Thursday, April 30, 2015

Awe Is Where It Starts

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!" - Psalm 111:10 ESV

I have many thoughts this morning but this is the one that rises to the surface. Awe of God is the beginning of putting the pieces together.

A person can gather the many perspectives of a situation and anthropology is revealed through behavior in circumstances. But the awe of God is where theology begins and anthropology must be seen in the light of the study of God.

Maybe that sounds lofty and disconnected but to me it has very practical day to day application. Awe must shape my decision making.

God's praise will endure forever. Today's circumstances are temporary. Faithless decisions will register as a blank space in Heaven's history.

We can live in a wisdom that transcends intellectualism. We can build with gold, silver and precious stones and those structures will last.

Awe is where it starts.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

When I Don't Feel Like It

Reading, thinking and praying this morning. Praying for people and situations. Praying for Nepal and Baltimore. Praying also for places I have visited over the years... Upstate New York... Montreal... Pittsburgh... Des Moines... Omaha... Indianapolis... Cincinnati... St Pete... Miami... Boston... Salem... Then reading some more and praying some more.

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience." - 2 Corinthians 5:10-11 ESV

"Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.' " - Luke 17:9-10 ESV

Sometimes when I don't feel well I start to think, 'Will this be my excuse? Will I stop being creative? Will grace be just for me and will I just let everyone fend for themselves?'

It is very possible that we could slip into unprofitable servant mode when really we are sons and daughters. We are not hirelings just in it for the payoff. Believers believe and are invested in God's kingdom because they have been brought into the family. Our Father has a vision and a plan and we come under that vision and make it our vision.

When I don't feel well I don't want to do what I usually want to do. I don't feel like wanting to extend myself. Maybe it's good that some feeling are at a low ebb because now I can choose by principle and not by passion. Now in this state I can make a faith decision.

So, I pray and think and read. I let the water of the Word of God wash over me. I tell my soul to rejoice. More seems impossible to me so I pray for the impossible. God can do the impossible.

Grace is known to my conscience... not just right and wrong... grace. Grace motivates me. Grace tells me I don't have to work to be accepted. I am accepted right now. It also tells me I don't have to wallow in my weakness.

"If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God." - Romans 8:11-14 ESV

I don't live in debt to God or to my body. God has made me a son and I take on the role of a servant because that is what a son does when visitors come to the house. He serves them. He becomes a representation of the Father's hospitality.

The judgement seat of Christ will not be about the contents of our thoughts. It is a reward seat and only rewards will be handed out. Those rewards are going to be based on faith decisions that resulted in faith actions.

Places need Jesus. People need Jesus. If I have visited or heard of a place then I can pray for that place. If I know about a situation then what will I do with that knowledge? Perhaps God is not leading me to go there or do anything else but pray. I want to be led by God. Many times it has been in times of prayer that I have been led to act. I want to be available to that.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Now Is Right

A missionary Pastor in our ministry spoke last night. His name is Pastor Pradeep and he said a small statement that really struck me after quoting a few verses.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - John 3:16 KJV

"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." - 2 Timothy 4:2 KJV

He said, 'Preaching isn't seasonal for a preacher.'

Oh, How true and convicting that is. Eternal things aren't seasonal. Seasons were created (Yes, created) among other things to make boundaries for natural processes but God's things don't need seasons.

Love isn't seasonal. Neither is mercy. Winning souls is not seasonal.

After a long winter people claim the spring and summer as their own. I want to make sure to plan around the eternal and not have it be an afterthought. What is eternal is not seasonal.

Maybe God has a number of 'fair weather' friends because the Gospel is only sown seasonally in people's hearts.

I plan to enjoy the spring. I also plan to do the things that should never be left undone. Not with religious zeal but in grace giving grace and using the seasonal activities as tools to see these things happen where possible.

That isn't my first thought. It is a conscious choice I have made because God's gift is an amazing one. He gave His Son. There was no right season for that. Jesus didn't say, 'Now is a good season to love people. The weather is just right so I will go to the cross.'

It is never a good time to go to the cross naturally. The right season is right now where eternal things are concerned.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

You Won't Be Seeing Me

I had a very interesting meditation on John 7 yesterday afternoon. Jesus in disguise.

"After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him. Now the Jews' Feast of Booths was at hand.

So his brothers said to him, 'Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.'

For not even his brothers believed in him.

