I am writing this as an open letter to a few select individuals who are dear to my life and heart. I hope and pray that anyone else into whose hands it chances to come may find it interesting, and may in some way benefit from it.
All my life I have been what is loosely called "evangelical" in my general outlook and spiritual perspective. As such, in order to breathe freely in my spirit and keep my brain and heart thriving and growing, I have found it necessary to re-think many of the doctrinal particulars of belief in which I was raised.
What follows is not an autobiography by any means of that journey. It is rather an attempt to place my sojourn into a wider context, and to explain this "necessity" I have felt to explore Christian thought beyond the boundaries of the teaching I received at various stages of my life.
A devotional study by bestselling novelist and devotional writer Michael Phillips, identifying 120 commands of Jesus from the gospels.
Jesus often introduces the subject of obedience with the tiny but eternally significant word "If". He recognizes that there are always two paths—obedience and disobedience. He commands obedience. But many will not obey. This obedience is a natural outgrowth of love:
-If you love me you will keep my commandments. (John 14:15)-He who has my commands and keeps them, he it is who loves me. (John 14:21)-If a man loves me, he will keep my word. (John 14:23)-You are my friends if you do what I command you.
Jesus is well aware of the games people play with spiritual things. He wants none to mistake what it means to be his followe. Many will claim to love him. Many will pretend to love him. Many will talk about loving him. Many will analyze what it means to love him. However, a Christian is distinguished and defined by one—and only one—thing: Obedience.
Obedience to the Commands of Jesus is a daily, moment-by-moment choice. We make it over and over. We are continually making it. It is a progressive and ongoing choice that defines what it means to love Jesus and be his follower.
A new edition of early 20th century best-selling author Harold Bell Wright’s classic, edited by Michael Phillips.
The Shepherd of the Hills is the classic story of the stranger who takes the Old Trail deep into the Ozark mountains, many miles from civilization. His appearance signals intellect and culture, yet his countenance is marked by grief and disappointment. He is a man with a mission, yet one which no one understands. What is his purpose in taking on the lowly work of tending local sheep? And how is it that he befriends these simple hill folk, despite his coming from the world beyond the ridges?
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