In our flesh, we were wicked and perverse. In Christ, we are holy and perfected as He is.
In sin, we ran from the bad news. In Christ, we run with the Good News.
In sin, we were lost. In Christ, we are found.
In sin, we sank in the miry clay. In Christ, we have been raised to sit in the heavenly places.
In the flesh, we were lame and paralyzed. In Christ, we dance in praise and march in triumph.
In our flesh, we were deaf. In Christ, we hear the voice of the good Shepherd and obey.
In our flesh, we were mute. In Christ, we praise the Lord with every breath for His majesty.
In our flesh, we were blind. In Christ, we see God’s glory in the face of Jesus.
In sin, we were broken and divided. In Christ, we are one and whole.
In our flesh, there was no good thing. In Christ we are made new made new and made a heritage.
In sin, we fall short of God’s glory. In Christ, we are the righteousness of God.
In sin, we were tormented beggars and debtors. In Christ, we are forgiven and redeemed with treasure.
In our flesh, we were in bondage and slavery. In Christ, we are liberated and adopted as children of God.
In the world, we were outside the gate. In Christ, we are welcomed into the Father’s house.
In sin, we were forgotten. In Christ, we are remembered before the throne of grace.
In haste, we had sold our birthright. In Christ, we have every blessing in heavenly places.
In sin, we were defiled and dirty. In Christ, we are cleansed by his blood and sanctified by His Spirit.
In sin we were abandoned and forsaken. In Christ, we have been loved with an everlasting love.
In our sin, we were ignorant. In Christ, we know the truth, are freed, and worship in the Spirit & Truth.
In the world, we were distressed and dispirited. In Christ, we have peace in the Holy Spirit.
In sin, we were open to satan’s attack. In Christ, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit.
In the flesh, we were bare and unprotected. In Christ, we have been clothed with garments of salvation.
In violations, we were dead. In Christ, we are made alive.
In the world, we were without hope and without God. In Christ, God has given us an enduring hope
Posts Tagged With: Good News
In Sin vs. In Christ
In our flesh, we were wicked and perverse. In Christ, we are holy and perfected as He is.
Islam: A Step Forward or a Stab in the Dark?
Some would say that Islam is peaceful. It is akin to peace for sure: “you submit to me so I can have my peace or else.” However, Islam as an inherently peaceful religion is not faithful to historical realities or contemporary practice.
A. Muhammed is reputed to have led a number of raids in the name of Islam per Islamic traditions.
B. Islam after “the time of Muhammed” was spread by the edge of the sword.
C. Islam preserves its numbers by the sword. It says that there should be no compulsion in religion, but it has an enforced restraint on the practice of faith: sharing the Love of Jesus.
D. Islamic movements around the world are today toppling governments and establishing and enforcing more rigidly Islmamic movements at the edge of the sword.
Islam claims to follow Jesus.
Jesus said, “Those who live by the sword will die by the sword.” And so, you can understand why radical, violent Muslims are dying like flies: They serve the baals (masters) of this world and the sword of the flesh.
Some Muslims propose that Islam was a step forward over paganism. Actually, it is about the same since most Muslims are still afraid of spirits. Even in the Arabian Peninsula sorcery is still practiced and immorality continues, only now with the endorsement of temporary marriages in some situations.
I love Muslims. I spend time with them. I hope that one day more will come to know the truth, but this root of violence must be dealt with.
The recent violence in London is of a crime committed. Some fear radical Islam. Some fear a new terrorist plot. Some say it is random individuals. The reality is that people who kill cannot build the house of God.
You say, “But look at David. Didn’t David the King of Israel advance the Kingdom of Israel through the sword? Didn’t he kill many? Wasn’t he called a man after God’s own heart?”
It is true he killed many. It is true he was called a man after God’s own heart. But it was also true that he was rejected from building the house of God because he had blood on his hands (1 Chronicles 22:6-10). And even he did not seem to delight in blood (2 Samuel 1-4). Inherent within the narrative of David’s life is the fact that he was kept from his dreams because he did his job: it was his job as a king to kill. His dream was to build a house for the Lord, instead he prepared the way for others.
So did Muhammed prepare the way for others? Did he point the way to Jesus?
He is reported as calling Jesus: Word of God, Spirit of God, Pure (sinless), virgin-Born, Messenger, Servant of God. Amazing! Jesus is greater than Muhammed if these are true for he not only brought the Gospel (Injeel), but is the point of the Gospel.
Indeed the Good News is that Jesus did not retaliate for the wrong that was done to him but actively rebuked those who sought to “defend” him. Jesus healed his captors. He preached to Pilate. Jesus looked forward to joy even on the cross.
There is no such thing as politically correct Christianity. Only a politically-incorrect Christ can rule.
It is politically incorrect to forgive evil. But that is what Jesus did.
