Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Culture’

Being Extraordinary

September 20th, 2016

Extraordinary is all about who God is rather than who you are.

edl-extraordinary

We are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us.” Romans 8:37 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about “being extraordinary.”

Whether it’s a sports competition or a friendly, family game at the kitchen table, it feels good to win. But winning does not seem to come so easily in the area that matters most, everyday life. The world, as the Bible describes this daily arena of the spiritual conflict of culture and values, can be a formidable adversary. But do not be anxious; victory is possible, even assured for the true child of God.

John affirmed, “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that overcomes the world, even your faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 John 5:4-5 NIV. Obviously, it is very important that you establish that you are born of God, therefore empowered to overcome. “Loving God means keeping His commandments, and really, that isn’t difficult.” 1 John 5:3 NLT. Conviction and obedience are the evidences of the person who is born of God.

Jesus said this in the most plain and simple way, “If you love Me, you will obey what I command.” John 14:15 NIV. When just a teen, my heart was pierced by a question Jesus asked, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not the things I say?” Luke 6:47 NIV. Jesus equates love with obedience. Aren’t we all capable of accurately acknowledging who God is, yet doing things inconsistent with our proclamation of faith? That inconsistency will allow the world to overcome you, rather than your overcoming the world.

Ordinary is a good word to describe any of us, but not God; extraordinary describes and defines our God. Extraordinary is all about who He is, not who you are. See Ephesians 3:20-21 NKJV. The good news is this: the most ordinary person convinced of the authority and ability of their extraordinary God can successfully overcome a world system that would otherwise confront, confuse, and seduce them. We miss the point when we try to do extraordinary things when we just have to be ordinary people who allow God to be extraordinary in us. If ordinary is all that’s required, I would say that most of us are prime candidates to be extraordinary in Christ. Hebrews 11 is a litany of ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things. See Philippians 2:13 NLT.

Ordinary is not so bad when you believe extraordinary accomplishments are within the reach of your faith, a faith that is safe and secure in His love so that nothing can defeat you. Paul was certain, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us.” See Romans 8:35-39 NIV. I am not sure what “more than a conqueror” is, but it is surely enough to make you victorious over all, and with some to spare. Now that’s extraordinary.

Today, I pray for you to be confident that you and Jesus will always be more than enough.

Christian Communications 2016

facebook.com/everydaylife.allenrandolph

 

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Live Passionately

September 12th, 2016

Spiritual life weakens when passion lessens.

edl-love-god-bicycle-photo

 

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart.” Mark 12:30 NKJV.

My thoughts and comments today urge you, “live passionately.”

Life is best lived passionately. A marriage fails when priority is misdirected. Friendship suffers as time and activity together grows less important. Achievements decline where passion diminishes.

More importantly, spiritual life weakens when passion lessens. I don’t think anyone intentionally chooses that cooling of ardor, but without care, it just happens, in the smallest of ways without intent or notice. Actually, a person’s passion is often more misdirected than reduced, misplaced on other things rather that where it should have remained.

I have felt challenged by the conviction of the Holy Spirit to “keep it real” in my daily walk with God.  Such a holy passion is not normal to your nature or mine, nor easy to sustain in the surrounding culture. But that is the only way you will truly know God in a depth of experience that is releasing and transforming.  Choose to live passionately about Jesus.

Jesus cautioned the church of the ancient city of Laodicea that He would prefer they were “either hot or cold.” Luke warmness is never a viable, tolerable option. How could this have happened to these loving, Christ-followers in contrast to what had previously been true of them? Their passion waned because they envisioned themselves as, “rich and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” foolishly content and self-satisfied. Revelation 3:14-22 NKJV.

Writing to the church at Ephesus, Jesus praised their zeal for matters of righteousness, but judged their loss of passion in their love for God. “You have left your first love . . this is what I have against you: you do not love me as you did at first.” Revelation 2:4 NKJV/TEV. That happens more easily than you know and more quickly than you may realize, always with tragic result. Revelation 2:1-7 NKJV. Jesus’ words are clear.

Wholehearted love for God is non-negotiable. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30 NKJV. Notice the absolute inclusiveness of Jesus’ commandment to love God with everything you are and have in every area of your personal resources, priorities, and ability. Your love for God must be supreme and entire. Don’t dumb down your passion for God.

