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December « 2013 « Radically Married™
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Archive for December, 2013

5 Deep Wishes of Every Person

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The pursuits of life often take us in directions that ultimately bring little long-term satisfaction.  In the ages of culture people have sought fulfillment in what seems to be a cycle of pursuits.  Power, wealth, property, leisure, personal freedom, recognition, relationships and influence are some of the most obvious pursuits.  These can be tracked as cycles throughout the history of civilization.  In America alone we can see the clamor for wealth and power at the forefront of pursuits of the 80′s, 90′s and early 00′s.  There are those with great achievements who seemingly have reached the pinnacle of success only to find that these do no provide the fulfillment they promised or the cultural advance that was believed would be the result of the “next level of achievement”.

Solomon knew these pursuits well.   He had power, wealth, property, leisure, personal freedom, recognition, relationship an influence but all was “vanity”.  “I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after the wind” (Ecc. 1:14 ESV).   Why were these things not satisfying to Solomon and why are they not satisfying to us?  The answer is that each of them has a earthly perspective.  Whatever we pursue for earthly reward will not satisfy.

There are 5 Deep Wishes of Every Person and these do fulfill when the motive is eternal not earthly.  We are wired by the Creator:

  • To have vital and committed relationships with your mate and family
  • To enjoy satisfying and rewarding communication with those around you
  • To live with balanced priorities and have time to spend on important things in life
  • To build a positive family legacy and moral orientation
  • To have work that is purposeful, rewarding and extending beyond your own life in impact.

Pursuing each FOR THE GLORY OF GOD not for self is the key to fulfillment. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will received the inheritance as your reward.  You are serving the Lord Christ” (Col 3:23-24 ESV).

In 2014 do what you do as unto the Lord.  Set aside what is a pursuit of this world.  Let God be the focus of your purpose and glory.  That will bring real fulfillment and surely will satisfy the 5 Deep Wishes of Every Person.

 

When did unholiness stop being unholy?

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When did unholiness stop being unholy?

When did we get so comfortable that unholiness stopped being unholy? When did we get so relaxed in our faith that we began to think that God stopped asking us to be imitators of Him (Ephesians 5:1)? When did the concept that God would be pleased with sharing our devotion instead of getting it all slip into our thinking? When did the narrow gate get widened (Matthew 7:14)?

Oops, I think not. Unholiness is still unholy. God still expects us to be imitators of Him. Our total devotion to Him is still the measure He expects, and the narrow gate is still narrow.

God, in His enormous love for mankind, has made a way for us to know Him and to share Him with others.  As we become personally holy through repentance when we are wrong and decision making that reflects His Lordship of our lives, we come to an understanding of His character and the significance of the eternal opportunity He affords us.

He has shown the way to eternity. He has prepared a place for those who believe and trust Him. He is just waiting for our desire to shift from wanting what is unholy to wanting what IS holy. An whole heartedly at that.

The Road Back to God

The Road Back

The story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32 is one of the better known and often preached passages of the New Testament.  Pastors talk about the attitude of the father and the prodigal’s brother who demonstrated a contrast in forgiveness/unforgiveness.  They talk about the pride of the prodigal that led to his departure and his fall into the pit of despair.

But what about the journey back?  What must it have been like as the prodigal turned from his place among the swine, lifted himself to his feet, cleaned up just a little and headed home?  What did he notice on the road home that looked a little different as he traveled back that route toward his awaiting father?  Were there memories of gratefulness that he had forgotten as he walked away sometime before?  What was the along the road, both in his thoughts and in reality, that was different as he traveled back?  I wonder if he realized the fool he appeared to be when he was going out?  I wonder if he noticed how truly blessed he had been.  Was he like a blind man who could suddenly see or a deaf man who could suddenly hear?  Did he realize that what he had rejected on the way out was oh so wonderful coming back home?

The journey back home did not happen in an instant.  He was not supernaturally transported from the pig pen to his father’s house.  He had to journey back.  He had to have time to reflect on what he had done in going out.  I wonder if he ever thought about stopping halfway back – it certainly was better than the pig pen?  But no, the Bible tells us he came all the way home.  He refused to stop half-way.

What do we teach folks who in their own life are prodigals?  Do we teach them to come all the way home or is it ok just to turn and head home?  Certainly half way back is a lot better than the pig pen, but where do they really need to be?  Is it right for us to just get comfortable being part way back or should we be all the way home?  How about you,  have you come all the way back to God or are you comfortable enough to be half-way home?

Why would you ever marry?

There is an emptiness inside each of us that we continually seek to fill.  For some they use drugs, some alcohol, others serial relationships and sex or other behaviors that may seem fulfilling and liberating for a moment but only serve to destroy in the end.  There are indeed those who think that getting married will bring that fulfillment and so they seek relationship.  That one someone who makes them feel just so right.  Problem is, there is no other person who can completely fulfill any of us and so over time, we begin to look for that fulfillment again.  So, back to the drugs, alcohol, streams of uncommitted relationship and behaviors that continually lead to the same end. Emptiness.

That is why people marry.  The see what looks like lifetime fulfillment. Who isn’t looking for that?

Holiness, what’s it matter to God?

Does Personal holiness Matter to God?

As I was driving down the street tonight I noticed a new church had opened its doors in our community.  The name of the church included “Holiness” and it made me begin to think about God’s expectations of His church.  Was He looking for corporate holiness or personal holiness?  Was He hoping to have large groups of people generally seen as holy or was he wanting individual people to become holy before Him as individuals?  Certainly, the expectation is that holiness is an individual thing and we are challenged to become individually and personally holy. Here is what it says in Romans 12:  “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”

Nothing about the collective in that passage.  While the appeal “I beseech you brethren” is to a group, the remainder of the passage indicates personal decisions.  It does not speak to waiting till all the group becomes holy together.  Bodies of people become holy only as the individuals that make up that body become holy.

Holiness does matter to God because He is holy and he has allowed his reputation to be presented to the world through the lives of those who follow Him.  Holiness matters to God because He knows we do the best job of pointing others to eternity with Him when we live holy and aren’t just speakers about holiness.

So perhaps that new church is going to focus on personal holiness.  Individuals working to be “acceptable to God” by following His ways at every possible decision point.

You know what, if that is their intent, I welcome them to our community.