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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

For the next few posts that, I want to write about having an eternal perspective. Randy Alcorn has written extensively on this subject. His ministry’s website and his blog are great resources for further study and thought. His book, Heaven, has helped many grow in their understanding of how thinking about eternity can help them in living the Christian life in the here and now. While I am not certain of everything in the book, I can not deny the plausibility of anything that he writes.

I’ve had a couple of people express to me the fear that heaven will be boring. These verses (and many more in scripture) make heaven sound anything but boring. In fact I believe that based on these verses not looking forward to heaven or thinking it is boring is a sin that cripples our service and worship. Notice the verses in bold type:

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel. See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.” This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.
(Heb 12:22-29 NASB)

When we meditate on all that heaven will be, the price paid to open the door for us and the glory of God that we will know there, it will stir us to have greater gratitude toward God. Our living will be an act of worship as we obey God with reverence and awe.

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This quote from J.C. Ryle reminds us that Jesus is still very active at the right hand of God.

While I am not as big a fan of snow as I was as a child, Randy Alcorn apparently is. He reminds us to view things in this world with an eternal perspective.

Joshua Harris talks about the discipline of journaling which is something that I did more of last year and hope to make a stronger habit this year.

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It is college football season, and it is interesting to observe people’s behavior this time of year, mine included. It is amazing the degree to which people identify with their favorite team. People identify with their teams accomplishments to the point of saying, “we scored” or “we won.” A slight of the team in the media or disrespect toward the coach is taken personally. When the team wins, fans feel joy. When they lose, fans feel depressed. It is an incredible sense of personal identification.

Some may bemoan that those of us who are believers do not identify with Christ that much. It is a sad thing that we don’t, but what truly amazes me is the degree to which He identifies with us. When Paul had his Damascus Road experience, he had his earliest lesson in the church being the body of Christ. Paul engaged in persecuting believers, and Jesus asked him, “Why are you persecuting me?” Our Lord identifies with us to the point that when someone kicks us for our faith in Him, it is the same as kicking Him.

I don’t want to suggest that Jesus’ identification with us is the same as a football fan painting his body gold and black and wearing a pom-pom on his head. However, I think we can begin to understand the depth of His identification with us some what, yet knowing that it goes deeper and is based on His grace and unconditional love and not our winning or losing. So next time you watch a college football game, take a moment to worship Jesus.

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This morning I was reading in Mark 10 and the contrast between the things Jesus said and what the disciples had assumed to be true struck me. They assumed that divorce was OK, but it wasn’t. They assumed children could not be near Jesus, but they could. They assumed that wealth showed God’s favor on a person, but it didn’t. They assumed that they had sacrificed much, but in reality, they had gained much more. They assumed that greatness meant having the authority to rule others, but it meant being a servant. They assumed that a blind man shouting at Jesus was a nuisance, but Jesus gave him sight.

It makes me ask, “How much do I see the things around in the same way that Jesus sees them? How much of what I assume is just plain wrong?” The pursuit of God, as A.W. Tozer called it, is the pursuit of such a deep intimacy with God and His holiness that we see the world with His eyes. Our assumptions must give way to His truth as we draw near to God through His word and through prayer and through fellowship with other believers. It is as Randy Alcorn wrote at his blog seeing “…God as He is and ourselves as we are.”

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From When People Are Big and God Is Small by Ed T. Welch:

“To look to Christ to meet our perceived psychological needs is to Christianize our lusts.  We are asking God to give us what we want, so we can feel better about ourselves, or so we can have happiness, not holiness, in our lives.”

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I’ve been reading through Matthew recently.  One thing that is impressive about Jesus is that He never lost focus on His purpose.  He came for the purpose of going to the cross, and He kept that focus.  So often organizations and individuals lose their focus on their purpose.  We can get distracted by doing good things that have no connection to the overarching objective that we want to accomplish.  As I read those chapters from Matthew, I asked, “Am I focused on God’s purpose for me?  Is the team I work with focused on its purpose?”  I think that those are healthy questions that I need to ask often.

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Unlike the writer of this piece, I don’t have to confess to anyone that I have ever watched American Idol. I never have. Living overseas has spared me. However, this is great statement of what real manhood is and one I intend to share with my sons.

First Importance has this great quote about focusing on Jesus as an ethical coach rather than the totality of who He is.

Josh Harris gives a good example of taking the world’s criticism as a compliment.

Also, Joe Thorn has read a book suggesting there is a problem when the church drips with niceness. He has other interesting interactions with the book, Outgrowing the Ingrown Church. If I were a pastor in the States, I would want to get that book.

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