MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

What if He Asked You to Die of Stoning? (Stephen)

May 23rd, 2018 Viewed 418 times, 1 so far today

Acts 6:8-15 – Stephen is chosen as one of the first Deacons, and while preaching the word is brought before the council

Up until this point, no one had been killed for their faith. Sure, the religious leaders were not happy that people spoke of Jesus and had captured some and then let them go when they showed how they had been with Him, but no one had died. Stephen could have kept quiet and low key. Instead, Stephen proclaimed the Gospel and paid for it with his life.

photo by: Chris Yarzab

Don’t Waste Your Life

April 17th, 2018 Viewed 593 times

For Everything There Is a Season

November 19th, 2015 Viewed 1849 times

One of the most interesting things about reading a passage of Scripture like Proverbs 31 is that often people assume that this woman is doing all these things at the same time– buying land, making clothing, etc.– when it’s much more reasonable to consider that this is something that she dedicates her entire life to, and does different things during different “seasons.”

Taken with Ecclesiastes, as we see that there are seasons for everything– a concept that is not too easy to grasp.  In a video series by Jon Acuff, he talks about why hustle has its season:

Of all the investments you must make into your career, none of them involve more tension than hustle.

You have to work incredibly hard, but you have to rest.

You have to say yes to a lot of opportunities but also protect your time and say no regularly.

You need grit to hold on in the tough times and flexibility to quit when it’s time to move on.

Sometimes we think hustle is an excuse to become a workaholic, but it’s not. Rest is actually a really important part of hustle. The hard part is that in a culture that praises busyness, rest is an act of bravery.

But I want to take it one step further.  The next time  you watch a television program or read about someone else’s life on social media, remember that they might be in a different season of life than you.  The season of life you are in may not allow you to do all those things.  That is not wrong or bad, and we should not covet what they did or are planning to do.

Enjoy the season of life you are in– you may wish that you were there again someday!

 

Are Kids Today Overstimulated?

June 9th, 2015 Viewed 2352 times

Mother-Reading-Book-to-Kids.jpgThe amount of entertainment options today abound, and if your children are anything like mine they want to be constantly entertained.  They may have a cabinet full of books and board games and legos, but they want screen time, to be outside, or whatever they believe will entertain them now.

One father went to extremes when he thought his kids were overstimulated:

What Is Your Parenting Focused Upon?

June 8th, 2015 Viewed 1079 times

windowslivewriterthepointisweareourchildrensparents-bdc8kidslisteningtomusic4.jpgJess Connell focuses on us parents like a laser in her post Is Your Parenting Focused on the wrong things?

Rather, I fear that too many moms of our generation “major” on these controversial, blood-pressure-raising, attention-getting second- or third-tier issues, while missing the basics:
  • character development
  • obedience
  • the day-in-day-out business of RAISING ENJOYABLE, CHEERFUL, KIND CHILDREN who are growing in their understanding of God and the world He has made.

Moms who fall into this trap are focused on the side-issues but missing the major things.

This applies to dads as well.  How invested are we in raising the next generation of God worshipers instead of living for self?  We need to be very careful with the lives that are entrusted to us– one dad tried to shame his daughter and ended up losing her.  Obviously this is not the way to parent.

May 14th, 2015

The kings of Israel were judged by God based on their heart for Him, as measured by how they lived toward Him.  What would He say about us?

Life Is A Series of Tests

July 7th, 2014 Viewed 1216 times

You really need the rest at Adam4d.

Our True Identity

June 3rd, 2014 Viewed 1516 times

Living In Reality

If we are to live in reality, that means that we need to see things for what they truly are, which starts by seeing ourselves for who we really are.  Because we were born in this world and this world is what we interact with, it is easy to believe that we are people of this world.  That being the case, the Bible has some very interesting things to say about who we are:

We Are Pilgrims

The Bible states that people are more than just their physical representations, but are actually spirits with a body.  We are not of this world, but like Abraham, we are pilgrims, headed to a land whose builder and maker is God.

8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. – Hebrews 11:8-11

A.W. Tozer states: “Abraham had faith and was able to carry on because he could see that which was not seen and could not be seen. And in so doing, these Christians mentioned in 1 Peter experienced the invisible so vividly and so satisfyingly that they were able to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”

The truth is that we don’t belong here, we’re citizens of another location.  We’re visitors, strangers, or aliens, whatever you want to call us, and because of that, we can rightly claim that this world is not our home, we’re just passing through.

2 Corinthians 5:16 and following gives us the key to understanding this truth:

16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. – 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

This passage states that the believer has been made a new creature—the old has passed and the new has come.  This is further underscored by the new mission given the believer—he is now an ambassador.  The Christian mother at home with her kids is an ambassador.  The Christian factory worker is an ambassador.  The female Christian executive is an ambassador.  All believers are ambassadors—which we understand as a representative from one land to another land.

