Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Strengthened in Our Mind

Have you ever wondered why when Jesus spoke to the disciples and others, they seemed so confused? Jesus was from another world and He thought differently than we Earthlings do. Therefore, we see our Lord responding to questions with questions. He was doing this because they were asking the wrong questions.

Teach me Your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth!

Jesus used his questions to change their perspective. He was taking the first steps in changing they way they think. We see Paul furthering the work of this new way of thinking when he wrote to the Church at Rome, "for I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established" Romans 1:11 NKJV

So, where exactly did Paul want to establish those he was writing to? In the mind! The word "established" refers to a work of strengthening the mind. It means to be made stable, strengthened, to render constant, confirm, one's mind.

It's not just important what we know, but our perspective as a new creation in Christ. It's "how" we think. It's a new way of thinking based on a new reality.

Above All Else

Paul is referring to using a spiritual gift to establish and confirm their way of thinking. He was complimenting their faith and wanted to spend time with them to lock in that work and even grow from it himself. He desired to use his spiritual gift as a tool for galvanizing their thinking. Great thinking leads to great faith!

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. ... that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. - Romans 1:8, 12 NKJV

There is no greater work you will do in Christ than strengthening your thinking process. It is the very thing that we see in the Book of Proverbs as the most important duty we have. We must guard our heart above all else.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. - Proverbs 4:23 NLT

The word heart, is specifically referring to our mind. To our thinking. We can know hundreds of scriptures. Many atheists do. The demons do. Yet, as important as it is to know the scriptures, how we think about them is what changes lives. It's what brings us closer to our Father.

A Higher Way of Thinking

This is why Jesus, Paul and the disciples worked so hard to reveal not just what God thinks, but how He thinks. There is a higher way of thinking that opens up a world that cannot be perceived by those who are not in Christ.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Where Do I Get The Most Value?

We want to give great value to the work we put in for the Lord. Yesterday's accomplishments can truly be significant and honorable but sometimes those wonderful achievements hold us in the past.

Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.

How do our good works hold us in the past? Good works hold us captive in the past when we give what we have done in the past, more value than what we can do today.

Have you ever had someone come to you who was seeking biblical wisdom about a challenge before them and when you began to teach them, they kept referencing things they accomplished several years before?

  • Yea, I went to bible college.
  • Well, I have read through the entire bible... 5 times!
  • You know, I used to pray for 3 hours a day.
  • I served at the church for 10 years.
  • I've thoroughly studied that topic for many years. I know.

None of these wonderful accomplishments have as much value as what can be accomplished today. They may have come to you for help today but they can't hear you because yesterday's accomplishments hold more value than what they can do today.

Their approach is, "these past accomplishments of faith are enough to handle this next challenge!" Yet, we know it doesn't work like that.

We find ourselves in doubt when we hold an expectation that old works will carry us "in faith" today.

Let's Compare Resumes

Paul had the most amazing resume any of us could hope for, in service to the Lord, but those things amounted to garbage to him in comparison to what he could do today.

We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort, though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more! - Philippians 3:3-4 NLT

Paul shows us the mindset that we need to approach each day's challenges. Our past victories are good things but they are not designed to sustain us. Today is the day we need a fresh dose of faith. So, Paul helps us with that focus.
I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. - Philippians 3:13-14 NLT 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Are You a Christian Entrepreneur?

As Christians we can have trouble developing the mindset to do the things we know the Lord called for us to do. Spending time on our prayer list, reading the Word and connecting with other Christians on a consistent basis is almost a mystery to solve. Well, what if we thought of ourselves as Christian entrepreneurs?

The Makings of a Christian Entrepreneur

We generally think of an entrepreneur as being a businessman. The truth is, an entrepreneur is "also" a businessman. They may perform many tasks but more importantly, they are someone who is passionate about an idea. This passion is carried out through a variety of activities.

The Dictionary.com definition tells us that an entrepreneur is a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.

The Many Hats of an Entrepreneur 

An entrepreneur wears many hats. Let's use the actions presented at the beginning of this article as an example. When we pray, read the Bible and connect with other Christians, we will be exhibiting several skills or "wearing many hats."

As we begin prayer and reading time, we are taking on a new mindset. We plan our time. We prepare a prayer list. That list requires a little scholarly research as we discover scriptures to inform our current condition and discover God's design for a desired future condition.

That sounds like taking inventory of our lives. It also sounds like forecasting.

We also see in the scriptures, we should be growing every day. We should have before us a vision, a mission and a purpose to move forward. All of these are entrepreneurial practices!

Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. - Philippians 2:12-13 NLT

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Miracles We Don't See

Miracles are generally attributed to an event where someone is in a bad situation that seems impossible to get out of. A person gets thrown from a car in a horrific accident where the driver seat is crushed. Somehow that person sails out the window 50 yards and sustains minimal to no injuries. Miracle!

A miracle is found in father's care. Subtle. Moving. Profound.

It does happen and these really are supernatural events. I'm sure we could all reflect on when one of these unexplainable events has occurred in our lives where we witnessed something that seemingly, should not occur. Yet, somehow it does.

Many see these providential moments as acts of God. They are so moving, due to the supernatural aspect of the event that we tell the story for the rest of our lives as an inspiration to ourselves and others. We ask, "maybe God is working on my behalf. Maybe there is a purpose to life?"

We as Christians take great joy in celebrating this power and mercy of our Lord and we should. Yet, let's look at a kind of miracle that God does right in front of us but we never really seem to notice. It is a more common occurrence than we may think.

A Miracle: Subtle, Moving, Profound

Have you ever seen a father pick up his child just before the child walked into the street? The father didn't even notice the oncoming car that would have certainly hit the child. We are left wondering, was there a miracle simply in the normal care that the father has for his child? Maybe. So, how would we know?