Monday, March 31, 2014

Acting On Wisdom From Above

This weekend was very rich. Great fellowship, touching fresh messages and good news from far away places. There are many thoughts that are fresh in my still awakening mind this morning. Spices that might not mix together into one dish. They will need separate applications to be palatable.

One clear idea is the concept of acting on what we know to be true. Action by faith brings a kind of satisfaction. The thought has fulfilled a purpose when it is brought to a place of action. Like a musician who plays their instrument. There is a satisfaction in the exercise versus seeing the instrument gather dust in a corner day after day.

"Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." - James 3:13-18 ESV

Wisdom from below demands action... revenge, recognition, shame and ego... if we feed that fire the flames will hurt others and we will embrace the burning in our own bosom.

Wisdom from above is grace based. Is does not drive us or promote comparison. It waits in gentleness. It acts in earnestness. It is fruit that has seed that follows a cycle of death, burial and resurrection like the wheat that falls to the ground and seems to die when in truth it's burial will mean a multiplication of life.

Today is another day. We can put another log on the fire of the flesh or we can have the light of an eternal flame fed by the oil of God's eternal Spirit. Which one will light our path today? Will we be timid thinkers or peaceful people who walk and step into faith?

God, Move us today. Move us in wisdom from above. Move us in mercy and compassion. Fills us. Help us. Enlighten our minds. We want to go where you are going and see what you are doing. We purpose to be about our Father's business today.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Root Of The Olive Tree

Reading Romans chapter 9, 10 and 11 this morning and thinking about human genetics and grace. These are unique and marvelous chapters in the new testament that are vital keys to understanding the old testament. Paul's heartbreak and hope are so clearly expressed as he speaks about Israel. The contrary cultivated olive tree. Cultivated in that they were groomed for generations as 'God's people' but never coming into their own. Some people surrendered to God's grace over the nation's lengthy history but as a whole the nation failed. The failure was not a surprise to God. In fact the broken branches of the olive tree were used so that other wild (uncultivated) branches could be grafted in to the tree.

This is really a wonderful mystery.

"For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 'For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?' For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen." - Romans 11:30-36 ESV

These chapter are loaded with amazing concepts and principles about evangelism, desire and human nature. They are challenging to read... but this  morning I marvel at God's use of national failure and make clear parallels to my our life... my own failures.

"What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone," - Romans 9:30-32 ESV

This cultivated olive tree wanted to live in it's identity as the people of God. On the whole the wrong methods were employed. Paul warns the wild olive branch that it could suffer the same fate and in many ways it has.

God is not surprised.

We all face our future in different ways. We all have 'genetic predispositions' that orient us... seeming pros and cons of who we are and are not... things we want to change... things we value...

"But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you." - Romans 11:17-18 ESV

Our identity can be in who we are as a branch but God wants our identity to be in the root. He went to great lengths to graft in non Jewish people to convince the nation that he raised up a Messiah out of of this important distinction.

Grace reveals to us an identity that is not based in nature or nurture... genetics or upbringing... those things become a platform for pride or blame... our identity is in the root... the gracious one... pride and blame are nullified in that arena. Striving to be something ends and being who we are by the grace of God begins.

So, will we just be good boys and girls? If that is our conclusion we stumble at the same stumbling block that Israel did. That road leads to idolatry and destruction because we pursue a goodness we can NEVER attain to. We can do something else... something that befits the new nature God gave us at the moment of our salvation. We can be believers! People who actively believe God in the context of grace... not struggling against our genetics in Adam but transcending it in Christ. That is a life of satisfaction. That life is salt and light in the world.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Grace In Your Sight

Looking at the phrase 'grace in your sight' and the other variations of the phrase in the old testament (Hebrew scriptures) such as 'grace in your eyes'...

It is great concept really... mostly the phrase happens in conversations in the scriptures... a person standing in front of another person talking about finding favor with them... either asking if they have it or talking about moving forward in some way because they believe they have found favor.

It makes me think of this verse.

"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places," - Ephesians 1:2-3 ESV

and this one...

"Does not he see my ways and number all my steps?" - Job 31:4 ESV

We can find grace in the eyes of the God who sees all that we do.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Reading Philippians Chapter Four

Reading Philippians chapter 4 this morning. I love when the Bible explains your thought life to you. It serves as a mirror for our mindset. We are made in God's image. He gets us... completes us.

This chapter, as I'm reading it, models a certain thought life. Thinking that connects the dots. The mold of Paul's mind matches our mold but his thinking is full and models what a full thought life looks like. Our world can be very disconnected but there are real lasting connections. We don't always feel them but once made they are there.

"Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life." - Philippians 4:1-3 ESV

Paul is far away but he is entreating people to be loving to one another from far away. He sees needs. He sees faces and knows that God remembers names.

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." - Philippians 4:4-6 ESV

Joy that has reasonableness, Epieikes (Strong's G1933) in the Greek, a thinking filled with joy... the same thinking that has a mercy that rejoices against judgement. Thinking that reveals that God is close by and in the room. He is at hand. Needs are not ignored or magnified... after all God is at hand to talk to and interact with. Needs are handled by gifts. Gifts come from God.

"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me - practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." - Philippians 4:7-9 ESV

The gift of God lets this happen. This does not come by effort. When the reality of the gift of a restored moment by moment relationship with God is bubbling in us casting down imaginations and thinking in purity is the result. We choose. Then we choose again... and again. Our choices paint a peaceful picture one brush stroke at a time.

"I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble." - Philippians 4:10-14 ESV

Connections with people become a gift. A well pleasing gift.

"And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:15-19 ESV

These are prison epistles. Paul is isolated physically but not intellectually. His thinking must be derived from a different place. He can not live in the things he sees all day long... good or bad. Sound familiar to anyone?

