Posts Tagged With: Eternal Life

Standing in the Council of the Lord

One Sunday morning I woke with a Scripture burning in my mind. As I drifted in and out of sleep it just kept coming back and each time with more clarity and cross references.

The Scripture was this:

“But if they had stood in my council,
they would have proclaimed my words to my people
and would have turned them from their evil ways
and from their evil deeds.”
Jeremiah 23:22 NIV

(Jeremiah 23 – for whole context)

Are you interested in turning people (most especially ourselves) from their/our evil ways? Me too. Well then, we must stand in his council to receive his words.

What happened next gave me an idea of what kind of words you would expect to receive in his council.

12998f1f593af92d280a12a971300d62He led me to Romans chapter 2:

“Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” (vs 4)

So, shouldn’t we expect to hear wonderfully kind words?

I expect so.

Of course, it must be said that the above Scriptures are taken out of context. This does’t mean however that they aren’t true as they stand.

It’s just that Jeremiah 23 reveals that many “prophets” of that day were not willing to stand in God’s council. And as for Romans 2, well, I’ve included at the bottom of the page. (Romans 2)

The context is sobering.

It’s supposed to be.

Sometimes we walk through life “drunk” on messages that scratch our itch to feel good about ourselves. Messages that flatter our ego. I suspect we do this when we are unwilling to turn from our sins and turn to God. Or when we fail to submit to God’s way of making us right with himself in Yeshua.

Truth is liberating but oftentimes it’s also very hard to hear. Truth is never flattering to our ego. Truth exposes the sin in us and urges us to abandon sin and to embrace Christ (who is your life) Jesus (Yeshua).

Will we have the courage to stand in his council and receive his words? I think this will mean far more than simply becoming Bible experts. It actually requires interaction with God and some sort of real relationship. You might have to get scary close to your Maker. It may initially be unpleasant as He undoes the work of the enemy (and where we have partnered with him) and set us free from slavery to the brutal taskmaster of our pride.

Will we have the courage to prayerfully read his words that were so carefully chosen by our Papa God to lead us to salvation? Jesus said that he never spoke anything that his Papa wasn’t giving him and that his words will lead us to eternal life.

“For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.” (John 12:49-50 NASB)

Here is a portion of Romans 2:

God’s Righteous Judgment

“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness,forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.

12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.” (Romans 2 NIV)

Of course it must be said that this was taken completely out of context as well. Please read the whole book here. And by the way, this book was taken out of context too, so please read the entire Bible starting here. And it must be said the entirety of the Holy Scriptures are taken out of context if you don’t have a relationship with the author, so… ask Jesus for help to begin a relationship. It just might be that simple.

Categories: Dreams, Encountering God | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

The Amazing Race of Life

LIFE IS AN AMAZING RACE!

Here are a few Scriptures that present our lives as a race that God has set before us:

“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” – Paul (1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NLT)

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” – Paul (2 Timothy 4:7 NLT)

And also in Hebrews:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1 NLT

SO… What are we racing for? Are we, as Paul does, running with purpose in every step? If we look only at these texts of Scripture what can we learn about what’s needed to run this race well?

WHY EVEN RUN?

We are told we are running for an eternal prize. So what is the prize? Is it worth all the effort running requires? Will we even want the prize?

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about what the prize might be is a phrase Jesus often uses: eternal life. I’m not refering to what many think when presented with this phrase (heaven instead of hell) but to a quality of relationship with God. This is how Jesus defines eternal life:

“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” – Jesus (John 17:3 NIV)

Looking at how this phrase “eternal life” is used by Jesus and throughout the New Testament would leave you with these impressions.

  • It is defined as a relationship with God (knowing him) John 17:3
  • It is something that those who believe in Jesus already possess. 1 John 5:13
  • John seems to indicate that eternal life is Jesus himself – 1 John 5:20 (which makes sense when you consider that Jesus says, “I Am the way the truth and the life” (John 14:6 NIV) and “I Am the resurrection and the life” (John 11))

Other prizes include reigning and ruling with Christ in his coming kingdom . Does this even register on our radar? Do we ever even given it a thought? Are we even aware Christ has a coming kingdom and that how we live here and now determines our place in that kingdom?

How about commendation from God for a life well lived. To hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant”. Does this matter to us? This reminds me of a Francis Chan video:

What’s needed to run this race well?

Hebrews brings up the vital issue of being unentangled and free of sin. For this we need to be disciplined. But disciplined to what end? What’s the goal?

I firmly believe it all boils down to this: To live a life of love. Love is the goal of discipline.

Sin is, after all, anti-love. So how do we discipline ourselves away from sin and toward a life of love?

I think it’s so important to always keep in mind that love is the goal of a disciplined life, not just simply to avoid sin. And I think, herein lies the victory. Think about it.

If we are actively pursuing a life of loving others, waking up each morning with the thought, “How can I show love to ____ today?” and then by God doing it, then we are living and walking in the life God wants for us. In fact, whether we know it or not, we are living “in God” for the bible says, “those who live in love, live in God”. (1 John 4)

Amazing. If we are actively loving others, God is all over and in and all around us. You can’t escape God when you are loving others… even if you aren’t even aware of it. For God is love.

However, If you aren’t actively loving others then you are about as far from God as you can be. I don’t care how much of the Bible you have memorized or how big a church it is that you pastor.

“Without love, you are nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13)

I will end with a Scripture that sums up this conversation:

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction;whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6:7-10 NIV)

So what do you think? Does this spark any interesting thoughts for you that you’d like to share? Please leave a comment!

(share this post if it blessed you!)

Categories: Love of God | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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