Archives For works

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.

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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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One of the saddest verses in the Bible is Matthew 9:37, where Jesus told His disciples the world is desperate for hope and healing, but few are willing to go and help. Two thousand years later, the problem persists. The effects of sin are all around us. Evil manifests in unthinkable ways while the Church sits idly on the sidelines.

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We make token efforts, shake our heads, and wag our fingers, but still very few go out and spread the truth and love of Christ to our world. There is much anger and violence swirling around us. If we don’t go and tell them good news of Jesus, who will?

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Every so often, I like to increase the amount of hate mail I receive. There’s no better way to assure this than discussing the faith (or grace) vs. works topic. As I have stated previously, I don’t fall into either the faith or works camp. I believe one without the other is useless, and believe there is strong Scriptural support to say the answer isn’t either faith or works, but rather faith and works. James says plainly in his letter faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26).

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Coming from the brother of Jesus, I’m going to consider him a strong authority. There’s more to say about this, however. To those in either the faith or works camp, I urge you to keep reading. Not so I might persuade you to agree with me, but rather to take an honest look at what Scripture says about this and consider the eventual logic behind each view.

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As a year wilts away behind us, another blossoms on the path ahead. There’s something beautiful and fragrant about new beginnings. A new year heralds an opportunity for a fresh start. What was is no longer, and what will be is largely up to the choices we will make. This is our chance to shape what lies ahead in ways totally honoring to God. My theme for this year is “Move the Needle”, and nowhere will this be more important than in my walk with God.

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Everything revolves around and springs from my relationship with Him. Moving forward into a deeper knowledge of God necessitates doing something different than we’ve done before. If this is your desire for the new year as well, there is one thing I know. If we want to move the needle in our connection with and understanding of God, we can’t stay here.

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What does the armor of God look like in your life? Ephesians 6:10-18 is a familiar passage of Scripture detailing the armor of God. Like many familiar passages, it can be easy to overlook and never take the time to apply it to your own life. Paul gave us a great gift when he outlined the weapons of our warfare. Though I have distant memories of a flannel-graph (remember those?) soldier in Sunday School, there is nothing childish about the depth of this passage.

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Within these words are the strategic plans to counteract the attacks of the devil.  To best make use of the armor and weapons, we should know what they look like in our own lives.

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In the beginning, we were created for and lived in perfect peace and harmony with God. Then we gave it all away for a stupid grab for an inconceivable “more”, something better than community with God. It was of course something which did not exist because dwelling in the presence of our Creator is the greatest form of happiness, fulfillment, and joy we can ever know.

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Still, we reached for something else. We were deceived to believe there was more we could desire than God Himself. From this one horrible mistake, stress was born. From that moment, stress has become a favorite tool of Satan to continue to keep us from God.

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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.

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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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One of the greatest gifts God has given us is time. Time is life. There is no living without it. Originally we were created to live outside of time, but our rebellion against God led to us being bound by the limits of time as we now know it (Genesis 2:16-17). We will all die (Hebrews 9:27), and so we must all maximize the time we have been given to further the mission of Christ and to build the Kingdom of God.

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This is why each of us was created, and it is the will of God for each of our lives. The trouble is, few live as if time were indeed limited. We dream of somedays and plan for next year. Rarely do we focus on what is most important right here and right now.  Knowing the clock is ticking, I have to ask, why are you wasting time?

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A question I often ask myself is, “Am I doing enough?” I’m not talking about earning our way to Heaven by trying to do enough good things (impossible, by the way). But having been given such a great gift from God, we have the responsibility to respond. He has lavished so much upon us it is inconceivable to then go through our lives wanting to give nothing in return.

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We can’t pay back God, but we certainly can demonstrate our gratefulness through our obedient actions. With that in mind, ask yourself, “Are you doing enough?” What is our honest answer to that question?

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I love to learn. There is rarely a moment of the day when I don’t have a book in my hand or at least within arm’s reach. We have access to so much information in our world that you could literally spend your entire lifetime gaining valuable knowledge. While that’s great – and even enjoyable to those like me – it never amounts to anything if we don’t apply what we learn and do something useful with all of that information. This is perhaps no more prevalent than in our churches today. We have so many opportunities to learn more about Jesus, but unless we move out of the building and put into action what we have learned, it won’t account for anything when we meet God.

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