There is a river flowing under the ground. Paul is tasting of that flow. The tree with deep searching roots finds the water. It is a needed provision for when the heat comes.

"To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar's household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit." - Philippians 4:20-23 ESV

Grace gives God glory. The flow of praise is directed towards God because we know we have nothing and deserve nothing. Justice would have rightfully condemned us but Christ took our hit at the cross. Every connections is a gift when you know that isolation is what you deserve.

So we greet every Saint. We are aware of the Heavenly care that God has and we become the conduit to express grace in a dark world that is blind to it. Paul had needs and the Church at Philippi remembered him and their love to him was an expression of God's love. That expression is a window into God's thought life. Jesus is the doorway but our love is a window.

Hey, May the grace of God be with you today. My love to everyone reading this.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Reaction To Joseph

I was thinking about Joseph's brothers this morning and their reaction to Joseph.

"These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father's wives. And Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him. Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more." - Genesis 37:2-5 ESV

Joseph caused a conflict for the brothers. He was an obstacle between them and their father. His presence brought out the worst in them. So they got rid of him... but even with Joseph gone leading his life somewhere else he was never really gone.

Standing before Joseph but not knowing it is him the boys, who have grown to be men, mention him.

"And they said, "We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan, and behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is no more."" - Genesis 42:13 ESV

Gone... but not gone.

"Then they said to one another, 'In truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us and we did not listen. That is why this distress has come upon us.'

And Reuben answered them, 'Did I not tell you not to sin against the boy? But you did not listen. So now there comes a reckoning for his blood.' " - Genesis 42:21-22 ESV

Wow. Here is Joseph stirring it all up again. I imagine Joseph didn't come up in conversation very much but here he was again. Even disguised in his adult role he was stirring the brother up again.

Joseph is a type of Christ. When fallen men come in contact with a perfect son who shows them up in front of there father it brings out the worst in them. Every boy deep down wants his father's approval. Even if he hates him. Every person wants God's validation even if he hates Him.

Joseph had a role as a Savior for his family. Jesus has a role as our Saviour. They are parallel to one another. People are going to react when there weakness is exposed.

"Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him. He cried, "Make everyone go out from me.'

So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. And Joseph said to his brothers, 'I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?'

But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. So Joseph said to his brothers, 'Come near to me, please.'

And they came near. And he said, 'I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.' " - Genesis 45:1-5 ESV

'You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children's children, and your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. There I will provide for you, for there are yet five years of famine to come, so that you and your household, and all that you have, do not come to poverty.' " - Genesis 45:10-11 ESV

It is the gift of grace that draws us near to God. It is in fact the only reason we could come to God or would want to come to God. People want a provision for self preservation not intimacy. But on a deep level intimacy is what we were all made for.

I want to be prepared for the fact that people are going to react when Christ is presented to them. It is not a surprise. He is the perfect loved son who brings out the worst in them. He is also their Savior and only hope of making it through the famine that is coming for every person.

Jesus' righteousness kills us but His grace invites us in and gives us robes of righteousness that we did not make ourselves.

"Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure" - for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, 'Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.' And he said to me, 'These are the true words of God.' " - Revelation 19:7-9 ESV


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Picturing the Cherubim

Thinking about the two fifteen foot tall Cherubim that God had in the temple this morning. Covered in gold and with wing spans of fifteen feet.

"The house that King Solomon built for the LORD was sixty cubits long, twenty cubits wide, and thirty cubits high. The vestibule in front of the nave of the house was twenty cubits long, equal to the width of the house, and ten cubits deep in front of the house... The inner sanctuary was twenty cubits long, twenty cubits wide, and twenty cubits high, and he overlaid it with pure gold. He also overlaid an altar of cedar... In the inner sanctuary he made two cherubim of olivewood, each ten cubits high. Five cubits was the length of one wing of the cherub, and five cubits the length of the other wing of the cherub; it was ten cubits from the tip of one wing to the tip of the other. The other cherub also measured ten cubits; both cherubim had the same measure and the same form. The height of one cherub was ten cubits, and so was that of the other cherub. He put the cherubim in the innermost part of the house. And the wings of the cherubim were spread out so that a wing of one touched the one wall, and a wing of the other cherub touched the other wall; their other wings touched each other in the middle of the house. And he overlaid the cherubim with gold." - 1 Kings 6:2-3, 20, 23-28 ESV

Then over the mercy seat there were two that had wings touching each other and over shadowing the mercy seat.

"Behind the second curtain was a second section called the Most Holy Place, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron's staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail." - Hebrews 9:3-5 ESV

Two huge larger than life Cherubim with wings that touched... a right wing and a left wing... but the outside wings touching the walls... then two small with both wings touching over the mercy seat both molded to be part of the mercy seat and observing the mercy seat... faces positioned to look at the center of it.

A majestic sight. One I am imagining in my mind.

The big picture and the little picture. The world around me. The wings of Heaven's angels reach out to the walls of my life. God's mercy is also small enough to be involved in my personal forgiveness.

So much there to think about. To picture. To struggle to imagine.


Monday, March 24, 2014

In Place As Spectators

"Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one." - 2 Thessalonians 3:1-3 ESV

These are some really interesting verses. At face value they are interesting and when you look into the Greek they get more interesting.

Paul asks for a two pronged prayer to be prayed for their group.

One, That the word would 'speed ahead' and be glorified among the next group of people they encounter.

Secondly, He asks for deliverance from two types of people. The word translated wicked does not refer to evil. It is Atopos (Strong's G824) and it means to be out of place. Someone ignorant or oblivious to where they are placed. The next group is Poneros (G4190) men who are organized from a different opposing kingdom.

