Where’s Your Treasure?

In New York on Black Friday, a man working at a Wal-Mart died when impatient shoppers trampled over him as the doors were opened in a rush to get at many of the deals they wanted. When attempts were made to evacuate the store by telling shoppers that someone had died, they just kept right on shopping.

There are areas where malls are going to be open at midnight on Thanksgiving night and many people will skip Thanksgiving just because they want to be able to get in on some deals earlier. In past years, people have been murdered just because they had a Playstation 3.

Interesting that a blog on Jesus’s question of where your treasure is comes just after Black Friday.

Have we lost sight of what this season is all about?

Now I’ve got a wish list for Christmas of course, but as I get older, it gets harder and harder. I just really can’t think of a lot of things that I want. It truly is more for me now about going home and seeing my family again. My folks now tell me that they just don’t have a lot. My grandmother now in assisted living says she wishes she could buy for me like she used to. I tell them all not to worry about it. It really doesn’t matter.

However, it is hard for us sometimes when we get caught up in possessions. I won’t deny this truth. I like having money in the bank. When I get a paycheck and cash it, I really enjoy it. One aspect I do enjoy about my new upcoming job change is that I will be making more money. Now that isn’t the main thing, but it certainly is a very nice aspect.

Is that wrong? I don’t think it is really. Money is essential in the world today. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make money. It’s when money has a hold on you that there’s a problem. If you’re rich, for instance, and you don’t give to charity but are rather a miser with what you have, then there is a problem.

I have a friend who is actually wealthy and she will tell me that she bought a bunch of pizzas just because the money will go to cancer research and then say “You and your roommate are welcome to any of it you want. Just come over and get it.” This friend went all out for me on my birthday last year and I was most appreciative. 

This is one reason I like books so much. You don’t really collect books for the sake of the books. You collect books for the information that is in them. It’s a want of something greater than you. It’s a thirst for truth. Truth is one of the great transcendentals, the other two being goodness and beauty. Books are a key to that.

For some people, I realize the battle with possessions though will be much harder. There’s no wrong in having stuff. There’s a wrong in stuff having you. If you had to, could you part with a lot of the things you have? Where does your happiness really lie? Does it lie in the things you have or does it lie in the truth of God?

I had a friend back in my hometown who he and I would go out to a bookstore regularly. He’s spend Most of his money if not all on stuff that he just HAD TO HAVE! Meanwhile, I’d see maybe one or two books and I’d buy them and that’d be it for me. I had a budget. Inevitably, he’d call me a couple of days later and say he was bored. Meanwhile, I was renting my own place and not having as much free money to spend and having the time of my life.

There’s something joyful on living on little.

Jesus tells us that our treasure is to be in Heaven. He’s not against having things on Earth. We’re just to remember that this isn’t our eternal resting place. Build up treasures which would include virtuous living and the quest for truth.

Keep that in mind this Christmas. The gifts are nice and I try to give generously as well, but ultimately, let’s remember this Christmas that it’s all about the one gift that God gave to us.

For Yours Is The Kingdom And The Power And The Glory Forever

Some manuscripts don’t have this last line of the Lord’s Prayer. For our purposes though, we’re going to include it in here to conclude a look at the Lord’s prayer. The conclusion serves to remind us of what the whole point is. Everything that has been said in the prayer at this point comes to a conclusion reminding us that it’s all about Him.

It’s really easy to lose sight of. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever read from a friend was that when you get complimented, smile, enjoy it for awhile, and then say “Let’s keep going. We have work to do.” It’s sometimes really good to be in this ministry and hear a lot of good things. I think everyone enjoys hearing compliments. We all need them at times too. We just have to remember that it’s not about us.

In fact, I think that’s why God chooses the shameful of the world. That way, no one can look and say that those who succeed in his cause did it because of how excellent and awesome they were. I do believe many who serve are blessed, but they also have certain disadvantages. They’re not the ones you’d expect.

