Wednesday, December 04, 2013
He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
Colossians 1:18b (ESV)
The world is suffering from a desperate case of hopelessness because the church is proclaiming a hope-delaying gospel. Because we can't see everything in the natural realm in its restored state, we have concluded that Christ's major work is yet to be done. The New Testament gospel, on the other hand, proclaims that Jesus has already come to establish his kingdom on earth. It goes on to declare that the greatest work that shall ever be done has been done by the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus the Lord.
A new creation has already been inaugurated. A new race is already constituted. This new race is characterized by living in the power of the resurrection. These people have heard the good tidings that being poor in goods does not mean they are incapable of purchasing by faith anything the Father has. They have heard that the prison doors of fear, guilt, shame, and oppression have been unlocked and thrown open by the redemption of Jesus. They have recovered the sight of the eternal that Adam and Eve lost when they turned their face away from the invisible but real God and began looking at the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They have been told that they are now living in the day of God's favor and that grace fills the atmosphere of their world.
All of this and more is true because Jesus has come in their place and has now been installed in the place of eternal rule. There is nothing that he doesn't rule over. He is not waiting for a future day of victory when he will defeat the enemies of God's purpose on earth. He has done that. His future is sure, and so is the future of those who are in him. His plans for the earth are not in doubt. He is busy now infecting the whole world with the hope that fills the hearts of those who have come to know him. Only those who don't have eyes to see the invisible but real world of eternal reality can doubt that his purpose will continue until every aspect of the curse is erased by the glory of his blessing. He is preeminent, and he is present. What a hope!
Friday, November 29, 2013
"At its best, however, the charismatic movement has been a blessing to the church. It is unfair to assess the movement and its fruit only at its worst, as if the prolonged recitation of evils vitiates the need to weigh evenhandedly the immense blessings that have come to us through this means.
Above all, the charismatic movement has challenged the church to expect God to pour his Spirit upon us in ways that break our traditional molds, to call into question a theology that without sufficient exegetical warrant rejects all possibility of the miraculous expect for regeneration. Of course, this is not the case with respect to all noncharismatics. On one hand, we are familiar with spiritual leaders outside the charismatic tradition whose gift of faith, say, was thoroughly exceptional, such as George Muller of Bristol. On the other hand, we are also familiar with those who have been repulsed by the charismatic movement"s excesses. But it is surely no misjudgment to say that in general Christians have become more open to the possibility of divine, supernatural intervention in their lives than they were before." (D.A. Carson, Showing The Spirit, page 180.)
Saturday, November 23, 2013
"Then Jesus told his disciples,
"Subdue in me the love of sin,
let me know the need of renovation as well as
in order to serve and enjoy thee for ever." - The Valley Of Vision
Forgiveness of sin is the result of God's grace and mercy to us when we respond to the gospel. When Jesus calls us to follow him, it is a call to abandon our self-centered way of life and embrace him as King. Salvation is the way of surrender and of absolute trust in the person of Jesus Christ. He took our sins in his body on the cross, died, and rose from the dead and forgave us. But God has done more than forgive our sins. He came to deliver us from being dominated by sinful actions and desires.
When the Holy Spirit inhabits us, or takes up residence in our bodies, the process of becoming holy begins. Which means we have been set apart for God. We no longer belong to ourselves, but we belong to the Lord. We give up the right to live our lives the way we want to. Jesus died to bring us back to his Father so that we can enjoy him forever.
As we behold the beauty of Jesus, the Father renovates our hearts and conforms us into the likeness of his Son. This renovation project is what theologians call sanctification. Heart renovation only comes to those who posture themselves to receive from the Holy Spirit. As we seek God through the Scripture and prayer, we have our minds influenced by His. A renovated heart has been calmed and has assurance of acceptance with the Father. - Bobby
Friday, November 15, 2013
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV)
"The Greek word here for "suffer" is a form of lupeo, which means "severe mental or emotional distress." - Tim Keller
God is a healing God and we should pursue healing. But while the psalmist tells us not to forget the benefits of following God, most of us tend to focus on what we can get from him more than simply trusting him. When we learn to trust God in the mist of darkness without a sense of his presence, we are starting to grow into spiritual maturity. I'm not there yet but I have experienced enough darkness to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Loving God just because he is God is my goal. Some say Christians aren't suppose to suffer or that many of our problems are caused by a lack of faith. But the Bible is clear that all of God's children experience suffering in one form or another.
Emotional suffering is unavoidable in this life. Relationships can be difficult with those love ones that don't embrace the same biblical worldview that you believe. If you are seeking to follow Jesus you will be misunderstood. Some people that you try to help, will think you are against them, when in fact all you want is God's best for them. You will be seen as judgmental, even if you have a heart of compassion. The question is, will we love God even if our broken relationships are never healed? Or, what if physical healing is denied in this life? Or, what if we never get the job we want? The only way to grow closer to God is to trust him even when he seems distant. In the end we will see that God alone is wise and he will ultimately make all things work for our good. - Bobby
"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."
Wednesday, November 06, 2013
"O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me." - Psalms 131:1-2
I really believe many Christians (including myself) suffer from, Spiritual Attention Deficit Disorder. We have untamed souls (mind, will, and emotions) and have not been weaned from the cares and distractions of this world. Waiting upon the Lord is a lost art to many in our generation. The practices of silence and solitude have almost become extinct in our culture. It takes God's power to wean our souls from the anxiety caused by a steady stream of information and images we internalize everyday. Spiritual growth cannot be achieved through busyness or religious activities. Some religious activity can actually become a substitute for God.
The weaned soul is a God saturated soul. A soul that has been weaned from excessive preoccupation with the cares of this world. The worldly or unregenerate mind is not focused on spiritual reality. This weaned soul is not easily distracted by things of lesser importance. It is unselfish and has learned the secret of contentment.
What we need most, is time alone with God while not neglecting active involvement with other believers. It's important to find a quiet place with a Bible, pen, and journal in hand. Try meditating on Scripture and while praying over passages, write down your thoughts. Having a soul that has been weaned from the anxiety filled information age is a process. We must be intentional about, "One Thing" and that's seeking the face of the Lord, which is his presence. - Bobby