Beat It, Satan!

Last time, I wrote about how Satan uses a works mentality to capture you in a cycle of shame. Doing justice out of love feels great! It really does! But if you do justice to make yourself appear worthy, you’ll be disappointed in how you feel. If you feed hungry families or help put in a well in so you can get your picture in the paper, you’re not going to feel very good when you’re done.

Jesus showed us how to talk to Satan. Remember what happened after He fasted for forty days and forty nights? He was hungry, man! Jesus was hungry. And Satan tempted Him. Satan kept trying to see if Jesus would give a vote to sin. But Jesus said, “You don’t understand. I’m holy and righteous. Your tricks won’t work. You have no shot with me! You can tempt me all you want, but I am holy and righteous. Whatever comes out of my mouth is from my Father.” And that, as you know, was scripture.

defeated-foeSatan even tried to offer what he thought was a huge bribe. He said to Jesus, “I’ll give you control of the Earth and everything in it!” But Jesus said, “My God is not of this world. This world here, this little planet, don’t you know that we’re smaller than the stars? This world can’t even compare!”

Jesus said to Satan, “Time out! I was there when everything was created. You’re offering me the Earth? It’s like handing me a pebble of sand and saying, ‘Here, control this.’ Beat it, Satan. I already have that. I control stars! So what makes you think I need to control just one planet? What makes you think I’m going to give up everything for Earth? I’m holy and righteous!”

It’s almost like Jesus looked at Satan and said, “You’re an idiot.”

And that’s what holy and righteous people do. The Bible says we are maturing every day, to get into the glory of God. Every day, God is molding us to make us more mature. He is molding us so that we can become like Jesus.

I’m not saying we’ll ever get to the point where we are perfect. It won’t happen until Jesus comes. But He’s maturing me and maturing you, and every day He is bringing us closer to that point. It’s going to get easier and easier to look at Satan and say, “You idiot. You actually think that’s going to work with me? I’m holy. And I’m righteous. That’s my identity. You don’t have any control over me here.”

I believe my holy and righteous identity in Christ will eventually reach a point where I rarely give in. I won’t even give a vote to sin anymore. I’ll say to Satan, “You don’t have a voice here. Beat it!”

See you Thursday.

Trust Issues

When He taught, Jesus used the paradigm of the kingdom of God, because the people gathered around Him understood monarchies. We have to try a little harder to form a kingdom mentality, but we can do it because it’s in our past, and it’s in our movies. We can learn to trust that the King has made us His sons and daughters, princes and princesses of the realm. We can learn to trust that when we represent Him in the world and need help, we can send word. He will help.

Still, it seems like it can be difficult for us to trust the King. We have a lot of trust issues with our own government today. Our representatives in government are making deals without regard to morality. They’ll actually sacrifice their own morals to make sure their agenda gets done. That’s what we have in government.

No wonder we don’t understand what it means to trust. Imagine living in the 17th century and the King says to you, “Come and be my son.” What do you think someone back then would have said? “I’m in!” But now, we hesitate. Now we say, “I don’t know, I kind of like living out here, outside the gates of the kingdom.” Why? Because we see government and we don’t see trust. We don’t get trust.

So we don’t understand that we can trust God, the King.

April 3 BlogWe’ve lost so much trust that we love Jesus and thank Him for saving us, but we still struggle to trust God. We don’t trust that He accepts us as His sons and daughters. We go out into the world, but we don’t really believe that we’ll be allowed back into the Kingdom. We think God will shut the gate behind us.

We forget that we can trust the King! So we get into a works mentality. We think we have to perform for God. We’re not perfect so we sin, and then we feel like we have to cover for how we acted. “I judged somebody, so I have to read five psalms today.” Or, “I had a lustful thought, so I have to put in two extra hours at the food pantry.” Or, “I thought I was a better Christian than my neighbor, so I have to go to Nicaragua and help build a new school.”

Now fulfilling the royal law becomes work. When you start doing stuff to make yourself feel better because you sinned, then you have a works mentality. This is legalism.

