Why do the Nations Rage

Why do the Nations Rage and Imagine a Vain Thing?

Donald Trump is against Russian aggression towards Ukraine, but he seems a bit ambivalent towards the murder of a journalist, perhaps with orders from the top of the Saudi political leadership. Many journalist and others on social media have written scathingly of what they characterize as blatant hypocrisy or moral callousness. Yet, the vast majority of those same people saw no problem with giving Iran billions of dollars, which they used to promote murderous aggression across the Middle East. Do we really think that government’s lead assignations don’t occur on a regular basis, originating from all sides of the national and political spectrums?  How naïve! Or is all the uproar no more than political theatrics? My guess is that it is a little of both. Honest but uninformed and naïve souls are disgusted with the callous murder of a journalist, while others know better, but prey on naivety to garner political power.

A biblical understanding of our place in world history informs me that geopolitical realities, in an age when the Prince of Peace was rejected and crucified, are very difficult, perhaps impossible to manage sinlessly.  The fundamental, individual, as well as geopolitical problem we all face is our personal and corporate rejection of Jesus Christ.

Continue reading “Why do the Nations Rage”

The Limits of Money

Psa. 49:5 Why should I fear in times of trouble, when the iniquity of those who cheat me surrounds me, 6 those who trust in their wealth and boast of the abundance of their riches? 7 Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, 8 for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice, 9 that he should live on forever and never see the pit. 10    For he sees that even the wise die; the fool and the stupid alike must perish and leave their wealth to others. 11 Their graves are their homes forever, their dwelling places to all generations, though they called lands by their own names. 12 Man in his pomp will not remain; he is like the beasts that perish. 13    This is the path of those who have foolish confidence; yet after them people approve of their boasts. Selah 14 Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol; death shall be their shepherd, and the upright shall rule over them in the morning. Their form shall be consumed in Sheol, with no place to dwell. 15 But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me. Selah

Devotional Thought:

It is an old and neglected truth. All of us will forever exist  in either eternal bliss or eternal torment, and our temporal financial well being will not determine our eternal estate—money cannot ransom our eternal soul.  Therefore, we should not trust in our wealth, nor should we fear those who use wealth to oppress us. In the end (actually the beginning), those who trust in Jesus Christ the Savior will rule over those who trust in riches.

Simple but true and a foundation to build life upon,

Bill

 

Proclaiming Christ in the Globalized City #3

Christ We Proclaim in the Globalized City

My Conference Theme

Discipling the Globalized City: Our Savior’s

Great Commission Provision

Thursday Morning:

God’s Call to the Globalized City

Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary

2017-11-2

Introduction:

  • Relationships are important, so…
  • Deb and I want to say thank you.
  • On Monday morning we learned that the city was always meant to be a conduit of God’s blessing to man. In fact, the city is uniquely designed to communicate the image of God globally. And although twisted by sin, and maligned by men, the city has always been the most strategic place to do the Great Commission. This is true because the city exerts its influence regionally, and globalized cities do so internationally.
  • On Tuesday evening we talked about the Great Commission and the Globalized City. We found that the creation ordinance to subdue and rule the earth has commonality with the Great Commission of Matthew 28. God has always desired His image to populate the entire globe, and what Adam and Eve failed to do, God has commanded the church to do–make disciples of all nations. It also became apparent that God has made it possible for us to do the Great Commission by moving peoples from all countries into commission ready places called cities (I call them globalized cities). Finally, I pointed out that knowing the potential for Great Commission ministry in the Globalized Cities makes us accountable for doing something about it. It is our responsibility to disciplize the city in order to make disciples of all nations.

We must follow Christ to the City

  1. By obeying the Bible: A call from God is first of all biblically based.

The will of God is discovered by understanding the revealed will of God (The Bible) and by discerning how He has equipped you to join Him in what He is doing.

  • Know the revealed will of God

Making disciples of all nations is the revealed will of God.

  • Understand how God is working in the world.

Proverbs 8: 1-5Does not wisdom call, and understanding lift up her voice? On top of the heights beside the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand; beside the gates, at the opening to the city, at the entrance of the doors, she cries out: “To you, O men, I call, and my voice is to the sons of men. “O naive ones, understand prudence; and, O fools, understand wisdom”.

