Archives For Matthew

St. Ignatius of Loyola said, “Teach us, Lord, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to seek for any reward, save that of knowing that we do your will.” Commenting on this statement, author Richard Foster summarized, “The Christian life is one of strength and endurance in the face of suffering.”

Christian life,comfort,commitment,discipleship,peace,priorities,purpose,security,works,Exodus 20:8-11,Sabbath rest,Luke 2:49,must be about my Father's business,must be in my Father's house,Matthew 8:19-20,son of man has no place to lay his head,Luke 5:16,Jesus went away to pray,John 10:27,my sheep know my voice,hear my voice,Matthew 7:21-23,depart from me,Matthew 25:41-46,sheep and goats

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How different this is from the experience of most who call themselves Christians in the Western world! Regardless of our modern culture and misunderstanding of what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus, it cannot be denied our lives bear little resemblance to that of our Savior. If it is our true desire to love and honor Christ, we must examine our motives and activities.

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I am perturbed by the current state of Christianity. We have succumbed to a mediocre faith of few requirements and a perception of even fewer consequences. As usual, A.W. Tozer says it perfectly: “Faith now means no more than passive moral acquiescence in the Word of God and the cross of Jesus. To exercise it we have only to rest on one knee and nod our heads in agreement with the instructions of a personal worker intent upon saving our soul.”

fierce faith,commitment,passion,faith,love,hunger,Matthew 25:31-46,sheep and goats,Matthew 12:30,for me or against me,Matthew 7:22-23,depart from me,Revelation 3:15-16,spit you out,lukewarm,mediocre,vomit you out

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I’m not certain how we got here but it’s not what Jesus had in mind when He was being tortured and crucified on our behalf. Jesus’s faith in the Father cost Him everything. It caused Him to lead a difficult life and die a gruesome death. His was not a faith of mediocrity or passive moral acquiescence to the standards of His Father.

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We’ve made Jesus too nice in our attempt to get more people to put their trust in Him. Our measure of success is now based on numbers rather than commitment. Once again, I defer to the wisdom of A.W. Tozer to say it best: “The meek and lowly Jesus has displaced the high and holy Jesus in the minds of millions. The vibrant note of triumph is missing in our witness…

we've made Jesus too nice,humility,passion,truth,John 16:33,in this life you will have trouble,darkness and light,1 Peter 2:9,called out,peculiar people,Matthew 23:33,brood of vipers,John 2:14-16,overturned tables,cleared the temple

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[The early Church] never presented Him as Savior merely. It never occurred to them to invite people to receive ‘peace of mind’ or ‘peace of soul’. Nor did they stop at forgiveness or joy or happiness.” The Jesus of modern Christianity is the least offensive person in history. This is a far cry from the way Jesus lived and taught.

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This may be the most surprising author I’ve ever quoted on this blog, but save the raised eyebrow and appreciate the quote I read from Anais Nin: “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” I submit in our walk with Jesus, our life shrinks and expands in proportion to one’s faith.  What might we do for Christ if we actually believed what He said about faith? What might we do if we only believed we could do what He said we could? If we want to live a big life for God’s glory, we’re going to need a big faith. I believe Jesus intends for us to trust Him in what He says.

expand your faith,Matthew 17:20,faith to move mountains,mustard seed,mission,prayer,discipline,faith,John 7:18,nothing false in Him,1 Samuel 17:47,battle belongs to the Lord

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He has created us with a unique mix of skills, talents, and passions to accomplish His mission on earth. It should go without saying if He designed us for certain work, He has given us the abilities to accomplish that work. It should excite you to be a part of His mission. If you want to expand the role you are playing in the mission of Christ, it follows you’re going to need to expand your faith.

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I am hesitant to write this because I am paranoid and convinced (is that possible?) people will take this in a manner I do not intend. Still, the message is heavy on my heart, so I’ll ask you to please read this in the spirit it is intended, which is to further the Kingdom of Christ. It is not my intention to demean the laudable actions of others or to criticize any particular ministry. With the disclaimers out of the way, let’s begin.

between now and then,beneath behind between,rush,Matthew 25:31-46,sheep and goats,Matthew 7:22-23,depart from me I never knew you,crime,homelessness,love,poverty,mission,passion,priorities,Kingdom of God,God's Kingdom

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This past weekend I had the thrill and sorrow of attending a concert with about 10,000 other Christians. The love and ministry of the band were evident throughout the couple hours they played. It was an uplifting experience that encouraged and challenged me, and from which I took several action items. One of them was to write this article.

