Designed With Passion

No matter how you use Divi, your website is going to look great. Everything about Divi has been built beautifully and purposefully by our passionate team. We are so excited to release this labor of love to our community.
Alt text for the image

Elegantly Responsive

Vivamus ipsum velit, ullamcorper quis nibh non, molestie tempus sapien. Mauris ultrices, felis ut eleifend auctor, leo felis vehicula quam, ut accumsan augue nunc at nisl. Cras venenatis.

Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

Smart Passive Income Podcast with Steve McCranie

 
Weekly interviews, strategy, and advice for building your online business the smart way.

 

Your Title Goes Here

Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

Click Here

Advanced Page Builder

Vestibulum lobortis. Donec at euismod nibh, eu bibendum quam. Nullam non gravida purus, nec eleifend tincidunt nisi. Fusce at purus in massa laoreet.

Elegant Shortcodes

Vestibulum lobortis. Donec at euismod nibh, eu bibendum quam. Nullam non gravida purus, nec eleifend tincidunt nisi. Fusce at purus in massa laoreet.

Fully Responsive

Vestibulum lobortis. Donec at euismod nibh, eu bibendum quam. Nullam non gravida purus, nec eleifend tincidunt nisi. Fusce at purus in massa laoreet.

Perpetual Updates

Vestibulum lobortis. Donec at euismod nibh, eu bibendum quam. Nullam non gravida purus, nec eleifend tincidunt nisi. Fusce at purus in massa laoreet.
45:  To Know or Not Know, that is the Question

45: To Know or Not Know, that is the Question

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


Key Word for the Higher Christian Life: ginṓskō

When it comes to the Higher Christian Life, one of the most important words in Scripture is ginṓskō.  In fact, I’m not sure we could overstate that fact.  The difference between the lukewarm life with Christ, which He has much to say about in Revelation 3:16-17 and has plagued the church for centuries, and the Higher Christian Life we are striving for, is found not in academic head knowledge, but in firsthand experience with God and His Word.  In other words, it is one thing to know something mentally, and quite another to know something by experience.  One is transitory and untested and can change over time, and the other is what the foundations of life are built upon.  Let me explain.

In Scripture, there are several Greek words that are translated, know, or knowing.  Primarily, in regards to the Higher Christian Life, we need only concern ourselves with two, ginṓskō and eidō.  When it comes to knowing something or acquiring knowledge about someone, we tend to fall into one of two broad categories:  head-knowledge or first-hand experience.  And if you are honest with yourself, experience always trumps what we believe in our head.  Plus, in regards to the Higher Christian Life, God wants us to not just know Him in a mental, doctrinal, sterile, academic way, but wants His children to experience Him in the very core of their being.  Because it is in the arena of experience that faith in Him and His Word grows exponentially.   For example, what kind of knowledge do you think Paul is referring to in the following passage?

Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know (ginṓskō) Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead – Philippians 3:8-11.

Do you see the faith experiences being described in this passage?  Paul is not talking about academic, mental knowledge, but the knowledge that only comes from a shared experience, or knowledge that is birthed in the fire of adversity.  Look at what he says, I have “suffered the loss of all things”— which is an experience.  Or, that I may “know (ginṓskō) Him and the power of His resurrection”— which is definitely an experience.  Or, the “fellowship of His suffering”— nothing mental or academic about experiencing sufferings.  Or, “being conformed to His death”— again, an experience and not mental assent, that “I may attain to the resurrection from the dead”— which is another big-time experience.  Do you see the point?

Maybe it would help if I defined our two Greek words, ginṓskō and eidō.  First, ginṓskō means “to know in a full or completed sense, to know by experience, to know fully.”   But it is also used in Scripture as a euphemism for an intimate, sexual relationship between a man and a woman, whereas Joseph did not “know” (ginṓskō) Mary until “she had brought forth her firstborn Son” (Matt. 1:25).  Also, it conveys the idea of “love, approval, favor, with goodwill and care for the object of His knowledge.”  We see this revealed many times in Scripture.  For example, Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; and I know (ginṓskō) My sheep, and am known (ginṓskō) by My own.  As the Father knows (ginṓskō) Me, even so I know (ginṓskō) the Father, and I lay down My life for the sheep” (John 10:14-15).  Here, Jesus is expressing a knowledge of His sheep and His Father that is based on love, care, and a deep, first-hand experience with both.

And this is the type of knowledge (ginṓskō), based on truth and an experience that confirms that truth, the Lord wants us to have with Him and His Word.  Why?  Because faith must be tested to become real and genuine in our lives.  Need proof?  Go and do a quick overview of the heroes of faith found in Hebrews 11.  Every one of them became a faith hero when they experienced something that confirmed their faith.  Every one of them had a seismic shift from mental belief to firm conviction based on an experience, the trusting and testing of their faith, the proving without a doubt that it was true.  And it is to be the same with us today, especially if we desire a deep intimacy with the Lord and embrace the Higher Christian Life.


The Importance of ginṓskō

Let me leave you with just a few verses that show the importance of knowing the fidelity of Him and His Word by experience (ginṓskō) in Scripture.  Consider the following.

Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him.  And by this we know (ginṓskō) that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us – 1 John 3:24.

Do I know Christ abides in me by mental assumption or by a doctrinal position I accept?  Or do I know it by the experience I have had with the Holy Spirit who now lives in me?  Exactly.

You shall know (ginṓskō) the truth and the truth shall make you free – John 8:32.

Will I be made free by mentally agreeing with a statement about the truth, or do I become free when I experience the liberating power of the truth found in Christ?  You know the answer.  It’s quite obvious, isn’t it?

