Radical Christianity

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But wisdom that comes from above is…. *Without partiality*…. 
James 3:17

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PARTIALITY – unfair bias in favor of one thing or person compared with another; favoritism.

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I find it interesting what we do with the words of Jesus.

We take Jesus’ command in Matthew 28 to make disciples of all nations and we say, “That means other people.” But we look at Jesus’ command in Matthew 11:28, “come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” and we say, “Now, that means me.”

We take Jesus’ promise in Acts 1:8 that the Spirit will lead us to the ends of the earth, and we say, “That means some people.” But we take Jesus’ promise in John 10:10 that we will ‘have abundant life,’ and we say, “That means me.”

In the process we have unnecessarily (and unbiblically) drawn a line of distinction, assigning the obligations of Christianity to a few while keeping the privileges of Christianity for us all.

In this way we choose to send off other people to carry out the global purpose of Christianity while the rest of us sit back because we say we’re “just not called to that.”

Now we know that each of us has different gifts, different skills, different passions, and different callings from God. God has gifted you and me in different ways. This was undoubtedly the case with the disciples. Peter and Paul had different callings. James and John had different callings. However, each follower of Christ in the New Testament, regardless of his or her calling, was intended to take up the mantle of proclaiming the Gospel to the ends of the earth. That’s the reason why He gave each of them His Spirit and why He gave them all the same plan: ‘make disciples of all nations.’
– Excerpt from “Radical”

   by David Platt

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Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.
James 4:17

I implore you,

Trust ♔ Jesus!

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GOD’S RESPONSE TO OUR DOUBTS

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GOD’S RESPONSE TO OUR DOUBTS

Moses said to the LORD, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”

The LORD said to him, *”Who gave human beings their mouths?*

Exodus 4:10-11

————

Four years ago I had to complete the licensing process all over again from the beginning. In my previous life before faith in Christ, I had made a number of poor decisions regarding it that were in dire need of redemption.

As I prayerfully leaned on the Lord to work these things out in me, I had finally got to the day when I was set to complete my G test.

Looking for some sort of encouragement in God’s Word, I sought Him and came across this verse above in Exodus chapter 4.

I was sort’ve puzzled at first at how such a Word could be relevant for my driving test, but instead of rejecting it, I simply nestled it away into the quiet meditation of my heart as I went about my day.

When the driving examiner approached the car, she looked angry and annoyed. As we began the test, her demeanor was exemplified in her attitude. Short razor-sharp remarks followed a darkened seriousness and a strict focus.

The entire test was made up of her criticisms; pointing out driving errors and writing on my examination paper.

A moment of despair crept in as I imagined already failing the test and bracing myself to receive that news when all of a sudden the Word God spoke to me earlier that morning came bubbling up in my Spirit…

*”Who gave human beings their mouths?”*

I immediately realized that God was once again using this every day situation to demonstrate to me His *Sovereign* rule over *all* His creation.

Joy began to replace those brief thoughts of despair, and peace flooded my soul as I dared to believe that God had brought me this far and was going to complete the work He had begun regardless of what anyone had to say about it! I smiled as her critiques intensified toward the ending of the examination.

Sure enough, we pulled back into the ministry as she completed the rest of her marking and then handed me the paper marked, “Pass!”

———–

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,

    for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!

Why should the nations say,

    “Where is their God?”
Our God is in the heavens;
    he does all that he pleases.
Psalm 115:1-3

———–

This event also reminded me of a passage in Scripture where God used the murderous plan of the High Priest to prophesy the very way Jesus would die. (John 11:49-50) Think about that for a second…

The Spirit of God spoke prophetically through Jesus’ enemies to declare his future destiny which he came to accomplish!

If then, God controls the outcome of His every spoken Word to us to ensure that His purposes alone come to pass, how much more could God then make the meaningless rant of those who oppose or speak against what we are led by the Spirit to accomplish come to nothing?

When I revisited the passage in Exodus, it actually broadens the scope of God’s Sovereign rule over His creation. It says:

———–

Then the LORD asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? *Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see?* Is it not I, the LORD?

Exodus 4:11

———–

As the enemy stands ready to assault us with doubts and despair when we judge the outcome of our life’s situations based on our present circumstances or by the misplaced opinions of others, take a deep breath and remind yourself in these very moments Who is *actually*  in control of your life and purposes it for His good pleasure.

Whether it’s a matter of a simple driving examination, or leading two and half million people out of captivity, I encourage you to make a choice to believe by faith.

