Category Archives: Theology

Deeper Change

He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. – Matthew 10:37-39

The one who loves even that which is most precious – father, mother, son, or daughter – more than one loves Christ, one who loves even one’s own life more than one loves Christ is not worthy of Christ. You will certainly lose your life, but if you lose it for Christ’s sake, you will find true life.

God expects everything from us. He expects us love Him with everything we are. Anything less than this is as though we do not love Him at all. No one and nothing is worthy of greater love than He is. He should be the most important thing in our lives – more significant to us than our very lives.

If we’re honest, we’ll admit that we love many people, many things more than we love Christ. We have not taken up our crosses.

We have to submit all of ourselves to Him – every relationship, every possession, every desire, every thought, every breath. Otherwise, we’re not worthy of Him.

He calls me to love Him with everything, and He is worthy of everything.

We think that we’re okay living a life of mediocre faith, but until we have taken up our crosses and followed Him – walked with Him regardless of the risk – we’re not worthy of Him. We must become like Him, and that should be enough for us (v. 25).

We are not capable of this. We need great grace: His grace.

Many of us, even those of us who have believed for most of our lives, have never been like this, never come close. We want to be, but, oh God, there must be deep change in us. Deeper change than we may even be aware of.

 

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Freed from the Darkness

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people,
– Luke 1:68

Bless the Lord! Praise Him because He has come to us and redeemed us, saved us.

God saves. He is merciful. He forgives sins. He guides us into the way of peace. God is faithful to keep his promises. Salvation in Christ comes from God and is the fulfillment of His covenant with Abraham. He, and He only, accomplishes salvation.

We need salvation. We need His mercy and faithfulness and forgiveness. We need His guidance. Before salvation, we sat “in darkness and the shadow of death (v. 79).” Now, He is guiding us on the way of peace.

We should praise Him. Bless Him. He has accomplished salvation. He has kept His promise to Israel and the nations through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.

We, His people, are no longer in darkness, under the oppression of death, because He has been faithful to save us by grace through faith in Christ.

We often do not trust in His faithfulness. We often still live like we’re in darkness. We do not give Him the praise and blessing due Him.

We live in darkness though we have been freed from it by God’s faithfulness, mercy, grace, forgiveness. We need Him to guide us away from the darkness, the oppression of sin and death.

It is by His grace we are forgiven – our sin, our old nature is crucified with Him – and it is by His grace that we are raised with Him new creatures, in His image, free from darkness and the shadow of death.

God, You have already faithfully, mercifully done the work required to free us from darkness and the shadow of death. We don’t want to sit in it anymore. Please change us so that we “might serve [You] without fear, in holiness and righteousness before [You] all [our] days (v. 74-75).”

Only Trust Him

How blessed is the man whose strength is in You, In whose heart are the highways to Zion!
– Psalm 84:5

The person who trusts God, who finds strength in God, whose heart is seeking God, moving toward His presence, is blessed.

God strengthens those who trust Him. He gives life and protection, grace and glory. He makes our sorrow life-giving. He hears our prayers. He withholds nothing good from the person who trusts Him.

Do we find this kind of joy in God’s presence? Do we long for it this way? Do we long like this for worship? Probably not often enough. God strengthens us when we trust Him, but we don’t always trust Him. Why is that?

When we forget this, we grow embittered, angry, sorrowful, allow our attitude to be dictated by our circumstances because we don’t trust God. We lose the desire to be in His presence, the joy of worshipping Him, of being with Him because we don’t trust Him as we should.

We need His strength, His grace, His protection, His glory, all the good things He gives to those who trust Him, who seek Him, who truly spend time in His presence. We need, therefore, to seek Him first, to trust Him above all.

Lord God, change our will so that we want to trust You at all times and in all things, so that we seek Your presence above all.

God’s Deep Concern for the Poor

He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker, But he who is gracious to the needy honors Him. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭14‬:‭31‬ NASB)

When you oppress the poor, you mock God and provoke His wrath, but when you show them grace, you honor Him.

God cares for the poor a great deal. God expects us to humbly respect others, especially those whose status is “less than” our own.

We may not oppress the poor – we may not be in a position to – but we do not show them grace. Most of us probably hardly interact with them.

We need to show grace to the poor. We need to care for them. Otherwise we dishonor God and even risk His wrath.

If we forget about the poor, about whom God is deeply concerned, we are less like Christ than we ought to be.

We’re human and self-centered by nature, but His grace will empower us to overcome our self-centeredness and open ourselves up to others.

Magnify

Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
And let those who love Your salvation say continually,
“Let God be magnified.”
But I am afflicted and needy;
Hasten to me, O God!
You are my help and my deliverer;
O LORD, do not delay.
Psalms‬ ‭70‬:‭4-5‬ NASB

Let those who seek God, who love His salvation, rejoice in Him and magnify Him. When they are in need and call on Him, He will come.

Though His timing is not always the same as ours, God helps those who seek Him, love His salvation, and magnify Him.

But we shouldn’t necessarily expect His help if I’m living in rebellion against Him.

Seek God. Rejoice in Him. Magnify Him. Call for His help when we are in need. Expect His help when we call.

He will help us when we’re in need if we truly seek Him at all times. He is worthy to be sought, to be rejoiced in, to be magnified.

Do you really seek God? Do you really love His salvation? Do you rejoice in Him? Magnify Him?

We are under attack. We do have an enemy, and we need God’s help against him.

We need to truly seek God. We need His grace to transform us. Then, we will seek God as He desires to be sought.

True Greatness

Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” Taking a child, He set him before them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, “Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me.”
‭Mark‬ ‭9‬:‭35-37‬ NASB

True greatness is serving others, putting them before yourself. When you serve the lowest person in Christ’s name, you serve not only Christ but the Father who sent Him.

We view the great as those who should be served. God’s idea of greatness is unlike ours – it’s the opposite of ours.

The greatest thing we can do is serve others. Serving others is serving God.

To achieve greatness in God’s kingdom, serve others. Follow the example of Christ.

God is not like men, lording His greatness over us. In fact, His greatness is displayed in the same way He tells us to live here: Jesus came not be served but to serve. And in His grace, he shows us how deep the root of sin is in our lives – so deep that our idea of greatness is completely self-centered, while true greatness is completely other-centered.

Jesus gives me the truest example of greatness. Only His grace can destroy selfishness in me and make me truly great.

When we forget this, we become focused on self at the expense of the life God wants us to live and at the expense of those around us.

The selfish root of sin in us needs to be destroyed. We need to become other-focused.

Like a Child

And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all. ” And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.
Mark‬ ‭10‬:‭13-16‬ NASB

God loves children. He loves their innocent, complete trust. That’s the kind of faith He looks for, the kind of faith He loves. He does not let it down.

I need to trust God the way my children trust me. That’s the kind of faith it takes to enter the kingdom of God.

Trust as a child trusts: completely.

I’d venture to say that we usually don’t trust like children. This leads us to fear, doubt. Or it leads us to feel we are self-sufficient. I leads us to pride, which can keep us from entering God’s kingdom.

 Ask Christ to give you this kind of trust in Him. Only He can really break through our cynicism, our pride, our fear and create this type of faith.