Wednesday, July 30, 2014

EARNING YOUR DANGER PAY

There are a few jobs in the world that pay extra well because the task requires a great deal of personal risk. Some employers will pay top dollar to hire people for difficult assignments.



When we consider that God’s work pays in eternal gold, silver and precious stones we are reminded that this rewarding career might cost you your life.


Luke 10:
Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.


If you have experienced a change of heart because of Jesus, you know that you are becoming more of a lamb. Innocence, gentleness and a desire for belonging to the flock are on the increase. When you follow Jesus into the wild, you will find out that there are other people who have a different kind of nature. They are more wolfish and have another agenda. Not everyone is a wolf. But then again, not everyone is a lamb. The lamb-like mission of God will inevitably attract a few wolves that want to devour you. Jesus knows all about that.

Still, the risk is outranked by the rich harvest that waits. You need to be a dove-like lamb with shrewd serpent-like wisdom.

While everything in our nature wants to be fully prepared and over-stocked, Jesus tells us to leave our extra pair of shoes at home and don’t worry about having enough money. Apparently we are to learn how to receive God’s care and provision through other people.

I know that the times I have been least equipped and poorest have been the times when I’ve seen God’s provision the most. It’s almost as if self-reliance displaces God-reliance.

Why were the travellers not to greet anyone on the road? The customary greetings were elaborate, and to avoid them would be highly unusual.[i]

No doubt Jesus wanted his people to learn to avoid the subtle traps of always doing what they were told was proper. They needed to highly focus on getting to their assignment quickly and efficiently. In God’s Kingdom work, we need to travel light.




[i] Reformation Study Bible

Sunday, July 27, 2014

THE PROBLEM WITH WORKING SOLO

Jesus did not stop with having only 12 apostles. He had many more people that he called into ministry.


Luke 10:
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 


There is no greater motivation than knowing that you are responding to God’s request. If you are waiting for a voice from the sky, will you settle for the words on a page? The mission of God is for all of us to follow Jesus into the world as proclaimers and servants.

We see a pattern here when Jesus sends people in pairs. Do you think it makes a difference when you work alone or in a team? Most of the heroes of the Bible made big mistakes and sometimes failed. But, the ones who went in pairs often recovered and returned to mission. The loners sometimes ended tragically and alone.



Moses had Aaron. Joshua had Caleb. Elijah had Elisha. Paul had Barnabas and later Silas.

When you have a shared mission, there is someone to watch your back, hold you accountable and add strength where you may be weak. A partner reminds you that you are on a mission from God.

Jonah, Samson, Cain and Judas Iscariot were alone and their stories are not happy ones.

There is this idea from God that a harvest is ready. There are people who not only need God’s intervention and hope in their life, they need someone to come and tell them about it. There are a surprisingly low number of people who are willing to work at this, though. This is something that you should all pray about. God, who will work for you? Who can you send? Please pray about that.



Thursday, July 24, 2014

ON A MISSION FROM GOD

If you are a follower of Jesus, then you and I are a little like Jake & Elwood from The Blues Brothers[i]. We are on a mission from God! Two guys had a deep sense of purpose in putting the band back together to save the Catholic home in which they were raised. 




They braved great peril, rejection and risk because they had a sense that this was God’s work. What is your mission from God? Do you have an underlying purpose that propels you forward and determines the direction of your life?

I distinctly remember the difference in my life when I gave my goals to God and awaited His direction. I would never want to go back to the uncertainty of trying to develop a life plan on my own. If you are uncertain and unsure about your future, acknowledge your willingness to serve God and get ready to be led.

The 19th century Church of Scotland preacher Thomas Chalmers once said, ‘Every man is a missionary, now and forever, for good or for evil, whether he intends or designs it or not. He may be a blot radiating his dark influence outward to the very circumference of society, or he may be a blessing, spreading benediction over the length and breadth of the world. But a blank he cannot be: there are no moral blanks; there are no neutral characters.[ii]

How are you influencing the world around you? You are not a neutral character. When you become a follower of Jesus, you will be called to a life of spreading peace and light to the world. Your life is a response to proclaim the presence of God’s Kingdom and serve the world in that light.


Monday, July 21, 2014

FEAR NO EVIL


Why do so many followers of Jesus give in to fear mongering and the conspiratorial agenda of wolves? Jesus, rebuke us when we do not lift high the Law of Love. 




I am convinced that there are many who have not learned how to deal with rejection in their lives and get stuck in a difficult place when it happens to them.

Can you follow Jesus and not expect to experience some measure of misunderstanding, rejection or possibly even persecution? How was Jesus able to overcome and not resort to a victim mentality? How did Jesus overcome the extremity of betrayal?

Like us, Jesus had to trust in the God who will restore all that can be restored. The Judgments of God will come, but the meek and lowly will not be cut down when the reaper lifts his scythe.

I repent of the times that I have been influenced by fear more than the love of God. I repent of the times that I misjudged and wanted fire from Heaven to solve my problems with those who opposed me.

I am poor and blind to the mercies of God. I have been an oppressor and a liar. Even so, come Lord Jesus. Have mercy on me a sinner. Make my heart beat with your love and reconcile through me. This is my prayer.

Amen.



Friday, July 18, 2014

HOT HEADS FOR JESUS


How can we keep a good attitude and be faithful to Jesus when hot heads prevail? 




When you go online, listen to Christian radio and television or see what’s selling in the book charts, you will find that hot heads have a big audience.

The war of words is filled with shock and awe as we drop half-truth bombs on the world we are called to be peacemakers in. It just may be that we do not love the same world that God loves. Perhaps, we have not been influenced deeply enough by the words of Jesus who is too patient and merciful. We would rather point out the errors and agenda of the other and pray for their destruction.

There is definitely a place for identifying wolves in sheep clothing and those who teach a false gospel. The sad thing is we easily let hot heads lead us off the true path of Jesus who tells us to love our enemies.

Paul gave good instruction on how to live together in a dark world.


Romans 12:
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.


The kind person is not a hot head. The compassionate follower of Jesus who treats their enemy well may have quite the affect on the other.


Feeding a hungry enemy might heap burning coals on their head. This is not some kind of twisted retaliation—just the acknowledgement that Christ-like behaviour may set their minds on fire with a dilemma. Will they remain hostile and bitter, or be reconciled as a friend? God desires the latter.



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