Called to The Struggle.

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Hi Frank,

I know of some professing believers who have demonstrated a genuine walk with the Lord, and yet are choosing an “alternative life style”. They say it’s okay because the church they are attending says it’s okay and that they still love Jesus etc. etc etc. 

What would your rebuttal be to the young adult who says that his or her choice is okay because they are okay in their relationship with the Lord? Curious to know your thoughts.

Thank you, Frank!

What a difficult question you ask...

I find it very interesting that Jesus said salvation is a narrow road (Matthew 7:13). He also told us that we will know someone who's saved by their fruits (Matthew 7:16). He also said that there will be many who claimed to love and follow Him, but He says He NEVER knew them (Matthew 7:23). It seems that it's so difficult to be saved!

Yet I marvel at how easy He made it in John 3, when He says "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life."

The account of the bronze serpent is found in the book of Numbers. The children of Israel had been attacked by poisonous snakes. God directed the leaders to create a bronze serpent and put it high above the camp. All it took to be healed of the serpent bites was for people to look on the snake. I call that the "glance of faith".

It figures to me, that if God wants to save His people, and He does, that He would not make it difficult. 

There are those who claim to love Jesus, yet continue in an unbiblical lifestyle. I point those individuals to Jesus' words in John 12-14, "If you love me, keep my commandments." So, assuming they've genuinely received Christ, they are firm in their standing as children of God. However, if they pursue a sinful lifestyle they are not ok in their relationship with Jesus - in that they are failing to love Him and "grieving" the Holy Spirit.

Bottom line, they are still caught in the great plague of a man-centered Gospel, rather than a Jesus Gospel. The focus is on themselves, what they want, how they want to live.

Even as I write this now, I can hear the rebuttal: "No, they aren't actually saved!" Really?

What's fascinating to me is how Jesus promised He'd never leave us - and He meant it. Regardless of the behaviors we are engaging in or the sins we are committing, we take Christ with us into them. I think of 1 Corinthians 6, where Paul says that a believer who goes to a prostitute not only joins himself to her, but joins Jesus to her as well!

You would think that if ever there was a time that Jesus would say, "I am not going with you into this", sleeping with a prostitute would be such a time. Engaging in homosexuality would be such a time, but as He promised, "I will never leave you."

So what am I saying?

Of course we cannot ultimately know if the individuals you're referring to are saved or not. They very well could be. For me, 1 Corinthians 6 raises an interesting and challenging hurdle. In it, Paul makes a list of people who do not inherit the Kingdom. Of course, there is the murderer and the adulterer and the homosexual in that list. He also includes the angry and the selfish and the one who covets. I daresay that every human on earth gets caught somewhere on that list.

The key though, is verse 11:

"Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God."

NO ONE would ever ask Christians to celebrate the sin of murder or adultery, but the LGBTQ community is not only asking us to accept their behavior, but CELEBRATE IT! That to me indicates a conscience that was either never redeemed or has been cauterized by sin so badly that such a one does not hear the convicting work of the Holy Spirit anymore (Hebrews 2). 

Here at Grace Life, we affirm our love for such individuals. In the same way that some individuals are born with an extra propensity for lying, or an extra propensity for anger, some are born with a propensity for same sex attraction. We call them to "the struggle": the challenge to live according to how they have been re-born and made new.  They are to walk new instead of according to the propensity they were born into in Adam.

You are Loved,

Frank

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Suicide as a Counterfeit Gospel.

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Suicide is the counterfeit gospel: Die! Kill yourself and you will be free!

The true Gospel is "Die and you will be free". This refers of course to how we have been crucified and resurrected with Jesus.

Satan's message is similar, but destructive - and must be rejected. Further, know that those thoughts DO NOT COME FROM YOU! I Corinthians 2:16 says we have the mind of Christ".

The mind of Christ does not say 'kill yourself'. Those thoughts are the enemy's, put into your mind to destroy you. 

Sadness is understandable. Jesus was described as a man of sorrows... this is a sad world! It is ok to be sad, but as we look to Christ in the midst of our sadness, we will discover Joy that operates AT THE SAME TIME as our sorrow.  Christians are the only ones in the world who can have tears of sorrow streaming down their cheeks while singing praise with joy at the same time.