Jesus said to them, 'My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.'

After saying this, he remained in Galilee. But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private." - John 7:1-10 ESV

Here is Christ a sinless man saying, 'I'm not going to go.' but then going anyway in secret. His brothers didn't know Him, not really, not as He truly was. Nor did the people at the feast. They didn't even know what the feast of booths represented. Christ knew. The feast represented the end result. It is the harvest of all harvests. It is final victory. In a historical sense it is the millennial reign of Christ, The 1,000 years of peace that God promised Israel that happens after Antichrist and Jacob's trouble.

Jesus basically said, 'You don't get it or me so I'm not showing up. Public me isn't going.'

There were people there that just wanted to assassinate the Jesus they thought that they knew. There will be people who want to do that to us also. It may just be our character that they want to assassinate and not our bodies but to God it is the same sin manifesting itself.

Ever feel that way? You don't have to have a 'God complex' to feel this way. It may just be God's witness to an individual in certain situations to feel this way.

He wasn't all caught up in His emotions about it. Though I doubt He liked being in the situation He was in. He didn't sit home and sulk. He went but He went in disguise. Our private life is a disguise after all. It is not a mask we put on. It is the not so recognizable us that has no mask. It is the us that believes God.

"The Jews were looking for him at the feast, and saying, 'Where is he?'

And there was much muttering about him among the people. While some said, 'He is a good man,' others said, 'No, he is leading the people astray.'

Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him.

About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. The Jews therefore marveled, saying, 'How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?'

So Jesus answered them, 'My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.' " - John 7:11-18 ESV

I am a Pastor, a brother, a husband and a son... but sometimes those people can't go to the feast. It must be stripped down me. It must be a man with a message to bring to the table and nothing else. It isn't even my message. The teaching is God's teaching.

You might love me or hate me. You might support me or forget me. I don't like it when you hate me or forget me and I treasure when you love me and stand by me. Who doesn't feel that way deep in their hearts? Either way. Neither of those guys is going to the feast of booths. Our public persona will not attend that final victory lap. The one going there goes alone. The one attending that feast has someone else's message. That message is grace. It is a very personal grace that has brought about a personal transformation. That grace gives us hope that all the loose ends will be tied up in the end.

The fellowship we have on this Earth is a fellowship of stripped down grace given people. Sometimes the party doesn't represent that.

If you get a chance read John chapter 7 today or sometime. Jesus' interactions at that feast are priceless. He retains the integrity of His witness in a artful way. It was a tricky situation that looks like it could have gone in several different directions but Jesus stands as a man of faith in the midst of it and we can get so much from what He says and does.

The God of all grace has a provision for us simple people to deal with our complex issues. We must be stripped down at times to apply it... but it is there for those who will just be believers.

I love when I can just be me in the midst of a group of people who are just being the people that grace has made them to be. There is real fellowship there. We are privileged people if we have that. I am a privileged person.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Every Temptation

"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am being tempted by God,' for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death." - James 1:12-15 ESV

"Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." - Hebrews 4:14-16 ESV

I was thinking about the 'many temptations' we face yesterday. Jesus, the sinless one, has faced them all also. That means temptations are not unique to people. The addict does not have a unique temptation nor does the perverted person or anyone else. They may be amplified... but not unique.

"For all that is in the world - the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life - is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever." - 1 John 2:16-17 ESV

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 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 6:10-13 ESV

This is very releasing for me.

Jesus conquered, past tense, all temptation. His first century temptations are not different than my present day ones. They may wear different costumes but they are the same.

At the throne of grace we experience a victory that has already been won over every variety of temptation. Grace and mercy are our answer. Yes... this morning also. They are the answer for the thing(s) you and I face today. We just need wisdom so that we can live in application of that remedy.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." - James 1:5 ESV


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Hearts That Are Full

What thoughts fill ours hearts?

"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

At times my heart has been filled with self-criticism. It has been filled with fear and disappointment. It has been filled with thoughts about how I have been wronged or how limiting my circumstances are. I imagine you all are much more spiritual than I am. You aren't critical of people or self occupied right? Ha.

The word of Christ is the word of grace and when that fills us thankfulness is one of the results.