Lee Strobel interviews J.P. Moreland in the Case for Christ who says that this needs to be considered with the early church. If you were an alien who was watching Earth and saw the early church, a ragtag group of ordinary civilians, going against the Roman Empire, a vast network of nations with armed soldiers, and saw that the soldiers were repeatedly taking the ragtag people and throwing them to lions and lighting them on fire and crucifying them and the people weren’t fighting back, you’d start making bets on the Roman Empire.

Yet today, our sons are named Peter and Paul and our dogs are named Nero and Caesar.

Look at the nations that God could have chosen to send his Son through. You had the Babylonians, a mighty empire that gave us much information on astronomy and trigonometry. There were the Egyptians. Could you find a better group of builders to build such massive works as the pyramids and the sphinx? There were the Phoenicians who developed the precursor to our alphabet today. There were the Greeks that later grew into a nation that gave us our philosophical categories we use today.

Instead, this group wandering in the Middle East descended from some really old guy were chosen.

A famous poem once went, “How odd of God to choose the Jews.”

It then went, “But odder still are those who reject whom God chose.”

In our stories, we often forget that we’re ultimately minor characters. I don’t even care if you were the apostle Paul. Compared to the work of God, what you do is minor. You are simply living out the role that you were fashioned for. There could have been someone else to write the epistles if not Paul. There could not have been someone else to die on the cross.

And yet, we are given the advantage of playing in this story. Yes. It’s an advantage. To serve is a gift. Many of us if we were given the chance to work at our dream job would relish the offer. Imagine if your boss was entirely generous though. He understood you and when you screwed up, he forgave you when you admitted it. He watched out for you and made sure to give you a great retirement plan. All he asked was that you do what you can. 

That’s what we’re told to do.

Peter Kreeft once said that apologetics is as close as you come to saving the world. I often think of something like that. I think of reading one of the Smallville story books and how Clark Kent described super-speeding through Metropolis to save his then-friend Lex Luthor and realizing that each second he chose to go after Lex, someone else was suffering who he couldn’t help. Not even Superman can save everyone.

Sometimes when I’ve driven past houses, I’ve wondered what’s going on inside of them. Maybe there’s a teenage girl in there who just found out she’s pregnant and wonders how she’ll tell her parents. Maybe a husband is contemplating suicide because he doesn’t think he’s doing enough for his family and figures they’re better off on life insurance. Maybe a son is wanting to go to college but there’s no way to pay the tuition. What all is going on?

And each person you meet has a story going on.

It’s been said that Philo once said “Be kind, because everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”

Would anyone deny that?

Yet somehow, across space and time, all these stories are weaving together. I think of the friends that I’ve made, for instance, and this largely through the use of the internet, who I’ve come to know that I never would have known about if I had lived even fifty years earlier. Stories are weaving more and more as we become a global society.

And yet, the master weaver is still weaving the threads together.

Rest assured also, the story is about him, and it’s for his glory, and he knows how to bring it to a good end.

Are you going to join in that good end?

My Thanksgiving Blog

I’m interrupting our look at the Lord’s Prayer and the Sermon on the Mount as a whole to write my Thanksgiving blog. As I write this, I am dead exhausted. Why? I had some friends over tonight and their car happened to die on them and I had to run out to where their parents were, and when I say run, I mean run, as we live in an area hard to find but everyone can find a nearby location.

And yes, it’s quite chilly this time of year.

But I’m thinking, “What an awesome Thanksgiving this is.”

Personally, I’d prefer to spend a day in a strange adventure.

I’d like though to list other things I’m thankful for.

I’m thankful that God is God and he is on the throne and I am not. Do we take time to recognize God for who he is? I don’t believe we do. The attributes he has seem to us to be abstract concepts more than actual realities. Have we really taken a look at the God we serve and realized who it is that we serve?

I’m thankful for the cross and the empty tomb. Without that, there would be no salvation and that would make pretty pointless anything I did here for the greater good and would render my eternity to be a bit less than preferable. That the Son was willing to come and die on the cross for sinners like myself is quite amazing. 

