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Longing for a Fulfilling Life: Part 7

December 26th, 2016 Filed under Bible, Intentional Living, Leadership Comments Off on Longing for a Fulfilling Life: Part 7

As I have asked before, (and will again just one more time) do you have peace and contentment in your life? Are you living a John 10:10 kind of life? Do you believe Ephesians 3:20 can be a reality for you? Are you experiencing the transforming growth described in 2 Corinthians 3:18?

As I have said before, the ability to live this type of life can be found in this verse:

So get rid of all uncleanness and all that remains of wickedness, and with a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21 Amplified)

We have already unpacked the following concepts, uncleanness, wickedness, humble, receive and implant. Today we will look at the concept of save. One of my favorite hoodie sweatshirts which I purchased at Edisto Beach a few years back says, “No Lifeguard on duty, save yourself.” Even just typing that brings a smile to my face because it is impossible to save one’s self if they do not know how to swim.

And oh how does this apply to the concept of save from this verse. As human beings, we are born with a need that we cannot fulfill. The need is to satisfy a just God and His demand to live a life of perfection to enter into eternal bliss rather than wrath. We must live a life that is holy and righteous. He demands nothing less than perfection. But our problem is that no effect or hard work will allow us to do this…to save ourselves. No amount of piousness will fulfill the commandment to live a sinless life. We simply cannot do it because of the sin nature in us. As we all know, we do not need to teach a toddler to be mean or selfish…we must teach her to be kind and to share.

It is only when the Word of God that we received is rooted in us, that we can be saved. Rescued. Delivered. Kept from harm.

I believe this salvation is a process. We are created in the image of God and are therefore triune beings – spirit, soul and body. Immediately upon believing the Gospel, our spirit is made new and is saved – this is justification. Our soul (mind, will and emotions) is saved through the process of sanctification (which we will talk about more next time) and our body is saved through glorification upon the return of Jesus or when we die and meet Him face to face.

So the question for you today is, “Are you saved by God’s grace?” or are you still trying to save yourself?

Longing for a Fulfilling Life: Part 6

December 19th, 2016 Filed under Bible, Intentional Living, Walk by Faith Comments Off on Longing for a Fulfilling Life: Part 6

As I have asked before, (and will again for a few more times) do you have peace and contentment in your life? Are you living a John 10:10 kind of life? Do you believe Ephesians 3:20 can be a reality for you? Are you experiencing the transforming growth described in 2 Corinthians 3:18?

For the past several blogs, I have shared that living this type of life can be found in this verse:

So get rid of all uncleanness and all that remains of wickedness, and with a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21 Amplified)

We have already unpacked the following concepts: uncleanness, wickedness, humble and receive. Today we will look at the concept of implanting. As is the case of many terms in scripture, there is an agricultural concept associated with this word. To implant is to not just put a seed in the ground but for it germinate and have its roots gone deep into the ground so that it will bear fruit.

For us to live a life of peace, contentment and fulfillment, the Word of God cannot just be something that has a surface impact on our lives. We must take the Bible and have it planted deep into our hearts. We cannot let the cares of this world and the deceptions around us distract us from making sure the seed of God’s Word is not only planted in good soil but allowed to grow deep roots.

A few ways to do that are to read the Bible, out loud, daily. If just starting, read a Proverb a day each day of the month for a year. This practice will grow your knowledge and when applied, increase your wisdom. Another way to saturate the soul of your heart with the Word of God is to play it all the time in your home. A great way to do that is using the app created by Life Church that allows you to download the audio of the Bible and then play it continuously in your home. The Word of God is active, alive and transformational. Your faith will grow because faith comes by hearing.

What about you? Do you have any suggestions of how to implant the Scripture into your heart?

Next time, we will be discussing the concept, save.

Longing for a Fulfilling Life: Part 5

December 12th, 2016 Filed under Bible, Intentional Living, Ministry, Personal Comments Off on Longing for a Fulfilling Life: Part 5

As I have asked before, (and will again for a few more times) do you have peace and contentment in your life? Are you living a John 10:10 kind of life? Do you believe Ephesians 3:20 can be a reality for you? Are you experiencing the transforming growth described in 2 Corinthians 3:18?

