Archives For Hebrews

Jesus is love. For many of us, this goes without saying. But do we really know what it means? Recently I was reading the famous “love” passage in I Corinthians 13, and it struck me I was reading about Jesus. For years, I’ve read this passage through the lens of how to better love my wife and others. As I read this time, it suddenly occurred to me this was more than a description of what love looks like in action. It was a description of Jesus Himself.

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As the embodiment of love, I Corinthians offers us a perfect description of who Jesus is. I’m confident I’m not the first to have this revelation, but even if you’ve heard this before, take a moment to re-read the passage, substituting the word, “Jesus” every time you see the word, “love”.

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One of the greatest dangers facing the modern Church is the prevalence of Christians thinking they can play it safe and still have a place in the Kingdom of God. If that seems controversial, let me be perfectly clear and a bit blunt: you cannot play it safe and please God. Those two ideas are diametrically opposed. The life of Jesus was filled with danger and discomfort.

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He warned his followers their lives would be the same if they chose to stick with Him ((John 16:33; Matthew 10:16-25; Luke 9:57-58). Fast forward a couple thousand years, and the propensity to play it safe has become the order of the day in many – if not most – churches.

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One of the greatest gifts God has given us is time. Time is life. There is no living without it. Originally we were created to live outside of time, but our rebellion against God led to us being bound by the limits of time as we now know it (Genesis 2:16-17). We will all die (Hebrews 9:27), and so we must all maximize the time we have been given to further the mission of Christ and to build the Kingdom of God.

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This is why each of us was created, and it is the will of God for each of our lives. The trouble is, few live as if time were indeed limited. We dream of somedays and plan for next year. Rarely do we focus on what is most important right here and right now.  Knowing the clock is ticking, I have to ask, why are you wasting time?

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Are you selfless? I’m not talking about being a person who readily helps others. That’s part of it, sure. But a truly selfless disciple has forsaken everything for the love and mission of Jesus. When we are selfless, we no longer think of ourselves. We think of Jesus, and we think of how we might reflect Him to others. Society does everything it can to convince you life is all about you. You deserve to have nice things, a nice place to live, a good job, and a sense of safety; you deserve to be comfortable.

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Except you don’t. As I’ve said before, what you (and me) deserve is to spend eternity separated from our Creator. We spend the bulk of our days in abject rebellion to our professed “Lord”. We deserve nothing good. But our selfishness convinces us it’s not true. We listen to society and live selfish instead of selfless lives.

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When we have surrendered ourselves to the purposes for which God created us to do, we are as willing to be deprived of our personal dreams and happiness as we are to celebrate them. I think it’s a key to knowing whether or not we have fully committed our lives to Jesus. Are we as happy when our dreams are taken from us as when we are excelling in them?

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When we understand the character of God, we will comprehend our fullest, happiest, and most enjoyable life comes from being fully alive in His presence, regardless of what circumstances may be swirling around us. There is a confident peace and comfort when we have given ourselves fully to Christ.

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What is your life purpose? This isn’t a self-help or live your dreams type of article. As a follower of Jesus, your life purpose should be self-evident, but for too many it is not. The tendency is for our days to pass without much conscious or intentional thought about living for Jesus. We fall into our schedules and routines far too casually and comfortably. Jesus is – at best – left watching from the sidelines.

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This isn’t how it should be and it must stop. We can’t spend our lives living for ourselves and expect to spend eternity living with Christ. Our lives must be different from those around us. And this must start now.
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“Walk by faith, not by sight” is an old saying in church circles. I recently heard Pastor Steven Furtick put an interesting twist on this. He said, “If you walk by faith and not by sight, you’ll always hear something from God before you see any evidence of it.” Most of the time, the things we hear from God seem a little crazy.

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The promptings of the Holy Spirit are often potentially dangerous, defy social norms, or push us way out of our comfort zone. We have to choose to either obey God (walk by faith) or ignore him and go our own way (walk by sight).
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What if we stared at God every moment of our day? The Bible tells us we should fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2), but how often do we make a conscious effort to do that?  More importantly, what does that look like in real life? I’ve recently been trying to work this out for myself. The key is to first get a proper mental image of God. Check out Revelation 4:8-11, where it describes angels who do nothing but praise God, all day. They are so consumed with His beauty that they can do nothing else. God is the perfection of all that is good. He is perfect and unconditional love, and is constantly in pursuit of you, reaching out to you.  Look at Isaiah 6:3-5, where the prophet feels ruined just from looking at the beauty of God. Keep that picture of God at the forefront of your mind.

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I recently saw a television commercial for Mercedes Benz automobiles which featured their slogan, “The best or nothing”. It made me think how fitting this saying would be for all who aspire to follow Jesus. No matter what we do, we should always give Him our best. That means no matter how tired we are, how inconvenient the circumstances might be, or how grueling the task, we will always give our best. If Jesus doesn’t deserve your very best on His behalf, then nobody does. As ambassadors of Christ we are commissioned to always be on mission and on target. Our focus must never wane.

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In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Outliers”, he presents a concept that has been discussed at length in books, magazines, TV, and radio since its publication. Mr. Gladwell’s research showed that those obtaining mastery in their field had spent roughly 10,000 hours in preparation. In other words, a guitarist who has practiced for 10,000 hours or a speaker who had devoted 10,000 hours to honing his craft would be at the top of their game. Contrast this with a recent survey from the American Bible Society that found 41% of church-going people did not open their Bible a single time during the past week, and another 40% opened it only once or twice. The survey did not detail how many hours were spent in the Word by those opening it once or twice, but I think we can infer it was not many.

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