I’m thankful for my friends. I’ve got a great roommate here who puts up with a whole lot from me and is still in my corner anyway. Since coming to this town, I’ve managed to make several other friends and I am just amazed by that. There are people in my life who I had no idea even existed a couple of years ago and now I’ve got them plugged into my cell phone.

I’m thankful for my family who has seen me off to go live out my dream and am cheering me on. Unlike many others, I didn’t get to see my family tonight, but they did call and that includes the extended family. I do plan on getting to see them again at Christmas, but it’s good to know that they’re out there.

I’m thankful for the education that I’m receiving and how I’m progressing along just fine on it. I really wasn’t expecting to do as well as I’m doing, but I am. My professors are quite excellent and I’ve been blessed to be seen in a good light. It makes me thankful for all the preparation that I did before I came here.

I’m thankful for a new job also that will give me a chance to do what I love to do the most and make a better living. The pay should also ease a lot of the financial burden that I have. This is the kind of opportunity that I’ve been waiting for for a long time and now it has finally come upon me and I am grateful.

I’m thankful for the church home that I have. My roommate and I get along great and I’ve got to do a number of classes. It’s great to be a member of a body where you are well-respected and even last Sunday when I ended up missing a service, I had a phone call from one of them to make sure everything was well.

I’m also thankful that I have been blessed materially. I have a huge library right here in my apartment and a number of gaming systems that are great to have when friends come by and we want to hang out together. My family has never been wealthy by any means and yet, I have somehow managed to amass so much.

I could probably go on and on, but ultimately, there’s much I’m thankful for this year. How about you?

But Deliver us From Evil

Some texts have that this is to deliver us from the evil one. Frankly, I’m going to stick to deliver us from evil since I think delivering us from evil would include delivering us from the evil one. The line before this one was on avoiding temptation. Nevertheless, through no fault of our own at times, evil can come into our lives.

This should help defeat the idea prevalent in today’s circles that all suffering we experience is the result of our sin. I find it amazing that this is one idea in the Bible that God specifically condemns in the book of Job in telling his friends that they hadn’t spoken rightly of him. Jesus deals with it also in John 9 and Luke 13. You’d think after those texts, we’d get the lesson.

Unfortunately, we haven’t.

By the way, if all that a person suffers is a result of their sin, what does that say about the suffering of Christ?

I also believe though that this could refer to suffering from non-moral agents such as natural disasters or sicknesses. We are asking God to keep us safe from things that will tempt us, but to help us be safe from damaging forces out there. There is nothing wrong with wanting to avoid suffering. If a tornado is coming your way, it’s not spiritual to go seek it out and stand in its path daring it to come get you.

While it’s fine to want to avoid suffering, when it does come, there is a proper attitude for it. Now it could be you might think you’re being punished for something and you need to repent. Here’s a good rule of thumb. If you’re doing something wrong, repent anyway. In fact, this was Christ’s message in Luke 13 to the disasters that happened from both moral and non-moral agents. Repent.

In speaking about moral agents also, let Christians always be aware that there are evil forces out there. I am not a pacifist and think I often have to remind some people of this. There are people that will not gladly lay down their arms and sing “Kum-bu-Yah” with you. There are some who see the only way of dealing with enemies to be to kill them. There are times then that we will have to deal nationally with such moral agents. 

For us though, we should pray that we be protected from those who wish us harm. This must have been a common prayer of the early church that frequently had to deal with persecution and one can picture it happening in the persecuted church today. If you’re in an area where you are free to be a Christian largely unhindered by the society around you, count yourself blessed. See that Bible gathering dust that you have nearby? There are many people who would risk their lives just to get a copy of that book.

For the Christian then, evil is a reality. We do not deny its existence. We do not call it an illusion or maya. We admit that it is real and we need to avoid it. We also realize that there are some evils that might require direct intervention from God. The most noted kind of evil though is one we might not think about, and that’s dying apart from Christ.

True deliverance from evil will only come when we get to Heaven. In justification, we are delivered from the penalty of sin. Through sanctification, we are delivered from the power of sin. When we get to Heaven, we will be delivered from the presence of sin. It all happens when the kingdom of God becomes fully manifested.