  • Evaluate how your giftedness fits into God’s work.

Be a Surrendered Christian

Romans 12:1Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Humbly but Soberly Evaluate Yourself

3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

Do Your Job

4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

I was helped to understand the FBBC and TS student body better. It was explained to me that, although many within the student body do not like the city, nevertheless, they are willing to go to the city. I am very thankful for this information, but this raises a question in my mind. If you have considered missions, and if you are willing to go to the city, Why not go?

Our Savior has drawn the nations to our cities. Successful ministry in the city needs every kind of gifted person. Make a sanctified guess that God desires you to serve in a globalized city, pursue your calling, and trust that your Savior will stop you and redirect you if your sanctified guess is incorrect—but it isn’t.

We must follow Christ to the City—to the globalized city

  1. By thinking strategically: We should think strategically concerning meeting the largest possible number of needs globally.

Jesus’ command to disciple all nations require we think through how to do so in the most effective way. We can send 10 missionaries to ten places to reach ten people groups, or we can send fewer missionaries to one place where all ten people groups reside.

Missionaries need to be trained to minister to bicultural city dwellers. If these bicultural people are reached with the gospel, they will be far better equipped to minister to people of their own culture.

So, not only is it wise to minister to the world residing in the city because fewer missionaries are able to minister to more people groups, but it is also wiser to minister the gospel to bicultural individuals who are better able to minister to their own people.

As God’s Great Commission stewards, we must not settle for lack of planning and strategizing. Rather, we must wisely choose where to minister in order to reach the most people groups in the shortest amount of time.

We must follow Christ to the City

  1. By responding individually and institutionally: It is time to function as the body of Christ visible and universal.

Individually: I have laid out to the best of my ability the case for city ministry. Now it is up to you to decide what to do with the information you have been given.

Institutionally: The nexus between global communities gathering in large cities and online capabilities provides us almost unparalleled opportunities to make disciples of all nations. If this is to happen, institutions like Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary must take a leadership role. We need a network of such institutions networking together to meet the challenge of the globalized city—Your move.

The choices before the church are simple: (1) Will we rely on formulas and strategies without reference to the sovereign and surprising work of God? (2) Will we misinterpret the teaching of God’s sovereignty over all to lead us to indifference or fatalism? (3) Will we understand the clear connection in the Bible of God’s sovereignty and His call to His people to make disciples of all nations, beginning in our communities and cities?” John Massey

Invitation:

Know-God’s intention for the city-Recognize your stewardship-Yield to your responsibility

Christ We Proclaim in the Globalized City #2

Christ We Proclaim in the Globalized City

My Conference Theme

Disciplining the Globalized City: Our Savior’s

Great Commission Provision

Tuesday Evening:

The Globalized City and Great Commission Ministry

Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary

2017-10-31

Introduction: Yesterday, we established that the globalized city should be a major focus of Great Commission ministry. Individuals, churches, Bible colleges and seminaries of like faith should work together (network) focusing on discipling the world within the globalized city, so that we can disciple the world outside the city. By doing so, we will join our Savior who promised He will build His church.

We must disciplize the globalized city (The globalized city: A city of at least 1,000,000 people, which has global influence and international connections.)

  1. By joining our Savior: Recognize our obligation: Fill the earth with His image and rule the earth, subdue the earth
  •  Gen. 1:26-28   Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them         rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
  • Gen. 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.
  • Gen. 9:7 “As for you, be fruitful and multiply; populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.
  • Matt. 28:18-20  18And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

It has always been God’s intention to fill the earth with His image. Those who were His image were to manage the earth. There is continuity between the cultural mandate in Genesis 1 and the Great Commission in Matthew 28. In both passages, God’s intention to spread His image globally is clear. It is our responsibility to fulfill His command.

Good intentions are not enough.

  • Matthew 16:18 “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.

Christ has assured us that He will complete the construction of His church, and He has commanded us to join Him. It is our stewardship, as His image, to do so.

  • Prov. 1:20-22 Wisdom shouts in the street, She lifts her voice in the square; 21 at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; At the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings: 22 “How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing and fools hate knowledge?

