Posted in coaching

when the lost persecutes

You know it’s wrong to hate. But what if YOU are hated? Let’s look at one of those Jesus statements that we don’t like.

“Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt 10:21-22). What kind of Devo Tip is this? 

How can the gospel, which offers a message of hope, love, and grace, be taken as an evil thing, and its message-bearers as deserving heart-wrenching intimidation and betrayal? In Matthew 10, Jesus forces us to consider the reality of “lostness”—which is harder to accept when it comes to family and friends. But it gets even tougher for us when “the lost” persecutes. 

When you share the good news about Jesus, you are not likely to be called “Beelzebul” (“the prince of demons,” Matt 10:25). Being labeled as “narrowminded” or “backward” isn’t so bad. But what if you’re called an “extremist” or “radical” or worse?

  1. Persecution aims to silence or bait you—but God wants to sanctify the words of your mouth. “Do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say … For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Matt 10:20).
  2. Persecution often creates a strawman fallacy (it alters and exaggerates to attack the extreme distortion)—but God wants to get creative and reveal himself through you. “It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master” (Matt 10:25).
  3. Persecution intends to paralyze you—but God intends to deliver you from all your fears. “Have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops” (Matt 10:26-27).   
“When people realize it is the living God you are presenting and not some idol that makes them feel good, they are going to turn on you, even people in your own family. There is a great irony here: proclaiming so much love, experiencing so much hate! But don’t quit … Don’t be intimidated. Eventually everything is going to be out in the open, and everyone will know how things really are. So don’t hesitate to go public now. Don’t be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands” (Matthew 10:21-28, The Message).
Posted in coaching

spiritual reading

In last week’s Devo Tip, we learned that the incarnation was an event and a vital principle in discipleship. God not only embodied his word in the person of Jesus; he intends to embody his word within our character. What kind of reading does that?

There are four common reading techniques that people use today. 

  • Skimming = glancing to grasp the main idea 
  • Scanning = searching for something in particular 
  • Intensive reading = highly focused to understand as much as possible 
  • Extensive reading = less focused to cover large amounts of material 

But how can you read the Bible in such a way that it becomes who you are? Is there another way to read? Yes! Some people call it: “spiritual reading.” Spiritual reading reads words in order to be formed by the living Word. Want to try it? It’s simple. 

  1. Acknowledge and ask. Before you begin reading, acknowledge God’s presence and simply ask the Lord to speak through his word. Then believe that he will. 
  2. Read buffet-styleFirst, scope it out (slowly read the passage two or three times). Notice what you are being drawn to (a specific word or phrase). Now you’re ready to “reach for the plate” (hear God’s voice in Scripture). 
  3. Enter NarniaBy quietly lifting your thoughts and heart to the Lord, the Holy Spirit will begin to open up a new reality (a truth about living in God’s kingdom). Whatever the Holy Spirit reveals to you will always be consistent with what the biblical author intended. 
  4. Walk in the light. Carry your devotional “plate” with you all day and be ready to serve it up to others! Awakening to kingdom realities will require faith in God and humble obedience.

You can do this! Quiet yourself in God’s presence and ask the Lord of Scripture to reveal himself in Scripture. There is a reason that Jesus embodies his word within your character. His very life is being formed in you because he wants to reveal himself to others through you. Let the adventures begin.