Thursday, June 30, 2016

Reading Missionary Newsletters

Missionary newsletters are interesting things to read. I read a few this morning and prayed for the people involved. Missionaries are people and like all people they have different perspectives, propensities to communicate and levels of transparency. Some letters come off as a sales pitch others a general's account of a campaign and yet others are very human accounts of day to day life and relationships.

I like reading them. All of them. They inspire me.

"And he said to them, 'Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.' " - Mark 16:15-16 ESV

That end of that passage sounds kind of hardcore doesn't it. Those who don't believe a frail human being are condemned... really?

"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 3:18 ESV

Actually they are condemned already. All of us are in our natural state. Without Jesus our condemnation finds us eventually. The miracle is salvation.

Maybe because of my upbringing I'm very aware of the reality that people can tend to sell their cause. Some are aware they are doing it and others have bought something and they need to justify why they have made the investment.


I also know the power of God's word and the commission God has given all those that know Him.

"So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." - Isaiah 55:11 KJV

Are we missionaries? I say we are and if we are then we do well to believe that God is going to give results if His word is given in context.

"Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul." - 1 Peter 2:10-11 ESV

If we know Jesus we are sojourners here in this world. When you walk out that door you might as well be in a foreign country. Let's live out our Heavenly culture here on Earth and see who wants to be baptized into it.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Above All Taking The Shield Of Faith

Ephesians 6:16 says, 'Above all, taking the shield of faith...'.

That means it is very important. It will quench the fiery darts like nothing else can.

I don't want to forget faith today. Jesus' faith has become my faith. 'The Faith' is the faith of the Son of God. If it is held in front of us it will protect us from thoughts or words shot in our direction.

'Above all taking' not once... all the time. If we realize we have put it down we pick it up again and bring it into the next thing.


Monday, June 27, 2016

The 'Weeping Teeth' Passages

How many people are trained by fear to produce moral behavior instead of growing in grace? Fear is a powerful motivator. The most powerful... but not the most productive.

"Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;" - Luke 6:37 ESV

Many say that if you hold a grudge you will go to Hell based on this verse others believe in a karma type system that insists that if a person acts a certain way then the forces of the universe set in motion a series of events to make sure a person gets a taste of their own medicine.

Then there are the 'weeping teeth' passages. I like to call them that anyway...

"When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." - Matthew 8:10-12 KJV

"So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." - Matthew 22:10-13 KJV

"But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." - Matthew 24:48-51 KJV

"And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:" - Matthew 25:30-31 KJV

"Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, 'Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise answered, saying, 'Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.' And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.' But he answered, 'Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour." - Matthew 25:1-13 ESV

"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." - Matthew 7:22-23 KJV

Some look at these verses and say, 'See! God casts his servants into outer darkness if they do not do the right things.' but the point is missed entirely. These aren't salvation passages so much as damnation passages.

Behavior isn't the issue when it comes to salvation. Knowing Jesus is the issue. Knowing Jesus gives us a white garment. Knowing Jesus fills our lamps with oil. Knowing Jesus is the difference between 'doing many wonderful works' in God's name and being a wonderful work that God has produced.

God never uses a fear that has torment to motivate change... never ever. If we have never experienced forgiveness then we can't forgive and forgiveness is cut off from us. If we try to dress ourselves for the feast then we have a deep problem because we haven't made a true transaction with God.

Forgiving isn't how we get forgiveness. Seeking oil isn't how we get oil for our lanterns. Not lusting... not lying... being diligent... these things don't impress God. Our righteousness is filthy to God. Rags used to contain a mess are just dirty rags.

"On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, 'If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.' Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." - John 7:37-39 ESV

All of the 'weeping teeth' passages were given to people who could not yet experience the Spirit because He had not been given yet. They would. Jesus didn't lose anyone.

So if anyone tries to scare you into being better and claims that God is behind it don't believe them. If you use that tactic on yourself knock it off. It isn't the Gospel. No one has ever been transformed by fear. True change has only ever come by awe and love.

Turn to Jesus and you will turn away from everything else also. It might take time for the ugly things to drop away but they will.

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ," - Titus 2:11-13 ESV

Grace will change us into the new person God has made us to be. Our effort only gets in the way.

This morning I see Jesus and my lamp is suddenly filled with oil. Just like the water was turned to wine. Just like the oil that is produced in the olive tree's olives.

"The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. ... But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires." - Romans 13:12, 14 ESV

I see the righteousness He has given me and I put the armor on as if it is a wedding garment. It all comes from God. It is free of charge.


Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Things Concerning Himself

"Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." - John 20:30-31 ESV

"That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, "What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?" And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?" And he said to them, "What things?" And they said to him, "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see." And he said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself." - Luke 24:13-27 ESV

Wow. Wouldn't it be awesome to hear that Bible study! It isn't recorded but if we search the scriptures and learn from people who are looking for Jesus in the scriptures I believe in time we find and hear what they heard. It isn't given to us in Luke 24 but at the same time God doesn't want to hide those truths from us either. He is just as ready to give us what He gave them.

