Tag Archives: plans

Don’t Get Lost In Salvation Translation

RejuvenateCan we bring some clarity to salvation? I know that most of us have believed that Christ’s death by the cross did us a favor. We are given the opportunity to enjoy in the benefits of what took place on the cross, but our “salvation from eternal condemnation” was a byproduct of the supreme purpose of God’s approach. I can assure you this, God didn’t go to the cross to make you feel better about your situation now and in the future.

Understand that the actions of this universe go well beyond you and I. Wait…you mean the world hasn’t revolved around us? Contrary to popular opinion, God’s plans outweigh and outlive us; we just get the great opportunity to be included in them. It would suck to not be, right?

Salvation didn’t do you a favor by keeping you out of eternal destruction and “safe.” Salvation brought you back into the presence of God and cleaned you for purpose. You were never designed to be separate and function outside of the presence of God. While hell and the lake of fire create pains that are far beyond imagination in the physical sense, the greatest pain is what is experienced by the eternal separation from the central Source of your life and the absence of the purpose of your life. Understanding that, do not take your salvation for granted, as though God did you a favor. It’s simply much more! You are able to experience and thrive in the presence of the Most High!

Let’s go a little further. God is true to Himself. He cannot lie. He cannot fail. He is immutable, therefore He never changes. If He never changes, His purpose never changes. The intent of His thoughts must be carried to completion. From the scope of His plans for the earth, you and I were created to be the agents that carry out that plan. Because God will not fail, His purpose will not fail. Therefore because God is true to Himself and the plans of His heart, that purpose will never change regardless of circumstances, problems and people. God lives outside of the realm of our circumstances and sin, therefore He cannot be moved by them, nor consumed by them, even though we may be.

Because of our ability to be shaken by our environment and our foolishness to make decisions outside of the will of God that usher us into a sin lifestyle and, yet, still being the agents of God’s never-changing purpose on earth, He had to be true to Himself and provide a way for His purpose to be fulfilled. Therefore salvation became the necessary way to keep God’s plans on track. God sent His Son to buyback those that He ordained to carry out His plans. God didn’t do us a favor, God did Himself one!

Understanding these principles should not discourage you or lessen your perspective of God’s love for you, that is unless you still struggle with a pride issue. On the contrary, it should allow you to reflect on how small we really are, but that we have the awesome opportunity to play such an inspiring and invaluable role in moving God’s plans forward. You get to play a key role in the purposes of God. The plans and ideas that He formulated long before you were even an earthly thought. You literally play a role in shaping the universe!

Don’t minimize God to being the one that did you a favor. Be in awe of how massive and majestic He is and that He desired to have you next to Him, close, as a partner to carry out His eternal plans.

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Are You Taking The Bribe?

Hook of BriberyAs resurrection morning has passed and life afterward carries on, I want to bring your attention to the same scenario, a couple of thousand years ago.

As Jesus was taken from the cross and laid in the borrowed tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, a guard was placed at the burial site to ensure that none of the followers of Christ would attempt to steal His body, hide it and create an elaborate scheme claiming Christ’s resurrection. Turns out, the guards were useless in their attempt to safeguard the tomb, because the resurrection was an “inside” job. The guards were forced to witness prophesy being fulfilled and were rendered helpless of power to change the inevitable. The Bible actually says they “shook with fear and became like dead men.” Their only option was to return to the high-ranking religious officials, now get this, carrying the TRUTH of what happened at the tomb, after all they had just witnessed it for themselves. Matthew says it like this, “some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened.”

What happened next was just plain dirty politics, guided by the hand of the enemy. Matthew writes, ‘When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.” So they took the money and did as they were instructed;” By definition, what took place with these high-ranking officials negatively influencing the guards through money for their own gain, is called a bribe.

These men, who not only knew, but witnessed the truth, were bribed into trading the truth for deception, and living with it. This reeks of satan; lies, money, deception. Just as these men, post-resurrection, were bribed into giving up what they knew to be right and true, the enemy does the same to you with each day. I challenge you to be discerning, hold on to the truth and don’t take the bribe!

