Monday, June 29, 2015

The Two Olive Trees God Uses

Zechariah is such a book of restoration and protection.

"And I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand!

Then I said, 'Where are you going?'

And he said to me, 'To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length.'

And behold, the angel who talked with me came forward, and another angel came forward to meet him and said to him, 'Run, say to that young man, "Jerusalem shall be inhabited as villages without walls, because of the multitude of people and livestock in it. And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the LORD, and I will be the glory in her midst." '

Up! Up! Flee from the land of the north, declares the LORD. For I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heavens, declares the LORD. Up! Escape to Zion, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon." - Zechariah 2:1-7 ESV

This book mirrors end time restoration and pits it against present day restoration. God will do things in the last days but He feels now what He will feel then. He warns us away from danger (see Zechariah 1:4f) and directs us to a city not made with hands where He is the wall of fire that protects it (see Zechariah 2:5).

Joshua the priest should be wearing spotless garments but he isn't and Satan is ripping him apart with accusations but God restores him (see Zechariah 3:3f).

"And the angel of the LORD solemnly assured Joshua, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my charge, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here. Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch. For behold, on the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven eyes, I will engrave its inscription, declares the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day. In that day, declares the LORD of hosts, every one of you will invite his neighbor to come under his vine and under his fig tree.' " - Zechariah 3:6-10 ESV

God gives us men, anointed men, who will ooze oil and provide light

"And there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left... And a second time I answered and said to him, 'What are these two branches of the olive trees, which are beside the two golden pipes from which the golden oil is poured out?'

He said to me, 'Do you not know what these are?'

I said, 'No, my lord.'

Then he said, 'These are the two anointed ones who stand by the Lord of the whole earth.' " - Zechariah 4:3, 12-14 ESV

Zerubbabel and Joshua were the two men in that day. Zerubbabel was a man who measured according to God's measure (see Zechariah 4:9f) and Joshua was a priest who was dirty and plagued by accusation but restored.

People who live in God's grace measure and are restored with God's restoration provide light for their generation.

God is building His church just as He was restoring His nation in the book of Zechariah. God restores lives one at a time also. The principles for the restoration of a life are the same as for the restoration of a nation. Things didn't happen all at once. There were seeming setbacks but God was with them.

Let's flee to the city with a wall of fire around it. That place is the place of our heritage. There are men who tell us it's measurements and show us restoration by their example. It is light that should not be ignored.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Some Thoughts From The Baltimore Convention

June 23rd, 2015

Just a couple of thoughts from last night at the convention that I am mulling over this morning...

- Grace can become a tool that helps us forget those things that are behind us and press toward those things that are before us. As we are in the anointing God looses the moorings and those things just float away until they are out of sight. It is not something that is automatic. God does it. I am praying He will do it for people to free them experientially from their past so they can move forward by faith in freedom.

- The things we seek are 'above' things and they are just out of our natural reach but the presence of God brings them to us so we sense them and experience them. When we don't feel them we reach for them by faith. These 'above' things are throne relationship things. They are in Jesus. They are with Jesus. Jesus is with us. We won't find them with the mind alone but we find them because He has found us.

June 25th, 2015

A few more thoughts from convention 2015...

- What were men like Moses doing when they went down on the ground and 'fell on their face' in the OT? What did they find there? Who did they find there? Really, It was a kind of surrender but not a surrender to the circumstance or to a mortal person. They surrendered to God down there on their face.

"They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, 'You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?'

When Moses heard it, he fell on his face," - Numbers 16:3-4 ESV

No argument with people. Moses didn't just walk on ignoring the conflict. He exercised ultimate humility and meekness and submitted to God. Wow.

Jesus hung on the cross but He was a man 'on his face' doing it. He refused to give a fallen argument. Amazing.

- The beatitudes came alive to me in last night's message.

"And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.' " - Matthew 5:2-13 ESV

These are are not the declarations of self. Grace does this in a person as their new man is ignited to think with God. Grace reveals the blessing on us in our human poverty. Grace reveals and produces meekness. We have a different hunger and thirst. Grace and mercy go hand in hand. The blood purifies and is applied by grace. A peacemaking ministry is possible. We can fall on our face when reviled and attacked. Joy is coming in those times.

What a blessing the messages have been this year. I want to get the audio of what I've missed. There is a living expectation that lingers with me this morning for the prayers prayed with people. It is a unique time. What a privilege it is to be involved and present.

June 27th, 2015

The June convention in Baltimore has always been an interesting time of year. In many years past God has used this time to speak to me and change my life somehow. People are present that you may only see once a year... or once a decade. The conversation and messages are rich and at times just goofy and full of joy.

In years past I have prayed and asked God to speak to me, lead me or just plain heal me during convention. What He ended up doing was very rarely what I expected. This year was as unique as any other year has been.

