Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Captured By Grace

"For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little. For by people of strange lips and with a foreign tongue the LORD will speak to this people, to whom he has said, 'This is rest; give rest to the weary; and this is repose'; yet they would not hear. And the word of the LORD will be to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little, that they may go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken." - Isaiah 28:10-13 ESV

We are all people of a strange tongue not just because most of us do not have have Hebrew as our first spoken language but because our thinking and speaking is so different from God's thinking and speaking. A translation needs more than a word for word translation. God must lay His thoughts line upon line upon us to build a understanding and structure.

The weight of His thinking often collapses my fallen structures. I break. I fall realizing a have a deceptive mind and I'm dealing with One who has no darkness in Him at all.

I want to be captured by the God of all Grace. It is good when I have not evaded the snare of truth that undoes me with it's simplicity and purity. God does not catch me to hurt me. He does it to heal me and give me gifts.

The lines of truth that are put down one at a time become something we take ownership of. He does not take our minds to evict us. He is building a dwelling place that we can live together inside of.

"Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?" - Amos 3:3 ESV

As I think through subjects that a barely grasp and want to understand it is my desire that God would make a line of connection that bridges my understanding to that new subject. That can be a quick process or it can take a while. But, I look for the place of meeting instead of reasoning it all out in my mind alone. My reason must have worship or it is cold, useless and even deceptive.

How does my understanding reconcile to grace?

That is where a usually discover I am wrong or have wrong presuppositions. Grace breaks me and sets me free all at once. Thoughts have a new birth when grace is illuminated.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Get Your Feet Wet

"You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you." - 2 Chronicles 20:17 ESV

Go out and stand still.

"And as for you, command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, 'When you come to the brink of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.'" ... So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan." - Joshua 3:8, 14-17 ESV

The priests got wet feet. They didn't drown they only got wet feet.

I don't know about you but these verses are challenging to me this morning but I love to be challenged this way. I need to be challenged this way.

Perhaps we have challenges that are easier just to avoid than face or we have conflicts that we are tempted to rush into and fix our own way. Passivity is refusing to step in. Stepping in and believing is faith.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Weight Distribution

"All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." - Matthew 11:27-30 ESV

What an offer this is!

A person with a lot going on needs someone to yoke up with. The Father and The Son are perfect together. They know each other like no one else knows each other. The only way Jesus can be the person who says these words is because He was and Is yoked to the Father.

Jesus isn't straightening people out from afar in some high and mighty righteous way. He sees a burdened person and says, 'Yoke up with me and we can get to know each other.'

When I see the burdens people carry and meditate on a real Hell that real people are heading towards I do not want less burdens and to hide away in lightness as people head to destruction. I want to be engaged and active while there is still time. I want to run into the burning building because there are people trapped in there but I can't even begin to do it all on my own. My own weights will weigh me down. I need someone who knows me to be yoked up with me just like firemen need one another to do their part on the team to save lives.

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you." - 1 Peter 5:6-7 ESV

Casting your cares is easy when you are yoked up with Jesus. He is right there beside you. You don't have to go far to find Him.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Spaces And Shapes

Jesus was so human and down to Earth. There was nothing alien or strange about Him.

"And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him... And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, 'Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.'... And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, 'Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.' And Jesus answered, 'O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.' And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly." - Matthew 17:1-3, 9, 14-18 ESV

The disciples saw Him transfigured but He didn't want them to tell anyone. Why?

I think it is because He wanted His identification with people to be a full identification. He trusted that those three, flawed as they were, knew who He was because the Father had revealed it to them. But, He also knew that if these three, who were recognized as close to Him, started telling 'He Glows Like The Sun When No One Is Around' stories that it would distance Him from the people in the valley.

"Neither give place to the devil." - Ephesians 4:27 KJV

"Abstain from all appearance of evil." - 1 Thessalonians 5:22 KJV

Spaces and shapes. The word 'appearance' in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 is Eidos (Strong's G1491) and it speaks about a shape or outward form.

Jesus didn't want space between people and Himself. He moved in ways to prevent space. He didn't want to let a perception of His shape publicized by people who represented Him create space between people.

Others were trying to shape perceptions about Christ in a bad light. The religious people were already saying that Christ was connected to demons and that He was too human to be Messiah. Jesus knowing the hearts of men did not want to detract from His humanity or feed the rumor mill.

We all know that if someone is close to a famous person and something happens to that famous person suddenly it is the people close to them that get quoted in the articles written.

Jesus knew that knowledge of His transfiguration would be a comfort after His death and a distraction from His present ministry.