'Just as I am, without one plea,
but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that thou bidst me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Just as I am, and waiting not
to rid my soul of one dark blot,
to thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.'
- 'Just As I Am' by Charlotte Elliott (1800s)

I love that hymn and many others that describe the God of the Bible. A God who knows the thinking of the world and how easily it can penetrate into our minds. He pleads with us to let a different mind dwell in us.

"O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart;" - Psalm 15:1b-2 ESV

His thinking in us is a parallel to cohabitation. Who can live with God on His holy elevated platform of life? Those who are filled with His thinking. Those that won't condemn themselves because of what Christ has accomplished at the cross look at God's holy hill and find a home there.

Theology can be dry or isolating when the concepts are divorced from God's character. Righteousness has never been about elitism. Righteousness is about the ability to hold our heads high and look God in the face because our guilt is gone. There is no shame in what we are thinking because God's words are echoing in our minds. Words of acceptance. Words of purpose. Declarations of love and commitment. His commitment to us.

So I come this morning. I come just as I am. I come with no excuses. I come spotless knowing that the reason I can make that claim is that my spots have been covered by shed blood and a robe of righteousness that arrived as a gift one day.

God, I want Your thinking to govern me. I want to bring it to my workplace and my breakfast table. When I am lonely I want to remember what you say. When I could be frightened I want the courage of perspective to fill me. When I am wronged I want to be immune to the heat of the situation that could inflame my heart.

The Spirit of grace is also The Spirit of truth. Let your light shine in me and from me today. That is my prayer for myself and those reading this right now. {smile}


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Right Balance

"A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is his delight." - Proverbs 11:1 ESV

"For from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, 'Peace, peace,' when there is no peace." - Jeremiah 6:13-14 ESV

Peace Peace... Shalom Shalom (Strong's H7965)... It is more than a feeling. Shalom Shalom is a state of harmonious rightness. It is when God's Shalom and our shalom are one. It is when, 'How are you doing is a question that does not need to be asked because the person asking has shalom and sees that same peace and rightness in the person they are with.

Shalom and strife can't coexist. Unforgiveness has no place in Shalom. The world pretends it has peace. It wants it so lies are told to pretend it is happening. The human heart brings war to the tranquil meadow. It is at war with itself.

"And the angel said to them, 'Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!' " - Luke 2:10-14 ESV

The most tranquil human teacher is still a false balance but the angels rejoiced to see balance appear on the planet again. Jesus has the Shalom that heals the sick. He Is the true peace. He is the right and righteous One.

We can not unbalance Him. We can enter into His balance. Grace does that. It is God's balance that has a spin we do not understand. Christ's blood is heavier than the all the sins of the world combined into one huge heavy weight.

The world seems out of control and things seem heavier than we can manage. They are heavy but not heavier than God's glory.

We come to God the Father on the basis of His Son's blood and He says, Shalom Shalom.'

We become ambassadors of that Shalom. Our homes have Shalom resting on them when Shalom rests on us. Our words frame a peace that is real and lasting.

I don't want to strive. In God's throne room I find peace. Then my face shines with it as I go out into the world. Jesus has arrived. He Is the peace of the world. He Is my Saviour.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Great Physician

Do you need a spiritual physician?

"And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples.

And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, 'Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?'

But when he heard it, he said, 'Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.'

Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, 'Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?'

And Jesus said to them, 'Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.' " - Matthew 9:10-17 ESV

I we think we are just fine naturally then we will just live with our old wine skins. They will burst and we will think it's normal for that to happen.

Once we know that we need grace we can get grace but grace only comes from God.

"And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you." - 1 Peter 5:10 ESV

"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work." - 2 Corinthians 9:8 ESV

Jesus isn't just someone I go to see in the emergency room. He Is my family physician. There is a place for Him to recline and rest in my mind. He has a key to all the rooms of my soul... even the back rooms.

I respect His diagnosis. He loves me and cares for my soul.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Trained In Righteousness

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." - 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV

Opinions are breathed out by man but scripture was and is spoken by God and it is good for fixing us and equipping us. Truth is eternal. It is very old but ever new at the same time.

Training is so vital. Anyone practicing a profession can get something out of a good training session. But, It must be a good training session. Experts will tire quickly of sessions that they could teach themselves taught by novices.

Scripture isn't written by a novice. Scripture has depth and well as width. It is the length and height of love. It is shaped like mercy. It is as beautiful as any mathematical equation is to a mathematician. We don't outgrow scripture. We grow into it.

Human beings crave newness. We can easily enter into, 'Oh, That again.'

