Just Like My Dad

Like_Father_Like_SonYesterday was the first day of 2016, and it’s the day that many people announce their resolutions for the coming year.  I you read this blog yesterday, you know that I encouraged you to “join me in making at least this one resolution for 2016:  I will be a disciple who glorifies the Father by abiding in Christ.”

I based this resolution on John 15:7-11: “If you remain in Me and My words remain in you [that is, if we are vitally united and My message lives in your heart], ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.  My Father is glorified and honored by this, when you bear much fruit, and prove yourselves to be My [true] disciples.  I have loved you just as the Father has loved Me; remain in My love [and do not doubt My love for you].  If you keep My commandments and obey My teaching, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love.  I have told you these things so that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy may be made full and complete and overflowing.”

When I was studying this Scripture, I read the Amplified version, and it offers some interesting concepts related to our resolution:

  • This first item is the one that caught my attention: Jesus said, “I love you just like My Dad loves Me.”  This is an eternal, never-ending, and unfailing love.
  • The word “remain” is used several times. In many versions of the Bible, it appears as “abide,” and the idea isIf you abide in Jesus, and His words take up residence in your life, you will attentively observe His teachings and strictly maintain a walk that is in step with Him.
  • An obedient life is a prerequisite to answered prayer.
  • Remaining or abiding is not a Sunday experience, but a lifestyle.

When you think of the 4 points above, I hope you realize that joy, not happiness, is the focus of each of these.  Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy may be made full and complete and overflowing.

The Bible only uses the word “happy” or “happiness” about 30 times, while “joy” and rejoice” are found around 300 times.  You will never find true contentment in the contents of merchandise that has been neatly packaged and gift wrapped.  It is not the result of the final score in one of the many football games played at this time of the year, and its not found in the empty promises of politicians.

Joy can’t be purchased and it’s not the victim of circumstances; it’s the fruit of a genuine relationship with God that perseveres.

Even though Paul had been arrested and jailed, he had learned to be “content” regardless of his situation, and He said: “Rejoice in the Lord always.”

I hope you use these 4 points throughout 2016, so you can be “disciple who glorifies the Father by abiding in Christ.”

Versions and Perversions

images (4)After listening to some of the comments from the presidential hopefuls in the recent Iowa Straw Poll, I think a name change is in order.  Because the brief speeches revealed some weaknesses, it might be more accurate to call it the Flaw Poll.

Sometimes political speeches disintegrate into a form of mindless banter, and the candidate’s version of the facts is a perversion of what is true.  Winston Churchill said: “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”

Truth is not created. It is discovered.  Whenever you find someone trying to fabricate the truth, you have discovered a lie.

The difference between the truth and a lie is as simple as the letters “d” and “i.”  When you add them to version, you get a di-version from the truth.  You allow your emotions, wants and desires to turn you aside from the correct course or you yield to the biased opinion and false argument of another you are misdirected.

This was the problem that Paul was addressing when he wrote to the Christians at Galatia (1:6-9):

I can’t believe your fickleness—how easily you have turned traitor to him who called you by the grace of Christ by embracing a variant message! It is not a minor variation, you know; it is completely other, an alien message, a no-message, a lie about God. Those who are provoking this agitation among you are turning the Message of Christ on its head. Let me be blunt: If one of us—even if an angel from heaven!—were to preach something other than what we preached originally, let him be cursed. I said it once; I’ll say it again: If anyone, regardless of reputation or credentials, preaches something other than what you received originally, let him be cursed.  ~The Message

There is a close connection to the degeneration of society and the proliferation of lies.  This is one reason Paul warned the Galatians: Any diversion from the principles of God is a perversion of the truth.

Before you yield to the new and ideal, you might want to compare it to the tried and true: “We are not meant to remain as children at the mercy of every chance wind of teaching and the jockeying of men who are expert in the craft presentation of lies. But we are meant to hold firmly to the truth in love, and to grow up in every way into Christ (Ephesians 4:14 Phillips).”