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;" - 1 John 1:1 KJV

"For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,' we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts," - 2 Peter 1:16-19 ESV

What distracts from grace being presented in our lives? What makes a person say, 'You are unapproachable.' I want to put those things far from me. Holiness does not have to be far away. Jesus never sinned but He put Himself near people in the market place and in their homes.

God, Give us creativity to minister and wisdom to know the stumbling blocks that can't be removed and the ones that can be and make the decisions necessary to close the spaces and reveal the form of Jesus Christ.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Better Reason To Forgive

Believers in Christ talk about guilt and forgiveness a great deal. I doubt anyone talks about it more. I remember being very annoyed by this as an unbeliever. But, Now I am the one talking about it because I realize how vital it is to be forgiven.

We just don't know how vital it is until we are forgiven.

Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin." - Romans 4:7-8 ESV

Unresolved guilt is a barely conscious thing yet it poisons a person deep into their being and paints a perception of God on an unconscious level that isn't a true picture because unless we see God and let His image transform us we will make Him in our image. The guilty person can only see God as a judge because they judge themselves continually a level they can not see. Their soul is whispering unkind words to itself all the time and it is so painful that it speaks to mostly deaf ears.

The crazy thing about being a forgiven person who forgives others is that you become an object of hatred by guilty people. People in long term bondage can easily begin to hate those that are free. They represent all that is forever barred from them and out of reach. It is naive to think that guilty people just need to be loved. They feel unlovable not because people have not loved them enough. They feel unlovable because they have disqualified themselves from love and need a better reason to accept love than they have yet heard.

The cross is a better reason.

For the disqualified the cross is the only better reason.

Through great effort and patience you might trick a person into loving themselves for a while by believing in them and convincing them that you don't hate them and that you see worth in them. That is what mainstream society teaches us. Education, enlightenment and care will cure every ill. People just need a better more educated self image then once you make them productive people with big spoonfuls of investment they will be just fine. But there is only one problem...


It just won't go away and eventually it will raise it's ugly head out of the depths of the unseen parts of their soul.

You can love a person and that will go a long long way but the only way a person can love themselves and let God love them is if they know... I mean truly know deep down... that they are totally and utterly forgiven.

Jesus dying on a cross in our place must be the answer. It is the only answer. It was the only answer for God and it is the only answer that the unseen parts of our soul will truly accept because the Spirit of God is needed to minister to those places we can not see.

"For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.' Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe." - 1 Corinthians 1:17-21 ESV

So don't be surprised when those who begin to trust you exhibit anger or even hatred towards you. Until we comprehend the true extent of God's love by embracing what the cross represents we envy and resent those who are free and see love as pity but if the cross becomes a person's 'better reason' we have won a brother and can fellowship because of grace and grace alone.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sweet Words

Praise isn't worship. Praise is what we do because of worship. Worship is a study of God's character. We get glimpses of grace and those glimpses produce praise.

People can worship other people. It happens all the time in fact. Our eyes move to the things we see and true worship ceases. A little convenient editing while wearing rose colored glasses gives us praise for people.

Worship of God is true worship. The deeper we go into who God Is the more cause there is for praise and further exploration. Man made in the image of God also has a depth but we aren't going to like what we see if we dig too deep.

"You shall have no other gods before me." - Exodus 20:3 ESV

"Pay attention to all that I have said to you, and make no mention of the names of other gods, nor let it be heard on your lips." - Exodus 23:13 ESV

God is jealous this way. Any other God must be a lie because He Is the only God. He is the God of all grace.

How many 'sweet words' have been lost (see Proverbs 23:8) because we realize the flaws in people. It might just take as little as a drive on our local highway or in your downtown center to lose sweet words and trade then for sour ones.

It is a paradox. When we worship God we can love people because God loves people. When we worship people we can't love God because we have forsaken the fountain of living waters..

Praise is not an activity for me. If I don't have praise on my lips then something has happened. It means my spiritual vision is either obscured or misplaced. I either can't really see who God Is or I have stopped looking at Him and started looking at something else for my happiness, provision and focus.

"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" - Hebrews 12:1-2a 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

"For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." - 2 Timothy 1:6-7 ESV

Oh, I love that translation of 2 Timothy 1 verse 6. Fan into flame the gift of grace. If you are born from above that fire can not die. The embers may be small but they are alive. Fan them. Fan the gift of your calling... fan the gift of salvation... be with people who are alive and get close to their fire... listen to a preacher who burns with the fire of grace and is not consumed... let the reality of grace have the air that it needs to be reignited in your life and feed scripture and concentration into that fire and praise will just come. It will spring from your lips as God comes into view in the face of Jesus Christ.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Silencing The Noises

I was having fun this weekend thinking of different noises like squeaking, clanging, banging and rattling and the dynamic of how these sounds are produced.

"Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one." - 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 ESV

'Aspire to live quietly' or as the King James phrases it 'Study to be quiet.' It is indeed a good study because noises can be a great distraction.

What is a squeak and how do you fix one?

It usually takes oil to fix a squeak because two surfaces are in contact with one another moving in different directions. The contact is strong enough to create friction or grab but not strong enough to impede motion. Hinges on doors sometimes squeak because of this. A little oil or WD-40 in just the right place can clear that right up because it eases the fiction of the moving parts.

Study to be quiet.

Clanging and banging are caused be heavy objects striking one another. If an object has a thin exterior it creates a reverberation as the force of the impact is distributed through the object. Cymbals clang. Drums thump in different ways but a rock dropped on the ground just makes a large single thump.

Lastly, Rattling happens because loose objects bump into each other or a surface of some kind because of shared motion or vibration. If you pick up a can with pencils in it and shake the can the pencils will rattle against the can and each other. But if you put a rubber band around the pencils pulling them together so that they touch the rattling will stop.

We love one another but we can rattle, squeak and clang in our relationships.

"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

"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." - Ephesians 4:29 KJV

Our thinking can give off strange distracting noises also.

"And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 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." - Colossians 3:15-16 ESV

Guilt will wear you down let God's forgiveness ease the friction in your soul. Let grace and mercy be buffers between us and bind us together to ease the impact of our weighty lives.

Love makes for a quiet ride. The noises we do make are made on purpose. Happy musical noises or strong communications but purposed ones... in the world but insulated from the dysfunction and chaos of the world.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Vive La Difference

I was thinking this morning of the beautiful relationships women have with one another and the witness of a Godly woman.

"Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children," - Titus 2:3-4 ESV

Men can very easily trample over a woman's sensibilities. How many women have been grievously hurt by men in their life either because of their oafishness or their brutality? It may be that a woman has little capacity to hear anything from a man because of that but a Godly woman knows and communicates in layered ways that minister so beautifully.

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

The word translated 'subject' here is Hypotasso (Strong's G5293) and it speaks of yielding or coming under. If a man can be shelter for his wife it is truly a valuable service to her.

A man is won over by the complex beauty of his wife's way of life but in truth this dynamic doesn't won't when roles are reversed. Women are not won over by Godly men being Godly... they are hurt when men are un-Godly because it leaves them exposed in some way.

"Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity." - 1 Timothy 5:1-2 ESV

Communication tailored by grace is so key to our relationships isn't it?

As a man I want to speak the truth in love and continue to grow in my capacity to do that. I also want to provide a good covering so that there is another place of shelter for people to find in this world.

Every age has needed Godly men and women... and this time we live in now is no different.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Starve A Fever

I was thinking this morning about 'survival mode.' We have all been there. You do the next thing because you must. The bills have to get paid or some other pressing necessity is involved. You would like to give more or function in a compassionate mode but fight or flight is happening in your body and adrenaline dulls those higher functions.

But, Anyone who has suffered in a life of necessity then appreciates what others go through who are living there. In more prosperous days or hours compassion does flood in and we choose what or where to use our abundance.

That thought brought me to Jesus being led off alone into the desert to fast 40 days and be tempted by the devil. Really, God sent Jesus out as a lamb among wolves.

"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came" - Matthew 4:1-3a ESV

Jesus had done this on purpose. It was almost like God was baiting the Devil dangling a tender morsel in front of him that he could not refuse and he took the bait and proceeded to come at Christ but Jesus deflected each initiation with the word of God.

Finally the Devil exhausting all options shows his hand in one last offer.

"Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, 'All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.' Then Jesus said to him, 'Be gone, Satan! For it is written,'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'' Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him." - Matthew 4:8-11 ESV

Then after this very human victory felt in the weakness of His humanity we see Jesus begin a powerful compassionate ministry. He had faced the weakness and the warfare that men everywhere face but like everything He did... He did it without sin.

Part of the problem we have as people is the overwhelming driving desire to save our lives. Circumstances become a platform to pull us. Faith is often the place where we lose our life to gain God's life and God is going to draw us into things if we submit to Him and it is those places we may first get weaker and tested but before long angels come to minister to us.

Jesus willingly weakened Himself but that poor state brought Him to a rich abundant state. He died at a cross but was raised in a garden. Fruitful faith functions in this realm. It is beyond talk and words. It misses meals with eyes open relying on grace and mercy. They are not fall back options. They are what sustains us when we walk by faith. But, We learn that they truly are durable and our enemy it helpless against the sword of the word of grace. We can then minister from our abundance.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Match Makers And Gift Givers

Love that makes a distinction. I am still on that theme today.