I didn't ask God to give me anything this time and many times felt out of sync with what was going on. I would have a 'divine appointment' with someone and then minutes later I would find myself bringing a cup of coffee to someone who had gone who knows where. Ten minutes into the messages I found myself drifting and having to force my body into stillness and settle my restless legs. I liked what was being said and got some amazing gem from each message but found it hard to stay on track. Some of the music so enraptured me that I can still enter back into those moments as if they are happening right now.

God has spoken to me in many ways over the years. This year it was important to me to live in reality and not fantasy. If I got something from God I wanted it to be 'real' and not some confirmation or denial of a self contrived religious notion that would lead me down a road I was unsuited to travel on.

I hope you understand what I mean. Things can seem romantic but the glamour fades quickly when we go into things with rose colored glasses. I don't know about you but I have entered into 'faith ventures' where I have crashed and burned and it is not pleasant. You stumble from the wreckage bruised and limping and begin to flinch from the thought of ever going back. It's kind of like saying, 'I'll never love anyone again' after a terrible heartbreak. It is a stupid thing to say but if you are hurt deeply enough it sound more reasonable than getting hurt again.

Anyway... In the midst of my out-of-syncness there were these amazing moments of clarity and that is how God spoke to me this year. Much of what was said was personal and I won't share it here but a very key thing happened last night at about midnight while standing and talking to some friends in the parking lot as the band was wrapping things up and loading up equipment into their vehicle.

One of these friends is a missionary Pastor in India and He was talking about prayer and demonic activity and how much more common it is in India to see people who 'have demons' then it is here. This Pastor is a very kind rational person by the way. He isn't looking for a demon under every rock and is actually very reluctant to get involved in such cases because it is dirty business. He would rather just love people up than deal with that stuff. But, That among other things has taught Him the power of prayer and the security he has in the name of Jesus. He spoke about how prayer is so important in any venture and how he has seen first hand how afraid demons are even of the name of Christ.

I am very wary of, 'God told me I need to _________ more.' statements because I think God knows us very well and our effort is just that. It is ours and not His. He Is the Savior and we are not. But, When God shows me something I want to listen, remember and live in the reality of it. God showed me something about prayer and revealed something that goes to the root of why I can end up frustrated at times.

"Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit' - yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.' " - James 4:13-15 ESV

"The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit." - James 5:16b-18 ESV

It is wise to bathe our going in prayer. It is wise to mention the name of Christ liberally if we are not doing it in vanity. His nature and name are powerful. He Is redemption and we function and see fruit when things are bathed in His name and not ours.

Some things may take a lot of asking and time but in the end there will be a lot of fruit. God will do it by grace and we might even be blessed to see it happen with our own eyes.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Special Brand Of 'Don't Quit!'

'Don't quit!'

I love to hear that phrase but at the same time I understand as I get older that there are several kinds of attitudes that can make living that phrase a reality.

Pride has a kind of faithfulness and steely strength that won't bend, move or stop because it will lose something or being lessened in someone else's eyes. Pride just won't be the first one to quit because it thinks it is better.

But, There is another kind of 'don't quit' this one is gentle and draws no attention to itself at all.

"For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord." - Ephesians 5:8-10 ESV

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit." - Galatians 5:22-25 ESV

I want my 'yes' to be 'yes' and my 'no' to be a big fat 'no'. I for one want to quit everything that is dark and keep in step with what is in the light. Pride won't let me quit but I must. God has given me something wondrous to say 'yes' to.

Faithfulness is the 'don't quit' I desire to live in. But, I've seen the faithfulness born or pride and not born as a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is arrogant. If I point the finger anywhere it isn't going to be outward. I am the man. I am the bull who sometimes goes but knocks people over going. I am the one who won't quit because he doesn't want to be a quitter.

Oh, But then I see Jesus.

He is just over there. He is just behind the closed door. He Is worshiping in the chapel. He is standing in the place where we don't have a church yet. He is in each room looking at people and loving them. He Is with me but He Is also just over there... a few steps past me... love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are just over there waiting to born into the world.

I can't quit. I want to be there with Him. My wife needs a husband. My mother needs a son. My sister needs a brother. People need a preacher. That place needs a Church. A dead building on each corner won't cut it. They need a living Church. People need to see Him and then some will also drop their nets and follow Him once they see the power that is there in Him.

Jesus the eternal One never quits because He would have to affected by time and space and to do that. He would have to change or be discouraged and He never does either of those things. He Is ever and always faithful. Basking in His light we never need to stop. There is new life in every step.


Friday, June 19, 2015

The Gleanings Before Dawn blog will be on hiatus until July 2015

Due to our schedule we will not be posting a regular Monday through Friday morning blog for the remainder on the month of June. There will be posts here and there as God leads but not on a consistent basis. As of now we are planning to return to a more consistent schedule in the first of second week of July of 2015 because that is when my morning study times will consistently resume.

