Our God is a Rock

 

My God Is A Rock

 

How many times have I confused who is my Rock? Some might say a rock is a rock, but when it comes to God, there is a complete contrast between whom or what I trust in. The only similarity I can see between the two is the name. We might very well be deceived in this. My God is a Rock, the world only offers me its counterfeit rock. But mine is different.

How could one have chased a thousand,
    and two have put ten thousand to flight,
unless their Rock had sold them,
    and the Lord had given them up?
 For their rock is not as our Rock;
    our enemies are by themselves. – Deuteronomy 32:30-31  ESV

The world trusts its version because they do not know any better. It is a misnamed rock. Their rock, more often than not, deserts them in their hour of need. They call that the fickleness of life. Fate has a way of being tyrannical and self-willed. But by His very nature God is a Rock by His very deeds. He never forsakes those who have decided to follow Him. In my darkest hour He is more near to me than ever before.

He said to them, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law.  For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess. – Deuteronomy 32:46-47  ESV

His very words are life.

Even so, at His word, when it is time, it is enough for me to know that even my death will not be an accident.

That very day the Lord spoke to Moses,  “Go up this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, opposite Jericho, and view the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel for a possession.  And die on the mountain which you go up, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died in Mount Hor and was gathered to his people. – Deuteronomy 32:48-50  ESV

Every circumstance touching my life and my death is wisely arranged by God.

This is what I need to share with those who want me to disciple them. Just as Jesus intimately called on a few, I too need to find a few to share what I am learning and experiencing as a disciple of Jesus.

And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him.  And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach  and have authority to cast out demons. – Mark 3:13-15  ESV

There needs to be a time where those who want a closer walk with Jesus can commit to me and I to them.

What was Jesus looking for? What was the job description He had in mind when He chose these men who would be the primary front-runners of the gospel and church age?

Campus Crusade, known in the USA today as CRU, came up with a job description of sorts that uses the acronym S.T.A.R.T.:

Spirit-filled – Has put their faith in Christ and the best they can, are yielding control of their life to God.

Teachable – Willing to be taught new things, open to correction and wise counsel.

Available – Has time to meet regularly for discipleship and be a part of a church in some capacity.

Reliable – Follows through on items delegated to them, keeps their word, and upholds commitments.

Transferable – Willing to transfer what they are taught.

 

I would apply these to those disciples who would like to make other disciples, like I am willing to do, but not to a new believer, who is a disciple but not quite ready to disciple others yet.

So as someone who is willing to make disciples into a disciple-maker, is this S.M.A.R.T. list me? Do I fit this job description? Because before I can be a disciple-maker I will need to be a disciple who can be this person as well. Is God my Rock or is He only my rock?

 

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Dignity of our gifts

 

By Our Love by for KING & COUNTRY

 

When it comes to giving what gifts we have been given, let’s hold our heads high in the dignity of those gifts. When it comes to Jesus —

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men[a] by which we must be saved. – Acts 4:12  ESV

— think of Him as our cool place – if we look at it any differently we drain this verse of its significance.

My pastor screwed this up big time when he preached a few weeks ago. He basically told us that all of the followers of Jesus who had yet professed Jesus ( I have no idea how he could have figured out when they did, I cannot even figure out when the disciples professed Jesus other than Peter, and he did not even know what he was really saying {evidence of his betrayal}) were going to hell only because of the lack of their profession as opposed to the state of their heart and how much they loved Jesus. I felt all the air in the church get sucked out as his legalism preached to fit his sermon notes and not his love for the congregation and how that messed up Sunday morning.

Salvation is deliverance – manifold kinds of deliverance. That is what enables us to stand in life and let the water of life flow through us to everyone around us, and then we just observe the results. We don’t make it happen. The burden is not ours. The Lord will take care of it and we have to get out of His way and stop messing with things that we should leave to His care. – Dallas Willard

The very next verse shows what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. – Acts 4:13  ESV

They observed boldness and confidence, they discovered that the men were uneducated and ordinary, and they began to recognize that they had been with Jesus. It had initially appeared that Peter and John were simply viewed as two unauthorized men, teaching, because Peter’s preaching was so powerful and so skillful they would not have known he was not trained in a religious school.

The gifts that Jesus gives us are our dignity – use them to share with the world the Jesus you and I  know.

 

 

 

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What does a transformed “me” look like?

 

Christian Hip Hop | Rap Artist Manafest – Transformed featuring Rel McCoy

 

Here are two key chapters that could well describe the life of a transformed person – 1 Corinthians 13 and 2 Peter 1:1-11.

My danger, especially because it was very important to me in growing my faith, is to think that transformation means what I look like in terms of my devotional practices. They are a means to an end but not the end itself – a transformed life.

