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I have just completed a welcomed five-week break from school. During that time, our heavenly Father decided to chasten me on several fronts. Indeed, He is a careful orchestrator of our time and attention. Without getting into the messy details, I would like to share a few encouragements picked up along the way.

Only the humblest person can trust their opinion of themselves. Our subconscious mind gives more attention to ourselves and thinks more of ourselves than we imagine.

Jesus Christ loves His bride regardless of the state of her health. Assessment is best left up to Him. Judgment and correction are dangerous activities when made by any mind other than Christ’s.

God delegates authority and imparts discernment and grace proportionate to our submission as instruments only. We can fake it, but we will never truly make it, until we die to ourselves.

Concern can degrade into hopelessness and cynicism when faith and joy are not nurtured and shared with others. Yes, there is much to be concerned about; but we must trust the LORD and rejoice in the good works He has created us to walk in.

Neither restoration nor reformation will come until we stop treating the truths of Scripture like Christian clichés. For me, the challenge of this has come in two well-known passages: “…without Me, you can do nothing (John 15:5)” and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).” Think about it.

And finally, the Father is working in us to will and do to His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). The Son is making us and building His church (Matthew 4:19 and 16:18). The Holy Spirit is transforming us by the renewing of our minds (2Corinthians 3:18; Romans 12:2). How can we neglect so great a salvation as this?

God bless you with faith and courage for surrender, sacrifice, and submission to the inward work of grace.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob

Our heart’s desire is that you have yours in the coming year. I am sure you feel the same about those in your spheres of influence and responsibility. And so, I offer you three year-end encouragements. Please pass them on.

Delight yourself also in the LORD,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

First, the LORD has promised to give you the desires of your heart. Consider that for a moment. Every desire God has placed in your heart, for every good work He created you to walk in, has been promised to you by the Creator God. Nothing is impossible, if it is in His will… and you meet the condition.

The only thing that stands between you and those desires is your unwillingness to be soft in Him. That is the meaning of “delight” in this verse. Encouragement #1: Be soft like clay in the Potter’s hands.

Second, God has a way for everything – including the way we manage our time. I recently wrote an article that speaks to this subject. Encouragement #2: Make whatever sacrifice is necessary to spend time with the Father that very much enjoys speaking with His children.

Third, humility is indispensable for the Christian… and likely something different than our minds have been led to think. A. W. Tozer, in his book God Tells the Man Who Cares, puts it this way:

I have met two class of Christians: the proud who imagine they are humble and the humble who are afraid they are proud. There should be another class: the self-forgetful who leave the whole thing in the hands of Christ and refuse to waste any time trying to make themselves good. They will reach the goal far ahead of the rest.

God is working in us to will and do to His good pleasure, which is to give us His kingdom (Philippians 2:13; Luke 12:32). He works best in and through those that have committed their entire way to Him (Psalm 37:5). Encouragement #3: Pray for me and others you love in this regard.

God bless you with the desires of your heart.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob

P.S. Please continue to pray for An Enemy Lies Within. We are nearing completion, but there is still much to do and funds yet to raise.

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 »

Let me begin by saying that I am not proposing an answer to this question. I honestly want to know what Christians mean when they ask me to pray for America. What do they mean when they pray for America?

You may be wondering why this is difficult for me. I suspect it has to do with the definition of terms. I suspect America does not mean the same thing to everyone. Furthermore, I suspect – if you are one of the “pray for America” folks – the following will not sit well with you.

Please don’t dismiss me. I am just looking for answers.

Did you know that America was the number one producer of pornography in the world; and the number one benefactor of the sex slave trade? America also leads the world in the number of incarcerated individuals; a strong indication that America is number one in the practice of lawlessness.

It may sound like I have answered my own question: America needs prayer because America is in grave danger of going the way of many kingdoms before her. And we can’t have that; right? We love America.

Honestly, if that was all there was, I wouldn’t be asking the question. Here’s another: Why do we love America so much that we would pray for her – and be offended when others question why? Read the rest of this entry »

To the beloved, whom I love in truth:  I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers; just as you walk in the truth.

This week, as we prepare for our trip to Ecuador, the following report has come in from our dear friend, Pastor Hugo (note: Walter is the owner of the business that is printing the Spanish version of The Map Maker).

Three of Walter’s workers accepted Jesús as their Lord. Walter, while he was printing, he was reading the digital book, and asking me about how he can become a leader in his Marketplace. So I think this is the start of this ministry here.

There was a time when I struggled to understand the humility that people said they had in being used by God. The Map Maker has changed that for me. When God begins to show you what He can do with so little of your help, it makes you humble.

Speaking of humility, I encourage you to reconsider your exercise of The Lord’s Prayer. Much of my early church experience was spent rotely reciting Jesus’ answer to, “Lord, teach us to pray”. As I matured, I began to put meaning to the words and phrases. Recently, it has occurred to me that Jesus was trying to show us how to get into the proper position before the Father, so that our prayers would be effectual.