Which happens to be the next line we’ll look at when we continue this series.

Lead Us Not Into Temptation

Alright. I don’t know much about computers, but I am a huge LOLcats fan and in my daily email this morning, I got this which is quite ironic for the very blog I’m doing tonight.

<a href=”http://icanhascheezburger.com/2008/11/24/funny-pictures-not-into-temptashun-is-can-find-it-myself/”><img class=”mine_2491213″ title=”funny-pictures-cat-can-find-temptation-himself” src=”http://icanhascheezburger.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/funny-pictures-cat-can-find-temptation-himself.jpg” alt=”funny pictures of cats with captions” /></a><br />more <a href=”http://icanhascheezburger.com”>animals</a>

And for the one I did yesterday….

<a href=”http://icanhascheezburger.com/2008/11/25/funny-pictures-us-dis-dai-r-daily-bred/”><img class=”mine_2508276″ title=”funny-pictures-cat-prays-for-bread-with-cheese-and-burger” src=”http://icanhascheezburger.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/funny-pictures-cat-prays-for-bread-with-cheese-and-burger.jpg” alt=”funny pictures of cats with captions” /></a><br />more <a href=”http://icanhascheezburger.com”>animals</a>

The first one does fit what we usually think about temptation. We can find it ourselves thank you very much. Notice that we are told to not be led into sin though. We are told to not be led into temptation. Now obviously, we know from James that God doesn’t tempt us. He tests us, but he does not tempt us.

Tempting is meant to lead us into evil. Testing is meant to show us to ourselves. However, God does ALLOW temptation to occur. Even in that though, we have the biblical promise that we are never tempted beyond what we can bear. Some of us can handle temptations others couldn’t. There are some things that tempt me that would never tempt you and vice-versa.

We should also be keeping careful watch over ourselves to make sure we don’t stumble. I meet many a young man who struggles with internet porn as an example. I have offered myself as an accountability partner to them and this is also done through such organizations as XXXchurch and others which offer help to those struggling with pornography on the internet.

I even have a friend online who keeps me accountable for something some of you might consider silly, but I see it as important. He helps me to make sure that I am reading regularly when I ought instead of spending all of my days off goofing off entirely. Ironically, I’ve found that when I devote some time to reading, it seems I have more time for everything else.

In avoiding sin though, I do have some of my own requirements. I’ve stated before, for instance, that I would never bring a girl back to my apartment if it was just the two of us or even if my roommate was here. He might step out for awhile and temptation would definitely kick in. Some of you might be wondering “Are you the kind of guy that would give in to temptation under that circumstance?” Frankly, I don’t want to find out.

Of course, if it was some group thing like a church gathering, I wouldn’t have those restrictions at my place, but I find them helpful. One sure way to give in to temptation I think is to think that you wouldn’t give into it. Why push your luck? There are safe places you can go with the opposite sex where it will be less likely to give in and there can be much joy in the idea of group dating. 

Why avoid temptation though ultimately? Because temptation when given into results in sin and all sin leads us away from God. While the former request of daily bread asks God to sustain our physical needs, this one is about spiritual needs. This one is asking us to not only have God be a reminder to us of our dependance on him day to day, but also that he is keeping an eye on us spiritually lest we fall.

Lord. Lead us not into temptation. We dare not fall from you.

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

We all think forgiveness is a great idea. We just think other people should try it instead. 

Let’s start with it from why forgiveness is so incredible. In “The Weight of Glory”, C.S. Lewis has an essay where he speaks of how when we often say “Forgive us our sins” to God, we really mean “Please excuse our sins.” There is a huge difference between the two and maybe one reason we don’t really appreciate forgiveness is that we do see it as excusing instead.

Now many times in a moment of weakness, some of us could succoumb to certain sins. Let me be clear on this also. If someone does succoumb to such a sin and asks forgiveness from the church, we need to forgive them and we need to keep in mind the biblical command of seventy times seven. However, we also need to be working with them to help them avoid that sin.

