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I don’t know who first said, “The Bible is the LORD’s manual for life,” but it is surely as true now as it was then. The LORD has a way for everything. We ignore His ways at our peril.

Most would readily agree that the Bible contains prescribed ways for salvation, sanctification, and all the other big Kingdom processes. Some have recognized His prescription for building the church (Ephesians 4:11-16) and evangelizing the world (John 17:21-23). When we follow the LORD’s ways, He gets involved – sometimes just to show that His ways are the best ways.

The Process

As important as success is to the LORD and man, it should not surprise us to discover that the LORD has prescribed a way of finding and securing success. He has revealed it in Psalm 37. Let’s take a look at it.

1 Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.

Step 1: Taking our eyes off the world and focusing them on Jesus. Beholding His glory, we will be transformed into the same likeness, by the Holy Spirit (2Corinthians 3:18). Furthermore, knowing the fate of the worldly, we should fear the desire to become like them (James 4:4).

3 Trust in the LORD, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.

Step 2: The LORD desires and has commanded us to trust Him. To trust in anything or anyone else is idolatry.

Step 3: The LORD has created us to walk in good works (Ephesians 2:10). It is there that we find Him. Those works are determined by Him, and He is glorified in them (Matthew 5:16).

Step 4: The LORD promised “the land” to the Israelites. He has promised something much greater to the followers of Jesus Christ. He has promised us abundant life in His kingdom. We must dwell in Christ and learn to live in the kingdom of heaven. “The kingdom of heaven is like…” It is important to recognize this kingdom is here now.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Greek language was created by God for the recording of the New Testament. I am not a Greek scholar, by any means. However, I have learned that the Greek is a much more dynamic language than our Americanized English.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are all called to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God (1Corinthians 4:1-2). Logically, our first step will be to search out the mysteries we have been given to steward – as treasures in a field. This is to our benefit.

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
Proverbs 25:2

Here are a couple of examples for your encouragement (to search) and edification:

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

Many translations of this verse end with “that we should do them”. This is a mistranslation. God did not create us to do good works. That is His job. Our responsibility is to walk in them – as vessels and instruments of righteousness. In light of this (no pun intended), the mystery of Matthew 5:16 becomes revelation.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Jesus’ command is not for us to do good works. It is to let our light shine, so that the Father will be glorified. That light is the very life of Jesus (John 1:4) – the perfect representation of the Father.

Example 2 – Set or Make

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32

Many translations encourage us that “the truth shall set you free”. In this context, the difference between “make” and “set” is enormous. “Set” is an event; “make”, a process. Jesus said, “I will make you…”. He is the Truth.

Additionally, the mental image is much different. A bird can be set free… and recaptured. You cannot unmake a cake – or a disciple.

Searching out the mysteries of God is one of the most rewarding adventures of the Christian life. It is finding that which has been entrusted to us by our Maker. Once found, it can then be shared – for His pleasure and glory.

So, pass on what you have learned here. Be a faithful steward.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will  ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. John 15:5-8

Most of my life, I have understood the fruit of the vine to be the good works we were created to walk in (Ephesians 2:10). Recently, someone suggested that it is the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). I am sure that both are true, as well as the interpretation I most recently heard.

Before I go there, I would like to recognize that an “either/or” perspective on Scripture limits our understanding. It also has a way of dividing the Body of Christ. I cannot tell you how many times a “both/and” approach has precipitated the Holy Spirit’s revelation and encouragement.

Now, let me direct your attention to the passage above. Read it carefully – particularly verses five and seven. Branches that bear fruit are those that abide in Christ. Those branches that thus abide, ask what they desire, and it is done for them. The fruit of the vine are the answers to our prayers.

Furthermore, we now understand that the measure of our abiding in Christ is answered prayer; and the fruit we bear are the answers to prayer that glorify the Father (v. 8). This leads us to two very important revelations. Read the rest of this entry »

  • Having learned that the Scriptures speak extensively of believers disqualifying themselves (Part 1); and,
  • Having learned that salvation is a process that must be completed to be effectual (Part 2); and,
  • Having explored the inseparable relationship of grace, faith and works (also, Part 2);
  • We now search out the deeper meaning of several passages that speak to disqualification. These include burying our talents, rejecting holiness (and thus rejecting God), failing to endure to the end, desiring to save one’s life, and choosing something other than the sacrificial life.
  • Finally, we recognize that appropriate fear is a blessed motivator in our pursuing salvation, God has promised to provide all that we need to make our election sure.

Introduction

A Storm is ComingIn Part 1 of this series, we learned that Jesus, Peter, and Paul encouraged us to avoid becoming disqualified in our salvation; even going so far as to clearly describe the conditions that lead to that disqualification. We also recognized that God does not disqualify us (He desires that all be saved). We disqualify ourselves.

