Archives For Matthew

What would a life completely surrendered and devoted to God look like? We have so few modern examples I’m not sure we know anymore. I think we recognize it when we see it, but what would it mean for you and me to be totally consumed with Jesus Christ? Isn’t that what we want? When we surrendered our lives and will to Him, didn’t we expect to live the rest of our lives serving Him and Him alone?

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The commitment didn’t last. I know this because as I look around the world and at the country in which I live, I see scores of nominal Christians who confess their Creator with their lips but deny Him with their lives. I do it every day.

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Do you see God as useful or beautiful? This was a question mentioned somewhat in passing by David Platt recently, but it hit me hard. Why are you a follower of Jesus? You may have initially chosen to follow Christ because you saw the beauty in His love and His compassion for you, but has that same fascination remained?

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Perhaps as the years have passed you’ve come to view Him as more useful than beautiful? A good way to measure this is by looking at the content of your prayers. Are they more focused on His magnificence and the holiness of who He is, or are they more self-focused requests on what you want or need?

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I spent some time in the mountains recently and was once again awed by the beauty and creation of God.  There is something about getting away from our man-made surroundings and into the natural world God created that reminds you of His magnificence and beauty. In our busy and harried world, we spend too little time taking a break and getting quiet with our Creator. We were not created for the bombardment of impulses affecting us every day. We were not created to fill every minute of every day with (mostly) mindless activity.

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It’s okay to be still. In fact, the sons of Korah realized the wisdom in this and wrote what God had said to them: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). When the Israelites were preparing to take the land promised to them, God told them to be still and He would fight for them (Exodus 14:14).

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For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been haunted by an old Geoff More lyric. It’s from the song, “God Believes in You”, and says, “Everything matters if anything matters at all / No matter how big, no matter how small”.  The implications of the lyric torture me. I think we would all agree some things matter, particularly when it comes to knowing Christ. Knowing some things matter, I am compelled by Scripture to believe everything matters.

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Every word I speak, every thought I think, everything at which my eyes look, every interaction I have with people, how I spend every moment – they all matter. They all will be either for the Kingdom or against it. They all will be either pleasing or displeasing to my Lord.

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Christine Caine made a great analogy between our physical heart and our spiritual heart. She said, “Your physical heart muscle pumps and regulates your blood flow. That blood carries oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. If you exercise that muscle with cardio workouts and feed it healthy nutrients, it grows stronger. But let it languish and feed it junk food, and you know what happens: the arteries get clogged, and the muscle grows weak.

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The same is true of your spiritual heart… What happens if you let your spiritual heart languish and you feed it junk food, the ‘earthly things’ that do not satisfy? It also gets clogged, grows weak, and sends toxicity pumping throughout your life.” How are you nourishing your spiritual heart?

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Christine Caine makes a great analogy, comparing the way many Christians live their lives to hitting the snooze button on their alarm. Mrs. Caine wrote, “Do you know what it’s like when you have to get up, but you just keep hitting snooze until, all of a sudden, your morning is gone! When it comes to sharing the gospel, it’s time for us to rise and shine. The world is too dark for the church to keep hitting snooze.

snooze button,mission,commitment,discipleship,love,priorities,Isaiah 65:17,new heaven,2 Peter 3:13,new earth,Isaiah 22:13,we eat and drink while tomorrow they die,Matthew 28:18-20,great commission

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Each time we become sidetracked or indifferent about sharing the gospel, it’s like we are choosing snooze and allowing the world to linger in darkness longer.” We all know hitting the snooze button is a bad idea, but it becomes catastrophic when the Church hits the button. We are indeed a slumbering giant, and our wake-up call is long past due.

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I’ve seen a lot of political madness in my day, but nothing approaching the ridiculousness of what is out there today. It is absolute insanity. Personally, I pay little attention to any of it. It’s like watching an updated version of the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s. I can’t justify spending the precious few breaths entrusted to me getting captivated by something over which I have no control. I mean no offense to the news junkies out there. I was once you many years ago. 

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I do think we all will one day have to answer for how we spent our time, and to me, that is more than enough reason to avoid the political madness as much as possible. The truth is, who happens to be in power in Washington D.C. or in whatever country you reside, means little to those of us whose sole allegiance is to the King of all Kings.

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We are never defenseless. God has promised to never leave our side (Deuteronomy 31:8). He will always stand with us. A.W. Tozer wrote, “If you accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, you will have all the power of God back of you to defend you; all the will of God on your side; all the justice and righteousness of God pledged to your defense, as well as all the infinite love and mercy of God to welcome and bless you.” What amazing promises!

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Too many of us spend too much of our lives living in fear. Whether it’s a fear of failure, intimacy, confrontation, inadequacy, rejection, whatever, we spend much of our lives in fear. The fear of what complete strangers will think of our appearance or actions keeps us huddled within a protective cocoon. Jesus called us to live in love, not in fear (John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:18). He didn’t call us to shrink back but to go out (Matthew 28:18-20)!

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Be careful! When you surrender your life completely to Christ, expect Him to give you some God-sized goals and work to do. The brilliant part of this plan is our God-sized God can accomplish all the God-sized goals he conceives. The fact He would engage people such as you or me to accomplish His work is beyond all reason, wonder, and logic. Yet, it’s what He does. God invites us to partner with Him in His mission for all humanity.

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Our role is to be surrendered, committed, and obedient. We only need to do what He tells us to do. Even when things look impossible, we simply must have the faith to believe it will be accomplished. That’s God’s role in our partnership. He gives us the dream and the abilities to see the dream to fruition. Whatever we lack, He Himself will supply.

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When doing my usual daily reading of something from A.W. Tozer, I came across a question which pierced my soul: “Can you renounce everything which is inconsistent with the glory of God and the highest good of your fellowmen?” I wish I could say I immediately responded ‘yes’ without hesitation, but this wasn’t the case. I try and live a simple life but still find myself living in absolute luxury compared to almost all the other 7 billion people roaming this planet.

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By American standards, I’m not rich. It’s worse than that; I’m comfortable. Comfortable; what a horrible word in this context. Jesus has called his followers to a lot of things, but comfort was never one of them (Luke 9:57-62; Luke 14:25-27).

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