Cultivating Enthusiasm

The Brew Is A Musing

2 Chronicles 15:15They sought God eagerly, and He was found by them. So the Lord gave them rest on every side. (NIV 1978)

My Musing – We must be eager to seek, serve and follow the Lord. We need to cultivate the enthusiasm we had as new Christians. It need not die out. It usually doesn’t over night. We need to be alert for signs of erosion and act early.

My Advice – When you find that your eagerness to seek God is waning, it is pretty good indication that you are drifting away from Him. Take this to heart and ask Him to restore the eagerness and remove the hindrances (and you must be willing to let go of them). If you do this, He will answer you.

View original post

Straining Toward What Is Ahead

Screenshot (1370)

I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.”  (Philippians 3:8–9, NIV 1984).

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 3:12–14).

My Musings – “I consider everything a loss” and “I have lost all things” may sound like hyperbole to some, but not to Paul.  Upon his dramatic conversion he did lose a lot of what may be considered of great value in this world – power, postion, privilege, to name just a few.  And it takes a mature spiritual perspective to consider such things as “rubbish” that they “may gain Christ and be found in him,” and have a “righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.”  If you doubt Paul’s sincerity in saying this, consider the following:

Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.” (2 Corinthians 11:23–28, NIV 1984).

How would you like that on your spiritual resume?  From persecutor to persecuted.  But “forgetting what [was] behind and straining toward what [was] ahead, [he] press[ed] on toward the goal to win the prize for which God [had] called [him] heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  And when he got that final call (imprisoned in Rome and ordered beheaded by Emperor Nero) he finally obtained all that he had “strained” for all those years and claimed his “prize.

My Advice – What are you pursuing in your live?  When all is said and done, will it be considered “rubbish” and “loss?”  Have you heeded Christ’s Heavenward call?  If so, are you pressing on?

______________________

Want to become a Christian (that Heavenward call)? See my blog series “The Born Again Experience.”

Want a closer walk with Christ (the pressing on)? See my blog series “Got Spiritual Milk?”

 

 

Whatever Conduct

From the archives.

The Brew Is A Musing

Philippians 1:27Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – All too often we compartmentalize our lives into the spiritual and the worldly. In spiritual situations we conduct ourselves as a Christian should. In other situations, our behavior may not be grossly improper, but also not altogether consistent with our Christianity. This should not be. We are who we are wherever we are and should conduct ourselves appropriately.

My Advice – No matter what situation you find yourself in, whether at work or with friends, ask yourself if what you are doing is consistent with your profession as a child of God.

View original post

Exit Ramp

Screenshot (1364)

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”  (James 4:13–15, NIV 1984).

My Musings – This was the text that inspired today’s devotional from Our Daily Bread Ministries.  It kind of resonated with me due to some news I received this week.  But first, a little background.  I turn 65 in a couple months, which is the traditional retirement age in the United States (at least for those who can afford to do so).  And so it goes, that many of my friends, family and acquaintances have been asking me when I plan on retiring.  I have been blessed with a career that I still enjoy.  Since I have not yet determined what I would do with my time when I do retire, my response has been, “I plan on working until I am 70 (mandatory retirement age for the position I hold), as long as our health permits (mine and my wife’s).”

On Monday I was told that I have prostate cancer.  It was caught early, it is not an aggressive form and the prognosis is very good — so I am blessed indeed.  It occurred to me that my standard response to retirement, specifically “as long as our health permits,” while true, is really not the most appropriate qualifier.  It should be “if it is the Lord’s will.

My Advice – None of us know what tomorrow holds.  Any plans we make for this life are short-sighted at best.  Our primary concern should not be things like how we will spend retirement?  Our primary concern should be how will we spend eternity?  It’s not about how much we have in our retirement fund.  It’s about whether we’ve placed our trust in Jesus Christ.  If you have not already done so, you need to make those arrangements now, before the mist of this life vanishes.

 

Ready for Battle

From the archives.

The Brew Is A Musing

Ephesians 6:12 – Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace…the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. 

My Musings – A soldier would not go into battle without being properly armed and protected. So it should be with us. We do spiritual battle every day but are largely unprepared for it, then wonder why God allows us to get beat up so much of the time.

My Advice – Be ready for spiritual battles. While there may not be demons hiding behind every challenge or misfortune, you still need to be wary. Satan does not want you…

View original post 37 more words

Die Well to Live Well

Screenshot (1362)

At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.” One man ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said. With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.  The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”  (Mark 15:33–39, NIV 1984).

My Musings – We do not know much about this Roman soldier.  He was a centurion, which means he had a command.  He was, at least ultimately, accountable to Pilate, who was accountable to the Emperor in Rome.  Publicly proclaiming that “surely this man was the Son of God,” could have possibly put his position, perhaps even his life, at risk as he should have had “no god but Caesar.” Certainly no rivaling allegiance.  Because of his position he was likely well-disciplined and not given to unguarded displays of sentimentality.   So what was it that made such an impression on this soldier?

He obviously had witnessed (actually oversaw) the nailing of Jesus to the cross.  He stood at the feet of a condemned man hanging between two criminals convicted of capital offenses.  He could hear the insults of the Jewish religious leaders being hurled at a man that they should have welcomed as Messiah, but that they refused to worship as their God.  Perhaps he was present at the trial, and saw the crowds turn against Jesus, refusing to follow Him as their King.  Preferring instead to have another capital criminal released instead of Jesus.  Was he also present at the scourging?  This man being flogged bled like a mere mortal.  Cried out in agony like beaten animal.  Displayed no intrinsic power to resist his torturers that one might expect of a powerful god.

But something profound happened on that hill that softened this hardened career warrior.  And not just him.  Remember, initially both of the criminals crucified with Jesus also hurled insults at Him (Mark 15:32).  Before the end, however, one of those hardened criminals saw in Jesus what the Roman centurion saw (Luke 23:40).  Jesus died (“when the centurion…saw how he died”) liked He lived.  Displaying unmistakable divinity through His unblemished humanity.  His living well (sinless and without defect), would have gone for naught if He had not died well (submissive to His Father’s will).  Yes indeed, “surely this man was the Son of God!

My Advice – Hardened criminal and hardened soldiers are able to recognize and respond to Christ.  Perhaps, for whatever reason, your heart has become hardened.  It is possible for it to become so hardened that it is no longer capable of responding to Christ.  Do not let that happen to you.  “For [our Heavenly] Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and [Christ] will raise him up at the last day.”  (John 6:40, NIV 1984). You will need to die to self (die well) and receive new life (live well) in Christ.  My “Born Again Experience” musings will show you how.

Wholehearted Servitude

From the archives.

The Brew Is A Musing

Ephesians 6:5Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Today, it is not uncommon to do as little as possible to earn the paycheck. To not respect our employers. To take advantage when we can. To work hard when being watched, but slack off when we are not. God calls us to a much higher standard – not like we were doing it for ourselves, but as if we were doing it for Christ.

My Advice – Earn the trust and respect of your employer. In so doing, you will also earn the…

View original post 5 more words