I implore you,

Trust ♔ Jesus!

What’s Our Purpose? 

WHAT’S OUR PURPOSE?

You, however, know all about my:
– teaching,
– my way of life,
– *my PURPOSE,*
– faith,
– patience,
– love,
– endurance,
– persecutions,
– sufferings
what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.
*2 Timothy 3:10-11*

———-

I came across this Word tonight in Scripture: “purpose,” and began to consider to myself what the Apostle Paul’s *purpose* might’ve been. I mean, I can make a number of well founded inferences based on how he lived his life, about the faith he professed, about how he spent his time serving others and so forth, but I wondered if it was possible to have assumed more or less of what the actual thought was that he had in mind at the very moment when he penned this letter to his young protégé Timothy.

I decided then, to look up the Word in its original Greek to see if it might lend any revelation and insight, but what I stumbled upon was more profound than I would’ve imagined.

It turns out that the Greek Word that he specifically used here for ‘purpose’ is the same Greek Word used for “Showbread.”

———–

PURPOSE (Gr. Prothesis)
a setting forth, the show-bread; predetermination, purpose.

———–

If you remember well, the showbread in the Old Testament was one of the key articles of the Tabernacle that was to constantly remain in the presence of the Lord in the Holy place.

When we consider the spiritual significance of this Old Testament symbol in light of our New Testament faith, we could faithfully posit that the Apostle Paul could be saying:

“you saw how I lived as if *always in the presence of God Himself* no matter where I went – follow my example”

OR

“You witnessed how I consecrated myself to the Lord. Do likewise.”

What if we expected to meet with and encounter God in the coffee shops, the barbershop/salons, the grocery stores, book stores, the dinner table, the short and long drives, the gym, work and school, and everywhere else we might travel day to day – in the same way that we expected to meet with Him in the sanctuary?

The Holy Spirit was revealing through Paul to his young protégé Timothy that the secret of living out faith in keeping with our God ordained purpose was accomplished by being *ever aware that God is always present with us* in all we do.

This week, I ask God to open our eyes to see all the different ways that He is at work in our daily activities, and that our faith would be encouraged to believe and step out to act when called upon to do so!

———-

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
*Hebrews 11:6*

*Trust ♔ Jesus!*

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Are You A Moon, Or A Son?

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ARE YOU A MOON OR A SON?

 

 

From the Old Testament to the New, there is a major paradigm-shift taking place in our identities that our churches are still struggling to fully comprehend today. Call it an ‘identity crisis.’ You can identify this because you’ll hear things being said like:

 

“You are called to be moons, reflecting the light of the sun, (or ‘Son’)”

 

And this might seem really encouraging to you if you haven’t wrestled through major doctrines like ‘positional righteousness’ before. But truly this was the same perspective that Old Testament patriarchs like David held as they prayed:

 

———-

 

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine ‘upon’ us
Psalm 67:1

 

———–

 

No doubt God’s ‘face shining upon us’ could be speaking metaphorically for God’s favour, but I’m using it as an example to convey a truth about where we stood positionally with God *prior* to Jesus coming 2000 years ago.

 

In the Old Testament, the Spirit of God could not come to live *inside* of a person, the Spirit could only come ‘upon’ a person at varying times – empowering them to carry out the will of God; give supernatural wisdom or strength; cause to prophesy of future events, and perform miracles, signs and wonders.

 

But *after* the sacrifice of Jesus was completed on the cross, for the first time since the Garden of Eden a positional change took place for every believer by faith – the very Spirit of God could now dwell *’in’* a person, in which case, man was no longer ‘reflecting’ God’s light, but had *become* the very lamp of the Lord.

 

———-

 

Consider the words of Jesus himself:

 

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

 

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

 

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16

 

———-

 

The promises of the New Covenant are far greater than anything that could be experienced in the Old – as miraculous as they were. But being so accustomed to the old religious systems and ways of thinking, in many ways the early Church (and we along with them) struggled to understanding what we have been welcomed into through the Gospel, and all that makes God’s immeasurable ‘grace’ toward us so wonderful and praiseworthy!

 

Imagine the scandal… The very Holy Spirit of God indwelling sinful human beings! The mere thought of that makes the religious man’s skin crawl.

 

But this was indeed the change that occurred which is why the Apostle Paul vehemently refuted every form of false teaching that ever so slightly even attempted to bring the New Testament Church believers under a yoke of ‘religiosity’ again, keeping them from understanding all that was now available to them in Christ as sons and daughters of the living God – whom God now *indwelled* by His Holy Spirit.

