Thursday, 8/12/21 – God’s Will: Seek it, Find it, Do it!

God’s Will: Seek it, Find it, Do it!

Perhaps one reason God does not reveal His specific will to an individual is that He is waiting for us to come to that place where we will be willing to obey it. Once one knows what it is God wants them to do that person is accountable to God to do it. Jesus spoke very bluntly regarding this..

The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:47-48).

Maybe God’s will is waiting on our will.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might,” wrote that wisest of all men, Solomon (Eccl. 9:10). But many “find” nothing simply because they are not looking! “Seek and you will find,” said Jesus (Matt. 7:7). “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God,” writes James, “…and it will be given to you” (Jas. 1:5).

Some things God hides from us until we are ready to receive them. Other things are very clearly revealed to us in Scripture. If we are not obeying these general things why do we think God should tell us the specific things? If we refuse to obey the things clearly revealed — things for which God will hold us accountable — then to reveal even more to us makes us even more accountable before Him, and more deserving of punishment for failing to do so!

For the unbeliever the first will of God is belief. “The work of God is this,” answers Jesus, “to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:29). Then comes repentance, surrender, submission…. Nurture, understanding, fruitfulness.

For the believer, Paul writes, “This is the will of God, even your sanctification” (1 Thess. 4:3). Or, as Peter citing Levitical law writes, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’”(1  Pet. 1:15-16). And scripture is filled with virtues God commands Christians to emulate. (e.g. Col. 3:1-17; Gal. 5:13-26; 2 Pet. 1:5-9… far, far too many more to list!). Read the gospels, epistles, and commands and you will find much of God’s Will for you! Do these… grow closer to Him… and He will show you more! (See Matt. 25:14-30).

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Thursday, 8/5/21 – Evangelism: Lifting Jesus Higher

Evangelism: Lifting Jesus Higher

Weve actually been looking at this all week — this idea of glory! Glorifying Christ in our lives and at all times is really the core of biblical evangelism.

At the Passover feast in Jerusalem Jesus, recognizing his crucifixion drew near, said, “The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified” (John 12:23). He prayed “Father, glorify thy name.” and God spoke! He said, “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again” (v. 28).

Then Jesus said “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (v. 31-32).

Glorifying Jesus… Lifting Him up… Have we got evangelism wrong? Evangelism is not about convincing… its about glorifying Christ… lifting Him up. He said “if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” We are working with The Holy Spirit – do not forget this. He, the Holy Spirit, will do, not the “convincing,” but the “convicting.” He works not according to our evangelistic strategy, intellectual argument, technological spectacle, oratory charisma, musical artistry or alluring giveaways. The Holy Spirit works unpredictably, as Jesus described:

“…the Spirit gives birth to spirit… The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:6, 8).

Our task is simply to lift up Jesus:

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” (v. 14-15).

We lift Jesus up, point to His Glory, demonstrate Him at work within us, and Jesus will draw lost souls to Himself as The Holy Spirit convicts and woos them.

Many years ago Bill Bright, Campus Crusade for Christ founder and author of The Four Spiritual Laws, gave this simple definition of evangelism: “Evangelism is simply sharing Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results with God.” Jesus likened evangelism to casting out seed upon the earth. The seed is good and comes from God; we dare not add anything to it. The soil is what it is; we cannot alter it. Our only job is to cast the seed. We do this whenever we bring glory to Christ.

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Thursday, 7/29/21 – Today’s Discipleship Blog: Fellowship Forever

Fellowship Forever

This Friday, July 30, at 11:59 PM here in New Brunswick, Canada, our province enters what we have called the “Green” public health alert level of recovery. All Covid-19 restrictions will be removed. Businesses are gearing up, celebrations are being planned, and travel plans for the commencing long weekend are anticipated. On Monday the Capital City, Fredericton, hosts “New Brunswick Day” with ceremony, free concerts, displays and culminating fireworks launched from a major city bridge. It’ll be a landmark weekend!

Most meaningful of all these things will be to experience once again the freedom of fellowship! If nothing else, the experience of the pandemic has taught us the great treasure and necessity of human interaction. “How good and how pleasant…” the psalmist celebrates, “for brethren to dwell together in unity.” (Ps. 133:1).

Currently our church is in process of seeking leadership. This process requires great prayer, prudence and patience. As a fellowship of believers in Christ, and in these days in particular, we do well to heed Paul’s urging to the Ephesians,

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Eph. 4:3-6).

It is both God’s nature and desire for us that we be united as one in a fellowship of love in Him. Consider Jesus’ great prayer for all believer…

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23).

Unity and fellowship, with one another and with Him, on Earth now and in Heaven then, in time and for eternity. This is the will of our Creator, Father, Lord and God.

Value it… Celebrate it… Enjoy it… Maintain it!

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Thursday, 7/22/21 – Prayer: Desires of the heart

Prayer: Desires of the heart

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart,” penned the psalmist (Ps. 37:4).

