Great Faith is a Great Responsibility

“The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” – Luke 12:47,48 As we have been learning about dying to our flesh, we now know that we have to crucify our need for adoration, for glory, for safety, and for satisfaction. Why? Because there’s only One who can satisfy, One who can keep us safe, and One deserving of glory and adoration — His Name is Jesus. When you crucify your selfishness for His Name’s sake, you don’t become a weakling or a doormat, you become a rock!  Now,

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Surrendering Passions and Desires

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” – Galatians 5:24 As we get down to the nitty gritty of what it looks like to crucify the flesh, I want to assert that it’s entirely a matter of the heart. This is why it’s so important to keep our eyes focused on Jesus and stay in tune with His voice, like we talked about yesterday.  In my experience, the church has often played games when it comes to the issue of dying to self, with one, two, or three things defining what it looks like. This is because it’s natural for us as human beings to want to set rules and regulations that are easy to understand and that everyone can adhere to. When we do this, we feel more in control. Perhaps this is the reason there have been entire denominations of

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Focus on Jesus

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22,23 As we continue talking about what it means to die to ourselves and crucify our flesh, I want to give you a thought that I hope will clarify and simplify this concept — just focus on Jesus.  The day you began doing life with Jesus is the day you met the One who can truly satisfy your soul. The Bible says in Romans 1 that He fills everything in every way. In other words, there is nothing you could ever want or need that He cannot supply. Why? Because He is the source of it all! Jesus is the only person who can transform you into the best version of yourself because He wrote the manual on you; He is your ultimate life

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Death to Self is not Death of Self

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:10 Yesterday, we discussed what it means to die to ourselves, so today, I want to point out what that doesn’t mean. Unfortunately, many of us who were raised in the church learned that death to self means death of self, but this is not the case. There is an important distinction to be made here that keeps us from falling into the trap of legalism and self-condemnation.  Death of self teaches that I don’t matter and that all of my desires are bad or wrong. In other words, it crucifies me as an individual. This, however, is not how God designed it to be. He created each one of His children uniquely and with a purpose, and as the Bible states, we are His handiwork,

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Home Base of Grace

“Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” – John 1:16,17 I spoke to you yesterday about the crucial understanding that you are not what you do. Today, I want to expand on that idea by assuring you that you are enough. I understand that saying this at the beginning of the year when you’ve just established objectives and resolutions that require you to run faster and strive harder, sounds bizarre. I’m not dismissing those ideas; in fact, I wholeheartedly believe in them. However, I am confident that if you do not first receive God’s grace and then extend it to yourself, you will not be able to accomplish your goals. Remember that grace is not just mercy; it’s God’s overflowing love and favor toward His Son, which He

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Filled to Overflowing

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21 Yesterday we talked about living life with open hands. Today, I’d want to expand on that concept by sharing with you a spiritual law that allows you to keep this posture of openness: give away what you most desire. One of the most effective ways to invite God’s blessing into our lives, in my opinion, is to give to others what we most lack. This may feel radical to some of you, and it is in light of what the world teaches; but, the notion is that the more you give up, the more room you have to fill with wonderful things.

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God Hates Injustice

“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” – Proverbs  6:16-19 I don’t know about you, but when the Lord says that He hates something, I pay attention. If there’s anything I don’t want to do, it’s to hurt His heart by engaging in things that cause Him pain. In fact, these verses from Proverbs 6 provide a powerful insight into the character of God by telling us what bothers Him the most. They also explain why Christ reacted the way He did when He encountered the money changers at the temple. Though any oppression grieves His heart, wrongs done in His Name are

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Love is Personal

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” – 1 John 3:1 Growing up in San Juan Capistrano, which is more or less a beach town, my dad and I fished all the time. Whether on a boat, in a lake, or from a pier, we were constantly putting our poles in the water to see what we could catch. Of course, the flip side of that was that we ate a lot of fish. While this would be a dream come true for some people, I’ve never been a huge fan of seafood, and that dislike forged one of my favorite childhood memories. One day, when I was 12 or 13 years old, my dad and I were out on the boat and it was about 2:00 in the afternoon. We left early

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