Should We Always Submit to Authority? (Part 3)

What does the Bible say about those in the church in positions of authority?

Mat 20:25-27 “But Jesus called [the twelve] to Himself and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.’”

Those who desire authority within the church are not to lord in a position over others rather Jesus tells them to serve. Jesus had authority given to Him by God yet He served. (Mat 28:18) 

How much would change in the church if people in positions of “authority” were not focused on their authority, but rather they were first and foremost serving others and living righteously as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ? What if they walked among the congregation and knew the people and served the people. What if the people were really able to know them? What if we were able to serve and exhort each other?

Pro 24:9-12 “…If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Surely we did not know this,’ Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?”

Family is about being there for each other. It’s about knowing what’s actually happening in each other’s lives and caring enough to make a difference. But if we, as the church of Christ (body and leadership)  aren’t spending time listening to each other and getting to know each other, then we will get to the point where we say, “surely we did not know.” When that is the case, we are indeed facing problems because we should know. We can’t deliver people or hold them back from stumbling when we don’t even know the path they are walking. We are failing to love, serve, and lead. 

There is a story in Acts that I love, because it is the way we should be as brothers and sisters in Christ. 

Act 18:24-28 “Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace; for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.”

Aquila and Priscilla didn’t keep their mouths shut because of Apollos’s position as a teacher, they stepped in and spoke truth and informed Apollos “the way of God more accurately.”  Apollos could have been offended or told them they had no right to take him aside, etc., but he had a heart to hear. This meant he accepted them taking him aside and allowed them to teach him. Because of this he was able to “vigorously refute the Jews” showing them Jesus in the Scriptures.

2Ti 4:2 “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.”

What if a person, whether in authority or not, is doing something wrong? What are we supposed to do in response? Are we supposed to just submit and keep our mouths shut?

Luke 17:3 “Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.”

Lev 19:17 “You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him.” (Jas 4:17 “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”)

This is a psalm of David, an anointed king. Psa 141:4-5 “Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men who work iniquity; and do not let me eat of their delicacies. Let the righteous strike me; it shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; it shall be as excellent oil; let my head not refuse it….”

Pro 25:12 “Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise rebuker to an obedient ear.”

Mat 18:15-16 “…if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more…”

Heb 3:12-13 “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

Pro 24:23-25 “These things also belong to the wise: It is not good to show partiality in judgment. He who says to the wicked, “You are righteous,” him the people will curse; nations will abhor him. But those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them.”

2Ti 3:16-17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

So after reading these verses, what do you think? Are we supposed to remain silent?

We are told in Scripture to tell our brother and sister their faults, exhort one another daily, rebuke the wicked, and use the Scriptures for reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. This doesn’t sound even remotely close to silence to me. In fact this sounds a whole lot like talking, and knowing each other, like listening and being a part of one another’s lives. So much so that we might daily exhort one another in the ways of the LORD.

Yesterday was Palm Sunday and next Sunday will be Easter. Do you know what Jesus did between the His triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Mat 21:1-10) and the time He stood silent before His accusers (Mat 27)? 

Jesus drove the wicked out of the temple (Mat 21:12) and then He proceeded in no uncertain terms to very publicly rebuke the religious “authorities” (Mat 23) in what they would have considered their own house (Mat 21:23).

Read Matthew 23 and take note of this rebuke because Jesus says very clearly what He thinks of them and their mis-use of their leadership. And when it comes to authority, Jesus expresses his opinion in an interesting way. 

Mat 23:8-11 In the midst of His rebuke to these religious “authorities” Jesus says “…do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.”

We were never told to do nothing in the face of evil. Rather we were told to fight against evil using good and the Word of God. (Eph 6:17)(Mat 10:19)(2Ti 3:16-17)

Advertisements
Posted in Christian Living, Defining Christian Beliefs, Problems in Christianity | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Should We Always Submit to Authority? (Part 2)

There are two passages in the Bible that are commonly used as reasons for us to submit to authority (But is this really submit always, no matter what?). Let’s take a look at these two passages, ask some questions, and find out.

1Pe 2:11-17 “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.”

“Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man” Wow, that seems a bit extreme. Does this really mean no matter what, in every ordinance of man? Whether good or evil, submit to it? 

