Archives For John

Much of our lives are spent chasing the myth of security. We seek to live in safe neighborhoods, work in good parts of town, and save to achieve financial security. So much time is spent pursuing the myth of security we rarely have time to think about living dangerously. Unless and until we are ready to sacrifice our own comfort and security, we will never be able to take the light of Jesus into the darkest places on earth.

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If we won’t shine the light within us, who then will go and rescue the hopeless, the desperate, and the lost? Instead of pursuing the myth of security, we should be bounding headlong into the certainty of risk and danger.

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There is no quicker path to destruction than to take your eyes off Jesus. Let your focus waver for even a minute and you will be heading down a path you never intended and have no interest in following. It’s troubling how we can spend hours on our knees with God, and seconds later lose our focus and find ourselves in a dark place. It comes down to discipline, but focus is taxing of our energy, so we often tire and give up.

where is your focus,focus,purpose,discipline,works,John 16:33,in this life you will have trouble,Ephesians 2:10,created for good works

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Still, if we are serious about living a life worthy of Christ, we’ve got to get better at keeping our focus on Him. One slip can cause years of damage. As you approach this day, this hour, this moment, let me ask you: “Where is your focus?”

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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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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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It’s Thanksgiving day in America. While I recognize a good number of readers are not Americans, being thankful is something to which we can all relate. So whether you celebrate Thanksgiving in your culture or not, I suggest we all take some time today to reflect on all our blessings. Even if you are struggling in this season of life, I am confident you can find some things for which to be grateful.

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Something amazing happens when we pray prayers of gratitude. Our attitude changes. Our physical countenance improves. Most of us forget how truly blessed we are and take much of our lives for granted. But today, just for a little while, let’s reorient our focus on simply being thankful for everything God has done for us.

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John 5:44 reads “How can you believe? While accepting glory from one another, you don’t seek the glory that comes from the only God.” Commenting on this verse, A.W. Tozer said, “If I understand this correctly, Christ taught here the alarming doctrine that the desire for honor among men made belief impossible.” Certainly there are a few ways one could read this verse, but Tozer presents an interpretation which is at best sobering and at worst terrifying.

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We spend much of our lives seeking and accepting honor from others. In our Western culture, life is all about moving up and getting ahead. Even a casual look at our Facebook and Instagram feeds proves people are consumed with presenting their best and brightest moments while seeking validation from others.

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I learned (again) the hard way Satan is a master at stealing time. It’s amazing and more than a bit discouraging how you can be having a great day serving God only to see it fizzle into hours doing things of no Kingdom value. Without a consistent and diligent focus on how we spend our days, too many of them can be stolen away before we know it.

stealing time,giving away time,building God's Kingdom,Matthew 10:34,not peace but a sword,Matthew 10:21-22,brother will betray brother,John 16:33,in this world you will have trouble,Philippians 2:12-13,working out your salvation

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While pondering that thought, it occurred to me maybe Satan isn’t so much a master at stealing time as we are at giving it away.God has put the gift of time at our disposal. Every breath we breathe is an endowment from Him. What God has given to us cannot be stolen. Satan has no power to do that. But as agents of freewill, it is within our authority to give away what God has granted to us.

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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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Do you consider Christ a project to be promoted, a cause to be served, or a Lord to be obeyed? In our world today, it seems many have become confused about their relationship with Christ. I see preachers on TV proclaiming Jesus in a way that makes it sound like the latest product pitch from Madison Avenue.

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At times, we can also get caught up doing things for Him in an effort to prove our loyalty. But at the end of the day, all Jesus asks and requires is our whole-hearted obedience to His words. He simply asks us to follow and obey.

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Everything I write, and all I aspire to be can be summed up by the phrase “Love God and serve people”. It is the essence of discipleship because it is the quintessence of how Jesus lived His life. If we would only do these two things, everything else would take care of itself. If we focus on loving God and serving people, we will never be selfish, greedy, prideful, lustful, covetous, or evil.

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It is the elixir for all our struggles. Jesus asks very little of us, only that we love God and serve people.  We overcomplicate things when we pile on additional rules, regulations, do’s, and don’ts. Living the life Christ created you to live is as simple as loving God and serving people.

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