Author Archives: Dan Lemburg

About Dan Lemburg

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One Kingdom or Another!

Colossians tells us that God has, “rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” Being trapped in this flesh here in this fallen world makes that a little hard to believe, doesn’t it? The truth is Christ’s kingdom is much more than that glorious place we go once we die. His kingdom is here among us—a kingdom of awesome rewards and great responsibilities.

As a member of God’s kingdom we are now His children, and as such we have also become slaves of righteousness, as Romans 6 tells us. The citizens of the kingdom of darkness are those who rebelliously practice sin. They spurn what they know of God, and are by nature slaves of sin. The bottom line is that all people are either slaves of sin or slaves of righteousness—there is no middle ground between these two kingdoms.

From Free from the Power of Sin: the Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself

Does Sin Separate Me from God?

As a Christian, does sin separate me from God? We are often taught that sin causes a separation, a rift that can only be restored when we confess our sin. Therefore, moving forward with our life in Christ is possible only when our tie with Him can be reestablished through forgiveness. Though this view seems to make sense, it’s not actually the case.

Because sin displeases God, it can’t help but affect our relationship, often causing us to run from Him. But sin doesn’t separate us from Him! If it did, it would mean that God would have to vacate our spirit each time we sin, and then come back once we repent. This hardly seems practical, since God would have to sever the very tie so utterly necessary to overcoming sin in the first place. It would mean cutting off the very resource essential to spiritual growth.

From Free from the Power of Sin: the Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself

Don’t Despise Small Things

2nd Timothy says: “In a large house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also vessels of wood and earthenware, some for honor and some for dishonor.” A vessel of wood can be just as important as one made of gold. So don’t despise the small things. Whatever is suitable for the Master’s use is worthy of honor.

            Our job is to advance the gospel, no matter what role we might play in Christ’s kingdom. This always means being unselfishly united in spirit with our fellow believers. Having a heart for others, lived out through service and a cooperative spirit, is the wellspring of fruitfulness. When we commit to this goal, we inevitably find ourselves moving into God’s purpose. It may not happen with a whole lot of fanfare, but over time we wake up and realize that we are living out what God always destined us to do.

From Free from the Power of Sin: the Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself

The Holy Spirit Within

Jesus promised that He would send the Holy Spirit to His followers once He left the earth: “He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;He abides with you and will be in you.” The Bible proclaims that we are, “sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance.” What does it actually mean to have the Holy Spirit living within us?

Just imagine it! The Holy Spirit is a Person, a divine member of the Godhead. And God has given Him to us. He is always there, “guiding us into all truth, and comforting us,” at the very core of our being. We need to be fully aware of this precious gift God has bestowed on us, continually seeking intimate interaction with Him. He will always glorify Jesus and lead us into all truth.

Prayer is a Two-way Street

Everything we were ever created to be is wrapped up in Jesus. Finding out who we are in Christ is the first step toward discovering His purpose for us, because a healthy sense of self-worth gives us the confidence to step out. The better we get to know Jesus personally, the more He can impart His will to us. Communing with God is essential to this process. Prayer is a two-way street—we speak; we listen; we abide in Him.

If God has in fact prepared good works for us to walk in, wouldn’t He need to let us know what they are? Look at all those people in the Bible whom God chose to use in one way or another. They heard from God, and even if they didn’t initially grasp His meaning they ultimately discerned what He wanted. The desire to obey God is the key to understanding Him.

From Free from the Power of Sin: the Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself

Are You in a Holding Pattern?

Do you ever feel like you’re in a holding pattern? Even though you may be pursuing Christ—going to church, loving God and others, and just being a good person in general—there’s a good chance that you’re still left with a sense of emptiness. The reason? Along with becoming a child of God in Christ’s kingdom there comes a genuine sense of destiny. So if you’re living life simply biding your time, more or less going through the motions of your faith, you shouldn’t be surprised to find yourself somewhat unsatisfied.

The issue is purpose. Not our eternal purpose, but the purpose God has for each of our lives here on earth. This can be very real problem, since it’s not at all uncommon for us to have a good understanding of our heavenly reality and at the same time quite bewildered as to our purpose while we’re still here.

Our Character Won’t Change Overnight

It can certainly be disheartening when we realize that change in our character doesn’t happen overnight. Yet how could being transformed into God’s image be anything but a life-long process? Transformation is designed to take place in degrees over time. It’s what being changed from “glory to glory” means. And submitting to God step by step makes it so much easier for transformation to progress the way God planned.

        It’s also why we must guard against slipping back into sin when tempted. None of us is immune to falling into sin through the weakness of the flesh. This is dangerous ground, because sin stands at the head of a trail leading in the wrong direction. Once we’ve set ourselves on that badly chosen path it takes some undoing to get back to where we started from. Anyone who’s been there will tell you: “Don’t even think about it.”

Always Trying to Patch Over Sin

We resist change. We cling to doing things our own way because we’re human. So when sin crops up, we try to patch it up, rather than trying to get to the root of the problem. It’s painful to root sin out. Yes, we want to change, but it’s a lot more comfy staying right where we are. God wants to live His life through us, bringing us to a place where He can use our life to impact the world. But it’s impossible for Him to do this without first transforming our character.

Our character is who we are at the deepest level of our being. We always behave as our character dictates. Character transformed through a life of godliness always responds positively to the challenges of life. How would you rather live—on the verge of failure each time temptation comes, or in the consistent victory that godly character provides?

From Free from the Power of Sin: the Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself

Not a Struggle to Bear Fruit!

Jesus said, “I am the vine and you are the branches.” Jesus is talking about being alive, but His emphasis is mainly on fruitfulness. A branch barely connected to the vine might get the basic nutrients needed to survive—but it won’t produce quality fruit. So if our hope is centered on a “relationship” with Christ even though it may be largely superficial, we’re only kidding ourselves.
        If that sounds like you, there’s no need for panic. God has a whole lot more in mind for us. And He’s provided everything we need to be focused and productive. A branch doesn’t have to struggle in order to bear fruit; it just happens naturally. It’s the same with godly fruit. We don’t need to worry a lot about being fruitful. We just need to maintain a dynamic connection to the source. Pursue God! Jesus said, “he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit.”

Must We Try to Become Holy?

As Christians, is holy something we are—or something we must try to become? First and foremost, holy is what we are in Christ. Scripture tells us: “By this we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.” When Paul refers to believers as “saints” (meaning holy ones), he isn’t addressing an elite class of Christians; he means all those who belong to Christ.
        Likewise, the term blameless is often used right alongside the word holy to declare the believer’s unique position in Christ. Blameless means being faultless or without blemish—the same as being made righteous. Having been justified by grace, we are now held blameless, and as a result set apart as God’s special possession. This isn’t merely a hypothetical status or position, as it is often thought of. This is who we truly are in Christ!

From Free from the Power of Sin: the Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself