Sacrifice and Success
06 Wednesday May 2015
Posted Dying to Self, Quotesin
06 Wednesday May 2015
Posted Dying to Self, Quotesin
24 Tuesday Sep 2013
Posted Luke, Our Spiritual Processin
bad things happen, basic lessons of life, calling God good, clearer picture of God, complaining, discerning good and bad, doubting the goodness of God, goodness of god, Jesus, Luke 18, only seeing bad, opinion of God, Plutarch quote, reality check, reason prayer fails, rich young ruler, suffering, thankful, tragedies
A young man tried to call Jesus “good” one day. We don’t know his motivations. Maybe he was flattering the Lord or maybe he honestly saw Jesus as being good. Jesus didn’t let the compliment sit. He corrected him. In all of Jewish history no rabbi was ever called “good“. This title was reserved for God and God alone. In the English language “good” and “God” are interchangeable. It is the extra “o”.
Jesus wanted to know why the young man called Him “good.” Jesus has a way to get to the heart of any issue. I don’t think Jesus was denying His Deity… He simply wanted this young man to give further thought on what he just said. Have you ever called something “good”, but knew in the moment you were making an over-exaggeration? The noun good in modern vocabulary gets tossed around far too often. It really doesn’t mean much anymore. Jesus was basically saying, “If you want to call Me good, then you must be willing to call Me God. If you will not call Me God, then you can’t call Me good!” In other words for Jesus, knowing God as being truly good was serious business. Jesus knew if a person knew God, they also knew good. If a person couldn’t discern good, it meant they didn’t know God.
In your estimation… has God always been good to you? Are you willing to call Him good, right now, in all things?
The “goodness” of God is one of the first and basic lessons we learn. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stick to us throughout our life. We have to relearn this lesson time and time again… I know I have had to start over. Your first prayer over meals was probably something like this… “God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for our food.” Did you ever learn the chorus: “God is so good, God is so good, God is so good, He’s so good to me?”
We are told things like this as children and then the hard realities of life kick-in and we begin to wonder if God is really good. The Bible constantly reminds us of God’s goodness. But just because the scriptures speak of something often, doesn’t mean it seeps down into our innermost being.
Here is the point… Continually being able to discern God’s goodness can prove to be difficult for many people. Sometimes we don’t see, detect, or even discern the goodness of God in certain situations, especially when something bad happens to us personally. When we experience a heartache, a tragedy or disappointment … it appears as though God isn’t so good. Why? Good is not happening to me!
Let me say, it is easy to see bad. I can have a thousand good things happen to me in one day and only focus upon the one bad problem. As I type this blog, it is 77 degrees and feeling nice… but I know I haven’t thanked the Lord for any of the good things He has given me today. Part of our problem is we spend too much of time complaining about the bad things around us and never spend a nanosecond thanking the Lord or rejoicing over the good we know He provides. If you are one of those people who can only discern the “bad” issues of life, you have larger issues which need addressing. True discernment detects both good and bad… and discerns the source.
I am going to discuss this more in my next blog but if you struggle with discerning the good and bad of life… maybe it is time to start over and get a clearer picture of God. You need an update! Your files have become corrupted. If the Bible is correct and God is indeed good, then no one can know true good without Him. He is our definition. He is our compass. He is our Northern Star. If we don’t know Him or understand Him, then we cannot truly know what is good. If we don’t really understand good, then we cannot detect bad either. Sound crazy? Stick with me because I believe this is one of the major reasons most believers don’t get immediate answers to their prayers…. they inwardly doubt the goodness of God. Yeah, Yeah… they say God is good, they sing it, and they even speak and teach it. The problem is …. inwardly they doubt it! In other words, they don’t believe in a good God. Nothing will cause your prayer life to sink, stink, or come to a crashing halt like doubting the goodness of God.
Hey, you either pray to a good God or you don’t. It is this cut and dry. More next time.
