Friday, February 16, 2018

Abide And Believe In Him

"Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." - John 20:30-31 ESV

Words were given about who Jesus Is. The reason they were given was for you to hear them and have an opportunity to believe them. If you do believe them you also get 'life in His Name (character and nature)'.

"No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away." - Luke 8:16-18 ESV

Wow.

If God gives you these words and you reject them but take other things from Him and form false conclusions those 'possessions' will one day be taken away.

"Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us - eternal life. I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie - just as it has taught you, abide in him. And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him." - 1 John 2:24-29 ESV

Some use this passage to say we don't need leadership but in context I see it as talking about the need to believe and abide in Jesus and His ability to remove unessential issues from our life. Our spiritual life grows under certain conditions and shrinks under others.

Abide (live with) Jesus and Believe in Him and the subjective guidance will be there. God may use removal as a tool. We believe in the love and truth that has been revealed and we are led into the next thing knowing that what has been true before is still true now.

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

You Are The Salt Of The Earth

"You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet." - Matthew 5:13 ESV

You are the salt that can be lost. You are needed. The real you. The healthy you that has a focus on God and practices His presence and seeks His mind.

Just thinking of a fisherman in ancient culture taking a sandy substance that was naturally filled with salt to pack their fish in to preserve them until they got to market. If that sandy salty mixture got rained on the rain would dissolve the salt and leave a less salty mix. Those fish would go bad before they got to a person's kitchen.

We are needed today. Exposure to influences can water down and drain away the knowledge of who God says we are until we are just dirt or sand with little preservation power.

That fisherman would need to go to his or her source of salty mixture often and get more if last weeks or last months mixture was used it wouldn't preserve as well.

We need to go to our source often to remain salty. If we wander away and stay away the elements take their toll on us but if we go morning by morning we remain potent.

You are a force for preservation just by carrying God into your situations today. The salt you have is needed. The identity you have in Christ is rare and Heavenly in origin. That salt wasn't detected by sight it was discerned by taste. It doesn't matter what you look like it matters who you look to. If you are looking to the God of the Bible seeking His actual mind you will be a salty person.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

-- A NEW PROJECT -- Changes are coming in 2018

Well... Things die and get buried but if they are of God sometimes that is not the end.

I have picked up a project that has been on my heart for several years. It involves graphic arts and video and I'm hoping to reach a new (and broader) audience with the Gospel of Grace. That means less time on my blog. I plan to keep posting but it will not be daily during this coming season. I hope over the next month, or two, to settle into a new schedule. If you are one of my readers that has a prayer life I'd ask that you keep this project in your prayers.

Thank you all for your love and support for the blog over the years. A new adventure is about to begin.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Powerful Scriptural Triads - Part 6

We have a reset button with God.

"Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool." - Isaiah 1:18 ESV

Maybe we see this in relation to this passage...

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." - 1 John 1:9 ESV

But I think it is more. When we reason with God who we really are gets revealed. Our calling gets restored when it was obscured by another color.

"Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables." - 2 Timothy 4:2-4 NKJV

Do you see the triad there? If we stop hearing sound doctrine from someone else, who has been given as a gift to give us sound doctrine, we heap to ourselves teachers who never challenge us with the cross and our ears itch, then we turn our ears away but find that we get turned by some other power towards fables.

King David didn't have itching ears...

"And he threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David, and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. And Shimei said as he cursed, 'Get out, get out, you man of blood, you worthless man! The LORD has avenged on you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned, and the LORD has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. See, your evil is on you, for you are a man of blood.' Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, 'Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.' But the king said, 'What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the LORD has said to him, 'Curse David,' who then shall say, 'Why have you done so?'' And David said to Abishai and to all his servants, 'Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. It may be that the LORD will look on the wrong done to me, and that the LORD will repay me with good for his cursing today.' So David and his men went on the road, while Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went and threw stones at him and flung dust." - 2 Samuel 16:6-13 ESV

Wow. David was 'like wool' wasn't he? He was reasoning with God and looking to Him for what was to come next.

Sin can become a distraction from our identity but 'good things' can distract us from our calling.

You have a calling! It is high. It is Heavenly. It is holy!

Confessing what we do or don't do that is not full of faith is important but our actions are only surface things. Reasoning with God is more than that. We reason with Him and discuss what is real and what comes next. What happens next isn't based on the 'success' or 'failure' of past ventures. What comes next is a joint venture with Jesus that can't be evaluated in those terms.

"In that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book, And the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness." - Isaiah 29:18 NKJV

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." - 1 Peter 2:9 ESV

Hit the reset button with God and return to your calling.

"To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out." - John 10:3 ESV

The many fictions we entertained to keep us entertained get left in the dead end where they belong and we walk with the One who has made us white as snow.

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Friday, February 9, 2018

Surrender To Love

Free will. We have it.

"Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. 'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.' ' " - Matthew 23:36-39 ESV

Wow. Can we fathom this? The all-powerful God wants something but He does not get it because we can choose and we often make the wrong choice.

God made free will agents and loves them (us) hoping they will love Him back knowing scores will hurt Him and spurn His Love.

