God’s Will? It’s a piece of cake!

In the previous blog I’d spoken of Jeremiah’s prophecy: a new and much better covenant was coming!

The OLD: full of fleshly conditions to be fulfilled in our own strength.
The NEW: unconditional. God would be OUR God, We would be HIS people. A covenant of mercy and grace. He would remember our sins no more, and forever.

And there’s more GOOD NEWS! It says,
I will put My laws into their minds,
And I will write them on their hearts.”

This is beyond awesome, friends! It answers those questions, “What is the will of God for my life? What am I supposed to be doing?”

Meaning what? Instead of a rulebook to follow to the best of our abilities and subject to various interpretation and application, what He desires is already IN OUR MINDS, perfectly applied to each situation. And even better, our hearts cry out “Yes, Lord! We WANT to do your will!” And even better beyond that, He has given us the Holy Spirit to empower us to accomplish His will despite the odds or demons or whatever.

I think that’s pretty good, don’t you? Forget trying to keep the Commandments; stop losing sleep over the will of God. Just do what He has written upon you – with GUSTO.

Feels good to Come Alive, doesn’t it?!!!

Want a BETTER life? Live in the BETTER Covenant!

Most Christians are aware that the new covenant in Jesus’ blood is far superior to the old. The old, aka The LAW, was CONDITIONAL. It depended upon US doing OUR part. Check out Deut 28:1 and 13. IF we did OUR part, God would bless us. IF we FAILED to do our part, we would be cursed.

Plain and simple.

The old covenant, INCLUDING THE 10 COMMANDMENTS, was a ministry of DEATH. Check out 2 Cor 3:7. It inflamed sin, gave sin its power, then condemned us when we sinned. Don’t ever say Christians should follow the 10 Commandments; you are putting a death sentence on those who hear you.

Read on.

After centuries of failure by mankind to ‘get it right,’ the prophet Jeremiah was given a hint of the future: a better covenant was coming!

“Behold, days are coming, says the Lord,
When I will effect a new covenant…
Not like the covenant which I made with their fathers….
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
After those days, says the Lord:
I will put My laws into their minds,
And I will write them on their hearts.
And I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.
“And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen,
And everyone his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
For all will know Me,
From the least to the greatest of them.
“For I will be merciful to their iniquities,
And I will remember their sins no more.”
(Heb 8:7-12)

For this blog, catch “I will be their God, and they shall be My people” Do you see? NO CONDITIONS! There are no IF’s. He IS our God; He IS merciful to our iniquities, and He remembers our sins NO MORE. No wonder Paul calls it the Gospel of this grace (Acts 20:24). The Gospel is not about you measuring up to God’s standards; it’s about who He is and His nature, full of grace, mercy, and truth, who came and rescued you and translated you into his kingdom.

Call upon Jesus! He will be your God and you will belong to Him who is merciful to our iniquities and remembers our sins no more!

You are forever free from condemnation: you have Come Alive!

 

Work – REST – Work – REST hmmm….

Seems like EVERYWHERE we go, Mary and I encounter sad, struggling Christians, full of sin consciousness, ever striving to do better. They are working hard, but it’s NOT WORKING!

Remember those Israelites who kept themselves out of the Promised Land? Sure you do! They could not enter because (see Heb 3&4) they refused God’s rest. They kept up with their own works.

Today Jesus has one work for us to do: “This is the work of God—that you believe in the One He has sent.” Jn 6:29

Want some peace with God? Joy? Confidence? Believe in Jesus! Here’s the part we so easily miss because our world is so caught up in performance: Jesus did His work, and SAT DOWN.

Some misinformed leaders might tell you that the rest is up to you—but wait—I am talking about THE REST of God. It is written He has “raised us up with Him, and SEATED US with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Eph 2:6

Don’t you  see? Working religious stuff to please God does not cut it. It will not give you a moment of peace, favor, blessing: NOTHING. Believe on His sacrifice: JESUS, then enter His rest.

Stop worrying about getting it right. JESUS got it all right. Follow Him; your life will fall into place. It will ALL be all right, my friend!

Resist? Not in anyone’s best interests!

Want to make America GREAT again?
Want to RESIST all things Trumpish?

Is one right and the other wrong?

WWJD?