However, let us suppose we give in and confess to God. How many of us are prone also to explain why we did so? Lewis tells us that if there are circumstances that are extreme, God knows about them. He could not treat a sin for one the same as he would for another simply because of different temperaments. Why bother listing excuses though why God should just overlook the sin? Do we think we know one God doesn’t know?

God doesn’t overlook our sins though. We’d be grateful for just that if he did. However, he does something far better. He treats them as if they’re not there. He cleans the record entirely. He doesn’t hold a slate of our sins over our head and say “See? I’m just going to ignore this.” He takes the slate of our sins and dashes it to pieces.

It makes me wonder why I look at past sins as a reality that I still need to confess at times when I can picture God saying “Haven’t we already got past this?”

However, the hard part comes after God forgives us. We’re called to forgive others.

You mean if my ex who abused me asks for forgiveness, I’m to do it?


You mean my father who left me and Mom alone with all of my siblings? If he comes to me for forgiveness, I’m to do it?


You mean that drunk driver who killed my daughter in a car accident? If he comes to me for forgiveness, I’m to do it?


You mean my ex-boyfriend who slept with my ex-best friend? If he comes to me for forgiveness, I’m to do it?


Note this. I don’t think you should give forgiveness until they ask. I think you should be in a spirit of forgiveness though. Note also that forgiveness does not necessarily mean consequences of some sins go away. I think we should forgive someone in jail who repents, but that does not mean they don’t serve the time still. If that happened, we can be sure every prisoner in jail would “repent.” Keep in mind God did the same. He took away David’s sin, but David’s son still died. 

Still, you are to forgive. If you don’t forgive, it is to be seen as a sign that you haven’t received forgiveness. Yes. They did something terrible. Yes. They deserve to suffer. Yes. You have all right to be angry.

But couldn’t God say the same to you?

And didn’t he forgive you?

Then you ought to forgive one another.

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

There’s a lot of debate about this portion as it’s my understanding that the Greek isn’t entirely crystal-clear. That is an area of discussion for the Greek scholars. I am not one. However, I will tell things as I see them in that I think all would agree that this part of the Lord’s Prayer is talking about trusting God for our sustenance. 

It’s interesting how our society has shifted. I considered just now over this that this is the only place in the Lord’s prayer where it talks about provision for physical needs. For many of us today, this has become the main thing. How much talk went on in our last election about the economy? Yet you take a work like Plato’s Republic and there is only one paragraph dealing with the economy in there.

There cannot be a denial of physical needs as Jesus makes clear later on in this chapter at verse 24. He tells us not to worry and points to the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. God takes care of them. Won’t he take care of you? Consider how Luke 12:32 tells us in fact that it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom. If only we could realize the truth of these passages and embrace them!

The need was to be supplied I believe on a day to day basis. Of course, this made sense in a society where most people were day-wage earners. If you wanted to be fed that day, you went to work. This doesn’t have anything against our principle of saving up resources as we now live in an age of safety-deposit boxes.

Still, even in our day and age, we must remember that all that we have comes from God. As Jesus told Pilate, he would not have that authority unless it came from above. As I look around me, I must remember that all that I have is a gift of God. It’d be tempting to go into my room and look at all the books and talk about the mass library of information I’ve built up, but I honestly have to look at them and thank God that he’s allowed me to have this blessing. Let’s remember what happened when King Nebuchadnezzar went on his roof and spoke of how great his kingdom was.

Notice also that God does care about physical needs. Our souls are important friends, but our bodies are too! I recently spoke with a friend of mine on the phone and we were talking about girls and he said “Well, I don’t want to talk about looks because that’s shallow.” I had to correct him. There is nothing shallow about a guy wanting a beautiful girl. God made them beautiful for a reason. There is something shallow in that being the only criteria that matters, but being attractive is important in finding a spouse. To say the physical body doesn’t matter is not a Christian position but a gnostic one, one of the first heresies the church had to deal with. 

