Saturday, November 18, 2017

MY NEW BLOG IS UP NOW!



Hey everyone, the day is finally here!

My new blog at Patheos - where I will be blogging from now on - is now live!

PLEASE: Go to the blog now and subscribe!

This is the only way to keep up with my latest blog articles, news and info.

Go to the blog here and subscribe: www.KeithGiles.com

I already have a few new posts up now with more on the way.

I'll see you there!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

GOD’S BRILLIANT TRAP



“As for you, you were dead in our transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air…All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature children of ire, but because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions…” [Eph. 2:1-5]

As I was reading this passage the other day, I observed something I had not noticed in quite the same way before. Here, Paul describes how cleverly God designed a trap that perfectly captured us and catapulted us from death into life.

Here’s how it works: First, God knew that we were dead in our sins. He saw clearly how we thought and how our actions were motivated by our lusts and desires. Like tossing red meat into a school of sharks, God sent His Anointed One into this cesspool of humanity. What else could happen next? As with the prophets that came before Jesus, we turned on Him and put Him to death. Just exactly as He knew we would.

But, notice what happened next: “Because of His great love for us, God…made us alive with Christ…”

Paul skips over the crucifixion part, but it’s clearly in play. We are dead people who are ruled by our lusts. Jesus the Holy One walks among us and we, driven by our sinful natures and evil thoughts, take Him and crucify Him.

Suddenly, God’s brilliant trap is sprung. When we kill the Author of Life, He descends into the bowels of death and ignites the resurrection power within to “make us alive with Christ, even when we were dead in our transgressions.”

Boom.

Don’t you love that? I can’t help but read it all again and smile.

God set a trap for us who were dead and Jesus became the catalyst that we killed so that resurrection could be released and everyone could be made alive with Christ.

That’s genius.

Paul concludes this by saying: 

“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might demonstrate to everyone the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” [v.6-7]

Do you see how much He loves you? Can you believe how far He is willing to go to make you His own?

Isn’t it incredible how God pulled it off?

He has taken our wrath and transformed it into love.
He has taken our death and remade it into life.

We are healed. We are alive. We are loved.

Halleluiah!
-kg


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The God Who Worships Us



The Greek word for “worship” is proskyneŇć and it is translated as “to kiss, to lower oneself in humility or reverence, to adore, to surrender completely to another”.

So, when Jesus let go of His equality with God [see Phil. 2] and humbled Himself and took on the form of a servant, and became nothing, He was doing exactly what anyone does when they worship something.

  • Jesus “lowered himself in humility”
  • Jesus became a servant to mankind.
  • Jesus adored us and gave himself up for us.
  • Jesus looked upon us and loved us.
  • Jesus completely surrendered his life to us.
  • Jesus placed his life, and safety in the hands of his earthly parents.
  • Jesus gave us power over himself, even to the point of abusing him and putting him to death.

Jesus, in essence, went from being the One who was worshiped night and day by the cherubim of heaven to become a servant who washed the feet of his own disciples.

In his own words, Jesus declares that He did not come to be served – as a God should expect to be – but that He came to serve us. [See Mark 10:45]

This was an act of worship.

Now, it is quite normal for us to think of God as someone that we should worship. We understand that God is God and that we are not. So, we naturally apply the term “worship” whenever we think of how we interact with God.

Today, worship is a multi-million-dollar industry. Record labels, artists, songwriters, conferences and even workshops are all devoted to worship. Usually, this worship is in the form of music, but scripturally-speaking, worship is really more about the way we live our lives in relationship to God.

In Romans 12, for example, Paul tells us that we should offer our bodies to God as a living sacrifice and that this is holy and pleasing to God; calling it “our true and proper act of worship.”

Nothing about singing songs there; Simply laying our lives down at His feet in adoration and complete surrender.

In other words, when we give up our lives for Christ, this is what worship looks like.

Just the same way that Jesus gave Himself up for us, as Paul reminds us in Ephesians 5:25, we should also give up our lives for Him, and for one another.

See, Jesus showed us what worship really looks like. When He stepped down from the throne and humbled Himself and became a servant to us, He was demonstrating to the entire Universe what worship really is.

So, on that basis, and by following His astounding example, we should also worship Him by giving up our lives as living sacrifices.

This is what honors God. This is what gives Him joy. When we understand that His love for us compelled Him to kneel down and serve us, and yes, to worship us with an absolute adoration that drove Him to the cross and exploded from the grave in victory, how else can we respond?

How can you not love a God who gave Himself up for you?

How can you not serve a God who first served you?

How can you not worship a God who would lay everything down and worship you until it killed Him?

There is no one like our God.

Let us worship.

-kg

 Note: Special Thanks to Jordan Hathcock for inspiring this blog post.



Monday, November 06, 2017

Help: America Is Caught In A Feedback Loop




Another day, another mass shooting in America.

Once more, a white man with an assault rifle opens fire on innocent people.

Most people say there’s nothing we can do. Others insist that only our thoughts and prayers matter now.

Many Christians believe that the Second Amendment overrules the Sermon on the Mount. So, the next time a killer with a semi-automatic rifle enters a church he’ll be blown to smithereens by all the Jesus-loving Christians who keep a sidearm cocked and loaded in the shoulder holster under their Sunday best.

Halleluiah!

Just think, if the earliest Christians in the first century had only adopted this brilliant preemptive strategy, killers like Saul of Tarsus would have been slaughtered where they stood.

Not only would that have prevented the death our dear brother Stephen, it would also have prevented us from having to carry around such a thick New Testament text, since half of it would never have been written.

But, maybe there’s another way?

I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out for a minute.

There are about 175 million Christians here in the United States. So, if even half of us decided to love our neighbors and bless those who curse us and do good to those who hate us, maybe we could use this preemptive strategy to love people?

I know, it sounds kinda crazy to follow that Jesus guy. He was SO “first century”, ya know?

But, I once heard someone say that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result.

Since almost no one has tried putting these Jesus ideas into practice lately, what do we have to lose?

-kg