Training in righteousness teaches us the loftiest of lessons. We learn to love. We learn to forgive. We are instructed on reaching out. A good lesson will teach me to be quiet and let my actions speak.

When I am Spirit taught my instructor leaves me in awe because He reveals what can't be seen by merely mortal eyes.

Instruction like this prompts us to believe God. It takes our eyes off of ourselves and seeing people as sources of provision. We have all that we need when we believe in the One who can do all things.

We can mix faith with true Biblical instruction. We can be Spirit led and taught this week. It is not business as usual. God is here and anything is possible to those who believe (see Mark 9:23).


Friday, April 17, 2015

Solitary Glory

I was thinking this morning of young Moses as a picture of fame and celebrity. If there were paparazzi back then they would have followed young Moses. He was fished out of the water of anonymity and found it to be a double edged sword.

"When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby was crying. She took pity on him and said, 'This is one of the Hebrews' children.' ... And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, 'Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.' So the woman took the child and nursed him. When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, 'Because,' she said, 'I drew him out of the water.' " - Exodus 2:6, 9-10 ESV

With renown comes money and other things but people then need to use that money to create a breathing space to have a life. Renown can turn ugly quite quickly. People like to tear down the things that others have built up.

"One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people. He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. When he went out the next day, behold, two Hebrews were struggling together. And he said to the man in the wrong, 'Why do you strike your companion?'

He answered, 'Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?'

Then Moses was afraid, and thought, 'Surely the thing is known.'

When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and stayed in the land of Midian. And he sat down by a well." - Exodus 2:11-15 ESV

Moses was not burdened the way his people were burdened but he was burdened in his own way and his fame seemed to separate him in the crowd. I wonder if when he sat by that rock if it was the first time in his life that he had been alone.

"Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came and drew water and filled the troughs to water their father's flock. The shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses stood up and saved them, and watered their flock. When they came home to their father Reuel, he said, 'How is it that you have come home so soon today?' They said, 'An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds and even drew water for us and watered the flock.' " - Exodus 2:16-19 ESV

"And Moses was content to dwell with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah. She gave birth to a son, and he called his name Gershom, for he said, 'I have been a sojourner in a foreign land.' " - Exodus 2:21-22 ESV

"Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, 'I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.'

When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, 'Moses, Moses!' And he said, 'Here I am.' " - Exodus 3:1-4 ESV

The burning bush is a representation of God's solitary glory. Fame and prying eyes had consumed Moses in his early life. Now He was anonymous but purposeless. God was content to be God in the middle of nowhere. God's glory does not consume Him. He is glorious when there are worshipers and when there is no one there who seems to notices.

Perhaps fame is not an issue for most of us.

Grace gives us the benefits of fame without the pitfalls. We are known as we should be known and God gets the glory just as He should.

I pray for people who have the bright lights shining on them. I'm not always happy for them either. That is a harder place to be than it looks. Famous people often don't know who their friends really are. It is a place that can burn a person up quickly.

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior," - 1 Timothy 2:1-3 ESV

Perhaps we think praying for public people is just giving them even more attention. Why should they get more attention from us. But they are souls that need prayer. They are being pushed and pulled in crazy ways. They truly need prayer.

We hope that they would see their burning bush. Oh, How we all need to turn aside and observe that bush. It is where we leave the natural behind and witness an enduring eternal glory... a glory that changes us forever.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Spiritual Profit In A Fallen World

" 'All things are lawful for me,' but not all things are helpful. 'All things are lawful for me,' but I will not be dominated by anything. 'Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food' - and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!" - 1 Corinthians 6:12-15 ESV

" 'All things are lawful,' but not all things are helpful. 'All things are lawful,' but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor." - 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 ESV


I marvel at these verses. The legalist cringes and wrestles with them and seeks to make them fit into decent society.

Are we that free? Yes. Yes we are. Jesus has satisfied the legal requirements for righteousness. Our conscience needs to adjust to this. We lean towards morality. The problems with that system are many.

Jesus had no moral failings. We can't even live up to our standards much less God's standards.

If we choose morality all that waits down the road for us is failure. Fallen man must fail in that arena.

Grace is our answer. It is dangerous radical answer. It is also our salvation in every way.

