Life Assurance Policy

Life Assurance Policy

 

Last week I pulled my phone out of my pocket and it fell flat on it’s screen. I could hear the crushing of the glass on impact. Sure enough, it was shattered. Little pieces of glass hanging on, while others left holes where it used to be. As I tried to slide my finger across, small chards of glass would fall out. Good thing I got Apple Care! Sort of…

Apple’s insurance policy is called Apple Care. You pay a fee when you purchase your device and you are covered for 2 years. Covered just means you don’t have to pay the full price of what they would normally charge you, but you still have to pay. In some ways, I guess it’s like a deductible for any other insurance policy.

The whole insurance system is such an incredible thing. There are brilliant people that are employed as actuaries. Actuarial Science measures and manages risk and uncertainty. These professionals can calculate the expectancy of your life by analyzing certain factors. With this calculation they will determine how much you should pay in premiums for specific policies that you apply for. Amazing! Not too long ago I took out a life insurance policy. Seems I’m actually worth more dead than alive! The other thing I have been looking into is long-term care insurance. So many forms of insurance we need to consider all based on the unknown. We pay insurance premiums because we don’t know what might happen. There is one area of life that I know what the outcome will be. No insurance needed.

All too many people live out their faith as though it were an insurance policy. Fear of the unknown after death leads people to church. They are seeking answers and hope. They want to find peace and comfort in their fear of death. Sunday worship attendance, midweek Bible study and service in the church are nothing short of individuals paying a premium for their Afterlife Insurance policy.

This is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. When the truth of the gospel is revealed to you by the Holy Spirit that is your Life Assurance Policy. John 10 is rich in the depth of the theology of assurance. Verse 27-30 says:

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

            When you hear the Lord’s voice and recognize it is the voice of the Good Shepherd, you have no fear. No one can snatch you from the Father’s hand. I can see those in the church that live out their faith like an insurance policy. Their faith in Jesus is important for their death. Education, career and other things are more important in life. We put the majority of our focus of the things of this life and give money to the church, attend when we can, say prayers before our meals so that when we die, we know we have paid our premiums every month. True faith in Christ does not work that way.

You see, Jesus paid all your premiums in advance we couldn’t afford it. He paid it on the cross. Jesus is in the business of assurance, not insurance. When someone truly understands the gospel, I see a different faith lived out. Christ is the most important over everything in life and death. Those with the assurance policy of the Holy Spirit have a freedom about them. They have a peace that surpasses all understanding. Everything they do becomes worship and obedience to the One who paid it all. When you hear the voice of the Shepherd and you recognize it is the Lord, you cannot do anything else in life apart from Him.

How are you living your faith? Is it an After-life Insurance Policy? Or are you living with the full assurance that the Holy Spirit has revealed to you that Jesus Christ is Lord!? The way you live reflects the heart that seeks insurance or has assurance in what is beyond this life. -jason

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Where the Blame Lies

Where the Blame Lies

Last week I took Jonah to the dentist. Recently they found cavities so we went in to fill it. We declined the laughing gas and we were not in favor of the restraint netting that was available. We just prayed he would be fine.

Anticipation grew as we walked up to the door. We checked in and watched the fishes in the waiting room aquarium for a bit. Then they called his name, “Jonah?” We began the walk down the hall all the way to the back of the office. My usually talkative boy was now silent, gripping my hand with uncertainty. His gaze was locked on to the chair at the end of the hall. He knew it was for him. Quietly and confidently he climbed into the chair, no words. He laid back, did not make a noise and barely moved a muscle until everything was done.

Anxiety was probably more my issue than Jonah’s. I hate the dentist. Anything outside of regular cleaning freaks me out. I start to feel like I can’t breath when they are working on me. Here, my three-year-old son had to deal with that. As they moved from numbing gel to the needle I could feel my heartbeat rise. Then they used a tool to keep his mouth open and stuck a rubber dam over his mouth. I feel like I’m about to hyperventilate. Then, THE DRILL. “Poor guy…” I thought to myself.

