughed and walked the other way. Wouldn’t it be great if this was just a bad fairy tale?

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On your journey to discipleship, it’s important to remember following Jesus is always about the next step. We aren’t concerned with where He’s leading us, we’re simply content to follow. A hallmark of discipleship is never looking back. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, or what you’ve done. The blood, grace, and love of Jesus makes all which has come before irrelevant. We are who He says we are, and He sees only who we are becoming.

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As far as God is concerned, the past doesn’t matter. He’s not interested in what you’ve done, only in what you will do for His Kingdom.  He holds no grudges. Jesus never looks at what you’ve messed up in the past as an indicator of what you might accomplish in the future.

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I have had the concern of being overly repetitious in my writing here. Being honest, it seems as if I continue to circle around a few ideas, putting what I hope is a fresh spin on them each time. Yet when I contemplate it, I come to a simple point. As long as I’m still struggling with it, I’m going to continue to write about it! I’m going to follow the advice of Ken Blanchard, one of my early mentors. He said the three keys to learning were repetition, repetition, and repetition.

nuances of following Jesus,God's will,mission,love,character of God,discipleship,Proverbs 16:18,pride goes before a fall

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Living the life of a disciple is simple. Do what Jesus did, say what Jesus said, and love like Jesus loved. Do those things and you will be a true follower of Christ.

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With all the evil in the world it can become easy to believe there is no justice. Some jump quickly to blaming God. They hold Him responsible for the evil in the world, or even worse, accuse Him of causing it. Many struggle to understand why a supposedly all-powerful God would allow such atrocities to occur. Unfortunately, too many Christians have been exposed to teaching which tries to explain how God causes or at least permits all evil to accomplish His purposes.

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This is not only harmful teaching, but it is bad theology. God is love and does nothing that isn’t love. He is all good, all the time. Rather than diminishing His power, the fact evil happens in contrast to what He wills only demonstrates how powerful He is.

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