As the temperature drops outside, and what was once “morning dew” becomes a seamless carpet of frost, I’m glad to dwell in a heated home. Doubtlessly, nearly every person is now utilizing their heater to offset the crippling winter cold. In such a simple heating system, I draw your attention to the thermostat. This simple device has one function, to set the temperature of the house. We have all used one at some point and realize its vital function. The user defines the acceptable minimum temperature, and the device allows an electric current to turn on the heat until the desired level is reached. I wonder in a world that has grown cold towards God, what our spiritual thermostat is set at? I wonder what we allow our minimum baseline level of spiritual heat to be? We would all agree that keeping a home at 40°F (4.4°C) is below an acceptable level for anyone to dwell therein. Might heaven be asking us to turn our spiritual thermostats to a higher level? Might there be a temperature that God is more comfortable and capable to move in? What is our thermostat currently set for and what should it be set for?
In my daily bible reading/devotional, I just came across an interesting scripture:
2Sam 18:32-33 And the king said unto Cushi, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Cushi answered, The enemies of my lord the king, and all that rise against thee to do thee hurt, be as that young man is. (33) And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!
One of the most important biblical pillars, after the New Birth (Jn 3:5), is that of “Evangelism.” Jesus even reduced and summarized His entire purpose on the earth by saying, “the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luk 19:10). If Jesus’s entire purpose was to seek and save the lost, shouldn’t we similarly value the redemption of our neighbors? In-fact, the second greatest command is to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matt 22:39). What greater expression of love is there, than to invite those around us to become joint partakers in eternal salvation? I could write hundreds of pages on the subject of evangelism, but let’s consider instead several brief quotations and scriptures on the subject.
I remember a self proclaimed “atheist” who visited a small church I was at. After the service, I shook his hand and will never forget his remark. He said, “you all have mastered the hypnotic effect and use of music to ‘make us’ feel something. Even I felt something and wanted to praise God.” My response was simple, “What you felt was God, not us. There’s not a person in here who has been educated in hypnosis. And this sort of praise is biblical, that’s why you feel led to do it, so feel free to jump in!” Certainly, the first exposure to an authentic Spirit-filled church service will be new, lively, and powerful. Rest assured though, that the ecstatic and heartfelt praise exhibited is indeed biblical.
Mat 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Sometimes the simplest instructions are the hardest to obey. In this passage Jesus is delivering the “Sermon on the Mount” (Mat 5:1-2). By the end of which, his audience was “astonished at his doctrine” (Mat 7:28) and the authority commanded by his teachings (Mat 7:29). I can’t help but wonder if such astonishment was partially derived from a profound revelation of the Mat 6:33 and its implications. This passage requires a radical framework of prioritization for all Christians.
Speaking in tongues is an experience that is rapidly spreading throughout the world. Mention of the topic evokes heated debate, emotions, and critics from many liturgical groups. Yet, despite the criticism, the “Pentecostal” movement has been increasing exponentially. Several years ago, researchers found that there were over 500 million of these “Pentecostals” in the world, the movement is estimated to grow to over 1 billion by 2050. This beckons the question, “is speaking in tongues a ‘counterfeit’ to many, a ‘fake’ to the faint, or is it a ‘promise’ to all?”
Objectors of speaking in tongues rely predominately on a small selection of scripture. After reading over 30 published books/articles criticizing the subject, meeting with several denominations of theologians/pastors, and attending doctrinal university classes of a liturgical faith – the argument against tongues is consistently and solely based off of an interpretation of 1Cor 13:8.
1Cor 13:8 KJV Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
Certainly one of the greatest prophets recorded in the Word of God was Elijah. Interestingly, we are provided little on his upbringing, education, and profession. However, the first abrupt appearance of “Elijah” in the Bible hints at the manner of man this was.
1Kings 17:1 (KJV) And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead […]
Thus, Elijah was dropped into the scriptures suddenly, proclaiming only that he was “the Tishbite.” The significance of this is profound. It is a city never mentioned previously in the bible. There had yet been no note-worthy prophets, leaders, men, or women that had ever come from here. It is a city, where many theologians submit, that was full of laborers who were un-kept, leather skinned, hairy, and un-educated. Therefore, the expectation surrounding this “Tishbite,” Elijah, was poised to achieve an equal insignificance. Simply put, no-one would expect much out of this insignificant man, from an insignificant family, in an insignificant city.