This one doesn’t take lots of prayer and intercession to find the answer. Check that Bible out, folks!

“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.” [1 Tim 2:1-3]

Our rulers don’t need to be saints: whoever they are: pray and thank God for them!

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” …Render to all what is due them…. Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. [Ro 13:1-2, 7-8]

Rebellion against authority: not a good idea.

Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. [Titus 3:1-3]

That last verse sound like our media today: let us pray they get the real picture!

Today, why not practice Paul’s words? I bet you’ll get your joy back in no time!

 

“What is truth?” Better question: “Who is Truth?”

John 8 – the Pharisees launch a malevolently conceived trap featuring a woman caught in adultery. Jesus destroys their arguments, their self-righteousness, their arrogance, and establishes once again that He condemns no one. As John 3:17 declares, “for God did not send His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world would be saved through Him.”

This is God’s honest truth. It’s who He is.

Jesus’ final words to the woman are the same He speaks to us as we stand before Him guilty and ashamed. He has absorbed the punishment for our sins just as surely as He would have stood between the woman that morning and any stone that might have been thrown at her. [“Neither do I condemn you…”]

This is God’s honest truth. It’s who He is.

Jesus then continues with four amazing promises:
1 – vs 12 – the one who follows Him will never walk in darkness (for He is the LIGHT. Walk with Him and you will never stumble).
2 – vs 32 – the truth will set them free (and He is the TRUTH. Walk with Him and gain freedom).
3 – vs 36 – they will be truly free (for He breaks chains and bondages forever).
4 – vs 51 – they will never see death (for He has come to grant those who believe in Him eternal life).

“The truth will set you free” is not a philosophical statement as so many have taken and used it incorrectly; it is a deeply spiritual truth of who Jesus is and what He means.

This is God’s honest truth. ONLY Jesus can set a person truly free.

Without Jesus we all remain a slave to sin. The Pharisees boasted in Abraham as their father. Jesus corrected their misunderstanding: they had in actuality the devil as their papa. And so does everyone who lacks a relationship with Jesus. Yepper.

If you don’t have it, then get that relationship with Jesus going today. I can think of no better words to say than,   “Jesus have mercy on me! Help me.”

He will. You will Come Alive!

Trapped in a Witness Protection Program?

 

In Acts 1:8 Jesus tells His followers that we “shall BE His witnesses.”

A witness is something you ARE. So forget the odd notion that it is something you DO. It’s not.

Speaking of who you ARE, I came across this awesome pair of questions the other day:
1 – If you don’t know who Christ is in you, then what is it you are offering somebody else?
2 – If you don’t know who YOU are in Christ, then how can you help others get to that point?

Is your witness along the lines of, “Uh, come over to my church, it’s great!”

If someone is hurting there in front of you, is your response, “Uh, I gotta go,” or “Come over to my church, it’s great?”

Sounds to me that you may have self-enrolled in the Jesus Witness Protection Program!

If so, NO WORRIES! You have so much more to offer and you just don’t know it yet.

And that’s where Come Alive can help—
– Our vision is to help people fulfill their calling in God
– Our purpose is to help people come alive to the truth of who they are.

If you are in the greater Austin area, why not drop in to the Cedar Park Public Library some Tuesday evening beginning May 16th 7PM? We’ll be there in the conference room for Bible Storying, which may not sound related, but believe me, it truly is.

Thirsty?

 

A dear friend of mine recently expressed frustration with his church. He said, “I’ve been there 15 years, and for 15 years they have been great at calling out to others to accept Christ. And then when someone does, they say, ‘OK, you’re done. That’s it.’ I keep trying to tell them there’s more but no one seems to listen. All they do is tell them to read their bibles, bring the entire family to church, give money, attend groups and bring an unsaved friend if you have one.”

His disappointment was tangible.  

What’s going on? Simple: the need for the Holy Spirit. Thirsty people were remaining thirsty!

Joh 6:63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.

Ro 8: For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

2Co 3:6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Re 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

But the problem with the Holy Spirit is He doesn’t take orders from you – or the elders, church board, and certainly not the pastor. After all, He’s GOD.

Like many churches, my friend’s church preferred a set of rules/practices/steps/etc.etc. for the Spirit of LIFE. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m thirsty for more of the Spirit—and I bet you are too.

Hank