OK, In Matt. 28:18-20, Jesus says, “I have all authority, so go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them . . . teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you. . . . and [know this] I am with you always, even unto the end of the world [age].” What does in mean, “all things”? Some folks would say those things are particular things, like ‘love God with all your heart’, ‘love your neighbor as yourself’, ‘seek first the kingdom of God . . .’, ‘don’t resist evil’; ‘trust in the Lord with all your heart’; ‘rejoice evermore’.
If we really want to ‘make disciples’ maybe we should teach an attitude of surrender; of surrendering ourselves to Jesus; like it says in Luke 9:23, “If anyone wants to be My disciple, let him deny himself, and take up his cross [meaning “die to yourself”](see Galatians 2:20), daily, and follow Me.” To have the attitude in your heart that comes from Jesus, that says, “I’m not touched by things in this world, because Jesus has put His Spirit in my heart.” So you get to the point where you really don’t care what happens to you and your stuff, because you’re thinking about Jesus and helping others come to a personal relationship with Him. That’s something really worth teaching and worth learning.
Like Paul said in Romans 5:3-5, “And not only that, but we also [rejoice] in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces [endurance]; 4 and [endurance], character; and character, hope. 5 Now [this] hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” When you get that attitude in your heart, then observing all the things Jesus commanded becomes possible.
“So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.” NLT
Most of my life, in fact until this very morning, I have read this passage from James 1, verses 21-27, and I’ve focused on 22-25, where it talks about being doers of the Word and not hearers only, about how if you don’t do what the Word says, you’re like a man who looks at himself in the mirror and as soon as he turns away, he forgets what he looked like. Almost exactly the same guy that Jesus talked about when he said, “A man who hears My Words and does what I say is a wise man, who built his house on a rock, but a man who hears My Words and doesn’t do them is like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. He’s a fool! Matt. 7:24-27.
But today, I really saw and paid attention to verse 21 for the very first time, and God said, “The word God has planted in your hearts” is the real meat of this passage. Continue reading →
[The following is an excerpt from the Kairos Talk: A Christian]
When we follow Jesus, we learn to love, because Jesus is in our hearts. We begin to see with Jesus’ eyes, and hear with Jesus’ ears, and feel with Jesus’ heart. We’re not struggling to love others, to love ourselves and to love God, because Jesus’ Spirit is inside our hearts loving others through us.
So how in the world do we reach the point of having Jesus live His eternal life in us? We have to give up. We have to quit trying to do good and do right and never make mistakes. If you finally get that message, that you can’t do it on your own, you can’t do it in your own power, you cannot possibly be good enough to satisfy God, and you accept the gift of Jesus’ death on the cross, and surrender yourself to Him, THEN you can start the journey of following Jesus.
Here’s the central message of this talk. We’re all a bunch of pieces of manure. We stink. And what’s worse, we’re not getting any better. It’s not hard to see that without God we’re not going to make it out of here alive. And I don’t mean this prison. I mean this life, my life, your life, in this world. The only way we’re going to make it is if we humble ourselves and accept Jesus as our Savior, and start letting Jesus live His life in us.
This is the first part of the Kairos talk, A CHRISTIAN: I call it “How to Quit Struggling and Start Walking the Walk and Talking the Talk.” Luke 9:23-24, says, “If anyone would be My disciple, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Just so you’ll know; the word disciple means follower. So if you want to be a follower of Jesus, what do you have to do? Three things: 1] Deny yourself, 2] Take up your cross daily, and 3] Follow Jesus.Continue reading →
In Luke 4:16-20, is the story of when, shortly after Jesus returned from His temptation wilderness, He first appeared in the synagogue at Nazareth to announce His ministry. It goes like this: ‘And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
In a number of places in the New Testament, Jesus says that those who believe (trust) in Him will receive the Holy Spirit (That’s Jesus’ Spirit), like John 7:39; John 20:22; and Acts 1:8; I take these verses to mean that because you and I trust Jesus, His Spirit lives in us too, and the passage in Luke quoted above applies to us, just as it applied (applies) to Jesus. We too are to proclaim deliverance to the prisoners. Continue reading →
In Matthew 8:5-13, is the story of the Roman centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant, and Jesus said, “I’ll come.” The centurion responded, “You don’t need to come; just give the order, and he’ll be healed. I know this because I am a man under authority (I understand authority). When I tell one of my men to do something, he does it, no questions asked.”
Jesus was totally impressed. He said, “I tell you the truth, this man has more faith than anyone I’ve seen, even in Israel.” Continue reading →
1 Samuel 15:22-23: Samuel said, “Does the Lord delight as much in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the Lord? Surely, to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams. Indeed, rebellion is like witchcraft, and stubborn arrogance is idolatry. Because you have rejected this message from the Lord, he has rejected you from being king.”
This passage comes from the story of King Saul and the prophet Samuel, when God told Saul to take his army and kill all the Amalekites; man, woman and child; and destroy all the plunder, all the stuff they captured in the battle. Turns out, Saul did not obey. He brought back the best of the sheep and cattle supposedly to sacrifice to the Lord; and he even failed to execute Agag, the king of the Amalekites. God was very angry, so He sent Samuel to tell Saul what was going to happen. Continue reading →
Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe (trust) that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” If you seek Jesus, you will find him. Seek means to draw near, like James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” “Diligently seek” means to do it regularly, dare I say daily; like Jesus says in Luke 11: 9, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” If you seek God, you’ll definitely find Him. God is out there, holding His Hand out, waiting for you to come seeking Him; waiting for you to take His hand and walk with Him and talk with Him. Luke 11: 11-13 says, “If a boy asks his father for bread, will he give him a stone? If he asks for a fish, will he give him a snake? If he asks for an egg, will he give him a scorpion? If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.” Did you get that? He won’t just give you what you ask for; He’ll give you (more of) HIS OWN SPIRIT, that is the SPIRIT OF THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE is in your own private heart. WOW!
Matthew 6:33 says, “If you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, all these things (the stuff that the world seeks) will be added to you.” That passage from Luke (11:11-13) about asking and receiving concludes by saying, “For to everyone who asks, it shall be answered; everyone who seeks, finds; and to everyone who knocks, it shall be opened.” It’s pretty unambiguous to me. Pretty straight-forward. I think we all fit into the criteria of everyone. So seeking must be a virtually perfect tool for drawing near to God.
PS: 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “Seek My Face”. (not just His Hand, meaning: what you can get from Him). Seek to know Him for who He is, not just what He can give you. Sit on the back porch with a cool drink and spend time with God. You’ll never forget it.