Properly Defined

Mark 6_12_Properly Defined

If words had legal rights, this one could bring serious charges of abuse and misuse!

The word I have in mind is “evangelical.”  Once upon a time, the word was used to describe one who proclaimed good news.  Nothing more, nothing less.  However over the years, the word has been hijacked and turned into something much different.  So today, I’d like to spend a few minutes setting the record straight.

First and foremost, evangelical is NOT a synonym for a political party.  A genuine evangelical is not primarily concerned with who occupies the White House or controls the Senate.  In addition, the top thing on the mind of a genuine evangelical is not your stance on various social issues.  (Although most will have their opinions).

Boiled down to its essence, here is the ONE thing that defines a biblical evangelical – they want everyone to find a right relationship with God through faith in Christ.  That’s it.  They won’t try to win an argument.  They won’t hold out an endless list of rules.  They won’t mobilize you to vote.  No.  With absolute love for the heart and soul of their fellow man, they will tell others to repent of their sins and turn to God.

If it could be explained in a single sentence, Mark 6:12 does a great job.  After Jesus sent His 12 disciples out, we read:

So the disciples went out, telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God.

Each of us should have this same level of care and concern for our fellow man.  The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.  And only hearts at rest with God have true peace.  Help those within your reach find it!  –Dave

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The Scary Assignment

Mark 5_19_Friendships over Friends

At the time of this writing, there are three members of the College and Career class I teach serving as missionaries in foreign lands.  Another young man will leave for Bosnia later this year.  They are all young adults in their early 20s.

One of the final barriers I had prior to accepting Christ was the fear that if I gave my life to Him, He was going to ask me to move to the far regions of Africa!  Turns out that’s not been His will for me.

But in Mark 5, we read about an assignment Christ gave which was perhaps the most terrifying task ever given to a mere mortal.  The man had just had a radical encounter with the Lord – Jesus had cast a legion of demons out of him and into a sounder of pigs (yep, I looked it up – that’s what a group of swine is called.  You’re welcome)!   After being so dramatically changed, the man begged for the chance to join Jesus’ band of travelers.

That’s when Christ handed down the frightening assignment:

No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been. (Mark 5:19, NLT)

Not many of us are going to go with Jesus to foreign lands.  Yet each one of us has the opportunity, (dare we say responsibility), to tell our friends and family about the love and mercy of Christ.  Who knows, perhaps some will respond as the healed man’s family and neighbors did – with amazement (v.20).

Friends, your neighbors and family need to hear about Christ as much as people on the other side of the globe – will you be the one to tell them? –Dave

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Finally Free, Finally Me

welcome-home-danny-hahlbohmWelcome Home by Danny Hahlbohm; http://www.inspired-art.com, used with permission.

When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)

We’ve talked before about the wonderful inheritance that one day awaits each follower of Christ.  “Inheritance” itself means that which is “divinely apportioned by God.”  Our lil’ corner of heaven is tailor made by God just for us.

Not only will our inheritance be perfectly matched to us, but we will be perfectly matched to it as well!  Here’s what I mean.  When we enter eternity, we will finally be free to be exactly who God created us to be.  For the very first time, we will be free from what other people want or expect from us.  We will be free of the demands and pressures which prevent us from being God’s perfect creation.  And for the first time we won’t be limited by our sins or the sins of others.  We will simply be who God created us to be!  Can’t wait!

His eternal reward is being created perfectly for us, and in return we will be His perfect creation to enjoy it, and HIM.  To be honest, I’m somewhat curious to meet the Dave God had originally meant me to be.

The perfect you for His perfect inheritance – it’ coming soon to all who have placed their faith in Christ.  Have you?  –Dave

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Be Strong and Wait

Sunday_Psalm 27_14_Be Strong and Wait

Don’t give up, Christian.  Take heart, stay strong, and wait patiently on the Lord – He’s up to something good!
 
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Looking and Sounding Good

Hope you enjoy today’s message via video!

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Seek and Maintain

1 Peter 3_10_11_Seek and Maintain

In his first letter, Peter wrote:

“Whoever would love life and see good days…must seek peace and pursue it.” (1 Peter 3:10-11)

A quick look at your Bible’s footnotes will indicate that Peter was quoting David’s 34th Psalm – an indication that God has always longed for His children to have peace.

First, the goal of which David and Peter wrote was peace –  the idea of “wholeness” within groups.  Where all individual parts are joined together with no loose threads, no fraying edges, and certainly no divisions or separations.

Next, notice the fervor with which we’re to seek this type of unity.  In both the Old and New Testament passages, “seek” carried the idea of continuously searching until something was found, or a situation was resolved.  In fact, Peter’s words carried the weight of entering a binding resolution until a matter was settled.

But once peace is found, it’s thereafter like a greased pig – it slips away so easily!  That’s why David and Peter added the command to continue to “pursue” peace.  Again the Hebrew and Greek words are consistent, with each communicating the idea of “aggressively chasing after something like a hunter chases his prey.”

I actually like the way the NLT translates Peter’s words, “Search for peace, and work to maintain it.”  It’s easy to hear “keep the peace” and think it means to never ruffle any feathers.  But as these verses teach, keeping the peace is a goal which takes constant attention and effort.  In that regard, peace is like a clean house or clean dishes – it’s never “one and done.”  Yesterday’s clean dishes become today’s dirty ones.  And like fine China, peace is fragile and easily broken.

Do you want a life you can love and God can bless?  Pursue peace within your family, church, community, and nation – then work to maintain it! –Dave

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Guilt, Shame, and Fear

Genesis 3_7_10_Guilt Shame Fear

In his fascinating book, Honor and Shame, Roland Muller points out three main consequences to the fall of man in the Garden, and how those consequences have formed three main worldviews (and related cultures) today.

In Genesis 3:7 we read, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”  From this verse we see that GUILT was a result of man’s disobedience.  According to Muller, much of Western culture today is based on guilt and innocence, right and wrong.

On the heels of recognizing their guilt, Adam and Eve “…hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden” (v.8).  In other words, they felt SHAME over what they’d done.  Much of the Middle and Far East live within shame cultures today.

When God called to Adam as he hid, this was Adam’s response, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” (v.10).  While this verse alone includes all three consequences, the new one introduced is FEAR.  Today, many cultures (especially in Central and South America) are dominated by fear of spirits, fear of the supernatural, etc.

Guilt, shame, and fear – all are natural responses to man’s sin before a Holy God.  While every culture and every religion attempt to find answers to these problems, only faith in Christ successfully deals with each.

Hallelujah that through faith in Christ we can be forever free of sin’s guilt, shame, and fear! –Dave

(To receive these free daily devotions via email, subscribe at:  https://theteachableheart.com/classrooms-%26-devotions.  For more information about the ministry, or to order the devotional books, visit: https://theteachableheart.com/books.)

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