"The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man." - Genesis 2:20-22 ESV

This is a great example of God's compassion that made a difference. God in His care saw a need by identifying Adams surroundings and then putting Adam in a certain frame of mind, sleep, and lastly He presented the grace gift to Adam.

This is a very simple process very similar to the way people have gotten gifts for each other over the centuries. See the situation or need; buy, purchase or make the gift while they are unaware of what you are doing; then give them the gift.

God correctly evaluated the deep desire of Adam's soul. Gift givers like matchmakers need an extra sense about them. Not everyone is a matchmaker (though some desperately want to be) but every one of us is a gift giver if we want to be.

If you think about it a soul winner is just a matchmaker.

We identify that a person is a soul with a body and not just a body with natural needs and we look and say.

'What around them will meet the deep needs of this person's soul? Nothing on Earth will do it. I'll give them the gift given to me. I will present Jesus to them.'

"If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and filled,' without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." - James 2:15-17 ESV

Or course this is talking about a clear cut lack in some area due to difficult times or a hard situation but it also speaks of the blindness that we all can have if we get hyper-spiritual. Are our eyes really open to see people? Are relationships a cookie cutter one size fits all thing?

I often sit in front of a person I know and ones I barely know and say to God,

'What is really happening here God? Show me how to love this person. You love them and know them. I can't know them like You do but I'm paying attention... please show me.'

Then we look at the who, what, where, when, why and hows that surround their life while seeing them as a soul that has needs and desires.

People need Jesus... and sometimes a cold cup of water would also be right on time also. Where can I find the water today?

Jesus wrapped in the gift of love. Jesus given by words from His Book. The real Jesus. Jesus in a smile. Jesus in a cup of cold water.

Help us God. Open our eyes. Fill us with love as we go today. We don't just go to work to make money. We make a difference living in what You have done in all it's completeness.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Upward Current Of Mercy

"Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh." - Jude 1:21-23 KJV

I really love this passage. It describes ministry so well. This is at the heart ministry.

Compassion that makes a difference. That is what we need, Sometimes we just need some one to yank us out of the fire but once out of those situations this is what we need.

An eternally secure minister can be very weak and still have the strength to grab unto the spotted garment and pull. Why? He or she is kept in the Love of God and moving in the flow of mercy. Despair is a downward spiraling current but mercy is much lighter than what man is make of. Like air bubbles speeding to the surface of water people float by God's mercy. They can inhale it and exhale it like air also if they have a merciful new nature. The old man wants to swim in the depths of self. The new man is made to breathe Heaven's air.

Buoyancy is the upward current of mercy. It takes a person out of self where people are drowning and makes a distinction.

A weak minister is wearing a life vest of mercy. The finished work minister doesn't need to be such a strong swimmer. They look for mercy and know clearly the eternal and complete nature of that mercy.

Jesus' mercy is lighter than the lightest air. His righteousness is whiter than snow. People get trapped in dangerous scarring places. Tethered there by fear, shame and doubt. Those things are no match for the light of God's love and His sharp Word of truth severs those bonds one by one.

There is freedom if we fellowship together in the light of finished work truth. People can be free of the dark confining depths of self and float breathing the air of freedom in the sunshine of God's love.

Ministry pulls people up into what Christ has done and then gives them a finished work life vest. Lastly, It helps them adjust the straps.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Hospitality And The Home Field Advantage

"Use hospitality one to another without grudging." - 1 Peter 4:9 KJV

Hospitality is a beautiful thing isn't it. Making someone feel special. It is beyond friendliness. Hospitality is when we share resources freely in a pre-planned way and there is a lack of familiarity.

Philoxenia (Strong's G5381) is the word translated as hospitality and it is a combination of two words. Brotherly love and stranger. It is a love for strangers.

"Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality." - Romans 12:13 KJV

This word translated 'given' is Dioko (G1377) and it means chase or harass. Not the word you would expect but you press through the barriers to give love.

Hospitality typically has the home field advantage. In other words someone is in someone's home, or Church or place of business and the hospitable person is the host.

I would say some common things people do when they are going to have guests is clean the place up a bit, put things in order and take stock of what is in the cupboard  so that there will be some thing there for the guest to eat and if they are staying the night a place for them to sleep.

Hospitality can get increasingly relaxed with increased contact. If someone is often at your home they are no longer a stranger the person is treated more and more like family or someone who is not a guest but a regular person.

Grace never gets familiar with people. Family members are honored guests and guests are instant family members. God brings out His best silver every time.

"Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor." - Romans 12:9-10 ESV

"May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God." - Romans 15:5-7 ESV

Why would we love strangers and treat each other in the best possible way? Worldly hospitality is there for a reason... to sell you something. But, God has welcomed us into His eternal kingdom. We are creatures with a beginning and end that have life with no beginning and end. We are family members that marry into the family. We are born into the family. Angels are not welcomed in. They are fixtures created before creation. We are made special forever as honored guests and family members.

I want every person to feel like a king or a queen when they enter into my space and my space is wherever I am. That is God's gracious mind. Grace dignifies us. Grace elevates everyone in the room while devaluing no one in the room. Every person is an honored guest.

God, Help us. If we are tired or self occupied this all be comes to much trouble but if we fellowship in the light as you are in the light this is how we will be because you will make our value system line up with yours. People are precious. Give us energy and presence of mind to chase them down and make them know You feel that way about them.


Friday, September 12, 2014

The Cross - The Perfect Place To Die

"But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." - Galatians 6:14 ESV

We often think of the cross as the place where Jesus died. It was the place of a perfect death that left room for a perfect Resurrection.

It is also the place where our old identity died.

"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

But the focus of Galatians 6 verse 14 is a death to specific events and connections. The world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Oh, This is powerful.

The cross is the perfect place to die TO situations instead of slowly dying IN situations.

Golgotha, The place of the skull, is where the cross was. It was a place people purposely avoided therefor it was a place of isolation and became the place of ultimate isolation because the Father turned His back to His Son there. His Son who had the sins of the whole world was rejected but it is at the cross that Jesus burned a hole in mankind's isolation. In His innocence He defeated death and the grave and forged a path to pass from death into life.

The cross situated in the place where no one wants to go has become a portal, an escape hatch, out of our situations and into God's plan and perspective.

So when people hate you... go to the cross and find escape.
When you hate yourself... go to the cross.
Go everyday.
Go every moment.

When you are trapped in a seamless situation. At the end of your self life is the place you would never want to go there is a portal that drops you into God's hands. A place where your liquid form evaporates and loses it's impurities and returns to the Heavens again.

Die there. It is the perfect place to die. Die at Jesus' cross and live. Bring the situation to Jesus' cross and die to it so that God, in His time, will resurrect you and make you an agent of resurrection in dark places.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Watch What You Eat

"Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation." - 1 Peter 2:11-12 ESV

Peter growing up as he did in Hebrew culture knew all about food restrictions. There were many things That he could and couldn't eat. Traveling Hebrews were known by their eating habits.

It is easier to eat a certain way at home or in a culture that promotes the same kind of food consumption. Everyone eats the way you do. But when you are away from home things get complicated because different cultures have different ideas about food.

"But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself... At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king's food. So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables." - Daniel 1:8, 15-16 ESV

God had given food restrictions as a means of testimony and of protection to the people of Israel. It does not carry over into the Church.

"I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me. Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air. And I heard a voice saying to me, 'Rise, Peter; kill and eat.' But I said, 'By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.' But the voice answered a second time from heaven, 'What God has made clean, do not call common.'" - Acts 11:5-9 ESV

As a matter of fact the lifting of restriction in this area is a picture of the freedom we have in grace.

But let's go back to the original verse we started with.

"Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation." - 1 Peter 2:11-12 ESV

If you as foreigner eat certain things in certain countries there is going to be an instant and possibly long lasting war against your flesh isn't there? If you dive right into the local fare the local people who find foreigners interesting because they are different are going to say to you, 'You like our food. You are one of us.'

Likewise if you are new to a group and gossip with them. They will say, 'You are one of us.' or if you are mean to someone that the group is mean to you will be accepted quickly.

As believers we are not called to be accepted in the group. We are called to bring God's acceptance to each individual in the group. That means we watch what we eat. Not food wise but in thinking and speaking.

We eat mercy and grace and we will be products of mercy and grace. That is the honorable conduct spoken of here... not morality... but a life of love and good eating.

"For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings." - 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 ESV

When will live in grace we are adaptable in ways rigid thinking could never make us. We are not fitting in. We are winning souls instead of being won over by a culture that is hopeless.

We love people so we like what they like and dress the way they dress if need be but we just don't think that way they think. We have the mind of Christ.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My Box Of Booklets

I was thinking this morning about my box of booklets, notebooks filled with notes from services and classes and taped messages many now converted to digital format. They are treasures and stepping stones and riches connections.

Some stranger would look at my box of booklets and see something worthless. They might find my watch and it might catch their eye or some piece of computer equipment and think, 'Finally something of value.' while quickly discarding the box as useless junk to be left out in the rain.