Philip Yancey prays for big things… things like peace in the Middle East and an end to homelessness in the USA. He writes, “I earnestly desire those things — and moreover, I believe God does too.” I also believe God desires these things and you probably do too. But does any one of us actually believe God will do these things in response to our prayers? Yancey writes,

“A friend of mine in Chicago tried to recruit some colleagues in urban ministry to join him in a season of prayer for an end to poverty in that city. Almost everyone he asked balked. “Why pray for something so idealistic and impossible?” they objected.”

This reminds me of an incident during my years in Bible College. The college badly needed a new bus. I had faith that God could provide one and began to seek out others to join me in meeting regularly to pray earnestly to that end. Sadly, in a college of over a hundred theological students, I found not one person who would believe with me and join me in prayer.

Well what’s going on here anyway? And just what is the psalmist telling us? On this passage Matthew Henry comments,

“He has not promised to gratify all the appetites of the body and the humours of the fancy, but to grant all the desires of the heart, all the cravings of the renewed sanctified soul. What is the desire of the heart of a good man? It is this, to know, and love, and live to God, to please him and to be pleased in him.”

Perhaps what the psalmist is saying is that when we delight in our Lord… when we love Him in the uttermost, our prayer… our heart’s desire… is a self-fulfilling reality. “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you,” writes James (Jas. 4:8). Or, as Jan Kempe writes in Faithful Hearts, “God’s answer to any problem is His Presence.” (Faithful Hearts, p. 41).

Like you, I still have many questions about prayer, about God’s answers, and about His non-answers. And I wonder at times, while we are asking God why He does not act, if He may not be asking us exactly the same question!

But my business — our business –  is not so much to understand, as to pray, and to love, and obey. Let’s let us let that suffice for now. All will be made clear to us soon enough.

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Thursday, 7/15/21 – The Unchanging Word of God…

The Unchanging Word of God…

One at times annoying and at other times reassuring thing about the Word of God is that by virtue of  its medium – print – it is fixed. Inspired men of God were moved upon my the Holy Spirit and wrote as He directed and that was that.

Yes, there have been many translations to make their words relevant to many cultures and norms of language usage throughout time and geography, but their original words don’t change. What they wrote, they wrote. Inspired by our God we have 66 books of His intended message to us, and it is not changing!

Sometimes we wish it would change. Sometimes what it asks of us we would rather not do. But is doesn’t. It just stares back at us saying what is says. It we who must change to accommodate it, not the other way around.

Oswald Chambers comments on our responsibility to initiate personal change in order to adapt to the unchanging Word of God…

“Our Lord never takes measures to make me do what He wants. Sometimes I wish God would master and control me to make me do what He wants, but He will not. And at other times I wish He would leave me alone, and He does not.” – Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Sept. 22 entry.

WC Fields was not known to be a religious man. So it was puzzling when one day near the end of his life he was observed thumbing through the Bible. “What are you doing?” someone who knew him well asked. Fields reply was both comical, yet grave: “Looking for loopholes,” he said. He found none.

Sooner or later we must each face the unwavering message of the Word of God. He will not force salvation or damnation upon us. We will decide. But the Word of God will not change. As dreadful as our refusal of it will surely be, so wonderful will be our acceptance of it!

For the wages of sin is death…” (Rom. 6:23a).

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Thursday, 7/8/21 – Discipleship: Priorities

Priorities

The proper priorities in a Christian’s life are:  God, Family, Work, Church, Ministry, Community

God comes first, above even family, forsaking father and mother if need be we are to follow Jesus (Luke 14:25-27; Matt. 10: 34-37).

Family comes before Work. Many a work-a-holic will tell you how they wish now they had realized this before it was too late and career robbed them of what was truly the more precious elements in their lives.

Work comes before Church for a man’s work is his means to support the higher priority of family. (1 Tim. 5:8).

Church is before Ministry, because the one who ministers must have a base of personal spiritual nourishment and accountability, a recourse when persecuted, discouraged, in need, or bewildered. (Luke 4:16; Acts 15).

Ministry is above Community because it is by one’s ministry one serves best both church and community. Church-sent missionaries may serve in communities far from home.

At times urgencies of a lesser priority may cause it to supersede a higher priority but only temporarily, till the urgency has passed. In general though, these are the priorities that sound study of the whole counsel of scripture sets forth.

A word to the over-zealous is also necessary here. Do not think it virtuous of yourself to run your body ragged in the service of these priorities. It is often one of the more difficult lessons for a Christian to learn that praiseworthy stewardship includes stewardship of oneself as well as all these. You have given your life to the Lord just as He has given His life to you. “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (1 Cor. 6:20)

It is not for you to push your body to exhaustion, ignore necessary exercise, healthful diet, adequate sleep. Jesus too saw the need for a slow pace, seasons of solitude, wholesome meals, healthful rest, and social interactions.

We see Jesus taking His time to be in the present moment with each need that came to Him. We see Him “rising up a great while before day,” and going to “a solitary place,” to pray, We see Him walking daily, eating such things as fish, bread, honey, figs and other fruits. We see Him catching a nap as the disciples rowed, and from the onset of His ministry interacting daily with the twelve.

All this while Jesus ordered His life in keeping with the priorities listed above. As always, He is our great example.

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Thursday, 7/1/21 – Discipleship: Freedom!

Freedom!

