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11/11/14

Introducing Disciples Academy Verses


You may be familiar with Disciples Academy, an interactive website designed to help Christians to disciple others which can also be used as a self-study guide to help you grow in your faith, but did you know the ministry just released a new smartphone app?

Disciples Academy Verses is a resource of Disciples Academy, a division of Real Truth Matters Ministries, and exists to help Christ followers around the world hide the Word of God in their hearts. Equipped with an easy to use memorization plan and review calendar, users can easily practice the spiritual discipline of Scripture memory as their spirits are renewed and cleansed by the washing of water by the Word.


 

This app is based on memorizing one Scripture per week with periodic, built-in weeks of review. Every fourth week is a review of all previous verses memorized. 

Download for iPhones.
Download for Android

11/05/14

The Motivational Power of God's Love


It is God's love for us that motivates our crazy love for God and for others.

If all you have is a testimony of God's gracious love the day He saved you, you are not current in your relationship with God. You can't be. Because if you are in daily fellowship with God what is God doing to you? He's loving you. He's filling your love tank. Marriage counseling that tries to motivate spouses to fill up each other's love tank is nonsense. "Husband fill up your wife's love tank and she'll fill up yours." That simply means, "Scratch my back and I'll scratch yours." God is talking about a love so deep and transforming that if they don't fill up your love tank or show you any love at all you are still overflowing with the best kind of love--His.

If all you can tell me about experiencing God's love is your conversion story, you are not in fellowship with Him today. I'm not disputing you got saved; I'm simply saying you did like most Christians after conversion and went backwards into works. You're not living by grace through faith; you're living by your works. God doesn't respond to your works, have you noticed?

When is the last time prayer had power to it? When is the last time the Word of God was alive? You say the Word doesn't speak to you anymore, well, no wonder. "Without faith it's impossible to please Him. Those who come to God must believe that He is and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." It's not what we can do for Him that connects us to God--it's faith. Faith is the only thing He responds to.

You can make promises and pledge your life all you want and He won't respond to any of that if it's not of faith. You can pray every day, eight hours a day, but without faith you're not going to move the heart of God. But when you pray in faith you can pray and God will show up. He responds only to your trust in Him. If you're not looking for God's love daily in the circumstances and problems of your life, then you are not living by faith in the love of God. If you're not experiencing answers to prayers, fellowship, the power and love and grace of God, then your life is normal like everyone else's life, believer or nonbeliever. There's nothing different about your life.

But Jesus says those in His kingdom live solely and completely on the love of God, who is merciful, who loves His enemies, who does good to those who hate Him, who blesses those who spitefully use Him. That's talking about me. Is it you, too? You spitefully use God. You get mad at God because He didn't answer a prayer your way. But what does He do? He keeps on loving you. He doesn't kick you out of His house. He doesn't disown you. He doesn't write you out of His will. He lovingly chastens you and brings you back to Himself. This is the kind of God we serve and when I see Him and trust Him for that, then I can release His love through me to others. 

For more: listen, watch, or read the manuscript from Making Disciples.

10/31/14

Martin Luther: Feelings come and feelings go


"Feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving;
My warrant is the Word of God--
Naught else is worth believing.

Though all my heart should feel condemned
For want of some sweet token,
There is One greater than my heart
Whose Word cannot be broken.

I'll trust in God's unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever,
For, though all things shall pass away,
His Word shall stand forever!"

-Martin Luther


10/21/14

Elisabeth Elliot: Learning the Father's Love

 By Elisabeth Elliot

When my brother Dave was very small we spent a week at the seaside in Belmar, New Jersey.

In vain my father tried to persuade the little boy to come into the waves with him and jump, promising to hold him safely and not allow the waves to sweep over his head. He took me (only a year older] into the ocean and showed Dave how much fun it would be. Nothing doing. The ocean was terrifying. Dave was sure it could mean certain disaster, and he could not trust his father. On the last day of our vacation he gave in. He was not swept away, his father held him as promised, and he had far more fun than he could have imagined, whereupon he burst into tears and wailed, "Why didn't you make me go in?" 

An early lesson in prayer often comes through an ordeal of fear. We face impending adversity and we doubt the love, wisdom and power of our Father in heaven. We've tried everything else and in our desperation we turn to prayer--of the primitive sort: here's Somebody who's reputed to be able to do anything. The great question is, can I get Him to do what I want? How do I twist His arm, how persuade a remote and reluctant deity to change His mind?

For the rest of Learning the Father's Love, download the free September/October edition of RTM Magazine.

10/15/14

Participation in the Gospel


We like our Gospel to be cut and dried. 
 

When giving the Gospel we desire to get to the point--we are all sinners, Jesus came and died for our sins, by faith in Jesus our sins can be forgiven and our guilt removed, so when we die we can go to heaven and live forever. One neat package. All it needs is the bow, and it's ready to give away.

We must not think the sinner has to become a first-rate theologian before he or she can be converted. Nor must we complicate the Gospel message with periphery issues like election, free will, eschatological issues, or church membership. No argument--the Gospel of Jesus is simple, but it isn't simplistic.

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The call to preach the simple message of grace has been confused and reduces the Gospel to a few common denominators. This reduction has oversimplified the Gospel. That is why most people think of the Gospel in terms of Jesus dying so we can go to heaven when we die. Salvation is something that happened to me in the past and until I die nothing else is on my salvation radar. This mindset is the result of this reductionism. Therefore, most people sitting on church pews are mostly unexcited and uninvolved. The Gospel doesn't motivate them to live; it only motivates them to die and go to heaven. Thus, in between conversion and dying, most Christians don't know how to live.

We modern expositors of the Bible have presented a Gospel in seed form, but in doing so we have lost the root, vine, branches, and fruit of the Gospel. We've made the act of salvation punctiliar, something occurring at a definite point in time, by making it historical, an event that happened to a sinner in the past. 

 

 

The New Testament writers' Gospel package was much larger than ours, and although simple, its simplicity was enhanced by the beauty of its complexity. It is both simple and complex. There is a depth in the Gospel that is matched only by God's omniscience, because that is where its origin lies--in the infinite wisdom of God. The apostles would never be guilty of stating that salvation is something that happened to a person in the past. They saw the movement of salvation starting in a person's past, when they trusted Christ, and continuing into the unending and ever unfolding eons of eternity. Especially the Apostle Paul. 

Take 1 Corinthians 9:23 for example. Paul says that everything he did was for the Gospel and so he could participate in it.

Now this I do for the gospel's sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.

Paul did everything he did not only to save some as he says in verse 22 but also that in the end, he too will be saved. This is not an unusual way for the apostle to talk. He said in similar fashion to Timothy, "Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you" (1 Timothy 4:16). 

This plays with our minds and makes our little neat Gospel package appear as it is: too small. What does Paul mean that he "may be partaker" of the Gospel? And what did Timothy understand when his mentor said, "save both yourself and those who hear you"? Both Paul and Timothy were already saved, weren't they? Yes, in the way we speak of salvation, but Paul saw salvation much better than we do. He knew that it was more than something that happened to him on a road leading to Damascus. He believed the Gospel was more than just an evangelistic message but also a way of life. It not only was a telling of what Jesus did on the cross but what Jesus continued to do in Paul that made him the man, the witness, the preacher, and the apostle he was.

For the rest of Participation in the Gospel, download the free September/October edition of RTM Magazine.

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