Monday, June 26, 2017

Coffee Can Contributions

This morning I'm thinking of 'coffee can' savings accounts. Put a little in and a little more and a little more. Lots of deposits but very rare withdrawals. Then when the big day comes those cans get opened and all the little sacrifices become one big party.

"Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." - Matthew 12:33-37 ESV

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" - Matthew 6:21-23 KJV

Notice in each there are two varieties of treasure. Grace treasure and dark treasure. No gray. No combinations. You either know God and have a coffee can of light or you don't and have a coffee can of darkness.

"Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat." - Hebrews 13:9-10 ESV

Grace is directly linked to Jesus. No Jesus. No grace. Know Jesus and know grace.

This morning I am refocused on the big party coming later. I will be there because of Jesus. Just looking at Him adds something to my life that is contributing something to the party later on. Every faith thought and every time we value grace as something to receive, give and live it adds a degree of light to a treasure of light.

Amazing.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Rhythm Of The Scriptures

I'm reading Proverbs chapter 29 this morning and I find that jumping back and forth from idea to idea is very comforting somehow. A topic is introduced but then another is given and another. Then the writer returns to the first topic and you see it in freshness.

I truly believe that God had men pen the scriptures in such a way that our thinking would be ordered and restored by the words and the 'rhythm of words'

"[To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.] The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer." - Psalm 19:1-14 KJV

Yes. We have secret faults but God has given us words to realign our thinking and we can continue as flawed people living in a perfect provision.

Thank you God.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Quote From A Booklet

A quote from the booklet I am reading this morning...

'The Holy Spirit is God's Spirit, revealed in the love of God and the grace of God. Zechariah 12:10 calls Him 'the spirit of grace.' Galatians 4:4 speaks of the Spirit of the Son. Philippians 1:19 speaks of the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Romans 8:15 says we have received the Spirit of adoption. Romans 5:5 says that God's love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4:32 reveals the spirit of forgiveness, while Isaiah 11:2 and 3 refer to Him as the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and might, and of knowledge and reverence toward God. In Romans 1:4-5, when we received Christ, we received the Spirit of holiness for obedience, and we have the same Spirit of faith (2 Corinthians 4:13). When we walk in the Holy Spirit, we are walking in God's life. We have amazing protection, indescribable provision, unfathomable wisdom, perfect peace, and divine guidance, Romans 8:14. Romans 8:2 tells us about the law of the Spirit of life that overcomes the law of sin and death. John 10:10b calls it abundant life.' (What Spirit Are You Of? by Carl H. Stevens Jr)

Wow. Fill us with Your Spirit today God. Speak to us. Guide us. Thank You God.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Other Woman - Part 5

I'm reading Genesis 38 over and over again this morning and I see so much of modern culture in the account of Tamar. While Joseph is off in Egypt Judah is living the life of a rascal. He is married but has a girlfriend in a village. He has children with this woman and all kinds of intrigue follows.

Tamar marries one of Judah's sons but that man dies and the culture of sleeping around continues. The scriptures are quite graphic in their description of deception and sexuality.

The account makes me think of this passage...

"It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery." - Matthew 5:31-32 ESV

Not a passage often preached on by 'grace preachers'. It seems to forbid remarriage. It doesn't. It uncovers the reality of what broken relationships can do.

If you read Genesis 38, and I suggest you do, you will see that Tamar has needs and the double standard in her culture puts her in a difficult situation. She used her sexuality to get what she needs and what everyone knew she deserved in that culture. Was it right? No. But Judah set an unjust standard and everyone became a victim of his compromise.

The women in our culture need men to be men. It is easy to condemn a person for their loose ways but what made them that way? Nor should a husband who is married to someone who was married before condemning his wife for bringing what 'was' into what 'is'.

"Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered." - 1 Peter 3:7 ESV

She has battle scars. Respect her. Love her. The hard hard world hurt her and she had to adapt. Be a covering and a friend. She is on loan from a God who cherishes her.

Jesus paid for all sexual sin on the cross. He died for the victims and for the people who caused a wild west culture.

As men let's look at Judah and Joseph and make wise choices. Who will we be?

"He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. He will get wounds and dishonor, and his disgrace will not be wiped away." - Proverbs 6:32f ESV

Amen.

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Mercy For The Faulty Father

If you are a father who has messed everything up with his children... God's mercies are new every morning.

If you are a child who has been hurt by a parent... God will adopt you as His own child and be the Heavenly parent that you need.

Jesus died for deadbeat dads. Jesus was raised for children of every age.

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." - John 14:18 ESV

"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." - Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV

Maybe your faithfulness has been lacking. Join the club. It has millions of members.

