Real Discipleship: Feelings, Culture, or Scripture Alone

 

I remember hearing a story of a dad reading Matthew chapter 7 to his 4 year old son.  While reading the son began to snicker and then broke out laughing.  The dad was somewhat serious and wondered what was up.  His son imagined in his mind the preposterous picture of a man with a big beam in his eye trying to remove a speck in someone else’s eye.  The little boy instinctively knew a big beam couldn’t fit into someone’s eye and just the thought of it caused him to laugh.

While humor and sarcasm can be hurtful, used in a right way they can make excellent points.  Jesus used both humor and sarcasm.  This is contrary to the picture people often present of Jesus walking on the earth as an emotionless Zombie (except for anger) who lacked any sort of personality.  Jesus often used sarcasm to both offend the self righteous as well as making points of truth.

I had the great privilege years ago of inheriting a book from my wife’s grandfather that is no longer in print called “The Humor of Christ” by Elton Trueblood.  He did a masterful job of showing both the humor and sarcasm used by Jesus to make important points.  It is a pretty ridiculous picture to see a camel on it’s knees trying to squeeze through a small opening in the city wall of Jerusalem “the eye of a needle” (Lk 18:22-27, Mt 19:24, Mk 10:26).  How about “choking on a small bug while at the same time trying to swallow a camel (Matthew 23:24)?

Jesus also used offensive sarcasm when directly confronting religious people who were trusting in their own version of what it means to be right with God.  He called them names like “brood of vipers, snakes, devils, blind guides, whitewashed tombs, and murderers” Mt 3:7, 12:34, 23, 16:23).

A satirical evangelical Christian website, the Babylon Bee, released a humorous article that strikes at the heart of a problem among self identified Christians.  It was aimed at Christians who think following Jesus and living according to His word is somewhat optional.  Simply believing in Him and living by one’s own version of what is right is good enough. This is in contrast to the 25 clear calls by Jesus in the Gospels to “follow Me and live according to My word.”  He only called people to “believe in Me” 4 times. There is a clear emphasis that real belief entail’s following Him and seeking to obey His word.

John 8:30-31  As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him.  (31)  So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word (believe and live by it), then you are truly disciples of Mine, and you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.

“Jesus of Nazareth always comes asking disciples to follow him–not merely “accept him,” not merely “believe in him,” not merely “worship him,” but to follow him: one either follows Christ, or one does not. There is no compartmentalization of the faith, no realm, no sphere, no business, no politic in which the lordship of Christ will be excluded. We either make him Lord of all lords, or we deny him as Lord of any.” Lee Camp 

The website reported on a fictitious meeting in which progressive evangelical leaders met to affirm a doctrine of “Sola Feels.”  It was an obvious spoof of the great doctrinal truth that came out of the protestant reformation from the Latin phrase “Sola Sciptura.” It means God’s word is our only objective basis of faith and practice above traditions or our feelings.  “Sola feels” means that our feelings are the only proper way to interpret what is true which is how our culture, even many self identified Christians live their lives.  The article puts it humorously well.

“Quite simply, ‘Sola Feels’ means that all spiritual truths only become true once they’re filtered through and accepted by our feels—all the feels,” popular author and speaker Jane Hansen told reporters after the meeting. “Thus, things that make us feel bad, those are wrong. The things that give us all the happy feels, those are true, right, and good.”

What is true is what feels right more than what God says is right in His word.  This is the current mantra both of our culture as well as many self identified Christians.  The word of God is optional and subjected to what our feelings and/or the culture around us dictates.  Anything that opposes “feels” is seen as oppression.

The movie makes a point

There was a satirical movie in the late 70s, Monty Python’s “Life of Brian”  that had a scene that was a very revealing about some of the current cultural confusion as well as that among self identifying Christians regarding “Sola Feels.”  The story line of the movie is almost prophetic as it was about someone who was mistaken for Jesus then attempted to start a Christian movement around this falsehood.  Sounds like believing but not following or obeying Jesus’ word (John 8).  It is an alternative Christianity that often favors things Jesus clearly said He is opposed to.