Being God’s stewards, responsible for doing the Great Commission, we must look discerningly at the world around us and ask ourselves the question, How is our Savior providing for the building of His church? One major answer is this, He is bringing the world to the globalized city, so that we can go to the city, minister to the world in the city, and follow those human relationships back to all points of the globe.

  • Prov. 24:10-12 If you are slack in the day of distress, your strength is limited. 11Deliver those who are being taken away to death, and those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back. 12If you say,See, we did not know this,” Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts? And does He not know it who keeps your soul? And will He not render to man according to his work?

It will not be enough for us to have good intentions, to be nice Christians. Our God and our Savior expects us to think deeply about His mission in the world and to join Him. Doing any old thing is not enough. We must commit to doing the best thing to make Him known globally.

Illustration: Intern Andrew Eddy

We must disciplize the globalized city

  1. By building a foundation: Boston and Beyond
  • The Model Church

A church successfully ministering to the full demographic of Boston

  • An International Village

An apartment building for retired Christian missionaries and international families to live.

A yard for international mothers and children to relax and socialize

A building that houses a coffee shop, art gallery and bookstore

A building to house the offices of those administrating the Globalized city church planting initiative

  • A Biblical and theological institute

Our students do not need degrees, but they do need knowledge.

We must disciplize the globalized city

  1. By networking globalized-city church planting: Mobilizing compatible churches, individuals, Bible colleges, theological seminaries, and mission agencies and individuals to strategize and implement a globalized-city church planting movement.
  • The goal of this mobilization will be to focus our resources in at least three areas:

1) Building the foundation in Boston (internships, biblical and theological training, and manpower)

2) Following human connections from Boston and other strategic places back to their home countries                      and helping those young converts become faithful disciplers in their places of origin.

3) Targeting the 10 most globally strategic cities in the world, and implementing a plan to build discipleship centers (like Boston) in those cities.

A Model: Campus Bible Fellowship: their area liaison committee      

The choices before the church are simple: (1) Will we rely on formulas and strategies without reference to the sovereign and surprising work of God? (2) Will we misinterpret the teaching of God’s sovereignty over all to lead us to indifference or fatalism? (3) Will we understand the clear connection in the Bible of God’s sovereignty and His call to his people to make disciples of all nations, beginning in our communities and cities?” John Massey

Invitation: Our Savior is inviting us to join Him in His work of building His church. Will you?

Know God’s intention for the city-Recognize your stewardship-Yield to your responsibility

Christ We Proclaim in the Globalized City #1

Christ We Proclaim in the Globalized City

  My Conference Theme

Discipling the Globalized City: Our Savior’s

Great Commission Provision

Monday Morning:

A History of the City

 Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary

2017-10-30

Above is a picture taken on top of the Olympic Tower in Beijing China. Beijing, a city of 40 million people, is in need of the gospel. Although there are thousands of house churches in Beijing, many of these actually consist of non-Christians gathering together without an understanding of salvation. Even the Christian house church in Beijing is in great need of solid teaching. What is true of Beijing is true of cities all over the world—the gospel is hardly present. Now that over 50% of the population of the world live in cities, it is becoming even more important for the Christian church to effectively minister the gospel in the city. This series of messages were presented to Faith Baptist College and Theological Seminary for the purpose of engaging Christian individuals and institutions in a globalized-city (a city of at least one million which is globally connected) church-planting movement.

The FBBC and TS conference theme was, Christ We Proclaim, which I modified to Christ We Proclaim in the Globalized City. But my theme for this series of messages was actually, Discipling the Globalized City: Our Savior’s Great Commission Provision. My theme communicates my conviction that the city has always been a major means of making God known globally. Yet the city has been mostly abandoned by the Christian church. While the rural area and suburbia has been the focal point for church planting, larger cities have languished. As we will see in these three messages, this non-globalized-city focus is not wise for Great Commission Christians to follow. The way the globalized city functions makes it the place Christians must engage for the gospel’s sake. These messages will explain why.

In-order to effectively obey our Savior’s command to make disciples of all nations

We must grasp the importance of the Globalized City …

  1. By rethinking the first city Although most assume that cities have been evil from the beginning, I believe cities were originally designed to transmit the image of God throughout the inhabited world, and that, even in their fallen condition, cities remain the most strategic place to do Great Commission ministry.

