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Monthly Archives: October 2012

I AM…..

I AM..,the way, the truth, and the life; and no man comes to the father except through Me.”  – John 14:6

God has used this statement over and over again in the bible to sum up His very existence…I AM. Even put into just two words, God seems like one of the most complex personalities of all time. What does that mean exactly? Does it mean that God is in everything? Does it mean God is everywhere? Maybe it means God is in us, people, like so many religions believe, or maybe, just maybe it means God is a fact!

I AM… It is not a question, just a statement that no matter what I AM.  Perhaps God’s intention in describing Himself that way was to indicate that among all the absolute facts that can be argued back and forth in religion and philosophy one remains fixed and that is that He Is. I AM indicates that before there was anything I AM, that after it is all gone I AM, and when our strength is not enough I AM.

So how has God used His name in the Bible?

1. God Is Always The Same

In the Book of Exodus, God gives his name for the first time to Moses and he says, “I AM who I AM.” With this simple statement God was indicating to Moses that He was the same God who was with his forefathers. Moses was then told by God to go back to his people and if they asked to tell them one thing if they questioned who sent him….I AM. (Ex 3:14)

2. God Will Sustain Us

In John we see God once again begin to use his name for the purposes of teaching the people.  After having fed the people on the shores of Galilee, Christ went off by himself to pray and avoid his ‘adoring fans’. After a while, they find Him on the opposite shore and begin comparing Him to Moses because He gave them bread to sustain them, but Christ then connects Himself to God His father once again by saying, ‘”I AM the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger..”  Christ says that He will sustain us the way only food can but His provision will be forever. (John 6:35)

3. God Will Save Us

Finally, God uses His name to show that He is our only way to salvation. “I Am, the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes to the father except through me.” The next few blogs will go through this in a deeper manner, but the point that Christ is making here is that There is no other way that we can get to salvation except through Him.

With two simple words God managed to say so much about His life and character. He will never leave us, He will never change, He will give us sustenance in the desert of our lives, and He will save us from coming judgement.  So what does God say with his name?  I AM all you need!

If you enjoyed this check out my other blogs at ministryinreality.wordpress.com 

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2012 in John 14:6

 

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Spies, Assassins, and Questioning God

“But I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue my case with God” – Job 13:3

It seems that, as a whole, the christian life has a lot in common with secret societies.  Spies, assassins and other jobs of that nature require a certain belief from those who are within them.  They hold in their laws one thing as more important than the rest and that is obedience without question.  Is this true of Christianity as well? Do we as mere mortals have the right to question God?

In every spy or assassin movie there seems alwasys to be a breakdown in this one infalible rule, this “don’t question” mentality; and because of this breakdown the characters are forced into one of three typical roles.

“The Loyal Servant” who is the unquestioning, uncompromising, and often amoral lackey of the “system.”

“The Rouge” who at one point believed, but when they decided to ask questions were told to either fall in line or “get out.”

“The Agent of Change” who splits the difference between the two, the one who wants answers but is willing to work within the “system” to get them as they come.

Do we as Christians divide into these groups? If we do, who is in the right? The man who’s life answers these questions is Job.  So what do we learn from this man about questioning the Almighty?

1. Questioning is Good

“Job is the Biblical character who probably has the best reason to question God.  By God’s own estimation he was one of a kind in his devotion to God, blameless and upright. So when all is stripped away from him, Job questions his Creator.”

2. The Right Attitude Is Key

“Job begins well in his questioning of God because he acknowledges that God is sovereign. No matter what, He has control over everything and can do what he wants with it.  He approaches God with a contrite heart knowing that he had done nothing to displease him, simply desiring a meaning for all his suffering. His attitude should be ours that if we seek to question God… then we must be prepared for His answer”

3. Too Far is Too Far

“‘Gird your loins like a man; I will (come) ask of you and you will answer unto me’ This is absolutely my favorite verse in the bible, because it is the flip side to questioning God. If you question Him, He will question you!  We see just before this Job’s attitude change from a respectful questioning to a spiteful accusation.  When our questions turn to indictments of God’s character He respond asking us to question our motives”

We all struggle with how we are treated and we are especially critical of how we are treated by God.  To truly question Him, we have to be aware of our attitudes.  We need to understand that if we question God He will question us…and we have more to answer for.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2012 in Theology of Faith

 

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Super Hero Faith

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”  Heb 11:1

What is the first thought of a super hero when he discovers he has “powers?”  Once you are past all the, “Dude, this is awesome!” and “I’m gonna kick that bully’s butt!” what is left to think?  Did Captain America trust his shield the first time he used it?  Did Spider-man try his web swing right out of the gate?  Did they have faith that in the heat of battle there “powers” would sustain them?