There is a great scene in the movie called “Loretta” that is eerily similar to some of the confusion today (I don’t recommend the whole movie as it has a couple of bad parts in it).  The scene is about whether they are going to give place in their movement to a man who wants to be a woman and have a baby.  The point is debated among 4 followers and the last line is prophetic as one person says it’s, “a struggle against oppression,” while another man says it’s really, “a struggle against his reality”  (God’s design).  For disciples it has to be “Sola Scriptura” not “Sola Feels.”

 

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Freedom Only Comes In Following

“All who are called to salvation are called to discipleship, no exceptions, no excuses!”
Bill Hull

One of the greatest benefits of the Gospel of Jesus lies in the area of freedom.

Gal 5:1-13  MSG Christ has set us free to live a free life therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

There is a universal craving inside of every human being to be free.  No one wants to be in slavery or bondage.  Our nations Declaration of Independence states ” “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men…are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty (feedom), and the Pursuit of Happiness.”  For those who are in Christ there is a freedom from the devil and the power of sin.  As Paul said it isn’t a freedom to sin, but from sin (Gal 5:1-13, 1 Pet 2:16, 2 Pet 2:19 etc.). 

Herein lies a dilemma.  If Christ has set people free why is there still so much bondage to sin and its destructive effects?  Why do marriages, families, and relationships continue to break down?  Why do people get delivered from all kinds of destructive maladies only to return to them and be overcome by them?  I am talking about God’s people.  The old bumper sticker, “Try Jesus” is often scratched out with the experience of people who write over it, “I tried Christianity/Jesus and it didn’t work.”yo-yo

I have seen it work like the yo-yos we played with when we were kids.  People get delivered out of the hand of the 
enemy/sin only to progress for a while then get sucked right back into the hand of what they were delivered from.  How does a yo-yo get completely free? The string has to be cut, and it has to be tied to another hand.  This is the only way of freedom.

Freedom in Following

Colossians 2:6 CEV You have accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord. Now keep on following Him.

This is where discipleship comes into play.  When Jesus made His famous statement, “if the Son sets you free you will be really free” (Jn 8:36), it was in the context of the truth He was trying to get across about how His freedom works.  He was speaking to people who were beginning to believe in Him.  

Disciples of Jesus are people who do not just profess certain views as their own but apply their growing understanding of life in the Kingdom…to every aspect of their life on earth.” Dallas Willard

John 8:31-36  MSG Then Jesus turned to the Jews who had claimed to believe in him. “If you stick with this (continue in My word), living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you.”…So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through.

In the Gospels 25 times Jesus called people to follow Him, only 4 times does He say to believe in Him.  The clear emphasis is on discipleship (a follower, learner, and an adherent).  One reason there is so much bondage upon people who believe is that they don’t continue to follow.  As the call of the Great Commission states, “make disciples (followers) teaching them to obey everything I commanded” (Mt 28:18-19).

God’s freedom only comes through following.  It isn’t just a decision to believe that leads to freedom it is a decision to follow Jesus and put into practice His way of living.  Christianity isn’t a decision, it is a journey following Christ.  As we turn away from patterns of thinking, feeling, and behavior that destroys (puts us in bondage), and we walk with Him who gives us power to live it out, we become free.  It is a progressive freedom.  It is a roadway of freedom.  We may occasionally trip and stumble, but if we keep following we continue to experience more and more Proverbs 4:18-19  The road the righteous travel is like the sunrise, getting brighter and brighter until full daylight has come.  (19)  The road of the wicked, however, is dark as night. They fall, but cannot see what they have stumbled over.  God's Freedom only comes though Following Click To Tweet

Essential aspects to walking with Him and His truth which leads to freedom

  • God’s word must become your objective basis of faith and practice.  Psalm 119:105  Thy word is a lamp (small lamp) to my feet, and a light (sunlight) to my path.  His word clearly shows us what leads to life and freedom as well as destruction and bondage.  If His word says it and that settles it, end of story!   
  •  We must continually get His word in us through reading, studying, and listening to it. There are a great host of online Bible materials and easy to read and understand Bible translations.   
  • We must commit to let the word measure our attitudes, thinking, and actions.  Our feelings and desires may be real but that doesn’t make them right.  We turn to Jesus and turn away from those He clearly tells us to forsake and avoid
  • You must commit to put His word into practice, not just listen to it (James 1:22-23).    If it doesn’t affect your attitudes and behavior it isn’t really affecting you.  