Then he makes a blanket statement about both groups. 'Not all have faith.' The original put a definite article in front of faith so it can be translated. 'Not all have this specific kind of faith.' The kind of faith that is presented in a grace context. The kind that sees glory in the word of grace that comes and speeds into our midst and then ahead and out to the uttermost parts of the Earth. The kind that sees God as a faithful.

Paul asks them to pray this way because he has had 'successful' mission trips and at other times the group has been severely hindered. Prayer make a difference in ways we can not fathom in these arenas.

The Lord is the faithful one. He is faithful to 'establish' you (Sterizo G4741) which in this context means to make firm, strengthen and place you in the correct position so that you are not out of place. Grace puts you in the right place at the right time and in a frame of mind that glorifies God as a spectator to His work. Watching from the correct vantage point and rejoicing at what you see. He is also able to guard you from the evil and the disorderly.

Notice it says that God is able, not that He is automatically going to do it. There is a prayer element that we don't understand fully. There is an invisible warfare that is going on. The word of grace will speed along if it is given free course and yet there is something about prayer that makes us participants in the grand scheme of things.

'Revival is no more a miracle than a crop of wheat is.' - John Wesley

Wow. What a provoking quote. I stole it from a friend of mine. I am going to keep it. How provoking is that little sentence. If we sow the word of grace, the pure simple Gospel, in prayer and with feet on the ground what will happen? There is real possibility and probability for hindrances because we do it in a faithless world. But then there is the glory... and the people who will be transformed... new groups of friends to meet and fellowship with.

Grace will show us our place. It will put us in our place today.

God fill us with Your Spirit. May Your word have free course in us and through us and may we glorify your name in what we say and do today and through the rest of this week. Thank You God. Thank you for sending Your word our way in You have given us life. Thank You.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

What a Waste

"Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying,

'Why this waste? For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.'

But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, 'Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.' " - Matthew 26:6-13 ESV

This passage has been on my heart today.

This woman couldn't change the circumstances surrounding Jesus' death. There was a momentum in motion that was beyond her control.

What did that alabaster box (flask) of ointment represent to her. Perhaps it was her hope for the future. The disciples knew the cost of such a gesture. What had she done to get something that expensive. Was it given to her? Did she save and barter and trade over years and years to amass what was needed to have that flask. Was it her retirement fund? Who knows.

God knew. Jesus saw what she did and it was beautiful. Her hopes were going into the grave with Him.

She couldn't stop or slow down the events around her but she could send her hopes with Him into the grave. She could bless Him by pouring out her expectations on Him.

Was it a waste? Good question. We are going to be faced with questions like this as we walk through life. Will we surrender our well thought out plan of self preservation?

That woman poured her oil on Christ's head and He died ready for burial. Then days later he rose from the grave but she never got her oil back. She got something much much more important and lasting.

How good it is to live that way. Others may see it and think, 'What a waste.' but God knows better.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Retroactive Faith

Thinking this morning about the word 'retroactive' and how much of my faith relies on this concept.

It is relatively new word. The Online Etymology Dictionary dates this word at around 1610 and cites a French origin 'rétroactif'. Even though the word is new the concept is old.

"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose." - Galatians 2:20-21 ESV

Retro-activity is a legal concept. Something that was previously unknown or unproven that happened in the past suddenly has great impact on present and future standing. The object remains unchanged but because of legal ramifications there is great fresh activity.

The law deals with now. Faith deals with something carried from the past into the present and future.

Guilt is when what we have done in the past follows us into the present. Forgiveness is when what Jesus did on the cross, planned before the foundation of the world, floods all of our being... past, present and future. Eternal things have retroactive status previous to time and space.

Chew on that for a while. {smile}

A retroactive faith will have a real present hope. When we enter into present faith based on what Christ has already done it is like a warm breeze coming from behind us and passing over us to refresh us. The things God has won for us materialize around us seemingly out of no where.

'Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall profess, within the vail,
A life of joy and peace.'

Amazing Grace by John Newton (1725-1807)


Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Power Of Spoken Truth

There is something fulfilling about verbalizing truth. This works on many levels.

It might be admitting to long repressed feelings or thoughts that causes release. To think or feel one way inside but live differently on the outside causes contradictions in our soul. If anyone lives in a contradiction long enough it wears on them. There are plenty of reasons people do this.

"He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, 'Is there not a lie in my right hand?' " - Isaiah 44:20 ESV

Approving of a lie... only a fallen person can do it. People do it on purpose and they do it not knowing they are doing it. Either way it results in 'feeding on ashes'. The burnt up remains of something that is devoid of nutrition and satisfaction.

People have an individual sphere of reality. A bubble of perception where the five senses regulate perceived reality. Some philosophers claim that this bubble is reality. That the sum of what we perceive and think and act upon what we perceive is what is real and that individuals really control and 'script' that reality in a tailor made way. Biblical sound teaching contradicts that thought while recognizing the bubble around a person.

"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee." - Proverbs 23:7 KJV

People in 'free' societies try to express what it in their bubble. In repressive cultures they do it in secret or channel the expression in veiled ways. A brief look at the history of art, music and literature reveals this clearly. People have a need to express what they feel. There is a release when they do it and a recognition that happens when someone who feels the same way sees and validates it.

If we just stop here then we are left in a potentially lonely and very destructive place. Perhaps it is fertile for creativity but not for peace and fulfillment. Why? Perhaps because those virtuous qualities don't reside in man's individual bubble. People only have circumstantial calm at best. People are broken... damaged.

If people have a bubble then what about God? He is a person...

"The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for 'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we are indeed his offspring.' " - Acts 17:24-28 ESV

All of humanity is inside God's bubble of perception.

"Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high," - Hebrews 1:1-3 ESV

All creation is held together by the glue of His words.

