Monthly Archives: January 2017

Need some hope? It is the human condition to need hope. Read on for profound words of hope …

Selections from one of the great chapters of the Bible, John 14… Jesus speaks hope…

“”Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.
Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

‭‭John‬ ‭14:1, 6, 12, 15-17, 20, 23, 27‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/jhn.14.1,6,12,15-17,20,23,27.esv

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Assertions, Proclamations, and Easy Promises

Disappointment is in the air. Promises, whatever you think about them, have been made and are being followed through on. It is clear that some of them are not as well thought through as they might have been. This circumstance is in the back of my mind as I see the following in my morning reading:

“Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.”(‭‭John‬ ‭13:36-38‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

Peter is often referred to as rash. Speaking first and thinking second, or third…

Yet, when the time came, The Father chose to use Peter as spokesman, to embrace the gentile, to lead the infant church in its earliest days.

The question for us today as we consider our words – spoken, argued, posted or whatever – is … Are we considering our words?

Are we thinking, or just reacting because of fear or disappointment? 

Are our reactions to our circumstances causing us to focus so much on earth that our reactions, words and attitudes are rash?

But, take heart, we can still turn to our Father and He will comfort, calm and empower us to be used for His glory.

Even justice, for its own sake, apart from giving God glory, will fade like grass.

Speak in such a way as to give God glory, let our words be worthy of the Holy Spirit, who lives in each follower of Jesus.

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Who are we imitating?

Lots of variables exist in disciple making conversations. But there are constants too. Perhaps the most important constant is that a disciple make conversation be centered on following Jesus. The next constant is that it be Scripture centered. 

Paul said: “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭11:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬) This statement requires two things of the reader. First, they know Paul and his life. Second, they must have a knowledge of Jesus to compare to Paul’s life. 

The application for us is to be in regular, vulnerable, honest conversation with fellow disciples so that they know our life. Secondly, that we be students of Scripture so that we are maturing. The writer of Hebrews put it this way: “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” (‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭5:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

Being in God’s word (the Bible) daily is key to that “constant practice.”

With these two in place, my brothers know me and can point out the ways that I am and am not following Christ. That, after all, is the purpose of fellow disciple making: pointing one another to Jesus.

___________

Many posts, like today, come from my daily reading. I’m reading the @YouVersion plan ‘M’Cheyne One Year Reading Plan’. Check it out here:

http://bible.com/r/O

This plan is a balanced diet of solid food for the maturing disciple.

Don’t be satisfied drinking milk. Your growth in maturity will be stunted. Solid food is imperative. Oswald Chambers (or any other classic writer) would be horrified to hear that his words, though helpful and valuable suppliments, were the extent of your devotions. 

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Aiming at Heaven… Another’s Perspective: 

I often quoted Lewis’s helpful maxim. “Aim at Heaven, get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and get neither.”

It’s helpful in a couple of ways. First, it’s a good reminder to have God’s perspective (a perspective that emerges as time is invested in him). Second, it’s a motivator to look to him not at man. 

Consider this contrast:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah‬ ‭55:8-9‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

And.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”” (‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭17:9-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

Confession: I struggle in conversations with friends who think humans are inherently good. Call me what you will, but my experience, observation and those texts up above (as well as the rest of Scripture) point me to an understanding that humanity is simply broken from the get go. We are deeply, deeply flawed and in need of redemption. And God through the work of Jesus desires to make that redemption happen.

A friend and colleague in Croatia has posted about that redemption. Her words are well worth your energy to click and time to read. So, go ahead, CLICK AND READ.

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An Excellent Description of Ministry and the Discipline that is Essential to it.

“For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 

To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. 

To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 

To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 

To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. 

I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 

I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. 

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 

Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 

So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 

But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭9:19-27‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/1co.9.19-27.esv

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Thinking about power is important, not just for those recognized as having power, like king Tomislav here (dude on the horse), but for all who have influence… 


How we wield power is discussed biblically in this TGC glimpse of a book on the subject. This really deserves your attention. It should make us think about power, influence and accountability as fellow disciples.

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/how-our-ministry-methods-warp-our-souls

If you’re one of my fellow disciples, I’d love to talk about this next time we’re at a table together.

(Photo taken in November – note the blue sky and lack of snow – from in front of Zagreb main railway station.)

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In whom is your trust?

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” (‭‭Psa‬ ‭20:7‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

Place your trust not in politicians or governments (like this guy on the horse in central Zagreb who is but a memory of a now defunct empire)…


…instead, place your trust in The everlasting God!

http://bible.com/59/psa.20.7.esv

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