    The level of our obedience is most often determined by the behavior standard of other Christians around us. –Jerry Bridges

     
  • Walk with people who will help us hear and obey God’s word in the everyday issues of real life. The Bible calls it “fellowship.”  Biblical friendship is being around people who will communicate and help reinforce God’s truth in every area of life.  It is real fiends who will tell us what we need to hear not just what we want to hear.   Eph 4:14-15  As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;  (15)  but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, (Zechariah 8:1-16).

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Revolution of Discipleship

Making decisions or Making Disciples

Making decisions or Making Disciples

Matthew 28:19-20  “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,  (20)  teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always.

Two of the biggest lacks in the 21st century Gospel is a lack of receiving Jesus as Lord (both Lord or our lives as well a Lord of the universe), and not following Him as disciples.

Colossians 2:6 CEV You have accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord. Now keep on following Him.

I read a quote from H. Richard Niebuhr who was considered one of the most important American theologians of the 20th century, ” the great Christian revolutions came not by the discovery of something that was not there before.  They happen when someone takes radically something that has always been there.”

It is hard to be a follower of Jesus if you are not following Him. Click To Tweet

We need a revolution of discipleship

As I have studied church history for almost 40 years I have seen this played out over and over among God’s people.  One generation discovers something in a fresh way that has been previously neglected and God brings about great advancement through it.   I believe we are in need of a fresh revolution of something that has been neglected for years, discipleship.

If we consider the post resurrection commissions Jesus gave His church Matthew 28 is often misunderstood and misapplied.  The call is to “make disciples…teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded.”  Unfortunately the church, even the evangelical church, has substituted the idea of making disciples with “making decisions.”  We tend to measure the success of any evangelistic effort, crusade, or church plant with the questions, “how many decisions were made” or “how many people attend.”

We must be careful that we are not substituting the idea of making decisions with making disciples.

Bible dictionaries define the word “disciple” with ideas like “a follower, learner, or an adherent.”  This is way different than simply deciding to believe in Jesus.  It means both following and learning to obey Him. Consider some of the Biblical statistics concerning discipleship.

  • Jesus called people to “follow Him” 25 times in the Gospels while calling them to “believe in Him” only 4 times.  Even James despairingly says that “you believe God is one, that’s fine, but even the demons believe that and tremble” Jas 2:18.
  • The New Testament refers to God’s people as “disciples” 269 times while it uses the designation “Christian” only 3 times.  One of the 3 says, “the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch” Acts 11:26.  The Biblical emphasis is clearly on discipleship.

Jesus clear call is to follow Him and learn to obey Him.  It is hard to follow Him if you are not following Him.  We have to consider a couple of important questions.

  • When did we separate the Matthew 28 commission into two completely separate parts, believing and/or following? 
  • How did we arrive at a salvation that makes room for believing but not “following” or “leaning to obey?”

Christianity that doesn’t follow Jesus

Over the past 200 years American Christians have fostered a brand of Christianity in which we develop programs in order to attract people to a meeting.  The Sunday service is the main point of attraction.  This approach fosters a mentality that church is an audience of spectators or consumers of Christian products rather than a group of people following Jesus together on His mission.

“Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.” Dietrich Bonehoeffer

Yet this was the master strategy of Jesus with His first church, the 12.  He called them to “be with Him” and engage in His mission.  Mark 3:14  And He ordained twelve, that they should be with Him, and that He might send them out.

Attractional Christianity fosters a Wal-Mart mentality, the best value and the lowest price.  Commitment is rare in this model.  The focus becomes the consumers needs, wants, and desires rather than following Jesus and being first concerned with His wants and desires.

In the consumer model people attend in order to have a better week, better life, better family, better finances, and more feelings of satisfaction and happiness.  They rarely live or serve in the sacrificial way that Jesus called people to as they follow Him.

Mt 16:24-26 MSG Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to follow Me has to let Me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?( Mk 8:34-37 Lk 9:23-27)

   …Christ did not appoint professors, but followers. Soren Kierkegaard

Jesus wasn’t looking for members to casually join an organization. He was looking for people who would “lay their life down to follow Him together with others.”  He wanted imitators not admires, followers not consumers, fellow family members on mission not casual meeting attenders.

As Niebuher indicates we do need a revolution, a revolution of discipleship.  Without this calling of discipleship being clearly before us the great commission will become the great omission that leaves it out.