When we fix our eyes on our sorrow, we stay focused on the horizontal. Don't do that. Rather, go vertical: fix your eyes on Father, and discover how well He meets you in your sorrow with His peace and joy.

I know this from personal experience.

You are loved,

Frank.

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I'm a Former Legalist. And so Are You.

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We are all former legalists... Rom 5 says "the whole world is shut up under the law."

I've been seeing something happening lately that I'd like to talk about.

Mainly, I'm noticing that as some people find freedom and life in the grace of God, they become very cynical and mean to the 'legalists' or 'religionists'. I'm noticing such people almost boasting how they cannot stand such people or their teaching. That they cannot even bear to listen to such teaching, that they would rather not go to church at all rather than sit under such teaching.

Isn't that amazing, when religious and legalistic is exactly what we used to be before finding the New Covenant? Why are we not going back into the legalistic cesspool we came out of to rescue those who are still stuck in there?

Though I understand the zeal, I do not understand the lack of compassion. Jesus, though rejected by the legalistic world never stopped presenting Himself to them, and no Pharisee was ever afraid to go into His presence. How are we going to win the legalistic world if we do not spend time with them?

 We should be so secure in our position, that we can sit under any teaching without it "making us sick." We must remember that many of these dear people who are legalists, do in fact name Jesus as their Lord and Savior, making them our brothers and sisters in Christ. They may be misguided. They may be no small source of discomfort for those of us who are free.

We should be so free that we can sit under their teaching and not have it ruin our day. Paul said, "I become all things to all men that I may win some." The grace of God was never intended to make us isolate and insulate ourselves from the world of religious men and women. That is what the Jews did and in doing so they failed to reach the world with the light that they had been given.

We who secure in our true identity and grounded in our freedom should be able to live in the camp of the religious without their dogma and behavior causing us unrest.

Now that, my friend, is true freedom.

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We Read Scripture to Get to Know the Author.

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Don’t limit your reading of Scripture to an intellectual exercise! 
It can be a dynamic exchange of life with your Father.

When we pick up our Bible, we hold in our hands a very precious commodity. The word 'Bible' itself is simply a translation from the Greek 'biblios', literally 'book'. The Book! The Book of all books to be sure. Inspired by God, men throughout history wrote down truths that God wanted us to know. Effectively, the Bible is the mind of God communicated to the mind of man.

The Bible reveals God to us through the Person and Work of Jesus. By observing Jesus in Scripture, we learn that God is our Father Who has adopted us into His forever family. I prefer to call the Bible “Father’s Word” because not only is it the mind of God to the mind of man, it is also the heart of God to the heart of man.

The Bible is written to each of us as if we were the only one on the planet. When you read it, imagine He's pulled you up onto his lap, and he's telling you the important things you desperately need to know... things about Himself, about ourselves, and the world we live in.

 In Philippians 3, Paul says he had learned that all the other wonderful things in this world are rubbish compared to knowing Him. I believe with all my heart that statement gives an important clue how we are to read Scripture. We are to read this book differently than we read other books. When we read the Bible, we read it to get to know the author.

Let me state it plainly. We have been trained to read books to learn what is in the book, but that is not how we are to read the Bible. Think back to when you were in school. You read a chapter in the history textbook - why? To learn what was in the book in order to score a good grade on the text. And after the test, you promptly forgot what you read as you plunged into reading the next chapter so you could take another test. And so it was for the Math book and the Science book and the Sociology book. 

Did you ever read the Math, Science, or Sociology book to get to know the author? Absolutely not! That was not the stated goal. The stated goal was to read the book to know what was in the book.

Put simply, we should be having a conversation with Father as we read, building and enjoying the relationship we share. As you read the Bible, I recommend you pray, thanking Father for what you've read and asking Him to explain it so you can understand it better. Though knowledge is important - Hosea says without it we are destroyed - the relationship we gain from that knowledge is far more important. God died, so that we could have a relationship with Him.

Don’t limit your reading of Scripture to an intellectual exercise! 
It can be a dynamic exchange of life with your Father.

I hope this insight inspires you to open the Bible more often and enjoy a wonderful conversation with the One Who loves you so much.