I like the term 'man of letters' because it refers to person that values ideas more than things. Perhaps we associate such a person with the letters coming after their name like PhD or D.D. (Doctor of Divinity) showing that they spent time inside of many books. I like to think or a 'man of letters' as a person who wrote and reads many correspondences... who shares ideas with other people that also value ideas.

The Apostle Paul knew a great deal about letters. Unlike Peter and the other Apostles he had spent most of his life with his head in one book or another. Scrolls back then but the same concept.

Look at what he says here..

"Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 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. Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory?" - 2 Corinthians 3:1-8 ESV

There had been a great shift for Paul. He had moved from the philosophy and righteousness that could be found on paper and moved to the life that was found in the Spirit.

The letters of the law carved in stone had a ministry of death. God had communicated judgement by words carved on stone. People want earthly qualification written on paper as a means to evaluate the worth of someone and that is a different form of the same judgement. They are parallel ideas.

Paul wrote his letters to people and said, 'My love is my letter of recommendation.' Love reveals people as living epistles but that is only seen in the light of of the Spirit who reveals it. The letter of who they are on paper kills.

"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. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.'") For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." - John 1:1-17 ESV

Jesus is God's living letter. Not carvings in stone that removed something to make it's ideas known. Jesus was added to the world not carved out of it.

I love my Bible because it reveals Him. If I did not see Christ in it's pages it would kill me like it has been used to kill others through the centuries. It would carve me to pieces. But because I do see Him it adds something day by day... something nourishing and eternal.

I love my box of booklets also because they were written by living epistles and point me toward my Savior, not like the Bible does, that is a direct connection but in the way that Paul loved the Corinthians and many of the Corinthians loved Paul. The Spirit uses people and what they say and do to reveal God's life.

Sitting here writing this I think about what is of value. The person reading it is of value. It is not the transcript of the phone call that matters but the person on the other end and the relationship that call represents.

The booklet has value to me but there is a time to close it and put it down and interact with people by the Spirit. God will use what we know in those relationships... light interacting with light and dispelling darkness.

One day, like all of us, I'll be gone and will leave the booklets behind. They will likely be left out in the rain somewhere but my relationships that have Christ in the midst of them will last forever.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Is It Too Late?

Is it too late?

King David had great losses and asked the same question.

"Now when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, the Amalekites had made a raid against the Negeb and against Ziklag. They had overcome Ziklag and burned it with fire and taken captive the women and all who were in it, both small and great. They killed no one, but carried them off and went their way... And David inquired of the LORD, 'Shall I pursue after this band? Shall I overtake them?' He answered him, 'Pursue, for you shall surely overtake and shall surely rescue.' " - 1 Samuel 30:1-2, 8 ESV

It was not too late.

"David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken, and David rescued his two wives. Nothing was missing, whether small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that had been taken. David brought back all." - 1 Samuel 30:18-19 ESV

What about the people who could not go with him because of weariness.

"But David said, 'You shall not do so, my brothers, with what the LORD has given us. He has preserved us and given into our hand the band that came against us... For as his share is who goes down into the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage. They shall share alike.' " - 1 Samuel 30:23 & 24b ESV

Then David spread the spoils and word of his victory.

"When David came to Ziklag, he sent part of the spoil to his friends, the elders of Judah, saying, 'Here is a present for you from the spoil of the enemies of the LORD.' It was for those in Bethel, in Ramoth of the Negeb, in Jattir, in Aroer, in Siphmoth, in Eshtemoa, in Racal, in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, in the cities of the Kenites, in Hormah, in Bor-ashan, in Athach, in Hebron, for all the places where David and his men had roamed." - 1 Samuel 30:26-31 ESV

David's God given victory blessed people he had met in his travels. In his victory he sent gifts to people who knew him.

I ask you again... Is it too late?

Why don't you ask God and read 1 Samuel 30 a few times and find out.

Oh, and don't worry if not everyone has the strength to go with you... just bless them with your victory when you return.


Monday, September 8, 2014

A Faith To Follow

"Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith." - Hebrews 13:7 ESV

The word translated 'imitate' here is Mimeomai (Strong's G3401). It is the same word that mime comes from.

It is the same word used here...

"Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate." - 2 Thessalonians 3:6-9 ESV

Really the faith we have, if we have it, is the faith of the Son of God. Many modern translations turn this into 'faith in the Son of God' but the Greek is very clear.

The faith we follow when we follow another person's faith is the faith of Jesus Himself. At first we don't realize that. We can't realize it. We give glory to people even if they deflect it because we see their faith as a personal ability that they possess.

If they are truly walking by faith then they know their faith is a gift.

When, if ever, do we stop miming the faith of other people?