 

Which is why when the Church was falling into legalistic righteousness, Paul passionately penned the letter:

 

———–

 

You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.

 

I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?

 

Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, (received by faith) are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? (Religious effort) 

 

Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain?

 

So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?
Galatians 3:1-5

 

———

 

In other words, are we still living out our New Covenant relationship with God constantly hoping for Him to ‘shine upon us’ so that we may in turn reflect His light, but only if we keep a few laws and commandments a little bit better each day in hopes of not eclipsing our connection to Him?

 

Or will we realize that His light has been made to dwell *within us,* rescuing us from the kingdom of darkness and transferring us into the Kingdom of His Son as we are being made into the very image of Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God? (Col 1:3, Rom 8:29)

 

In fact, one might add that even all ‘correction’ and ‘conviction’ is also the fruit of this un-severed relationship we now share with God at all times. For a Father only corrects those He acknowledges as His children. (Heb. 12:5-6)

 

It may seem like a trivial thing to the undiscerning, but the effects of misunderstanding this can be monumental. Which is funny, because using the celestial bodies to confer our misunderstanding of identity is indicative of the greatness of its implications.

 

It’s the difference between a moon – that has no real light of its own, desperately seeking out light outside of itself in order to reflect its shine;

 

And a Son – who experiences perfected relationship with his Heavenly Father at all times, even when he doesn’t feel like he always perfectly measures up.

 

 

So I implore you,

Dig deeper…

 

 

 

Trust ♔ Jesus!

 

Does Truth Matter?

 

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DOES TRUTH MATTER?

 

Jesus answered “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

Pilate said to him, “what is truth?”
John 18:37-38

 

————

 

In prison, as with all life, you never quite know what kind of people you’ll meet, but I’ll never forget one particular acquaintance.

 

To pass the time, I used to attend the prison gym regularly. In prison, there’s an unwritten code among inmates that you never ask what a person is incarcerated for. If it is ever something worth the inmate population’s knowledge, (like the crimes of Paul Bernardo for example) there are often inmates volunteering in the administrative sector that will usually inform the population long before the inmate is released into the general population.

 

More than six months would go by of faithfully attending the gym with this other inmate but never really knowing each other more than just superficially, saying ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ alone pretty much week to week before one day I no longer saw him there.

 

I didn’t really think too much of it at first. But when I got back to my cell that evening and turned on the CP24 news as I would regularly do, I was shocked to see my acquaintance from the gym was on the news standing just a few hundred feet away from me, but on the ‘outside’ of the very prison doors of the institution we were housed at.

 

I quickly grabbed the remote to increase the volume.

 

“It has been officially determined due to further investigation that Mr. ‘so and so’ and his wife, who were both serving sentences of 5 & 10 years for the death of their infant child, have been exonerated of all charges due to recent evidence brought forth that proves that the child in fact died from a very rare case of S.I.D.S (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) at no fault of the parents.”

 

———-

 

I was sort of frozen as I tried to process it all. He was in the ‘eighth year’ of his ten-year sentence, and his wife who had served her full five, was waiting faithfully at the doors of the prison to welcome him at his release.

 

Of course they always knew they were innocent, but now their whole community would know it too.

 

 

 

I can only imagine that some close friends and relatives had long agreed with their conviction of guilt by the courts and how painful that must’ve been to go through. Not to mention their employers and co-workers who probably voiced their suspicions of their guilt around the offices where they once worked. There could’ve been neighbours who saw them taken away in handcuffs, news articles that defamed their character, and relationships completely severed by the mere idea that they could’ve been guilty of hurting a child.

 

———-

 

The reporter questioned: “Will you be seeking some recompense for this wrongful conviction?”

 

Before he could answer, I could already hear other inmates angrily shouting ‘eff yea!’, who were watching along from their own cells.

 

Completely unprepared for his answer, he replied: “My wife and I are only now able after more than ten combined years of fighting our own personal battles, to properly grieve the loss of our child and hopefully move on. I sincerely forgive the prison system, mostly because I don’t want to waste anymore of my life or time fighting for something they will never be able to return to me anyway.”

 

———-

 

I’m not sure if I was more perplexed by the humble demeanour I witnessed each week at the gym unexpected to be found of a man so wrongly accused, or at his radical forgiveness and gentleness with which he spoke in earnest of sincerely moving forward beyond this incredible injustice that robbed him of eight years of time together with his family and his freedom where he could easily find every self-justifying reason to be upset.