The Higher Christian Life grows when we have a first-hand, personal, upfront, life-changing encounter with the Lord.  When we come to believe, not just doctrinal facts about the Holy Spirit, but truly believe Him and His Word by the experience we have shared in the turmoils of life, then our faith is elevated to a personal level, a spiritual high, a mountaintop experience, that can never be shaken.  Never.  And this is the type of knowledge the Lord wants us to have with Him.  A faith that has been tested by fire, yet remains stronger still.

We will develop this a bit more in our next time together.

One last thing, the definition of the other Greek word, eidō, is the same as our common understanding of the English word for know.  It means just the opposite of ginṓskō.  It is not knowledge by experience, but eidō means “to see, to perceive by the senses, to be made aware of, to comprehend,” and it is often translated as see, look, or behold.  For example,

Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know (eidō – are You not aware) that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” – Matthew 15:12.

I hope you will continue to strive for the higher life in Christ, which is yours for the embracing.  It is your birthright as a child of God.  So embrace it with all you have.  And do it today.

The Higher Christian Life

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


44:  The Higher Christian Life is Found in Small Words

44: The Higher Christian Life is Found in Small Words

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


The Importance of Small Words

Our faith, unfortunately, is often based on head-knowledge or mental assent and only becomes real to us when it is experienced, firsthand, in the midst of a tough time or by a trial by fire.  And the Higher Christian Life is not a life of intellectual assurance only, but of faith based on our experience with the Holy Spirit who now lives in us.  After all, unless our faith is tested by trials and tribulations and we experience its truth, it doesn’t become real to us and remains academic in nature.  This is what James was trying to tell us early in his letter.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, (why) knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing – James 1:2-4.

But note what James is really saying:

My brethren, count (reckon, consider, live like it was true) it all joy when you fall (to fall into the midst of something as to be totally surrounded by it) into various trials (temptations, putting to the test), (why) knowing (ginṓskō) that the testing of your faith produces (to finish, accomplish, to bring to the desired end) patience (to persevere, to remain under, to endure). But let (or don’t quit or give up early in the process) patience have its perfect (complete, full, wanting in nothing) work, that you may be perfect (complete, full, wanting in nothing) and complete (whole, having all its parts), lacking nothing – James 1:2-4.

As we strive to grow in our faith in God’s Word and His promises, two Greek words will present themselves before us that are both translated, know or knowing.   The first is ginṓskō (which is used above) and the other is eidō.  One of them means to know something by experience and the other means to know like we pretty much know most things today, by intellectual assent.  And the difference between these two types of knowledge is the key that unlocks the door to the Higher Christian Life, especially regarding your faith in God’s promises.

Today we will simply introduce these two words and show how important the small words in Scripture are to embracing the Higher Christian Life.  And we’ll do this by exploring John 21 together.

The Higher Christian Life

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


43:  The Lord’s Supper and the Higher Christian Life

43: The Lord’s Supper and the Higher Christian Life

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


Jesus First Became a Bondservant…

There are many questions Christians have about the Lord’s Supper, and not all of them revolve around the nature of the substance of the bread and wine.  There is the question about timing, how often are we to celebrate it?  And then questions about meaning, is it symbolic, or does it truly transfer some tangible grace to those who partake?

But the biggest question, for me, is in regards to its significance.  After all, there is a judgment attached to the Lord’s Supper.  The Scriptures teach those who partake of it in an “unworthy manner” will bring judgment upon themselves, even to the point of sickness and death.  That’s right.  Read it yourself in 1 Corinthians 11:27-30.

That seems a bit heavy-handed to me.  Does it to you?

That is until I began to see a deeper meaning in the Lord’s Supper, something right below the surface.  For years, when Jesus broke the bread and gave it to His disciples, we focused on “this is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19), referring almost exclusively to the physical suffering and death of Jesus on the cross for our sins.  And that is true.  But there may be more we have been missing.

And when Jesus said, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:20), again, we usually interpret that to only mean the physical shedding of His blood as His sacrifice for our sins.  And that is also true.  But there could be more to this than meets the eye.

Since we tend to think linearly, we often jump from the Upper Room, with the bread and wine, to the cross, with His broken body and shed blood, and assume we have the point of the Lord’s Supper all wrapped up in a neat package.  But what we miss is what happened between these two, the turmoil in the garden, where Jesus had to determine for Himself if He would fulfill His commitment to His Father that He made long before He came as a Babe in Bethlehem.

Never forget, between the upper room and the cross, was the garden.  And it may be that what happened in the garden is what the Lord wants us to remember every time we partake of the Lord’s Supper.

Let’s look at the commitment Jesus made to His Father.


And Then He Came in the Likeness of Men

In Philippians 2, we have a scene before us that reveals the Lord Jesus making Himself (His action) a “bondservant” (doúlos) of His Father and then, as a bondservant, a voluntary slave, becoming obedient to His Father “to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:8).  And in this passage, we see the depth of the relationship between the Father and His Son and the reason for the suffering of Jesus in the garden.  Consider the following:

Let this mind (phronéō – to think, to have the mindset) be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being (to be or exist in a state or condition) in the form (morphḗ – shape, essence, replica, the expression of something that reflects or manifests fully and truly the essence of what something is) of God, did not consider (hēgéomai – view, regard, esteem, count, reckon) it robbery (taking something by force) to be equal (ísos – alike in quantity, quality, dignity) with God, but (His action) made Himself of no reputation (kenóō – to make empty or void, of no value), (to what degree) taking the form (morphḗ – shape, essence, replica, the expression of something that reflects or manifests fully and truly the essence of what something is) of a bondservant (doúlos – a slave, one who is in a permanent relation of servitude to another, his will being altogether consumed in the will of the other), and coming in the likeness (homoíōma – similitude, resemblance) of men.