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

Paul never indicated that those who heard him should ever stop. Even this verse about being crucified with Christ that we sing about was written by Paul explaining His process that he encouraged everyone who heard him to adopt.

"Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra -- which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me." - 2 Timothy 3:8-11 ESV

Paul takes ownership of Christ's faith and makes the comparison to Moses and Pharaoh's sorcerers who opposed God's work by opposing God's man.

"Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you." - Hebrews 13:17 KJV

Who has rule over us? The person who we submit to that's who. Not a person who just by circumstances is telling us what to do. That authority is illegitimate unless it is given by God.

There is point in time when we see a person, and it isn't often, who loves God and who cares for our soul. That person is walking by faith. That person personalizes their faith walk and lives crucified with Christ and loves by faith. That person is a teacher, though the may or may not have the gift of teaching, and a shepherd who feeds Jesus' sheep.

There is moment when we realize, 'That is my person. They are a gift from God for my life. I want to be the person I will become if I am associated with that person. They help me grow and will help me grow.' or even in some cases, 'That is my Pastor.' In those cases we come under the vision that God has given to those men. There will be places where we fit right in and have an important role in the success of the enterprise.

If God invests that kind of love in a person for us they will one day stand before Him and give an account of that stewardship. We may never have submitted to their leadership, such as it was, but still they will give an account and their account will be a direct reflection on our lives when it is time to hand out the rewards in the future.

God tells us to pray for those people whose faith we follow. It is a very good idea since our outcome is tied to their outcome in a real way.

I want to follow the faith of those that love Jesus and love me for the rest of my life and for the rest of theirs. I want to live with a sense of accountability to certain grace men and have a sense of lifelong loyalty even if God's plan has brings us in different directions. I want to watch closely (or from afar) where their faith brings them in this life and then trust in where they have gone after their eventual earthly death.

Grace men won't Lord over you in an intrusive way and if they are intrusive at times you can tell them and in humility they will back off or press forward as they see fit.

When do we stop following and honoring? Never. We just find the God who they follow, make Him our own and have a faith worthy of following that has no middle man. We grow and stop attributing what is coming from a man to the man. We honor God as God and men as men of God.

This is not a popular doctrine these days. I imagine it never has been. Fortunately my interest is not in being popular but it is in having the mind of Christ.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Embrace Him At His Arrival

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:4-7 NASB

I keep reading this passage again and again.

It is good to say, 'The Lord is near.' to ourselves.

His visitation is an amazing thing. When He walks in wisdom is unveiled... the invisible is made visible... light pierces darkness... love replaces indifference... healing comes to our home... salvation walks in the door lively, powerful and willing to meet the eyes of everyone in the room.

Get glad again. The Lord is near. Tell Him what has happened. He has healing hands and healing words.

He is close. Peace that goes beyond the present understanding of the situation is ours and will guard our hearts when that reality blankets us.

No One greater can be in the room with us when God Is there. Nothing is impossible for Him. No One loves us more.

I say it again... 'He is near. Get glad oh soul of mine. He isn't far away. He is near.'

It want to give Him a joyous homecoming and embrace Him at His arrival. Let there be music and food and laughter. Let's make a banner and drape it over our hearts that says. 'WELCOME HOME.' in colorful letters strung together by twine and expect Him with the expectation of a new year, a birthday or a graduation.

He Is near and when He arrives nothing will be the same. At His arrival the party truly begins.

"Then I said, 'Behold, I have come - In the volume of the book it is written of Me - To do Your will, O God.' " - Hebrews 10:7 NKJV


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Cherish The Walls And Use The Gates

"Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, 'Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?' Jesus answered him, 'If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.' " - John 14:22-24 ESV

It is very possible to live in a theological of philosophical bubble. If you are surrounded by people that all think the same way and function in similar ways. There is a sense in us that discerns the group dynamic and either wants to blend into it or break out of it.

Subcultures and countercultures are born from the desire to do something different and be free from social pressure to conform.

Life with God is a different life. You can be buried in the social workings of a Church and not have God's culture. The difference between a Church and other social structures is that God initiated it and God moves inside it's workings if God has liberty to do so.

The disciples thought that the group they were apart of was social group that formed around Jesus. But, Jesus revealed to them that it was formed by the Father.

What is a family? Is it a social group formed by people who just wanted to get together and think in similar ways and have babies? Evolutionary thinking would tell you that. No, A family is something God has made and He has a mind for it. So is a marriage. So is a Church.

God's thinking has gates and walls. Walls that preserve the sanctity of the structure and gates that allow entrances and exits to reach out of that structure. His thinking is large and broad in that is covers all of humanity and yet it is Holy and therefore specific in it's desires.