There were seasons in my life when I allowed lesser passions to compete for my focus and energies. As I have grown older and hopefully wiser, my passion for God, our marriage, family, ministry, and friendships are increasingly more important. But the great and holy passion of my life was, and still is this: “That I may know Jesus in the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if by any means I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:10 -11 NKJV. Let Your great and holy passion be to know Jesus intimately. Anything less is insufficient and unworthy.

Today, I pray for you to have a real passion for Jesus that inspires and excites others.

Christian Communications 2016

Facebook.com/everydaylife.allenrandolph

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Identity Theft

October 2nd, 2015

“Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.” Daniel 1:8 NKJV.

Your identity can be fully rediscovered in redemption.

My thoughts and comments today are about “identity theft.”

Identity is the core of everything about a confident and successful life, yet many people struggle with a confused identity. You will not discover your identity by looking in the mirror or recounting your achievements and accumulations, nor by the compliments or criticisms from others. Authentic identity comes from knowing who you are in Christ.

Identity theft is a growing problem in our increasingly technological society. Nationally, a new victim of identity theft occurs every two seconds. In 2014, there were 13.1 million victims resulting in thefts of $16 billion. As numerous and disconcerting as those statistics seem, there is a vastly more devastating theft of identity occurring within the hearts and souls of men. The enemy of your soul is relentless in trying to deface the image of Christ in whomever it is found. Nowhere in Scripture is the devil’s tactic to deface one’s God-given identity clearer than in the story of Daniel.

Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, invaded and conquered Israel. Please read Daniel 1. In the first of three invasions, he took young men of royalty and nobility back to Babylon, removing the best and brightest of Israel. Four attempts were made to ultimately remove and replace their Godly identity. Every move was strategic, changing their Godly identity by removing their Jewish heritage and practices while replacing those with the ways and worship of Babylon.

(1) Isolation from previous experiences – nation, faith, family, history, and spiritual heritage and practice. Vs 3. Separation from Godly reinforcement – family, Godly fellowship, church, and spiritual practices of prayer and God’s Word – initiated his devilish scheme to displace their previous dependence and trust.
(2) Indoctrination by replacing their beliefs, convictions, and language with “the language and literature of the Babylonians.” Vs 4. Be advised; culture today is a powerful tool of conversion, shaping your thoughts, desires, beliefs, behavior, standards, mores and morals.
(3) Influence by reorienting their appetites from kosher dietary practices to a “daily provision of the King’s delicacies and the wine he drank.” Vs 5. Jewish practice included a kosher diet. Babylon’s purpose was to create a new taste for what they could not provide for themselves, becoming dependent on the King’s good will and benevolence.
(4) Identity theft was the devilish strategy all along. The final scheme was to change their Hebrew names to foreign names attributed to Babylonian gods, discrediting who they were and persuading who they were meant to be. Vs 6-7. When I was a teen, I rarely left the house without my Dad reminding me, “Allen, don’t forget you are a Randolph.”

“Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.” Daniel 1:8 NKJV. A devious king could not steal his identity. Daniel knew who he was because he knew Who was the Source and Sovereign of his life. Your identity cannot be confused or compromised if you know who you are in Christ. Read Ephesians 2:3-6 NIV. For all who are “in Christ,” your identity can be fully rediscovered in redemption. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For He chose us in Christ before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” Read Ephesians 1:3-9 NIV. “[Nothing] will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Read Romans 8:37-39 NIV.

Today, I pray for you that your identity is assured and secure in Christ.

———————————

Today’s EveryDay Life is a continuation of the previous devotional, “History and Destiny,” from a recent Sunday ministry. You can listen to that teaching at the following link by clicking on “Identity Theft.”

Christian Communications 1653

EDL PIX identity fingerprint

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

High Standards

August 28th, 2015

“Whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Colossians 3:17 NIV.

Passionately protest mediocrity.

My thoughts and comments today are about “high standards.”

Standards are important to a worthwhile life. Standards provide a benchmark – a standard of excellence against which similar things must be measured or judged – for what you deem acceptable or unacceptable. Using others as your standard is inadequate. If you don’t establish your standards, your friends or the surrounding culture will. “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 NIV.