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together." - Colossians 1:15-17 ESV

All perceived things were made by someone who is not limited by perception. Omnipresence and omniscience make the claim that God sees all that is 'inside' but has no 'outside'. He has created an inside... inside Himself... for us to live in.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men." - John 1:1-4 ESV

It is the word that connects our small reality with God's reality much like light making chemical changes on parts of our eyes allow us to perceive and 'see' the outside world.

Eternal truth resides in God. Eternal truth is reality. It is real and will be real absent of anyone else to perceive it.

"So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, 'If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.' " - John 8:31-32 ESV

How? When what is inside us aligns with what God is thinking... when something unbroken and breakable enters into our mind and comes to live in us... it has the ability to shatter and remake our little bubble. To expand it. To breathe life into it.

"But what does it say? 'The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart' (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved." - Romans 10:8-10 ESV

Wow. wow. wow.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God," - Ephesians 2:8 ESV

We are saved by faith and nothing else. Salvation is something God does when we believe and receive the light given to us. The light of the character, nature and redemptive action of His Son on the cross. It is not something we do. It is something God does.

Saying truth is something we do and Oh it is so rewarding. We say what is true and we are changed by that truth. We say what is true and the truth changes the world around us. Not just intellectual knowledge. Jesus, the living truth, does the changing. The Father. The Son. The Holy Spirit of truth does it in sovereignty and as He wills.

Grace makes us free within our bubble to confess and walk in truth. Grace makes us free period. In that freedom we have liberty and great potential for confession.

"He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." - John 1:10-13 KJV

"If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him." - John 14:7 ESV

 One day our bubble of perception will be gone. Popped.

"When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known." - 1 Corinthians 13:11-12 ESV

We will see God as He sees us. Just knowing that does something to us.

Until then let's use wisdom about how to approach people. In freedom God has brought peace and joy into our world and has changed the content of what we express. It will continue to change as we are transformed into the image of the One we have been remade to be like.

"Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.' " - Mark 16:14-16 ESV

Let us go dunk people in truth. Only God knows what will truly enter into their little world. If it gets inside grace will persuade them to have a new confession and that confession is so satisfying to the speaker and the ones who hear it and recognize it.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Missionary Mindset

'And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.' - 1 John 5:20-21 ESV

Reading Acts 16 & 17 this morning again and again in a meditative way. Letting the events wash over me and seeing reactions and responses to the Gospel and learning from them. (I will put the text of the two chapters at the end of this post. )

The Gospel is a simple message but it has such a profound affect on society and individuals. It exposes mindsets and turns things that are upside down right side up making a mess at first but redeeming lives.

As I read these passages there is desire that my heart and mind would be aligned with the mindset presented by these missionaries. I don't want to live in a sophisticated version of Christianity. Faith is simple. The message is simple. God leads sending us and sometimes preventing us in interesting ways.

We are in the one who Is true. We keep ourselves from idols by living in the simplicity of a momentum with God. In each new situation there are some that react and some that respond.

Without striving I want my mind and heart to be awakened to what is possible. That means different things to different people and even different things in different seasons of a person's life.

Let the accounts of Biblical history wash over us just as the doctrines in the epistles do and transform us into people who walk by faith.

                                                            ~ o ~

"Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily. And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas.

And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, 'Come over to Macedonia and help us.'

And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. And after she was baptized, and her household as well,

she urged us, saying, 'If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.'

And she prevailed upon us. As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and us, crying out, 'These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.'

And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, 'I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.'

And it came out that very hour. But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers.

And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, 'These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.'

The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.

But Paul cried with a loud voice, 'Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.'

And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?'

And they said, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.'

And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.

But when it was day, the magistrates sent the police, saying, 'Let those men go.' And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, 'The magistrates have sent to let you go. Therefore come out now and go in peace.'

But Paul said to them, 'They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.'

The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. So they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city. So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed.

Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, 'This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.'

And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd.

And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, 'These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.'

And the people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard these things. And when they had taken money as security from Jason and the rest, they let them go. The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.

But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Berea also, they came there too, agitating and stirring up the crowds. Then the brothers immediately sent Paul off on his way to the sea, but Silas and Timothy remained there.

Those who conducted Paul brought him as far as Athens, and after receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they departed. Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there.

Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, 'What does this babbler wish to say?'

Others said, 'He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities' - because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.

And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, 'May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.'

Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new. So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: 'Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, 'To the unknown god.' What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for 'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own poets have said, ''For we are indeed his offspring.' Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.'

Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, 'We will hear you again about this.' So Paul went out from their midst. But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.' - Acts 16 & 17 ESV


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Lamb's Answer

Since the garden of Eden man has had a disagreement with God. Impersonal moral linear thought finds a problem with God. No. It eventually finds a problem with everything. The following verse shows God's solution to the argument.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood." - Hebrews 12:1-4 ESV

The word for hostility here (contradiction in the KJV) is Antilogia (Strong's G485) and it could well be translated violent disagreement. Christ's struggle against this disagreement was to shed His own blood. He gave a lamb's answer.

In the past I have seen verse 4 as my struggle not to enter into personal sin but in context that is not what the verse is saying. This is a cultural struggle. An age old struggle of righteousness against a fallen nature that embraces twisted fallen thinking that values good over evil instead of God over everything else.

Jesus is sufficient. Only He Is. Can we agree on that? If we can then we agree with God and have agreement with each other that is supernatural. Above and of a different nature than what is natural.

Grace is sufficient. Nothing added to it. Can we agree on that? Even though by sight transformation seems slow to us. Justice cries out for an answer but only gets one at the cross. It is there that mercy rejoices against judgement. Jesus settled the argument by shedding His blood. Is it settled in our hearts? Good. Then we agree with God and there is no hindrance in the flow of life and mercy can swoop in to deal with situations without partiality.

Do we always agree just because we have agreed before. No we don't. But, If we allow God to bring our mind into agreement again and again we can run with endurance the race that is filled with contradictory obstacles in front of us.

