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God is all about 1 thing…

January 18, 2011 Leave a comment

God is all about His own glory.

Not your glory. Not my glory. Not your happiness. Not my happiness. God is about His glory in and through all things.

And He wants you and I to be all about His glory, too!

Jesus was all about God’s glory. John 12:28 reminds us of what Jesus said and how the Father responded (ESV): “Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”*

-Mark (are you about His glory?)

*The Holy Bible: English standard version. 2001 (Jn 12:28). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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Are you self-sufficient?

December 29, 2010 1 comment

One of the desires of sinful mankind is self-sufficiency. It’s reinforced in modern America. But is it biblical and godly to be self-sufficient? I say “no.” We are to be Christ-sufficient or better yet, we are to find our sufficiency in Christ alone.

We need to depend (trust) in God and not ourselves (Prov. 3:5-8). We need to depend upon God. We are not self-sufficient though we like to think we are and can be, but it’s simply a lie of Satan and this world to tell us that we do not need God or His Word.

Did you realize that Adam and Eve were created to depend and trust in God’s Word even before the Fall of mankind in Genesis 3? Before sin, mankind was created as a being who must depend upon God alone and to obey/trust His Word. Look at what happened when man disobeyed in Genesis 3: consequences to sin and death/suffering, etc. The result in our world today is tragic and we are daily reminded of the sin of our first parents to be “self-sufficient” and trusting in their own ideas rather than the Word of God.

It is hard to live by faith in America but God is allowing us to experience some hard consequences now that will bring us to our knees showing us we are not self-sufficient but ever dependent upon the King of Kings.

-Mark (don’t be self-sufficient and don’t even desire it; desire Christ and find your sufficiency in Him alone)

Living in Dark of Eternity

December 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Most people do NOT live in light of eternity like Colossians 3:2 tells us:

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”**

What is most important in this life are the eternal things that will carry on in the next life. How ironic is that? It’s upside down to most people and many in the world would disagree thinking this biblical truth is insane. Those people have no hope in God and the next life to come.

What will live on in the next life? Our souls in new bodies and the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Our possessions will no longer mean anything to anyone so why do we work so hard for temporal things? Because we are in the dark not in the light.

So if you are not living in light of eternity, then you are living in the dark of eternal things.

-Mark (learning to set my mind on eternity as I live each temporal day; please pray for me to do this better!)

**The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Col 3:2). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Did Jesus fear the Lord?

December 5, 2010 1 comment

Fear of the Lord gets watered down anymore when people say, “Well, it doesn’t mean we fear the Lord but that we respect Him.” Not totally true. It does mean we respect Him AND it does mean we FEAR Him. There’s no way around it.

I did a word study on fear once trying to find it to be true that it was respect. Somehow I was thinking that was better than “fear.” Well, my studies told me that the word “fear” meant “fear.” Fear is fear. “Hmmm,” I thought, “Ok, it’s fear, Lord, so please put more of the fear of God in me.” That was my prayer.

Proverbs 9:10 says: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. AND Proverbs 1:7 says: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”**

Wisdom is the doing of knowledge. It’s the “living it out” part and the application part of knowledge. To be wise is to be a doer. Jesus was the wisest man who ever lived.

So, did Jesus fear the Lord? In Luke 2:52, it says: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”** Therefore, if He grew in wisdom, He first had to fear the Lord. His fear was not like ours – momentary outbursts of fear – but it was sustained throughout His life and was not sinful. But yes in a human sense, Jesus had to have feared the Lord since He submitted to the Father; therefore, you and I must fear Him and submit to Him, also.

Allistair Begg explained this concept of fear and I’ll paraphrase what I gleaned from him. He was commenting on Ecclesiastes 12:13-14: “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” Begg said that life is not trivial or irrelevant since we are to fear God and keep His commandments. It’s not servile fear (which means harsh or cruel) which is the fear of what God might do to me since we are His children. Rather, it is fear of what I might do to Him when I sin and “shame” His glorious reputation.