Understandably, this raised a number of issues; primarily with those that hold to a “once saved, always saved” theology, and those concerned that I was supporting a works based salvation. Part 2 has been offered to address these two issues. The first – of which I respectfully disagree – is better understood in light of salvation as a process, and the timing of God – and Jesus’ – judgment.

The second objection gave opportunity to briefly discuss the relationship of grace, faith and works. In a nutshell, neither can be understood with the others. Recent theological error has been introduced by our attempts to analytically separate and teach them.

Here in the third part, we will look at a few of the more obvious passages that speak to the potential for our disqualification. As you read each passage, I encourage you to trust the Holy Spirit with your mind; to renew it as necessary. As you read my limited commentary, keep in mind that the passage must mean something – even if it is not what I think it means. Read the rest of this entry »

Multi-ethnic pile of handsWell, here we are again: The beginning of another year. I pray that you, your family, and your organization are well and well blessed, in 2017. I hope that you will discover God’s purpose, plan and power for joyful, Spirit-filled ministry.

My desire, and the purpose of inLight Consulting, is to help Workplace Leaders find joyful, Spirit-filled ministry. This relates to business in a profound and powerful way. Let me explain.

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.  He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Psalm 37:4-6

God intends to give you the desires He has placed in your heart. Trust Him, and He will bring it to pass. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light. Others will see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). Who wouldn’t want that?

However, there is a catch – a condition. God requires that we first find, and surrender to, the BIG picture purposes He has established. This is both good for His kingdom, and good for us.

I dare to say that most business owners and executives find purpose in their profession. While this seems acceptable (even honorable), it is a limited and inhibiting perspective. Our purpose in life is much grander than any profession or business entity. These things should be found inside (i.e., serving) the BIG picture purpose of our lives. Read the rest of this entry »

The elementary principles are for more than our understanding. By grace, we come to believe the word of God in regards to each one; and particularly here, that faith toward God is a foundational principle of our life in Christ Jesus.

Furthermore, our believing is suspect if there is not accompanying work. Faith without works is dead. The work of faith is most often thought of as the outward manifestation of our faith (e.g., feeding the hungry, clothing the naked). However, there is another working that accompanies faith; and it is the work that must come first.

In this concluding part, we will explore the two-fold work of faith toward God. For those of you that have not searched out the deeper meaning of faith, Part 1 is a good place to start. To understand the importance of “toward God”, read Part 2.

Faith’s Work in the Believer

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

As we begin, it is important to recognize that faith is a gift of God. We will not find faith in ourselves; nor are we able to create faith, in ourselves or others. This is common knowledge among the followers of Jesus Christ.

However, we must ask ourselves: How many evangelistic crusades, revivals, and worship services are now focused on “working up faith” in the seeker? This is a dangerous and soulish deception. Faith comes from one source. Read the rest of this entry »

Bible with Cross ShadowMoreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.  Matthew 6:16-18

It is interesting, revelatory and (at least for me) convicting that Jesus speaks of fasting in the same way He spoke of doing good and praying. In doing so, He is making it clear for us that fasting is to be a very important part of the normal Christian life. Fasting for worldly benefit carries the same consequences: Identification as a hypocrite, and loss of heavenly reward.

My conviction is not for being a hypocrite. It goes much deeper than that. Jesus did not say, “…if you fast”. He assumed that His followers would fast; as much as they would do good and pray.

There was a time in my life when I fasted on a fairly regular basis. Then I stopped. I don’t remember when, but it was some time ago. I had a good reason for laying down this discipline. At the time, it had become a legalistic ritual. My motivations were wrong, so I quit.

I am sure that my plan was to correct my motivations and return to fasting; but it didn’t happen. I believe I know why, and I am not happy about it. Perhaps it will help you to know why I faltered. For me, what follows is a confession that I believe will gain the Father’s forgiveness and His deliverance from all unrighteousness (1John 1:9). It will also make my house stronger.

Having recognized the fault in my motivation for fasting, I began searching the Scriptures for the right one. I learned that many Christians fasted for four primary reasons:

  1. To show humility and repentance;
  2. To seek God’s face more fully;
  3. To know God’s will; and,
  4. To demonstrate sincerity in something we desire from God.

As you can see, there is a strong connection between fasting and prayer. In a sense, fasting is an enabling discipline for the improvement of our prayer life; and, consequently, our relationship with our heavenly Father. Who wouldn’t want that? I was ready to get started.

Being the process-oriented person that I am, I just had to ask God the question, “So then, how would you have me fast?” The Father really likes it when His children ask Him these kinds of questions. His children don’t always like the answer. Read the rest of this entry »

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