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Placed Into His Being

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We must have a proper view of God. How we view God is ultimately how we will view ourselves in relationship to Him, so it is very important to study Who God is. In I Timothy 6, we are told that God is blessed. That is a strange thought, isn’t it? Most times as believers, our focus is on how blessed we are because we know Him. But here, Paul states that God Himself is blessed. The word is makairos and it means happy, content or fulfilled. Think about that! Our God is a happy God, a content God, a fulfilled God. He does not know unhappiness, frustration anxiousness or fear.

Now certainly there are “things” that please Him, and there are absolutely “things” that displease and even grieve Him, like when we sin! However, NOTHING ever alters His deep sense of inner contentment. He doesn’t have a bad day when we sin. In fact, God NEVER has a bad day! Every moment of every day is a good day for God!

Why is it so important that we understand that? Because in the New Testament, when we place our faith in Jesus, we are told that we are placed “in Him, and He in us.” Therefore, that means that when we got placed in Him, we also got placed into Who He is!

We got placed into His contentment,
His rest, His fulfillment, His calm.

Jesus stated this plainly in Mt. 11 when He said for us to come to Him, that we might find His yoke which is easy and experience His rest! I love how the Psalmist put this, “How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” (Ps. 2:12) Take refuge from all the calamity, anxiety, fear, and unrest this world offers by resting by faith in Him, Who is blessed – so that – you too will experience His blessed rest and calm!

Wow!!!

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Fight For Her

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If you were critical and negative about my bride, and slandering her, you and I are going to be a bit troubled in our relationship... and rightfully so.

Hmmm.... then why are so many critical, negative and slanderous when they talk about Jesus' bride, the church? I gotta wonder if that doesn't bother him to hear such slander against His bride?

Be careful when you fight against her (sometimes that has to happen) and make sure that as you are fighting against her, your supreme motive is to fight for her...

She is worth fighting for.
She needs fighting for.

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The Duty of the Church

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It was NEVER the duty of the church to change the culture it exists in. The duty was to transform the people in the culture until there were enough transformed people that cultural change naturally occurred.

Our mission today remains to herald the good news of Christ and be used to transform people.

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Heavy Upon Us

 He oppresses us with His glory, forces His glory upon us so we can bathe in and share it with Him.

He oppresses us with His glory, forces His glory upon us so we can bathe in and share it with Him.

God will not let anyone compete with His glory, He is jealous of what is rightfully His. This is fact! Remember the "god" Dagon? It had to bow before the ark of the covenant every day. God will not let anyone or anything rob Him of His glory. However, He gladly and willingly shares His glory with his kids...

In II Cor 4:17, God calls this phenomenon an eternal WEIGHT of glory. Amazing choice of words. IT IS HEAVY UPON US! Dare I put it this way: He oppresses us with His glory, forces His glory upon us so we can bathe in and share it with Him.

WOW!!! Bring on the oppression!!!

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Side by Side or Inside?

 The Holy Spirit is another just like Jesus, only now in the New Covenant economy, He lives inside us instead of beside us

The Holy Spirit is another just like Jesus, only now in the New Covenant economy, He lives inside us instead of beside us

Sometimes, I hear people say that they wish they could have walked with Jesus side by side. That is a nice thought, but unfortunately betrays a lack of understanding and experience of the glory of the New Covenant that Jesus established.

In John 14, when the disciples were concerned that He was leaving them, He told them that when He went away, the Father would send "another" comforter. Here is a great choice of words by the Holy Spirit written word. He did not choose the word "heteros" which means another of a different kind. He chose instead the word "allos" which means another of the same kind.

When Jesus went away and returned to His throne, LISTEN,
He sent back One, the Holy Spirit, Who is another just like Jesus Himself.

Now let's ponder Jesus for a minute - He was so patient with the disciples, He defeated temptation, He had compassion for the hurting and the struggling, He rescued the adulterous woman from condemnation by the community of legalists, He intimately conversed with the outcast Samaritan.... hmmmmm, no wonder they did not want Him to leave. Where in this world are you going to find a friend like that, Who is so loving, and gracious, and merciful, and POWERFUL!?

The answer is, "INSIDE YOU!"

The Holy Spirit is another just like Jesus, only now in the New Covenant economy, He lives inside us instead of beside us. No my friend, as good as it would have been to see Jesus on the outside, it is more glorious to experience Him living inside us through the presence of the Holy Spirit, Who is another just like Him. The compassion, mercy, grace, and power of Jesus lives inside me through the presence of the Holy Spirit.

This is the glory of the New Covenant!

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