To talk about faith, you must also talk about belief; though they are not the same, they do go hand in hand.  So what is belief? Belief, simply put, is an opinion or conviction of something with no available proof.  So what is the difference?  Faith is allowing your life to be molded around a belief and living as if that belief were fact.  The classic example is this: when a person walks into a room and sees a chair, he most likely believes it can hold  his weight. It becomes faith when you place yourself at the mercy of that chair.

So do we have true faith?  Are we as people willing to act on the belief that God will sustain us through the upcoming battles?  How can we truly know if we will be able to use the shield of faith? Here are some ways to know if you are ready.

1. Do We Obey?

“If you want to know if you have true faith first look at your obedience.  When God calls do you listen and do, or do you grumble complain and question?  Your obedience should be like Abraham’s who ‘obeyed when he was called to go out….and went out, not knowing where he was going.” Heb 11:8

2. Do We Please God?

Not only should we look at our obedience, but also we should see if our personal actions are pleasing to God.  Does our life line up with scripture?  Are we living like we truly believe in Christ?  In this respect we should be like Enoch who “walked with God” (Gen 5:24) and “…was commended as having pleased God.” Heb 11:5

3. Do We Trust God’s Faithfulness?

Do we truly believe that God will protect us?  When the chips are down and its just you and God in your corner, do you really believe that he will provide for you?  Is your belief just God can do, or God will do?  We should be like Sarah who was allowed to conceive well past her prime because “she considered Him faithful who had promised.” Heb 11:11

So, do super hero’s have faith in there “powers,” and if they, do can we truly be like them?  Can we as mere mortals in this world, not only believe in the power of God, but also have faith that this power will sustain us through all the times of our lives? Can this power truly save us?

“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.”  John 1:12

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2012 in Theology of Faith

 

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Haman – The Problem With Pride

“Yet all this is worth nothing to me, so long as i see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.”  Est 5:13

If there ever was a story that had a drastic flip side it is the story of Haman and Mordecai.  On the one hand you have one of the most humble people recorded in scripture who did nothing but serve his king and people, and on the other, you have Haman. This man was as vile as Mordecai was pure, and yet if we look strictly at the facts we may find we have more in common with Haman than Mordecai.

I think I can safely say we have all had those days where we are just on top of the world. You know the ones?! Where everything is going your way, and nothing could possibly bring you down. Your on cloud nine, and clouds one through eight are looking up at you with black-hearted envy! Those are great days!  Then it happens, that one person shows up who just really stokes the flames of hate in your heart, and that’s it the day is ruined all your successes brought low by the inconsiderate appearance of stupid old “whats his name”.

There are many reasons that these people might bother us.  It could be that they are more successful in the worlds eyes and what we have done pales in comparison. Possibly, they don’t show us the respect due our station in life and that infuriates us.  Most likely, however, the cause can be boiled down to the fact that we have started to believe our own hype, we drank our own Kool-Aid, or just simply believe we are better than; and when we see this person who doesn’t fall in line with our belief structure it pops that little bubble of pride on which we have been sitting.

So how do we prevent these bubble-bursting moments in our lives?

1. Learn to view success through God’s eyes.

“I have recently been reading a book called ‘The Measure of Our Success’ by Shawn Lovejoy, and it has been helping to redefine how I view my success.  We as Christians should define our success by the question , ‘Are you reaching who God has given you to reach?’ not, ‘Are you reaching ‘the most’ people for God’.  If in final doubt just remember this, “We have nothing to prove, and no one to impress”*

2. Realize your place in life is temporary.

“So many people get so worked up about what job they have, where they went to school, or who their friends are, that they miss the fact that all of those things only matter for a little while.  It is a fact that in your life your friends will come and go, your job will change, and your education will be replaced, but the one thing that will last is what you have done for Christ and His kingdom.

3. Know that your life is not your own.

“It sounds like a cliche’, point, but it is true of all of us in Christ that no matter who you are or what you do your life is not your own.  It is by believing that we have the final say that we get ourselves into the mess of pride.  If you got you to where you are today then you can take pride, but if God got you there then who are you to take credit, and demand praise.”