As we have said last year... there are a few things as a reader that you can do during this time:

  • Pray. Like any venture we undertake the desire is that this blog would be an outreach to touch people with the Gospel, introduce people who have never heard it to a finished work grace oriented approach to the Bible and edify people. This blog is a tool and we seek God's leading in how to proceed with it.
  • Go back and read the archives. To date there are almost 700 entries. Pick a month and read day to day or read entries with titles that interest you. I hope the past entries will be a blessing to you.
  • While you are doing that make comments on blog entries including topics that you would like to hear more about in the future, questions or any edifying comments you would like to leave.
  • If you miss me then tell me you miss me... you can contact me by email at
  • You can also follow me on twitter @Allan_Leitner
  • I would love to hear from all of you. It is expected that we will only be aware of a fraction of the impact any ministry is having on any person's life while we are on Earth. Heaven will reveal what is now hidden. It is however a great blessing to get feedback and hear testimonies if people are led to share those things.

May God bless you richly for the rest on the month of June and beyond!

Your Friend in Christ,

P Allan Leitner


Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Latter Rain - Part 2

The latter rain is given to the Church and it becomes an example to Israel of what God can do with people. It gives them hope. The Church will have a lukewarm reputation in the world but God will do wonderful things in the body of Christ before the Church is transformed into His bride.

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness," - 2 Timothy 3:16 ESV

God gave promises to Israel and the Church is not Israel or an extension of Israel. The Church is a beautiful foreign bride that God has taken to Himself and called His own. God has grafted the Church into His kingdom.

"Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure' - for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints." - Revelation 19:6-8 ESV

This spring rain will prepare the Church and move the corporate structure from 'the body' into 'the bride.' It will be a last pre-marriage preparation. A marriage that will be taking place in Heaven during the relatively calm first half of the time when craziness is about to break out in mass on the Earth.

When Moses took a foreign bride (See Numbers 12:1) it provoked his siblings to jealously and this latter rain revival will serve the same purpose. God does it out of love but He also will use the political backlash caused by His choice to convert Israel to Himself.

"So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous." - Romans 11:11 ESV

"The LORD answered and said to his people, 'Behold, I am sending to you grain, wine, and oil, and you will be satisfied; and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations... Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given the early rain for your vindication; he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before. The threshing floors shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God and there is none else. And my people shall never again be put to shame.  And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls.' " - Joel 2:19, 23-32 ESV

Israel will be provoked to jealousy saying, 'How come they knew God and we don't? Remember what happened with the vilified Christian's before they vanished? Maybe God will save us also?'

God will send the latter rain on us to ripen His crop and then He will send rain to them in the midst of great trouble. Young people will be converted in the midst of Israel and those young people will be witnesses during that dark time.

"After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, 'Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.' And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:" - Revelation 7:1-4 ESV

God has the angels stand waiting and holding back while those witnesses are being converted. These are the young who will 'see visions' as the old men 'dream dreams.' Israel's conversion will happen in part because of the Church's last days revival. The bright light of the grace message will shine in the memories of those surviving daily calamity surrounded by lies and propaganda.

"Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless." - Revelation 14:1-5 ESV

They will sing a new song no one else can sing because they were saved from what no one else has gone through. We sing our 'grace song' and they will have their glorious song.

God will use the Church to send grain, wine and oil to Israel and then God will redeem them in a like manner in a dramatic accelerated way similar to how He once delivered them from Egypt.

(FYI. If you want a good resource that goes into end times events in depth check out 'Things to Come' by Dwight Pentecost)

In a way our lives are a microcosm of all these things. Each of us living through different tragedies and experiencing different triumphs. Some of us live relatively controversy free lives and others seem to have trouble swirling around them all the time (or for extended seasons.) The love God has for us and our response to it has an impact on those around us. Perhaps it has a larger impact then we realize.

We can have a visible relationship with God that provokes people who don't have it to jealousy. Peace that passes understand by is available to us.

"I, the LORD, am its keeper; every moment I water it. Lest anyone punish it, I keep it night and day;" - Isaiah 27:3 ESV

As individuals we can live in constant hydration knowing that God will do what He does inside us and more for His Church publicly some day soon.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Latter Rain - Part 1

"And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil." - Deuteronomy 11:13-14 ESV

There were to be two rainy seasons in Israel and these two season have different Hebrew words associated with them. Yowreh (Strong's H3138) is the early rain and malqowsh (H4456) is the latter rain. God designed the topography and climate of Israel. It is a unique place in the world and God uses even the climate to speak to us.

Notice that the rains of Israel were linked to the obedience of Israel. The early rain was good for getting crops going and the later rain provided a final watering for things like fruits, grapes and olives. So the wine and oil relied heavily on this later rain.

The two rains speak of two distinct provisions for the completion of a project. One rain gives the resources needed to start the project and the later rain (or Spring rain) provides the things needed to complete the project with a last final push of effort.

"Therefore the showers have been withheld, and the spring rain has not come; yet you have the forehead of a whore; you refuse to be ashamed." - Jeremiah 3:3 ESV

Israel was disobedient and began to lack this finished energy. They started well going into the promised land but could not take the land that God had given them. Many projects went like that for them. They had energy to start but not to finish. Sound familiar?

