Archives For II Corinthians

God is a Creator. In the beginning, He created, and He continues to create to this moment. Every day He is creating new opportunities for His followers to spread His message. He is never caught off guard or without a plan. Instead of reacting to the freewill decisions of His creation, He instead is spinning new avenues to provide an entirely new way for His plan to be accomplished. He isn’t discouraged by our lack of cooperation or frustrated by our failures.

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I see Him moving in constant fluidity, constantly creating throughout history, and never losing sight of the mission at hand. In contrast, we tend to be a reactive people. Instead of collaborating with Him in creating something new, we busy ourselves reacting to what has already been created. If we want to be more like Christ, we’re going to need to stop living a reactive life.

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Few would admit it, but what most people want is a comfortable relationship with Jesus. We want answered prayers, help through troubled times, and comfort in crisis. Oh, and spending eternity in Heaven while escaping Hell, we want that too. Those are the comfortable benefits making Jesus so desirable to us, after all. Here’s where it gets a little uncomfortable. Jesus didn’t spend a lot of time talking up those benefits. He spent most of His time warning of trials and persecution, and giving stern warnings to those seeking to live a comfortable “religious” life.

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His harshest words were reserved for people just like us… those who were trying please God through comfortable and often self-serving platitudes. Comfortable Christianity is synonymous with Pharisaical living.

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For followers of Jesus, daydreaming can be both a blessing and a curse. On the blessing side, what we daydream about offers significant insight into what God created you to do for His Kingdom. If you aren’t certain where your passions lie, pay attention to the things about which you daydream. We tend to dream about those things which captivate and fascinate us. One of the great joys in life is figuring out the intersection between your passions and God’s mission.

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On the flip side, daydreaming can be an insidious thief of your time and energy. We can waste hours daydreaming and not accomplishing anything for God’s glory. As disciples, we know it is our duty to be good stewards of our time, so we must be careful our daydreaming does not inhibit our Kingdom building.

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Whether we realize it or not, we are all suffering from a shortness of breath. Each inhale leaves us one less before we breathe our last. While this may sound morbid and depressing to some, it should not be the case for followers of Jesus. For me, the thought invokes both excitement and a sense of urgency. I have no greater desire than to be with Jesus.

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I don’t fear death and neither should you if you have placed your faith in, and pledged devotion to, Christ. Paul said to be absent from the body was to be in the presence of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:7-8). There is no fear in being surrounded by perfect love (1 John 4:18).

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I’m seeing a disturbing trend in Christendom…  Somehow sin is becoming “okay”. I’m not picking on any individual sin because it’s all equal in the eyes of God. Jesus demonstrated this when He said anyone who has lusted has committed adultery in their heart and anyone who has harbored anger has committed murder in his heart. I don’t think I’d be going too far out on a limb to then conclude, if not for the merciful covering of the blood of Christ, we would all be adulterers and murderers in the eyes of God.

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I say this to make it known up front I am the worst of sinners. What’s worse than an adulterer and murderer? So I am throwing no stones at any other sin or sinner. My only premise is it should never be acceptable or even possible for a Christian to find sin acceptable. Sin is not okay.
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We love Jesus and want to dedicate our lives to Him, but our stubborn old self keeps getting in the way. How do we conform our will to that of God? Francois Fenelon once wrote, “The way to have a good will that conforms to God is to give up our desires and fears and to leave ourselves completely in His hands. Those who do so… can never be moved, because their only desire is for God.”

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Living God’s will for your life necessitates a complete letting go. Too often we make the mistake of trying to figure out how to use our dreams and passions in conjunction with God’s will. That’s a totally backwards approach.

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In his book, “The War of Art”, Steven Pressfield talks about the resistance we face when we endeavor to become the person we were created to be. While Pressfield is most concerned with living out our artistic or entrepreneurial passions, I believe the same principles apply in our quest to utilize the unique combination of skills and passions God has instilled in each of us in order to complete the Kingdom work He created us to do (Ephesians 2:10).

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Resistance is defined in “The War of Art” as anything keeping us from starting or achieving the work necessary to reach our goals. While Mr. Pressfield refers to “The Resistance” as an unknown, somewhat mystical – yet very real – entity, I propose this “Resistance” is actually Satan.

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I can imagine few fates worse than being ignored by the devil. Disciples of Jesus make it their business to go about getting Satan’s attention.  Our goal should be to be so effective for the Kingdom that Satan cannot ignore us. I read a prayer once that said, “Lord, it’s not hard to see why Satan attacks. May I continue to be enough of a threat to him to merit his attention! Don’t ever let me become so anemic in my Christian walk that he doesn’t need to bother with me. Amen.”

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That should be our prayer as well. If we’re not getting Satan’s attention, then we are living lukewarm, weak, and ineffective lives.
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“When whole regiments of professed believers are too timid to fight and too smug to be ashamed, surely it must bring an astringent smile to the face of the enemy; and it should bring a blush to the cheeks of the whole Church of Christ.” This is certainly no less true today than it was when A.W. Tozer wrote those words over fifty years ago.

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Many of us look back and lament the days when the Church took the fight to the enemy, but Tozer’s observation of his own times shows those days are further behind us than we dare think or imagine. As a whole, the Church has lost the will to fight and refuses to be ashamed at the weakness of its plight.
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In 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, we are instructed to take every thought captive. In other words, we have to be careful which thoughts we allow into our minds. A.W. Tozer said, “If we are honest with ourselves we can discover not only what we are but what we are going to become. We’ll soon be the sum of our voluntary thoughts.” We become that about which we think. If we want to live a life that looks like Christ, then we must become intentional about which thoughts we allow to take hold in our head. Jesus thought only of pleasing His Father and completing the mission He was sent to accomplish. That’s all He thought about, and it resulted in the only perfect life that has ever been lived.

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