Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart. That is God’s promise to His children in Psalm 37:4. The Hebrew behind “delight” literally means “to be soft”. Therefore, striving to be God’s pen (and nothing else), I often find myself writing from a desire or burden He has stirred in my heart.

That desire – the desire He has placed in my heart for this series of articles – is to participate with Him in raising up and fortifying houses that will stand in the storms of life; those houses being Christian people, families, and fellowships. Storms have always been indiscriminate; both good and evil people experience them more often than we would prefer. Storms can be devastating… and they can be opportunities.

Several significant storms are brewing over America and the world. They will likely continue into the rest of this decade. Many houses will fall under their pressure, including those of our sisters and brothers in Christ. These individuals, families, and fellowships will be looking around for a safe harbor. Jesus has promised that those who hear and do His sayings in the Sermon on the Mount will have well-founded and strong houses (i.e., places of refuge). From there, the wise builders will be positioned and purposed as God’s ministering agents.

Therefore, the purpose of this study is to both learn Jesus’ sayings and to discover how to “do them”. Read the rest of this entry »

Recognizing that a storm is still coming (some would argue that it has arrived); and recognizing that the house that stands in the storm is the house built by the man who “hears these saying of mine and does them”; and recognizing that you cannot do something you have not heard; I am searching out the Sermon on the Mount (SOTM) – again – for the sayings that my Master would have me do. I hope you will join me.

This is not the first time I have endeavored to understand these sayings of Jesus. Here are a few past discoveries that will help in our most recent searching:

  1. The SOTM is filled with kingdom mystery. A mystery may mean something different to different people; and different things to the same person at different times. In any case, it must mean something. Each one is responsible to search out the meaning. The Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ are our teachers.
  2. In much the same way that the Law was given to reveal our inability to please God, the SOTM exposes our inability to live the normal Christian life. Only Jesus Christ can live that life. This does not excuse us to live some other life. Rather, it helps focus our attention on the way God intends to save us (Romans 5:10).
  3. While everything Jesus says is ultimately actionable, some sayings are more so than others. For example, “let him have your cloak also” is easily translated into a particular and ubiquitous action; whereas, poor in spirit is more about attitude and belief, manifesting itself in differing behaviors. At this point, I believe God will focus us on the more actionable sayings. However, it should be noted that the Beatitudes are positioned at the beginning of the SOTM for a reason. Giving up my cloak to someone that is suing me for my tunic is only possible for someone that is poor in spirit.

We are revisiting these sayings for obvious reasons: several significant storms are brewing over America and the world. They will likely continue into the rest of this decade. Many houses will fall under their pressure, including those of our sisters and brothers in Christ. These individuals, families, and fellowships will be looking around for a safe harbor. It is the desire of my heart as God’s pen to help raise up houses that will be ministering agents.

Furthermore, we plan to use this revisit, and a providential teaching opportunity, to produce a new book on the SOTM. Our prayer (please join us) is for God’s glory and the advance of His kingdom. You can also help in this endeavor by asking questions, challenging my thinking and providing additional input. God speaks in community; even virtual community. I expect He will use you to make me a more faithful steward of the mysteries of God.

In the meantime, God bless you with grace for the storms in your life and in the lives of those whom God has placed in your spheres of influence.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob

When Adam and Eve rebelled against God, a spiritual amnesia set in; they no longer recognized who they were and who they were created to be. Eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil bound humankind’s ability to reason with our rebellious nature. In the process, mankind’s #1 enemy was unleashed. The carnal mind has been at enmity with God and His children ever since.

Our carnal mind, with help from Satan and the world, labors tirelessly to keep us trapped in the amnestic condition into which we are naturally born. Regrettably, Christians have not fared well of late in this regard. Many do not realize the attack continues even after we are spiritually reborn. One particularly critical battle front involves the way we think about the new life we have been promised in Jesus Christ.

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live… Galatians 2:20a

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23

For whoever wants to save their life
will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.
Mark 8:35

As Jesus took our place in death, He must also take our place in life. Even after we become a new creature in Christ, we must lose our life to fully exist in His. Death and resurrection are not the same; they do not accomplish the same outcome. The transactions, so to speak, are different.

