Friday, July 31, 2015

From Hostile To Hospitable

I was thinking today about levels of welcome and hospitality in gatherings. Here is a little list a made as the day progressed:

- There are places that we are not allowed to be and if we show up we will be thrown out.
- Some places we are not welcome but will be tolerated with some hostility if we are there
- Some places are open to us but no one notices if we are not there.
- Then there are public gathering where everyone is welcome but it is impersonal
- Some place are public and you are noticed and recognized by a few people
- Higher on the scale are places where people are invited but if we are not there we are not missed if absent
- Even higher is the personal invitation
- Higher still is the event where we have been invited and if we don't show up we are missed
- Farther up is the gathering where the host will make special arrangements to get us there if needed and wants to lock down a commitment
- Maybe a notch higher is the group that is willing to come to us if need be because they desire our company.
- Then there is the gathering that won't be the same if we are not there

There are many grades in-between aren't there. Grades of hostility, indifference, welcome, true hospitality and friendship.

Here are a couple of examples of God's hospitality.

"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

"In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going... I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you." - John 14:2-4, 18-20 ESV

We are wanted in Heaven... truly deeply wanted.

God is willing to come and get us so that we will be there. Evil is not welcome but those who are washed in the blood of Christ and wear the ever white new robe of righteousness that God gives to every believer in Christ are not only welcome... they are wanted and known.

God doesn't just tolerate people. He desires and misses people. He loves the group and each individual in the group.

Jesus hated the shame of the cross but it was needed to open the door so that anyone who believed would be able to come home. Anyone... Yes... but not just anyone.... you... He did it for you personally.

Oh God help me to show people that they are wanted. Fill me with Your love so that people will see Your open door. Let me have Your sense of hospitality. No one loves like You love.


Thursday, July 30, 2015


"Moreover, Josiah removed the mediums and the spiritists and the teraphim and the idols and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, that he might confirm the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD. Before him there was no king like him who turned to the LORD with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him." - 2 Kings 23:24-25 NASB

Josiah was a unique king. He went against the current of the time.

I picked this version because it left a word untranslated that interested me. Teraphiym (Strong's H8655) is used 15 times in the old testament and is often translated image, idol or household god. It is plural for the Hebrew root Rapha (H7495) with means healer or physician.

In other words he took away the things that people used to self medicate. He removed public idol worship and private idol worship. Oh, how people would be up in arms if that was attempted in most societies today. I am not recommending this course of action. Josiah was unique and Israel was unique.

I do think that there is much value in separating our own household from idols and teraphim. Self medication cuts us off from receiving true comfort. Josiah knew this. The people could not worship the true God but have all these idols around. It was one or the other.

Perhaps I don't speak about my own hobbies here very much but I have some things I enjoy and derive great pleasure from. I am in my forties and I'm learning my first musical instrument and discovering the joys of reading sheet music. Most days these halls echo with the sound of a clarinet for a short time. As the weeks go by I'm getting more proficient. The dog doesn't howl like she used to. I still get her going from time to time and I have a long way to go. It is new territory and a different avenue for me to worship God and I just love it. I listen to more jazz, big band and klezmer music and find the different instruments as I listen. I am developing the ears of a student.

I'd love to go listen to live venues but where is most jazz played? In bars. So guess what... I don't go to those places to listen. Not gonna happen. I won't cross the line. I don't want to take home what is being served there.

I see a lot of posts on social media about wine. Wine is a classy way for women to self medicate but do people know that there is a Comforter in Heaven and here on Earth inside each one who believes? When we find comfort in other places we are committing adultery the same way a married man or woman runs to the arms of a strange lover.

I don't say this to condemn anyone or bash your lifestyle. Do what you do. We will both stand before God some day and make an account for the choices we made and didn't make. Some folks would tell me that my love of the clarinet is wrong because I enjoy it so much but it isn't about the pleasure of a thing. I speak about wine this way because the Bible gives clear definition.

"Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise." - Proverbs 20:1 ESV

"And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart," - Ephesians 5:18-19 ESV

There it is. Do with it what you will. I see a stop sign. What do you see?

I see music that glorifies God as a recommended pastime.

When I was young mockery and brawling were fun activities. Not anymore.

I want the teraphim out of my house. If the public idols were taken away our streets would be safer and our children would have a better chance at life. I have a God and He is amazing. I don't want to worship anywhere else or anyone else. There are pain relievers on a shelf in my bathroom. I use them when needed but by God's grace they will never come before Him. If they ever do then I would rather live in pain. I am thankful that there is a provision for pain available.

Josiah was a unique king and we are unique people with a unique sphere of influence. I want to share God's grace with people and recommend the great Comforter as a remedy for what ails them.

Let's live like royalty today. If we have control over our space then we can exercise that control like royalty.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

One Helpless Thief

All day long I have been thinking about the two thieves crucified next to Christ.

One thief on the cross next to Jesus started out a mocker just like the other one. He did not do anything. He was powerless.

Somehow He saw the royalty of Christ. A man with arms bound and struggling for breath just wanted to be remembered by someone divine. He believed and God put righteousness on this helpless man's account.

After he believed he was just as powerless. He asked to be remembered but God was now going to take this man somewhere. He was going with God.