 

 

 

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The Joy of the Whole Earth

new-miracle-drug

Religion could be a miracle drug.  Can you imagine what would happen if any drug being researched for potential release by the FDA showed that if taken only once a week it would reduce mortality by 20-30% over a 15 year period?  What if this same drug taken once a week would greatly reduce depression, suicide, increase mental health, produce more happy and fulfilled marriages, lead to greater family stability and satisfaction, kids doing better in school, and overall better health?  Do you think people would be clamoring for its release?  Do you think people would be willing to pay for it?

What would people think of others who would protest to keep this drug out of the general population?  What about organizations created to try to remove any advertisement or public indicators of the drug’s existence?  Do you think those organizations would be well thought of by the general public?  All of this goes on today.  While it is not a drug that is being neglected or suffering continual attempts to keep it hidden from the public, it is something else, Jesus’ church.

Recent research released by professor Tyler J. VanderWeele of Harvard University builds on over 20 years of research to show that even once a week church attendance tends to produce the above mentioned results.

The Joy of the Whole Earth

joy-of-the-earthFor over 38 years of serving God I have kept track of the continual research about the
benefits of Christianity and church on people.   Almost every report summarizing research says the same thing.  God’s life in and through the church is better.

I have looked into great historical research by historians like Rodney Stark about the positive effects Christianity and the church have historically had on culture.  It is undeniable that the church compared to other organizations and segments of society has been the greatest force of good, health, and positive progress for culture throughout history.

The Church is the most amazing organization ever produced.   Looking at the past 2000 years you have to admit that its creation, endurance, and influence is miraculous.  It has survived and continues to survive terrible persecution.  It has survived many disappointing imperfections from its leaders and members causing shame and dishonor in the eyes of society around her.   It has also survived consistent neglect by many of its own members.  In spite of all of those challenges and faults throughout the centuries the church has demonstrated what God’s has designed her to be, His chosen instrument of blessing to the earth.

Bill Hybel’s, “There is nothing like the local church when it’s working right. It’s beauty is indescribable. It’s power is breathtaking. It’s potential is unlimited. It comforts the grieving and heels the broken in the context of community. It builds bridges to seekers and offers truth of the confusion. It provides resources for those in need and opens its arms to the forgotten, the downtrodden, the dissolution. It breaks the chains of addictions, and offers belonging to the marginalize of this world. Whatever the capacity for human suffering, the church has the greater capacity for healing and wholeness.”  This was the vision that ran through the spiritual veins of the apostle Paul, John, and the writers of the New Testament and needs to run in ours as well. 

Almost everywhere you go in the world there are churches seeking to bring benefit and blessing to the world around them.  They are battling and overcoming poverty, ignorance, disease, and the consequences of sin in families and communities. I have been to remote villages in India and Africa that have little else, but they do have a church.

I have seen churches outdo other groups during natural disasters like floods and tornadoes in quick response times as well as longevity of care.  It was estimated that after Hurricane Katrina, churches outdid in the amount of and longevity in providing meals, relief, and volunteer workers. Over 90% of the meals provided and served came from churches.

Every natural disaster has had similar characteristics. History has also demonstrated that the lion’s share of motivation and effort to correct societal ills such the sickness and disease, education, women’s rights, the abolition of slavery, and the Civil Rights movement had their origins in the church.

God had shown us that His design for His church as the “city of God” is that it’s the “Joy of the whole earth” (Ps 48:1-3).  Jesus described her in Matthew as “the light of the world, a city set on a hill” (Mt 5:13-14).  The idea of “joy of the whole earth” means “the best or a reason to rejoice in.”  It refers to what James later said about the church being “the first fruits among His creation” (Jas 1:18).  In other words the positive effect of what God can do in the lives of people is seen first among and through His church.

Yet many church cynics both inside and outside the church see something else.  They see problems and shortcomings and end up having the same attitude that the enemies of God’s people had during the Babylonian exile when they mocked His city when it didn’t look so good.  Lam 2:15  All who pass along the way Clap their hands in derision at you; They hiss and shake their heads At the daughter of Jerusalem, “Is this the city of which they said, ‘The perfection of beauty, A joy to all the earth’?”  Google “problems with the church” and you will find over 132 million hits.  Search “hurt by the church” and you will find over 47 million.