"But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come." - Mark 4:29 ESV

"So he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped." - Revelation 14:16 ESV

It is easy to see the parallels between Pentecost and the early rain. Unlike Israel the Messiah was obedient and we rest in His obedience. A latter rain is coming for the Church before the great harvest of souls in the last days of this age. It won't be just like Pentecost. Pentecost was needed to start the Church. This later rain will be used to hasten the ripening of the grapes and olives. The term 'Corporate Pentecost' is used to describe the church at the time of this great revival.

This later rain will provide a great harvest of souls but it will also water the 'grapes of wrath' that will be crushed in the tribulation period. Those who refused to respond to grace will experience the anger God has for the angelic host that rebelled again Him. There is a point where the lines are drawn and sides have been chosen. Those foolish enough to align themselves with deception instead of truth will experience the opposite of comfort and security. To say it won't be fun is an extreme understatement.

On a personal level we can expect a later rain in our lives also. For those who have believed it will be a great blessing.

"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus." - Philippians 1:3-8 ESV

God completes what He begins in us based on the work Christ has done. He watered us at our salvation and conversion and He will water us again and again until the last season of our life because of what Christ has done.

Perhaps you think that your fruitful days are behind you. If you have life and a risen Savior you can be fruitful again and again if you continue to sow because God sends the April rains to water what we sow by faith.

"Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negeb! Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him." - Psalm 126:4-6 ESV


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Happy Ending After A Dark History

If you are believer and read the Bible then you know that hard times are coming. You read of future judgement and not humanistic triumph. It will eventually get worse before it gets better. It is not all a fairy tale ending for our cultures and civilizations. People who adopt non-biblical philosophies can live believing that man might destroy himself by greed or save himself and this planet through diligence, altruism and hard work but believers know this isn't true.

History has already been written and the future is available to us in broad strokes if you just know where to look in the scriptures. The scripture foretold the coming of Messiah and the time frame of the cross and the destruction of the temple in Israel in 70 AD (see Daniel 9). It foretold the triumph and apostasy of the Church (see Revelation 1:11-3:22). The world as we know it will change and it won't be for the better. It needs saving just as we needed saving and the same One who saved us will save it when He returns.

When we talk about such things it comes across as negative and pessimistic. We can even take on a pessimistic attitude to life because of this knowledge. Why save for retirement if the tribulation is right around the corner? Should we raise children if we know the world will be harder for them then it was for us? On and on it goes.

The following thought pattern is very possible for any person who knows of future judgement but has no grace balance.

"If I say, 'I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,' there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot'... Cursed be the man who brought the news to my father, 'A son is born to you,' making him very glad. Let that man be like the cities that the LORD overthrew without pity; let him hear a cry in the morning and an alarm at noon, because he did not kill me in the womb; so my mother would have been my grave, and her womb forever great. Why did I come out from the womb to see toil and sorrow, and spend my days in shame?" - Jeremiah 20:9, 15-18 ESV

Grace sustains us in hard times. Grace gives us hope.

"Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given the early rain for your vindication; he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before. The threshing floors shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God and there is none else. And my people shall never again be put to shame.  And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions." - Joel 2:23-28 ESV

God has a provision in the midst of trouble. The light that remains always appears brighter in the darkness. God will pour out His spirit on us before the end. There will be grassroots revival in the Church before we are taken away. Just as Pentecost came before Rome destroyed Jerusalem a kind of Pentecost will come in the Church before the day of Jacob's trouble. A corporate Pentecost will come that won't be reported on CNN but it will be as real as Peter preaching before the crowd and seeing multitudes turn in his day.

"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..." - Jeremiah 29:11-14a ESV

This is a promise given to Israel but it is also for all who trust in the God of Israel. We are strangers and pilgrims in a strange land but we sow and reap. We have children and take wives. We do business and invest. We also have a mental bag packed and ready to go because we are all missionaries. God can send us or take us as He pleases.

Our message has good news in the midst of bad news. The world will get darker but Jesus saves all who turn to Him. Life will get harder with brief respites at times because God is merciful but we don't need to be negative or to shut our mouths about it. God is good.

"Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit." - Ecclesiastes 7:8 ESV

The best is yet to come. We will see broken dead people come alive. We will see God restore all that had to be destroyed because there was no fixing it.

"For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:" - Job 19:25-26 KJV

Rejoice. We have a real Resurrection to look forward to.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Experiencing The Relationship

How easy it is for us to be isolated from the present reality of a relationship through a lack of communication.

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." - 1 John 1:7-9 ESV

"For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God." - Hebrews 9:13-14 ESV

Yesterday at the service by the river P Veader made a great statement when he spoke about the work of the blood of Christ cleansing us. He said in effect (I'm not quoting him directly) that we need confession because we need to experience forgiveness and forgiveness is not real to us unless we experience it.

That is so true.

" 'Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

On that day many will say to me, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?"

And then will I declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness."

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.'