Amazing. He just believed. We just believe also. We believe and ask and God does more than we ask for.

I wonder about the sign in different languages that said 'THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS' (see Matthew 27:37) nailed above Jesus' head and what role if any it had in this man's conversion.

Not many would have been close enough to read it. Was it a personal witness to this thief? I know the religious people were angry about it but surely if the thieves could read they saw it also.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Awakened To The Supernatural

It is amazing how people adjust. The very abnormal can begin to seem normal. Natural seems normal. Seasons seem normal until you move to a place where there are no seasons. Abuse can seem normal until you are in an abuse free relationship. We see things and the alarm bells are ringing somewhere in our soul but we do not know the source of the sound. They are muffled or they are so loud that a person is surrounded by the noise and just reacts.

People can go through life like a sleeper who turns off their alarm clock in the morning but it doesn't wake them up.

The Bible teaches us that there are two supernatural kingdoms that overlap humanities experience. God's eternal kingdom and the powers of darkness that form as a seamless web.

"Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook or press down his tongue with a cord?... Though the sword reaches him, it does not avail, nor the spear, the dart, or the javelin. He counts iron as straw, and bronze as rotten wood. The arrow cannot make him flee; for him sling stones are turned to stubble." - Job 41:1, 26-28 ESV

Darkness dwells in powerful arrogance. Humanity can not pierce it's armor.

"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel... Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire." - Hebrews 12:22-24, 28-29 ESV

Darkness is not normal and neither is light. Darkness is an aberration and light is eternal. Forces overlap on us and even inside us that are not us. Sickness isn't normal. Death isn't normal. Hatred isn't normal. These are common things but not normal things. Immorality is not normal yet we adjust to it. The alarm bells are ringing but we don't know why.

"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." - Romans 14:17 ESV

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." - Romans 15:13 ESV

When will will wake up? What will will it take to show us that being victims is not normal? What friend needs to come and show us another way. When will we listen? Much energy has been invested in adjusting, rationalizing and explaining. Denial can seem safer because it is done on our terms.

Hope makes our expectation of the future wonderful. We expect things that are not normal. We look for the side effects of blessing and we can live like a child on their way to an amusement park that they have never been to before.

Grace awakens us to God's dynamic. We see kingdoms and things begin to make sense to us. See what is natural and what is not. We begin to discern.

Faith is not normal but it is real and it has power because it is aligned with God's kingdom. Faith is revolutionary. It always has been and and it always will be.


Monday, July 27, 2015

Hear First And See Later

"Bind up the testimony; seal the teaching among my disciples. I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him. Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion." - Isaiah 8:16-18 ESV

"He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction. Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!" - Psalm 107:20-21 ESV

"And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified." - Acts 20:32 ESV

God hides His face but sends His word. Jacob was and is a deceiver. He lies to get by. He lies to others and to himself. God hides his face from Jacob and sends words.

Grace words heal. Grace word produce a place of honesty in an otherwise deceptive or foolish person that hides behind fiction and fanciful notions to survive in a harsh world.

God send His word to heal and wants to bind up that word in his disciples (learners associated with a specific teacher or teaching) so that they will become the signs and portents in their circles of influence. His disciples don't have to be perfect people. They are people that have teaching and apply that teaching. They function in humility, mercy and love. They survive hard times. They are generous. They talk about grace and do not condemn themselves... or at least not for very long because the teaching is bound to them and love constrains them.

God will hide His face from people. They will say, 'I don't see what you see.' and we can say, 'Well. I'll tell you what I heard that opened my eyes and if you listen these words of grace can heal your vision.'

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." - John 3:16-18 ESV


Friday, July 24, 2015

The Close Call

"And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me! I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly." - Proverbs 5:12-14 KJV

I am looking at the Hebrew here in this verse and a good translation could be, 'I was a small distance away from losing everything in the assembled group.'

I could just quote the whole chapter. Proverbs chapter 5 is so good. But the idea of being close to utter ruin is what is impressed upon me this morning.

"For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in. Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies. Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence. I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!" - Psalm 27:10-14 ESV

We need a level path or we might just go off the road.

I don't think being close to losing everything is a bad thing. Sometimes being reduced down to just life itself is the best thing that can happen to a person.

"Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' " - Hebrews 13:5 ESV

"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." - Proverbs 18:24 ESV

"The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: 'Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.' " - Jeremiah 31:3 NKJV

It is there in that place that God shows Himself to be real. We may have hated the instruction we got before but now we look at what was given to us with a value system that has been transformed by reduction.

I think people get bad instruction and the hate the instruction they received in the 'assembled group' because it was stern and impersonal. There was no grace (or little grace). Maybe the people giving the instruction were to much of a contradiction to be believed. Then there are others that get great instruction from humble loving people. They are told that God's favor is freely given. They are loved and nurtured but they just won't receive what is being served up and seem to need to go away before they can come back.

Grace teaches us that once we have God we can't lose Him. Jesus is the only reason we have Him. The conditions of unconditional love were met in the person of Jesus Christ. We can't mess that up. We can mess a lot of things up so that we are left within inches of complete ruin... but not that.