And being found (or recognized) in appearance (schḗma – form, external appearance, mode) as a man, He (Christ’s actions) humbled Himself (tapeinóō – to bring low, to abase, to render oneself to a low condition) and became obedient (hupḗkoo –to submit to) to the point of death, even the death of the cross – Philippians 2:5-8.

Note the order:  First, Jesus voluntarily became a “bondservant” to His Father (not to any man), and then came in the “likeness of men.”   What does this order imply?

Simply this, there may be more to the Lord’s Supper than we have previously recognized.  And the meaning may be more than just remembering the physical suffering and death of our Lord on the cross.  It may also point to our need to reconfirm the promise we made to the Father when we first came to faith in Him— the promise of ourselves and our total surrender and commitment to Him.  Do you remember?

There is much to see in this passage.  So join us as we rediscover the wonder of the Lord’s Supper as we embrace the Higher Christian Life.

To download the slides for this message, click – HERE.
The Higher Christian Life

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


42:  To Reckon or Not Reckon, that is the Question

42: To Reckon or Not Reckon, that is the Question

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


The Cross Not Only Paid For Your Sins…

We have been looking at the three key truths that will allow you to experience the surrender that leads to the Higher Christian Life.  Let’s take a moment for a quick review.

Truth One – You are incapable of pleasing God or producing anything good with your flesh (your sinful nature) no matter how hard you try.  It cannot be done, has never been done, will never be done, by anybody, ever.  And you can find the foundation of Truth One in Romans 7:15-25, especially verse 18.

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find – Romans 7:18.

So Truth One states you can’t, no matter how hard you try.  But Truth Two reveals He can, beyond all you can imagine.  Truth Two reminds us that God has given you the Holy Spirit to live in you.  And one of His purposes for His Spirit dwelling in you is to work in you “both to will and to do (why) for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).  In other words, the Holy Spirit now living in you is able to do in you “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20).  And, by the way, the power that works “in us” is none other than the Holy Spirit.  (Note:  Did you notice how many times the phrase “in you” was used in this paragraph?  It is not something to gloss over lightly).

This brings us to Truth Three.   But first, a bit of warning.  Truth three is not something to be believed only, but to be experienced, just like the Higher Christian Life.  For without experiencing this truth, firsthand, you will not gain the wonderful benefit of it nor the changed life that comes with it.  Finally, all the benefits of Truth Three are contingent on faith.  And it is in your faith the enemy will attack.  Maybe even today.  So be forewarned.

Let’s look at Truth Three.


You Are Also to “Reckon” Yourself Dead to Sin

Truth Three states that when Christ was crucified, He took with Him to the cross not only your sins, but also your sinful nature (the “old man”).  Let that truth sink in for a moment.

Remember, your “old man” refers to your unregenerate human spirit consisting of the Adamic life prior to salvation.  And the “new man” refers to the regenerate human spirit, indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  Basically, the “old man” is all that you were before salvation, and the “new man” is all that you have become after salvation.  You can find these terms used in Romans 6:6, Ephesians 4:22 and 24, and Colossians 3:9-10, among other places.  It should be a familiar concept to you.  But one not usually carried to its logical conclusion.

Watch how this plays out so clearly in Romans 6.  First, the foundation:

For if (since, because) we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be (united together) in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that (what) our old man was crucified with Him, (why) that the body of sin might be done away with, (why) that we should no longer be slaves of sin – Romans 6:5-6.

Next, the logical progression based on the foundation:

For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if (since, because) we died (how) with Christ, we believe (our choice, see below) that we shall also live (how) with Him, (how) knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. (why) Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died (past tense), He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives (present tense), He lives to God – Romans 6:7-10.

And finally, the conclusion about our old man and his death on the cross.  But remember, this truth only becomes real to you by experience.  Or, as Romans says, when you “reckon yourself” to this truth.

Likewise (in the same manner) you (personal) also (like others who have experienced what you now seek), reckon (to impute, consider, count, reason, think, to be of the conviction) yourselves (personal) to be (present tense, currently, at this very moment, right now) dead indeed (truly, on the one hand) to sin, but (on the other hand) alive to God (how) in Christ Jesus our Lord – Romans 6:11.

Note the obvious, if you “reckon yourself” to this truth, its power becomes real to you.  But if by doubt or disbelief you refuse to believe what the Scriptures say about you and your old nature, you will still struggle with failure because, per Truth One, “you are incapable of pleasing God or producing anything good with your flesh (your sinful nature) no matter how hard you try.”  The choice of either being an overcomer or one who lives in constant defeat is based on the content of your faith.  You will either “reckon yourself” to be what the Scriptures say you are, or you will choose to take your eyes off Jesus and focus on the waves and sink like Peter (Matt. 14:30).

The choice is always yours.  Always.

The following is the sermon that goes into much greater detail about Truth Three than I can present in a short blog post.  I know it is much longer than the usual podcasts, but I would encourage you to listen and let your mind embrace the possibilities of Truth Three.  And remember, Satan cannot attack the truth.  He cannot make Truth Three not be true.  But he can, and he will attack your faith and belief in Truth Three.  And if he succeeds, the power found in Truth Three will be lost to you, and you will languish in defeat with your life of holiness and most likely fail to experience all of the Higher Christian Life.  Or, if you simply trust Him and “reckon” (to impute, consider, count, reason, think, to be of the conviction) yourself to be what the Scriptures say, then watch out, for the best is yet to come.

So choose wisely.