Two ways in which we are daily challenged with a bribe:

  1. You know God. You know what’s right, just and true; His word is clear. You have a testimony. You have witnessed what God has done in your life and the lives of those around you, but culture doesn’t want to hear that. So you’re bribed by culture, you’re bribed by media, you’re bribed by your environment; you’re pleasures and the lust of your flesh dangle opportunity in front of you; corporate and economic success throw in their cash; bad attitudes and selfishness make a play, all to keep you silent about the truth. They don’t want you talking about the God you know is real, the God you know is alive. Although you know the truth, you’ve experienced the truth, you’ll accept a bribe to not take a stand for what’s right, the precepts of God.
  2. You have promises of a plan from God for your life. You have incredible gifts, talents, abilities or at least the potential of these things, in order to fulfill the God-given dreams and plans for your life. You know what’s right. You know the truth about what God’s told you and led you to become, but it’s easier to take a bribe and quit. It’s easier to accept a bribe to stay put and give up, rather than pay the price to fulfill the dream. So many are taking bribes everyday, that keep them from pursuing their best life now, the life that God intended you to live; the purpose God intended for you to fulfill. You’ll accept a bribe of doubt, guilt; Bribes of laziness, bribes in the form of settling,  a bribe that tells you that you’re too old or too young, a bribe that looks like ‘quit’ because it’s too hard. You’ll take a bribe to escape the trials of becoming something, even though there’s a truth in you that’s real and seeded by God.

Stop taking the bribes and live for what you know is true! I challenge you to reflect on self. Allow the Holy Spirit to examine you and expose to you the bribes that you’ve been accepting that are keeping you from standing for what’s right and/or investing in yourself to become all that God has called you out to become. Do not settle for a little upfront money to believe a lie that will keep you from Kingdom success. The resurrection brought life. Don’t take a bribe to remain in the company of the dead.

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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

What I’m about to post will challenge some people, especially those tied to a system, a program or a tradition. I want to challenge you to do something simple, yet necessary; reevaluate your house of worship and it’s leader/s. We will often spend hours and days evaluating purchases, insurance providers, business decisions, doctors offices, etc etc, but it’s never even crossed our minds to evaluate our church body with the same diligence and with the expectation that if it’s not matching the biblical charge of a church, we make a change. Why? You have a right and a responsibility to ensure that your church body and it’s leaders are operating, not as you desire, but by the direction of God.

I want to peek at a passage of scripture that’s used quite frequently by the avid churchgoer and pulpiteer, alike, when referencing the command to attend church.  Hebrews 10:25 says, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves, as is the manner of some.” It is, of course, saying that we have a responsiblity, as believers and followers of Christ the head, to not forsake the gathering of the church which is called the body.  This verse, while very true, has been used in countless tactics of manipulation to coerse the non-believer or non-attender into getting in church. This passage makes something very clear in it’s meaning; we need each other. But what do we need each other for? This is where I believe your evaluation needs to come in.

When that scripture has been mentioned, never have I heard anyone finish what the scripture says or even quote the verse before, when commanding people to not forget to attend church. The continuation of verse 24 says, “but exhorting one another;” The word exhort means to strongly encourage or urge to do something.  Verse 24 says, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.” This brings me to a very brief but distinct point and challenge.

The body of believers that you are assembling with and the leader/s that you are assembling under are important; attending church regularly is important, but that assembly is necessary to encourage you and challenge you to become something more in Christ, on your way to pursuing God’s vision for you as a Kingdom citizen.  Take this quick litmus test:

  • Does your pastor and the circle of people you are closely connected to in your church, urge and excite you to become more than you are?
  • Is it a place that your gifts are being discovered and stirred?
  • Do they refuse to allow you to sit, comfortably, in a church service each week without falling prey to mediocrity and just being a part of the crowd?
  • Are your leaders and church partners a regular source of joy and encouragement, stirring up love and support as you grow and develop?
  • Are you challenged to become more because of the body you’re connected to?

My suggestion is that you reevaluate; make yourself answer these questions and be honest with the results. Dissension, division, pain, aggravation and insecurity unfortunately, find their way in many of our churches and leaders, and if we’re not careful we’ll subtly find ourselves dying in their influence because we remain connected out of our loyalty or comfortability, but God has an incredible plan for you and wants to connect you with the right people that can shape you to achieve these dreams. If you’re not being encouraged and challenged to grow, maybe it’s time to rethink what you’re connected to!

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