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

When you know God there is every possibility that what we think is the end is only the beginning. God wants to use our close call to propel us higher than we have ever been before.

Isn't it God who gets the glory when that happens! Yes. Ultimately it is.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Compassionate Living

The older I get the more I want for my friends and their children. I want people to prosper and have opportunities. I want lonely people to find a loving mate that doesn't isolate them from the friendship. I want people to be healthy. When I wish someone a happy birthday I want them to have a great rich year.

On the surface that may sound like a 'humble brag'... to say I want things for others.

'Gee, What a compassionate guy he is... I just want a better life for myself most of the time.'

Here is what Jesus says about my desire to see those that are close to me prosper.

"If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them... But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful." - Luke 6:32, 35-36 ESV

The older I get the more I realize how selfish I truly am without Christ. My selfishness has just expanded to a more social selfishness. I don't want to worry about people. I don't want tragedy close to me. I want happy stories and cheerful pictures.

I read Luke 6 and I see just how ungracious and merciless I am without Christ because I don't want to love my enemies or do good to those that abuse me. I don't want to just kiss goodbye things that people take without asking. I want to be full and rich and Jesus says...

"Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you... But woe to you who are rich... Woe to you who are full... Woe to you who laugh now... Woe to you, when all people speak well of you..." - Luke 6:22a, 24a, 25a, 26a ESV

As we get older we realize that the people who care about us are more important then we thought because there really are only a few of those people and that is a sign of maturity but it is natural maturity not spiritual maturity.

Spiritual maturity is loving the ugly and unfriendly. It is helping the person who just wants to use you until the sugar runs out and then use someone else. It is seemingly throwing resources away with the hope that people who care little about you would see the God that loves them with an everlasting love.

I don't mention this to condemn anyone. I don't condemn myself. I just draw near to the fire. I cloth my nakedness with the robe of righteousness that has been given to me.

Jesus really did love the people beating Him. He gave and gave even though He often had nowhere to lay His head.

I need to be with that kind of love. I want to live my life loving like a child of the most high.

God, please fill me with your Spirit today. This can happen if you do it in me but that is the only way it can. Help God. I feel privileged to even be aware of your Love. You have lavished it on me. That is grace. Make me a merciful man today.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Turning Aside

God will never be our accomplice. He won't be anyone's accomplice.

"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." - Exodus 2:11-12 ESV

"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 3:2-4 ESV

We must turn aside to meet God. Repentance is the act of turning to God and in our turn to examine the mystery of holiness we are also turning away from everything else.

It makes me think of this exchange...

"Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, 'They have no wine.' And Jesus said to her, 'Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.' His mother said to the servants, 'Do whatever he tells you.' " - John 2:2-5 ESV

Jesus would not be Mary's accomplice and she seemed to know better then to impose her will on Him. She turned aside expressing the need she saw and God did things His way.

What a wonderful picture of what prayer can be like.

Then there is the picture of Peter denying Christ on the night of His crucifixion...

"And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, 'Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.' But Peter said, 'Man, I do not know what you are talking about.' And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, 'Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.' " - Luke 22:59-61 ESV

Jesus was in agony gazing at Peter from afar, loving Peter, but loving Him far away from Peter's sin. Jesus walked the road that would end in Him paying for all transgression. Not a sinner Himself. No never. But He became sin.

"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 5:21 ESV

People may blame God for the sins of men because He forgives what no one else could forgive but His hands are clean hands.

Sin cycles can break when we turn aside.

"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

We are not our sins. God does not know us after our sins. It is when we turn aside that we discover who we are. Mouthing words will not accomplish that. Only seeing Jesus makes that happen. He is the bush that burns and Is not consumed. I want people to see those flames reflected in my eyes.

This is important for us also. We need God to show us the line between advocate and accomplice so that we can remain advocates.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Three Ways God Takes Notice In Psalm 56

"You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book? When I cry out to You, Then my enemies will turn back; This I know, because God is for me." - Psalm 56:8-9 NKJV


God keeps a memento, a tally and writes something perceptive down about us all the time. What care that is!

We take photos, buy postcards and take rocks off the beach. We want a touchstone of some kind to remember our trips or special occasions. God does this even during our wanderings (Nowd - Strong's H5112). Even if we feel we are a fugitive or someone no one is noticing as they are wandering directionless God is taking note.

This isn't the tally of a time keeper saying, 'Late again... that's the third time this week.' This is the tally of a mother or father making marks in the doorway that say, 'In 2012 you were this tall.' It is the tally of someone who loves us.

We may not remember how many times we prayed for something but God has an exact count.

Our heartaches may be repressed in our memory but God knows and puts those tears in a bottle. God loves us like a mother who goes in their college bound child's room and sits on their bed and hugs their pillow.

"In God (I will praise His word), In the LORD (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" - Psalm 56:10-11 NKJV

Two words for God are here in this passage... Elohiym (H430), the triune judge, and the great unpronounceable essential intimate name Yahweh (H3068) that can only be said as an exhale. It is His word that reveals His mind. We only know of this scrapbook through His word.

