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In God’s economy, we have no right to a particular standard of living, nor to pursue one. Like Paul, we must learn to be content regardless of our standard of living (Philippians 4:11-12). Indeed, this mindset is prerequisite to our doing “all things through Christ, who strengthens me (v.13).”

We have what we have either because God has given it to us, or we have claimed and carved it out for, by, and to ourselves. For the vast majority of us, there is a mixture; and it is hard to determine what falls into each of these two categories. It may be time for an assessment of the situation.

It is also difficult and threatening to consider what needs to go. Some things we possess will never be anything but the weight and sin that so easily ensnares us (Hebrews 12:1). Or, alternatively, God may consecrate an ill-gotten possession for His eternal use. Recognizing that presumption is an unsafe tactic, how do we know what God would have us do? Read the rest of this entry »

Most of you are reading this article because you are curious about someone else’s perspective on the kingdom of God. Others because you are passionate about your relationship with God the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ. Perhaps these are two points on a spectrum (just an observation).

Perspective and passion are important considerations when we ask ourselves this question. There are at least two perspectives to consider. First, there is God’s perspective and our perspective. For the sake of brevity, we will put aside our perspective and consider His.

From His perspective, there are two additional perspectives related to the meaning of “why”? This is where I want to focus our attention.

“Why?” can mean, “What was His motivation?” It can also mean, “What is His purpose?” Someone might argue that these are ultimately the same. However, there is much to learn in considering them apart from one another.

When we ask ourselves, “Why would God save a wretch like me?” the automatic response is almost always, “Because He loved me.” We get this from John 3:16. God’s motivation is love. That’s true; and it sounds so good, we want to stop there and enjoy the moment (go ahead; feel free).

The experience of God’s love is an awesome thing.  However, failing to move on – as many in the Church have (been taught) – leaves us with a woefully incomplete answer.

Read the rest of this entry »

CompassBeth and I are having a particularly blessed Christmas season. I find myself – like so many others – wanting to hang on; and I will, at least through the end of the year. Thankfully, the reason for this season stays with us for eternity.

But still, 2017 is coming up the driveway; and will be soon knocking at our door. I am already thinking about next week’s meetings and writing deadlines. There is no stopping the movement of time.

So, how do we move on from Christmas? How do we hold onto the reason for the season, as we move into the promise of New Year adventures?

Being a child that likes to ask questions, I asked those questions of our Father in heaven. Being a Father that likes to talk to His children, He answered. Being a brother who likes to pass on the Father’s encouragement, I am sharing with you, the beginnings of that answer.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:5-8

Finding the mind of Jesus, in His “coming in the likeness of men”, is the beginning point for our transition into the New Year. As the Father sent Jesus, so Jesus sends us (John 20:21). The parallels here are astounding. Read the rest of this entry »

Christ on the Throne 2An important reminder: The elementary principles are for the followers of Jesus Christ. They are not for the edification or conviction of non-believers. This is particularly important to keep in mind as we continue to explore the principle of eternal judgment.

In Part 1, we learned two foundational truths about eternal judgment: First, all will be judged, one way or another. Second, while there are two judgment events associated with eternal judgment, eternal judgment is, well, eternal. It has no beginning, nor end.

The Peril of Not Progressing

This is the heading given to Hebrews 6, in the New King James Version. Several other translations title this section “The Peril of Falling Away”. Regardless of your position on Eternal Security (I am intentionally avoiding that debate*), it is clear, from the verses following the elementary principles, that something perilous is at stake.

Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection… And this we will do if God permits. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. Hebrew 6:1-6

Like the elementary principles, this warning is for the followers of Jesus Christ. “And this we will do if God permits.” Permission implies judgment. Clearly there is judgment here; and it is not judgment that waits until a future event. Make no mistake about it:

God is judging our response to the elementary principles.

At this point, it might help to remember that there are two types of judgment. There is judgment that includes condemnation; and there is judgment that something doesn’t belong or is missing (e.g., sin and faith, respectively). Here – particular to our progressing – we are dealing with the latter. Read the rest of this entry »

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