If you do something in order to show people what you’ve done, you’ll be dissatisfied. You won’t feel very good when you’re done. But if you do something to help a struggling neighbor simply because you love your neighbor, you’ll feel so good and fulfilled. Your heart will be right where it needs to be.

So trust the King! And when you struggle, send word to Him. Tell Him, “I need some help here.” Trust Him. Help will come.

The Royal Law, Part 3

Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well…James 2:5, 8

When Jesus described the kingdom of God, the people listening to Him understood the paradigm. Kingdoms were very common then, so they understood the mentality. Rule by kings continued in Europe until the 20th century in some places, and some parts of the world continue to have monarchies today. Americans had a revolution in the 18th century, so it’s a little harder for us to understand the paradigm. But we can do it, since it’s in our history. We can understand how kingdoms work.

Child of GodIf you use a kingdom mentality to understand the royal law, you will realize that when you accept Christ, you are no longer a pauper. You are royalty, rich in faith and an heir of His kingdom. Think about that! The King is going out, and looking over the land saying, “Whoever wants to be a part my kingdom, I’m adopting you. Now you are my son. Now you are my daughter. You are now a prince, or a princess.”

That is a really good way to live! You were poor before. You were lost. But now you’re found.

When Jesus died, He rose again. Because of what He did, the gate to the kingdom is unlocked for everyone. Because of what He did, anyone who wants to come to the King can come. The drawbridge never closes. You want to come in, come in. And when God adopts you, you don’t have to stay in the castle. You can come and go as you please.

And when you go, understand that you are holy and righteous. That is your identity. No matter where you came from, no matter who you were, you are no longer a pauper. Where you came from is over. That life is over. God gives you a new life in His kingdom, and you leave His kingdom as His son or daughter. You are a prince or princess of the realm.

People are going to ask you, “What did you have to do become a member of His family?” And you can tell them, “I simply believe what His son did for me. And I love that He’s my savior. I love that there are no strings attached. I gave my life over to Him, and I said, ‘Jesus, thank you.’ Now, because of that, the drawbridge is open. I walked in, I went before the King, and I said, ‘I’d like to be your royal child.’ And He said, ‘Come on in!’”

As His royal child, you represent God to the world. You represent His kingdom to the world. So go, and invite people in. Love on them. Encourage them. Tell them, “You can trust the King. He wants you with Him. He’s not going to destroy you. He’s not going to execute you by guillotine. He’s not going to put you in the stocks. He’s not going to treat you as a traitor or a spy. He’s going to simply love you! That’s a freeing thing!”

The Royal Law, Part 2

Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well…James 2:5, 8

Love your neighbor as yourself. That is the royal law, the commandment of the Kingdom of God. The trumpets sound, and the King says, “Go and love.” That’s the warriors’ command from the King. The trumpets sound, and Jesus says, “Love your neighbor as yourself, and then love God with all your heart, soul, and mind.”

Alright! So go love your neighbor. That’s your war cry. Go out of the Kingdom’s gates, figure out what is wrong with your neighbors, and love on them. Don’t worry about having the means to help your neighbor. Trust God for that! When you need help, send word to the King. Tell Him, “We’re filling a need here, and we need more resources.” He’ll provide what He needs to provide.

RoyalLawImagine this as if it were a movie about medieval Europe. The King’s forces have gone to war, and there’s a moment when the tide of battle seems to be turning against them. They realize, “We need more men!” What do they do? They send word to the King that they need more men. What does the King do? He provides more men!

We can use the same mentality, and show the same trust for our King. We are His children! And as members of His family, we say, “I am a part of God’s Kingdom. I am going to go forth to fulfill the royal law. I’m going to get on my horse and go out of that gate and into the world. I’m going to love my neighbor, and when I do that, I’m going to represent the Kingdom of God.”

You do this whether you already have the resources lined up or not. You begin even if you don’t have any money. Just send word to God. Pray. Tell Him, “I need a way to get more money.” He will give it to you. Jobs will open up. Maybe a donor will come along and offer to help you. Trust God in this. He will provide what He needs to provide.

The Bible says we’re all royalty now. This is what it means to be holy and righteous. This is what God means when He says, “You are mine now.” You are His child. And as a child of the King, you are a prince or princess of the Kingdom.