An anti-urban bias:

Missiologist Conn and Ortiz have written on the anti-urban bias,

After all, goes the argument, didn‘t the downfall of Lot, Abraham‘s nephew, begin when ̳he pitched his tent near Sodom, (Gen. 13:12)? And didn‘t Lot‘s path to the city (Gen. 13:11) trace the eastward path of Adam and Eve, Cain and the Babel builders—always away from the presence of God (Gen 3:24; 4:16; 11:2). Conn and Ortiz, Urban Ministry, 85

However, there is ample reason to believe that cities were the creative intention of God. Although the first city mentioned in the Bible was made by an evil man, it was not necessarily the first city in existence.

Genesis 4:17 Cain 1had relations with his wife and she conceived, and gave birth to Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city Enoch, after the name of his son.[1]

This passage only reveals that Cain built a city, but the text does not indicate that this was the first city.

Genesis 1:26-28 26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”[2]

 The constitution of man as a social being is best experienced in the city. We are made in the image of the triune God and are therefore social beings. Built into us is the need to interact socially. It is hard to imagine our ancestors moving as far away from each other as possible when they were made to be socially interrelated.

Obeying the cultural mandate surely demands a city. As social beings we were given the responsibility to rule over the affairs of the earth and to subdue the global activities of the earth. Even in our globally connected contemporary world, businesses and governments see the need to do business in person—face to face. How could it be possible for the ancient world to manage the world if managers didn’t meet together in early cities.

Romans 13:1-7 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. 5 Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. 6For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 7Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.[3]

Human Government, ordained by God, seems to indicate the need for cities.

Revelation 21-22

Mankind’s salvation is fully realized in an eternal city called Jerusalem, which indicates that the city, as man’s dwelling place, has always been God’s design.

Implications:

The world that might have been would most certainly have been an urban world. The human race was created in a garden, but their [sic] destiny as God‘s image-bearers and as social beings lay in the city. Moreover, the cultural mandate which God gave Adam (Gen. 1:28) implied, even required, city building. Adam was commanded to cultivate the earth‘s resources and build with the things placed at his disposal. He was to organize and govern, under God, the world God had made. The unfallen community would have expanded from the nuclear family to the extended family to the whole human race, and cities would naturally have resulted. Greenway, ―Framework for Urban Missions‖, 26.

To this I would add that not only would life in the unfallen world result in cities, but even fallen cities are still meant to be the major way in which God intends to make Himself known in the world. Not only does our social nature and divine responsibilities indicate a need for cities, but the fact that God has ordained human government and that God’s resolution of man’s alienation from Him will happen in the city all strongly indicate that cities are God’s place of blessing.

In-order to effectively obey our Savior’s command to make disciples of all nations

We must grasp the importance of the Globalized City …

  1. By understanding the City in History (The history of the city culminates in God’s greatest blessing to the world.)

Secular History

Family Cities (The city is centralized around the priestly father.)

Shrine City States (The worship of God degenerates into the worship of gods, but worship is the integrating feature of civilization)

Urban Empires 2,400 B.C. – 400AD (The city continues to degenerate, but it is also used by God to spread the gospel.)

Feudal and Commercial Cities (Because of unholy alliances with commerce, the church lost its authority, and Renaissance thinking filled the vacuum, which erodes civilization, but the reformation transformed cities and provided a good foundation for city ministry.

The Industrial City Because the Industrial Age was primarily developed within the intellectual context of the Renaissance, the industrial city tended to have a dehumanizing effect upon civilization. On the other hand, it was during this era that cities became much more connected and therefore, important for the movement of the gospel.

The Modern City The size and connectedness of cities explode.

Babylon and Jerusalem The ultimate battle to destroy humanity is waged from a city, and the ultimate victory is celebrated in the city.

It is not my intent to describe in detail the city in history, but let me ask this question, Could a world history be written, without talking about the city? I don’t think so. In fact history seems to be centered in the city. It is the city where history happened. The city has always been the place or influence. Power has been concentrated in the city and global power in globalized cities. This is very nature because all things must happen with communication and communication best happens in close proximity.

Biblical History

Cain-Lot-The city of tents, David and Jerusalem, Nineveh, the captivity, Jesus in the Temple, Jesus weeps, Jesus crucified, The church begun, Paul’s mission strategy, the Epistles, Babylon and Jerusalem

One can’t tell the story of the Bible without continually referencing the city. All of history seems to emanate from the city. This is because image bearers dwelling together make good or bad things happen depending upon their submission to God.