To download the slides for this message, click – HERE
The Higher Christian Life

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


41:  Holy Men Spoke as They Were Moved by the Spirit

41: Holy Men Spoke as They Were Moved by the Spirit

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


We Need Holy Men of God to be Moved by the Spirit

When we begin to seek God’s wisdom through a deep study of His Word, it is good to remind ourselves of exactly what we are doing and how the Bible is unique from all other literature.  It is more than the words of man, it is the very words of God.  I know, for the skeptics, that statement seems presumptuous, maybe even arrogant.  But it is nonetheless, true.

Let’s look at just two truths about the Scriptures that will begin to reveal to you the depth and character of His Word and the blessings that come from studying and applying it authoritatively to our lives.  First, the nature of His Word.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work – 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

This statement about Scripture seems clear enough.  But as you dig a bit deeper into the meaning of these words, you will find a treasure of truth hidden just beneath the surface.  Let’s begin by defining a few Greek words.

All (pás – each, every, any, the whole, in totality without exception) Scripture is given by inspiration of God (theópneustos – to breathe or blow, to be divinely inspired), and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work – 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Note, “all” (pás) means every bit of Scripture, from the list of names in Numbers to the judgments found in the Revelation.  But at the time this was written, all primarily referred to the Old Testament.

Note also, the word translated “inspiration of God” (theópneustos) only occurs in this passage and gives the idea of God breathing His Word into human men who were moved or inspired to record what God said.  It (theópneustos) is a compound word combining “God” and “to breathe.”  That is why some translators use “God-breathed” (NIV) or “breathed out” (ESV).  But in the end, the message is clear.  All Scripture (the Old Testament in this passage and the New Testament in 1 Cor. 2:9-16) is breathed by God and divinely inspired according to His will.  And, as such, it is flawless, perfect, infallible, unchangeable, true, and of immeasurable value, because it reflects the nature of its Author.  It is the Word of God.

All Scripture, “is given” to us, as a gift from God, “by” or through the “inspiration of God.”  Not the inspiration of man, but of God.  But some may ask how this process takes place?  What differentiates this inspiration from God from the inspiration Beethoven experienced, for example, when he composed his inspired symphonies?


What Does it Mean to be “Moved” by God?

Let’s see what Peter has to say about this important question.

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is (gínomai – to begin to be, comes into being or existence, originates, happens) of any private interpretation (or, it doesn’t originate in the mind of man), for prophecy never came by the will of man (or, it doesn’t originate in the volition of man), but holy men of God spoke as they were moved (phérō – to bring or carry along, to be continually carried) by the Holy Spirit – 2 Peter 1:20-21.

Look at the word, moved.  In Acts, this word is used to describe how the wind blows a ship across the water from one place to another (Acts 27:15, 17).  The imagery should not be lost on us.  Peter is describing how the Holy Spirit fills the sails of men with the breath of His Word and gives them divine inspiration and revelation to record what He wanted them to write down.  Sometimes God “breathed” His words into human writers in much the same way dictation is taken down.  For example, to Jeremiah God said, “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth” (Jer. 1:9).  But we will look more into this at a later time.

Remember, the only One who knows the mind of God is the Holy Spirit (John 15:26).  Therefore, only the Holy Spirit could have inspired the Scriptures.  As the verse says, “but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by (who) the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).  The Scriptures did not come from the inspiration or the mind of gifted, even spiritual, men.  No, the inspiration came from the Holy Spirit and was given to “holy men” who were moved or continually carried along as they wrote what was given to them to write.

This is the value of the Scriptures we hold in our hands.  But there is more.  There is a great benefit that comes to us by a study of God’s inspired Word.

And is profitable (ōphélimos – advantageous, helpful, useful, beneficial) for (1) doctrine, for (2) reproof, for (3) correction, for (4) instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work – 2 Timothy 3:17.

Note the four-fold blessings:  Doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness.  This is the path of sanctification, of living the Higher Christian Life.  But there is one last blessing we want to uncover in this verse, and it is found in the word, complete.  One of the goals of Scripture is that the “man of God may be complete, (how) thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

The word translated “complete” (ártios) means “qualified, proficient, fitted, capable, furnished or equipped with every necessary component for a task or purpose.”  Let that sink in for a moment.  God has supplied all we need to be all He wants us to be, right in His Word.  The key to experiencing intimacy with Him, to becoming His light among the darkness, to understanding the “mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:6), to be conformed to His image (Rom. 8:29), to realizing we are “complete in Him” (Col. 2:10)— everything imaginable, is found in His Word.  And it is given to us as a great blessing.  One that only needs to be read to be received.

So let’s begin this journey together, shall we?  Let’s look into God’s Word and see what of His wisdom we can claim for ourselves, what we can learn from Him as dearly beloved children, and how our faith in Him might grow as we see the day of His return approaching (Heb. 10:25).

The Higher Christian Life

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


What Happens When We Confess Our Sins

What Happens When We Confess Our Sins

Mary’s Redemption

The Chosen is one of the most moving portrayals of Christ that has ever been put on film.  And I’ve watched them all.  Every time I watch an episode, I am compelled to surrender more of my life to Jesus.  And this segment is no exception.

In this clip, you will see a perfect picture of how the Lord responds to us when we try to live the Higher Christian Life in the flesh and fail.  And we will always fail.  It can be no other way.

Do you remember the first of our three truths?  Truth one simply states that you are incapable of pleasing God or producing anything good with your flesh, your sinful nature, no matter how hard you try.  It cannot be done, has never been done, will never be done, by anybody, ever.  Why?  Because it says in Romans 7:18, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.”  Case closed.  End of story.  Done.

We must stop trying to do what only the Lord can do through us.  The Higher Christian Life is found in our surrender of ourselves to Him and Him living His life through us.  There is no place for self-effort.  Only self-surrender.


And If We Fail?