Then it hit me. This is my fault. My son has cavities and needs to go through this, because of me. When all three of my kids went to the dentist, Aubrey had no cavities, Kamryn had two cavities and Jonah had FOUR! I see the pattern. When Aubrey was younger, we would brush her teeth all the time. As she got older we allowed her to brush her own. Kamryn still had some overlap where we would brush both of the girls together. Jonah, on the other hand, was launched into independence. Sometimes he seems so much older than he is. He’s almost the same size as Kamryn and he can certainly hold his own in conversation. He demands his independent with many other things. He’s three. I forget that sometimes. I easily neglect that when I instruct the kids, “Okay, time to brush your teeth.”

It seems to me this happens in many other areas of life. I’m not sure how mentorship was over the years, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of it now. People are just launched into things when they might not be ready. This is not an age thing either. Yes, I believe the younger generations tend to be less humble and have some delusions of entitlement. The older generation frowns upon that and scoffs at the young ones. Many in the older generation on the other hand live by the way things were, “When I was younger…” When the younger generation hears this they roll their eyes and completely disregard their elders. This is where the blame LIES. I’m not talking about where it falls, but where it deceives us. When we place blame on generations we deceive ourselves in thinking our way is the best way and we drive a wedge in mentorship and the exponential growth that can come from collaboration. The older generation has been through the fire. Their experience and wisdom are invaluable. The younger generations are in tune with our rapidly changing society. More than ever, the changes in our society literally happen overnight. When we blame others we lie to ourselves that we don’t need each other. We NEED each other. We need mentorship.

This is not an age issue. I see this dynamic in the church. People make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. They raise their hand or walk down an aisle and get baptized. We give them a Bible as a gift and we say, “Now go follow Jesus!” We forget to walk with them in their faith, we forget that they are just children in their relationship with Jesus. We forget that they still need help “brushing their teeth” and they are walking around with spiritual cavities. These can be children and these can be senior citizens. I believe we have many infants in our churches walking around with spiritual cavities. Some may have been infants for decades, all the while believing they can “brush their own teeth”.

We are Christians because the Spirit has revealed to us the truth of the gospel and led us to repentance. True repentance only comes when we recognize we are all victims of sin and totally corrupt apart from God’s wonderful grace. This grace was extended through us from Jesus Christ, fully man and fully God, who was crucified and brought back from the dead. That’s intense! This is why we need to start with the milk, and be mentored into solid food. 1 Peter 2:1-3 says:

“Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.”

The Bible is also full of instructions for mentoring. One verse I like to reflect on is Proverbs 27:17:

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”

This verse is a great reminder for accountability in general, but true understanding of accountability sees the importance of mentorship.

While we start off with the spiritual milk, we must grow in our faith. In 1 Corinthians 3 Paul tells the church that they were not ready for solid food:

“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly.”

Instructing the church on various issues Paul continues to use the imagery of a child, but urges the believers not to remain there:

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” 1 Corinthians 13:11

“Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.” 1 Corinthians 14:20

We must consider seriously the call for mentorship. Younger people, humble yourselves and listen, patiently. Seniors, humble yourselves and listen, patiently. Everyone, do not wait for someone to ask you to mentor them or to be their mentor, start a relationship. Just be open to give someone time to know you and for you to know them. Let it happen naturally, but take initiative.

In parenting, in marriage, in work, in church, and in many other areas, we have a cavity issue. Don’t let blaming distract you from the solution. BLAME LIES! When we blame, we close the door to mentorship. We must recognize our responsibilities and act. The future is a little brighter when we rely on each other.

-jason

Jesus Christ Trumps Any President

Jesus Christ Trumps Any President

Recently I posted a couple of articles on my Facebook page and got some strong responses. The articles really centered on Donald Trump. On both sides of the spectrum you find strong opinions and arguments for and against a vote for Trump from well-respected Christian leaders. So how should we vote as Christians? This is what I have felt the Lord has spoken to me, perhaps what He has led me to, will guide you as well.

To me it rest on the absolute sovereignty of God. Do you believe that the Lord is absolutely sovereign? Do you believe that His will is perfect? If you do, then the next president cannot be decided unless the Lord has ordained it in His perfect plan for His creation.

