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Archive for November, 2010

I’ve continued to spend time with God on this idea of returning to my first love.  I so want to encounter and experience God in a deeper, more permanent basis.  I spent time on:

Matthew 3:8 – Bear fruit in keeping with repentance  and  Rev 2:5b – Repent and do the works you did at first.

If you’ve been reading these blogs over the weeks, I’d shared with you that I’d left my first love (Jesus) in that I was coming more and more to rely on self (and, subtly, pride was the root there).

I believe I’ve repented, but how do I know for sure?  Matthew 3:8 and Rev 2:5b give us a clue.  I got to thinking: what is repentance?  And as I spent time with God on this, here is what I am pondering:

Repentance comes from a godly sorrow (see 2 Cor 7:10) and will result in a lifestyle, plan, choices, activities geared toward making good fruit possible.

As I thought about “doing the works I did at first,”  the Holy Spirit clearly reminded me that I used to:

– Pray consistently

– Read and treasured the Bible and other works that helped me understand it

– Act according to conviction with friends and strangers (that is, I didn’t “follow the crowd”)

– I shared Christ when I saw/sensed opportunity

These were things I did as a child and adolescent!  As I’ve grown, I’ve drifted from my first love via benign neglect.  I don’t do the above things like I used to — and I don’t do them because I’ve “forsaken my first love” in relying more and more on self (again, pride is really at the root there).

This has been a painful thing to deal with, but a necessary thing in breaking up the “fallow ground” of my heart and seeking the Lord (Hosea 10:12b).

But oh the joy of sensing the Holy Spirit present and active in my life!  Oh, the joy of recognizing that still small voice once again!

If any of this resonates with you; if you also sense God calling you to return to your first love, I encourage you to break up our fallow ground (repent), and seek the Lord until He is found — then there is true fulfillment in Him and opportunity to make an impact in His kingdom!

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As a Bible teacher one of my goals is to get folks to think through their faith; to delve into the practical ramifications of Scripture and spiritual teachings; to wrestle with, and exercise in real life, their faith.

One Sunday, I asked questions around a fulfilled life and whether we can do all that Jesus did.   The hope was that all of us in the class would begin to think and pray through:
a)  what Jesus meant when He said, “…anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.  He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)
b) the relation of a fulfilled (or fulfilling) life with Jesus’ prayer for believers in John 17, especially vv 3, 15-24.

In thinking through these Scriptures and others around the fact that we are beloved, chosen and blessed, I am coming to believe a fulfilled/fulfilling life is one in which we are indeed in God and Jesus (John 17:21) — one in which we are partakers of the divine life/nature (2 Peter 2:4).  Such a life is not one in which we separate ourselves from the world.  We don’t have to give up our jobs or families or withdraw from social or political or other activities.  It is not one in which we must spend all our time at the church building or only with Christians or in long hours of prayer.

Quite the opposite!  As Jesus prays, as believers we are sent into the world to continue the work Jesus began.  In fact, we can do even greater things in that work/purpose than Jesus Himself did! (John 14:12)

A fulfilled/fulfilling life, then is one in which Jesus is lived out in us.  As beloved sons and daughters of God the Father, our lives become a continuation of Jesus’ mission.

And we continue that mission in the context of where we are — in our families, work, and other activities.  There are as many ways and contexts to fulfill the mission as there are people.  

It is in intimate relationship with God, via the Holy Spirit, made possible by Jesus’ death and resurrection, that we are enabled to fulfill the mission.

Praise to God that He has purposed for us to participate in the divine nature, to see His glory, to become like Jesus, and to bring Him to the world, that others might know Him.   One of the reasons we are chosen, blessed and beloved is to be given to the world, just as Jesus was, that the world might know Him.  As we live in obedience to this mission more and more — then we are living fulfilled (and fulfilling) lives.

What a wonderful calling — a wonderful present — and a wonderful future!

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