Conclusion: The city has always been the primary battlefield for the salvation of mankind.

 In-order to effectively obey our Savior’s command to make disciples of all nations

 

We must grasp the importance of the Globalized City …

  1. By appreciating the globalized city (It is my conviction that the globalized city has been provided by our Savior for the purpose of doing the Great Commission.)
  • The World in Malden (40% foreign born) I live in Malden, which is part of urban Boston. The Malden high school has 60 different language groups represented. Also, the New England Immigrant Center, which is located in Malden, has several hundred immigrants on a waiting list to learn conversational English. A neighborhood park near our home is populated daily with families from all over the globe. It is not unusual to be the only Caucasians at the part. One need not leave our Malden community to have a worldwide ministry.
  • The World in Boston (within 30 minutes of our home) Boston is a globally connected city. There are at least 35 institutions of higher learning in Boston. Many of these have many countries represented (Boston University has 131 countries represented in the college and Scholars come from 88 other countries). Boston also has large immigrant communities with over 25% of its residence being foreign born. In addition to this, Boston is an international business and tourist center.

When one studies Boston, one with Great Commission eyes quickly understands that places like Boston seemed designed to help one actually do the Great Commission.

A quote from Missiologist John Massey

The Church can view globalization as ultimately God’s doing. He is moving peoples into the megacities of our world.” and “Missions strategy is no longer primarily focused on reaching nations within their geographical boundaries, but now seeks to reach displaced peoples living and working in different countries.

God has brought the world to the doorstep of the American church, and other evangelical communities across the world, in order that we might proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to them. Many mission agencies still operate on strategies to reach rural, monocultural peoples, but God is bringing peoples to the megacities of the world. These cities demand strategic attention.” and “If the sovereign God has brought the peoples of many nations to the cities with a strong Christian presence, then one must conclude that God’s providence has brought us into existence, so that we might reach the nations in our own backyard. His sovereign working mandates our seizing the opportunity that he has created for his people. The choices before the church are simple: (1) Will we rely on formulas and strategies without reference to the sovereign and surprising work of God? (2) Will we misinterpret the teaching of God’s sovereignty over all to lead us to indifference or fatalism? (3) Will we understand the clear connection in the Bible of God’s sovereignty and his call to his people to make disciples of all nations, beginning in our communities and cities?

 The globalized city is God’s provision for Great Commission ministry. Therefore, we must follow our Savior into the city in order to minister the gospel to the world in the city.

Invitation: We must Know God’s intention for the city-Recognize our stewardship-Yield to our responsibility

1 Lit knew

[1] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Ge 4:17). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[2] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Ge 1:26–28). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[3] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Ro 13:1–7). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Who can I trust?

Recently I received a letter from another pastor who failed. This all too common an occurrence struck closer to home, since it directly affected members of my immediate family.

When those who are to lead us spiritually fail, it is unsettling, affecting our faith and destabilizing our trust, perhaps even in God, but it need not be so.

We should not be overly surprised by pastoral failure, because the Bible describes all of us as sinners, prone to fall, and, although we try to select qualified and tested individuals to lead us, pastors fail also. Judas, one selected by the Savior, failed, as did Adam and Eve whose only Father was God. Therefore, we should not be overly surprised at failure.

Although God has equipped us to succeed in life, we also have a hideously destructive nature embedded within us. If extreme care is not taken, that destructive nature will destroy us.

When unreasonable pressure is consistently and constantly placed upon a pastor, the temptation to fall becomes greater. This means that churches and individuals bear some responsibility for some pastor’s failures. We are all human beings who can be broken. It may be that a pastor is battling a sin that is seeking to dominating him and the pressure of pastoring makes his battle more than he is willing to endure. Sinful habits take over with the resulting failure. This on-going battle is why we can be growing under a pastor while he is struggling with sin. As he battles his sinful tendencies and confesses his sin, he is able to minister effectively, but when he gives in to sin, he is walking according to the flesh and bad things happen. But we need to remember, there is no man or woman who does not sin.

That being said, we still expect our leaders to be men of God who will not shrink in the day of adversity–this is why we chose them. So the question remains; Who can we trust?