We need to see communities of faith push past the cynicism and rise up to live the life God’s has designed His church to live.  With Jesus in her midst He advances the Kingdom to others through the power of the gospel. Jesus didn’t just write a message in the sky to effect the earth with the gospel.  He formed His community, His family, His church, and sent them into the world together to demonstrate and declare His gospel life and message (Jn 17:18, 20:21).

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An Important but Neglected Aspect of Prayer

cleansing-the-templeJesus and the disciples were coming into Jerusalem amidst the shouts of “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord…Hosanna in the highest!”  I am sure the excitement was exhilarating.  His disciples were sharing His glory as He came into Jerusalem to set up His kingdom.  It had to be an unbelievable thrill.   

Once in Jerusalem they immediately entered the Temple.  It was the great structure that housed the very presence of God.  Not long ago it had been refurbished by Herod which even made it more spectacular in appearance.  

“Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.”
Oswald Chambers

It was the Passover so there was an increased activity and buzz in the Temple.   People were bringing their sacrifices to honor God.  It was difficult for those who had to travel a long distance to bring a sacrifice so they would purchase them at the Temple.  Those of limited financial means would buy doves or pigeons for their sacrifice. Some of those who sold animals took advantage of the situation by offering second rate animals for first rate prices.  Just like food in the airport is more expensive, the marked demanded that they could charge a little more.

Then there were the money changers.  People came from all over the world with their own local currency.  It had to be exchanged for Jerusalem currency in order to pay the Temple tax.  These money changers were experts in knowing the value of foreign currency and they, like the animal sellers,  had no problem upping the price.  They charged fees for their services and some historians believe they made anywhere from 20%-300% interest per year on these transactions. 

Both the animal sellers and money changers performed a necessary service but the problem was in “how” they were conducting themselves.  They had a self-serving motive in the midst of serving God.

As Jesus entered the temple He observed all the activity in light of God’s design.  A righteous anger began to burn within Him. Jesus began to think about how Isaiah described God’s design for His house (Isa 56).  It was a place to love the Lord, minister to Him, and for all nations to seek Him in prayer.   

Isaiah 56:4-7 …to them I will give in my house and within My walls a memorial… Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants…even those I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joful in My house of prayer…For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples/nations

All the busy activity and the self-centered motives of the animal sellers and money changers was getting in the way of what the Temple was about. The Temple was the place for all people to meet God, but the money changers and the animal sellers were getting in that way of that.  There mind wasn’t God but themselves. Their self-centered pursuits were actually inhibiting others from connecting with Him causing God’s zeal to began to burn inside of Jesus. 

Jesus did something very unexpected and what some would consider unchristian.  He made a whip and began to turn over the tables, poured out the coins, and drove the animal sellers and money changers out of the Temple.  He exploded with a great force of zeal.  No meek and mild Jesus here.  The Lion of Judah was roaring.  He was demanding that God’s House be what God designed her to be. 

After getting people’s attention the Gospel writers recorded that Jesus began to teach them from Isaiah 56, Mark 11:17 “Is it not written, ‘My House shall be called a House of prayer for all the Nations’? But you have made it a robbers den” (Mt 21:13, Lk 19:46, Jn 2:17).

This gives us insight into the zeal inspired thoughts of Jesus when He drove people out.  We have often heard it expressed that the idea of a “house of prayer for the Nations” means that the church is to be a place where we pray for other nations.  While we should do this the idea of “house of prayer for the nations” from Isaiah 56 has a little different twist. 

Ministering to God is the First Priority in Prayer

As the gospel of John states, zeal for God’s House consumed Jesus (John 2:17).  He knew that the first priority of prayer in God’s house was more than praying for things or people.  The first priority was to “minister to Him, and love the name of the Lord.”  The word “minister” here means to serve, attend to, give constant attention to.  It means that in God’s House He gets our attention first.  We focus on Him, linger in His presence, and listen for His voice.  Any activity, like the animal sellers and money changers, should never distract from this, only enhance it.

Not only do we minister to Him but we “love the name of the Lord.”  The idea is that as we minister to Him there well be a corresponding expression of love. 

This is the first priority of prayer!  It is not presenting a quick shopping list of prayer requests.  It is turning our attention to minister to Him and love Him.  This is the foundation of prayer!