"Vows made to You are binding upon me, O God; I will render praises to You, For You have delivered my soul from death. Have You not kept my feet from falling, That I may walk before God In the light of the living?" - Psalm 56:12-13 NKJV

These vows are the vows of a worshiper. We can get bound up in love when we realize His attention and care. We are not alone. We are not forgotten. Someone understands our heart and our situation very well.

God is with us.

"I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels." - Isaiah 61:10 ESV


Monday, July 20, 2015

A Monday Morning With The Tekoites

A certain people group in the Hebrew scriptures caught my eye this morning. The Tekoites.

"And next unto them repaired Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz. And next unto them repaired Meshullam the son of Berechiah, the son of Meshezabeel. And next unto them repaired Zadok the son of Baana.

And next unto them the Tekoites repaired; but their nobles put not their necks to the work of their Lord.

Moreover the old gate repaired Jehoiada the son of Paseah, and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah; they laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof, and the locks thereof, and the bars thereof." - Nehemiah 3:4-6 KJV

These people are not mentioned very much in the scriptures. In 1 Chronicles 27 verse 9 we see Ira, the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite, who led a group of 24,000 to serve the king of Israel in the sixth month of each year. That was the tradition as it was outlined in verse 1 of that same chapter.

Then in 2 Samuel chapter 14 Joab sent for a wise woman of Tekoa and instructed her to pretend to be a widow and tell David a story that would convince the King to end Absalom's banishment. She succeeded.

Other than that I see no other mention of this people group in the scriptures.

It makes me think of people who are in their place but not in full agreement with their leadership. They labor but there is a disconnect. I am not making a value judgement about them. God saw fit to record the contributions that they made to Israel's history in scripture.

That was how a spent my morning. I looked for a people group in the scriptures and I'm not sure what the 'take away' is of my study.

I just want to live in grace. I'm not going to agree with everyone. The guy next to me may not be putting his shoulder into it the same way I am. The king may have issues with his son. Life is like that. I will live in grace knowing that my faith means something to God and there is a record of my life in Heaven.


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Two Essential Ingredients For Male Happiness

Two essential ingredients for male happiness are 'arousal' and 'completion'. If these two elements are not present then a man doesn't feel like a man.

A young man's life is filled with arousal and as he get's older he gets tastes of completion and begins to desire to finish things more and more. An old man looks back and is aroused by what he finished or was a part of finishing and regrets what he left undone or unsaid.

A man who leaves to much unfinished will feel like a failure. A man who does things that have no finish line will also feel empty.

The garden of Eden was a true paradise for Adam. He had endless variety to arouse him and once each animal was named that name stuck and became fixed. It was a place Adam could be a man. All he needed was a mate to share it with and God gave him that also.

Sin, because it is faithless, is empty arousal. It gets old and demands variety. The problem that wholesome variety disconnected from God is limited and soon a man discovers that he can find variety in unwholesome ways and can justify his choices because of his driving need. Then comes guilt and shame or hardness.

Addictions can be healed when a man finds the right avenues to direct his arousal. Those old pathways get washed away. The God who created us knows just how to heal us also.

Continuous solitary arousal fulfillment produces social awkwardness because there is no one to share the growth with. That is as true for the older scholar with his head buried in books for most of his life as it is for the young man that finds his release in video games and activities that lack face to face interaction. Complex social interaction seems daunting because there is no instant pay off. A good balance of team accomplishment and personal accomplishment is vital for boys.

Adam needed Eve. Paradise was lonely without her. This new relationship brought new complexity also. I am not saying we all need to be married to be complete but having people to be with and connect with adds a dimension and flavor to life that is irreplaceable.

Jesus was fully a man. He was the second Adam. The first Adam failed but Christ never failed. His arousal was wholesome and righteous. Sin never killed His innocence because He never participated in faithless activities. He finished the things He started by faith. He finished the work of salvation. God also made sure that there were disciples there so that He had someone to walk with along the way.

Religion condemns a man for his arousal and puts him in program designed to please a God who can only be pleased by perfection. It is a cycle that a man can never hope to find completion in. Life becomes series of subtle compromises.

A relationship with God through Jesus Christ restores a man's ability to be a man. All failure is covered and forgotten. Sin becomes disconnected from a person's identity and new avenues are opened for arousal. Sexuality has it's right expression that has a real beginning and ending in a monogamous relationship where a man can love and cover one woman. A spiritual man can learn to wait and does not need instant gratification. He is not addicted to arousal... it has it's proper place.

A young man can participate in things that have passion and purpose and old men can look back on what God has done and they have been privileged to be a part of. The great commandment and the great commission provide endless variety for the young and marvelous stories for the old to talk about.

The most contented men you will ever meet are those who 'did what they loved' and 'finished what they started.' Many men straighten out their lives just by participating in projects that they can complete. It is a principle that works regardless of a person's theology. Man was designed to finish things. One day we will all stand before God and find out that faith was what God valued. In our weakness we are very strong if it brings us to a place of faith in Christ. His passions and accomplishments produce transformation. The man who participates by faith in what Christ has done will be content forever.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Walking On Water

Two more things came from my meditation on the Matthew 14 account of Jesus walking on the water.