Are you afraid that your actions might drag God’s reputation through the mud since people know you are a Christian? Then, you should fear Him and do what is right at all times, even when no one is looking!

Even the thief on the cross understood fearing God in Luke 23:39-43: “One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

One thief never feared the Lord. The other one came to fear the Lord while on the cross and now he is with Jesus in heaven!

I’d say this is an important Christian concept not to lose sight of.

-Mark (praying and asking the Lord to put the fear of Him in me EVERY day)

**The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Being a Daniel in Babylon

December 1, 2010 Leave a comment

This is one of the more important blogs I’ve written. No kidding!

We are all living in Babylon in some way. Everyone has a Babylon they live in whether it’s at work, home, school, or even at church. They feel like an outsider (Daniel) living in a foreign land (Babylon) with foreign values and foreign ideas. As a Daniel, they stand out as “different” to the culture around them but they are just “right” in God’s eyes.

Where is your Babylon? Are you called to be different from your work, school, home, or even church? Are they wanting you to bow down (or join in) with ungodliness?

I think we are called to be a Daniel in Babylon. Daniel was a Hebrew with Jewish values and it was a challenge to live in Babylon yet not be a Babylonian in how he acted, thought, and spoke. As Christians, we are to be in the world but not of the world. In other words, we live in the world so we are familiar with the culture around us yet we are NOT to partake in worldly things that oppose the Lord and His Word. We are to be obedient to Him.

James 4:4 tells us that “friendship with the world is enmity with God” which is a strong statement that we should not want the things of this world. So, when you are in a Babylon situation, what do you do? Move out of Babylon? No! Stay there but keep your eyes on Jesus by studying His Word and worshipping Him alone. Glorify Him by living your life in a “set apart” or “holy” manner of living so that others will see your good works and glorify the Lord who is in heaven. In other words, they will see how you are different and be drawn to Christ. That’s the goal – eternal life for others!

Sometimes, we are tempted to leave Babylon. I say that is a wrong view of suffering for the glorify and purpose of Christ. We are to live in Babylon, not as a Babylonian, but as Christians who are called out of the world of Babylon to be different as ambassadors of Christ.

One more thing. I hate to see churches do outreach events without Christ and His Word. What good is that? So you have an Easter egg hunt and invite hundreds of people to the event but if you fail to tell them about Jesus, what good is that? Proclaim Christ because He alone is worthy to be praised!

-Mark (trying to be a faithful Daniel in my Babylon situations)

No work in Grace!

October 14, 2010 1 comment

Think about it: If you are on vacation and resting, then you are NOT working. The second you start working while being on vacation, your rest stops.

The opposite is true. When you are working hard, you are not resting. The second you stop working and start resting, then work stops. You cannot do both.

Rest and Work are independent of each other. You do not rest and work at the same time – at least, if you try to mix them, then really you are doing NEITHER.

Likewise, as Christians, we realize that we are saved by GRACE not by works so that no one may boast (Eph. 2:8-9). We did not work or earn His grace! In fact, the two things (work and grace/rest) are independent of each other.

I want to rest in His grace knowing I did not earn it and knowing that I did not deserve it. And I want to remember that since I did not earn it, I cannot lose His grace! It’s a free gift.

Free gift to me but it cost Jesus His life on the Cross. Just like a free meal given to me at a restaurant given to me by the manager may be free to me, but it cost that restaurant owner/manager food costs! Eternal life has a price tag – Jesus paid it all. This is the primary message of biblical counseling.

-Mark (praising God that my debt is paid in full)

Did Jesus find you?

August 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Some people say, “I found Jesus.” And I understand what they mean so I’m not being overly critical.

But I gotta confess…Jesus found me!

Luke 24:15 is a great example of this: “While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.”

I simply love the fact that “Jesus Himself drew near and went with them” on the road to Emmaus. If Jesus had not drawn close to these disciples,  they likely would have missed His ascension into heaven!

If Jesus had not found me, I would have missed Him and never been saved. Amazing Grace indeed.

-Mark (I was lost but now am found by Jesus – He found me first so that I can now find Him daily)