If you want to be politically correct, enforce the law, and serve justice alone, then you need to become a Judaizer. If you want to serve the Lord, follow Jesus.
Jesus preceded “Muhammed.” Submission to the law of the sword is inferior to walking in love. Those who walk in love will move from the Arabian Prophet Muhammed to the Advocate & Peacemaking Messiah. For as love expands, it must expand from the lesser to the greater, from the temporal and regional to the eternal and universal.
Jesus is alive.
Jesus is Lord of all.
Jesus is coming again.
Are you ready to meet the Father of all families?
Christians usually remember the Great Commission: Jesus sent out His disciples after He had risen from the tomb and He gave them authority to do what He had been doing. John records these words, “As the Father sent Me, so I send you.” Matthew says, “As you are going, make disciples of all nations: baptizing them in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And Look, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Mark has a fragment of that in a more general blast: Announce the Good News to all creation. Luke 24:44ff is more of a Bible study, which includes the message, the Messiah, the method, and the missions base. Acts details Jesus’ mandate that after the Holy Spirit comes on us, we will be witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and to the extreme parts of the earth. Sort of waves of mission activity going out.
But the common action in all these is going. Last night I chatted with 2 guys on the busses I rode. One was a saint and one was interested. With both I sought to make known the Love of God. It really is a simple message when you boil it down.
The problem with boiling down the message is that you will face some heat in the process. Earlier in the day, when eating with a guy who calls himself a saint, a neighbor came up and asked if I was proselytizing. To be honest, I was a little offended. Perhaps my neighbor was being kind and giving me a compliment. However, I don’t see myself as a proselytizer, but as a propagater, spreading propaganda. Whether I am encouraging people to quit smoking or to practice other good health practices, I want to bring Good News to people. Jesus cares about people’s health. If I am encouraging people to be financially responsible, I want to do so in view of the fact that Jesus is financial responsible. The fact is Jesus is so financially responsible that He provides for people food and drink and clothing around the world every day. He even paid the debt of sin we owe to God and gives us an inheritance in heaven. God is good.
So, I don’t see myself as a proselytizer who convinces people to follow me and give up all that they enjoy. Rather, I see myself as a giver: I plant seeds of hope, for both time and eternity. I build trust in the One who is truly reliable. I pour out deliberate acts of kindness.
Some regard kindness as a random thing, but it is not, there is a deliberate agenda behind kindness: to treat people as you would want to be treated in view of the fact that God has treated you as He would have wanted to be treated if He were in your position.
Personally, I think of the many ways I have taken God for granted and ignored His grace, then I immediately want to repent and express each day that I go out: God is good & His faithful love lasts forever, so I am thankful to be alive. I am also thankful you are alive. Maybe you searched the internet today thinking: “How can I die?” “Where can I find a sexy woman?” or just typed in “customer service jobs” or “how to make money” and you read that Jesus can help you with all these … but then Jesus offers something much better: Life after death. Love beyond sex. Managing-self to serve others, and giving money to receive wealth that will never disappoint.
So, go … search the internet and find what this means: I desire to show mercy & not your sacrifice. It is from Hosea, my paraphrase.
Basically, a guy goes crazy, marries an unfaithful woman, he serves her, she takes his money, but then she sells herself as a slave/prostitute, so the prophet buys her back.
You and I are like that woman: foolish & self-destructive. Hosea, whose name means salvation, is like Jesus, whose name Y’shua (from Yehoshua) means the Lord saves.
And if you know Jesus, go, tell somebody else about him so that you can share that joy of your salvation with them. You don’t have to make them conform to your image and proselytize them. Our goal is one of restoration: restoration to the image of God.
Go in peace & serve the Lord.
Consecration & Cars: A parable
I live in an area where automotive research makes a lot of money. Even though not in Detroit, the engineering schools attract a lot of top talent for companies like Subaru, Toyota, Honda, Chrysler, etc. However, there is a lack of study here on what excellence in spiritual life looks like: Christlike.
Most of the spirituality here is of the car-like variety: running & rusting. Dirty in the winter, idolized in the summer. Dreamed about, but wasted.
Often when the Bible talks about a soul running, they are either running to the Lord (Isaiah 40:31) or away from the Lord (Jonah). When a car is running, that means it works, likewise, when a person is running, they are exerting effort, laboring. The real issue though is: Are we exerting effort to draw closer to God or are we drawing away from God. Consecration (that is, our dedication of purpose) makes all the difference.