And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching," - Matthew 7:21-28 ESV

People will know of Jesus but not know Him. We 'know of' people but don't know them but when there is communication then we can know them and have a relationship. As we live in transparency before people we extend a hand to them and relationships are possible. Sure, people can speak many words and hide their true selves. Folks do that all the time but eventually the masks fall away in the light of truth. Grace makes them obsolete. The blood of Christ nullifies the need for those defense mechanisms. The cross kills that old identity. People are raised with Christ in their experience when they participate in true fellowship.

"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." - Revelation 3:20 ESV

I think the people were astonished because Jesus was offering them an intimacy with God that they didn't think was possible to have. There are very few people who are open enough to talk to us this way in life. They didn't expect God would be a person like that.

We can get isolated and isolation is the enemy. When things start to build up in our minds it can distort our perception of how God sees us. As far as God is concerned the blood of Christ has cleansed us from all sin. Our agreement just puts us on the same page with God in His thinking and two can't walk together unless they agree (see Amos 3:3).

As a friend we can refuse to impute sin to people. Or to put it another way we just don't put error or falling short on another person's account as a mark against them. Then in our communication we function that way. Our faith in God is on display because we trust that God has covered their sin as well as ours. We don't do this as naive people. If some one has a problem or a weakness we don't ignore it. We just don't treat them like they are their problem or focus on it as if it is associated with their identity. As we walk in the light we can have fellowship together.

I plan to walk with God today and if I fail I will confess to God that that failure is paid for. If and when others fail I will make a mental calculation that their sin is paid for also and treat them as justified people.

No isolation has to happen or be reinforced. We can be reconciled ones who have a ministry of reconciliation if we communicate in grace.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Blind Spots And Side Mirrors

A lot of thoughts this morning. I thought I'd share some I had about blind spots. We all have them. Some we are aware of and others we really are oblivious to. Even if we have gotten glimpse at times we forget or repress their existence.

In cars we have mirrors that are there to show us what we can't see. Relationships can serve as mirrors also.

"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?" - Psalm 130:2-3 ESV

Some folks see a great importance to marking iniquity (emotional rebellion or reaction) but God is not like that. He sees that we are blind in ways and reactionary at times because of our blindness but He does not criticize us... not even constructively.

He sees and  knows where He Is going and invites us to come with Him. He becomes our eyes. Isn't it great to have a guide that knows where they are going! Isn't it wonderful to have a partner that knows. These relationships become side view mirrors for us that give us an awareness of what we can't see without rubbing our faces in it that we are a bit blind in that area.

I have a wonderful wife that has become my eyes. I see things I could not see before because of her kindness, love and patience. She lives her life in an illuminating way. I have had leaders that illuminate me with their vision. I have friends that show me things about myself just by being who they are. I have learned so much from my sister. She is so courageous and beautiful. Her life dares me not to quit because she never does.

There are many reasons we can't see things... natural limitations, ignorance or emotional blockage that blot out areas of thought. Grace oriented relationships are an amazing provision for us until we can see and then beyond that because we are in safety during a vulnerable time. A gracious person isn't going to judge us because we can't see what they see. They accept us just as we are.

Isolation will make us a victim of our own limitations. Judgement will cause us to hide or pretend. Grace will cause us to grow and see what we could never see on our own.

"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love." - 1 Corinthians 13:12-13 ESV


Friday, June 12, 2015

Heat, Location And Hydration

"Thus says the LORD: 'Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.' " - Jeremiah 17:5-10 ESV

I doubt any of us understand our true motivations. We don't have much control over our heart. We have more control over what we think and trust in.

Trusting in God gives us a root system. Then God gives us a fruit system. He searches the heart and mind of those that trust in man and He searches those that trust in Him.

We sometimes feel the heat. If we are new to trusting God then it will take time for the root system to form but it will. Once it forms we have a resource. A tree that is watered will produce fruit in season.

As it gets hot outside we see clearly that location is key to who is going to feel the heat. God likens our trust focus to our location and access to water.

'Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength.'

'Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.'

This blessing principle reminds me of this verse because it has two parts.

"And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." - Hebrews 11:6 ESV

We have trust 'in' the Lord and our trust 'is' the Lord.

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

We trust and God does all the work by and in grace.

If we know God then there was a moment when we started trusting Him. It was no longer someone else's faith. It was our faith. That trust is the same trust we can have today. We trusted Him to save us knowing we couldn't save ourselves. Now we trust Him and He plants us where we couldn't plant ourselves.

I trust You God. You are trustworthy. It might get hot today. If not today then tomorrow... I don't want to be wandering in the wasteland of human expectation. Put me by the river. Make me fruitful. Thank You God.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

More Are With Us Than Those Who Are With Them

May our eyes be opened to the power of love and hospitality. Believers are surrounded by power.

There was a time recorded in the scriptures when Israel was in conflict with a warring nation but there was a prophet who spoke for God in their midst...

"But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, 'Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are going down there.'

