Archive | October 2015

What Jesus REALLY Said About Sin

If you’ve ever wondered why your proclamations of the Good News about Jesus Christ are impotent, might I suggest reading this excellent devotional by Oswald Chambers (updated language by James Reimann) about what Scripture reveals as the true nature of sin? 
He states:

Sin is a fundamental relationship–it is not wrong doing, but wrong being–it is deliberate and determined independence from God. The Christian faith basis every thing on the extreme, self-confident nature of sin. Other faiths deal with sins–The Bible alone deals with sin. The first thing Jesus Christ confronted in people was the heredity of sin, and it is because we have ignored this in our presentation of the gospel that the message of the Gospel has lost its sting and its explosive power.

The revealed truth of the Bible is not that Jesus Christ took on Himself our fleshly sins, But that He took on Himself the heredity of sin that no man can even touch. God made His own son “to be sin”that He might make the sinner into a saint. It is revealed throughout the Bible that our Lord took on Himself the sin of the world through identification with us, not through sympathy for us. He deliberately took on His own shoulders, and endured in his own body, the complete, cumulative sin of the human race. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us…” and by so doing He placed salvation for the entire human race solely on the basis of redemption. Jesus Christ reconciled the human race, putting it back to where God designed it to be. And now anyone can experience that reconciliation, being brought into oneness with God, on the basis of what our Lord has done on the cross. 

A man cannot redeem himself–redemption is the work of God, and is absolutely finished and complete. And its application to individual people is a matter of their own individual action or response to it. A distinction must always be made between the revealed truth of redemption and the actual conscious experience of salvation in a person’s life.


Rest In the LORD

As Christians, we often find ourselves frustrated with life, not sure of what we should be doing &/or not feeling satisfied with the work we’ve done. I believe this is because much of the work and service we are striving after in life is not actually done in the Spirit, as it should be, but is often done by our own human efforts, whether we’re striving to take care of our earthly concerns, or simply trying to serve God. Either way, when we are striving/working out of our flesh, rather than by the Spirit, we will always be left empty in the end, for as Solomon said often in Ecclesiastes, everything under the sun is a chasing after the wind. 

One of the things I’ve always found quite chilling are Jesus’s words in Matthew 7:21-23:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Though these words have always haunted me, I think I’m beginning to understand them better lately. It seems to me He is talking about those who strived after God from their flesh, performing all these things by their own efforts, out of the flesh, which is why He says at the end of this pericope “I never knew you, away from me, you evildoers!”  

Instead of striving after God out of our own efforts, we who are His servants ought to perform our service not out of fear or for reward, but out of love for Him who set us free! 

Paul says all our work is for naught if we have not love (1 Corinthians 13:1ff), and I believe this love only comes from a life fully surrendered to the will of the Spirit. Instead of striving to serve God by our own efforts, we should first seek to rest in the LORD, and get to know Him before we can be of any service to God’s Kingdom. 

Once we have rested in the LORD (Psalm 37, especially verse 7), and attained an honest and open relationship with God, I believe the Spirit of God will move us and direct us to whatever service He sees fit for us in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. 

Paul tells us to be content in whatever station of life we are in (1 Corinthians 7:17ff), for it is in the daily tasks of life that the Spirit moves us first. After we have proven faithful in the little things, even greater tasks will be accomplished through us (Luke 16:10)! 

Though it is often tiresome work when we are serving the LORD, rarely (if ever) is it burdensome. If we are fully and 100% sold out to Christ, living by the Spirit, such that we have nothing we have not surrendered for &/or to Him (Matthew 13:44-46), then all our service becomes a joy, and not something to be burdened by (Matthew 11:28-30). 

We must all remember to rest in the LORD, and first seek to know Him, rather than binding ourselves up by our own strivings. We must always remain in the LORD and rest in Him, letting the Spirit fill us so that all our work for the Kingdom is an outpouring of the Spirit in us. When we are fully surrendered to Christ, all our words and deeds will be Spirit-led and blessed by God the Father, who produces a harvest that is thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times what we sow (see Matthew 13)!

We Speak, Because He First Spoke to Us

You’d get more accomplished in a single day,

    if you’d simply take more time to pray!

If you’re a Christian, then stop being so busy with the hustle and bustle of this world, and make time to speak to God. Also, and more importantly, make time for God to speak to you, so that you can speak His message, specially and uniquely crafted through you, His special work, His beautiful masterpiece, to be expressed to a Love(agape love)-starved world. 

If you just slow down and make time for God every day, you will get far more important (Kingdom) work done than we ever could if we spent all day rushing from one task to the next, chasing after whichever demand (no matter how silly or serious) our busy lives deem important at the moment, and God will STILL help you accomplish all you need to do in your roles, responsibilities, and duties. He’s the miracle worker, remember?! 

So stop being too busy to pray, for as Bill Hybels’ book title states, we’re Too Busy Not to Pray!

Colossians 3:1-3 NLT

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life and your real life is hidden with Christ in God and when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

God Provides!

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)

As many of you may already know, this semester has been a rough one for Sarah and I financially, even as we grow in our relationship to God and draw closer to Him through Jesus Christ.  We had a loss of income shortly before discovering we would need to pay for this semester out of pocket. We have had a rough go, but God has been faithful and true! 

Last month I made a post proclaiming how God provided for us through an anonymous donation to my student funds. This month, He worked in a way only an omnipotent and omniscient Being could!
So I got paid on Friday, and Sarah and I had calculated out how much I’d be making after taxes, and planned our finances around that. We paid some bills and got essentials accordingly, but when we got my check, it was $75 shorter than it should have been. 

We were devastated and shocked, not knowing what happened or what we would do with rent looming over us. We noticed there was an extra amount of money missing on my paystub under a WGA title. 
After talking to my boss, and him getting ahold of his financial people, they discovered that there were at least three paychecks of mine over this past year that had wrongly had a wage garnishment taken from them, and that the mistake had happened through a clerical error, being applied to the wrong Brent through his financial company. 
So today when I got to work, I had checks waiting for me with the extra funds that were wrongfully held, right when we could use them best to catch up on some bills that were in arrears! 

All glory and praise to God most High! Glory to the God, the ultimate Provider! God has been using our financial situation (which we got ourselves in by our mistakes) to not only teach Sarah and I how to value all He provides, but also as an opportunity to pour out His blessings and to encourage us to continue to trust Him to provide all things, and follow Him even when all else seems dark and hopeless. 

Matthew 6:25-34:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.