We Can Trust in God

Not only my theology, but also the experiences of my 63 year old life has shown me that I can trust God. In His Word, God has taught me to confess my sins, and He promises me that He will forgive all of my sins. I also know that once I became God’s child, through the redemption provided by my Savior, I will always remain His.  Even when I need disciplining, He will not disown me. I have experienced the saving and renewing hand of God now for 43 years, and He has not failed me. I can trust in Him.

God has worked with me all these years to develop a relationship with Him that is tangible, sustaining. This intimate, trusting relationship with God is available to all of us. It is this relationship that will keep us when our leaders fail.

So, in summary, the way to stay steady when those you trust fail you, is by trusting in and walking closely with God. Realize that, while men may fail, God will not fail. He will sustain you in a relationship that may be characterized as intimate. When you nurture this relationship with God, you become part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

I hope to write more about this soon.

 

Our Responsibility

The Word of God

Jude 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, awaiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.

My Thoughts

Jude is doing his best to protect Christians from false Christians who infiltrate the fellowship of Christians. After a detailed description of these false Christians, Jude explains how to protect ourselves from them.

First of all, we must recognize and embrace the fact that it is our responsibility to keep ourselves in the love of God. This does not mean that we keep ourselves saved–members of God’s family. Rather, we have the responsibility to take the necessary steps to maintain our fellowship with God and with other Christians.

Probably just thinking about this brings to our mind areas of our walk with God that are lacking. This would be a good time to begin to fix those areas.

Tomorrow

Tomorrow, the Lord willing, we will study the phrase, “building yourselves up on your most holy faith.”

Until then, may God help you to enjoy your life with Him.

Bill E.

New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Jud 20–21). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Don’t be Self-Centered

October 8, 2017

Jude 19 These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.

This is an odd place to renew my devotional diary, but I just felt it was time. I desire to help, in any little way I can, my many friends made through the years.

The word translated worldly minded in Jude 19 refers to a person who is not spiritual or overtly sinful. They can converse intelligently about the world around them and may be quit friendly, but they are self-centered. Their world revolves around themselves. Self-satisfied, they are actually shallow individuals who have a small universe consisting of self.

The self-centered life is actually a miserable existence. True life, abundant life, meaningful life is one spent for others. This kind of life is based upon a true knowledge of God’s intention for us, our failures, and God’s redeeming love.

We are created to be caretakers for our world and the people in it. We have failed at this, but Christ has redeemed us, building in us the desire to serve Him by helping others.

Let’s enjoy the life God has given us by helping each other and not being worldly-minded.

 

 

Ken Davis

Proverbs 20:24 Man’s steps are ordained by the LORD, How then can man understand his way?

This Sunday morning I received news from Ken Davis that his cancer has become much more aggressive–it doesn’t look good. He has diligently worked holistically to treat his stage 4 cancer, and he has, until now, had remarkable success. I am praying that God will put Ken’s cancer into remission.

At the same time, I am reminded that, at 63, longevity is not guaranteed. I can and should be diligent to maintain my health, but, in the end, God will tell me when it is time to go. Until then, I will pursue God and His desire for my life and calling.

As I think of my many friends, I am prompted to include another verse from Proverbs 20. Verse 9 reads, “Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin”?

If we are honest with ourselves, we will need to admit that we are not pure from sin. All of us have done things which we know are shameful and which deserves God’s judgment. The questions is this, How can I make things right with God? The answer is by admitting our guilt and trusting in our Father’s provision for our sin–Jesus Christ. Jesus, our Savior, has never sinned, yet he died as our sin bearer. He took our gross part upon Himself, so that He could offer us forgiveness and life with Him.

Undoubtedly, we will need to make things right with people whom we may have injured. We may need to ask forgiveness from them as well, but it all starts with being right with God who is our ultimate judge.

This all began for me years ago on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa. My life with God began when I confessed my guilt, my record of hurting people, and accepted Jesus as my Savior. Since then, it has been all about learning to live with and for Him.

Living for God is not a chore for me but life itself. I have come to love God whom I know through Jesus Christ. He knows me and accepts me even while He changes me. He is my constant companion. He will see me through death into His wonderful presence.

I hope this helps a friend.