Blessings – From God’s Incubator,
28 Tuesday May 2013
Posted Discipletips, Lukein
Christian, disciple, discipleship, discipleship is hard, doing Christian things, genuine believers, Korean house church, Oswald Chambers quote, Paul Estabrooks, suffering, suffering through obedience, the cost of discipleship, western church temptations
All genuine believers of Christ are on a journey… a journey to be closer to the Lord. None of us started out having already arrived. Hopefully by now you have grown closer to the Lord by some degree.
A western Christian co-worker was visiting the Chinese city of Dandong which borders North Korea. He shares his challenging experience at a local house church meeting:
“It was the first time I had ever been called ‘Satan!’ But no one could fault the careful exegesis as this fiery Korean preacher bellowed to the 200-member house church.
‘The third temptation of Jesus,’ he declared, ‘was when the devil offered him the kingdom without the cross. The devil was basically saying, Don’t go off and make all those sacrifices, touch all those lepers, spend nights in agony praying, and end up being tortured by soldiers and dying a horrible death. Just take it all now…from my hand!’ He went on, ‘The church often has the same temptation. The devil offers us power without suffering. And… I’ve got to say this even though our western friend is here…this is a temptation one part of the church tempts another part of the church with. We have to call that part of the church ‘Satan,’ just as Jesus had to call Peter ‘Satan’ when he made the same suggestion later in his ministry.’
Good rip-roaring stuff, and thoroughly biblical. But I was intrigued as to why this pastor had singled out the western church as the tempter. He was happy to explain over a meal.
‘I hosted five pastors from North America last year. All Koreans. They came with reading material. Good stuff as far as it went, and they were supplying a sort of formula for church growth. But could one of them even bring himself to mention suffering? No! And when I heard those Korean pastors preach, it was also absent.’
He leaned forward and whispered, ‘When these pastors preach to the persecuted church, and mention everything but suffering, they are taking away the cross from the Christian life. That’s why I have to say that they are bringing a satanic suggestion. Anyone who says you can follow Christ but not carry your cross is no better than the old deceiver himself. Jesus said so. He said it to Satan, and he said it to Peter. And I’m going to say it to anyone else who dares to think they can be a witness for Christ from anywhere else but on a cross.'”
(Standing Strong Through The Storm – by author Paul Estabrooks)
This Korean pastor understood what Jesus understood about the process of discipleship. It is extremely difficult and the devil tempts us everyday to take the easy road. Jesus always referred to His followers as disciples. In fact, the term “disciples” occurs 269 times in the New Testament, while the term “Christian” only occurs three times. We are who Jesus says we are.
This is why Jesus turned around to speak to the large masses of people following Him. They were following for many reasons but He knew the reality of the situation. Some were only wanting to see more miracles. Others wanted to gain another free meal. Still others were tantalized by Jesus’ radical ways.
So Jesus began to cull this crowd by laying out five marks or descriptions of what it meant to be a real disciple. From all outward appearances these crowds were willing and even anxious to follow Jesus, providing the cost was not too high or the demands too great.
They were not unlike many people today who do “Christian things” like go to church, pray, sing Christian songs, etc., but are not really committed to real growth in Jesus. In a sense, they were “along for the ride” but were unwilling to give up everything in their lives which conflicted with following the Lord in a committed way.
They also are not unlike many today who look to Jesus to solve their money problems, relational problems, health problems, etc., but quickly grow disillusioned and unwilling to obey. When following Jesus doesn’t readily solve these issues or when following Jesus requires real sacrifice… they fall away until they need something from Jesus again.
As Jesus’ time on earth drew to an end and His own personal cross loomed on the horizon… the process of discipleship was on His mind. In the next few blogs I will examine Jesus’ five demands of a real disciple.
04 Friday Nov 2011
cheap grace, children, Christian quotes, christianity, costly grace, inspirational quotes, judging others, kindness, letters from prison, suffering, the cost of discipleship