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life." - John 12:24-25 ESV

It is easy to love your life in a comfortable social structure and if you don't love your life to think that leaving your current structure will make it better.

Jesus had to leave the Earth for us to get it.

"Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged." - John 16:7-11 ESV

He had to die so we would not have to die. He had to go so we do not have to. We can experience the thoughts of the Father when we no longer see Jesus as just a man and His Church as a place were people live in natural social circles.

There are plenty of dead Churches that bear the name but have no life. It is sad. But, There are also living ones where the people have been like a corn of wheat that has fallen into the ground and died in order to live in the multiplication of God's life.

"A Song of Ascents. Of David. Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!" - Psalms 133:1-2 ESV

I want to use the gates God has provided.

"I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture." - John 10:9 ESV

I don't want to be stagnant. Missions is the way we break out of our culture and into another one. Missions abroad and missions at home. The live of faith is not natural. Going shows us that again and again.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Irresistible Sharpness

"Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands," - Psalms 149:6 ESV

Would you use a two edged knife in your kitchen? I likely wouldn't. Why?

If both sides of a knife are sharp you must exert all of the pressure to cut anything from from the handle. Most kitchen knifes have a sharp side and a blunt side so that you can use your palm on the blunt side and exert pressure when needed or rock the blade quickly up and down to dice tough vegetables. Even heavy cleavers weighed to make cutting easier have a blunt back.

Two-edged swords must be extremely sharp and can only be controlled from the hilt. They can not be used to block because in order to block there must be a blunt back resting on some body part to absorb the blow.

"In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, 'Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.' " - Revelation 1:16-18 ESV

Jesus' words are like a two-edged sword. He does not leverage them. He just speaks them and they have cutting power. His person is irresistible. The writer fell down at his feet like any man would. No one will stand against him.

"Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the godly! Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King! Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre! For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation. Let the godly exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands, to execute vengeance on the nations and punishments on the peoples, to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute on them the judgment written! This is honor for all his godly ones. Praise the LORD!" - Psalms 149:1-9 ESV

Our life of praise as we walk in grace is a two-edged sword. It speaks for itself. We don't have to leverage it with the palm of our hands. It is dangerous to try because we will cut ourselves. Grace is not a cleaver or a saw. Nor is it a defensive weapon. We block with our shield of faith. Faith can rest upon our body and absorb the forceful blows of the enemy. Our sword will only get dull if we block with it.

"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." - Hebrews 4:12 ESV

Notice that the verse doesn't say that the Bible is a two-edged sword... It says it is sharper than one and a two-edged sword must be very sharp indeed in order to be effective.

What words do we hold in our hands and what words proceed from our mouths? Are they grace words? Because grace needs no leverage from us. Those words go forth and do what they were meant to do.

We don't want words that hack and saw at issues wearing us down with all the effort we have to put forth. We want words that reveal the irresistible Christ. Words that have supernatural sharpness. Words that cut through cleanly and decisively. Words that cut away what needs to be discarded and dices up the rest for easy consumption.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

He Is Not Going To Forsake Us

"Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' So we can confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?' " - Hebrews 13:5-6 ESV

This is such a beautiful thought. The phrase 'leave me nor forsake me' or slight variations of it are used again and again in the Hebrew scriptures.

Azab (Strong's H5800) Natash (H5203)

Azab is an interesting word because even though the emphasis is on the breaking of a connection, to forsake, it also implies the forming of one in the first place. In other words a taste is given or something good and then it is taken away. Promises are made and then broken

Where Natash talks about the cutting of ties, tossing something aside or being spread abroad.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you." - Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV

This promise given in Moses' time is reiterated to us today. God isn't making an empty promise of some grand outcome. He isn't promising us the moon and the stars (in this verse at least).. He is negating certain possible outcomes. His commitment is to tell us it won't be a certain way.

He isn't going to cut us loose or cast us aside. He isn't going to cut us off. He is in it for better or for worse.

"Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have... So we can confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?' " - Hebrews 13:5a & 6b ESV

Since we have this security we are not looking for it somewhere else. A God who isn't leaving also isn't going to stand by and let us drown without helping. The thing here that people will do is the thing that God says He will never do. They will cut ties and cast away relationships.

People look for security in things because they can't find it with people or fear it won't be enough and they will one day have to fend for themselves.

God was around before the world was born and endures all of the length of time into forever. He is sparkling in His eternal newness and wholeness and He isn't going anywhere. Once you know Him through the gift of His Son the ties are never cut and His memory is undimmed. He has no lapses

"The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen." - 2 Timothy 4:18 ESV