Divorce and Abandonment for the Sake of the Kingdom of God

What Jesus Really Meant by "Leaving Wife or Children"

When I started following Jesus, I divorced my life plans and abandoned everything I knew. I ditched all my friends at the time (I still miss them). I quit pursuing the marching percussion arts (I miss playing drums). I immersed myself in the Bible and surrounded myself with new friends who were followers of Christ. I was single at the time, so I didn’t have a wife to leave behind, neither did I have any children.

Divorcee and Abandonment for the Sake of the Kingdom of God

While there was pain in this time, there was also newfound comfort. The new friends I made were great! I even met my wife around this time too! That’s a brief overview of my experience, but I don’t think the metaphorical comparison is what Jesus meant when he made this statement:

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Why Saying “Don’t Be So Heavenly Minded That You’re No Earthly Good” May Not Be Good Thing

And the Kingdom of God Mentality that We Desire to Communicate

Besides poor grammar, “don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good” communicates that thinking about heaven and living in anticipation of arriving at heaven is a negative thing. As with any group of words, the context in which these words are given help determine the actual meaning.

Don't Be So Heavenly Minded That You're No Earthly Good

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Do You Fall Asleep When Praying?

God's Peace May Bring Rest and Sleep

Do You Fall Asleep When Praying

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” 

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

Matthew 26:36 – 46 NIV

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Time and Chance Happen to Everyone

I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.

Time and Chance Happens to Everyone Ecclesiastes 5

Ecclesiasties 9:11 NLT

Time and chance happen to everyone.

Bad crap happens. Dangers are a part of everyday life. And it’s just the way that it is. See Ecc. 11:3.

Today’s analogies would be:

Whoever drives a car may be hit by oncoming traffic; whoever retreats safely inside may fall down the steps. Whoever uses electricity may be electrocuted; and whoever cooks on a stove top may get burned.

Dangers are a part of life and it’s just the way it is. Bad things happen. Accidents happen. The baby pulls the pot of boiling water off the stove. The electric plug had too much moisture inside, it sparked, and caught on the house on fire.

However, skill, wisdom, and understanding can bring profit and success in the midst of danger lurking around the corner (Ecc 10:10). But even with skill, timing and chance is everything. If you’re too slow, your toast (Ecc. 10:11).

But, it’s not always the first to win. It’s not always the early bird gets the worm. Sometimes the late mouse gets the cheese. It’s all back to time and chance (Ecc. 9:11).

Sometimes things just happen and they are what they are (Ecc. 10:3). And if you keep looking and waiting for the perfect time, you’ll miss out (Ecc. 10:4). There is no perfect time that we can determine, it is outside of our knowledge. Only God in his infinite wisdom and control time and chance (Ecc. 10:5).

Therefore, don’t assume because you wake up early and work first that you’ll be successful because “that’s what successful people do.” God is not a blessing machine nor a magic genie. He cannot be manipulated because things are supposed to work a certain way. The reality is, we don’t know what will happen (Ecc. 9:12; 10:14; 11:6). That being said, make sure if you get up early and work, don’t veg in front of the TV later. Make sure you’re working hard in more than one way. Because you do not know if your first job will always be there. And your side hustle or 2nd job may become more successful than you had ever thought possible.

In conclusion, everything is here today and gone tomorrow. Death comes equally to us all, and it is one thing of which you can be sure (Ecc. 9:1-3; 12:7). So, enjoy life before you die (Ecc. 9:7-10; 12:1-7). And above all, obey God because He is God (Ecc. 12:13). Do not obey God because He can provide blessing. Do not obey God because of His protection.

By Your Goodness or God’s Goodness?

Starting & Living the Christian Life by the Goodness of God

We are obsessed with being good. This idea of being good shows up all the time in our culture:

Your Goodness or God's Goodness?

“Was he good?” (Asking the babysitter how your child’s behavior was…)

“How’d he do?” He did a good job. (Talking about someone performing in sports, academics, etc.)

When we do a good job, it means that we have lived up to and fulfilled the expectations set before us. Often, these expectations are unwritten and non-formal. Nonetheless, there is a bar to reach or a standard to live up to that is required in order to be good.

Other ways we show this relative goodness in our culture is by saying “he’s a good man,” or “she’s a good woman,” or “they’re a good Christian.”

Good Christian? Relative to who? Relative to what? Often, when saying someone is a good Christian, the thought process becomes one as follows:

“Well, they read their Bible more than most. They pray more than most. They go to church more than most. They dress nicer than most. They talk better than me. The give more money than me. Etc…”

What Defines Goodness?

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5 Amazingly Simple Words that Will Explode your Bible Reading Comprehension

How the Five W's Can Help You Read the Bible

Often, during times of my Bible reading, I get lost in the story. I become enamored with the people, the surroundings, the circumstances. Especially when it comes to the miracles of Jesus, I’m astonished at the things that happened.

5 Amazingly Simple Words that Will Explode your Bible Reading Comprehension

For example, one of my life long dreams would be to experience what it felt like to walk on water. For real, imagine jumping off a dock thinking you’re gonna drop in, then slam!! It’s impossible! It’ll never happen! But it did happen, and I can’t begin to imagine what it felt like. I wonder if Peter had a new understanding of “sea legs,” by the time he was finished walking on the water?

But, sometimes if I’m not careful, I find myself getting lost in the extraordinary and forfeiting what God wants to speak directly into my life.

Sometimes when I read the Bible, it’s a supernatural experience. I know God’s with me, I can sense His presence, and whatever He’s saying to my mind and my Spirit is sweet as candy. Other times, during my Bible reading, it feels like I’m smashing my head against a rock. Nothing I’m reading makes any sense, and I have no idea what it’s for. Learning to know that both are

Both of these experiences help us grow. In different ways, they help us deepen our relationship with God.

With that said, there’s something many of us have learned in elementary school that will radically change and improve our Bible reading. They are the five W’s (with a little twist):

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Has God Given You a Hope and a Future?

Jeremiah 29:11 - Out of Context Means it Doesn't Mean What we Think

As followers of Christ, we tend to believe that we should be protected by God from everything evil and blessed with everything good. So, we read the Bible and quote it saying, “God has promised me a hope and a future. He has plans to prosper me.” However, we fail to realize this wasn’t a promise to 21st-century believers.

Has God Given You a Hope and a Future? Does God plan to prosper you?

Here’s why we say that:

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

Other translations phrase it like this: “plans to prosper you and not to harm you.” And generally, whenever we hear money, I mean prosper, we tend to think money, money, money! Along with that money comes time and freedom that apparently can’t be found elsewhere…

When reading the Bible, there are certain rules of literature we must pay attention to. Historical happenings (what was actually going down at that moment in history) and original intent (what the author meant to say to his original audience) are a couple of things we need to consider when reading a passage from the Bible.

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