If in humility you and i will receive mercy and forgiveness then we can have the strength to make the hard choices. If you are breathing it isn't too late to initiate a relationship or a reconciliation. Pray and show love expecting nothing in return. Pray and do it at the right time. Stay built up in God's love. It isn't too late to stop hiding.

You may get rejected but at least you can stop living like a coward and face your fear. Once the fear is faced down the power it has just drains away.

Thank God for all the wonderful fathers out there that did so much for their children. God loves them and He loves you also. If His love was based on our merit we would all be in big trouble. We are loved because of Jesus. We are reconciling because of Christ.

There is new mercy today and it is powerful. It can cleanse away the deepest stain. We have a new day with fresh opportunities.

I want that mercy. Nothing can hold me for very long because of it. Thank You God for that fresh mercy!

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Friday, June 16, 2017

The Other Woman - Part 4

Some men will shower women with affection but in and of itself that behavior isn't spiritual. The fall has made men into people who 'satisfy' and 'deprive'.

"I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord." - 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 ESV

Satisfying others, including a spouse or lover, is just an advanced form of self-satisfaction.

Mankind is made to glorify God. Men and woman do this in overlapping ways.

A woman needs the subjective experience of being, 'holy in body and spirit' in order to feel complete. A man can never do that for her. He can contribute to an environment where that can happen. He can be a covering and a catalyst but he can't satisfy her in that deepest need of her soul.

"Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." - Genesis 2:18 ESV

Likewise, one woman can help one man to be the man he was meant to be.

"Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct." - 1 Peter 3:1-2 ESV

This subjection is not subservience. It is a present and loving participation in the union. The fall has created in women a need for continuous validation. A believing woman knows she is holy because of the finished work of Jesus Christ. She Is seated together with Christ in Heavenly places no matter what her circumstances may suggest. Other people can reinforce that and provide a hedge for that to be learned and experienced.

A Godly husband points his wife to the holiness she has in Christ and a Godly wife says, in word and deed, that she is with her husband as he pursues his sometimes elusive calling.

"And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him - a threefold cord is not quickly broken." - Ecclesiastes 4:12 ESV

The 'other woman' is attracted to the stability of a man who seems to be pleasing someone else. She doesn't know that by defiling herself she only moves farther away from true satisfaction. Holiness is the only thing that can give her true 'wholeness.'

The man sees another way to satisfy himself by satisfying or depriving another human being but he also destroys his own soul in the process because it is a soul attachment that creates a present and future distraction (because of guilt) from realizing and experiencing his identity in God's calling.

Marriage, the only sanctioned sexual relationship, is a good place to glorify God but it is not the only place. If God gives us this, the closest of unions, so be it. It will never provide the ultimate satisfaction. God Himself Is that wholeness. Jesus came to give that to us and it is ours if we have Him and dwell in the covering thinking with Him provides.

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Other Woman - Part 3

"Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah's eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, 'I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.' ... When the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren." - Genesis 29:16-18, 31 ESV

At times I have wondered that western civilization has moved in the direction of monogamy. So much of the Bible, and history, shows men with more than one wife but in God's economy, there is no 'other woman' each woman is the apple of His eye. She stands and sits alone in that she is irreplaceable and precious.

Rachel and Leah were each a wife and the 'other woman' at the same time. Rachel had her husband's love and desire but Leah gave him children and the need she met produced tangible results.

The other woman may be a sexual predator or she may be a very kind person who believes that the man she is with will change or make a change to eventually put her first. The man may dangle that status in front of her eyes. The third scenario is that she just doesn't know she is the 'other', even though she may suspect it, and then at the point of discovery decisions need to be made. Perhaps she is slow to make them because of the emotional consequences of separation.

As I read these accounts I marvel at God's grace and mercy. You could say, 'Why did He even allow situations like these?' but clearly He lets us be who we are and these biographical accounts instruct us don't they? Who among us hasn't not felt second class for one reason or another? Perhaps we console ourselves that at least we contribute something even if we are not 'the special one'. Then in other areas we are in Rachel's place loved but useless. Our production is off and our self-worth is wrapped up in our 'doing'.

"I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words. Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings," - Psalm 17:6-8 ESV

Let me say it again. God has no 'other' in relation to you. You are the apple of His eye. You are what He looks at. If you get close enough to Him you will see your reflection in His eye as He looks lovingly at you.

Knowing God spoils us for manipulating scenarios. We are no longer victims nor do we feel the need to victimize. Grace and love fill a void and we can make hard choices to swim against the current. When you are special you can do that.

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