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What is Your Purpose? Christine Caine answered this question when she wrote, “The purpose of our time on earth is to learn to walk with Him, abide with Him, and live through Him – and then share that light with others.” How comforting and refreshing. It takes all the pressure off us. We can let go of everything we were striving to be. We can stop working so hard for all those things we were trying to accomplish. The competition suddenly got a whole lot lighter.

What is your purpose,purpose,what's my purpose,purpose in life,Christine Caine,meaning of life,commitment,God's will,love,obedience,Matthew 12:30,either for me or aginst me

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Our five and ten-year plans just went out the window. But that’s a good thing because odds are we weren’t going to hit them anyway. As humans, we have a terrible tendency of overestimating what we can do in the long term and underestimating what we can accomplish in the next couple of hours.

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Matthew 25:1-13 tells the parable of the ten virgins. The story details how ten virgins were waiting for the bridegroom. Five of them were prepared to stick it out until the groom showed up, bringing extra oil to keep their lamps lit throughout the dark night. The other five didn’t come prepared. They brought their lamps, but no oil. When the groom didn’t show as early as they expected, they all fell asleep.

midnight is coming,Bible study,commitment,discipleship,commitment,prayer,faith,Matthew 24:36,no man knows the hour,Matthew 25:1-13,parable of the ten virgins,Exodus 34:29-30,moses face shone,shining face,2 Corinthians 4:6,Jesus shines in our life

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When the groom arrived at midnight unexpectedly, the ones who were prepared lit their lamps so the groom could see them. These were invited into the wedding banquet, but the unprepared were left outside, alone and in the dark. The moral of the story is to be prepared in case the Lord delays and doesn’t show up until midnight. My friends, midnight is coming.

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David Platt said, “You and I both have a choice. We can stand with the starving or with the overfed. We can embrace Jesus while we give away our wealth, or we can walk away from Jesus while we hoard our wealth.” No one wants to admit they are a hoarder. I suspect most followers of Jesus want to consider themselves generous. But we can’t deny the fact those of us in the West live in incredible comfort while nearly half the world is starving and lacks access to clean drinking water.

give it away,red hot chili peppers,generosity,God's will,God's Kingdom,Kingdom of God,mission,poverty,priorities,Matthew 25:31-46,sheep and goats,Luke 16:19-21,beggar lazarus

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Half of the people groups in the world have never heard the name of Jesus. Half the world has never been given a cup of cool water or a piece of bread in the name of Jesus. This is devastating.

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I read a great quote from Louis Giglio: “Jesus doesn’t give you what you need; Jesus is what you need.” I think we often miss this point in our self-sufficient society. We don’t necessarily tend to think about the help we need, we only think of the stuff we need. There’s always something more we think we need to make us happy. We’re always one step away from being fulfilled.

you need Jesus,purpose,priorities,Matthew 11:28-30,come to me all who are weary,John 14:27,my peace I give to you,Romans 8:16-18co-heirs with Jesus,John 14:1-3,in my house are many mansions,I go prepare a place for you,Matthew 28:18-20,great commission,go ye therefore,Matthew 6:31-33,don't worry about what you will eat drink wear,anxiety,cure for anxiety,Matthew 6:34,don't worry

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The common thread is we have this seemingly insatiable hole inside. We can’t seem to ever figure out what will fill it. Nothing makes the ache go away for good, so we settle for temporary substitutes hoping someday one of them will last. If you are tired of chasing after what you think you need and want, you can relax. The answer is simple and immediately available: you need Jesus.

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I’ve been listening to a series of messages from David Platt addressing the scourge of consumer Christianity. It reminded me of something I read from A.W. Tozer a couple years ago. It’s a longer quote than usual, but it is too good to edit. Tozer wrote, “Christ calls men to carry a cross; we call them to have fun in His name. He calls them to forsake the world; we assure them that if they but accept Jesus the world is their oyster.

consumer christianity,what does it mean to be a Christian,commitment,Holy God,purpose,mission,Matthew 25:31-46,sheep and goats

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He calls them to suffer; we call them to enjoy all the bourgeois comforts modern civilization affords. He calls them to self-abnegation and death; we call them to spread themselves like green bay trees or perchance even to become stars in a pitiful fifth-rate religious zodiac. He calls them to holiness; we call them to a cheap and tawdry happiness…”

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