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them." - Hebrews 13:8-9 NKJV

Jesus has won the argument. There will be a day when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess it to be true. Let us have tongues filled with that same agreement today... no matter how we feel... no matter what others say. Even standing alone we are 'a majority' when we agree with the God of all grace.


Monday, March 17, 2014

A Trip Through Colossians Chapter Three

Going through Colossians chapter 3 this morning...

"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." - Colossians 3:1-3 ESV

It is only when we have our minds on the things above that the things below make sense.

"When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator." - Colossians 3:4-10 ESV

Sandwiched between death and resurrection was burial. All three things have already happened when our minds look above yet here we are living I life on the Earth and we have a need to put things on and off everyday.

"Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony." - Colossians 3:11-14 ESV

Look above and with the finished work of Christ in mind we put on Jesus Christ. We do don't put on His behavior... we put on the identification of who He Is and what He has done for us. We find a love that binds everything together and we sure need that love because there are many things around us that have the potential to tear us apart inside and outside.

"And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful." - Colossians 3:15 ESV

Finished work focus will produce finished work peace

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." - Colossians 3:16-17 ESV

Concepts can crystallize but when God's word of grace inhabits our thinking there is a thankfulness that can be expressed in our actions and words. The word lifts our eyes to see the above things and thankfulness fills us and we then choose to express that thankfulness. A thankful person is not lamenting their circumstances. Nothing is mundane or boring. Everything is a gift.

"Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality." - Colossians 3:18-25 ESV

The inheritance is the reward. An inheritance happens only after a person has died. Who dies in order for us to get our reward?

Well, Christ died. Yes. He did... and He is now every living but His death qualified us and His heirs.

There is another death involved. We look above and see our death. The death of an old life. The moment we put off the old and put on the new we get to enjoy our inheritance. It is ours anyway but when we mind the things below we forget it is there for us. It is only when our eyes are lifted that we realize what we have.

Some of you out there are going through very difficult times. I get it. Let God's words lift your head to look above and get a glimpse of the seat that is reserved for you in Heaven. Let the hope only God can give shower your mind and put on the clean set of clothing that God has laid out for you. It is still warm and just your size.


Friday, March 14, 2014

A Fundraiser By Faith

"I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, so that by God's will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. May the God of peace be with you all. Amen." - Romans 15:30-33 ESV

Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, stayed 'in the mix' with the Apostles in Israel.

"Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem. If it seems advisable that I should go also, they will accompany me." - 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 ESV

Paul was a fundraiser. No doubt this took faith for him to do. He did it out of love. He braved dangers to do it. There was even a possibility in Paul's mind that the gift might not be 'well received'. Some must have still been wary of Paul. It would have been easy for Paul with the calling he had to slip away and not visit but Paul stayed in the mix. He didn't go where in was easy to be... He went where God had Him to be.

I was thinking over the last few days, 'Maybe he didn't like this part of His walk. Maybe he did it by faith like I sometimes do.'

Having coffee with P Thomas Sliva last night he brought up a fresh idea about Elisha and Naaman in 2 Kings chapter 5. Maybe Elisha invited this powerful man over to his house by faith and didn't come out of his house to greet him because he knew there was a possibility of being influenced by Naaman's big personality so he 'floated the instructions outside' by faith and God moved.

Jesus had this to say about the account...

"And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian." - Luke 4:27 KJV

Yes, Elisha had a track record with God but he interacted with people by faith. Elisha saw the chariots on the hillside.

There are chariots on your hillside. Do you see them? If you do then that knowledge will keep you interacting with people like Naaman and the people in Jerusalem.

There are unique seasons when God pulls us out into the wilderness like Jesus was drawn into the desert (Matthew 4:1f ; Mark 1:13) and Paul was brought out to be taught.

"To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days." - Galatians 1:16-18 KJV

Paul wasn't connected with Jerusalem because he had a natural attraction. It wasn't a sentimental or 'soulish' connection. He did it by faith and there was great benefit in that.

There is healing and sharpening that is only going to happen in the mix. No matter what our personality is like as spiritual people it is not good for us to go it alone. It was not good for Adam and it is not good for us. Jesus lived an anonymous life before he began His Earthly ministry and His spiritual life did not rely on people but it always involved people.

"Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love." - Ephesians 4:15-16 ESV

Fundraising may not be 'your thing.' It isn't mine. But it will become my thing by faith if that is the vehicle God provides. Jesus rode a young donkey into town. I'll ride whatever horse God gives me.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Tone Of The Room

I awoke thinking about spiritual warfare. Here are some verses on the subject:

"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry." - 1 Corinthians 10:13-14 ESV

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm." - Ephesians 6:12-13 ESV

"And he said to me, 'O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you.' And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling... The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.'" - Daniel 10:11, 13-14 ESV

"I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father." - John 14:30-31a ESV

"And Jesus asked him, 'What is your name?' He replied, 'My name is Legion, for we are many.'

And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country." - Mark 5:9-10 ESV

A legion was a Roman military formation, in the time of Augustus had 6826 men with a combination of foot soldiers and men on horseback.

It is important to remember that what we face on a daily basis is not all genetics and social interaction. There is a spiritual tone to situations and even geographical locations.

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood..." - Ephesians 6:12a ESV

The things we experience many people experience. Moods can be massive things like clouds blown on the wind covering groups of people.

"Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." - 1 John 4:4 ESV

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 8:37-39 ESV

Instead of coming under the mood of the room we can walk as ambassadors of another kingdom.

"Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." - 2 Corinthians 3:5-6 ESV

"We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." - Romans 6:4 ESV

The newness of life that Jesus walked in made it impossible for Him to be held down... in the world... and when it was time for Him to ascend to the Father.