You will fail.  Count on it.  In fact, it’s in the Lord’s design for you to fail, to come to the end of yourself, and cling to Him in total surrender.  So when it happens, don’t run from God in shame like they did in the Garden.  Instead, confess your failure, admit your shame, acknowledge your inability to live a life of sanctification by your own efforts, and receive the forgiveness displayed in the short clip from the Chosen.

I think these next three minutes will show you what true forgiveness is all about.

Enjoy and be blessed.

Until He comes,

Steve



The Higher Christian Life

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


40:  Bible Study is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

40: Bible Study is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


First, What Does it Say?

Before we actually begin to look at the Proverbs to glean the wisdom of God, we first need to remind ourselves what Bible study entails and how to mine the depths of God’s Word for the treasure often buried just below the surface.  Note, we are committing ourselves to Bible study to experience God and His wisdom.  Not Bible skimming or even Bible reading.  Those may have their place in our spiritual lives, but not if we strive to have a deeper intimacy with the Lord and experience the Higher Christian Life.

Bible study is not a sprint.  We don’t begin with the goal of trying to get as much done in the least amount of time so we can cross this item off our to-do list and move on to something more important.  That is a recipe for failure, frustration, and a stagnant Christian life.  And it is a great slight to God’s inspired Word (2 Tim. 3:16).

No, Bible study is a marathon.  It is a life-long endeavor that produces a mature believer “thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17).  And it takes time, as all things of value do.  Proper Bible study is like the difference between dining on a fine meal in an upscale restaurant with close friends or whoofing down a Happy Meal in the front seat of your car alone.  Both meet your hunger needs.  But only one is a deeply satisfying, pleasurable experience.

There are just a few things we must know about any passage of Scripture we will study, especially if our goal is to have the Lord speak to us about something in our lives through His Word.  First, we need to know exactly what it says, what each word means.  Not just in our language today, but what it meant to those to whom it was written so many millennia ago.  After all, language changes.  And what something meant in English 75 years ago may not mean the same thing today.

For example, before the ’60s, when someone said, “Cool, man,” it was always about temperature.  But that all changed over time.  So that now, when we hear that statement, we never think it has something to do with how cold it is outside.  Or, in the time before World War II, the phrase “gay” had nothing to do with sexual orientation.  Instead, it referred to an attitude of cheerfulness and lighthearted excitement.  In 1934, Fred Astair and Ginger Roger starred in the movie, The Gay Divorcee.   This musical had nothing to do with the sexual orientation of either party.  But if that movie was released today, we would probably assume we knew the reason behind their divorce.  Ah, one of them was gay.  And this is how words can mean something different over time.

Understanding this, we need to know what a passage said when it was written, the culture in which it was written, and the people for whom it was written.  That is why a Greek and Hebrew Word Study Dictionary is so important.  But we’ll speak on that in a moment.


Then, What Does it Mean?

Then, after we determine what a passage says, we have to determine what it means.  And this is where the marathon part of Bible study comes in.  The rule is simply this; we do not move to another passage until we fully understand what our current passage means.  There is no skipping over it or “I’ll get back around to that later.”  Our task is to stop, prayerfully meditate on the passage, use whatever resources we have available to help us in our understanding (see below), ask the Lord to reveal His meaning to us, and wait until we discover His hidden treasure of truth, before moving on.  No matter how long it takes.

After all, if we spend an hour in His Word reading three chapters but get nothing out of it, we have wasted our time.  But if we spent the same amount of time on one verse and God reveals His will to us in that verse, we are encouraged, enlightened, changed, and growing in our likeness to His Son (Rom. 8:29).  And our lives are forever transformed by His Word.  It’s the marathon that builds endurance, not the sprint.

Let me close by giving you a few pointers to help in your Bible study.

1.  Slowly read the passage several times out loud.  Emphasize each word and phrase as you do.

2.  Ask questions about the text.  Who, what, where, why, how long, for what purpose, etc.

3.  Ask the Lord to show you why He led you to this part of His Word today?  What is He trying to show you?  What does He want to reveal to you?

4.  Spend some time studying each word?  What do they mean in Greek and Hebrew?  Is their meaning different than what I assume they mean today?  Has the language changed over time?  Hint:  Spend extra attention on the small words, all, any, if, then, know, but, etc.

5.  What are the implications of what I just read?  Why did God lead me to this passage today? How can I apply this in my life in both my actions and my attitude?  Is this further explained in the next few verses?

6.  Spend some time looking for other passages that will further explain and support what the Lord is saying in the passage you are studying.  And if so, where?  What is God trying to show me?

7.  What principles or truths can I learn about God?  Hint:  Make this about Him, and not you.  Is He showing you something about His character and nature in what you are studying?

8.  Finally, ask God to show you how to live in the truth He has just revealed.  This is where your faith grows.  Ask Him to place you in situations, no matter how difficult, where your faith in the truths He just revealed to you will be tested.  After all, we are promised in James 1:3, the “testing of our faith produces patience (hupomonḗ – endurance, the ability to withstand hardship or stress).”  And endurance is what we are seeking in the times in which we live.

Remember, Bible study is not a sprint, but a marathon.

Last quick point, you will need some resources to help with your Bible study.   Let me suggest the following:

Study Bible:
MacArthur Study Bible – NKJV.  This is probably the most important resource.  All translations are not equal, no matter how easy or difficult they are to read.

Greek and Hebrew Word Study Dictionaries:
The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament by Spiros Zodhiates
The Complete Word Study of the Old Testament by Spiros Zodhiates

Bible Commentary:  I would suggest using one from the latter part of the last century, such as the Pulpit Commentary, Spurgeon’s Notes and Sermons, etc.  However, if you are looking for something more contemporary, try the commentaries by John MacArthur and/or James Montgomery Boice or the writings of AW Pink.  Note:  Try not to do a random Google search for the meaning of a particular passage.  There is much truth and deception online about everything— source matters.