Peter knew Jesus was inclusive. He included them all the time. He never cooked anything without giving them recipe. Jesus was (and Is) the personification of grace and truth. He didn't hold things back if they could be given. Peter knew that and that became the test. Is this a ghost or is it Jesus?
I think we ask similar questions. Is this God in this situation? If it is God then we know we will be included. If He Is walking on water and bids us to come then we will be able to do it. We can go by faith in crazy situations because God Is there. We can step out of the boat.

Also, Once Jesus was in the boat with them the storm stopped immediately. That is amazing. There are many things we could say about that but I was thinking about our own apprehension to enter into things. Even if we sink after stepping out. There is a moment when we did walk with God an were held up by His power.

Peter must have never been the same after that. The disciples that were witnesses must have been changed in degrees also. When Jesus came into the boat it became His boat and fear vanished just like the storm.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

In The Storm

In Matthew 14 Jesus walked out on water to be with them in the storm. They were supposed to meet Jesus on the other side but were prevented by the weather. Jesus was praying and sending the multitudes away.

They were afraid of Him when they saw Him. He was not where He was supposed to be. They had never seen a person walking on water in a storm.

Even though Peter was as afraid as the rest of them the grace of God had given him hope. If this was Jesus then maybe he could step out on the waves also.

Storms are crazy times. Naturally speaking we have limited options and little control. But as sent ones we know Jesus will show up in our storm. Grace gives us hope so we can step into His power in an experiential way.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Awareness Of Baptism

"Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized in Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?" Romans 6:3

Maybe we don't know and need to be reminded. Maybe that knowledge moves us out of our comfort zone because what is natural can come first and appear right because it seems good.

Christ's cross is the vehicle that brings us into spirituality. If we know that we have been dunked in His death then we can know we have been buried and raised with Him also. We are seated above and perfected already outside of time.

Yes. If we have believed it has happened already. Let's live in the power of the knowledge that brings us into experiential resurrection life


Monday, July 13, 2015

A Morning With New Mercies

There is new mercy this morning.

Jesus came as a prophet. Now He sits in Heaven as a priest. Later He will return as the King. Jesus has a merciful administration. He ministers God's mind.
If He Is functioning as a high priest right now in Heaven then we can be assured that we have fresh mercy.

He understands fully what it means to be human.


Friday, July 10, 2015

The Loyalty Of A Prince

I was also thinking about angels yesterday. Loyalty and angels.

"Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee." - Jude 1:9 KJV

"But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia... But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince." - Daniel 10:13, 21 KJV

"And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." - Daniel 12:1-2 KJV

"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels," - Revelation 12:7 KJV

Michael is described as one of the chief princes in Daniel 10:13 but then as your prince in Daniel 10:21. Angels are not human. They are a created host. It is interesting that Michael is referred to as a prince considering the fact that he is not a son of anyone in a traditional sense.

Princes are men of purpose. If your father is the king you are born and live your life as the son of the king.

"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements - surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" - Job 38:4-7 ESV

This is spoken to Job and Job doesn't know these things. He hasn't seen them and neither have we.

Micheal is a prince but we don't know why. He is a prince assigned to Daniel and Daniel's people. He goes to war and other angels heed his commands. He will stand up one day and it will be the beginning of the end of human civilization. This phase of God's plan will come to a close and a new one will begin. The Bible speaks about these happenings and they are glimpses of the future. We don't talk about these things very much... at least I don't. It behooves us to discuss grace, mercy, love and those things that are involved with having a relationship with God and each other.

Michael might as well be tucked away in a parallel dimension somewhere. We don't see him or relate to this ever loyal prince. We are told that angels are close by and there are those that claim to see and talk to them but most of the folks that do make that claim seem to end up in institutions. Angels just aren't visible to mankind at the moment.

As children of God we are princes also... even the ladies... we have all the rights and privileges of ancient son-ship.

"But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." - John 1:12-13 ESV

Michael wakened to existence in a moment before time began as a prince. We are adopted sons. God looks at us and sees princes. What kind of princes will we be? Are we loyal? Where is that loyalty?

David's sons and daughters seemed to have a great deal of liberty didn't they? Just read 2 Samuel. Some of it reads like an ancient soap opera. Love. Loyalty. Betrayal. Revenge.

Which son will we be? That is my meditation. Do I understand the grace of my father? Am I loyal to Him or a false perception and expectation that He would not agree with if I discussed it with Him.

The angels know their posts. There know where to be and when to be there. A third of them have left their assignment and fallen into ruin and rebellion. There will be war in Heaven because of it.

Do we stand for the grace of our father? Are we concerned with the honor of His house or are our loyalties non-existent or spread out in places that are less than royal in nature?

Grace align us. It shows us our post. When we give grace we are revealed to be a prince and not just any prince. In that moment we are a prince sent by God to stand for some one and defend them against accusation and invasion. We become living representations of God's honor, care and awareness.

These angels are God's invisible princes but we are His visible ones. Let's be sons that reveal our Father's heart.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Rise And Shine

"At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 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 12:1-3 ESV

Are we numbered among the wise of our generation? We can be. God talks about two things. The wise will be like the brightness of the expanse (Raqiya - Strong's H7549 - translated firmament in the KJV) and then those who turn people to righteousness will be like stars in that expanse.

