Who is Your Most Intimate Companion?

 

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“…but I have called you friends,…”

John 15:15

When you walk with God, you have the ultimate companion. You have someone who is always there when you need them. Someone you always are able to depend on. Someone you know is your friend independent of the situation.

When you follow Christ though, you quickly come to realize that you are not the most popular person in the world. You are not a rock star, or basketball superstar, or a famous Hollywood movie star. You are unique. And your uniqueness turns many people away from you because you are not acceptable to world standards. Yes, the righteous will find you uncomfortable to walk with. The rich will find you a stumbling block. The powerful will find you threatening the status quo. The experts will question your credentials. The elders will find you rebellious. The sinner will accept you as one of them until they realize your abhorrence to sin. The naive will consider you their messiah until they find that you preach acceptance of personal responsibility for your actions. The minority will push their agendas on you until they realize you have no distinction between races, sexes, or political affiliations. The right wing will consider you a liberal while the left wing insists you’re a conservative. Your pastor thinks you are uncommitted. Your family says you’re a little strange. Your neighbors love you but can’t seem to accept you as you are. Your coworkers respect you but wonder when you are going to become normal. Your children honor you and accept your eccentricities as part of the aging process. And you wonder how come your companions are few?

Jesus selected twelve disciples that where the closest to him. Of the twelve, three where the most intimate with him, Peter, John and James. Jesus didn’t have a physical wife or children of His own. His companions consisted of those who walked with Him on Kingdom’s mission. He ministered to them while they ministered to Him. His companions came to Him by His Dad to start the work that He was prophesied to complete. Not everyone was excited about the Kingdom of God. Only those people whose passion towards the Kingdom came alive did Jesus bring dose to His bosom. and one of them was going to betray Him. Many of them didn’t even capture the real vision of the Kingdom during His ministry. Yet Jesus chose them, ministered to them, taught them, loved them, played with them, and worked with them, giving them the best years of His life including the ultimate, life itself.

The best companion we all have is Jesus and the friends He brings to us while sharing the gospel of the Kingdom. Our companions are few, but true.

Dr. Mike

DOES BEING WRONG EVER PRODUCE BETTER FRUIT?

Our Righteous, Loving Dad:

PRAY 9 

Thank you for loving us even in our ignorance. Thank you for loving us even when we suffer “brain damage.” Thank you for loving us even when we are wrong. Help us to love like you. Help us to love; to love; to love … So Be It.

 

 

 

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“Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself?”

Ecclesiastes 7:16

 Which is more important? Being right or keeping the peace? Which is more important? Being right or allowing love to have its way? Which is more important? Being right or experiencing supernatural joy?

 

When the above questions were first introduced to the me, I stumbled with the answers. Being brought up in a ”religious culture”, I was trained to first seek righteousness which translated for me meant to be right in doctrine (as I saw the answer to be). To be right in rituals (again, as interpreted by me). To be right in defining God (my view of course was always correct). It wasn’t until the above questions slapped my spiritual face that I had a rude awakening. Being right isn’t that important anymore.

 

With hindsight being one of the great teachers in life, I now see how God has allowed me to be wrong many, many, many times, yet He rarely immediately corrected me with “the answer.” Instead. He would allow me to experience His peace, love, or joy first before showing me a better way. His righteousness is far superior than any legalistic system we can every devise. His righteousness takes into consideration the entire internal spiritual dimension while we only focus on the exterior behavior. His ways are far superior then anything we have come up with in our man-made systems.

 

As a disciple of His, I want to learn how He relates with people and then emulate it. I want to learn how He works with people, and make it my method of operation. I want to learn how He loves people and love the same way. He is my standard. He is my model. He is my hero. His way is the way I want to walk in. And you are correct. We don’t have to be right in all things – only in the important one – Jesus.

 

Dr. Mike


BRING IT ON!

PRAY 9

Dear Heavenly Dad:

Glorify your name in all that I do. Let not my path be one of ease and comfort, but one of challenge and dependency on you. You are always with me. Help me always be with you. Make you the center of my life. Let nothing come between us. Help me capture your vision, to see your work, to accomplish your will in everything I do.

Help me be a living example of kingdom life in today’s world. Let your kingdom surround me and surround all the people we meet today. Let your glory shine through me and in me so that every person we meet today knows they have met you. Amen.

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“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34

 

                        ”Play it safe.” “Don’t take any risks.” “Why rock the boat?” “It’s better to keep it dull and routine than expressive and unpredictable.” Or does it?

      The older I become the more predictable, dull, and routine this life seeks. What change I am confronted with only creates more work and effort on my part. Basically, my nature has moved towards laziness where I don’t want to make the effort. I would rather live life with contentment, peacefulness, and stability. But is that reality?