In fact, if we tell someone to be of good cheer but don’t help their physical needs in any way, then we are not being Christian. The motto of Booth, founder of the Salvation army was “Soup, Soap, Salvation.” First you fed the people. Then you cleaned them. After that, you told them about Jesus. It has to be that order.

This part of the prayer is to humble us and remind us that all the good we have comes from God. He supplies us on a day to day basis and that’s the day we need to live in, today. Too many of us spend our time living in yesterday or tomorrow. Today is the time where we are living and God is just as much here as he is anywhere. Let’s live today and count on him to supply our needs.

As It Is In Heaven

My absentmindedness kicked in last night readers. I’ve had a lot going on and a lot on my mind. A new job, the details of which I do not wish to mention, is among them and I will be starting that next month. I simply ask for your prayers in this endeavor as I look forward to it, but as with any change, there is much fear on my part with hopes that I can do it well and fulfill my duties diligently.

I realized as I was reading last night after I signed off that in my zeal in writing about the will of God, I had left out the second part. If the reader has yet to read the blog before this one, I urge them to go and read that one. Naturally, you can read more of the earlier blogs if you so desire, but I strongly suggest at least reading that earlier one.

I said in an earlier blog also that if the world followed the Sermon on the Mount, we would have the heavenly kingdom. That is also what is being addressed here. May God’s will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. God already has several agents that follow his every command flawlessly and live in perfect alignment. We call them angels. 

Angels aren’t really talked about much these days. We either get the idea of “Touched by an Angel” or we get the idea of beings flying through the clouds and playing harps. Angels are quite different in Scripture. They are beings one is tempted to bow down and worship and they are warriors that are capable of taking many lives.

The great authority on angels in the medieval period was Thomas Aquinas who was called the Angelic Doctor. Contrary to belief, the medievals never asked how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, although this is certainly an important question. (It’s my understanding that the answer to the question is 42.)

Of course, this isn’t meant to be a blog on angels. I’m really not knowledgable enough on the subject to speak from authority on them, but anyone interested can go check the works of Aquinas and for a modern perspective on it, I recommend the works of Peter Kreeft on angels.  They are a fascinating subject to study and like our view of God in modern Christianity, it would behoove us to return to the past view of angels.

Yet for all their glory and being so much more intelligent and powerful than us, they still have the same message. Worship God. As great as they are, God is much greater. They follow his will aside from those that rebelled. While they are still angels, I do not see them as part of the heavenly kingdom but the fallen kingdom.

What if we were more angelic?

When we pray for God’s will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven, I believe we are asking for that. We are asking to be united in serving God as the angels are, and in that realm, there is no sin. God’s moral will and God’s sovereign will always come to pass. 

The way to start bringing about that kingdom is to submit to his moral will today. Are you doing that? Are you being angelic in submitting to God’s will today?

Thy Will Be Done On Earth As It Is In Heaven

I figured these two parts went together. The latter makes sense in the light of the former and I wanted to have them together as the former is meant to tie in with the latter as well. We can study “Thy will be done” and understand that, but it seems devoid of context unless we add in “On Earth as it is in Heaven.”

Thy Will be Done. What does that mean? We know it was what Jesus prayed in the garden. What was he praying for? In this case, it was the sovereign will. The sovereign will of God is that which is going to happen regardless of what we do. This includes the fulfillment of prophecy. God knows it will happen and so it will happen. This doesn’t mean God’s knowledge is the cause of it happening. I believe men choose what they will do and God knows in advance and so prophecy always comes true.

When we pray for God’s sovereign will to be done, it doesn’t mean that we are praying that it will happen. It certainly will! We are praying saying that whatever is to happen, we submit to it for we know it came from his hand. It is his blessing and we are relinquishing our role of God in the universe and accepting his salvation.

There is another aspect though of God’s will being done and that is his moral will. When Paul tells us in Romans 12 that we are to renew our minds so that we may know the will of God, he is not talking about the sovereign will of God. Unless you’re a prophet who has had it revealed, which I doubt, or unless you read it in Scripture, you cannot know that until it happens. 