 

For the first time in my life I witnessed a level of spiritual maturity I so rarely ever see in this lifetime. Something so incredibly beautiful that is only ever given opportunity to pour forth from the most overwhelmingly painful injustices of this lifetime.

 

In God’s divine planning for my life, I was privy to what now serves as my most memorable example of Christ-like forgiveness – not from professing believers at the local church – but from one of the most challenging season spent in a prison that I was once ashamed of.

 

———–

 

I think that many painful injustices throughout our life can severely affect our ability to think objectively about truth, and not everyone has the spiritual maturity and clarity of sight to see life with such profound perspective as this man has demonstrated.

 

In the opening text I used, I think that when we consider Pontius Pilate’s life, because of the position that he occupied in Rome, what we see is the retorts of a man who had been completely disillusioned by the constant injustices he was privy to and maybe even partner to throughout his life. And I’m sure something I his response to Jesus even resonates with many because of the various things we’ve all been through.

 

But does truth matter?

 

If you asked this acquaintance of mine from prison, undoubtedly he’d be the first to tell you a definite “Yes!” but only because he thoroughly understood through his experiences its power to affect the outcome of his situation.

 

Truth is often treated as a mere conceptual idea without any real objectivity, so it may seem irrelevant to some, but only until the day that they find themselves on the receiving end of all the harm that is caused by a lie.

 

Which is why I’ll never cease to implore you, if today you hear the Truth calling you,

 

 

 

Trust ♔ Jesus!

 

Nobody’s Perfect 

​”NOBODY’S PERFECT”

 

What a telling sentiment. I’m certain that everyone would agree that we’ve all found ourselves saying it at one point in our lives or the other.

 

(I’m always most fascinated by the things we say and do by instinct rather than by the beliefs we profess to hold in theory)

 

The reason I find it strange is because one hundred percent of the time when we use it, we seem to take it for granted that we’ve assumed that the person we’re saying it to holds to the very same ideas about this assumed ‘standard of perfection,’ and that it should be a given that they agree that ‘we all’ indeed ‘fall short of it’ – like it should be common knowledge.

 

If this wasn’t true, we’d instead find ourselves saying things like: “I’m not perfect, but you possibly could be.” Yet, unless for merely sarcastic effect, I’ve never heard anyone retorting that before.

 

Instead, the sentiment seems to always be used when we want to validate our own imperfection by reminding our hearers that ‘they too’ fall short of this standard they also should already know of.

 

Imagine if the person turned to respond, “No, I actually am perfect!”

 

If we were kind, we might then see fit to insist upon a mental health assessment on their behalf.

 

But before I stray too far from the original thought, I think it’s a good time to now clarify that the kind of perfection that I noticed that we seem to assume that ‘all people fall short of’ when we say ‘nobody’s perfect’, seems to be *moral* perfection.

 

But I’m curious to investigate today *why* we all assume that it should be collectively acknowledged that “nobody’s perfect”… unless of course we all believe that the statement we’re making is ‘objectively true’ – meaning, regardless of our individually professed belief system, this stands as an absolute fact that should be acknowledge by all and that it transcends our individual beliefs even if we hold to the contrary somehow ‘in theory’. In which case, a self-professed moral relativist would be guilty of undermining their own professed beliefs by ever making such a statement.

 

Here’s the problem though:

 

Self-professed moral relativists ‘do’ make such statements.

 

In which case they make it apparent that although they profess to believe such things as “all ways to God are right” or even that “many ways to God” is plausible, (even if they know that the world’s top religions fundamentally contradict one another), we find that although they can try to escape logic in theory, they can’t seem to escape their own subconscious from making absolute and objective statements in daily practice.

 

Which tells me something very important about moral relativists – that their theoretical professions, no matter how articulate, how forceful, how brazen, how self-assured, nor how much approved by the consensus of others – should *never* be accepted as valid or ‘true.’

 

I’d even go as far as to say that if the dogmatic beliefs of such professors was a form of ‘subjective moral reasoning religious adherence,’ (which I totally believe it is) then I caution you: *Beware,* these are the true hypocrites of our day.

 

———–

 

There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 
Romans 3:22-24

 

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
John 3:17

 

Since “nobody’s perfect” – not Muhammad, not Buddha, not Mother Teresa nor Hitler – what better reason is there than for us to trust in the one sinless, perfect, Son of God who gave His life for us?

 

So I implore you,

 

 

Trust ♔ Jesus!