I'm not sure of the roots of the phrase, 'Rise and shine!' but this passage seems to speak that way. There is going to be a group of people who wake up on the wrong side of the bed but there will be others that are like blue sky during the day and clear open Heavens at night because they connected with people in grace. They shared. It wasn't personality. It was prayer and wisdom. It was love. God used them to 'turn heads' because they spoke of a beauty from eternity past that became the subject of their conversation. They had a story that stretched from horizon to horizon.

I don't always feel like sharing my faith. Some days I just want to put in my eight hours of work and then go eat a sandwich.

One day we are all going to 'wake up' and find out first hand the result of how we lived our lives. It won't be about God patting us on the back or wagging His finger. There will be a ceremony in Heaven because God does everything decently and in order but It will be a wattage issue. The light of God will either be streaming from our hands and person or it won't be. We will look at people and know something right off the bat about how they lived their lives because of the brightness. At that point our decisions about this life will be over. There is a limited window of opportunity and the choices are ours to make regardless of circumstances.

If we know this truth we can be awake in the moment. Priorities come into focus. The sandwich doesn't seem as important. The people waiting in line become important.

Let's shine together.

"The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." - Luke 6:45 ESV

Let's share the gift of God that gives the gift of righteousness. Let's be ready to talk about Jesus. Our feelings will line up behind our will if we exercise our will in alignment with truth.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Fear Holds Back Maturity

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love." - 1 John 4:18 ESV

The word 'perfected' is our finished work word teleioo (Strong's G5048) which speaks or being brought to maturity or ripeness. Fear holds us back. Fear means we are held back from a full understanding. Fear has nothing to do with, 'It is finished!'. It is related to punishment.

Punishment links us to the past. It holds us in our past actions.

Fear is the Devil's parenting style. Love is God's parenting style. One brings a child to maturity and the other keeps a child immature and in bondage as long as possible.

"You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies." - John 8:44 ESV

And he must lie to keep his power base. No one can finish the race. No one can become ripe or mature because if they do then they become a competitor to the ego of the accuser. They might become top dog... that can never happen.


Love has nothing to do with punishment. Perfect love rejects fear as a motivator. It not only refuses to use it as a tactic it publicly has it removed from the room in front of the one it loves.

"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 4:16 ESV

"The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, 'Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!' And he said to them, 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.' " - Luke 10:17-19 ESV

We who believe are welcome before God's throne. Our past is gone but fear is not welcome. Fear was thrown down like lightning from Heaven.

Know Jesus. No Fear.


What about our presence? Is fear welcome? Is it a tool to be used to bring others to maturity or is it ushered out the door?  

Love says, 'You will grow strong and tall and I want that for you. Be who you are before God with your head held high. Don't say you haven't failed but don't let that failure keep you in bondage.'

"And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect." - Genesis 17:1 KJV

Yes. Walking before God is what will perfect us. Love has brought us into perfection and will produce maturity in us.


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Plan Is Revealed In The Group

God has a plan. You and I are in that plan. Those who know Him and those who don't are in that plan. Jesus is at the center of the plan and everything else revolves around Him.

"Now many nations are assembled against you, saying, 'Let her be defiled, and let our eyes gaze upon Zion.' But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD; they do not understand his plan, that he has gathered them as sheaves to the threshing floor." - Micah 4:11-12 ESV

"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will," - Ephesians 1:7-11 ESV

"To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord," - Ephesians 3:8-11 ESV

In this age God's plan is being revealed in clarity through the Church and the pursuits of the Church. You may say that is a narrow statement. Can't we just be believers and know God. Of course we can but will we see God's plan unfold before us or behind us? God used and uses the Church to reveal His wisdom (knowledge in action) to the angels.

I am not talking about the Church as an institution. I am talking about body life. A dynamic of believer interaction that is mystical and forms with and around Godly shepherd leadership where the Book is opened and life is revealed.

"Oh, Now I see... that was God's plan! This happened and that happened..." Outside body life we get hints of what was.

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

For 'those' (plural) who are called... not just 'me' who is called. Us. It is 'us' who are called and when we are immersed we see that in spite of tremendous hardship this principle hold true and we can live in and expectation of it's reality in our own life.

God has a plan. It is a plan for 'us' where God is thinking of 'you' and loving 'you'.

Radio, television and internet ministries are great but It is my conviction that we can't be pastored by a radio preacher unless we can fellowship with others who heard the same message. Otherwise we just get the crumbs of the meal. They might be tasty crumbs and crumbs are something... but not the fullness.

I heard the radio and followed it to find a group of people.

"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:" - Ephesians 4:11-12 KJV

God gave leaders but why did He give them and how are they used? He gave them to the body not just to us. He didn't give them to feed us knowledge. He gave them to build up the Church.

First we realize that God has a plan for our life. Things may seem haphazard but they are not that way to God. We can just stay there or we can go to the place where we get more definition. That place is where spirit filled like minded people are gathering under a covering that has a foundation in truth. A Church. A Bible Study. A prayer group. A youth group. An area meeting. It is in those places where God will reveal our gifting and give direction for what is next. Some of these places will only get a few things right in the Biblical dynamic but God will use them if they point to His Son. His Son Is the center of His plan.