God isn't ever going to wag His finger at us. Never. People pull verses out of the Hebrew scriptures of God doing this to Israel but God did it to demonstrate to us a method that doesn't work. Jesus appears in the world to an Israel that is under Roman rule. Israel should have been a world power but it was a subjugated province. Rules maybe right but they can't transform.

God is holy. He will never endorse sin. He also will never us rules to get us to be righteous. He made us righteous by placing us into His Son. When we believed the cloth of our being was dunked into the righteousness of God and now we are stained that color. No law did that. God did it. We didn't even know it happened until we read it later in the scriptures.

"Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." - 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 ESV

Life is going to do a fine job of beating us down. Living in a fallen world has many pitfalls. Cancer. Death. Heartache. Disappointments. Crazy things happen all the time because man is stupid and short sighted. God isn't going to hit us with the rules on top of all that.

God gives us grace so that we can have profitable lives in this fallen world. We can choose against our belly and it's desires. We can choose love and compassion. We can live free. We can fail and get back up again. God isn't even going to mention the failure. He will reward us handsomely for our decisions made by faith.

Grace makes us lights or hope in the darkness.

I don't want to settle for less than that.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Single Eye

Doubt is a crazy thing. Grace is insulation against doubt. When we are established in grace it begins to manage our expectations and when our expectations are right the lines of communication can remain open.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." - James 1:5-8 ESV

There is a confidence that can develop from consistent nonjudgmental communication. When someone knows you but the don't know you after your faults.

"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. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." - 1 Peter 5:6-8 ESV

Our single mindedness can be eaten up when the lines of communication get dried up.

"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

There are times when I just put everything on the shelf and just start confessing truth to God. I tell Him what He already knows. I describe Him and praise Him for the description. I relinquish control. I pour out my concerns. My vision is narrowed and the blinders go on. He is my only concern. He is the only thing I care about. He is the only person in the room.

If I try to do that but can't I realize that my attachments to people, relationships or things have gotten unhealthy. Addiction has set in or I am on the path to it.

Correct order is that nothing comes before God... not even the preservation of my own life.

When grace comes into sharp focus doubt dissolves like a shadow. The God of grace can do anything. He Is free to function any way that falls within the boundaries of His character and God is good in every way.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

He Came To Save

"And Moses said, "I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned."

When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses!"

And he said, "Here I am."

Then he said, "Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." And he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob."

And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

Then the LORD said, "I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them." - Exodus 3:3-9 ESV

Moses was afraid but God clearly said that He only came to save people.

That struck me this morning. It the midst of our sometimes bad emotions God comes to save. God shows up in my world to save. To save me. To save people crying out to Him. His very presence is a saving one.

"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. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile." - Jeremiah 29:11-14 ESV

Moses was sent into exile by his own bad emotional decisions but God came in due season to save him.

Jesus is a Savior. He is the Savior. He comes to save.

If we believe if Him we are saved. That salvation is lasting because He Is a lasting Savior.

But today's situations need a Savior. He Is that Saviour.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Ripened To Perfection

Gracious eyes see us. That is amazing to think about.

"O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it." - Psalm 139:1b-6 ESV

That thought is like warm sunshine on my face. I bask in the light of it with my eyes closed.

"A Song of Ascents. Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD! O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities." - Psalm 130:1-8 ESV

This idea is a great place to start. When I have nothing to give I can return here and start a dialog with God.

Worship can begin to flow out when this truth dawns on us.

Moses met God at a burning bush. Jacob slept on a rock and saw a ladder with angel going up and down to Heaven. The disciple met Jesus as they were going about their lives. They became awere of God's eyes on them. They onserved God observing them. God wasn't judging them even though all of them were living in a kind of self judgement. God saw them but did not judge them.

We can get busy without this truth but I don't want to. I am very familiar with where I go and what I do also. What I do and where I go isn't enough. I need God to hem me in and direct my path. Awareness of grace gives me an unusal path to walk on. It is a highway of holiness. There is worship there. Nothing is mundane there. God's light brightens that path.

"Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." - Isaiah 35:5-10 ESV

We don't have to be anybody or do anything. We can just bask in His love and awareness. His light will do His work. His light will ripen us to perfection.


Friday, April 10, 2015

Being A Better Man

I don't know about you but I want to be a better human being. I don't say that in an insecure way. There is a perfection that comes with being a believer and it is a present tense perfection. Believing God is the best activity that anyone can be involved in and God has perfected the believer because He sees time backwards as well as forwards and makes blanket declarations based on His infinite knowledge.