There is this word that begins that sentence: Therefore
(What about the “therefore”?)

Do you know what therefore means? It means “for that reason” 

If we’re looking at that sentence with this in mind, it reads “[for that reason] submit yourselves to every ordinance of man.”

Hmm, okay, that’s means there is a goal and inclusion and exclusion to this statement about submission. To find out what that is we have to go back to what comes before “therefore.” 

I’m going to highlight here the bare bones of the previous verse: “Beloved, I beg youabstain from fleshly lustshaving your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. [For that reason] submit…”

The inclusion: When it is for the sake of glorifying God by good works submission should happen.

The exclusion: When submission is not abstaining from fleshly lusts and having honorable conduct (good works), which glorifying God, then it does NOT follow that you are to “Therefore submit.”

Notice the purpose of submitting (the goal and or inclusion/exclusion we noted before) is reiterated at the end of the “Therefore” statement as well. “Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.”

The purpose of the command
“submit yourselves to every ordinance of man”
is for
“the punishment of evildoers”
&
“the praise of those who do good”

The purpose of submission in this passage is NOT to overlook evil or submit to evil. Nor to call evil good and good evil. Isa 5:20 “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness…”

Go back and read the very next sentence after this line. It even more firmly states the goal/purpose and the inclusion/exclusion to this command of submission. “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.”

What is the will of God? This: submission for “the punishment of evildoers” & “the praise of those who do good” for the sake of doing good.

This passage is NOT about allowing evil to take place or continue. Submission is about doing what is right and good. 

The next passage that is often used is to support submission no matter what is in Romans 13 but we’re going to go back a little further and get some context to this passage so we can see the whole picture. 

Rom 12:17-21, 13:1-3 “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.…Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.”

Let’s take this passage apart. What is the goal? To “overcome evil with good.”

“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities.” Who/what are the governing authorities? If you look up the word “governing” in BLB it’s translated as: higher (1x), better (1x), excellency (1x), pass (1x), supreme (1x).

Interesting as well is the word choice in this verse: “For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God.” Notice the “therefore” again and how we have a shift between the first and second sentence from “authorities” to “authority.” If you resist the authority of God you resist the ordinance of God. 

What do we know about God and his ordinances/commands? They are good and not evil. Psa 5:4, Deu 32:4

What does this say about the goals of the authorities appointed by God? Well, let’s read on and find out. “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.” Hmm, sounds familiar?
Did you notice how in the second sentence it again transitioned from “authorities” to “authority”?

“But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.” Sounds familiar too. We are to submit NOT to get away with evil, and not to anyone who is evil, but rather so that evil might be done away with. “Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake” 

What is the purpose of submission?
For “the punishment of evildoers” & “the praise of those who do good”

If “authorities” are not aligned with this goal, then perhaps they are not true authorities and should not be listened to, followed, or obeyed. 

 Mar 3:4-5 “Then [Jesus] said to them, ‘Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?’ But they kept silent. And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.”

Posted in Christian Living, Defining Christian Beliefs, Problems in Christianity | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Should We Always Submit to Authority? (Part 1)

What is authority?

It might sounds like a strange question to ask, but it’s a question we should be asking. If we don’t have a definition for authority how can we define who should have authority in our lives?

Pro 29:2 “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan.”

Authority: Merriam Webster Dictionary: (Click here to see full definition)

  • power to influence or command thought, opinion, or behavior
  • persons in command

Authority: Dictionary.com

  • the power to determine, adjudicate, or otherwise settle issues or disputes; jurisdiction; the right to control, command, or determine.
  • a power or right delegated or given; authorization
  • a person or body of persons in whom authority is vested, as a governmental agency
  • an accepted source of information, advice, etc.
  • a quotation or citation from such a source.

Authority: Cambridge Dictionary

  1. the power to control or demand obedience from others
  2. An authority is someone with official responsibility for a particular area of activity
  3. The authorities are the police or other government officials:
  4. An authority on a subject is an expert on it:

To whom should we give authority (the right to determine our actions and command our obedience)?

There are a lot of authorities out there, which authorities are we to consider ourselves as being under?

When should we give those authorities authority over us? All the time? Just some of the time? Just in certain areas of our lives?

What if an authority is doing something wrong? Do we have a responsibility to do anything about that wrong?

How do we know when what an authority is doing is something wrong? 

What if an authority in our life is doing something wrong and asking us to do the same?

What if an authority in our life is doing something wrong and has told us specifically to stay silent about it?

Are authorities exempt from accountability?

How is an authority supposed to be held accountable?

How do people get/receive their authority?

Who gives authority?

Can authority be taken away?

Are there those claiming authority who really don’t have authority?

Are we just supposed to always submit to authority?

Is there a right time to stand against authority?

If an authority is not keeping their own standard, should that authority be allowed to remain in authority?

Rom 3:19 “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.”

Jesus’s Authority:

John 12:48-50 “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”

Mat 28:18 “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen”

Satan’s Offer: 

Luk 4:6-8 “And the devil said to [Jesus], ‘All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.’ And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” 

Eph 6:12-20 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places…. take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…being watchful…”

 James 4:7 “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

Part 2 of this series will be posted next week (April 8. 2019).

Posted in Christian Living, Defining Christian Beliefs, Problems in Christianity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why Churches Fail to Meet Needs

I was recently listening to a talk on the difference between Socialism and Capitalism in national government, and it got me thinking. In many ways churches have shifted the way they treat ministries from a Capitalistic approach to a Socialistic mindset. The church is caught up in supplying and meeting certain needs in as quick and economical a fashion as possible in order to maintain the churches survival, but in the meantime the church is ignoring and overlooking many other needs people have that are crucial to them thriving as Christians.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary Definitions

Socialism: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property
b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state

Capitalism: an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market

Church ministries have come to belong to the church’s leadership and be controlled by the church’s leadership. But what if church ministries were instead determined by the needs of individuals, and other individuals took the role of meeting those needs even if those needs were outside the ministries already established within their church?

Whether intentional or not, churches have their list of specific ministries, and when someone comes along with a need that doesn’t fit that list, the church’s answer is sadly often, “We don’t have what you need.” But is this really true? Is this church body incapable of helping? Should this be the way church ministries function? We have locked ourselves into a system that actually limits what we are able to do, because ministry formation and production are being controlled and regulated by the church not by the needs of the people.

What was Jesus’s response to ministry?
Mat 9:35 “Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He *said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.’” (NASB)

Note these key words: Jesus is teaching, preaching, and healing. Then it says, “Seeing the people. He felt compassion for them.”

Jesus sees the people and the needs they have.
And what’s Jesus’s response? Does He just say, “Sorry guys, I’m only offering to meet this or that need today?”

No, first He is moved to compassion for them. He sees and He feels. What does He do then? He says to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” The very next things Jesus does, is He begins sending out His disciples to meet those needs. 

Matthew 10:1, 7-8 “Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness . . .  And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.” (NASB)(Emphasis added)

A church may not currently have a ministry to deal with whatever is coming through their doors, but that shouldn’t stop us from seeing those people’s need, feeling compassion for them, and helping them ourselves, raising up others, and sending out others who are capable of meeting their needs. 

Do you know the first command God gave mankind? Gen 1:28 “Then God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply…’”

Notice the order to this. Be fruitful. And multiply. When we live our Christianity in such a way that we ourselves are bearing fruit, multiplying happens naturally. When we speak truth (preaching), bring life to those around us (healing), take the time to notice others and their struggles (seeing), and embrace the cost of caring about them (feeling compassion), we not only meet other’s needs we bear fruit that multiplies. 

Jesus didn’t have disciples because He paid them to intern with Him. He didn’t have disciples because they were seeking a life in ministry. He didn’t have disciples because He advertised, had a nice building, and wrote a great blog. Jesus had disciples because He preached, healed, saw, and felt compassion for others.

We are not a church following Jesus Christ when we decided what needs we are going to meet and what needs we aren’t. We are a collection of people buying into the socialistic principles of man’s wisdom and God’s limitations. But man is not wise and God is not limited.

Posted in Defining Christian Beliefs, Problems in Christianity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Is It Possible For God To Fail Me?

A couple of days ago, I was listening to a Christian song on the radio, and the lyrics struck me as nice but not exactly true.

The concept was this: God never fails me.

What do we really mean when we say this? Because whether it’s true or not heavily depends on what this means to us.

Too often we preach a version of Christianity where, when you do all the right things and when you love God, He won’t fail you. Life will be good. He will keep you safe. He will keep you healthy. He will provide in abundance. He will not fail you in your hopes and dreams for your life, etc.

Yet this is a lie. God fails us in these areas all the time. Good Christian people get cancer and die. Wonderful Godly families struggle to make ends meet. Our hopes and dreams for life get decimated by financial hardships, loss of loved ones, health crisis, etc. 

God fails us in our expectations all the time, but does this mean that God fails in Who He claims to be? Does He fail in His goals? No. God never fails in being Who He claims to be.

We need to know and hold on to the truth that God will not fail to be consistent in His love, His protection, His care, His justice, His righteousness, His goodness, His desire to teach us, His desire for relationship, His glory, His kingship, His right to rule, His power, His decisions, etc.  

When we live within a concept that God can’t and won’t fail us, it’s dangerous footing. But when we live within a theology that God can’t fail Himself, it’s a foundation as solid and indestructible as diamond.

One says we are indestructible because of God, the other says our God is indestructible and has given us access to a future life that is indestructible. That life, however, isn’t here on earth. Here we live in the realm of the ruler of this world, and he is darkness and evil. We are effected by his powers but not lost to them. God allows him at times to take everything earthly from us. But the one thing the ruler of this world cannot take is the faithfulness of what God has already given us. Satan can’t touch that life. God has not failed in His goals. His glory is displayed, and our lives are saved. 

Posted in Christian Living, Defining Christian Beliefs | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Do We Make a Difference as a Christian? (Part 3)

The last two weeks I’ve talked about Christians as lights and working together in unity. This week I want to jump backwards and talk about a verse we covered in Part 1 of this series. Ephesians 5:8-9 “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth)”

Notice how this verse defines what walking as children of light actually means. See, the thing about making a difference is that you actually have to be different.

We have to know the truth and make sure it is what we are living and proclaiming as light.

1Jo 1:5-10 “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

We need to make sure that what we are bringing to this world is the Light of Christ. Because we can attract attention and make a big show for a counterfeit source of light. We can even convert people to our way of thinking, but if we are deceived ourselves about what light is and who, we will find ourselves and them still in darkness. “…for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” 2Co 11:14 (NIV)

John 8:31 “Then Jesus said…,’If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’”

(Note: All Bible passages are NKJV unless otherwise specified, and all bold emphasis is added)

Posted in Christian Living, Defining Christian Beliefs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How Do We Make a Difference as a Christian (Part 2)

I mentioned last week about how diverse we are as Christians. Some are called overseas, others to business, radio, construction, music, medical, etc. And in Christ, we all bring light, like a city on a hill. Sometimes there are even some really bright lights among us. Have you ever seen a search beam, lighthouse, or beacon light?

Such lights aren’t just visible. They don’t just proclaim the presence of life. They do more than that. They attracted attention to an area, event, etc. Some Christians are like these bright lights, dynamic, articulate, and comfortable being out there in front of the world. We can appreciate their influence but often when we’re around them or watching them from a distance it can feel like all the world needs is their light and that our light isn’t really that bright or worthwhile. But this isn’t true. Every light adds something and has its part to play. 

These bright lights do often bring in the crowd, but despite their brightness, they are still only one person. They might be able to share the gospel with a huge crowd, but as only one person they cannot disciple that whole crowd. Not to mention often these people are so bright it makes them feel unapproachable to those who came out of darkness. Whereas those of us who are not beacons might be exactly the right person to greet them.

We were meant to work together as Christians, yet often we let pride and pain get in the way. Without each other, we are lighthouses without towns and cabins without search beams. We need each other, because when Christians work together, the world notices. United together as Christians we make a difference.

John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Posted in Defining a Christian, Sharing the Gospel, Two Types of Christians | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Do We Make a Difference as a Christian? (Part 1)

I try not to listen too much to the news, mostly because it’s depressing and makes me feel like I’m a nobody who can’t do anything about any of it. But recently as I was processing through this, I thought of all the diversity in what we as Christians are. Some are called overseas, others to business, radio, books, music, medical, etc. We are spread all over the place, yet somehow we often feel like we don’t have the ability to change this world. Why is this?