For solid Biblical answers online, try the following:

Blue Letter Bibleblueletterbible.org
Got Questionsgotquestions.org
CARM (Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry) – carm.org
Grace to Yougty.org
The Ministry of Chuck Misslerkhouse.org

Enjoy your time with Him, and tomorrow we will begin to do exactly what I have described in the book of Proverbs.

The Higher Christian Life

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


39:  How to Discover the Wisdom of God

39: How to Discover the Wisdom of God

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


Christ Jesus, Who Became For Us…

This past Sunday, we talked about how we as Christians and His church are to respond during the dark times we see encroaching all around.  What are we to do?  How are we to think and feel?  What is God’s will in all of this?

Just think about what we have experienced as a culture since the beginning of the year.

In DC, there was a rally turned riot (depending on how you view the events of January 6th) that many claim was the beginning of an insurrection against our government.  Not surprisingly, most of the media and the talking heads blamed this on Trump.  And now we have an active House investigation that will probably drag on into sometime next year designed to discredit Trump and his supporters.  Bring back any memories?

There has been a massive social media de-platforming of voices and opinions that dare to differ from the FPC (for public consumption) talking points of the left.  In fact, as of today, the head of the Taliban has a Twitter account to share their anti-American propaganda, yet our former President has been banned for life.  How does that happen in a free society?

The Covid-19 thing seems to never go away.  First lockdown, masks, social distancing, remote employment, shortages, restricted travel, canceled holidays, schools, sports, concerts, etc., and everything else that comes with an authoritarian nanny state.  Nonetheless, we all agreed to go along for the good of others and the fear of contracting Covid.  Then the miracle cure was rolled out at warp speed, the Vax, the Jab, which turned out to be neither a cure nor a miracle.  And the full-court press was on.  The pressure our society is piling on those who choose not to be vaccinated is unprecedented.  So much so, tens of thousands of nurses may lose their job in the next 45 days, among countless others, unless they submit themselves to a jab that has yet to be FDA approved and has a morbid history of ever-increasing harmful side-effects, including death.  This is discrimination at its worst.  But the voices of the media are silent.  How is that possible in America?

Corporate America, both large and small, is now requiring its employees to be fully vaccinated as a condition of continued employment.  Companies like Amazon, Amtrak, Citigroup, Delta, DoorDash, Facebook, Ford, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Tyson Food, Uber, United Air Lines, Walgreens, Walt Disney, and Walmart are leading the way.  And the list gets bigger every day.  When in our nation’s history was it legal for an employer to require an experimental vaccine, with documented harmful, short-term, and unknown long-term side effects, as a condition of continued employment?  But that seems to be our new reality.

Welcome to our brave new world.

On August 9th, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin wrote in a memo that the Pentagon will mandate full vaccinations (which now include all current and future boosters, with no end in sight) to members of the military and all Department of Defense employees by mid-September, if not sooner.  For those who refuse the mandate, the consequences are unclear at this moment.

Last year, many of our school children received a failed education due to Covid.  But they were passed anyway so as not to collapse the educational system.  Unfortunately, we learned zoom classrooms are a poor substitute for face-to-face learning for millions of young children.  And masked face-to-face learning cripples social development in our children.  But once again, here we go down that same failed trail of fully masked children in school, regardless of their vaccination status.  Why?

As a people, the trust in our sacred institutions, school, government, courts, media, the press, and the church, are at an all-time low.  The constant barrage, 24/7, of competing opinions and differing experts talking out of both sides of their mouths makes us wonder, who can we trust?  Who speaks the truth?  Who do we turn to for direction?  And for the believer, the church is just as divided on these issues as the rest of those who do not know our Lord.  So, who speaks for God today?  And who can help us sort all of this out for my family and me?

And the list can go on.  Inflation, the immigration crisis at the Southern border, corruption in our government, the supply line breakdown and corresponding shortages of goods and raw materials, BLM, our national Afghanistan facepalm, rioting in our cities, China and Taiwan, natural disasters such as drought, wildfires, earthquakes, and tsunamis, just to name a few.  “And the beat goes on.”

So what is the church to do?  How can we know what our Christian response should be, must be, to what may soon be forced upon each of us?  Is this all part of the end times?  Are we just watching the death rattle of the American experiment?  Or is it both?


…Wisdom From God

Not surprisingly, the answer is found in discovering more of God, and for a good reason.  What we need is wisdom from God to know what to do and how to respond, which is only found in Jesus Christ.  And God’s wisdom is imputed to us by the Holy Spirit who, as we talked about in detail last week, now lives in each of us.   In closing, consider this incredible verse.

But of Him (or because of Him or by His doing) you are (what) in Christ Jesus, who became (gínomai – to begin to be, to come into existence) for us (you and me, the church, the called-out ones)
(1) wisdom from God— and
(2) righteousness and
(3) sanctification and
(4) redemption— that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD” – 1 Corinthians 1:30-31.

The wisdom of God we so desperately need literally “began to be” or “came into existence” in us in Christ Jesus.  He “became for us” the wisdom from God, the righteousness of God, our sanctification in God, and our redemption to God.  All these attributes, so badly needed today, are found in Him.  And He now lives in us in the Holy Spirit.

So for the next few days, we are going to continue what we began on Sunday and look at God’s book of wisdom, the Proverbs, using the tools we discussed (and will review later) to discover the source of all the answers, to all the questions, that trouble us today.  And when you hear from God and His glorious wisdom becomes second-nature to you, then whatever darkness comes your way, whatever may happen tomorrow, you will confidently say, “Thy will be done” (Matt. 6:10), and “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20).