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 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 8:28-31 ESV

Who can be against us includes 'ourselves.' There is no striving for perfection. Loving God is perfection. I'm talking about growth.

For me growth as a man involves headship.

"And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 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 4:11-16 ESV

"For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior." - Ephesians 5:23 ESV

Boys learn to be men by watched men function as men then that manhood is put into practice by how he treats the women in his life. Jesus is the ultimate example of true headship.

"Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ! - assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another." - Ephesians 4:17-25 ESV

Unbelief has a hardness to it. The nations (Gentiles) function in a kind of national unbelief. That is the zeitgeist of our age and it has been since nations formed on the Earth. God has not given man a national redemption yet. He will. The lamb will return as a lion and we will see that. We see shadows of that in Solomon but Solomon failed like every man before him. Jesus will not fail.

God is not surprised that nations don't believe. He points to them and uses them as a visual aid for us to see in our generation. We humble ourselves because we don't want to think like a government that can commit atrocities... like the ones we see around us.

As a man I don't want to be a little dictator in my home. Nor do I want to be a passive pleasure seeker. If I choose to function in spirituality then I choose to function in servant headship and that headship initiates without micro-management. That is a leadership that lays down it's life. Jesus is giving grace and making intercession right now as he sits on a throne in Heaven. He Is resting in His love toward us. He providing headship from that location.

I ask almost every day for God to make me a better husband and because I am married it is linked to my spiritual manhood. Asking for that is indirectly asking God to make me a better man.

This is not a popular message in this day and age.

We are being counseled to take gender our of the equation. The very definitions of male and female are currently being challenged but gender was not given to make one gender better than another. Gender was given to complete us as we experience unity. It was given for growth.

We are also counseled to drop titles and drop spiritual submission. Leaders are treated like servants when they should be seen as mentors. It is smart tactic really because if you neuter leadership you water down the manhood of the generation that follows.

I'll be a 'better' human being today if I function in real submission and then initiate from that vantage point. It won't perfect me. I have already been perfected. Functioning in grace will give me a life of spiritual multiplication and that is the growth I am seeking.

"Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold." And he said, 'He who has ears to hear, let him hear.' " - Mark 4:3-9 ESV

God give us ears to hear this weekend. Sow your seed in our hearts and make us faithful sowers of seed also.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Two Trumpets

"Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps." - Numbers 10:2 KJV

Two trumpets of silver... not one... two trumpets. The Hebrew word is Chatsotserah (Strong's H2689) and it is different word than the one used for a curved horn made of bone. If you look up when the word was used we see that they blew these trumpets at different times for different reasons.

"And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies. Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God." - Numbers 10:9-10 KJV

"And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets." - 1 Chronicles 13:8 KJV

"It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD;" - 2 Chronicles 5:13 KJV

One man can't play two trumpets.

People are going to experience a calling when there is more than one witness.The straight silver witness of the Gospel is a two or more witness. The calling is not a duty. It is a sound that goes out and says there is trouble and reminds us to be on alert. It reminds us to sing, dance and rejoice. It is a sound that is mirrored and not solitary.

You are called and so am I.

"Who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel," - 2 Timothy 1:9-10 ESV

"Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession" - Hebrews 2:14-18, 3:1 ESV

Salvation brought us in and opened our ears now we recognize the sound of the straight silver trumpets of grace.

I want to be about His things today not mine. My message is the message that others have. It is not a solitary witness. It is a clean open sound that echos off the mountainside and says, 'Rejoice because it is finished. The sacrifice has been made.'

We share a holy calling. Alone we are sons and daughters and that is a wonderful thing but together we are called out ones and there is dancing and rejoicing.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Hand It Over

"Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia, and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled. And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. And they remained no little time with the disciples." - Acts 14:24-28 ESV

The phrase that caught me was 'commended to the grace of God'. The word for commended is Paradidomi (Strong's G3860). 'Para' means near or beside and 'Didomi' which literally means to hand over.

That Church handed Paul over to grace. They gave him an important responsibility but they did it by handing him and the others that went with him to grace.

Oh, That is good.

That is true delegation.

That group going out was glad to come back because of the way things were handled.

Hear is a different idea.

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!" - Matthew 23:23-24 ESV

I see the real contrast between 'straining at gnats' and 'commending to the grace of God.' Both pictures use a person's hands.