And the king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God told him. Thus he used to warn him, so that he saved himself there more than once or twice.

And the mind of the king of Syria was greatly troubled because of this thing, and he called his servants and said to them, 'Will you not show me who of us is for the king of Israel?'

And one of his servants said, 'None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.'

And he said, 'Go and see where he is, that I may send and seize him.' It was told him, 'Behold, he is in Dothan.' So he sent there horses and chariots and a great army, and they came by night and surrounded the city.

When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, 'Alas, my master! What shall we do?'

He said, 'Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.'

Then Elisha prayed and said, 'O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.' So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. And when the Syrians came down against him, Elisha prayed to the LORD and said, 'Please strike this people with blindness.' So he struck them with blindness in accordance with the prayer of Elisha. And Elisha said to them, 'This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.' And he led them to Samaria. As soon as they entered Samaria, Elisha said, 'O LORD, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.' So the LORD opened their eyes and they saw, and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria.

As soon as the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, 'My father, shall I strike them down? Shall I strike them down?'

He answered, 'You shall not strike them down. Would you strike down those whom you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.'

So he prepared for them a great feast, and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the Syrians did not come again on raids into the land of Israel." - 2 Kings 6:9-23 ESV

I love how God had these people blinded so they could be led to a feast! What a picture of evangelism. Blinding people to reveal the person of the great prophet and be given grace upon grace.

Edification opens our eyes to the advantage we have. Yes. More are with us than we think. Power is truly on the side of those who stand for God. It is not there to hurt or rip people apart. It is there to love and bless.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Weighty Love

I'm sitting here thinking of people and how important and precious each one is and praying for a way to communicate that truth without it sounding like a cliche of some kind.

I'm going through verses like John 3:16 and thinking about God's love. He wouldn't send His Son for people that weren't important. But I couldn't land there and be satisfied with that. It does not sound specific enough.

Perhaps if we see we are needed then we see our importance. A mother and father know they are needed by their small children. If the need lessens does our importance lessen? Perhaps it seems that way. It's not true but it seems that way. Naturally speaking usefulness seems linked to importance.

But God sees things differently. He loves. He Is love.

"Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to visit you with the other brothers, but it was not at all his will to come now. He will come when he has opportunity. Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love." - 1 Corinthians 16:12-14 ESV

You are important. How you love is important. Who you love is important. Where you go and what you do when you love is not a light matter.

Act like a man. (If you are a woman then be God's woman.) Know that the people you love need the love you have to give. If you have been touched by divine love then you have a unique perspective of importance and the importance of loving others.

People who don't know that they are loved can't know their true worth.

We can't afford to get lax and passive. People are too important. God, the all important One, loves them and His love makes people important.

Who knows how much time we have? Individuals may be gone from our sight tomorrow. We might be gone tomorrow.

Maybe you are older or sick or busy and don't feel important. Maybe you are young or silly or afraid and you can't see your importance. You are important.


Be strong. Be watchful. Love and make decisions with love in mind. Eternity will tell the story of those who loved with God's love.


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

What Is And Is Not Ours

I was thinking this morning about the difference between the bowls of candy people keep on their desk for everyone to share and the lunch bag in the refrigerator that has a name on it.

God does this also. Some things are free like the candy in the bowl and others belong to God and if we are to have any of that thing it is because God has given it to us expressly on His terms.

Salvation is rare candy brought back from an exotic destination that is in a bowl on Jesus' desk. It is free but rare. No one else you are going to meet has this brand. You have to go to Him to get it.

What a difference taking things on our own terms is versus receiving them God's way. People take by themselves and they take together as if they can remake the guidelines that God has set forth. Sexuality is a labeled item. People may consent but that does not mean God has given His stamp of approval. God wants individuals protected... even against themselves. Human life is labeled. Human dignity is also. God has another way for our needs to be met in His time. Taking is a shortcut that undermines relationships.

"For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin." - Romans 14:23b ESV

Sin is everything outside the relationship with God. Sin sneaks in the window of life instead of knocking on the door and waiting for the door to open.

You can go person by person through the scriptures and see people take what wasn't theirs to take but this account of David in a backslidden state is so clear.

"And the LORD sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, 'There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds, but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.'

Then David's anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, 'As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.'

Nathan said to David, 'You are the man! Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. And I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.' Thus says the LORD, 'Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.'

David said to Nathan, 'I have sinned against the LORD.'

And Nathan said to David, 'The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.'" - 2 Samuel 12:1-13 ESV

God said to David, 'I gave and would have given more to you but instead you took.'

God had made David royalty in Israel and made him into a spearhead to be victorious over the enemies of Israel in a way that no else had before.

Grace makes us this way. We have a victory that is ours and it is unusual and God given. We can take the land. We can function in mental warfare and win because we live in Jesus' victory. Taking what isn't ours will just hinder us from receiving the things that are freely given.

"Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David." - Isaiah 55:1-3 ESV

I want the words that can only be found in Christ's office. I want to receive what God gives freely and not live laboring to buy what I can't get on my own. God gives. He is so generous with what He has. His ownership is complete. His ways are perfect.


