Living In Pursuit

gold medal photo(Acts 13:22)  “And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.”

The Olympic games are over. The world was in awe as we watched Michael Phelps swim his way to more gold medals. We were amazed as Simone Biles did things in the floor exercise that did not seem possible. When you love a certain sport, watching an athlete compete at the highest level is a beautiful thing. For me it is soccer. Starting in August, every week I try to catch an English Premier League game or at least watch the weekly highlights. You know you are a true fan when you appreciate your favorite players as artists of the sport. I think we could say that about most people – whether you love golf, baseball, basketball or even ultimate frisbee. But oftentimes we forget what it takes to get to the highest levels of that sport. We only get to see the end product of a long and grueling process.

A recent article in Wired magazine said it took 8-10 years and $100,000 per year to reach the highest levels in swimming. Gymnastics takes 10-12 years and approximately $18,000 per year in expenses (it’s true – ask any parent who has a child in gymnastics!). Reaching the highest levels in anything requires an “all-in” pursuit.

Two kings in the Bible show us what it means to pursue something with all your heart.. Saul chased after David out of rage caused by jealousy.  In 1 Samuel 26:18, David asks the question:

“…Wherefore doth my lord thus pursue after his servant? for what have I done? or what evil is in mine hand?”

In his obsessive, evil mission to kill David we see three characteristics in the life of Saul.

  1. He was relentless
  2. He was willing to expend the time, money and energy to win
  3. He was completely consumed – every decision was driven by the pursuit

Ordinarily, this would have been the formula for success. But God had other plans because David was God’s anointed.

David is the other example of a king in pursuit of something that captured his heart. The Bible tells us the thing David pursued was God’s heart. God said he was a “man after mine own heart.” We know David wasn’t perfect. He was often much less than perfect and paid the price for his failures. But we also know David relentlessly pursued God. He was willing to invest himself and everything he had in his relationship with God. Although every decision was not driven by his pursuit of God, his repentance for his failures were. David’s success wasn’t as a king, it was as a man of God.

Which king better describes you today? Are you pursuing the wrong thing in jealous obsession like Saul? Or are you relentlessly consumed with the heart of God like David? One day we will stand before God and our rewards will be based on the pursuit and whether we were consumed with our own hearts or His.

Renewed Thought – What consumes our hearts will consume our lives.

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Is God Voting For Donald, Hillary or ??? Part 1

Is God Swinging Our Elections?

(Romans 13:1)  “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”

voting photoWithin the next three months, Americans are going to find out the results of an election. Just like every election, both sides of the major parties have been slinging words, accusations and insults towards each other. Regardless of who you are going to choose in the voting booth, we can probably all agree that truth is one of the things sacrificed for the sake of power.

Unfortunately, truth difficult to find in church today. And because of this, we are missing some fundamentals about the very nature of government. We get so wrapped up in our private interpretations and political perceptions that our ability to comprehend the basics of the institution itself. This reaches into understanding the very foundation of God’s creation.  One of the things we sometimes hear in Christian circles is that God put a particular person into office or power. Many base their beliefs on Rom 13:1 along with some passages in the Old Testament. Regardless of how this election turns out, is this really how God works today? Is He in the business of putting Barack Obama, George Bush or even Ronald Reagan into the White House? Does God select who will become the mayor or governor? A lot of people are taught this by Christian leaders.

Because of a lack of understanding how God relates to the world through His Body, lack of Biblical literacy and sound doctrine has caused the politicization of the Church. The Body of Christ has been absorbed into the political process and as a result allowed politics to define and create an identity for the Church in America. We need to start with a fresh understanding not of where the Church fits into politics but rather where politics fit into the life of the Church.

“Higher Powers?”

Many Christians are confused because they believe the “higher powers” and “powers that be” refer to individual people. Therefore, they believe specific rulers or leaders in power are “God’s man” or “God’s woman” simply because they are in power. Instead of asking the question “Who are the higher powers” the real question when viewed in the light of Biblical truth is “What are the higher powers.”

“Powers” is a word used several times by the Apostle Paul.

(Ephesians 6:12)  “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

(Colossians 1:16)  “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:”

Notice that “powers” is often used in connection with the word “principality.”   A principality is a position, not a person. It can be a supreme angelic commander in a territory. It can be viewed as the top authority.  A power is delegated authority given by the principality. Watch how this works in Luke 4:6:

(Luke 4:6)  “And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.”

See how Satan offers to delegate his power as god of this world if the Lord will yield to him? The same Greek word translated “power” in this verse, exousia, is the same word translated “powers” in Ephesians 6:12 and Colossians 1:16. Principalities and powers are seats of governmental authority, both in the heavenly places and here on earth.

It’s really important to understand this because it helps to see that the Bible is applicable across cultures, nations and all forms of governments. The “higher powers” and “powers ordained of God” in Romans 13:1 are the seats of government, not the individuals who occupy them. Read on to find out how this could be a Caesar as in Paul’s day, a Prime Minister or even a President as we have in our culture.

End of Part 1

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