Archives For Isaiah

In Ephesians, chapter 2, verse 10, Paul tells us we have each been created to do the specific work God designed us to do. Have you ever paused to think how amazing this is? Each person in history, in every country, and in every time, has been born with a God-ordained purpose for their lives. When each of us fulfills our purpose, it becomes part of the greater whole. It’s another brick in the massive Kingdom of God.

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When we fail to do the work He designed us to do, there is something missing. There’s a gap which must be filled. It’s an awesome responsibility. I can’t believe the privilege of doing work God designed me to do. How amazing is that? We must never forget the magnitude of the honor, or the obligation to fulfill it.

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I was talking with a friend recently who was wrestling with figuring out “which Jesus” she should be in given situations. She was asking, should she be the gentle Jesus, the humble Jesus, or the Jesus who overturns tables? It’s a great question and one we all encounter regularly. Put more plainly, we must constantly ask ourselves, “How can I most look like Jesus in this situation?” The good news is there is only one Jesus.

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So regardless of our actions, as long as we are making our decision based on the character of Christ, we will look like Jesus in that moment. While this is good to know in theory, the challenge comes in determining how this plays out in practical ways in our day to day lives.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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