So don’t be Haman! Don’t allow your worth to be wrapped up so much in self that one little distraction can throw you into a tailspin.  Instead allow your worth to come from Christ, so that when the world comes to burst you bubble they find the rock of Calvary in its place.

If you enjoyed this check out my other blog at ministryinreality.wordpress.com
 
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Posted by on October 11, 2012 in On the Flip Side, Pride

 

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Mordecai – A Lesson In Humility

“Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.”  Est 6:11

If there ever was a man who knew how to remain humble, even when he had every reason to be proud, it was Mordecai.  To this day this man of God, a paragon among the Jews of his time, has his story cast in the shadows of what we know of as the story of Esther.  He remains now and forever as nothing but a side story in the grander plan of the salvation of the Jews, and I believe that is exactly how he would like it.  If, however, I could shine a light on this small but great man for just a moment, we could learn a great lesson in humility.

How many of us when we have done a great thing, at least in our minds, are willing to let them go unnoticed   Are we able to just let our deeds be enough for us or do we demand some greater prize? This is a struggle that we are all faced with at one time or another, yet how we answer those questions can be a great indicator of our humility. So how should we act when we have done some deed deserving of recognition?

1. Let the act speak for itself.

Often the first indicator of our humility in these situations can be how we “spread the news”. We should be as Mordecai was in the Book of Esther and once the deed is done, be content to go back to our post and resume our duty.

2. Continue without bitterness

Even when we get the first step right, and we don’t go shooting off our mouths about how great our actions have been.  We may still be waiting for someone to notice our “greatness”, and when that recognition does not come we get bitter and angry at those people who “refuse” to recognize our works. So when you get this bitter feeling ask yourself, “Did I do it for the recognition, or because it was the right thing to do?”.

3. Know that God is in control.

The ultimate answer to all humility questions is this, “Are you fine if only you and God know?”.  If your answer is yes then you have truly reached the point where you are contented in the place where God has you, and it is there that you can begin true humility.

One last question before the discussion is done, “How do we react when recognition finally comes?” Do we rub it in the faces of all those people who thought we were nothing, or accept it graciously?  Mordecai, again gives us a better example than we could hope to receive.  He is finally rewarded for saving the kings life. He is driven through the streets with one of the kings top officials shouting how great his honor is in the kings eyes. How does he respond?

“Then Mordecai returned to the king’s gate…” Est 6:12

If you enjoyed this check out my other blog at ministryinreality.wordpress.com

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2012 in Humility

 

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Recipe for Humble Pie

   “Now I, (king) Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.”  Dan 4:37

It seems to me that there is a very simple recipe for humility.  Start with one uncooked human battered in pride, add a sprig of “I can do this myself”, two teaspoons of “have it my way”, one cup of “how great am I”, just a pinch of sugar*, and one swift kick in the pants by God right into the flames of reality.  Finally, let simmer on high until fully tenderized and ready for molding. Coincidentally , this seems to be just about the same recipe for every virtue in the Bible.

Me, and old Nebby** have a lot in common, in that it seems like every time we get it all figured out about how this world works, and about exactly where we stand in it, we find ourselves once again the uncooked human in a brand new batch of humble pie.  The end result of being that human is that we end up right in the hands of our creator being molded, not into what we believe ourselves to be, but into what we were created to be, and we find that we have no greater purpose than to “extol and honor the King of Heaven”.

So, how do we avoid being that main dish in the most unpleasant cooking show on earth?

1. Start Every Day on Your Knees.  

“It seems like such a simple answer, but as is so often the case the simple answer is the right one.  When you start your day in prayer for yourself and others, you are beginning in an already ‘tenderized’ state, admitting from the start that you have no idea what you are doing”

2. Acknowledge Where Your “Greatness” Comes From

As much as I hate to give him props, the best example I know of this in our time right now is Tim Tebow.  The example he sets is that in everything you do understand that your power comes from Christ and all honor and glory should be given back to Him”

3. Allow Accountability Into Your Life

“The best way to avoid having God come in and give you a swift kick in the pants, is to have a good group of brothers and sisters in Christ, who are sitting in the wings ready to give you that kick before God has to do it Himself.  Lets face it lesser of two kicks is always preferable”

If you enjoyed this check out my other blog at minstryinreality.wordpress.com

*everything is better with sugar

**Nebby: short for Nebuchadnezzar it’s from veggie tales look it up!

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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