Archives For Isaiah

This entire blog is predicated around becoming a disciple of Jesus. But what does discipleship look like? How do we know if we are getting closer to the mark? I would say first, discipleship is a standard to be pursued, not a target to be hit. There will never be a day when you can sit back and exclaim, “Ah! At last I’ve reached discipleship!”

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Being a disciple of Jesus is a process that will consume your entire lifetime. To be a disciple signifies nothing ever will mean more to you than desiring to live a life mirroring the life of Jesus. Discipleship is the total dedication of your life to His calling and purpose. To be a disciple is to be daily engaged in the mission of Christ.

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I once read our excess money is given to us to share with others. This is something I’ve tried to incorporate into my own life because I feel there is good Biblical precedence for it. Early Christ followers shared all they had with each other (Acts 4:32-35). This seems to go even beyond simply giving away our excess. In the Old Testament, God gave laws commanding people to not harvest the edges of their fields so the poor could come and get some food for their families (Leviticus 23:22).

giving away our excess,wealth,hoarding,generosity,tithe,tithing,John 10:10,Luke 12:16-21,Proverbs 30:7-9

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Jesus told us not to hoard our wealth (Luke 12:16-21). The next question I generally get when discussing this is, “How do I determine how much is excess?” To me, this question is always the result of a scarcity mindset.

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In “Counter Culture”, David Platt writes, “When we observe our churches today, do they look like groups of people who gather with one another as they give their lives to spreading the gospel among unreached people, impoverished communities, abandoned orphans, lonely widows, dying babies, sex slaves, and suffering brothers and sisters around the world?” His conclusion is the same as my own: we do not.

purpose of the church,david platt,counter culture,James 1:27,true religion,orphans and widows,Isaiah 58:6,true fast break the chains of injustice,slavery,sex slavery,poor,hungry,homeless,sick,imprisoned,sheep and the goats,Matthew 25:31-41

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His question comes straight from the Bible (Matthew 25:31-41; James 1:27; Isaiah 58:6), and reflects God’s will for each of our lives. It’s sad enough most of us are not dedicating our own lives to this, but absolutely tragic we as a body of believers are not marshalling our forces to combat these evils in the world.

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Clement of Alexandria wrote, “Many will never reach the Kingdom of Heaven for they have fixed their eyes on wealth. They are sick for the things of the world. They live proudly through luxury. But those who are serious about salvation must settle this beforehand in their mind. All we possess is given to us to use for sufficiency, which one may acquire by merely a few things.” For those of us in the West, this should be especially convicting. We live proudly in our luxury.

a few things,Clement of Alexandria,Matthew 16:24-26,take up your cross,persecution,comfort,luxury,indulgence,John 16:33,in this world you will have trials,Acts 4:32-35,generosity,all things in common,Luke 12:16-21,build barns,Isaiah 58:6-7,take care of your family,1 Timothy 5:8

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We take more for granted than half the world can even imagine possessing. All this extravagance will count for nothing when we stand before God and give an account of our lives. He will ask what we did with what He entrusted to us, and we will only be able to hang our heads and admit we hoarded it for ourselves (Luke 12:16-21).

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We are called to demonstrate the love and character of Jesus in every moment of our lives. We know this because it is what Jesus did. The problem is, if we aren’t intentional about this mission, it won’t happen. How many days have slipped through our fingers without showing more than a cursory amount of love to anyone but ourselves? As I was thinking about this, it occurred to me it would be a good idea to answer four questions each day.

how will you love today,daily planning,prayer,commitment,love,discipline,1 Timothy 5:8,Isaiah 58:6-7,Ephesians 5:22-28,love your family,love your friends,love your spouse,love strangers,marriage

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You can incorporate these into your daily planning. The questions are: How will I show love to my spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend today? How will I show love for a family member today? How will I show love for a friend today? How will I show love for a stranger today?
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Jesus began His ministry by standing up in the Synagogue and saying God had sent Him “to proclaim freedom to the captives” (Luke 4:18). There were all kinds of captives in His day and in ours.  There are those held captive by spiritual darkness, prisoners of war, hostages held by terrorists, and those imprisoned by their own fear. Of course there are many others, but one type of captive that gets very little play in most circles are those trapped in the world of human trafficking.

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Sure, there are many who give lip service to this horror, but we simply don’t do justice to an industry that enslaves over 27 million people. These are people just like your sons, daughters, friends, and family. Twenty-seven million people who have unsurpassable worth in the eyes of God. And yet Christians remain far too silent.

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Isaiah 26:3 says “You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You.” Reflecting on this verse, A.W. Tozer wrote, “The only fear I have is to get out of the will of God. Outside of the will of God, there’s nothing I want, and in the will of God there’s nothing I fear.” As long as we are in the will of God, He has promised to keep us and to give us peace.

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What else could we possibly want from life? It feels as if that question should be rhetorical, but so many professing Christians seem to answer with things like happiness, safety, and success. These are all temporary affections promoted by an American Christianity, not by Biblical teaching.
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No matter who we are or what we do, our primary mission in life is to leverage everything we have to further the Kingdom of God. What this means is none of have any excuse for not serving God in every area of our lives. For too long we’ve made a distinction between those “in the ministry” and those who have traditional or secular jobs.

leveraging your life,leverage,God's will for my life,God's will for your life,God's will,discipleship,humility,love

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In our family life, we look to others to give us spiritual direction while shirking our own responsibilities in that area. How we live our lives at work and at home will be a direct expression of where our hearts are in relation to our Creator. With that in mind, how well are you reflecting Christ? How are you leveraging your relationship with Him to further His kingdom?
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According to International Justice Mission, there are 36 million slaves in the world today. That is equivalent to the combined populations of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, London, and Tokyo. To people everywhere, but especially to followers of Christ, this is simply unacceptable. The Bible clearly states one of the things we can do to honor God is to end slavery (Isaiah 58:6).

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It is unconscionable to me the Church can find the resolve to rally against gay marriage and to debate Creationism vs. Evolution, but can care so little about slavery. We are quick to defend the causes which have no direct victims but fall silent to the plight of 36 million individuals relegated to a life of abuse, anguish, captivity, and an utter loss of dignity.
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Christianity is misunderstood and misrepresented. Instead of a movement of people that act and look like Jesus, the word has been co-opted to identify people of a particular political bent who live a particular lifestyle. Christianity is not about people who claim they believe in God.  The Bible says even demons believe in God (James 2:19), and no one would ever call a demon by the name “Christian”!

christianity is,love,James 2:19,Christianity,Luke 10:25-28,injustice,sheep and the goats,I Corinthians 13:4-5,I Corinthians 13,I Corinthians 13:4-7,Isaiah 58:6-10,Matthew 25:31-46

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Christianity is not a list of do’s and don’ts; it is not about saying a certain prayer or attending a certain church on Sunday. Christianity is all about believing in, and replicating, the character of God. Christianity is first, foremost, and always about love.
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