Who wants bugs in their tea? I don't. But, At the same time I have better things to do with my time. I want to be functioning in the things that hand people over to grace.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Property Lines

Justice respects jurisdictions. It respects both sides of a boundary.

Lawlessness ignores boundaries.

Mine. Not mine. It belongs to us. It belongs to them. Who does it belong to?

Who decides? Is it the one who has leverage or brute force on his or her side?

Ultimately it is God's choice. He decides the true boundaries because He is the One who owns everything.

I think that little stretch of land in the middle of the middle east is a perfect example of this principle that goes beyond the boundary of humanistic morality. It resolves the chicken and the egg dilemma with a spiritual trump card. Does the land belong to who came first or occupied longest or does it belong to who God gave it to?

If we respect God's boundaries then we respect God. If we respect God's property then we respect God. Respect then fills the space of the relationship.

God does not have a problem with lust because it feels good. It does feel good. God has a problem with lust because it ignores property lines. The lusting person is a trespasser.

"I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin? What would be my portion from God above and my heritage from the Almighty on high?" - Job 31:1-2 ESV

If our inheritance is land and we will not respect territorial rights then we devalue our own inheritance.

Grace is God's beautiful heart that let's others play on his lawn. It does not make the lawn public land where anything goes. The ownership remains firmly in place. The father gives His Son full access. We have become sons and daughters through the life of this same uniquely begotten Son.

So. Do we own the details of the day today? Do we own ourselves?

"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV

"You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men." - 1 Corinthians 7:23 ESV

Our ownership is the ownership of a steward. Good stewards respect true ownership.

A Biblical world view draws a different map then the world does. It always will because each side sees ownership in a different way.

If we see the real property lines in our job then we can function in them. When we see the real territory in our family then we can live a civilized life in our home. When we honor God's boundaries we will live in true freedom. Man's fences will only keep us bottled up.

We stake claims by faith. We say, 'God owns this land and this is where God has drawn a line. Now I will live in agreement with Him.'

That has such power in every area of our life... if we make those claims by faith God will honor them.


Monday, April 6, 2015

Sad Mary Or Street Smart Mary?

'And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, 'Woman, why are you weeping?'

She said to them, 'They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.' Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.

Jesus said to her, 'Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?'

Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, 'Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.'

Jesus said to her, 'Mary.'

She turned and said to him in Aramaic, 'Rabboni!' (which means Teacher).

Jesus said to her, 'Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, "I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."' " - John 20:12-17 ESV

This is such a touching account. It is so personal.

I know what I am about to say might offend some people but it is on my mind this morning and it has real application for us. It reveals grace in a deep way to me.

Was Mary Magdalene the chaste post transformation Mary that we commonly think of her as in this account? Or was she the street smart woman acquainted with the under belly of society that she had been in the later part of her life? She called Jesus 'lord' but that was a title a wife called a husband in the common vernacular. Was she pretending that Jesus was her husband to get access? Had she slipped into her old ways like the rest of the disciples had? Was she working the system to get to Jesus like she had so often done before in other situations or was she truly as shattered as she seemed? I wonder.

It is before Pentecost. The Spirit has not come to them to fill them, change them and encourage them. Jesus' words are still seeds. She is woman who knows how to get things done. Perhaps I will owe her an apology when I see her in Heaven for questioning her methods. I know her motive were good but is this as it seems? People are very interesting after all.

Either way... when the angels ask her a question it is not enough to bring her out of her apparent mournful (or possibly manipulative) state. But when Jesus called her name it all gets dropped. Any act that she might have been playing dissolves. Her desperation turns to wonder. Her hope is restored. The angels speak first but that was not enough. Jesus steps in to resolve what only He can resolve and with a word the veil is removed and light streams into her being.

Then Jesus told her gently, 'Don't cling to me.' Why? Because you have a father now and I am going to see Him. He was my Father but now after the Resurrection he is your Father also. You don't need to act like an orphan who has to fend for herself. You have a family.

Our Father drys our tears and it is our knowledge that we have a Father that gets us to drop our act if we are using manipulation to accomplish some spiritual end. Jesus calling our name in grace snaps us out of it. The rationalizations dissolve.

We are children of God and we have power to function in that knowledge (John 1:12). Perhaps all we need is to hear Jesus call our name and know He is saying it because we have a place at the Father's table reserved for us that no one can take away.