Often, we speak of cars resting. If they are resting at a traffic light, people will either be honking because it is green and they should go or the driver will be restless because they are wanting to go through to their destination ASAP! Except in Minnesota, where people are “Minnesota nice” and have contests waving each other through, most people do not regard stops as social events, much less ministry events. In sharp contrast, when the church is at rest it is growing. Think of a bunch of cars parked in front of a friends house during a house church or small group. Usually, in such instances the only time you think about the car is when parking and finding the address initially: if you want to go to a party or other gathering, go where the cars are resting. Hmmm, the cars are consecrated in this instance, because likewise, when saints are resting before the Lord, there are often great things that happen: prayer, mission callings, dreams & visions.
Maybe we should park out in the Lord’s presence more often. What would happen if you kept your spiritual life in as good repair as your car? You would listen for the little murmurs that indicate engine trouble, certainly you would keep the tires inflated for maximum efficiency. You would rest. You would drive your car to church on a regular basis to worship.
Now, it is time for a confession, I have no car I claim as my own. I ride busses. But those buses are consecrated to the Lord, as far as I am concerned. I look forward to the rides on the buses as a time when I can meet & encourage & bless people. Some may dread the bus, I delight in them because they are dedicated to the Lord.
Wait, I must address something else in which cars and consecration are very similar: it is about more than appearances. Would you rather have a handsome car with no engine or an ugly car with great gas mileage and great gusto? Hypocrisy affects both cars and people, just because it looks good, doesn’t mean it actually runs all that well. Are you in good repair spiritually? Are you tuned up in the Spirit? Next time you gas your car, pray that the Holy Spirit would fill you up as well. The longer you must pump, the longer you will pray. The more frequently you refuel, the more frequently you will pray.
And while you are at it, pay inside and share the Good News with the gas station attendant.
God loves you.
The Confusion of Christ
There he goes, up from the river, into the back country. Nobody knows what happened other than what he says. He reports conversations with the devil.
Later, he would go into his hometown and speak about the Messianic Kingdom, in terms of fulfillment.
He refused to be a leader even when people wanted to make him one.
He chose to treated like a shepherd: despised, yet dealing with ravenous wolves.
He cared so much for those he tended to that he neglected to sit down for dinner. He was always talking about God and even talked about dying an early death, to the discomfort of his friends.
He knew those who hated him, but he still loved them.
He spoke against powerful leaders, yet was unafraid.
He promoted his mission shamelessly claiming that he would never leave his followers to the end of the age … and then he left … or did he?
This Jesus whom I talk about constantly is the Lord and Lifegiving Spirit.
Some run after visions in the wilderness only to chase this spirit or that spirit.
Others run after this denomination or that denomination.
A few claim to be the messiah themselves.
Personally, I am obsessed with the Man & Messiah: Jesus, Y’shua, Issa.
I cannot force him on anyone, but nor do I intentionally try to hide him. He has infected me with joy and I hope that that spreads to others. Sometimes I laugh at myself or the situation I am in, it is hard not to. Christ has conquered it all! Jesus really is King!
I lost my mind when I thought he was coming back in 3.5 days. Actually, he didn’t. Don’t worry, if you are reading this, you still have an opportunity to repent.
However, many people mistake the pictures of Christ for Jesus himself. They imagine Jesus to be a pleasant teacher who talked vaguely about intangible realities.
Actually, Jesus talked about life and death. He talked about sex and the dangers of sex outside the context of marriage. He talked about the risks of anger on your future. He talked about the failure of the day’s best religious trends to conquer the human heart.
Jesus claimed to be God.
He said, “Be before Abraham was, I am.”
A prophet is not just someone who confronts the age or opinion thereof, rather, a prophet is a God-guided & commissioned person whose words match the Life of Jesus and who emulates the life of God in their own walk.
I cannot claim to be a prophet, but I know that Jesus was more than merely a prophet.
He seemed confused to his family. His followers seem confused to the world. We face all kinds of difficulties, but those difficulties will be overcome through the blood of Jesus.
WHAT?? Human sacrifice is needed to cover our sins?
Yes. A particular sacrifice. A sinless sacrifice. A virgin’s sacrifice. Jesus.
No other way is available. We must tell the world about this. It must be told. We must tell everyone we can. We will seem like the village idiots when we confront sin. We will seem confused when we are so severe on self. We will seem stupid when we resist the ways of the world. But God’s confusion is more clever than the scholarship & psychiatry of the world.
Which will you choose?
Humanistic therapies & thoughts that lead to hell.
Hope from the Father that leads to Heaven.
I once asked a young man what NOT following Jesus was costing him.
His answer: Sanity.
How true that is. Not following Jesus costs you your sanity. You are crazy not to follow Jesus. Mental illness is all rooted in sin. Why is the Western World increasingly dependent upon worthless physicians? Because of sin.
Yes, you and I are sinners. We need Jesus to heal us.
Today is the day.
Will Brunei vote for Jesus with their feet?