When God brings us to a place that fires on multiple cylinders then watch out. It becomes a hot house for growth for a group of individuals that are knit together.

We can attack that dynamic or surrender to it. The place will make for an easy target. It is filled with flawed people and there are often barriers of different kinds to draw us away if we let them.

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." - Matthew 18:20 KJV

Yes. He really Is. I have seen it again and again. We just draw near. We must be led but we also must be 'around' whatever that means for the season we are in and that may change from month to month or year to year.

Times away will always be seen in hindsight. Times in the midst can be experienced in the great fullness of the 'eternal Is' because the anointing is here to break our yoke of bondage.


Monday, July 6, 2015

This Garden Will Be For Mustard Greens

"He said therefore, 'What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.' " - Luke 13:18-19 ESV

This whole dynamic describes God's kingdom at work in our lives. We take the small seed and plant it in our garden. Our garden is a place of careful cultivation. Then that seed grows to be huge in comparison to where it started.

"The apostles said to the Lord, 'Increase our faith!' And the Lord said, 'If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, "Be uprooted and planted in the sea," and it would obey you.' " - Luke 17:5-6 ESV

Mulberry tree leaves were used to feed silk worms. Maybe we think of the tree suddenly being shaken free of the ground and rising up into the air to fly off into the sea but perhaps when Jesus speaks of the mustard seed faith He is referring to the dynamic He explained a few chapters back when a man plants something small from God but full of multiplication life and reaps a far larger harvest. It is a dynamic that takes time into consideration. Over a course of months the tree would die, become a useless dead object taking up space and men would uproot it and cast it into the nearest dumping ground.

It speaks of an inner life cultivation also doesn't it. We become gardeners planting seeds in our inner life and reaping a harvest. We say this goes here and that goes there. We plant small seeds by faith and give our soul directions. Uproot the silk worm tree that we were using to weave garments and turn a profit. No, this garden will be for mustard greens that have nutrition and produce a large bounty that we can share with others.

"Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, 'Why could we not cast it out?' So Jesus said to them, 'Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, "Move from here to there," and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 'However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.' " - Matthew 17:19-21 NKJV

The cultivation of an inner garden overflows into the outer spiritual world. Demons obeyed Jesus. Jesus was a man with a cultivated mind. His Father's words and life were His meditation all day long. He prayed at night and starved out the weeds so they never took root in His thinking. When He said, 'Go' the demons went.

This is what the kingdom of God is like.

We believe small things filled with life. We plant God's words in our minds and then they grow tall and fragrant. Yes, The multiplying crop will attract the birds (a reference usually referring to fallen angels) but that is a dynamic that comes with the territory.

When we live this way nothing is impossible for us because we are not the ones doing the work. We don't make the small things grow. God's kingdom is just like that. He makes it grow. He kills the silk worm tree. We say the words but He does it. He moves the mountains and changes our inward terrain. It is His power that makes the spirit world obedient.

We are just gardeners looking for a crop and God Is faithful to give an increase.


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Some Past Presidential Prayers

Some Prayers of past Presidents to bless you this July 4th. May God bless America!

"Increase my faith in the sweet promises of the gospel; give me repentance from dead works; pardon my wanderings, and direct my thoughts unto thyself, the God of my salvation; teach me how to live in thy fear, labor in thy service, and ever to run in the ways of thy commandments; make me always watchful over my heart, that neither the terrors of conscience, the loathing of holy duties, the love of sin, nor an unwillingness to depart this life, may cast me into a spiritual slumber, but daily frame me more and more into the likeness of thy son Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time attain the resurrection of the just unto eternal life bless my family, friends, and kindred." - A prayer from George Washington's prayer journal

"Pardon, I beseech thee, my sins, remove them from thy presence, as far as the east is from the west, and accept of me for the merits of thy son Jesus Christ, that when I come into thy temple, and compass thine altar, my prayers may come before thee as incense; and as thou wouldst hear me calling upon thee in my prayers, so give me grace to hear thee calling on me in thy word, that it may be wisdom, righteousness, reconciliation and peace to the saving of the soul in the day of the Lord Jesus. Grant that I may hear it with reverence, receive it with meekness, mingle it with faith, and that it may accomplish in me, Gracious God, the good work for which thou has sent it. Bless my family, kindred, friends and country, be our God & guide this day and for ever for his sake, who lay down in the Grave and arose again for us, Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen." - George Washington

"Almighty God, Who has given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will. Bless our land with honorable ministry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people, the multitude brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endow with Thy spirit of wisdom those whom in Thy name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth. In time of prosperity fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in Thee to fail; all of which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen." - Thomas Jefferson

"We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand, which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us, then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness." - Abraham Lincoln

"Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do by this my proclamation designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting, and prayer. And I do hereby request all the people to abstain on that day from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite at their several places of public worship and their respective homes in keeping the day holy to the Lord and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion. All this being done in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the divine teachings that the united cry of the nation will be heard on high and answered with blessings no less than the pardon of our national sins and the restoration of our now divided and suffering country to its former happy condition of unity and peace. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed." - Abraham Lincoln (One of several declaration made to proclaim a day day of 'Humiliation, Prayer, and Fasting')