But besides being an ambassador, we are all called to the ministry of reconciliation.  What is this ministry?  It is the ministry of telling others about what Christ did on the cross for everyone—the Good News that there is salvation from sin!  Paul states in 2 Corinthians what Jesus ends His earthly ministry with—that we are all called to go and tell all the world that there is salvation.

We Are Running a Race

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2

One of my family’s favorite games to play is the game of LIFE.  It’s always a race to see who can get to the end the fastest, and it’s interesting to see what twist and turns life takes.  Like the game of LIFE, our lives are races that started the day that we were born and finish the day that we die.

The believer has a goal in life, a way to define success, and it’s not the same as the world’s.  God, the giver of life, set out the rules, and He alone can state what a successful life looks like.  Those that are running a good race, are running toward the high calling of Christ.  This doesn’t mean perfection.  I’m not perfect, your pastor’s not perfect, Mother Theresa wasn’t perfect, etc. This means that we’re striving to be the best that we can for the glory of God.

Just like running a race, the believer sometimes must set aside every weight—and this sometimes means something that may seem good, or others may seem to enjoy.

12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:12-14

Paul stated that because of what Christ has done, he will never stop his pursuit of that high calling.  He strives never to see another reality and to never take his eyes off the prize.

We are Dead to the World

20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20

The next thing the Bible tells believers is that they are dead to the world.  Paul states that we died with Christ at the cross, and we are now alive in Him—or He lives in us.  Does this mean that we no longer have to struggle with sin?  Paul covers this as well.

18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. – Romans 7:18-19

Paul states that though he wants to do right, he does not always do right—his body wars against his spirit doing things that we should not.  This is the reason that Paul states that he dies daily, and that Jesus told us that we have to take up our cross daily and follow Him.  It’s something that we consistently need to point back to.

We are Slaves to Christ

22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:22-23

Slavery is a bad word in modern times because of its link to the slave trade and the American War Between the States (or Civil War).  However, Paul here states that the reality is that all men and women are slaves.  We are born slaves to sin, and salvation makes us slaves to Christ.  There is no middle ground, no opportunity to not choose sides.

In chapter 7 of Romans, Paul compares the slavery each person is under to the way that a wife is under ownership of her husband and is free to remarry when her husband dies.  Christ is our spiritual husband and we are the bride of Christ. We belong to Him.

A Christian Cannot Be Harmed

The last thing about our reality is that a believer can not be harmed.  This is a weird statement to make, because surely the body can be harmed through all sorts of means.  Possessions can be lost, family can turn away, jobs can be lost, and all of these things, but like a lot of other places in the New Testament, what is needed is an understanding of perspective.

In Christ, the believer has everything.  God has stated that even if family leaves you, He never will.  Paul stated that to live was Christ, to die was gain.  If this is true to the believer, what harm can be done?

This is one of the difficult concepts, as no believer wishes himself harm, or seeks physical pain, and yet if a believer understands the reality—that he is at war with forces more powerful than himself, the prince of the power of the air—he cannot expect things to be easy for him.


Scripture from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Image by Vangel_PL used under Standard Restrictions

Reality Is Not What We See

June 1st, 2014 Viewed 1519 times

Living In Reality

In C.S. Lewis’ story The Horse and His Boy (part of the Chronicles of Narnia) we find ourselves following the story of a boy named Shasta that doesn’t realize that he’s the prince of Archenland and a horse named Bree that knows he’s Narnian and pretends that he knows a whole lot more than he does. At one part in the story, Shasta is now off on his own, and has left his travelling companions behind and a discussion ensues among the three of them as to Aslan and just what he is.

Those of you who have seen the movies or read the previous books know that Aslan is a lion, but to a horse that was taken from his homeland as a child and had not been raised properly, well, the idea that Aslan could be a lion is just too much for Bree the war horse to comprehend.  When he’s challenged that all the old stories refer to him as a lion, Bree tries to say that it is because he’s “as strong as a lion” or “as tough as a lion” but that doesn’t mean that he’s a real lion.

Of course, Bree gets a first class education when he finds Aslan behind him!

Like Bree, we tend to have a distorted view of reality.  We see the world around us, and we can get convinced that this world is reality, but it’s not.  Oh, the things that we see are tangible and real for the purposes of being able to manipulate objects, to test things and to interact with the environment around us, but it is so much more than that.  Our senses cannot comprehend the spiritual world around us.  We’re also told that there are those that are spiritually blinded and cannot see the truth of the Gospel.  It’s not that it isn’t truth, it’s that it’s not perceived as truth.

The Number of American Births Continues to Fall

October 3rd, 2012 Viewed 1899 times

baby header

Once again making the point that some women think it’s economically responsible to kill our children, the government reported today that U.S. births fell for the fourth year in a row.  What’s being blamed for this declined?  The economy.

MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.