Will they know you belong to Jesus?

Will the world know you belong to Jesus? Surely the sweet temperament we have, our prayer at meals and the fact we go to church every week tells people. Right? That is not what we see when we look to scripture. People should have no doubt if we are His disciple. We should stand out. Our lives should be without hypocrisy, an undimmed light, a constant pouring out of the words of Jesus. Is your life becoming of Christ? Do others raise an eyebrow at you and think you talk too much about righteous living, the Bible, Jesus and His soon return? If they do, you may be on the right track. If they don’t, it is time to check yourself.

Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ. [Phil 1:27]

What does it mean to have conduct that is worthy of the gospel?

Our conduct means our behavior, attitude, thoughts and actions- in short, our whole life. Therefore, our whole life has become a daily laying down of our own flesh, obeying and all that doing that entails. Understanding what our flesh is and learning how to put our flesh at the foot of the cross can be a long agonizing road. We must do so to the best of our ability as we ever increase in our understanding in how to do it.

When our conduct becomes worthy of the gospel, it is because it represents what Jesus did for us. He gave all. Jesus is the complete gospel. He is the Good News. Our whole life becomes worthy of the gospel of Christ when we endeavor to strip off the “old man”, to crucify our own ways and thoughts and become more like Jesus. We can only go through this ongoing process with His help.

The more we conduct ourselves worthy of the gospel, the more we will not look like the world around us. The changes that have been taking place cause us to say and do things that inevitably draw attention. We choose to embrace the cross rather than be ashamed of it.

Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. [Matthew 5:15-17]

This attention we invariably draw is usually either very negative or very positive. If we continue to lay our flesh down then we care less and less about what the world has to say about it. There certainly will be those excited about what God is doing in your life, but there will be plenty of people who will not “glorify the Father” when they see the light spoken of in this verse. As horrible as it may sound, they may even begin to hate you. That’s a good sign.

By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. [John 13:35]

Would the world have known the gospel, if Jesus lived as you do? Ouch. Let’s each diligently seek the Lord to gain better understanding, revelation, on what Love is. The lessons on Love never seem to end, but they are critical in every way when it comes to knowing the Lord and reflecting Him to others.

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. [John 10:26-28]

Jesus is telling us volumes in such a short sentence here. Right now we are just going to touch on a bit. If we belong to Jesus, we have relationship with Him. He knows us and we know Him. If we love Jesus: we follow Him, we obey His commandments (John 14:21). Jesus makes an important statement first: He says that if we belong to Him, we hear His voice. We should hear His voice.

How will the world know that we are His? By conducting ourselves worthy of the gospel, by our obedience to Jesus’ commandments, by the brightness of our light shining, by the way we love Jesus and one another, and because we look and sound like Him. Let’s put our focus to become more like Him and let the world know who Jesus is.

Where Did Jesus Get It? …Plagiarism in the Church

 When I sought the Lord about this topic He plainly said to look up Mark 6. Right from the first couple sentences is:

Then He [Jesus] went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands!”

Where did Jesus get the material for His teachings?

Most simply speaking, Jesus got it from scripture and the Father God.

Jesus did not try to pawn off someone’s teachings as His own- word for word or regurgitated with some new revelation spun on it. Jesus got His stuff straight from the source.

Of course, we could all say that what we sing, pray or write is our own if it originated with the Bible. That is saying, we could legitimately claim that it was our own IF that was where we actually got inspired. Today though, it is more often than not that we read something somewhere, heard a song, or whatever and had an “Aha!” moment where we wanted to spread this idea or revelation and then take credit for it. Granted there are the cases of inadvertent credit taken, but that is -not- what we are talking about here. We are talking finding a great thing and turning it out as our own or flat out trolling the internet or books and so on for material to rehash as our own.

It’s plagiarism. It’s deception, it’s self-promotion, it’s sin. It gets particularly sticky when we are talking about spiritual things, as we are today. After all, everyone can read the Bible and get the same message out of a portion of scripture then teach about it.

For example: We hear someone give a sermon and it inspires us to share it. That is good to do if we say we heard a sermon and so and so person said such and such. It is plagiarism when we are inspired by someone’s sermon and then re-fabricate it and share it as our own revelation.

What is the difference? Motive. 

Why is this happening in the Church?

In a nutshell, the hard truth is that the Church is not going to the source: the Lord. The Church is complacent and out of shape. She does not know how to talk to God or listen to Him. She never reads her Bible anymore. How can she hear if the Church rarely or never converses with the Lord or seeks His face? We already know the answer. She cannot.

How have you seen this issue play out in the Church?

Have you made this mistake before?

Chutes And Ladders – How to advance in a lose-a-turn world

 
 
How to advance in a lose-a-turn worldDo you ever wonder why there are so many people heavily burdened with pain and crisis all around you? People with the same types of problems they had five years ago? Something is wrong. Where is the freedom and victory that is supposed to be in the Church?
 