Recently Emily and I have been discussing 1 Samuel. The people of Israel wanted a king. Samuel argued that they had a king, God. They insisted and God not only appointed, but He anointed Saul. Even in His sovereign action, 1 Samuel 15 says that God regretted. Why did He regret? Did He make a mistake? Well, no. God, grieved. He gave the people exactly what they wanted, an earthly king. They turned from God and so did their king. He regretted, or grieved the fact that He had to do it, it was part of the plan. No mistakes.

I’m certain many will disagree with me, but this is not a Christian nation and our presidential candidates, in my observation, are not Christian. They may identify as Christian, but I believe like most of America it is more of a cultural practice or family tradition, not a proclamation of a regenerate spirit.

So how should we vote? Here is what I have concluded. Voting is significant. It’s your right as a citizen, but I also believe it is your duty. God is sovereign over all things, and He can use even our individual votes to direct that. In absolute faith of God’s sovereignty, it really isn’t about getting “our candidate” into office. It is about obedience to God. Here is what I recommend:

1) Know your candidates the best you can. Research. See where they stand on certain policies. Be informed.

2) Understand how they align with Biblical values and commands. Rest assured you will not find a candidate that completely aligns with scripture. As Christians we should understand where to stand on issues of our country as God’s Word instructs us.

3) Take it to the Lord in prayer. Seek His guidance. Ask for His direction and be sensitive to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

4) Vote your convictions. Where you believe the Lord is directing you.Trust in His sovereign will and in obedience cast your vote.

5) Don’t judge anyone else’s decision for a vote. Unless there is blatant sin in a persons action to vote for a certain candidate, keep your personal convictions to yourself.

Remember brothers and sisters, this is not our home. 1 Peter 2 reminds us to be subject to every human institution for the sake of the Lord. He also reminds us that we are sojourners and exiles in this world. The promise of the Lord is that He will judge all creation in His righteous and perfect way and time. We are to persevere and follow Him. As long as we are following Him, seeking Him and committed to the ways of our Lord, we can have peace. The prophecy of Isaiah is clear on the promises of God,

“’No weapon that is formed against you will prosper;And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn.This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,And their vindication is from Me,’ declares the Lord.”

No weapon formed against you shall prosper, not even a crazy, lying, or completely carnal president. Our God reigns! -jason

Remember to Pray

Remember to Pray

If you have spent any amount of time in a church or with Christian friends you have probably heard the phrase, “I’ll be praying for you.” In fact, you have probably heard it from me. Too often that phrase has become similar to “How are you?” as a greeting instead of a sincere inquiry of your well-being. My friend Clyde once said, “Whenever someone asks for prayer, I pray for them right there so I know I am keeping my word.”

The power of prayer is real and we ought not to insult the power and commandment to pray by offering false testimony and making empty commitments to pray. 1 John 5:14,15 says:

“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”

            John is confident and wants all believers to be confident in our prayers. This confidence is not in the granting of our wishes and requests, but simply in that He hears us when we pray according to His will.

So here’s the thing, remembering to pray is not only a benefit for the one that is being prayed for, but our obedience to prayer is our act of worship and of spiritual growth. What is it to be in the will of God? I believe John give us the foundation to this in the previous verses (1-4) of this chapter:

“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world-our faith.”

            Remember to pray. Remember to pray for the sake of the people you are praying for, because He hears. Remember also to pray for your spiritual growth, because it is our worship and our exercise of seeking His will. People use prayer journals, some people have a prayer room, I even have one friend that has index card on a ring.

An urgent prayer request is for Irene. In my commitment to pray for Irene who is suffering with stage-four cancer, I often can forget. Recently a prayer update went out on email. On my phone when an email is read the blue dot disappears and the red icon on the app does too. The type A side of my brain HATES when the red dot is there. IMG_4072
After I read the email the blue and red dot refused to go away, and only for that email. I am convinced it is my reminder from the Lord to pray for Irene. It reminds me everyday, throughout the day.

Remember to pray. What will you do to remember to pray? If the Lord leads, please pray for Irene, a woman of strong faith, a wife and mother of perseverance. She is fighting the good fight in her spiritual life and in her battle with cancer. Pray as the Lord leads. Pray daily. Worship through prayer and may the Lord keep you always in His will. -jason