The goal of a transformed life is love. A transformed person is somebody who genuinely loves God and genuinely loves people.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. – 1 Corinthians 13:1  ESV

Here in verse one I am challenged to understand that if I do not act out in love than all I am is noise – there is no spiritual value for words not spoken in love. Preaching to people without love does not produce true discipleship. Followers of Jesus are known by the way they love.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. – John 13:34-35  ESV

The word Jesus used here is the infamous word we know as agapē. The pattern of our love is “as I have loved you.” In other words, by our self-giving, sacrificial, unconditional love for one another. 

Simeon[a] Peter, a servant[b] and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:1  ESV

Another Greek word introduced here is doulos – servant. Doulos is one bound to another, but it is not what you might think. The Greek culture did look at this as something involuntarily – no choice whether you wanted to serve or not. It would seem that both Paul and Peter, in their respective passages of scripture were elevating the word, from the Old Testament, to mean one who has chosen to be a servant.  It is the picture today of absolute surrender. It is the servant’s love that motivates this full surrender.

So now, my transformed life now looks like a permanent relation of servitude to Jesus. All I have and all I am and all I will ever be is from Christ.

 

 

 

 

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Deliberately following

 

Reminded today that a disciple is someone who is deliberately following and learning from a teacher or master. It involves a relationship to gain specific knowledge and to walk their walk.

Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” – Mark 2:18

Different teachers lead to different understandings and behaviours in disciples. What I love about this verse is Jesus’ response. He has His disciples back on this and answers well. By well, I mean He did not put down John the Baptist, nor did He put down the Pharisees who were following the Law.

There is a temptation to go all denominational when discipling others. I am trying to go to the scriptures and to the Holy Spirit. If the outcomes are different from the denomination I am associated with, that should be fine. I need to trust the Holy Spirit and find myself as a follower of Jesus, intentionally and deliberately.

 

 

 

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Discipleship and Prayer

 

“Here I Am, Lord”

 

What a great way to start the first chapter of a book – Mark chapter one. It is a call that I can relate to, it is one I am encouraged to accept and it is one that I do not have to walk in my own strength.

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand;[e] repent and believe in the gospel.” – Mark 1:14-15  ESV

Not only am I called to believe, I am called to trust and put my faith in Jesus. Only then can I be called a disciple of Jesus.

And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”[f]  And immediately they left their nets and followed him. – Mark 1:17-18  ESV

In my decision to follow Him – going His way – I spend time with Him. I live in relationship with Him, accepting His teachings and applying them to my life – that means I start doing the things He teaches me to do – I seek to be like Jesus.

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A Do Something Disciple

 

“THE PURSUIT: LOST”

The Rock Church in San Diego caught my attention today. I am discovering more and more churches engaged, not only in making disciples but in disciple-making and this is one along with the Perimeter Church in Atlanta.

Their definition of a disciple is someone who has a disciplined pursuit of the heart of the Father – a heart being perfected in love for God and people.

They have a prayer and it goes like this:

Father, give me a heart that:
• Desperately seeks face-to-face intimacy with You.
• Faithfully avoids that which displeases You.
• Humbly embraces a Kingdom Mindset.
• Values making disciples that make disciples.

Jesus, create in me a heart that:
• Values being guided by the Word of God.
• Gratefully grows in generosity.
• Nurtures a burden for lost people.
• Demonstrates a commitment to a Spirit-filled expression of my gifts.

Holy Spirit develop a heart in me that:
• Gracefully gives and receives forgiveness.
• Passionately worships God.
• Is dependent on the power of prayer.
• Serves with Humility.

Father, knit my heart with Yours. Fill my heart with Your passions, motivations and desires.
In Jesus Name, amen.”

So when it came time for me to find some application of my reading in Deuteronomy chapter 19 this morning, the city of refuge was the sermon presented by Pastor Miles.

He related that Jesus is our Saviour and as we have found our refuge in Him – we are saved. Being saved means there are certain implications because being saved means we should have a passion for proclaiming that act to others so that they can be saved too. That is a great evangelism presentation. I was more interested in the discipleship part of the lesson. The church presents an acronym that uses the word H.E.A.R.T. and then asks these questions that apply to the word.

H – Holiness: What has God revealed to you through prayer and Bible reading? What are you doing about it? What sin do you need to confess? What do you need help with?
E – Evangelism: Whose salvation and/or discipleship are you praying for or actively pursuing?
A – Appreciation: How are you showing appreciation to God and others for what He has done?
R – Relationships: How are you growing the Kingdom of God through the use of your spiritual gifts? Who do you need to forgive? Who do you need to ask forgiveness from? How are you using your spiritual gifts?
T – Thoughts: Are there any destructive thought patterns that need to be destroyed? What Scriptures have you been studying or memorizing that are designed to establish Biblical thought patterns?

These are some tough questions that I am sure I would have to fluff off a few times before I would be able to be transparent and honest. I am definitely challenged today to have more of a HEART relationship with God than ever before.

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