Even on this side of rebirth, God’s promises are conditional. We don’t get to keep our life and Jesus’, too. There is a connection that remains between the old and the new that cannot be fully severed until the new has been surrendered AND sacrificed. Read the rest of this entry »

I pray this letter finds you and yours well, and well blessed. I hope it will leave you encouraged.

Encouragement – the act of putting courage in – is truly something we all need in this season. Courage is contagious; it can be drawn from others, and it can be shared.

Let’s begin with this:

Serving the King,

That you love and admire,

Is neither burden nor responsibility;

It is opportunity and privilege.

Instruments are useless,

Until they are put to good use.

They lay in the dark drawer,

Lonely,

Until the Master selects them,

For His good work.

The most useful tools,

Are the ones placed out,

Within easy reach.

They fit the Master’s hand,

And His hand fits them.

Perhaps the greatest courage we need in this hour is to commit our way to the LORD, trusting in Him to bring to pass whatever He desires. Our hope is to be used, but we must learn to wait patiently on Him.

As this pandemic began, sequestering most of us in our homes, many I spoke with believed God was trying to get our attention, that we would draw closer to Him, for rest, reset, and renewal, in preparation for opportunities to advance His kingdom in the coming storms of this decade. Since then, the chaos of economic crisis and the lawlessness that has gripped this country have threatened to distract and draw us from God’s presence and peace.

So, we offer you this encouragement: Read the rest of this entry »

Back in 2015, we wrote a series of articles based on the theme, A Storm is Coming, eventually collecting and publishing the series as an eBook. At the time, many were preparing physically for what they expected to be an economic storm (myself included). A Storm is Coming was written to redirect our attention to the spiritual preparation Christians should be making.

What follows is a reconstruction of one of the first articles in the series. It is offered as a reminder that preparation is necessary for those who will be used by God during the chaos that lies before us. As the chaos intensifies, we must be diligent to avoid worldly distractions (Colossian 3:2), that we might focus on participating with God as He works in us to will and to do to His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13).

It’s the Same, but Different

We must recognize that the spiritual preparation we are talking about is something we, as Christians, should have been doing anyway. There is nothing new under the sun. The church today is suffering in many of the same ways it has suffered over the past 2000+ years (e.g., division, apathy, worldliness). The solutions, though daunting, are unchanged (e.g., surrender, die to self, love God and love others, sacrifice, serve).

However, there are least two things that are different for the church during this season. First, there is a growing urgency. Whether from those that sense a storm is coming, or from those that have experienced the slow but growing decline of the church’s influence in society, those that will take their heads out of the sand and truly consider the situation will sense the growing urgency. Read the rest of this entry »

This article is the fourth in a series based on the assumption that God is after something, He is doing something to get what He is after, and He is willing to tell us everything that we need to know for our participation. God is using this time of chaos (like so many others) to prepare His children for a season of opportunity that will be exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think.

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work… 2Thessalonians 2:7a

Lawlessness has been around since Satan rebelled against God. It has plagued mankind since that fateful day when Adam and Eve succumbed to his deception and chose to follow his lead. The events of the last few weeks remind us that lawlessness is already at work.

The truth is, most of us have become comfortable with some level of lawlessness in our lives. We have learned to justify our lack of lawfulness. Who drives the speed limit anymore? For that matter, who loves their neighbor as themselves? Lawlessness is not a respecter of persons. Our comfort with it should cause great concern, perhaps even fear. Things could get worse.

Chapter two of Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonian church describes the tragic culmination of the legacy we have carried since mankind’s rebellion in the Garden of Eden. It warns of a great apostasy, a falling away of people from the kingdom of God prior to Jesus’ return and His gathering of the faithful to Himself.

Like me, you are probably wondering how a follower of Jesus Christ could ever leave Him. There are doctrines of man that argue against such a possibility. As you might imagine, such doctrines have become quite popular. Personally, I don’t understand them. But that is not what this article is about.

Our purpose here is to expose the enemy’s tactics and encourage a sufficient response. You see, lawlessness is simply a symptom of, and a cover for, the enemy’s primary weapons.

The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish… 2Thessalonians 2:9-10a

The rise of lawlessness is like smoke to a fire. Yes, the smoke can kill you, but the fire is the source. Put out the fire and the smoke will eventually abate. Read the rest of this entry »

This article is the third in a series based on the assumption that God is after something, He is doing something to get what He is after, and He is willing to tell us everything that we need to know for our participation. God is using this time of chaos (like so many others) to prepare His children for a season of opportunity that will be exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think.