As I have shared, living this type of life can be found in this verse:

So get rid of all uncleanness and all that remains of wickedness, and with a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21 Amplified)

We have already unpacked the following concepts, uncleanness, wickedness and humble. Today we will look at the concept of receive. Some of the synonyms for receive are to get, obtain, accept or to collect. With a humble spirit, we should pursue this Word of God. It is a not a passive activity but one that requires action. I have given this example in the past but I think in bears repeating as we learn what it means to “receive” the Word of God.

Suppose I told you that in your back yard about 50 – 75 feet down there was a treasure chest filled with gold and silver and rubies and pearls.  It was filled with more than you could desire or even count. It is deep down but if you can get to it, it is yours!!

However, there are a few, little caveats in this arrangement…you cannot use anything mechanical and the only time you can dig is from 4 – 8 each morning.  Now you do not have to dig the whole time but you can only dig for four hours per day.  You can use a shovel or a pick but you must do it yourself.  No one else can dig for you but, again, once you reach the treasure, it is yours and nobody can take it away from you and you can freely give it to others around you.

If this were all true, what do you think tomorrow morning would look like at your house (and it would look the same at my house if the treasure chest was in my backyard)?  At 3:59 am, you would be standing at your back door with your hand on the knob.  You would have probably slept in your clothes and I doubt you would have needed an alarm.  All the shovels and picks you purchased today at the Home Depot would be lined up just outside the door.  And when it is the top of the hour, you would start digging and would not stop until 8!

No one would complain that they are not a morning person.  Clothes would have been laid out the night before.  Breakfast would have been planned.  Emails and social media ignored. Car pools arranged and appointments deferred because nothing was going to stop you from getting your treasure.

The Bible says in Proverbs 8:10-11 and 18-19 that His wisdom – His word – is choice gold and better than precious stones.  Do we really believe this? If so, we do all we could to receive this treasure.

Next time we will look at the concept, implant.

Longing for a Fulfilling Life: Part 4

December 5th, 2016 Filed under Bible, Intentional Living, Leadership Comments Off on Longing for a Fulfilling Life: Part 4

As I have asked before, (and will again for a few more times) do you have peace and contentment in your life? Are you living a John 10:10 kind of life? Do you believe Ephesians 3:20 can be a reality for you? Are you experiencing the transforming growth described in 2 Corinthians 3:18?

For the past several blogs, I have shared that living this type of life can be found in this verse:

So get rid of all uncleanness and all that remains of wickedness, and with a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21 Amplified)

We have already unpacked the following concepts, uncleanness and wickedness. Today we will look at the concept of humility. This opposite of humility is of course pride and pride is often reflected in two different extremes: boastful or arrogant and false humility. Most of us understand arrogance and can quickly spot it in others (and hopefully ourselves.) However, the concept of false humility is often not so easy to see.

False humility is seen when people belittle or degrade themselves. For example, I have been given the gift of preaching. Because of God’s grace and power in my life, I can communicate effectively and efficiently. When I first started speaking, people would came up to me afterwards and complimented me. I would often shrug it off by saying “Oh that wasn’t that good” or “Anyone can do this.” After a few times of doing that the Lord quickly rebuked me and said that I was belittling His gift in me by not receiving these compliments for His glory. It was false humility because I was not a right measure of myself or God. Now when someone compliments me I using say something like, “Thank you! It was good. God has blessed me with a great gift. All glory to Him.”

So how do you develop humility. The first step is having a right understanding of God – He is the sovereign, all knowing, all present, all powerful King of kings. There is none like Him nor will there ever be. The second step is having a right understanding of yourself – I am a sinner that is in desperate need of a Savior but because I do have His Spirit in me, I am a righteous child of this amazing King. Lastly, you need to find a way to practice this humility. For me, it is picking up trash. As I walk through my church or jog along the road or head into a store, if there is trash on the ground I am to pick it up and put it into a trashcan. Yes, this is disgusting at times (wash hands as soon as possible) and delays me sometimes (hate stopping in the middle of a run) but it does humble me. And it really humbles me when I have passed a piece of trash and the Lord has me turn around and pick it up.

What about you? Do you have any ways in which you practice humility?

Next time we will look at the concept, receive.