Monday, June 8, 2015

Making Room

Sometimes making room for things means getting rid of other things but that isn't always an easy process.

"Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles (Nations) seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." - Matthew 6:31-33 ESV

"Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high. Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the LORD?

Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard." - Isaiah 58:4-8 ESV

In a way fasting makes room for something else in our lives. The time, enjoyment and satiation we get from eating food gets displaced and replaced and room is given for spiritual refreshment.

Can we displace animosity like a fasting person displaces food. Can we stop and make room for something else?

Seeking the kingdom of God first is going to require a rearrangement of our mental and emotional space. Decisions will need to be made.

There is an account in the Hebrew scriptures of a woman who made room for the prophet she saw passing by...

"One day Elisha went on to Shunem, where a wealthy woman lived, who urged him to eat some food. So whenever he passed that way, he would turn in there to eat food. And she said to her husband, 'Behold now, I know that this is a holy man of God who is continually passing our way. Let us make a small room on the roof with walls and put there for him a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp, so that whenever he comes to us, he can go in there.' One day he came there, and he turned into the chamber and rested there." - 2 Kings 4:8-11 ESV

Elisha then made his own inquiry about this families needs and sought to be a blessing to them. God gave that barren couple a child. They sought the kingdom of God first and made room for Him in their house and God expanded their house in other ways.

God knows what would be a blessing to us. Perhaps we need to make room for those things by getting rid of the stuff that takes up that space in our minds and hearts.

We can miss a meal and give it to someone else. We can take some time to see about someone else's freedom from bondage with grace words instead of concentrating on our disappointments or failings.

Giving grace is the true fast that God desires. Giving grace and making room in our lives so that more grace can be given is a recipe for refreshment.


Friday, June 5, 2015

Seeing It Again And Again

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." - Matthew 28:19-20 ESV

This is a great commission verse but the phrase that caught my eye this morning was 'teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you'. He does not tell them to mimic the things 'commanded'. He tells them to teach observation. The word for commanded is Entello (Strong's G1781) which is the word Telos (G5056) with the prefix En (G1722) added to the beginning. Telos is our great 'finished work' word. Telos is the end or result of something. It denotes completion or being brought to completion.

They were to make disciples, baptize them and be a spectacle in front of them of what God has done and will do in their lives.

"Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you... Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained." - Philippians 3:1, 12-16 ESV

This repetition is good for us. We need to hear and see over and over again. Not the same dry things spoken again and again but a 29 year old man winning souls who turns into a 39 year old man who wins souls. A 34 year old woman who loves people and turns into a 44 years old woman (with 29 written on her birthday cake) who loves people. God wants them to see a person who God has not abandoned who has eternal perspective stored in a clay jar that is very human.

People don't need to see perfection in us. They need to see perfect grace presented to them over and over again. That is what transforms.


Thursday, June 4, 2015


People exaggerate. We magnify our fears and our virtues. Humor involves exaggeration and observation. Drama is created by exaggeration. Horror is the worst kind of exaggeration because it magnifies what we fear.

Humorous horror is the fun house mirror of our day. People pay to laugh at what they are afraid of.

People struggle to be more. They pad their resumes and hide their fears behind an exaggerated smile. We have a moral sense that things should be portrayed just as they are but but at times fight the urge to magnify or minimize. It's what people do to cope.

God doesn't exaggerate... He uncovers or reveals. Glory is no exaggeration. Glory is the reality of God's involvement. Glory is the glow of His person. Worship is not making God bigger. Worship is when we approach how God really is with our words and our hearts ignite because of our proximity to that which is magnificent.

Sin is the major barrier that separates us from God but I think this defense mechanism is a mental mindset that reinforces that barrier. God seems so straight laced and serious. How can we relate to Him?

"I said in my haste, All men are liars." - Psalm 116:11 KJV

"If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." - 1 John 1:8-10 ESV

Simple agreement results in cleansing.

Jesus lived in reality when He went to the cross. He saw everything just as it was and not how He wanted it to be. Sin wasn't funny to Him. It still isn't.

Thank God it has been taken care of.

"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen." - Galatians 1:3-5 ESV

Peace is the result when we witness glory. Grace is God's honest unhindered initiation to us. It is God being who He Is and approaching us as we are. God desires an unembellished response. Faith is just that.

Faith leaves exaggeration behind and enters into a fresh kind of humor. Joy is the result. We laugh like a little child laughs. We are are fresh and free when we believe. The burden is gone. We don't have to pretend it is heavier or lighter. Faith makes us honest because we can dare to be honest. We are accepted either way.

There is great joy in being loved just as we are. There is joy in being who we are when the glow of God's smile is shining on us. We live in the magic hour of perception. The sun is in just the right position to make everything look wonderful and bathed in flattering colors.

Walking before God makes it effortless to be ourselves.


