Archives For Revelation

Are you settling for less than what God has for you? Do you even know if that is true in your life? How does one know if they are settling for less if they are not certain about what they have been created to do? I would say if you cannot answer the question of whether or not you are settling for less with an emphatic ‘No!’, then you probably are. People living out their God-given mission know because they are so in tune with God there can be no doubt.

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For the rest of us, we either suspect we are settling for less or we know for a fact we are. So, we have a two-fold problem: first, how do we know if we are settling for less, and second, what do we do about it if we are?

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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.”

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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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Satan knows his time is short (Revelation 12:12). He gets more desperate each passing day. It’s one reason this world continues to fall ever deeper into evil and depravity. In the midst of the chaos, it’s easy to become discouraged. We wonder if things will ever get better. Some even question where God is in the midst of all this.

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Followers of Jesus should, while fighting against the dark forces prevalent in our world today, also be encouraged. If Satan knows his time is short, it means ours is too. The difference is our time ends in victory, while the devil’s dissolves into defeat. If Satan’s time is short, then Christ’s return is near.

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Vince Antonucci writes in his excellent book, “Renegade”, that “God isn’t looking for the halfhearted or lukewarm… Anywhere we look in the Bible, we see that we are meant to be all-in when it comes to following Jesus. We know that, and we want to make that commitment. So we say yes, but it’s a yes with lots of buts.” As A.W. Tozer put it, “we want the crown but not the cross.” We want to follow Jesus on our terms; but that’s not a choice we get to make.

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Antonucci puts it this way: “We get to choose whether we want to follow Jesus, but we don’t get to choose what it looks like to follow Jesus.” And that’s where many turn away. They want the nice Jesus, the safe Jesus, the Jesus who will fix all their problems and take them to Heaven. You can’t just have some of Jesus. You commit to all of Him or you leave Him to the side.

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At its core, this blog is about discipleship. It’s about living your life wholly devoted to Christ so you can live out the life He created you to live. What this looks like in practice will vary from person to person, but the one thing all disciples have in common is obedience to God.  By definition, obedience to God implies you have to do something in order to be His disciple. This isn’t a works based salvation; it’s works because of salvation.

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As A.W. Tozer once said, “Salvation without obedience is a self-contradicting impossibility!” Many people have bought into the teaching of salvation through grace alone to the exclusion of any responsibility for works of obedience. That’s a cheap and easy salvation never put forth by Jesus.

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I had a disturbing thought recently: We are destined to lose. I’ve read the Bible and I know how this war ends. God wins. We win. But this battle we fight today? We are destined to lose. God’s will for our lives is we continue the mission of Jesus. We are to bring the Kingdom of God down to earth. It is our job to model the love of Jesus and proclaim the incredible truth of God’s character to every person we encounter.

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Unfortunately, the Bible makes it clear things will get worse before they get better. We live in dark, evil times. Many think these are the last days. We are not to the first to think this way; most generations before us believed the same for their own lifetime. The fact is, until Jesus returns, we are fighting what at least appears to be a losing battle.

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There is an old song by the band “Degarmo and Key” called “Casual Christian”. The beginning of the song says, “I don’t want to be a casual Christian / I don’t want to lead a lukewarm life / ‘Cause I want to light up the night / With an everlasting light / I don’t want to lead a casual Christian life.” Though the song is over twenty-five years old, the lyrics still regularly play in my mind. Put simply, this is the call of my life, and I believe it is the call for every disciple of Jesus.

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Casual Christianity is mediocre Christianity. It is lukewarm Christianity. It is nothing more than religious busyness, and it very literally makes God sick (Revelation 3:16).

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Claire Cain Miller recently wrote an article for the New York Times titled, “Stressed, Tired, Rushed: A Portrait of the Modern Family”. While not pointed out in the article, it reminded me how our relationship with God often falls victim to our stressed out, fatigued, and busy lifestyle. The life of a Christian in modern society looks ridiculously similar to that of a non-Christian.

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We play the game of pursuing the American dream and keeping up with the Jones’s. None of which has anything to do with following Jesus, of course. But more often than not, we live our busy lives and give Jesus our left over’s. We give God whatever time and money is left over after pursuing our selfish desires.

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If you want to be a follower of Jesus, you must accept you will live an inconvenient life. It isn’t you might have to live an inconvenient life, it is a certainty you will. We all have particular rhythms and structures built into our lives and we don’t want to see them disturbed. I have observed many believers who live lives of little consequence because they never move outside their comfort zone. Comfort is the rallying cry of this generation of believers and it should make every disciple of Jesus sick to their core.

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This is the era of the lukewarm, the ones Jesus proclaimed he would vomit out of His mouth (Revelation 3:16). Following Jesus is never convenient. If you want to stay in your comfortable life with its familiar trappings and surroundings, I submit Jesus is not for you.
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What if we stared at God every moment of our day? The Bible tells us we should fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2), but how often do we make a conscious effort to do that?  More importantly, what does that look like in real life? I’ve recently been trying to work this out for myself. The key is to first get a proper mental image of God. Check out Revelation 4:8-11, where it describes angels who do nothing but praise God, all day. They are so consumed with His beauty that they can do nothing else. God is the perfection of all that is good. He is perfect and unconditional love, and is constantly in pursuit of you, reaching out to you.  Look at Isaiah 6:3-5, where the prophet feels ruined just from looking at the beauty of God. Keep that picture of God at the forefront of your mind.

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