Friday, January 31, 2014

Your Characteristic of Righteousness

"Now it was not written for his sake alone that [righteousness] was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our justification." - Romans 4:23-25 

Paul spends the majority of chapters two and three of Romans painting a picture of man's sinful nature. In chapter two he declares that we are "inexcusable" when we judge because we have all done the same things and in chapter three he goes on to declare that all have sinned and all have "come short of the glory of God" (v.23). But then at the end of chapter two his tone begins to change. He starts talking about the righteousness of God being revealed and in chapter four he goes back to some very familiar characters in Jewish history to prove a point. Paul specifically focuses on Abraham. He reminds his readers of the scripture which declares that Abraham's faith "was accounted to him for righteousness" (4:22). This is quoting Genesis 15:6 which states: "Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness." (NIV) 

Paul tells his readers that Genesis 15:6 wasn't just declaring Abram's righteousness but was setting forth a standard for us. Abram was an example. He achieved righteousness through believing God and we can follow that same example. Of course now we have something very specific to believe in; the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. When we believe and accept this fact the Word said that righteousness is imputed to us. If you look up the definition of the word 'imputed' you will find that it means "made a characteristic". In other words, our belief makes righteousness so much a part of us that it becomes one of our characteristics! We often describe people by there characteristics, for example someone might describe me as: light brown hair, green eyes, broad shoulders, about six feet. According to Paul, because of my belief in Christ, someone could just as accurately throw "righteous" in there as a part of the description!

Let's remember today the righteousness that has been imputed to us. Stop calling yourself a sinner, stop declaring your weaknesses or shortcomings over your self. You are righteous! It is one of your characteristics.

Friday, January 24, 2014

An Idea for Dads

Back in November I revisited a blog post that has somehow received, by far, the most amount of views out of anything I have written. I revisited it for two reasons, one it is my most popular post, and two it was about to become much more relevant in my own life. If you are a new reader the post is about prophesying blessing over our children and you can read both posts in the following links:

Prophesy Blessing Over Your Children


Today I read a post on that gives a unique idea into how to do this. I want to encourage all the fathers, all the dads, to go here, and to seriously consider the idea presented.

In case you really don't want to go to the link, or the link doesn't work, let me summarize the idea for you. We have all heard preachers discuss the merits of writing in our Bibles, but we always here about doing it for ourselves, for our own study. This writer, Jonathan Parnell, gives the idea of doing it for our kids. He suggests that to do this well we would need to take about ten years.

Think about it. You, as a father, as the spiritual head of your house, buy a fresh Bible and take ten years to read through it and ask God for words specifically for your child. Your child would receive ten years of prophetic words straight from his or her father. Can you imagine the impact that would have? Maybe you start when they are newborn and you give it to them on their tenth birthday, or maybe you wait and give it as a graduation gift. Possibly your kids are already grown, it's not too late to do a project like this.

In the article Parnell mentions that most of us aren't going to do anything remarkable, but being a father is remarkable in itself. To your children you are the most remarkable man in the world and one of the two most remarkable people.

It didn't take me long to decide that this is something I want to do, something I need to do, for my baby girl. All I need to do is pray over the details. May God inspire more of you fathers to do this, or something similar, for your children.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Don't Waste Your Life - Managing your time effectively

The ultimate question of philosophy is "What's the meaning of life?" All humans have something built into them in which they are looking for purpose, a reason for living. After time people can suppress this search and begin to ignore it, but it is still there, deep down. If we look back through the history of philosophy we can see various conclusions as to the meaning of life: Plato told us that it is attaining knowledge, Aristotle said it's happiness, Epicurus said it's pleasure and the Stoicists told us that the highest good is virtue, reason, and natural law.

Of course as Christians we believe in Yahweh and his desire to have relationship with us and also with every human being. Through the Word of God we can see that the meaning of life is build that relationship, to live a life of worship to our creator, and to help others find that same relationship. As Christians we have the answer to the age old question. So then we are confronted with a new question: How are we living our life? Are we wasting our life?