Conditions can be viewed in two opposing ways. We can consider them as responsibilities forced upon us for some desired outcome, or as opportunities for reward. Our mindset in this regard has a great deal to do with our relationship and interaction with the one setting the conditions, as well as our response to them.

A classic example is our view of labor for income. Those who appreciate labor as an opportunity to earn income enjoy their work and make better employees. Persons who feel their labor is forced on them are generally disgruntled workers, slaves to their jobs.

In regards to God’s conditions for His promised blessings, this is another battleground with our carnal mind. At enmity with God, the mind of our flesh would have us perceive and relate to God as oppressor. This is a mindset that must be cast down (2Corinthians 10:5).

The Father’s good pleasure is to give us His kingdom (Luke 12:32). His desire is for a people who will surrender to His reign, welcome His habitation, and enjoy the intimacy of His presence. Recognizing our weak estate, our loving Father has graciously and lavishly provided motivation for pursuing what He is after. Read the rest of this entry »

This and several subsequent articles are based on the assumption that God is after something, He is trying to do something to get what He is after, and He is willing to tell us all that we need to know for our participation. God is using this time of chaos (like so many others) to prepare His children for a season of opportunity that will be exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think.

The purpose of this specific article is to direct our perspective and meditations beyond the current situation and our spiritual condition, even beyond what He is requiring of us, to what He is after in and through those who will join in His good work. At some point (perhaps next week), we will consider His conditions for our participation but, for now, we strongly encourage you to look ahead.

You might be wondering why we are starting with the future. For so many of us, it is difficult to shift our focus away from our current situation and condition. We become captivated by its comfort or its concern. In our attempt to maintain or manage the status quo, we forget that God desires to transform us from one level of glory to another (2Corinthians 3:18).

Furthermore, our first thoughts about joining God in His transformative work tend to be “what will it cost me?”. Believe me, we all do it. Counting the cost is both normal and encouraged by Jesus. The problem comes when we fail to weigh the cost against the return/reward. And that’s what looking to the promised future will help us to do. We will use Isaiah 58 as an example. Read the rest of this entry »

If we are not careful, chaos will drive us to carnal reasoning and the resultant carnal response. The best defense is a good offense. Our best offense against the wiles of our carnal mind is the process of faith. That process is dependent on an intimate relationship with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.

For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Luke 11:10

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. Revelation 3:20

As a bit of a side note, it is interesting that the door of intimacy with the Lord opens both ways. He desires our intimacy like a groom for his bride. Truly, nothing but our reluctance stands in the way.

Recognizing that intimacy requires conversation, let me suggest three conversation starters:

Lord, what are you saying?

Lord, what are you doing?

Lord, what are you after?

There is an assumption behind these questions: God is after something; He is trying to do something to get what He is after, and; He is willing to tell us all that we need to know. God is using this season of chaos (like so many others) to prepare His children for a season of opportunity that is likely beyond our imagination. Read the rest of this entry »

“Almost 19,000 children have been sexually groomed in England in the past year, according to official figures that have prompted warnings of an ‘epidemic’. Campaigners say the true number is far higher…” – The Independent, December 2019 (“Sexually groomed” is the politically correct phrase for abducted and raped multiple times by gangs of men).

This is what the Bible calls wickedness and evil. Satan is not to blame (James 4:7); neither is the world (Galatians 6:14). This is the depravity of mankind. This is carnality, the product of mankind left to their own reign and control. This is what Jesus Christ came to die for, to redeem.

I am reminded how much of a bubble I live in. And for that I am grateful; I have not experienced this kind of evil. I am also remorseful and concerned, for my senses have been dulled and mostly blinded to the evils of mankind.

Consequently, I have underestimated and undervalued what the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have done and are doing to restore what they lost in mankind’s rebellion. I have undervalued and underestimated what they desire to do through me and my brethren. And I recognize how incompetent, how insufficient I am for even the smallest part of this endeavor. It is imperative that I become a vessel and instrument of God’s grace.

As far as I know right now, God has not called me to rescue exploited children (as much as I would like to). He has not called me to punish the men and women that exploit them (again, as much as I would like to). Read the rest of this entry »

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