More on this next time. See you Monday.

The Royal Law, Part 1

Whitworth University came to Generation Alive and said, “We want to package a ton of meals. We want to make a million meals for Spokane!” And I said, “Alright! Tell them to work on raising the funds.” And those students did something incredible. On May 3, they packaged over 600,000 meals for hungry people in Spokane!

I trust God. I live in a mentality of trust. When we show our love for our neighbor, we’re trying to meet a need. And we’re reflecting God’s Kingdom while we do it, because our motives are pure: we simply trust God. We’re not going to do something like this because we want to say, “Oh, I feel like a better Christian for doing this.” If you think about it, that doesn’t even make sense. I already am a Christian. I am a holy and blameless, righteous person. I’m just living in that identity.

Whitworth students didn’t take on this challenge because they wanted to make God look on them with favor. They were just trying to feed somebody! In fact, I think that for a lot of the young people who got involved, that was all they wanted. They might not even know who God is. Their mission was simply to get food, up to a million meals, into an area that really needs food. One in six people in Spokane are hungry! So they said, “We need to figure out a way to give our hungry neighbors something to eat.”

photo credit: KREM Spokane http://www.krem.com/news/local

photo credit: KREM Spokane http://www.krem.com/news/local

When you tackle the job of loving your neighbor as yourself, trust God. Trust Him to provide you with what you need. If you’re coming up short on donations, just say, “Hey God, we need more money.” Send word to the King. “We need more of something.” Then trust Him to provide it. If He says, “No, my provision is sufficient for you,” then use whatever you have. The Whitworth students made as many meals as they could. Use what you have, even if it’s a couple of loaves and a few fish, and get started. You might get to watch Him do a miracle.

Jesus said, “You need to help those who are hurting.” Well, everybody’s hurting. Your ability to meet a need doesn’t necessarily mean an actual physical need. It could be a mental need. It could be an emotional need. Figure out what is wrong with your neighbors, and love on them. Whether they need food, water, or clothing, emotional support, a friend, or someone who can love without judging, trust God and get started! That’s all you have to do. And if you need help, send word to the King. Let Him know, and He’ll provide what He needs to provide.

More on this next time. See you Thursday.

Imagine the Success of Love

But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.”

He said, “Bring them here to Me.” Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. Matthew 14:16-20

In the early years of my baseball career, I was not fulfilled. I was not fulfilled as long as I was just saying, “I’m a Christian,” and then going and playing baseball. I didn’t feel good. I didn’t understand my purpose for being here on this earth. I didn’t understand, because my purpose is not to be a baseball player. Continue reading

Tough Love

When you talk about love, a lot of people will say you’re soft. But love is what saves people. Loving them. If you ask me, that’s pretty strong stuff.

Think of a person who has a mental illness. Probably the best healing resource is just to love on them. They still need other sources of help, but just to love on that person instead of shunning him is going to help him. Maybe more than anything else.

What’s the response to a person that doesn’t have water? Love on them! Get them water. Everybody should have clean water. When you do that, you show them that you love them. The best way to show your love is to help provide this life-giving resource.

There are a lot of things that God shows me, things that are not good. Continue reading

To Stir A Movement

The movement I have in mind begins with awareness.  It begins with the awareness that people all over the world, our neighbors and God’s children, are suffering, and we are called to help.

The awareness I’m talking about goes much further than knowing the world has problems.  I’m talking about awareness that you can help alleviate people’s suffering and pain.  You can take part in ending the hunger crisis, or the water crisis.  You can help free slaves and provide homes and families for orphans.

This awareness reaches even deeper than doing something to help. It goes deeper than donating or volunteering.  Continue reading

A Vision of Hell

It is obvious that God is all about love, because He sent His son to die for us. To me, that’s probably the truest aspect of why God sent Jesus into play. And Jesus was careful to tell us, over and over, “Do not judge. Love each other, forgive each other, do not judge each other.”

But if God wants us to love each other, and not judge each other, then why do we have prisons? Why do we have police departments and jails? Why are there consequences, here and now, for our actions? Continue reading