There are two ways to approach freedom,

  1. You can toil most of your life to attain great wealth sufficient enough to purchase or control all the things you believe will bring you freedom and happiness, and if you remain healthy enough, and nothing unforeseen happens, you may enjoy freedom until you die.
  2. You can surrender your desire for wealth and the pleasures of purchases and choose instead the joys and blessings of walking with God, with Christ your Saviour, and the Holy Spirit within you. You can enjoy now the freely given blessings and joys of Creation, the fellowship of the Holy Spirit and saints of God whether healthy or ill, in all things content, enjoying freedom both now and forever.

Freedom may be found in having great wealth, but freedom is always found in having few wants.

Control of things may feel like freedom, but control of self by the help of Christ, truly is.

Consider these insights of scripture,

The rich can pay a ransom for their lives, but the poor won’t even get threatened.” (Prov. 13:8, NLT) Or, as another translation ends it, “…the poor are free of such threats.” (MSG).
Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.” (Prov. 16:32).
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” (Matt. 16:25).
“…godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Tim. 6:6-10).

If you haven’t yet, surrender your life now to Christ. He is right there in the room with you. Talk to Him. Ask Him to forgive your past sins and neglect of Him. He will. Commit to build a relationship with Him through prayer, the Bible, and obedience. He is all you need, and in Him alone is Freedom.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36).

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Thursday, 6/24/21 – Discipleship: Assurance

Assurance

Our CO detector sounded late last night, then stopped. No apparent reason. A fluke? It sounded again in the middle of the night, then stopped. That was it. I couldn’t get back to sleep again. Was there a real danger? I got up and began scouring through the newspaper columns of fine print instructions that came with our unit. Nothing! I searched online. Each manufacturer had a different explanation of possible CO behaviours. Over an hour had passed and I was no more certain as to our safety or danger.

The desire for assurance of safety, security, shelter and sustenance is natural to fallen mankind. In the beginning, as our Creator intended it, there was for our first ancestors, Adam and Eve, no sense of this need. Everything was provided in God’s original design. Paradise knew no lack. God, the Creator, walked among them and their fellowship was sweet. All was well with their souls.

But sin changed everything!

Oswald Chambers comments,

“We have to recognize that sin is a fact of life, not just a shortcoming. Sin is blatant mutiny against God, and either sin or God must die in my life. The New Testament brings us right down to this one issue— if sin rules in me, God’s life in me will be killed; if God rules in me, sin in me will be killed. There is nothing more fundamental than that.” – Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, June 23 entry.

Spiritual assurance of one’s salvation and acceptance before God is only possible as we recognize this fact of sin… personal sin… personal “blatant mutiny against God” and as we are willing to surrender our rebellion to His Lordship. We must decide which will live in our lives: sin, or God. We cannot have both!

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matt. 6:24).

I finally found what I needed to do regarding our CO detector. Assurance is always found when one finds, faces, and follows the instructions.

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Thursday, 6/17/21 – When you least Expect Him

When you least Expect Him

Consider those moments you find yourself at your lowest points of righteousness. I mean, are there times when you slip into anger… perhaps even rage? Does spite against a brother or sister momentarily rise in your heart? Does your gaze linger a bit too long at that suggestive billboard? Or your heart envy at your neighbour’s flashy new sports car?

These are moments in which to remember our Lord’s warning, “…be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.” (Matt. 24:44). When will that be? Don’t ask your pastor; He does not know. Don’t ask the astrologers or scientists… your best buddy, Siri, or Google.  None of these know. Don’t ask the angels, and don’t even ask Christ. Not even they know the day nor the hour chosen by the Father.

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matt. 24:36).

How that can be I cannot comprehend, but our business is not to understand, our business is simply to be ready. Ready not only at some times…. not even at most times… but ready at all times.

When He comes it will be like a thief. Diligence in only these some times… in only these most times… is not enough! He may come when we are found ‘sleeping.’ But to those faithful and wise at all times He says, “It will be good” (v. 46). Such a servant will be proven faithful, and rewarded with greater trusts in eternity (see v. 47).

There are good reasons and good resources for training oneself in all righteousness. Peter reminds us, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Pet. 1:3). And Paul reminds us of the power of God’s Word for “training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16,17).

Believer, be ready “because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.”

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Thursday, 6/10/21 – A short course in the Will of God

A short course in the Will of God

I think that one reason God tends to veil His Will for His children is that if He made His Will clear to us we would probably go and do it. That would be very bad.

What I mean is, I think God would rather have us follow Him, than give us a map and risk us running off away from Him all goal-oriented and alone and trying to “do.” (see Luke 10:38-42).

What God really wants is for us to walk along beside Him, fellowship with Him, get to know Him more deeply as He knows us. He wants us to have travel companions too as we journey, and knit together with them also. You know… you’ve seen this construct before – Jesus, and His disciples.

The only Will of God a believer needs to know about is God’s Love and desire they be with Him. He is where we want to be. He is both destination and journey. “Abide in Me,” said Jesus. “Stay in Me,” “Remain in Me,” “LiveDwell in Me.” (John 15:4).

That’s all.

Jesus answered, ‘I am the Way…'” (John 14:6).

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.