But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.” 2 Peter 2:22
Here is the deal. Each day we wake up it is a new day full of fresh challenges. Quizzes and tests, if you will. That should not be cause for alarm if we know the material, if we studied. We might know what the Bible has to say about this and that, IF we listened during a solid Bible preaching church service or IF we actually read the Word for ourselves, but we have not taken it to heart. We have not made the Word of the Lord and His instruction part of who we are, part of how we think. How can we pass the pop quiz if we have not learned the material?
 
“Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.” Exodus 20:20

Growing and learning from our mistakes and trials -knowing full well we will be tested again on the same issue but on a different level of difficulty- is what we are supposed to be doing. You must learn and grow. The same issue will always come up again to check you, but this time it will be wearing a different dress. If we are being thrown a test on the same basic level, for example lying about who was on the phone, we must consider that we are most likely still not passing the most rudimentary of tests. Ouch. We have been unfaithful in the small things, therefore how can we ever hope to “attain” the larger things? We can’t. As frustrating as it may sound, we will stay on square one until we pass. If you indeed pray for those larger things- things such as great faith, authority, discernment, to heal- you WILL be put through all the training and testing to get there. What about “Ask and it will be given to you”? Don’t be misled by common feel good quoting of scripture like that. People who chant those kinds of verses are lost in a Mayberry fantasy and will keep struggling with the same problems. Count on this: it will not be simply just given to you like a birthday gift you unwrap. It will be earned and learned step by step. That is how it will be given to you.Chutes & Ladders - how to advance in a lose-a-turn world

Are you finding yourself still on the same space of the game board drawing “lose a turn” or “go back 2 spaces”? The Israelites walked circles in the desert for forty years. This is a clear message we are usually too frustrated or angry to see.

Time to turn to the Lord. Run to the tower, the name of the Lord. Repent for doing things your way. Start doing things His way. Ask Him to forgive you. Ask Him to teach & train you. All in Jesus’ name.

I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You. 1 Chronicles 29:17

 

Peace, Safety and Destruction

“I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” [Psalm 4:8]

While we anxiously wait for the Lion of the Tribe of Judah to return, we have found a nice soft place to sit, put our feet up and watch the clouds drift by. Life rolls along while we take our kids to soccer and mow our lawns. We can easily see events that are signs of the times, even if we try to hide our head in the sand or plug our ears and sing. There are critical things going on all around us that, as much as we may try, still cannot be brushed away. [Read more...]

Worship: What It Is and What It Isn’t

And so it begins…

The lights were half dimmed as a drummer positioned behind ten other musicians began to play a loud militant beat. The sound increased with fervency as the other band members joined in one by one. Finally the lead guitar begins a riff to which the dancing crowd shouts out and claps along. The stage lights change up when the lead singer begins to sing a song about the power of love. People stream down to the front to dance and hug their friends on the way down. Clasping their hand and bringing them along, the stage area fills up with dancing, jumping, spinning, clapping and whooping. The band plays on. [Read more...]

Taking A Hit – When we are under enemy attack

The strongest we can be as Christians is when we fully understand who we are in Christ Jesus and what we can accomplish in Him. However, even when we are completely secure in our knowledge of who we are in Christ, we still occasionally trip and have a difficult time getting back up. The confidence we have has been marred but not altogether lost. We struggle to remember our identity when we stumble and feel weak. Depressed. It seems the longer it takes for us to return to that full standing position is dependent on many factors. So, assuming that Physical/Chemical imbalances in our bodily system are not a factor, this article addresses what we all struggle with.

-Our own faith may have taken a hit. Even those who have been tested many times and had our faith stretched and grown until we are very strong can stumble a step or two backward when a heavy hit lands squarely. [Read more...]

Dusting Off Faith

How many sermons have we heard extolling the importance of faith? We groan, roll our eyes and hope we don’t fall asleep. What more could we honestly hear that would be different? The Bible has a lot to say about it and we never seem to really understand exactly what faith is, how to recognize it and how to measure it. Newer Christians, with zeal, pray for faith and may even look at Faith as the proverbial brass ring for Christians. They want it dearly. Many older Christians have patted these newbies on the back while politely smiling and nodding. Then, more mature Christians, bored, shrug off questions of their faith. Guess they figure “task accomplished”, they have enough.

Somewhere in our mind we have an intangible understanding of what faith is. Most simply, Faith is absence of doubt in the Lord. That translates into every area. We can have faith. We can show faith. We can be faithful. Be it noun or verb, the basic premise we all have is that faith is on a sliding scale. Measurable. The disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith. In response, Jesus said “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” [Luke 17] Jesus made a metaphorical reference to a very small seed in comparison to our faith and how such a small amount of faith could do amazing things. Jesus also similarly said “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.” [Mark 11:23] Why does Jesus keep saying we can do tremendous things with our faith, even if it is small? [Read more...]