"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?" - James 4:7-12 ESV

Today we can discern the tone of the room but submit to God and not to the whatever is around us. We can resist the urge to judge others only because we have submitted to the judgement of sin on the cross. We are God's people who represent God's mind and God's heart or we can speak from the dust and mind low dusty things.

What will it be? Sunshine or gloom. Man's reasoning or God's mind. A blinded mind or an illumination of Spirit.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Third Day

" 'Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.'

What shall I do with you, O Ephraim? What shall I do with you, O Judah? Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away. Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth, and my judgment goes forth as the light. For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings." - Hosea 6:1-6 ESV

I love these verses. We see in them the same resurrection that Jesus taught and even boasted about. A coming back to life after three days that changed the nature of love for the individual.

"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." - Galatians 2:20 ESV

"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve." - 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 ESV

Yes. Messiah needed to die. Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 show that so vividly but the scriptures also specify that He would be raised and the time frame is given in Hosea 6 but it is missed because instead of talking about Messiah directly it talks about those who would be raised up with Him.


"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved - and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." - Ephesians 2:4-9 ESV

"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." - Colossians 3:1-3 ESV

"From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised." - Matthew 16:21 ESV

Jesus taught that He would be raised on the third day but it was not a new teaching. What was unique was that He applied to teaching directly to Himself.

"Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, 'He has risen from the dead,' and the last fraud will be worse than the first." - Matthew 27:64 ESV

The Sadducee sect spoken of in the New Testament didn't not believe in a bodily resurrection. The Pharisee sect did. Jesus' claim mocked them and if He even seemed to rise then it would be a further mockery.

Yet Here is Jesus in these next verses. He is not only teaching it... He is boasting about it.

"At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, 'Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.' And he said to them, 'Go and tell that fox, 'Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course.' " - Luke 13:31-32 ESV

From angelic lips there is a reminder of the fulfillment of scripture.

" 'He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.' And they remembered his words," - Luke 24:6-8 ESV

"And he said to them, 'O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?' And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself." - Luke 24:25-27 ESV

The risen Christ revives these men walking away in disappointment just as He revived Mary and the disciples on His third day post resurrection appearances.

Let's read it again...

" 'Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.'

What shall I do with you, O Ephraim? What shall I do with you, O Judah? Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away. Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth, and my judgment goes forth as the light. For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings." - Hosea 6:1-6 ESV

Before we were revived our love was like a morning cloud. It vanished quickly away. God wanted to give us steadfast love that lasts forever not a life of sacrifice after sacrifice but a deep experiential knowledge of God. A death burial, resurrection, ascension and session with Christ.

"For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" - Romans 8:29-31 ESV

Justified by grace and glorified by grace... today let's mix faith with that divine reality.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Weakness Of Love

'Moreover, Ahithophel said to Absalom, 'Let me choose twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue David tonight. I will come upon him while he is weary and discouraged and throw him into a panic, and all the people who are with him will flee. I will strike down only the king, and I will bring all the people back to you as a bride comes home to her husband. You seek the life of only one man, and all the people will be at peace.'...

But my counsel is that all Israel be gathered to you, from Dan to Beersheba, as the sand by the sea for multitude, and that you go to battle in person. So we shall come upon him in some place where he is to be found, and we shall light upon him as the dew falls on the ground, and of him and all the men with him not one will be left. If he withdraws into a city, then all Israel will bring ropes to that city, and we shall drag it into the valley, until not even a pebble is to be found there.'

And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, 'The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.' For the LORD had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the LORD might bring harm upon Absalom.' - 2 Samuel 17:1-3, 11-14 ESV

Absalom had a weakness and David had a weakness.

"But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out." - Numbers 32:23 ESV

Absalom wanted an overwhelming logistical advantage, his weakness was his carnal thinking, but David's weakness was his love.

"And the king said, 'Is it well with the young man Absalom?'... " - 2 Samuel 18:29a ESV

"The king said to the Cushite, 'Is it well with the young man Absalom?'

And the Cushite answered, 'May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man.'

And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, 'O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!' " - 2 Samuel 18:32-33 ESV

David loved deeply. He was not naive. He loved and made provision of love for His people and people responded to that love and revolted against that love also. The love looked like weakness but it was really strength. A different kind of strength.

"For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, 'Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.' " - 1 Corinthians 1:25-31 ESV

Jesus revealed the love of God that would give His life and showed us the wisdom of God. Jesus is the wisdom of God personified. Jesus isn't naive. He is pure and loving.

If I told myself, 'Be like Jesus' it would be a foolish thing to say because I can't do it. I don't need to be like Jesus in my own strength. I can't be like Him that way.  My carnal nature has a weakness and looks for weakness in others to exploit. So does your carnal nature.

I can boast in the Lord and let the Love of God move me. David was not who He was by a self improvement program. He had an awe and adoration for God and God put His hand on David to preserve him in his weakness. God sent key people at key times to love David and his men and David found his way back to his throne.

When Jesus is revealed people find their way back to a throne. It isn't done by power and cunning. It is done by love. It is done by the cross of Christ.

Today I want that wisdom to wash over me and become my strength. Let it drain away all self occupation and make me more concerned for others than I am for my own victory.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Stewards of The Manifold Grace Of God

"So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future - all are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's. This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?" - 1 Corinthians 3:21-4:7 ESV

This is so good.

We live in a world were the wave of people opinions and views beat against the shores of our thinking but Jesus is a strong tower where we can run and find safety. There is no judgement in Him.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you." - Jeremiah 29:11-12 ESV

We hid in Him and become stewards of those thoughts. Our mind remains with Him as we go out into the world communicating what He has given us.

"As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." - 1 Peter 4:10 KJV


Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Change Of Territory

The birds are back singing outside our window. It has me thinking and enjoying the sweet music.