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Dead To Death

Have you ever died to something? There may have been things we tried to die to but couldn't shake the connection. Others that we wanted desperately to hold onto but found them slipping away until they were no longer in our grasp. Perhaps we woke up one day to find that a connection has been severed and we had no part in it at all.

"Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him." - Romans 6:8-9 ESV

As far as Jesus is concerned death is dead. His connections to death and all the fear and grief associated with it are severed.

"For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God." - Romans 6:10 ESV

He went to the cross 'as sin' because the sin sins of the world were placed on Him just like the sins of the nation were placed on a sacrificial animal.

"And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins. And he shall put them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness. The goat shall bear all their iniquities on itself to a remote area, and he shall let the goat go free in the wilderness." - Leviticus 16:21-22 ESV

Now those sins are gone and Christ is dead 'to sin' and every imperfection. He is alive and associated with living whole things not dead broken things.

You might say, 'Well, Then He can't have much to do with me.' but the crazy thing is that we were with Him when that death happened. We passed through death with Him! As a man He represented all humanity.

"So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness...

Or do you not know, brothers - for I am speaking to those who know the law - that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives?" - Romans 6:11-13, 7:1 ESV

When something dies and is truly disconnected the rules that governed that relationship or association also get disconnected. The law served it's purpose for Israel. Grace is how living people associate. Grace is how God functions toward someone who has been raised from the dead and passed from death into life.

We are all troubled by connections that are unhealthy. We can and must consider ourselves dead to those things and those things dead to us because in Christ that death has already taken place to make way for life.

"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... And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus." - Galatians 6:14, 16-17 ESV

Paul was beaten because of His association with Christ and the message of grace but we can make the same claim of co-crucifixion. We can and we should because then we can be free to live.

It is mathematics. The King James translates verse 11 this way.

"Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." - Romans 6:11 KJV

We make a 'reckoning' in our minds by faith that the connection is broken and God creates a dynamic that truly breaks the connection so that it can't dominate us.

Thank you God! Salvation is Your work. We believe in You and what You have done. We are free.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Seeing A Soul


Do we see a person when we look at someone or a person with an eternal soul? It's a good question.

We can love or hate a person. We can value or discount a person. If they are just dust rearranged and they will be gone one day never to be seen again (and so will I) what happens has no truly lasting meaning. A person is just a slowly disappearing ripple in a vast cosmic pond.

But a soul? A soul feels and remembers always. A soul transcends time. A soul lives forever facing God and seeing Him or forever separated from Him. A soul is the whole iceberg of who we are. A person is just the visible representation of something so much larger.

Caring for people is good. Caring for souls is caring done from divine perspective. God sees a soul. He sees all of who we are... past, present and future. Born of His breath we are not children of time and space. We are forever.

"He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like foliage. He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind, And the fool will be servant to the wise of heart. The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise." - Proverbs 11:28-30 NKJV

You may not believe in Hell. I do. The bible teaches that Hell is as real as Heaven.

If I am just a person then what help can I be? If I am just dust then why not value what pleases me? But, If I am a soul who lives forever surrounded by souls that live forever I want to turn people away from Hell.

"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.' " - John 14:6 NKJV

I want to lift Jesus up and make His love visible. I want to explain grace. He is the One who was sent to save souls. He saves. He has the power and authority to function on levels far deeper than any of us can presently comprehend.

"The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms." - Deuteronomy 33:27a ESV

It may make us seem odd because we don't always emphasize 'people' things. Instead we speak of invisible and (by natural standards) impractical issues.

"A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell." - Matthew 10:24-28 ESV

The temptation is to live as a person among people. The privileged is to live as sometimes misunderstood redeemed one who reaps a harvest of souls.

"And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever." - Daniel 12:3 ESV


Monday, June 1, 2015

Saved From The Present Grave

"I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." - Psalm 16:8-11 ESV

In Acts chapter 2 Peter quotes this passage when we is preaching at Pentecost. David wrote Psalm 16 and Peter later mentions that David's tomb is a historical site right there in the midst of the people. David's body was there in a grave but David was speaking prophetically.

David was talking about Jesus and Peter was preaching about Jesus to the very people that participated in the crucifixion.

Ruts are very like graves aren't they? People get stuck in things and can't get out. God raised Christ from the dead. David had that hope. We who believe in Jesus also have that hope. We are not going to be stuck in the grave. God will save us from that fate.

Can God save us from our rut?

Yes, He can. God isn't going to leave our soul in the pit. That is what a rut is after all.

"When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, 'Lazarus, come out.' The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, 'Unbind him, and let him go.' Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him," - John 11:43-45 ESV

God makes us alive and uses people to free us from our grave clothes. Edification frees us. That is why evangelism is followed up by the discipleship of friendship and investment.

Without a vision the people perish but in order for the vision to have life God must add others who will help uncover it.

God make us alive in the places that have been trapped in a ditch and knit our heart together so that we can continue to go forward in the vision You have given us. At your right hand of acceptance there are pleasures forevermore.