The literal translation of two particular phrases helps make this point. First, “Your kingdom come” literally means “Your reign come”. The same is true at the end: “Yours is the reign”. It is the invitation and recognition of the Father’s reign over our lives. It is our subjugation to Him as LORD (and all that means). Read the rest of this entry »

Bible with Cross ShadowBeware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Matthew 7:15-16

It is helpful for our understanding to recognize and consider the Sermon on the Mount as more than a collection of sayings. The order is important. Jesus’ warned of false prophets immediately following His saying about the narrow gate and difficult way. He did so to help us understand what would be false about them.

False prophets have traditionally encouraged the people of God to take the broad way (Jeremiah 14:13-14; Lamentations 2:14; Ezekiel 22:28; Micah 3:5). Jesus warned that they would continue to plague His church – particularly near the end of the age (Matthew 24:11). Furthermore, Peter relates them to false teachers “who will secretly bring in destructive heresies” (2Peter 2:1). Both will lead many away from the kingdom.

These false prophets and teachers will come in disguised and protected by a spirit of deception (2Thessalonians 2:9-12). They will be subtle; preying on those immature in the Lord, or isolated from the fellowship. They will create and use confusion and division to further their agendas. Thankfully, Jesus has given us instruction for knowing them: By their fruit. This brings us to two obvious conclusions.

First, prophets and teachers must be tested. This takes time. For their good, and the good of the fellowship, they should not be given prophet or teacher responsibilities until there is evidence of the Lord’s fruit in their lives. This may take years, but their patience and submission to authority will be an evidence of good fruit.

Second, we must humbly recognize the possibility of being deceived, individually and corporately. Particularly in these days, church leadership must be on their guard; and ready to take action. The aforementioned Thessalonians passage suggests that “a love of the truth” will be our greatest protection. This love is active, and it must be developed. There is a desire for it in every Christian’s heart. Ask God to stir it up; and then respond to His encouragement.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Bible with Cross ShadowOne of the easiest ways to search out the matters of truth that God has hidden in the Scriptures is to harmonize multiple accounts of the sayings of Jesus. We discover such an example in the accounts of “The Model Prayer”. In Luke’s gospel, we find:

Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1

Notice that the disciple did not ask Jesus “how to pray”. As you might expect, “how” is a very common word in the Bible. In fact, it appears 550 times in the New King James Version. So why is it absent here?

I am convinced, and I hope you will consider, that the disciple was asking for more than instruction in prayer. I believe he recognized that Jesus’ way of prayer was so far removed from their own that what they had been calling prayer might as well have been called “apple”.

Jesus’ way of prayer was about life and relationship. It availed much. It was full of humility and trust. Matthew records His thoughts on the contrasting prayers of men.

And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. Matthew 6:7-8

The prayers of men are about men, and what men want. The prayers of Jesus were (and are) about the Father, and what the Father wants. In this saying, Jesus reveals that learning to pray, at its core, is more about finding the right position before the Father than about what we have to say.

“The Model Prayer” is a model of prayer for our positioning. It is through this model that we come into the Father’s presence. Without this positioning, all that we have to say are the vain repetitions of man. Read the rest of this entry »

A Storm is ComingThe way we think about the United States of America and the church that resides here is becoming ever more important. Only when we come to understand the relationship and separation of the kingdom of God and America, can we rightly assess the value and danger of our patriotism. An important question is coming to the foreground: In this day, can we give our hearts’ allegiance to both America and the kingdom of God?

Many of America’s values and beliefs have become contrary to those in the kingdom of God. Two of the most damaging are the spirit of independence and the belief that man has the right to establish his own rule. Without God, the tensions between the two become unmanageable. The United State of America is swiftly becoming an example and object lesson in this regard. Read the rest of this entry »

Multi-ethnic pile of handsMuch has been said about servant leadership; and much has been written. I would like to offer a deeper perspective. It begins with a familiar verse:

For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Luke 14:11

Most of us would admit that our success has more to do with others than with our own efforts – particularly those of us that understand the power of God in our lives. We know what it means to be proud (to exalt ourselves); and most of us agree that it is not a good thing. We know that “pride comes before a fall”; and so, we try to avoid becoming prideful. This is a good thing.

But, what about being humble? Does avoiding pridefulness automatically result in humility? Is being humble a passive activity? I suggest to you that it is not.

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Mark 9:35

It is noteworthy that wanting to be first is not a bad thing. The way we get there is the issue. Those who exalt themselves will be humbled. Those who will be last, and the servant of all, will be exalted by God. This is His promise, and the promise of His Son.

The way this happens, and what it looks like, is a mystery; and it is likely different for every Workplace Leader. However, each one of us can be confident in this important leadership principle. If you will be a humble servant of all, you will know His pleasure and support.

Workplace Ministry Tip: Assuming you have dealt with the pride in your life, look for the areas where you can humbly serve those you are leading. It is the path to exaltation in the workplace.

Let me know how I can help you in this regard; and let me know what you are hearing from the LORD. You can reach me at rob@inlightconsulting.com.

Humbly yours and forever His,

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