I am thinking about nomadic, territorial and migrational mindsets. A nomad wanders because resources are inconsistent and/or there is a search for newness. But then there is territorial drive to stake a claim somewhere and make a place your own. The migrating bird travels from here to there seasonally. It is going but unlike the nomad it knows where it is going.

What happens to person when their territory is changed from what the five senses see and the mind or body can do to a Heavenly territory... a divine citizenship.

That is what happened to Abram in Ur of the Chaldees. He heard God and it sent him wandering. Then God changed his name to Abraham and gave Him a national inheritance but it sparked a desire in him to look for a Heavenly kingdom.

Grace changes our territory... and that changes everything.

Now my heart sings like the birds outside my window. Christ has given me a place to go and one to come home to.


Friday, March 7, 2014

Prayer Times

"And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint" - Luke 18:1 KJV

I remember what it was like before I came to know Christ. I didn't pray. I didn't see the value of it beyond an abstract psychological principle. I thought a God who wanted or accepted worship was an egotistical idea. I thought devout people were weak people who couldn't think for themselves. Yes, I remember scoffing the Bible and discounting it, logically ruling it out and seeing it as a book of fiction but a less attractive fiction that I was not interested in.

Getting on my knees this morning to pray I started to remember different seasons of prayer. In Bible college I used to roll out of bed unto my knees and spend time time kneeling in prayer before getting into bed at night. I spent a year in college as a prayer chaplain and many seasons during that time in a prayer room that has now been converted into something else. There are seasons where I have prayed a lot and ones where I have prayed very little. There were nights where we were up going through sheet after sheet of paper praying for people in the prayer chain. I remember Peter Merry in a sleeping bag waiting by the phone at the all night prayer times with Dick Schaffner. Singers coming from the music ministry and we would pray and then worship then pray again most of the night. Walking and praying with Dr Stevens, P Bill Cannon and others. Praying with people who are receiving Christ. Praying with people in their homes for a visit. Praying in tears and in silence. Praying and peppering God with questions. Praying for people to be healed and wondering at the ones who do get healed and the ones that don't. Standing and praying in a foreign country where I couldn't understand what the people were saying. Praying because it was my homework assignment and having to sign a piece of paper saying that I prayed and struggling to tell the truth about it when I didn't. (How would they know? But God would know.) Praying and telling God how unhappy I was and why. Praying with tears of joy streaming down my cheeks. Thanking God again and again in a seemingly endless stream and being carried away in it. Kneeling down assaulted with guilt about something terrible I had done, or though I had done, only to rise later with calm and joy in my heart. Trying to pray and then finding myself doing something else because I got distracted and midway through a sandwich before realizing and going back. Dry times of frustration where I told God, 'I just don't know what to say to You.' Urgent times in hospitals waiting with people and not knowing what would happen. Times of praying for things people have asked me to pray for. Praying with someone and wondering if I had bad breath and marveling at the stupidity of being so self conscious at a time like that. Prayer ruts where I felt like I was going through a grocery list and wondering if it was right or not. Days of scheduled prayer where I would pray at certain times for a person or a situation. Times where days and weeks would go by and the only thing I would pray for was my food if I even remembered to do that. Fasting times where I would try to pray but all I could think about was how hungry I was. Praying with religious or long winded people who could just keep talking and talking and talking and wondering if they were talking to God or themselves. Praying for those people to shut up or for the rapture to come. Praying before getting up to speak and struggling to let go of what I was planning to say and give it to God. Prayer times when the presence of God is so thick in the room and you exit taking that room with you into the rest of the day. Times where your mind says 'This is a waste of time' but a quieter part of you persists. Aggressive prayers where there is a battle to be fought and declarations need to be made out loud. 'Break their teeth' prayers. Praying for things to end and praying for things to begin. Peaceful prayers in rooms full of people. Praying in a small room with a few people while the Easter play is going on in a bigger fuller louder room.

Still, I remember when I didn't pray and could care less about praying. I had no one to pray to. I had no one that merited praise. God changed me. Grace changed me. The Gospel changed me. Jesus won me. Even now that I am His He still wins me again and again.

You don't need anything to pray. You can do it with an open Bible and that is great thing to do but it can be anywhere at anytime, silent or out loud, with people or alone. God isn't far away. I think we will see that He was always very close by.

If you feel guilty about not praying. Repent. Turn from even thinking that way. It is just a barrier set up to keep you from it. Guilt is useless and foreign. God is not angry about what you do or don't do. He poured all that anger out on the cross. God just wants to be with you. Prayer is a way to be with Him as He Is Being with you and participating in life.

"But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." - Matthew 6:6 ESV

"In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God." - Luke 6:12 ESV

"and he said to them, 'Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.' " - Luke 22:46 ESV

"We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you," - Colossians 1:3 ESV

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV

"I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;" - 1 Timothy 2:8 ESV

"I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ." - Philemon 1:4-6 ESV


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Initiation That Gives Room For Response

"On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, 'Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.'

When he saw them he said to them, 'Go and show yourselves to the priests.'

And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.

Then Jesus answered, 'Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?' And he said to him, 'Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.' " - Luke 17:11-19 ESV

Jesus gave all of them a gift but only one leper looked to see who it was from and found a way back.

You can look at this passage and say, 'See, We should be thankful. Many aren't thankful and I don't want to be that person.' but it just doesn't work that way.

One man saw the signature on his gift through eyes of faith.

'with Love from The Father entrusted to The Son and delivered by the Holy Spirit.'

Just like when He was healed on the way to see the priest... He was saved on the way as He went back by faith to the Son.

Grace gives us a way back to God. There is a way to respond by faith. The 'initiation comes with clarification'. God's initiations are not random acts of kindness. His love has a redemptive purpose.