"The two Houses of the National Legislature having by a joint resolution expressed their desire that in the present time of public calamity and war a day may be recommended to be observed by the people of the United States as a day of public humiliation and fasting and of prayer to Almighty God for the safety and welfare of these States, His blessing on their arms, and a speedy restoration of peace, I have deemed it proper by this proclamation to recommend that Thursday, the 12th of January next, be set apart as a day on which all may have an opportunity of voluntarily offering at the same time in their respective religious assemblies their humble adoration to the Great Sovereign of the Universe, of confessing their sins and transgressions, and of strengthening their vows of repentance and amendment. They will be invited by the same solemn occasion to call to mind the distinguished favors conferred on the American people in the general health which has been enjoyed, in the abundant fruits of the season, in the progress of the arts instrumental to their comfort, their prosperity, and their security, and in the victories which have so powerfully contributed to the defense and protection of our country, a devout thankfulness for all which ought to be mingled with their supplications to the Beneficent Parent of the Human Race that He would be graciously pleased to pardon all their offenses against Him; to support and animate them in the discharge of their respective duties; to continue to them the precious advantages flowing from political institutions so auspicious to their safety against dangers from abroad, to their tranquillity at home, and to their liberties, civil and religious; and that He would in a special manner preside over the nation in its public councils and constituted authorities, giving wisdom to its measures and success to its arms in maintaining its rights and in overcoming all hostile designs and attempts against it; and, finally, that by inspiring the enemy with dispositions favorable to a just and reasonable peace its blessings may be speedily and happily restored." - James Madison (Recommending a Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer - November 16, 1814)

"Finally, it is my most fervent prayer to that Almighty Being before whom I now stand, and who has kept us in His hands from the infancy of our Republic unto the present day, that He will so overrule all my intentions and actions and inspire the hearts of my fellow-citizens that we may be preserved from dangers of all kinds and continue forever a united and happy people." - Andrew Jackson

"Throughout our history Americans have put their faith in God and no one can doubt that we have been blessed for it. The earliest settlers of this land came came in search of religious freedom. Landing on a desolate shoreline, they established a spiritual foundation that has served us ever since. It was the hard work of our people, the freedom they enjoyed and their faith in God that built this country and made it the envy of the world. In all of our great cities and towns evidence of the faith of our people is found: houses of worship of every denomination are among the oldest structures. While never willing to bow to a tyrant, our forefathers were always willing to get to their knees before God. When catastrophe threatened, they turned to God for deliverance. When the harvest was bountiful the first thought was thanksgiving to God. Prayer is today as powerful a force in our Nation as it has ever been. We as a Nation should never forget this source of strength." - Ronald Reagan

It is my hope that as our nation progresses forward there would be more prayers to quote from this generation. Let's choose leaders that are humble before God and are not afraid of a little divine humiliation because they know the God of all grace.


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Lost People

Who is lost?

"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.'... Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.'... And he said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.' " - Luke 15:4-6, 8-9, 31-32 ESV

Maybe the sheep doesn't feel lost. The coin doesn't feel anything. Then there is the son... Does he know he is lost?

The man misses his sheep. The woman misses her coin. The father misses his son. God misses us when we are gone. He says we are lost. We may not say that but He does.

We might say 'I was blind but now I see.' but it is God who says, 'They were lost but now they are found.'

Parents write notes that have their home address and put them on their children that say this little one belongs to us. Maybe it is on their backpack or sewn into their clothing.

Do we see that note on people? Are we looking for a note like that? They may say, 'I'm not lost. Things will get better.'


Salesmen create a need in a potential customer.

Soul winners reveal the desire in God's heart. God thinks people who don't visit Him (because they don't know Him) are lost. I want to spend my days respecting people but believing God. I want to live on Earth with God's mind and imparting His perspective with words and actions.

Help us Lord to not go by appearances. Open our eyes to see what you see. You have a great desire for people that goes far beyond ours. Help us God. We don't want to live in vanity. You own all the riches of the world and say that people are lost. We want to seek what you are seeking.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Spectators And Participants

I was thinking last night about being a spectator as apposed to being a participant.

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved - and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." - Ephesians 2:4-10 ESV

We are spectators to salvation but participants in faith.

Believing is not a work. It is an orientation. Faith is the result of a paradigm shift in our thinking that gives us a viewpoint different than what we had before naturally. 'Paradigm Shift' is fancy term describing a simple idea. It is the change in thinking that happens when a person walks in someone else's shoes and sees things from a viewpoint that was closed to them before. The 'shift' part is what happens to them because of that new comprehension. They are moved and can't go back to what they thought before without the new viewpoint added to the mix.

Good theology declares correctly the things we should watch and the things we should participate in. The boundaries become clear to us. An ambassador must know the authority and responsibility her or she has. They are present in a foreign land for a defined purpose.

Wrong participation has different names. Interference. Meddling. Judging. Vanity.

By grace we now participate in God's love and enter into worship. We make righteous judgments as spectators of the cross. God participated in humanity to accomplish something wondrous.

We look on in awe of what He has done. It prompts us to raise our voices and assemble our instruments. We see that it is finished and that shifts us to a new place. It is not our power that brings us there. We see from God's perspective because He has moved us and shown us love in action.