I wonder if in Heaven all the dots will be connected and we will be shown when we heard what they heard. Hidden in some angelic archive might just be all the 'where's and 'when's of our life. We may see there that we heard some of what Cleopas heard this Sunday morning at Church... or next week at a Bible class... or 2 years from now on a foreign field.

I want to hear because I believe but the converse is also true... I believe because I hear. We need to hear. It gives us momentum and maintains a momentum.

Letters. TV. Radio and Internet are great tools but there is nothing like walking with someone as they reveal Jesus in the scriptures. There is no substitute. These disciples didn't know it was Jesus walking with them. They just saw a person willing to be part of their life who knew God. We need that.

Let's never stop looking and hearing. God has freshness for us when we are looking for Jesus in God's book.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Complete Obedience

"We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete." - 2 Corinthians 10:5-6 ESV

"But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, 'Do not fear, only believe.' " - Mark 5:36 ESV

Our obedience is complete when we 'only believe'.

"When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, 'It is finished,' and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit." - John 19:30 ESV

His complete obedience is put on our account when we believe. Believing in Jesus is complete obedience. Then a desire to 'punish' or 'revenge' disobedience is placed in our minds. We don't want to go backwards or live in faithlessness anymore. We want to revenge our former faithlessness with present and future faith.

We can't punish our disobedience unless our obedience is complete. Jesus is the only place we will ever find a complete obedience. We will never find it in our self. If that is where we are looking then we will be disappointed in our continual striving for perfection.

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:2a KJV


Wednesday, June 22, 2016


This quote touched me this week. It made me think...

'We are never more than poor beggars telling other beggars where there is bread.' - Don Carson

One one level I relate to that idea so keenly. My meditation on it brought me here.

"But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.' ' And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.' And they began to celebrate." - Luke 15:17-24 ESV

The Father wasn't going to respond verbally to his Son's confession of poverty. His father's response was the robe, the ring and the calf.

So yes we say to each other, 'I have found the best place to get bread. I care for you my fellow traveler with a hungry soul. Jesus has the best bread I have ever tasted. He is just around the corner and He gives it away for free.'

At the same time the Father makes us rich with His love. He doesn't ses a dirty beggar... He sees a son or a daughter.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Pray Like This

"Pray then like this: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.' " - Matthew 6:9-13 ESV

The depth of this passage is truly amazing. It is prayer that shows us what to do as we are praying it. Here are a few things I see this morning:

- God Is holy. Let His name remain holy. Let it be restored to holiness in our thinking.
- God has a will and it can be established on Earth. It isn't a photocopy of our will flipped inside out. It is a holy will that is evident in Heaven and can be evident on Earth and prayer is part of that somehow.
- Daily bread is our right... no... it is given. It is grace given.
- The prayer teaches us to own our actions as forgiveness reigns in our life.
- We acknowledge our tempt-ability while seeking deliverance at the same time.

'Pray like this.', Jesus says.

Heaven is invisible. I dare say most of us haven't seen it yet and that parallels the knowledge of God's will. We know about Heaven by linking together passages of the Bible and forming a picture. We do that with God's will on Earth also.

At times we want things so badly but I don't see Jesus instructing us to pray for what we want in this prayer.

Yes, There are these passages.

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

"Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved." - Psalm 55:22 ESV

But Jesus' prayer is missing this element because He is teaching us to live life His way.

I see a focus that is greater than my needs here in His prayer.

I think it is very possible to live a life before God and still be bitter that 'our' will wasn't done. As fallen humans we easily impose our will on those around us... even God.

"And God blessed them. And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.' " - Genesis 1:28 ESV

Adam lacks a spiritual life so he sees every problem as a nail and uses the hammer God gave Him originally to try and solve it. We seek to subdue and have dominion over God's will but that only works on Earth. As spiritual people we want to see Heaven on Earth.

But then we return to the holiness of God's name. When that holiness is restored in our thought life we are made whole also. It doesn't give us answers but it does give us perspective and a desire to move forwarding relying on God's goodness.

Jesus lived this way. He taught His disciples and even today He functions just this way.One day the Earth will be subdued in a way Adam couldn't even dream of. Jesus Is Lord. That fact is known in every corner of Heaven. As we pray let the knowledge of that reality flood us.


Friday, June 17, 2016

Angels See The Face Of The Father

"See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven." - Matthew 18:10 ESV

"You shall not murder." - Exodus 20:13 ESV

Life is so precious.

In recent days we have heard the phrase 'largest mass shooting in american history' far to often. Not only is it an incorrect statement because recent American history has not reflected the brutality of years past. But it misses the point. Each life is precious. God the Father has angels assigned who report to Him personally. Those angels see His facial expressions which is a concept beyond our mortal comprehension.

God once said to Moses...

" 'But,' he said, 'you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.' And the LORD said, 'Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.' " - Exodus 33:20-23 ESV

I can't imagine the look on God's face when one person kills another. There are so many methods of doing it. Eve grieved her son Abel powerfully I'm sure. She ate of a fruit and her child ended up dead. He was only the first to die.

"The LORD said to Cain, 'Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.' " - