Saturday, January 16, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
Contentment is a state of mind and heart. I know this because there are folks who live in what we would consider abject poverty who are perfectly happy. I have seen children with Down's syndrome laughing hysterically. I was greeted yesterday in Walmart by a young man with cerebral palsy and a big smile on his face. What a great gift to be satisfied because therein is peace.
God fulfilled His righteousness in Jesus and as the body of Christ we are called to not only seek righteousness, but to pursue it. In this way we will find satisfaction- as we help transform the culture and glorify His name.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
This reversal of what we have known all our lives will be transformational. We see this now as it happens in part, but when the kingdom comes in fulness there will be no opposition. There will really be "peace on earth."
In the meantime we are sent as ambassadors of this Kingdom of God to implore all who will hear us to come and be a part of it. "So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent me, I also send you."
So much of what we do in our western church culture is assertive, aggressive and a reflection of the consumerist culture we are embedded within. This can produce a pride and selfishness of spirit that can hinder what God wants to do through us, and limit the glory we are willing to give Him.
There is an old saying that we should "pray like everything depends upon God and work like everything depends upon us." There is a lot of truth in that, but I think we mostly err on the side of things depending upon us.
The opposite of poverty of spirit is wealth of spirit. Those who are wealthy in spirit have little need for outside help- they can handle anything on their own.
'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'--and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked-- Revelation 3:17 (NKJV)
Those poor in spirit are blessed because their humility allows them to readily accept the rulership of Jesus as Messiah and king of their own lives. "--theirs is the kingdom of heaven".
"Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up."
Friday, January 08, 2010
Thursday, January 07, 2010
"Although Peter cannot achieve his own conversion, he can leave his nets." Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Once we place our hands on the plow and agree to make furrows and plant the seed of the Gospel for Jesus we can never go back to what we were doing before and be happy or in the will of God. Plowing requires determination and total concentration. There may be relationships, positions, situations or other circumstanmces that must be left behind as Peter left his nets.
Responsibility, Sacrifice, Training are the key words Jess stresses in today's entry in the Discipleship Dare. The challenge is to keep moving forward no matter what and not get pulled back into a lifestyle that does not allow us to be fully engaged in the mission of Jesus.
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
The Message Bible puts it this way: "Don't love the world's ways. Don't love the world's goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world- wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important- has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from Him." I John 2:15-16
There is good reason for Jesus defining the greatest commandment as love for the Father with all our being. Second place is no place at all.
Monday, January 04, 2010
Sunday, January 03, 2010
Saturday, January 02, 2010
I continue to be impressed at how this dare speaks to me after 30 years as a follower of Jesus. The theme of self-denial can get lost in our consumeristic and tech savvy culture, and when we have been Christians for a long time we can start to feel a sense of entitlement- as if our period of self-denial is a phase we have gotten over. Self- denial is not just for starters!
If we are to finish the journey well we should travel light. Removing items from our baggage can be painful, but will make the trip better and ensure our safe arrival.
Jess says that "the way you understand Jesus' call will be the way you live it out." This is why we should be patient with each other. Not everyone has my view of what following Jesus means. Those in a more traditional church culture may have been taught quite differently what discipleship is. What great fodder for dialogue as we make the scriptures our standard.
"Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow Me and I'll show you how." Mark 8:34 Message