How To Recognize the “Children of God”

First, the children of God are known by their actions:

  1. They love each other (1 John 4:7).
  2. They believe in Jesus (1 John 5:1).
  3. They love God and keep his commands (1 John 5:2).

As a result, children of God receive certain blessings:

  1. We have victory over the world (1 John 5:4).
  2. We have an intimacy with the Father by which we can call him “Abba” (Romans 8:15).
  3. We become fellow heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17).
  4. We await future blessings when Jesus returns (Romans 8:19-21).

So…are you a child of God?  How have you been blessed as a result?

Is the Christian Life Worth It?

Is it really worth it? Is the inheritance Christians have been given worth all the hardships and heartache of living as a child of God in this life? Many people answer no. They profess faith as a Christian, and seek to live God’s way for awhile but in time, they find that their present sufferings are not worth it, and they fall away.

But Paul answers the question with an emphatic yes! In fact, Romans 8:18 says, “Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Paul is saying, “If you know where your future lies, you won’t entertain the idea that your current problems and pain aren’t worth it.”

So what is this glorious inheritance? Romans 8:19-23. There is a glory coming that is so blindingly powerful that when it falls upon us, it will envelop the whole created order and glorify it along with us. We will bring nature into us a renewed, restored, redeemed reality.

Prayer Obstacle No. 2

Another common obstacle to prayer is an enslavement to “feeling.”

“I don’t feel like it.”

They assume that prayers are only efficacious when they rise from an eager and emotional heart.  We should keep our appointment with God, whether we feel like it or not.  The meek submission of our will deepens our surrender; our resolution to engage in prayer strengthens thought control.

Faith, not feeling, measures the efficacy of prayer.

Prayer Obstacle No. 1

There are many obstacles to having a strong prayer life and none more employed and observed than the lack of time or busy-ness. It’s a shallow obstacle because we clearly find time for less important things–entertainment and friends. We rarely use that excuse meaningfully to excuse our lack of time spent with those closest to us. Christ stole time  from his sleep to pray.  Just begin with 15 minutes/day and try to grow that over time.

What Kind of Music Does God Like?

Amidst the “Worship Wars” that churches have been going through for over 30 years, let’s be clear that Scripture addresses our question at hand. What kind of music does God like? God likes music with the following components:

  • Skill: God does not appreciate poorly written or sloppily performed music (1 Chronicles 25:7; Psalm 33:3).
  • Volume: God commands us to shout for joy (Psalm 33:3). What will be the volume level of the mass choir described in Revelation?
  • Joy: The Psalmist exhorts us to sing for joy (Psalm 33:1).
  • Creativity: The creativity of God is mirrored in the men and women who have ability to create beautiful musical sounds and to use them for praise.
  • Participation: Musical praise is not for isolated individuals alone. It is a corporate activity (1 Chronicles 23:5; Colossians 3:16).
  • Motivation: This involves the heart of the worshiper. We may have all of the above but if the songs are not offered with love in the heart for Jesus Christ, the exercise is futile.

What kind of music do you think God likes?

2 Approaches to the Christian Life

In Romans 8:15, Paul distinguishes between two ways in which we can approach the Christian life.

  1. A Slave.
  2. A Son.

It is possible, having trusted Christ to make us righteous, to have the spirit of a slave again, to return to an attitude of performance-based acceptability, acting as if God’s blessing is maintained or increased by our work.

A child of God is never afraid of being “fined.” A parent/child relationship is based on unconditional love, not performance standards.

The “Spirit of Sonship” that Paul speak of is, therefore, an ability that the Holy Spirit gives us to approach God as a father instead of as a boss or slavemaster.

A slave obeys under compulsion, because they have to. A son obeys out of love and joy in “daddy.”

A slave works under the threat of loss or “payback.” A son is disciplined to loving instruct, not retribution.

A slave is insecure because if he slips up…. A son is secure because his father will forgive him.

A slave concentrates on external behavior. A son concentrates on attitudes and relationships.

A slave has to work but given no honor. A son is honored and invited to join the work.

10 Traits of Jesus, the Leader

Jesus was more than a leader. As the Son of God, we see in Christ every trait perfected and the only One who can purchase redemption by His sinless life sacrificed in our place.  Therefore we look to Him as our primary example of Christian leadership. As you read over the descriptions, take time to assess your own life and activity as a leader.

  1. Jesus invested in people. Jesus demonstrated incredible confidence in the potential of people to let Him use them for a higher purpose. He doesn’t just want us to “believe” in Him. He believes in us!
  2. Jesus saw long and far. In John 17:20 Jesus was living beyond the moment.With the pressures of NOW, it is possible for us to shorten our sight. But we must think the long term.
  3. Jesus sent people away from Him on mission. The environment around Jesus was like an airport terminal.  Disciples were constantly coming and going to practice what they had learned and to serve others.
  4. Jesus grieved for communities. Jesus could look over a city (Luke 19:41-42) and be heartbroken over the rebellious nature of its’ inhabitants. Jesus wept over a community and calls us to love ours.
  5. Jesus led a balanced life. By “balance,” I mean that he invested perfectly into multiple environments. Jesus knew the value of time away from crowds to spend time with His Father.
  6. Jesus embraced other cultures. He was not afraid or offended by Samaritans. He went out of his way to talk with them and refused to give up when they rejected Him.  The heard of Jesus is for people, all people.
  7. Jesus surrendered His will to the Father. True Christian leaders are in tune with the heart of God. We must resolve to do WHATEVER the Father requires. Jesus gave up His human will for God’s higher purpose. So must we.
  8. Jesus surrounded Himself with lost people. By offering grace and truth, Jesus was attractive to lost people.
  9. Jesus’ harvest vision was leveraged by prayer. We have no ability to transform anything without God’s power. Matthew 9:37-38. The source for harvest workers is not in recruitment strategies, but in prayer. Prayer recognizes God as externally focused.
  10. Jesus felt the needs of people. Why did Jesus weep at the death of Lazarus?  Jesus was a man who deeply loved others. He cared for people who were hungry and afraid.  He cared for the physically sick and the spiritually oppressed.