Ministering to the Lord and loving Him isn't a warm up for more important things. It is the seedbed… Click To Tweet

Ministering to the Lord and loving Him isn’t a warm up for more important things.  It is the seedbed for everything He does.  It isn’t a waste of time but a priority.  If this isn’t a priority then all of our coffee bars, light shows, smoke machines, dynamic worship bands, and anointing speakers pose the risk of becoming a distraction like the sacrifice sellers and money changers.  When we do things with self-serving agendas (look at how anointed I am) they can become the same problem that the sacrifice sellers and money changers had.  

Things that we do in God’s house only work if they enhance our connecting with God, not distract from it.   We need to have the same “zeal for Your house” consuming us that Jesus did.  It is a zeal that keeps the most important thing the most important thing, to minister to and love the name of the Lord.”

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Prayer and the Open Window

open-windowC.S. Lewis once said, “If you find within yourself longings that nothing in this world can satisfy it can only mean you were made for another world.”   We truly are made for another world!  Christians live in two different realms of existence simultaneously, the natural realm (the five sensory realm), and the realm beyond the five senses (supernatural spiritual realm).

Movies and shows  that feature aspects of life beyond the natural realm are always popular.   The reason can be attributed to what Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us, God has “set eternity in our hearts,” which is the sense of a realm beyond the natural.  That spiritual dimension in us is part of the “image of God” in us (Gen 1:26)  because “God is Spirit” (Jn 4:24).

C.S. Lewis, “If you find within yourself longings that nothing in this world can satisfy it can only mean you were made for another world.”  

We often face a battle in our modern culture.  With all of it’s technological advances and scientific sophistication, culture has created an of a world without windows into the spiritual realm.  This secular worldview has damaging effects on God’s people.  The natural ends up replacing the supernatural, the physical replaces the spiritual, the temporal replaces the eternal, and people become dominated by what is seen without the influence of “what is unseen” (Heb 11:27).

If God’s people are not careful this worldview can subtly creep in and create a form of Christian Deism (a belief that if God does exist He is far removed from any active involvement in our everyday life).  

Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work. Oswald Chambers Click To Tweet

An practical example of viewing life without windows

A few years ago I had an office without any windows.  I often went to the office when it was still dark outside.  I remember times when it would be raining or foggy as I drove to the office.  As the day progressed I would assume that it was still overcast, rainy, and foggy outside.  It affecting my approach towards the day.  My emotions were overcast and any plans I considered had rain, fog, and an overcast future in them.  

Many times to my surprise when I stepped out of the building I discovered that it was actually a clear day.  My negative overcast attitude was met by a different reality of a clear, sunny, and bright day.  My previous feelings and attitudes were changed by a different reality.  Before stepping into the reality of a sunny day I had made phone calls and plans that were all affected by my perception of a rainy overcast day.  If I would only have had a window giving me insight into what was around me my plans and attitudes would have been different.  The same holds true in the spiritual realm.

If we don’t have windows into the reality of God’s presence we can become stuck in the emotions and circumstances of the natural realm immediately around us.

Looking through God’s window as we pray in faith

Heb 11:1-6  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. ..6  But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

When we pray with Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb 12:2), we begin to see into God’s realm.  We see into His possibilities and no matter how rainy or overcast it is, we see the reality of God’s new days.

There is always a new day in Jesus 

Scripture refers to Jesus both as the “bright and morning star” and the One who gives us the “morning star.”

  • Revelation 22:16  “I, Jesus… am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
  • Revelation 2:25-29 ‘He who overcomes…(28)  and I will give him the morning star.  

In that day the morning-star was the name that Greeks assigned to the planet Venus which was the brightest object in the sky apart from the sun and moon.  It often appeared in the east leading on the morning.  It appears before the sun rises because the sun is shining on it.  In a sense it announces a new day where the sun is shining, even though it often appears at the darkest time before the dawn.  Eventhough it is dark around us a new day is already shining.

It works in a similar way in prayer.  We begin prayer with dark burdens and overcast emotions.  As we continue to look to Jesus we start to see through His window into His realm.  Then the morning star begins to rise up in us and we know that a new day, beyond the challenges of the current day, is coming.  It’s already shining. The God of possibilities begins to lead us into His new day.  Our inward posture begins to change as the “Morning Star rises up on the inside of us.

2Pe 1:19 …you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.

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