March 04, 2016
In Mark 11 the Pharisees question Jesus as to who gave Him authority to do what He was doing. The problem was, He threatened their little self-made kingdoms. They wanted to be in charge of their lives and would not surrender to God. This is why, when God sent His Son, it threatened their existence. Someone had entered to take over.
Jesus answered them, but then expanded on this thought further. In Mark 12 he tells the story of a ""man who planted a vineyard and put a wall around it, and dug a vat under the wine press and build a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey"" (Mark 12:1). When the vineyard owner sent his slave to gather some of the proceeds of the harvest, they beat him. He sent another slave and they did the same. Finally he sent the son and they killed his son. Remember, he was the OWNER of the vineyard. They were simply the workers, the stewards entrusted with doing with the owner's property what he desired.
God had given the Israelites (and us) all they had. He had ""dug out"" their vineyard and prepared it and led them into the Promised Land and provided abundantly for them. But when He went to the people of Israel expecting their gratitude and fruit from their lives, they rejected every messenger He sent, over and over again. And when he sent His Son, they killed him.
Why? Control. A proud feeling that they had built and earned what they had; that THEY owned it all, and that they knew better than God how to run their lives and their country. They didn’t want anyone interfering with the little life-system they’d established. They thought everything was theirs, forgetting they are mere tenants on this earth that God has created and owns.
The same issue is in all of our hearts. God has given us this earth, our lives, indeed, ""every good and perfect gift."" He owns it all (including us) and yet when He asks us to surrender our lives to Him (or any part of our lives) we often balk and resist and rebel. We want to be in charge of our lives and will not submit to Him. We want to be in CONTROL.
When you see this in this way, it is so incredibly selfish. We own NOTHING! (Read that last sentence again). We get mad at God for doing what He desires with what is rightfully His. We forget we are but stewards, of even our own lives.
We should bow humbly, fully in every area of our lives, and give him everything he desires and deserves. To do anything less is gross ingratitude and the highest form of treason.
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June 08, 2019
June 07, 2019
… with most of us modern Christians is that we are stoppable. A little discomfort, a turn from our desired daily routine, or a little resistance from those to whom we’re witnessing throws us off. We have not settled the issue that our greatest joy and highest purpose comes from our witness, and so we are unwilling to push through in sharing Christ with others every day, even in the mildest environments. Even when persecution is not present.
June 03, 2019
These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer (Acts 1:14)
Prayer is the foundation for all of life. Imagine the emotions and sense of fear and expectancy when Christ had been resurrected, appeared to His disciples, and then ascended. They were instructed to merely wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit who would endue them with power to be witnesses to Christ all across the world (Acts 1:8).
So, what did they do?