Are you an obedient Christian? We don’t often hear this question asked in our time. Questions of happiness or fulfillment are more common. Obedience is somehow not in vogue. Yet obedience is what Christ called for. In John 15:14 He even calls us friends if we obey his commands. He proclaims that love for him is proven in our obedience to his commands in John 14:15.
Latter on in his life the Apostle John reflects on these truths and writes these words in Second John 1:6. “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.”
The common theme of each of the recorded commands of Christ found in the Scripture is love. Love for God and love for our neighbors. A love not held only in our hearts and minds but a love lived out in tangible ways. It is love that motivates us to live the commands of Christ.
So, when you obey the command of Christ and preach the Gospel so that your neighbor can hear and believe then call upon the name of the Lord so that they are saved, you do so motivated by love. When you obey the command of Christ to reach the world by sending a missionary to a foreign land you do so out of love.
Allow me to ask the question again. Are you an obedient Christian? Do you love Christ? Do you love your neighbors? Do you live accordingly?
May we do all we can to send the Gospel in the world. May we do so in Love.
With much love, The Downings
What do the Inca, the Conquistadores, the cult of Pachamama and Mariolatry have in common? Find out by listening to today’s Cultural Insight podcast.
Rumicucho is one of the “high places” the Conquistadors destroyed.
with much love, the Downings
Would you prefer to live a long safe life or would you prefer to live on the vanguard of God’s consuming fire? For most of us this is not a true binary choice. It is not an either or proposition, we may indeed burn brightly for Him for many long years. But what if… what if we are among those whom God calls to burn quickly for Him?
For followers of Christ who live with Eternity in mind our lives are not confined to this world. We are confident that we will follow Christ in this life, through death and into eternal life. From this perspective living life in God’s consuming fire is more important that living a lengthy life.
May our lives be marked by God’s consuming fire. May we live with Eternity in mind.
With much love, The Downings
To wake people up…but how? How is our work best done? How do we wake people up? Do we need to update our songs, add lights and a fog machine to our church buildings? Should we change our theology and soften our message? Shall we focus on social programs and building projects? Perhaps the church should concede the cultural war and stop offending sinners. Would it wake people up if we abandon our moral stances? Maybe if we break from our history our tradition then people will wake up. Surly if we build a separate building for the youth, offer separate services based on preferences people will wake up.
Of course all of that is misguided at best when done to wake people up. Isn’t it interesting that we often call upon the church to change instead of calling the sinner to change? The only way to awaken the sinner is to proclaim the Gospel. Everyone has sinned. The wages of sin are death, but the free gift of God is eternal life. Whomsoever will believe in the Lord Jesus will be saved.
One of the best summaries of the Gospel is found in 1 John 3:23 “This is [God’s] command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another.” Believe in Christ, his death and resurrection and you will be saved. Then you will live a life marked by love, that is the effect of salvation.
May we be torchbearers of this truth. May we seek to wake people up!
With love, The Downings
Seco de pollo or chicken stew
Yield: For 8-10 people
Seco de pollo or seco de gallina is a South American chicken stew cooked slowly in a sauce of beer, onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, herbs and spices. Seven out of seven Downings recomend this dish.
Love, The Downing Family
We hear the words of Christ echo throughout the corridors of history: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
We follow the one who has all authority in heaven and Earth and who has promised that he is with us always!
As we walk with Christ through the good and bad in life we walk with confidence that he is with us. In the good times we delight in his blessings, when tribulation defines our path we rest assured that his presence makes all things bearable.
Although we constantly give thanks to him in the good times, we draw close to him during hardships of life.
When we look forward in life we often see only confusion, a path not clear, full of terrifying obstacles. When we pause and look back we see exactly how Christ lead us through difficult situations in the past. Likewise, when we face tribulation, we can take courage that he has always made his presence known in the past and will certainly walk with us in every situation, even to the end of the age.
May we be filled with a clear sense of His companionship today! May our tribulation be defined not by our suffering but by His presence.
with love, The Downings
The work of missionaries is particularly essential to the Church. Not simply becuase every Christian is commanded into missions through the great commission in some way but becuase of the inheritant smelting of the Gospel message as it travels into new cultures. We who are missionaries can not afford to give a Gospel wrapped up in our home culture no matter how wonderful our home culture might be. We dare not give even aspects of our home culture in place of the Gospel or perhaps more commonly in addition to the Gospel. It is impartive that we separate the trappings of our culture and deliver only the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ. Only His message contain the Words of Life!
The words of Christ reach people in every culture, they even fundamentally change cultures but only when we give the words of Christ unwrapped from the message of our culture.
Friend, if you are a believer in Christ you are a believer because you heard the words of Christ. Let us carefully read the Bible and consistently breathe the Words of life into our lost and dying world!
May we do the hard work of objectivity looking at the Gospel and then at our culture and follow the Gospel when the two diverge. May we give Jesus only!
With much love, The Downings
Missionary. What do you think of when you hear the word missionary? Missions, primarily, is not about men and women giving their lives away for a moral or humanitarian cause. Rather, missions are primarily about the proclamation of a specific message with a specific content. We see this message written large in every sermon recorded in the book of Acts. The redemption of the world through the death and resurrection of our incarnate God, Jesus Christ.
If you tell someone of the love, salvation and redemption of Jesus Christ you are speaking missionary words. If you proclaim “God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son so that whosoever believes in Him shall not parish but Have everlasting life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him” you are proclaiming the missionary message.
But where should you proclaim your missionary message? Jesus actually gives us clear instructions as to where we are to be missionaries.
In Acts Chapter one Jesus tells his original disciples that they would be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth. In other words where they lived, where they were comfortable, across cultural lines and to the furthest parts of the earth.
We, His current disciples are called likewise. Although we tend to think of only the furthest parts of the earth as being the realm of missionaries, the truth is that all Christians are responsible for each area of witness. We must take care to witness in each of the realms that Christ sent His disciples.
May we loudly proclaim the missionary message to all whom we meet. May we go in person, and where we cannot go in person may we go in purse!
With much love, The Downings