People just need to hear Jesus call their name. That is what I pray for...

"For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." - Revelation 3:17-22 ESV

Have a great day. It is still Easter after all. The Resurrection was the first day of a life that goes on and on.


Friday, April 3, 2015

Seek Ye First The Kingdom Of God And His Righteousness

"The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. ... But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." - Matthew 6:22-24, 33-34 ESV

Food, clothing, security, a kingdom and a right standing... God adds. Yes, He adds.

We look to a governance that is beyond the human realm and God is faithful to those who look to Him. They have what He adds when He adds it. They can stand upright and not look at their shoes in shame.

The word 'added' there in verse 33 is interesting. It is Prostithemi (Strong's G4369) and it means join. God fuses things together. He adds them as useful living parts of us. He transplants them in.

This is a promise that God has given to us and people have had it through the ages. Strangers could look at the life of the believer they saw before them and see an imperfect person who had an outside force covering and protecting them. The stranger could not define it but the believer clearly defined it as divine. Those shining lights stood upright and looked at God with upturned faces.

This truth is always going to be challenged in our lives. Things are lost but we seek a kingdom and for every thing that is lost God is going to add something... many things.

Jesus lost His life on a Friday long ago but many people gained a kingdom because of His loss.

I'm seeking a kingdom today.

In that kingdom the work of salvation is finished. In that kingdom we have a place reserved at God's table that will hide our weakness and give us a white robe to wear that was made white by our Savior.

I'm looking there. It is my privilege. My eyes have been opened to it's existence. Hallelujah.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Truth Spoken In Love

"Rather, speaking the truth in love..." - Ephesians 4:15a ESV

Communicating care... not just truth and not just emotion. Real care nestled in real words that reveal details or dynamics about the actual situation.

Oh, The truth spoken in love can really penetrate the defenses of a person.

"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." - Proverbs 15:1 ESV

People don't just have physical needs. They have emotions needs.

Here is the phrase in context:

"Therefore it says, 'When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.' (In saying, 'He ascended,' what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 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 4:8-16 ESV

Jesus didn't ascend into Heaven alone. He took people with Him. Jesus came from Heaven so that He could bring us back with Him.

That is what the truth spoken in love does. That is what grace does. It takes people along and points them toward a throne that is above the Heavens. Leadership is only there to take people along. Structure is there to take people along. Doctrine is there to ground people in truth so that they can stick it out for the long haul and not be waylaid by something else.

People grow when the truth is spoken to them in love.

The truth can be hard to take. God is holy. Nothing but perfection will do. He does not compromise. Jesus is that perfection. Jesus absorbed the hardness that justice demanded and died on a cross to satisfy God's fury at everything human that fell short of perfection. That can be hard to hear. The fact that all our accomplishments mean nothing. That we are not and never will be good enough alone. Who wants to hear that? Only the One who has been loved can have a capacity to hear it.

Grace is truth. It isn't the facts alone. Those same facts are told in the context of arms that are reaching out to hold us and love us.

I never want to just handle the facts without love. That is dangerous for people and potentially manipulative. The facts can kill people. Grace gives life.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Bandages In The Cupboard

I keep band-aids in my cabinet because I know I'm going to need them someday. I hope that I don't use them and that they get so old that I have to throw them out and get new ones.

I'm not planning to cut myself. As a matter of fact I'm planning to be careful not to cut myself. But I'm not structuring my whole life that way.

"Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of the daughter of my people not been restored?" - Jeremiah 8:22 ESV

God gave us plants and substances that have restorative properties because at times we need restoration.

Things break. Mistakes happen. Just like we plan not to injure ourselves if we are wise we also plan to have what we need just in case we do.

God has spiritual band-aids in his cupboard. Life gets rough at times.

"And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you." - 1 Peter 5:10 ESV

"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." - Hebrews 12:2 ESV

Jesus took the deepest cut. Our mistakes cost Him everything. But He was confident that His Father had band-aids in His cupboard.

I am so grateful that God is more diligent than I am. He has had a plan to help me waiting all along. He knew I would need healing so He stocked the cupboard with just what was needed.

Thank you God. There is an overflow of mercy. More than enough for us and the whole world. I feel privileged to know it. I want the world to know that the cure for what ails them is waiting in Your Son. Help me get the word out. Thank You for your great care.