"And he began to tell the people this parable: 'A man planted a vineyard and let it out to tenants and went into another country for a long while. When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, so that they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent another servant. But they also beat and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent yet a third. This one also they wounded and cast out. Then the owner of the vineyard said, 'What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.' But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, 'This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.' And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.' When they heard this, they said, 'Surely not!' But he looked directly at them and said, 'What then is this that is written: ' 'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone'? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.' " - Luke 20:9-18 ESV

Fall on the Rock today. Do it this weekend. You have a choice. Just let God love You. If you harden your heart again and again you may lose your capacity to say, 'Yes' and that is a scary idea. Say, 'Yes'... surrender to love.

Beleive in the Son. Honor the Son. He cares for you and He Is your last and only chance at making sense of this life.

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Thursday, February 8, 2018

That Old Rascal

I'm reading Genesis chapter 32 and 33 this morning and I am amazed at how stubborn and deceptive Jacob is.

"Then Esau said, 'Let us be on our way; I'll accompany you.' But Jacob said to him, 'My lord knows that the children are tender and that I must care for the ewes and cows that are nursing their young. If they are driven hard just one day, all the animals will die. So let my lord go on ahead of his servant, while I move along slowly at the pace of the flocks and herds before me and the pace of the children, until I come to my lord in Seir.' Esau said, 'Then let me leave some of my men with you.' 'But why do that?' Jacob asked. 'Just let me find favor in the eyes of my lord.' So that day Esau started on his way back to Seir. Jacob, however, went to Sukkoth, where he built a place for himself and made shelters for his livestock. That is why the place is called Sukkoth." - Genesis 33:12-17 NIV

Did you catch the lie? I don't think I ever have before. Jacob told Esau he would meet him in Seir but he never goes there. He goes in a different direction to Sukkoth and stands up his brother.

This is right after Jacob wrestles with God in the chapter before.

"When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, 'Let me go, for the day has broken.' But Jacob said, 'I will not let you go unless you bless me.' And he said to him, 'What is your name?' And he said, 'Jacob.' Then he said, 'Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.' Then Jacob asked him, 'Please tell me your name.' But he said, 'Why is it that you ask my name?' And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, 'For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.' " - Genesis 32:25-30 ESV

Jacob knew he was dealing with God because he couldn't manipulate this person. Very interesting how God blesses a person who is trying to con him.

Grace

It's all grace

God has to change Jacob's name because Jacob is a rascal and is going to be a rascal no matter what you do.

Jacob has a new perspective after chapter 32. He really has a peace he didn't have before. He could meet his brother and deal with the situation in a peaceful way after his encounter with God but it isn't because he is a changed man. It is because he has seen God and gotten the 'blessing'.

The identity shift would come much later.

I have known some Godly rascals in my time. I am one. My old man is slippery but I have a new identity in Christ and that guy isn't a rascal. He really Is all that God says he is.

God really blessed me the other day. No. Really He did. I was like Jacob dreading what might come next and now all that is gone. I spoke to Him and He moved in a mystical way I can't explain and lifted my burden. He didn't have to do it but He did.

Today I am very aware of my need to put on Jesus Christ.

"The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." - Romans 13:12-14 KJV

Yes. Old Jacob gets another nail in his coffin.

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." - Galatians 2:20 KJV

As an old friend would say...

Ding. Dong.

Yes. That is my choice. I know who I am in Christ and I know what I can be if I don't put on this person and this truth. Today is a new day and a fresh chance to live in a new identity.


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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Dissipation

I was listening to a news report about the drought in Cape Town, South Africa and it brought me to this passage.

"And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit," - Ephesians 5:18 NKJV

The word translated 'dissipation' here is asōtia (Strong's G810) and it speaks of an erosion or evaporation of integrity or wholeness.

This city had water but then the drought started. Things got worse and worse. Now water is precious and everyone is looking for new and better ways to reuse their 'gray water'. Soon the city may run dry and according to that broadcast, they would be the first modern metropolis that large that has done so.

If you have an abundance dissipation seems like no big deal but when you have very little that little bit becomes precious.

I am rich in Christ but proximity to Him reveals my poverty. I can no longer separate myself from the terrible things people do. I am just like them. Jesus died on the cross as us in full identification with the sins of the whole world. Innocent but poor beyond understanding. Stripped of everything in our place. I have an inheritance in Him. Believers are hidden in the person of this Savior. I am rich but if I am honest I am also as poor as the poorest person in true identification.

" 'All things are lawful,' but not all things are helpful. 'All things are lawful,' but not all things build up." - 1 Corinthians 10:23 ESV

Many things are pleasurable but they dissipate and I just can't afford that. I feel like I imagine Cape Town must feel (if a city feels anything). Every drop of water has become important to the inhabitants of that city. It wasn't before but it is now.

"And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." - Matthew 26:27-29 KJV

One day we will raise a glass with Christ and it will be in true celebration. There will be no dissipation because that will be a thing of the past. I look forward to that day. Jesus is abstaining so I abstain with Him. Jesus identifies so I identify. Jesus is holy and I sit with Him in His holiness. That holiness is precious and important.

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