Do You Want to Die Well? | Desiring God

….. And so if we want to live and die well, we die, as long as we have breath, so that others might finally and fully live in Christ.

From my inbox this morning…. “Acknowledging Sovereignty of God

From my inbox this morning….

"Acknowledging Sovereignty of God

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God -- this is your spiritual act of worship.
Romans 12:1

Paul writes, 'God is good. So…offer your bodies to him as a living sacrifice…Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him' (vv. 1-2).

There are two ways to understand God's sovereignty: a) through His initiative, and b) through our response. In essence, Paul is saying this:

1) Resist the pressures of a world system that pulls you in the wrong direction.

2) Renew your mind every day through prayer and reading God's Word.

3) Recognize His will for you and live accordingly.

But Paul doesn't stop there. He writes: 'Hate everything that is evil and hold tight to everything that is good. Love each other as brothers and sisters and honor others more than you do yourself.

Never give up. Eagerly follow the Holy Spirit and serve the Lord. Let your hope make you glad. Be patient in time of trouble and never stop praying. Take care of…needy people…Ask God to bless everyone who mistreats you…When others are happy, be happy with them, and when they are sad, be sad. Be friendly with everyone.

Don't be proud and feel that you are smarter than others. Make friends with ordinary people. Don't mistreat someone who has mistreated you. But try to earn the respect of others, and do your best to live at peace with everyone' (vv. 9-18 CEV).

God's sovereignty doesn't release us from personal responsibility. It doesn't mean we should lose interest in current affairs or in making informed decisions.

God still expects us to strive for excellence and show concern for a lost world. Acknowledging God's sovereignty sets you free from playing God and enables you to enjoy walking with Him.

Heavenly Father, help me discern the good and bad and hold on to that which is good to further my walk with You. In Jesus' Name, Amen"

The above devotion was written/compiled from multiple sources by Tim Hetzner, Ambassador for Spiritual Growth at Lutheran Church Charities and author of WORD Bible Studies.

Do you want to get well?

 From my reading this  morning in “The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath" by Mark Buchanan. 

“No wonder Jesus once asked a man he meant to heal, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6). 

Maybe the man didn’t, strange as it sounds. Maybe his sickness had become his haven, his lover, his overlord. And no wonder Jesus was so responsive to any old beggar or leper or blind man who threw caution to the wind and outright begged for healing.

Not everyone wants to get well.

It’s the most natural thing to befriend your sickness, even, after long association, to depend upon it. Imagine any of the people Jesus heals. Their entire lives—their physical lives, for sure, but also their emotional and intellectual and relational lives—all have taken shape around their injuries or diseases. That man at the well. 

Thirty-eight years of life without options. Thirty-eight years of life without obligations. He carries burdens, yes, but one he’s never carried is the weight of others’ expectations.

For thirty-eight years.

And then Jesus shows up one day and changes all that. One word from Jesus, and all thirty-eight years fall behind the man, vanish in a blink, and a future he stopped daring to imagine stands vivid and solid before him. He can do all the things he never could and ever wanted to do. He can do them here and now—for Jesus’s miracle joins healing and therapy in one terse command. Muscles spongy from years of idleness suddenly grow taut and supple. Bones spindly from never bearing the body’s full weight turn instantly thick and sturdy. Balance all topsy-turvy from chronic proneness immediately calibrates for walking, running, dancing, leaping.

Do you want to get well?

Restoration shocks the system. It alters not just our health—it alters our world. All that we establish to placate or indulge or accommodate our sickness disintegrates with those stark words, “Take up your mat, and go.”

Do I want to get well? That’s a question I’ve wrestled with on sabbatical. If I believe I’m to go back restored, in what ways am I sick now? And how have I grown content with that?