You are to pray to know his moral will. Now I do believe that there are some aspects of the moral will which are obvious and this fits in with natural law theory. It is obvious that murder is wrong and rape is wrong. It is obvious that you should love your neighbor as yourself. There are some issues though that because of our fallen nature are less than crystal clear. What are you to do in X situation to do the will of God?

It is also the case of not only knowing the will but also acting on it. For us, a lot of times, we know the right thing to do, but we just don’t want to do it. We’re quite good at rationalizing away actions that we know are wrong for a good reason. This is the idea we have today of the end justifying the means. “Oh I can do this. It’s going to have a good result!” Let us keep in mind what is said in Romans 3 about those who say “Let us do evil that good may result.” Their condemnation is deserved.

We are to seek wisdom for making these wise decisions, which is what a passage like James 1:5 is really talking about, contrary to Mormon assertions. James is talking about wisdom in the face of suffering and living right. He is not talking about getting answers to questions about which religion is the right one. This is also why those who pray should make sure they study Scripture and vice-versa. Proverbs was written for this purpose and it is our loss if we miss it.

In the ancient worldview, wisdom was seen as a virtue. It wasn’t just knowledge, but the right application of knowledge. If you have all knowledge, but have not love, as Paul says, what good is it? If you have knowledge but do not know the proper way to use it for the good of the world and the sake of the gospel, so what?

Of course, this doesn’t mean just knowledge about God. It means all knowledge. It means philosophical knowledge. It means scientific knowledge. It means mathematical knowledge. It means aesthetic knowledge. Whatever kind of knowledge you can think of, it is to be used for the good of the world.

Have that wisdom though to use that knowledge rightly. We live in an age where people think knowing something is enough. Knowledge is good. Knowledge with wisdom is better. This is why I make it a point to pray for knowledge and wisdom every night that I might live the way I ought and teach as I ought. Pray for it for me and yourselves as well.

Thy Kingdom Come

As I write this dear readers, I am preparing for a job interview tomorrow that is really big and I am in a bit of nervousness. I have the two great anxieties that I won’t get the job and that I will get it. It is each case for various reasons and I’m sure many of us can think of situations where we’ve wanted something to happen and dreaded that something happening as well.

Interestingly, this is the same night I’m writing about “Thy Kingdom Come” in the Lord’s Prayer.

Some of you are wondering, “What does being afraid about something and the coming of the kingdom have in common?”

I believe the kingdom comes by the spreading of the gospel and that means the reign of YHWH in the hearts of his people. While I believe this will be a physical reality also in the new creation, it is not yet. That will come to fruition fully at the second coming of Christ. For now though, we are to live our lives submitting to his kingdom. 

That means that for the first step, it is to become a Christian. It is to recognize that this is YHWH’s reign that is being talked about and not your own. Many people think becoming a Christian is simple. In some ways, it is, but if you think about it, it is one of the most monumental decisions you can ever make. Nay. THE MOST MONUMENTAL DECISION!

This is giving up your claim of deity.

Of course, we all know that that claim really isn’t given up easily. In an earlier blog, I have stated that sin is divine treason and every time you sin, you are claiming that you are God and that God is not. The process of sanctification is putting that claim of deity behind and moving on. It is asking forgiveness when you sin realizing that God is still king.

For someone who tends to be anxiety-ridden, like myself, it is recognizing that he is Lord and in charge of all things. It is simply seeing him as he really is and the reason some situations seem stressful to us, is not because of the situation that we are facing, but because of the way we perceive God in the situation. 

The prayer for the kingdom to come is a prayer for God to break through in your life. This isn’t about some miraculous event, but about realizing who he is. It’s about wanting to become a more devoted follower of him than before. Kingdom living means that you really live as if YHWH is king and not as if you are.

It means right living in response to biblical truth. Is Christianity just a belief system you honor with your lips, or are you really willing to honor it with your heart? For all of us, this is a continuous battle. If you’re finding yourself struggling, good. It means you are taking the battle seriously. Those who are not do not even realize that they are struggling.

Through the spread of the gospel and the surrendering of men to YHWH, God’s kingdom will come. May it be so!