A person with low standards ultimately has no standards. The Father’s intention for us is clear: “Until we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a [mature] man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:13 NKJV. That is a high standard, fully achievable in Christ Jesus. Maturity is your destiny in Christ.

Some years ago, while teaching a Pastoral Counseling class to young Bible school students, I needed to define spiritual maturity in practical terms. This is my definition, “Spiritual maturity is rightly responding to life’s situations according to Biblical patterns of behavior.” That defines our Savior and should describe you and me. Christ-likeness should always be your choice. In any and every situation, you are presented with this choice, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 NKJV.

Spiritual conformation is the progression by which the Holy Spirit accomplishes that. “We know that when Jesus is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” 1 John 3:2 NKJV. Meanwhile, “We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV. Maturity is much more than increasing Biblical knowledge. Maturity is the embodiment of Biblical truth woven into the fabric of daily life – how you think, what you will sacrifice, what you believe, how you behave, what you value, how you live.

God’s Word and Christ’s example are high standards, not achievable apart from submission to the Lordship of Christ and dependence upon the indwelling power of the Spirit. Paul applied these high standards in simple, practical terms: bear with each other; forgive grievances; embrace love; let peace rule; be thankful; let the Word dwell in you; admonish with wisdom. Paul’s summary was, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Read Colossians 3:12-17 NIV. Passionately protest mediocrity; for me, that says it all.

Today, I pray for you that Jesus is the high standard to which you aspire.

Christian Communications

EDL PIX and quote standards

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lifestyle Issues

March 11th, 2015

“We urge you to live in a way that pleases God.” 1 Thessalonians 4:1 NLT.

Trying to please everyone is as futile as trying to never offend anyone.

My thoughts and comments today are about “lifestyle issues.”

EDL pix walking with God

If you try to please everyone, you will ultimately please no one and make yourself miserable in the process. Trying to please everyone is as futile as trying to never offend anyone. Neither is practical or achievable. Life is simpler when you finally decide who you are going to please. And the worst possible alternative is to live to please no one but yourself. The Bible warns, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you should. Instead be modest in your thinking.” Romans 12:3 TEV.

Many things pressure you to conform to others’ demands and expectations. Resist the temptation of doing so. The Apostle Paul offers a practical self-inventory, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 NIV. Obviously, Paul recognized a previous time when he was “still trying to please men,” and the inconsistency that resulted.

The proper conclusion is this: when you can serve both God and man, do so. When you cannot, serve and please God above all others. “Our aim is to please Him always . . for we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done.” 2 Corinthians 5:9-10 NLT. Never forget the One to whom you owe first allegiance.

The surrounding culture may press you to conform your attitudes, values, and conduct in less than exemplary ways; live as unto the Lord. See Romans 12:1-2 NIV. Current circumstances might seem to impose an urgency of attention they may not warrant; live above your present circumstance. An unhealthy family history may have enslaved you in habitual behaviors, struggling to please people who simply refuse to be pleased; live free of unjust expectations. Some have had the unfortunate experience of working for a boss you could not please, a relative from whom you never gained their approval, or a parent or spouse who never affirms you. That is sad, but not uncommon. Such experiences present lifestyle issues.

Ultimately, the only hope of pleasing others is to confidently know that you have first pleased God. Here is the Bible’s definitive guideline: “Finally, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You are doing this already, and we encourage you to do so more and more.” Read 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:1 NLT. After struggling unsuccessfully to please others, maybe your question would be, “How then can I please God?” Pleasing people is complicated; pleasing God is not. “Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:16 NIV. See Romans 14:17-18 NIV.

The task is not yours alone; God gives you all that is required; you supply obedience. “May God equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ.” Hebrews 13:21 NIV. Paul’s answer was this, “. . we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way . .” Colossians 1:9-10 NIV. Paul then elaborates on what pleases God, “. . bearing fruit, growing in knowledge, strengthened with power, having endurance and patience, joyfully giving thanks, brought into the Kingdom, and having redemption and the forgiveness of sins.” Read Colossians 1:11-14 NIV.

I love the simplicity with which the Bible described ancient Enoch, a man that walked with God, “Enoch had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Read Hebrews 11:5-6 (See Genesis 5:21-24).

Today, my prayer for you is that at life’s end, His testimony and yours will be that you pleased God.

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,