The Higher Christian Life

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


38:  What Are You Lacking in Your Spiritual Life?

38: What Are You Lacking in Your Spiritual Life?

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


What Do You Need From Him the Most?

Yesterday we showed how the Holy Spirit, who now lives in you, is fully capable of meeting any need you might have.  After all, He is fully God in every sense of the word.  So it would stand to reason that as God, the Holy Spirit is all-powerful (omnipotent), all-knowing (omniscient), and ever-present (omnipresent), among the other attributes of the Almighty.  So whatever your need, I think He can handle it.  Don’t you?

Remember, He is all you need.  So there is never any reason to look elsewhere for self-worth, confidence, purpose, protection, power, deliverance, love, acceptance, or any of the other myriad of needs that keep us up late at night.  Because only He can meet our deepest needs, and He meets them in Himself, by simply being who He is.

I know He can meet all my needs, but exactly how does the Spirit do that?  And what specific needs does He fulfill?  Let’s look at just a few.

Holiness – Do you need to find the key to living a life of holiness or sanctification before the Lord?  And do you find yourself falling flat on your face, again and again, every time you try?  No surprise.  The only One who can live a life of holiness through you is One whose primary attribute is holiness— and that is the Holy Spirit.  Not the Merciful Spirit, the Loving Spirit, or the Longsuffering Spirit, but the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Holiness.  As in One who is primarily defined as holy.

When you yield your life to Him in surrender and allow Him to live His life through you (which again is the way to experience the Higher Christian Life), you will find His presence rubbing off on every area of your life.  And the result?  Holiness.

Power over Sin – Do you feel somewhat powerless to stand against the attack of the evil one and the lust of your own flesh?  Again, no surprise there.  Welcome to living as a light in the darkness (Matt. 5:14-16).  The Christian life is always a battle.  But the battle is not fought in the flesh, nor can it ever be won that way (see Truth One).  It is a battle waged in the spirit, by the Spirit, equipped with spiritual armor (Eph. 6:11), for fighting spiritual forces of evil (Eph. 6:12).  Consider the following.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh – 2  Corinthians 10:3.

Even though we are simply flesh and blood on the outside, on the inside, we are mighty in God because He lives in us.  In fact, we no longer belong to ourselves since His presence has made us a “temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you” (1 Cor. 9:19).  So when we rely on His Spirit, we become powerful weapons in the hands of a mighty God that brings fear in the quaking heart of the evil one.  Again, consider the following:

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (of the flesh) but mighty (able, strong, powerful) in God for pulling down (to cast down, demolish) strongholds (fortress), casting down arguments, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ – 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.

Spiritual battles are fought in the spirit and by the power of the Holy Spirit.  And with the Holy Spirit now living in you, there is no need ever to fear defeat.  So if you need the power to stand against temptation, know you already possess all the power you need.  Rest easy. The Holy Spirit lives in you.


You Got a Need, He’s Got the Solution

But there is more.

Christ to Become Real (the Higher Christian Life) – Finally, if you need to have Christ become real to you, to become more than a distant relative or a historical Biblical figure, the Person delegated to make that happen is the Holy Spirit.  He was the One given to replace Jesus in our lives (John 14:16).  But He doesn’t stand beside us or around us or near us like Jesus did His disciples.  Better yet, He lives in us.

Before departing, Jesus promised His disciples He would not “leave you orphans” but would “come to you” (John 14:18).  And this promise followed His promise of the Holy Spirit, which Jesus said would “dwell with you” and be “in you” (John 14:17).  In other words, since Jesus was departing from them and His disciples were obviously sad and worried, Jesus then promised to replace Himself in their lives with the Holy Spirit.  He then went on to say it was actually better for them for Him to depart because only then would He send the Holy Spirit (John 16:7).  That’s quite a big promise.

Remember, the Holy Spirit was tasked with revealing to us all about Jesus and bringing to our memory everything He ever said and did (John 14:26).  So the more we know the Spirit, the more we get to know Jesus, whom the Spirit will reveal.  And the more we know Jesus, the more we know the Father (John 14:7), whom the Son will reveal.  And for us, this chain of blessing all begins with knowing the Holy Spirit who lives in us.  Or surrendering our lives to Him so He can live His life through us (Rom. 12:1-2).  Surrender to the Holy Spirit is the essence of the Higher Christian Life.

One last thought.  The apostle Paul said the One who reveals to us all God has promised to those who love Him, yes, to you and me, is the Spirit of God.  It is the One living in each of us who shows us how blessed we are in Him.

But as it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” – 1 Corinthians 2:9.

Then how will we know what God has prepared for us?

But God has revealed them to us (how) through His Spirit.  For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.  For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?  Even so no one knows the things of God except (who) the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, (why) that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God – 1 Corinthians 2:10-12.

How can it get any better than this?  What do you need that you don’t already have?

In closing, whatever your need or prayer or request, Christ has already pre-positioned the answer to your problem or desire or longing in the Holy Spirit who lives in you.  All you will ever need you already have in Him.  So what is there to worry about?  What need do you have that is so great God is unable to handle?  What joy and happiness do you crave that He cannot provide?  What?  That’s right.  Nuthin’.

Again, rejoice for what you have in Him.   And rest easy as our world gets darker.

The Higher Christian Life

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


37:  He is All You Will Ever Need… Ever!

37: He is All You Will Ever Need… Ever!

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


And You Are Complete in Him – Colossians 2:10

We have spent some time discovering the spiritual fullness of realizing that the Holy Spirit, who is fully God in every sense, lives in us.  Not around us or beside us or with us, but in us.  And since He is God, what more do we need?  Why do we desire less when we already have everything?  What does the landfill have to offer us that is more alluring than a week at the beach or a five-day trip to Disney World?  It doesn’t make much sense, does it?