Jesus paid for the sins of the whole world on the cross.. not everyone will be saved by that act.. everyone could be but not everyone will be.. it was a free gift with God's signature on it.. return to Christ and only believe.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Filled Up And Hidden In Christ

"For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;" - Colossians 2:9-10 NASB

That word complete is Strong's Pleroo (Strong's G4137) and it is often translated 'fulfilled' because it literally means to fill to the top. The fullness of deity exists in Christ and when we are in Christ we are filled up in the one who has all authority.

"and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross." - Colossians 2:11-14 NASB

These are all past tense things. They are done without you or I lifting a finger.

"When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day - things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God." - Colossians 2:15-19 NASB

The rulers and authorities are disarmed but it is possible that we would be defrauded if we stray from focus on Christ and turn the freshness of a daily walk in the present and trade it for a glorification of past experiences. Our mind can idolize the past and make it something it is not. Looking for signs we can give events significance that transcends the illumination of the scriptures to reveal Christ today. Our spirituality is a right now thing. Past experiences are stepping stones for the line upon line work of the Holy Spirit in our lives to bring us to this moment in time. The only way we can see today in objectivity is to 'hold fast' to Christ, the one who has filled us to the top, and look at life through the lens of His finished work.

"If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, 'Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!' (which all refer to things destined to perish with use) - in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence." - Colossians 2:20-23 NASB

Our life is not one of restriction. It adds nothing to spirituality and is devoid of spiritual power. Our spirituality is rooted in Christ. Weak or strong, doing or not doing, having supernatural experiences or not... those things are not the issue. Looking for them, submitting to them or relying on them misses the mark and becomes a distraction.

"Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God." - Colossians 3:2-3 NASB

Our life is hidden with Christ in God. Yes. It can be found no where else. It is hidden. God sees it clear as day. People sometimes don't. We sometimes don't see it. But that is where it is and when we know that we can cease from striving and begin living.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Fed Daily From The Hand Of Another

"And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him," - Luke 19:47 KJV

"And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart," - Acts 2:46 KJV

"Give us day by day our daily bread." - Luke 11:3 KJV

People need to be taught by someone else's voice in order to grow spiritually... and it is needed daily. This is a scripturally supported and promoted truth.

"If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know." - 1 Corinthians 8:2 ESV

Yes. You can say that the primary meaning of this verse involves an understanding of pride but it also has application in freshness... doctrine can get crystallized and brittle in a fallen person's mind... over time because of the plastic nature of memory and the deceitful nature of man we give things a slant they shouldn't have. People don't do it on purpose... not in a conscious way at least... our old man needs to continually justify itself because it has no divine covering of justification.

We might argue that this makes us overly reliant on men. Whatever the downside may seem to be using human rationale the scripture still teaches this and even though men are flawed and not every day may be a teacher or preacher's finest hour... still... by consistently listening to one voice we learn to hear the voice behind the voice. We grow to be discerning hearers.

"When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?'
He said to him, 'Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.'
He said to him, 'Feed my lambs.'

He said to him a second time, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me?'
He said to him, 'Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.'
He said to him, 'Tend my sheep.'

He said to him the third time, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me?'
Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, 'Do you love me?'
and he said to him, 'Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my sheep.

Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.' " - John 21:15-18 ESV

Feed them because they need to eat daily. They need clean water and good food. It will not be easy. It will require a cross life for the teacher and the listener alike. Not a constant endurance of suffering like some people see the cross, that may be part of it at times, but an exchange of life and personal decisions that are made based on the reality of the finished work.

There are no self-made men. There are people who have been turned aside by a burning bush and then heard the voice of God as they stood there with their shoes off.

I need to stand before a burning bush and listen... not just for a moment or an hour but daily for a season that may just last the rest of my life... looking past the woodenness of their human nature and marveling at the fire that blazes around them.

I didn't write this to condemn anyone or set some standard that people need to strive to meet... it is simply a principle... if we want to grow this is a crucial element.

If you want big muscles eat the right things and go to the gym regularly. If you want big spiritual muscles eat the right things and exercise using what you are hearing.


I'm not saying the ministry I am apart of is the only place to do it but if you want a place to get doctrine you can go do a search on OpenMBCS (this will work today March 2014 the month of this blog post) and get a daily dose of what has fed me for many years.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Redemption Or Soulish Substitutes

Truth is the antidote for error and love is the antidote for fear... but there are counterfeits out there.

"Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God." - Ephesians 5:17-21 NKJV

Dissipation is Asotia (Strong's G810). A negation of the word for being saved Sozo (G4982). In other words non-redemptive... there is no redemption in drinking wine. It is a counterfeit because is produces a feeling that saves no one and buys nothing back. Yes, There can be joy and relaxation... it is used in the Hebrew scriptures as a symbol for joy. But, Now that the Spirit of God has come to indwell individuals we are to be wise and not drunken.

The filling of the Spirit has an impact on each area of our soul. The mind, emotions, will, consciousness and conscience. He restores balance. God creates a clean heart in us with a new identity.

"My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!" - Psalms 119:25 ESV

The counterfeits energize the old identity stimulating or depressing our natural man... counterfeit ideas, counterfeit emotions, counterfeit decision making, a counterfeit self image and a counterfeit value system... drunkenness that is non-redemptive... some translations use the word debauchery for Asotia.

Our pleasure is now rooted in a poetic interaction, in a musical ministry, in a thanksgiving that submits one to another in awe of God. All those things have redemptive value. Fun is redemptive fun. Pleasure is redemptive pleasure. Decisions are made in wisdom... not as a means of escape but as a means of investment... a strengthening... a buying back of time.

"Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." - Ephesians 5:16 KJV


There are times when our soul will gravitate towards the dust and the counterfeit will look attractive... Those are the moments where by grace we find our way of redemptive escape. Jesus Himself is that doorway. We can walk by faith in those moments knowing that the integrity of faith in the finished work of Christ is the antidote for hopelessness and death. Faith in the resurrected ever living one is why we were created.