I try to control too much, is one. I know how this happened— there was a season when the church seemed to require it. There was a time it seemed that to be at the center of all decision making was the shape strong leadership took. But even if that’s so, explanation is no excuse, and the reality is that now I meddle in too many things. And there must be something in me, some flaw, some weakness, that rises to meet the challenge in just this way. Other pastors I know have, in the face of many demands, committed the opposite sin: they’ve become dangerously passive. My sickness manifests as control. So it’s one area where I seek restoration

I want to return to my work slow to speak, quick to listen, slow to become angry. I want to hide more things in my heart and ponder them there. I want to return with a sharper instinct to pray, to watch and wait, and with less impulsiveness to act straightaway. I want a stronger conviction that, though God welcomes my honest efforts, he manages quite fine without my Peterlike outbursts of ill-conceived enthusiasm and then sudden loss of nerve, my opinion swapping and bully tactics, my reckless volunteerism to fix things for God and then desperate evacuation when things go wrong.

Excerpt from: "The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath" by Mark Buchanan. 

10 Key Points About Work in the Bible Every Christian Should Know

by Andy Mills, co-chair of the Theology of Work Project.

The Bible makes it clear that work matters to God. Whether you're a parent, a bus driver, an artist or an engineer, CPA, salesman, or trainer – God cares about your work. Here are ten key points about work drawn from the Bible. They provide a practical foundation for Christians asking what the Bible says about how we should approach our work.

  1. Work is part of God's big picture.
  1. Our actual work matters to God, now and eternally.
  1. God provides us with unique skills, gifts and talents, and calls us to particular roles and activities.
  1. Quality, character, and ethics are foundational for our work.
  1. Our work is yoked with Christ. 
  1. Our work should be centered on service to others.
  1. A rhythm of work and rest is essential to life. 
  1. The use of wealth and our investments should be directed by God. 
  1. God's work multiplies through relationships and through the local church.
  1. Work is a gift from God.  


Used with permission - Check out the Theology of Work Project's Calling and Vocation Overview


Called to Create, by Jordan Raynor - Introduction

What to Expect from This Book — Called to Create: A Biblical Invitation to Create, Innovate, and Risk by Jordan Raynor
(from the introduction) This book is the result of nearly two years of research and dozens of conversations with other Christian entrepreneurs as I sought to answer some of my (and hopefully your) questions about what it means to be called to create, such as:
  • How does God’s creative and entrepreneurial character empower me to emulate Him?
  • Is my work as an entrepreneur and creative really as God-honoring as that of a pastor or “full-time missionary”?
  • What are the right questions to ask when discerning where God has called me to work?

  • What does it look like to create not in order to make a name for myself but to glorify the One who has called me to create and love others?
  • How does recognizing my work as a calling from God change my motivations for creating, what I create, and how I create it?
  • What are the challenges unique to or especially acute for those who are called to create, and what’s the proper way to deal with them?
  • What is the purpose of profit? How can I use my work as an entrepreneur to fulfill Jesus’s command to create disciples?
  • While my work may matter today, will my creations live on into eternity?”

Run With Horses

I've been drawn to Eugene Peterson's "Run With Horses" the last few months. I have the book in digital, paper, and the study guide and I'll like have the audible before long.

Here's a long excerpt...

“Jeremiah's life when, worn down by the opposition and absorbed in self-pity, he was about to capitulate to just such a premature death. He was ready to abandon his unique calling in God and settle for being a Jerusalem statistic.

At that critical moment he heard the reprimand: "So, Jeremiah, if you're worn out in this footrace with men, what makes you think you can race against horses? And if you can't keep your wits during times of calm, what's going to happen when troubles break loose like the Jordan in flood?" (Jer 12: 5).

Biochemist Erwin Chargaff updates the questions: "What do you want to achieve? Greater riches? Cheaper chicken? A happier life, a longer life? Is it power over your neighbors that you are after? Are you only running away from your death? Or are you seeking greater wisdom, deeper piety?"

Life is difficult, Jeremiah. Are you going to quit at the first wave of opposition? Are you going to retreat when you find that there is more to life than finding three meals a day and a dry place to sleep at night? Are you going to run home the minute you find that the mass of men and women are more interested in keeping their feet warm than in living at risk to the glory of God? Are you going to live cautiously or courageously?

I called you to live at your best, to pursue righteousness, to sustain a drive toward excellence. It is easier, I know, to be neurotic. It is easier to be parasitic. It is easier to relax in the embracing arms of The Average. Easier, but not better. Easier, but not more significant. Easier, but not more fulfilling.

I called you to a life of purpose far beyond what you think yourself capable of living and promised you adequate strength to fulfill your destiny. Now at (another) sign of difficulty you are ready to quit.

If you are fatigued by this run-of-the-mill crowd of apathetic mediocrities, what will you do when the real race starts, the race with the swift and determined horses of excellence? What is it you really want, Jeremiah?

Do you want to shuffle along with this crowd, or run with the horses? It is understandable that there are retreats from excellence, veerings away from risk, withdrawals from faith. It is easier to define oneself minimally (" a featherless biped") and live securely within that definition than to be defined maximally (" little less than God") and live adventurously in that reality.

It is unlikely, I think, that Jeremiah was spontaneous or quick in his reply to God's question. The ecstatic ideals for a new life had been splattered with the world's cynicism. The euphoric impetus of youthful enthusiasm no longer carried him. He weighed the options. He counted the cost. He tossed and turned in hesitation. The response when it came was not verbal but biographical.

His life became his answer, "I'll run with the horses." “


To that end, work like it depends on God.

The Daily Examen -

Summary in Quotes

This is the book I give to all my friends who are serious spiritual seekers or skeptics." —Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, on The Reason for God

"Most people sitting in the pews of our churches on a Sunday morning spend more time in the workplace than anywhere else. Yet we can too easily make following Christ a matter of personal devotions and church activity. . . . This is great book on an important area that is too often neglected." —Tim Chester

Quotes from book

“According to the Bible, we don’t merely need the money from work to survive; we need the work itself to survive and live fully human lives.” - 52

“Work has dignity because it is something that God does and because we do it in God’s place, as his representatives. We learn not only that work has dignity in itself, but also that all kinds of work have dignity.” 66

If the point of work is to serve and exalt ourselves, then our work inevitably becomes less about the work and more about us. Our aggressiveness will eventually become abuse, our drive will become burnout, and our self-sufficiency will become self-loathing.”-90

“But if the purpose of work is to serve and exalt something beyond ourselves, then we actually have a better reason to deploy our talent, ambition, and entrepreneurial vigor—and we are more likely to be successful in the long run, even by the world’s definition.” - 90
“Parents give their children what they need—character—through the diligence required for the chores they assign them.” - 93

Click for full printout


Thoughts: Drawing Away from Christ

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.  John 5: 39-40

The "Message" says You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you'll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren't willing to receive from them the life you say you want.

Not more Bible study. Not programs. But life. Life living with Christ. The word, in the word is him and in him is life (John 1: 1-4)

Dependence on a program, another study, another book, draws away from Christ.

How tragic that we in this dark day have had our seeking done for us by our teachers. Everything is made to center upon the initial act of "accepting" Christ (a term, incidentally, which is not found in the Bible) and we are not expected thereafter to crave any further revelation of God to our souls. We have been snared in the coils of a spurious logic which insists that if we have found Him we need no more seek Him. - page 11, A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

What's the song, "I see clearly now....." ?

I don't. Not yet.

Onward through the fog.

To that end....

Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, by Donald S. Whitney

"Commenting on the difference between the disciplined and the undisciplined way, he wrote, Nothing was ever achieved without discipline; and many an athlete and many a man has been ruined because he abandoned discipline and let himself grow slack. 

Coleridge is the supreme tragedy of indiscipline. Never did so great a mind produce so little. He left Cambridge University to join the army; but he left the army; he returned to Oxford and left without a degree. 

He began a paper called The Watchman which lived for ten numbers and then died. It has been said of him: "He lost himself in visions of work to be done, that always remained to be done. Coleridge had every poetic gift but one—the gift of sustained and concentrated effort." 

In his head and in his mind he had all kinds of books. But the books were never composed outside Coleridge's mind, because he would not face the discipline of sitting down to write them out. 

No one ever reached any eminence, and no one having reached it ever maintained it, without discipline." 

from "Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life" by Donald S. Whitney