Yet, we still try to find satisfaction and purpose outside of God when the source of all we could ever want or need or be now lives in us.  And to make matters worse, once we come to understand our purpose in life and that our desire is found only in Him, we still try to serve Him in the flesh, by our own strength and resources, with dismal results.  Again, it doesn’t make much sense, does it?

Remember where we are in this process.  We have been looking at the second of three truths that will rid you of the guilt and shame of failure in your search for the Higher Christian Life.  These truths, once internalized, will give you the courage and ability to live the “abundant” life in Christ (John 10:10) by the power of the Holy Spirit (which is the only way it can be experienced), and not in the weakness and pride of self-will and fleshly determination.  Let’s quickly review.

Truth One states you are incapable of pleasing God or producing anything good with your flesh, no matter how hard you try (Rom. 7:18).  This is the bad news.  But the good news states in Truth Two that God has given you the Holy Spirit to live and dwell in you for the purpose, among other things, “both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).  In other words, what is impossible to do by your own strength and resources, God has graciously supplied by the Spirit— who now lives in you.  It really doesn’t get any better than that.  But what exactly does it all mean?

Just think, in the same way God provided His Son to die for the forgiveness of your sins, He also now provides His Spirit to dwell in you so you may experience the power to live in the newness of life (Rom. 6:4) and have all your needs met by Him.  Not just your need for salvation, but also your need for a Savior (Titus 2:13-14), for Someone to act as your perfect, atoning, sacrifice (1 John 2:2), or for an intermediary between you and a holy God (1 Tim. 2:5).  Yes, literally “all” your needs.

Look at the needs the Spirit met in Paul’s life.  Note, these were not just spiritual needs, but all his needs.

Past Experience:  I know how to be based (to be brought low, humbled, especially in regards to basic needs), and I know how to abound (abundance, excess, to have more than enough).  Everywhere and in all things (each, every, the whole, in totality, without exception) I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

Lesson Learned:  I can do all things (each, every, the whole, in totality, without exception) through Christ who strengthens me – Philippians 4:12-13.

Paul learned faith by experiencing both need and abundance.  And it was the Holy Spirit living in him that imparted to him the strength to overcome all obstacles and to rejoice always in all situations (Phil. 4:4).  But this just doesn’t apply to Paul.  The promise is for each of us today.

Promise from God:  And my God shall supply (to make full, to supply abundantly, to impart richly) all your need (how) according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus – Philippians 4:19.

That’s all your needs— everything you need.  God will supply, with great abundance, all of what you will ever need in this life and in the life to come, according to the unfathomable riches in His glory, by and through Christ Jesus our Lord.  This is the promise from the Father to you.


There is Nothing You Need He has not Already Supplied

But there is more.

Again, just as the blood of Christ covered all your sins, so you never have to look anywhere, or to anyone else to cover them again (Col. 1:14), so the Holy Spirit has also provided for all your needs so you never have to look anywhere or to anyone else in order to have them met.  And this is especially true about meeting your own needs yourself.  See Truth One.  If Christ’s death on the cross was sufficient to pay the penalty for your sins, then the Holy Spirit indwelling in you is also sufficient to meet all your needs, both spiritually and otherwise.  To believe anything else make the Spirit less than God.

And again, just as in your salvation, it was God who did all the work, and all we had to do was receive, by faith, what God had provided for us.  Remember, “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor. 1:30a).  It is because of Him.  Look to what great lengths the Lord went to bring you to Himself.

For whom He foreknew (God’s action), He also predestined (God’s action) to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.  Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called (God’s action); whom He called, these He also justified (God’s action); and whom He justified, these He also glorified (God’s action) – Romans 8:29-30.

And in the same way, we must receive by faith what the Spirit has already provided for us in regards to living and experiencing the Higher Christian Life.  When we received the Spirit, we received all of Him and with Him everything we need for a life of sanctification, holiness, service, and joy.  After all, He is God.  And we know we cannot produce anything of eternal value from within ourselves by our own strength or resources (see Truth One).  But the Spirit comes to us with a truckload of gifts and Godly attributes the world cannot understand, nor receive, nor ever experience.  They are only reserved for those who belong to Him.  They are called fruits of the Holy Spirit, and by them, we can experience the abundant life in Christ— the Higher Christian Life.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Against such there is no law – Galatians 5:22-23.

And what do we do with these great blessings of Spiritual fruit?  We live in them by letting the Spirit live through us.  We embrace the life of surrender, the Higher Christian Life.

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit – Galatians 5:25.

So rejoice in Him today.  For you have everything you need, right now, to live a life of godliness and holiness, a life pleasing to the Lord (2 Pet. 1:3).  And let’s begin to experience the Higher Christian Life today.

The Higher Christian Life

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


It’s Elegantly Responsive

Aenean consectetur ipsum ante, vel egestas enim tincidunt quis. Pellentesque vitae congue neque, vel mattis ante. In vitae tempus nunc. Etiam adipiscing enim sed condimentum ultrices. Cras rutrum blandit sem, molestie consequat erat luctus vel. Cras nunc est, laoreet sit amet ligula et, eleifend commodo dui. Vivamus id blandit nisi, eu mattis odio.

  • Smart 50% 50%
  • Flexible 80% 80%
  • Beautiful 40% 40%

With Our Most Advanced Page Builder Yet.

Vestibulum lobortis. Donec at euismod nibh, eu bibendum quam. Nullam non gravida purus dolor ipsum amet sit.

Signup Today For Instant Access

Join today and get access to Divi, as well as our other countless themes and plugins.