I think it’s easy to view what’s happening in this world and get overwhelmed with the thought of even trying to make a difference, because the darkness and evil seem so strong. They have so much ground and are so good at deceiving people.

We see the darkness, but we forget that we ourselves are light and bring the Light.

John 8:12 “…Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’”

Ephesians 5:8-9 “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth)”

What happens when we walk as children of light? Darkness often tries to silence us.

But you know what’s ironic about that. Light isn’t sound. Light cannot be silenced. 

We are not just words. We are light. You know what’s even more incredible about this? Light goes a whole lot farther and faster than sound (particularly in a vacuum).

Sound travels 1,125 feet per second.

Light travels 186,282 miles per second

Matthew 5:14-16 says, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 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.”

Challenge: Stand in the Light, and be His Light. Because the power of God’s Light does make a difference!

When I picture Christians spread all over the place, all shining brightly with the light of Christ, I think of looking down at a city from the sky. The times those lights are the most noticeable is in the dark.

Posted in Christian Living, Sharing the Gospel | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Kind of Parent Is God?

We often call God, our Father, but how often do we actually think of God as our Parent? (John 1:12-13) That’s right, your parent, as in picture yourself coming home from school or a long day of work and there’s God’s sitting on your couch, asking, “How was your day?”

Would you be weirded out that He’s there? Would you know how to respond? Would you think it’s strange to hear He cares about how your day went?

Thing is, even though we don’t tend to actually see God AS our parent, we do tend to judge God’s Fatherhood based on what we know of our own parents and our experiences with them in our life or them not in our life. Whatever the case may be, we often exchange our personal definition of parenthood with the kind of parenthood God offers, and therefore we fail to hear, see, and believe what kind of parent God actually is.

Eph 1:3-6 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”

Mat 6:26 “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

Luke 6:36 “Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”

Mat 6:14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you

Luk 15:20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.” 

John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Other verses to read: Mat 6:3-4, Mat 7:11, Eph 3:14-19

Challenge: As you read through the Bible start taking note of all the passage that talk about who God is as a parent. Because He IS the kind of parent every child longs to have.

Posted in Christian Awe, Facts from the Bible | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Should Our Perspective of God Be?

Our perspective of God should always be getting larger.

Have you ever been talking with a friend and suddenly learned something new about them that shifted the way you perceived them? Like: Finding out a friend, who has always worn dark, muted colors in clothing, actually loves buying office items in bright colors like pink and orange. Or discovering the friend you would have defined as the most American person you know actually grew up overseas. Or learning that the person you met at a conference, who seems like such a down-to-earth everyday kind of person, actually runs a multi-million dollar company.

We often see acquaintances through only one facet of who they really are. With friends we tend to get to see more sides of them through interacting with them in more settings and ways. Then there is family, the people who we know far better than most anyone else. Marriage I think though is the ultimate revealing of a person’s facets, because every situation faced together is another opportunity to see the person from a new angle in the light that reveals who they truly are.

How we perceive God is and should always be growing, kind of like the way our knowledge of people progresses through the type of relationship with hold with them. With God, we often start off as just acquaintances, but we should move to friends, then family, and as the church we become His bride. 

Our perspective and knowledge of Him should grow broader and more personal as we growing in our relationship with him. Examples

What we know about God as an acquaintance:

  • He created the World
  • He is God of the World
  • He speaks the truth
  • He created me
  • Etc.

What we know about God as a friend: 

  • He cares about me
  • He doesn’t walk away when the going get’s tough
  • He sent His Son to pay for the sins of the world
  • He wants to give me a gift of eternal life with Him
  • Etc

What we know about God as Family:

  • He paid for my sins
  • He claims me as His child
  • He loves me all the time no matter what
  • He gave me skills and talents and enjoys watching me use them
  • Etc.

What we know about God as our Groom:

  • He knows me inside and out and still wants me
  • He is a faithful provider and an incredible protector
  • He loves spending time with me and growing our relationship
  • He encourages me to be what I was meant to be
  • Etc. 

Challenge: As you read God’s Word in the following weeks, keep an eye out for the things about God that catch you by surprise. Take note of these things, and remember God wants to be far more than just your acquaintance or friend. 

Posted in Christian Awe | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment