Why Didn’t Paul Share His ‘Trip To Heaven’ Story?

Mike Leake 


Consider the situation that Paul faced. At Corinth a group of false teachers were winning the affections of the Corinthians, and they were doing it through bragging about ecstatic experiences and visions and such. It was important for their faith that they adhere to Paul’s gospel (the biblical gospel) instead of this false gospel being pimped by the prosperity goons. And Paul had a story which could trump everyone of their stories. So what does he do? He tells his story (2 Corinthians 12:1-10) but prefaces his story by saying, “there is nothing to be gained by it”. And then he shares it as if the thing didn’t even happen to him.

Read more: http://www.mikeleake.net/2018/07/why-didnt-paul-share-his-trip-to-heaven-story.html


Is The Devil The Thief In John 10:10?


The Gospel Gets The Last Word

All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

Picture a scene. You are standing before the Lord and book upon book is being read telling the story of your life. But this isn’t a sitting around the fireplace and hearing grandpa’s old stories occasion. This is a trial. Your life and your words are testifying as to whether or not you’re to be considered a good person.

Now this isn’t the type of trial you get on the day of your funeral. That’s the day when mostly your friends and family show up and everybody works to remember all the good times and to minimize the bad. This trial isn’t like that. You’ve got critics and sycophants present. You’ve got words against you and words for you. Evidence of words you’ve spoken, written, and even things that you’ve thought. A display of the impact of your life. It’s social media run wild and you’re the topic. It’s your fifteen minutes of fame. And you’re getting torched…with only a few positives throw in here and there.

“He was a hypocrite. His words didn’t match his lifestyle.”

“He was one of the best counselors I ever had. He helped me more than anyone else.”

“He was a terribly sloppy pastor. His hair was often wilder than it should have been, his beard wasn’t neatly trimmed, he seldom wore a suit. He was a bad representation of what a minister of the gospel ought to be.”

“He was the one who shared Jesus with me.”

“His theology was sloppy and inconsistent. He didn’t believe some of the things that I’ve believed for years. I’m not even sure if he was a believer”

“He was incredibly selfish. He viewed everything through the lens of himself.”

“He was a gossip. He slandered others and then was mortally wounded when he was slandered himself.”

“He hurt me.”

“He failed me.”

“He was lazy and passive. He never became the person that he could have been. He buried quite a few talents”.

Some of those opinions are grounded in truth. They match the replay of your life. You really were more selfish than you should have been. You really did cause hurt. But you also were used by God to help people see the glory of Jesus. It’s a mixed bag. Connected with all of these opinions is a mountain of evidence against you. And the Accuser is quick to point out every one of these flaws.

He’s correct. He’s not fabricating a bit. He’s right. You are cursed and gone astray. You fall short of the glory of God. You did hurt people. You did sin against the God of the Universe. You aren’t holy. You do not have any righteousness of your own. You did bury a few talents. You’re not clean. You’ve mucked up your life at times.

Then Jesus stands up…

The gospel gets the last word. That is what 1 Peter 1:25 means. All of the critics, all of the defenders, they don’t get the last word. Neither do we. “I did many great things in your name…” The gospel speaks last. And it’s word is definitive.

That’s either really great news. Or it’s terrible.

I picture this scene in my mind and it brings me to tears. It brings me to tears because I know what Jesus will say. I don’t know the specific words that he’ll use. But I know that he has my back. Not because of my own righteousness but because of His. I know that He has truly changed my heart and my life. I know that he sees every ounce of my toil and labor and every bit of my sloppy obedience. I know that he sees my every failure. He knows my every sin against him. And yet he stands in my defense.

“He’s mine.”

Maybe that’s what he’ll say. And when he belts out those words…nothing else matters. All the critics. All the applause. All the mountains. All the valleys. All the days in the darkness of depression. The mountain of my sin against him and others. Every drop of sweat in ministry for others. It all crumbles. And only his Word remains.

It’s not that sin doesn’t matter. It’s not that good doesn’t matter. It’s just that it isn’t definitive. It doesn’t get the last word.

Jesus does.

Was Moses Being Deceptive?

I grew up in the faith reading my NIV Study Bible, so this was my reading of 2 Corinthians 3:13:

We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. (NIV)

I always read this as if Moses was being a bit deceptive. He knew that the glory of God shining on his face was fading away and so in order to hide this he put a veil over his face so they couldn’t see as the glory diminished. The NIV isn’t alone in translating the passage this way.

Continue: http://www.mikeleake.net/2018/03/was-moses-being-deceptive.html

How The Internet Can Help Us Model 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

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Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

I’ve written in the past about the negative impact of social media on our culture. And, yes, I realize the irony of blogging about the dangers of blogging. Part of the reason I keep blogging and continue engaging on social media is because there are a few good and redeeming qualities. One of them is it gives us the ability to spread the comfort we’ve received to others.

I witnessed this a few weeks ago when a fellow blogging friend, Eric Schumacher, posted a tremendous article on the experience of father’s during a miscarriage. Eric was vulnerable. He shared his pain. He also shared how God has comforted him. And let’s be honest, this is one of those areas where guys don’t really talk about. But they carry around this hurt.

So, it was encouraging to see all those who were helped by Eric’s vulnerability, by his comforting those who had been comforted. And I thought about how much good the internet could do, if we used our platform more for things like this than for sniping others and arguing.

As I preached through 2 Corinthians a few weeks ago I made the point that it is non-redemptive to not share in our suffering. That cuts both ways. It not only means we need to be there for folks a they are suffering, but we also need to share our stories. Consider all of those grieving fathers who wouldn’t have been helped had Eric decided his story was too personal, too gritty, to share. Consider all the ways God has comforted you. How might He use your story to comfort others? It’s wrong for us to withhold this opportunity to give comfort from others.

This is not to say that everyone needs to make public everything they are going through. You don’t need to be a blogger to obey 2 Corinthians 1. But you do need to be active in a local church. Paul’s call in 2 Corinthians is for the local church specifically. We need to have those in our lives who are not only helping us carry our burdens, but also those who we are actively and redemptively sharing our struggles with.

Nothing can replace the local church and this is Paul’s major concern. But I also believe one of the good things we can use the internet for is modeling 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. We can tell our stories of the comfort that God has given us…and in doing this, I’m confident that others will be comforted.

Does Luke 10:19 Teach That Faithful Christians Won’t Get In Plane Crashes?

  • Is that authority to tread on serpents and scorpions still applicable?
  • What about the authority over demons, is that something I possess?
  • How in the world can Jesus say “nothing shall hurt you” when some of these dudes like died a martyrs death?

It’s that last question that I’m considering today because I hear it spouted out a few times by prosperity “gospel” teachers as evidence that God doesn’t want us sick. Consider this by prosperity teacher Joseph Prince:

Read more: http://www.mikeleake.net/2018/02/does-luke-1019-teach-that-faithful-christians-wont-get-in-plane-crashes.html

Why Would A Good God Not Heal?

“If you will, you can make me clean”. –Mark 1:40

That statement in the gospel of Mark really tugs at my heart. I see my own heart in the statement of this desperate leper. He knows that God can do anything, but He isn’t sure that He wants to. He’s found in Jesus the man who can touch His greatest hurt and wash Him clean…but will He? Jesus’ ability isn’t up for debate, but apparently His heart is.

It’s likely years of shame which has this leper questioning whether Jesus would want to heal him. Ed Welch says it well:

“…shame can deliberately undermine any possible success. If you catch a whiff of something good, you treat it as a threat. You run from it, drink at it, drug at it, sabotage it…People who live with shame believe they don’t deserve anything good. Sure, others get hurt by shame’s self-destructive ways, but its not as if you wanted to hurt them. You are doing your loved ones a favor (you think) if you distance yourself from them. You will ruin lives eventually, so you might as well get it over with.” (Shame Interrupted, 32)

There is more: http://www.mikeleake.net/2018/02/why-would-a-good-god-not-heal.html