Category Archives: Jesus Blogs

Faith & Patience – Serious Busniess

20140630-071551-26151971.jpg From reading the One Year Bible this morning, I was reminded that with God faithfulness & patience are serious business. Just as serious as he is in reprimanding those who aren’t obedient, he is equally as serious in blessing those who are. It doesn’t matter who you are. You will experience a blessing from God by being faithful & patient.

June 24th’s reading plan takes place in 2 Kings 6-7 when: Elisha held the prophetic mantle, Joram was king of Israel, & the nation was at war with Aram. The king was enraged with Elisha, the man of God, for something he did & he wanted his head! From that rage the king robbed himself of God’s blessing by his own unfaithfulness & impatience.

You see, what had happened was… First, God helped Elisha single handedly trap an entire force of Aramean troops. But when Joram, the king of Israel, asked the man of God if he should kill them, Elisha responded with a shocking act of mercy. Elisha told the king to give the Arameans food & drink & send them home. Despite that the king of Aram later mustered his entire army & besieged Samaria, one of King Joram’s major cities. As a result a long & wearisome famine struck the land of Israel.

But one day King Joram had enough; he couldn’t wait another day. To him, this whole situation wouldn’t have happened if Elisha didn’t advise sparing the troops from earlier, right? Read what happens next in 2 Kings 6:31-7:2.

“May God strike me and even kill me if I don’t separate Elisha’s head from his shoulders this very day,” the king vowed. Elisha was sitting in his house with the elders of Israel when the king sent a messenger to summon him. But before the messenger arrived, Elisha said to the elders, “A murderer has sent a man to cut off my head. When he arrives, shut the door and keep him out. We will soon hear his master’s steps following him.” While Elisha was still saying this, the messenger arrived. And the king said, “All this misery is from the Lord! Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?
Elisha replied, “Listen to this message from the Lord! This is what the Lord says: By this time tomorrow in the markets of Samaria, five quarts of choice flour will cost only one piece of silver, and ten quarts of barley grain will cost only one piece of silver.” The officer assisting the king said to the man of God, “That couldn’t happen even if the Lord opened the windows of heaven!”

But Elisha replied, “You will see it happen with your own eyes, but you won’t be able to eat any of it!”

We’ve all been there. We’ve all spouted out the mantra of many impatient men & women before us, “Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?” You may be waiting for a spouse; you may be waiting for a job or a promotion; you may be waiting for a family member to know Jesus; you may be waiting for the bus, I don’t know. Whatever it is, I encourage you to take it a day at a time. God has called all his children to be faithful & patient. These are indispensable Christian virtues. When we choose to rob ourselves of the blessing of obedience, life has a way of taking a turn for the worse.

With God, having faith is serious business. He sees the victory you’ve been waiting for & it’s right around the corner – I’m telling you! Instead of being like King Joram & robbing yourself just one day shy of a long awaited victory, have faith & be patient. Your breakthrough could literally come tomorrow. Heck, why not today?

Trusting in all of God’s promises is itself an act of faith. Maybe God is calling you to take a step of faith right now. Sometimes our call to action means waiting patiently & remaining faithful day to day. Your day to day living-for-the-Lord never goes to waste (1 Corinthians 15:58). Besides, it’s not even worth finding out what the alternatives are. For example, Elisha said the king wasn’t going to eat anything from the Samaritan market because he couldn’t wait one more day – that came true just a few verses later. In fact, it also says he got trampled to death, but we can just say he “went to sleep hungry.”

Warmly,

Joey C.

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Dear Brother

Dear Brother

Dear Brother,

Despite my passion for writing, thinking of your letter was more challenging than I thought it would be. So, I’m just going to share what God is teaching me right now. I hope it blesses & sharpens you as it has me.

1) Seek wisdom daily. God delights in that. Remember when Solomon prayed for wisdom? He didn’t ask for favor or prosperity or a long life, instead he asked for wisdom to lead his people. Keep in mind, God said he would give Solomon anything he wanted.  But God in his generosity gave him wisdom AND everything he didn’t ask for. (1 Kings 3)

James 1:5 says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, & he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” 1 John 5:14-15 says, “ And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.” Praying for wisdom is always in alignment with God’s will. So why not pray for wisdom everyday?

2) Sometimes the most impactful life lessons are the most basic. Wouldn’t you agree? The idea of “spending time” with Jesus is conceptually basic because in that way it’s much like any other relationship we have, yet it can be the most underappreciated part of our whole lives. The more time we spend with Jesus, the more we see him for who he really is. If we already trust him completely as our Savior, why do we keep stunting our openness to his leadership. But when we relinquish our will in exchange for his, Jesus becomes our Ultimate Leader. He’s trustworthy. Hence, we become even more obedient.