      The scriptures teach us that a people without vision will perish. We need a mission to focus our life towards. Now our life’s mission could simply be to avoid all confrontation, to avoid being involved in other people’s lives, to live for ourselves without a care of the world around us. We simple live our life so that when we are gone no one will have missed us. We live as a world unto ourselves. But is that an apprentice of Jesus Christ? Is that what the Kingdom of God is all about?

      Didn’t Jesus forewarn his disciples that He came to bring division among families and people? Didn’t He predict that we would stand before courts and rulers as a witness to Him’? Didn’t He compare our struggles with that of a pregnant woman in labor? Didn’t He threaten the status quo with His mission of preaching, teaching, and healing? Didn’t the apostle Paul write that Christ-followers are turning the world upside down? Didn’t he cause riots in the streets with his message of One God? Didn’t his former religious partners seek to destroy him? Didn’t small armies pursue him with the purpose of killing him? How controversial was he in his time? Yet didn’t he preach a message of peace, contentment, and stability?

            The Kingdom of God is not a tamed vision. It requires total surrender. It requires the death of selfish desires. It is not the path of least resistance. Instead, it’s a journey through battlefields. With the armor of God, we are proactive in our daily walk with Him. We do not know what to expect on any given day. All we know is that He is with us. Today may be a roller coaster of emotions, struggles with the self, darts from the evil one, or attacks from love ones. Through it all though, we have an Advocate who is with us and we rely on. In prayer and through faith we call for assistance. We move forward towards our heavenly call. Our mission is sure. Yes, we may desire the easy way out. But, as a disciple of His we have agreed to take whatever comes our way and handle it with His love. We may have initially desired tame visions, but in the pursuit of the Kingdom of God we take on more than we are capable of handling apart from Him. Yes, I like it dull, routine, and boring. But I gladly take whatever comes my way because it will make me stronger for the Kingdom, stronger for Him, and stronger for my love ones.

              Dr. Mike

IS IT NOT EASIER TO DRIVE FORWARD THAN IN REVERSE?

A DISCIPLE’S PRAYER:

 PRAY 9

Our Faithful, Heavenly Dad:

You are a faithful Father. You are committed to your plan. You are committed to your relationships. You are committed to your work. You are committed to your Word. And you are committed to me.

Thank you for caring. Thank you for giving me the gift of faith. But help me in my disbelief. Help me with my doubts. Remove any obstacle that prevents us from have a totally committed relationship. Always be the first and center in my life. Help me put the effort and time in our relationship. Let there be nothing that ever comes between us. Let your Faith live powerfully in my life. Let it flow from me and touch the lives of others. Let you be glorified in all my actions, thoughts, and deeds. Help me be totally committed in our relationship. Help me make the time to walk with you, to pray with you, to study with you, to meditate with you, to fast with you, to party with you, and to play with you.

Thank you for everything that you do. But more importantly, thank you for being you. As always we ask and pray these things in our Lord’s Name. Amen.

 

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But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62

 

 

      In today’s language, we would say that the kingdom of God requires total commitment.  It’s faith in action. It’s total abandonment. Anything less is a road to failure.

It’s like driving down the freeway at 70 mph. But instead of focusing your eyes in the direction you are driving, you keep your eyes glued to the rear view mirror. How long do you think you could drive before causing a major accident?   It  requires total commitment. One of those action character words that everyone knows is required to be a winner in life. In our day and age that word seems to have become like the relic bones of a dinosaur. We take the few bones that we have from a dinosaur, and put them together by how we think they ought to go, not absolutely sure because no one was there to take pictures for us. So whatever we come up with is just as good as the next guy’s.

We know the “C” word, most  of us know how to spell it, pronounce it, and use it in a sentence. But to apply it in everyday life is another story. We see people enter relationships with the attitude that when it starts to take work, then we shall depart. We see people start a diet, but when the effort takes work they then resort back to their old habits. We see people start a new job, a job with great  pay, benefits,  and work  environment.  Most of  us  would consider it a dream job. But when the job requires further education, self-improvement and personal changes, then they throw up their hands and quit. It’s not worth the effort. They would rather return to their old job that pays half as much and float through life without having to change. To be totally committed in your pursuit of a worthwhile goal takes effort, work, and sweat. To persevere, until the end results are achieved, most of the time seems to take more than we can muster. This is where faith comes in. A faith not based in self-confidence, in family and friends, or in the system, but an action faith in a living God. A faith that says, “GOD IS!”

A faith built on hearing God’s word and acting on it. A faith built on living God’s word and experiencing the fruit. A belief that is built on walking with God and discovering His true character. Without faith, total abandonment looks reckless. With faith, total abandonment is the high adventure and thrill of pursuing God’s kingdom. It’s like driving down the freeway of life with the knowledge that the road was built by God, the vehicle was developed by God and the police patrolling the road are servants of God. So that no matter what obstacle may come your way, you have faith that God is in control.

So tell me, isn’t it easier to drive forward than in reverse?

Dr. Mike