When looking at this question we can all find times in which we did not utilize our time well. We can all see where we wasted valuable time. Time is our most valuable asset, it is what this life is made of, how are we using it? Of course this doesn't mean we can never watch tv, movies, or lounge around the house. In fact sometimes that is needed relaxation for our bodies and minds, making us then more effective when we begin again. However we should look at each moment of choice and decide what the best use of that moment is.

Let us strive towards using our time more effectively and in such, utilizing the life that God has given us. My last two posts were talking about moving towards the vision that God has for us and making goals. This is probably the most important step towards reaching our vision. We need to manage our time effectively.

What should you be doing right now?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Establishing Goals

"A goal is a dream with deadline."
John C. Maxwell - Be a People Person

I love talking about dreams and visions. It is something that I believe God has put on my heart so that I can help others discover the dreams and visions that God has given them. You can read about this in several of my posts, here are a few to get you started:

A Sick Heart or a Tree of Life (My most recent Post)

As I have laid out in those posts it is clear that vision is important. It is clear that we need to find and recognize our dreams which God has put in our hearts. However if we ever want to achieve those dreams at some point we have to set goals. As John C. Maxwell puts it "A goal is a dream with a deadline." At some point we need to sit down with our dream and decide on when it is going to come to pass. Usually we have to take the large dreams and break it down into smaller dreams first but then put deadlines on those smaller dreams.

These goals can be very straightforward if we have a dream like being a doctor. To be a doctor we have to first get through school. That means our first goal is to get into college for Pre Med, then graduate with high enough grades to be accepted into medical school, then graduate medical school and get a residency, etc. However most of our dreams take a little more creativity than that. 

For example, God has given me a dream to see the church today return to the passion and purity of the early church. That is a great vision but it is to big to take on it's own. How does God want to use me to do that? Does He want me to be doing it in a secular job or working for a church? Or does He want me to start my own ministry? Does He want to use this blog or does He want me to write a book? Or maybe it's all of the above? These are all questions for me to wrestle with and pray about in order to set goals to get to the overall dream that God has given me. 

What is the dream God has given you? Have you broken it down into reachable steps? Have you given those steps deadlines? It's time to start going after that dream!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A sick heart or a tree of life?

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life."
Proverbs 13:12

So many people work for money. They get out of school and find a good paying job and get stuck. They might look for a promotion but even then it is just to 'move up the ladder' and ultimately to get more money. They set their desires aside because they have to 'earn a living'. Our society often looks down on dreamers as people who are lazy and not willing to work. This attitude gets a lot of dreamers stuck in jobs that they hate, working hard to provide for their families, and living for that day off or that vacation, hoping that one day they can retire and finally do what they love. 

I believe that this is what Solomon was talking about here. "Hope deferred makes the heart sick..." When we set aside our desires it is like setting aside our hope and ultimately makes us sick. We find ourselves struggling to enjoy life and spending most of our time just waiting to get a day off. But when we find that desire, when we find that ability to do what we love, we plant a seed that sprouts into a tree of life. Jesus said that He came to give us abundant life (John 10:10). I believe that this is one way He does that. He gives us the ability to live in our passion, but sometimes we do have to work for it. Sometimes we have to make a sacrifice.

Proverbs 14:4 says "Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; but much increase comes from the strength of an ox." In other words, sometimes in order to move forward we have to be willing to do some dirty work. We can be content with a small farm where we plow it ourselves without the oxen. In that situation we don't have to worry about feeding the animal or cleaning up after it but we won't ever grow. If we want to expand our farm we have to suck it in and get ready to clean up some poo. Sometimes it is the same thing when we are going after our desires. Sometimes we have to suck it in and put in some extra work. Sometimes we have to work two jobs because the one we love isn't paying enough. Sometimes we have to sacrifice some of our free time to put work into that thing that we love, but if we put in this extra work we will find that we will get "much increase". It won't be long until we find ourselves in the place that we want to be and we find ourselves with a "tree of life".