Obedience begets knowledge, not the other way around. In other words, when we become aware of a truth, obedience doesn’t necessarily follow. But when we become obedient to Jesus’ teachings, you are guaranteed deeper knowledge of our Savior. We grow as Christians the more we obey, & the more we obey the more familiar we become of our Lord & his ways.

Knowledge begets freedom. The more we know of Jesus the more free we are to worship. The more free we are to just be ourselves! And the more free we are to do a lot of things. We definitely become more & more free from the influence of sin. Thank God!

Recap:
Pray for wisdom daily. It’s always in alignment with God’s will.

Your life will radically change once you see Jesus for who he really is.

True understanding begins when you’re practicing obedience.

To understand God’s will is to abandon yours.

Obedience begets knowledge. And knowledge begets freedom.

Your loving brother,

Joey C.

John 3:30

Loneliness

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I am a Christian, & I hold true that my body is the dwelling place of the ultimate counselor & comforter. Yet, I know Christians that still feel totally lonely & abandoned.

How can someone truly believe in the first statement, yet feel the latter? This doesn’t make sense to me.

Question: Are you lonely? Do you long for a companion? Has someone rejected you? Do these questions sound like the beginning to an eHarmony commercial??

Seriously though, we’ve all felt it – rejection. Whether it be by a close friend, a parent, a child, a wife/girlfriend, or a husband/boyfriend. The greatest man who has had the greatest impact in human history was abandoned & rejected. He was abandoned by God himself when he died a criminal’s death all so that we wouldn’t have to be.

Call me crazy (I’ve been called worse), but I find comfort in times when I feel lonely & rejected. Why? Usually not at first, but I know that I am personally relating to that great man I was talking about earlier – Jesus. One of his closest friends betrayed him. His right hand man decided to deny that he even knew Jesus when he needed him the most. “And the rest of his crew bounced too – left him hanging. Literally. Pitifully. Flesh dangling.” -Shai Linne

Maybe all those times I’ve felt lonely or rejected was to relate to you, my reader. Thanks by the way! Maybe all that was for me to tell you that you’re in the greatest company in the world! If there’s one thing that all lonely people have in common, it’s that they’ve all felt alone. When you look at it that way, us lonely rejects can be a very strong community. And when we gather that label ceases to exist. We can call ourselves The Lone Rangers!

Caution: Sometimes we want to fill that hole in our hearts with things that aren’t good for us. Sometimes we don’t even know that they’re bad. But I implore you to seek community. You will get through this! You’re not a hopeless cause. But sometimes, the only solution is to have hope in your situation.

If you don’t know Jesus, frankly, you’re fighting an uphill battle. Outside of him there is no hope. Don’t let your situation go to waste; seek first community with the Ultimate Counselor & Comforter.

Christians, your situation will not go to waste. “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28)

Warmly,
Joey C.

The Art of Manliness

Gentlemen, fellow colleagues, listen. Ladies, this is for you too.

Our generation is in desperate need of more men. Not just men looking for sex and six-pack abs. Instead, let’s begin to uncover the lost art of true manliness. Men, choose your path.

Look around. What do you see? I see many men refusing to grow up and man up. They have lost the confidence, virtues, passion, wildness, ferocity, and warrior-like spirit that the men in the days of old embodied. I’ve met many who were raised without the influence of a good father, and this, among other things, has left a generation adrift as to what it means to be an honorable, well-rounded man.

Gentlemen, first you need to find yourselves. Ladies, let them. Inside the heart of every man are fundamental questions that simply cannot be answered at the kitchen table. Who am I? What am I made of? What am I destined for? Men, maybe you need to get away. Perhaps to a mountain cabin, for three days, write some poetry, canoe down a river, and dream.

Live adventurously. Don’t let fear keep you in the comfortable realms of order and control. Face your fears and ask that question. Do I have what it takes? Wrestle with that until you have a victor. Remember as a boy, if ever you were given a quest to explore, with a little dash of danger, wasn’t that the epitome of adventure and a good time? Get back to your boyish longing for adventure. That’s a good thing. It’s an even better thing when you have someone to share that adventure with.

In high school, I wasn’t mean or evil. I was nice. Still, I never got The Girl probably because I was always hesitant. Gentlemen, let me tell you, a hesitant man is the last thing in the world a woman needs. She needs a lover and a warrior, not just a “really nice guy.” And Ladies, I’m sorry for any man whose ever broken your spirits and treated you like dirt. A woman truly is the crescendo, the crowning, amazing work of God. In one last event creation comes to a finish with Eve. She is the Master’s finishing touch!

Finally, best said by John Eldredge, “A man needs a battle to fight; he needs a place for the warrior in him to come alive and be honored, trained, seasoned. If we can reawaken that fierce quality in a man, hook it up to a higher purpose, release the warrior within, then the boy can grow up and become truly masculine… We are made in the image of God; we carry within us the desire for our true life of intimacy and adventure. To say we want less than that is to lie.”