Recently in Brunei, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah mandated the closing of all businesses on Fridays during prayers and urged young people not to intermingle the sexes, but to seek God. While it is a noble calling to seek God, doing so while under compulsion is usually met with a degree of dissatisfaction: people object. This is why there is teenage rebellion by some. Brunei is no different. The leader is trying to compel the citizens to follow the Creator and trying to rectify the waywardness of his earlier years by stricter compliance now, but he has forgotten that a life lived in the presence of God is better than trying to take refuge in the Law. Getting people to know God via the Law, did not work under Israelite kings, and it has not worked in any nation since. It just keeps people out of trouble, and the Law is good.
People have reportedly been voting with their feet and staying away from the Mosque on during Jumaa prayers. Some have said that Bruneians vote with their feet, though they are very respectful and would not fathom protesting their leader. I would not recommend such an action since the Bible clearly says, “Do not curse God or the king.” But how wonderful it would be if the saints would, during this holiday season, vote with their feet and carry the good news of Christ’s birth to the people around them. This would make their feet truly beautiful!!
As I was meditating on this last evening, I had a glimpse of the Crown Prince voting with his feet and establishing the future direction of his nation by walking from the palace to a Christian chapel. If I may be so bold as to say it plainly, the Sultan’s family has the opportunity to follow the example of Zerubbabel and build up the house of God, which is the church of living God, the pillar and foundation of the Truth (1 Timothy 3:15). For the Sultan to truly find mercy, he must reconcile with the body of Christ. Now, I say that as a foreigner who does not have to live under the Sultan’s rule, but as one who knows the Word of God. God has entrusted the keys to the Kingdom to those who are victorious like David and Peter.
This narrative, reminds me a little of the account of Henry IV who walked to reconcile with the pope and wait in the snow for mercy & forgiveness. –
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walk_of_Canossa – Now I AM NOT ADVOCATING THAT THE CHURCH HUMILIATE THE SULTAN, the President or any other dignitary. But the church should indeed exercise her authority and right to pray for the Sultan and for the wisdom and salvation of Jesus to come upon the leaders of Brunei. And the leaders of the nations should humble themselves and serve the poor of the Land, even the Church of Jesus Christ of everyday saints.
Indeed, during this Christmas season, we should remember that this is what the Magi did. They left their place of comfort and went to see the King of kings: Jesus. They offered gifts. Would it not be appropriate for the Sultan, President of the United States of America, or the Prime Minister of Israel or any other nation to humbly bow before the Messiah by making a short pilgrimage to a local church fellowship and ruling with integrity and justice and mercy? This is surely the path of peace God desires.
We have the mystery of godliness, therefore, we must share it broadly (1 Timothy 3:16). Therefore, this year, how will you vote with your feet? Who will you go to to tell about Jesus who walked among us as the Prince of Peace?
In Christ, Merry Messiah-Month,
P.S. Yesterday, I had the privilege of sharing a little of the Good News with a student of priestly bearing from Iran and a sushi waiter from China who was interested in the Name.
Hip-hop, don’t stop: Get the Word to the world.
Pray for all saints & souls at all times.
I remember a time a dear brother who worked in a retail health food store in a church I was pastoring requested prayer for his back. He had been my first employer upon my return to Arkansas and I worked at the health food store for a year. I think he later recommended me for the church where I pastored for a couple years.
He was the worship leader, but he had back trouble & NOTHING WORKED: chiropractors, expensive mattresses … NOTHING. The elders gathered & prayed. He was healed instantly as we prayed: Matthew 11:28-30, i.e. taking up the yoke of Jesus and finding rest.
That dear brother, my former boss, is now leading 3 thrift shops that serve a population of redeemed prisoners in Mississippi. God has promoted him from his own business, to the Father’s business.
This Holiday Season, do not be timid to pray for the saints with all kinds of prayers at all times. Who knows, they may be the one to win the people you love and who need love the most.
God’s Power, Jesus’ Faith, and World Mission: A study in Romans
Steve Mosher does an excellent job looking not only at the structure of Romans and the sources of Romans but and the significance of Romans for today when related to its original purpose: to ensure that the mission of Paul would continue beyond his journey to Jerusalem.
His exegesis is sound, and even when I felt his application was going to far, I couldn’t help but face the deepening conviction that my feelings were based more on my own shortcomings and on the present history of the local church than on the vision Paul originally had in mind under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Mosher has a big heart, a broad vision, a clear perception of history, a profound love, and a keen and balanced interpretive skill.
He does here what I have long wanted to do: integrate biblical teaching on the Gospel with a particular to the American Church enumerating where she has succeeded and fallen short in making disciples of all nations according to the pattern established in the first century. Mosher preaches to the choir in a way that should leave the choir crying out on a new minor note, like a minor prophet calling forth the sins of his people.
I commend this work with its clear writing, adequate footnotes, and extensive bibliography.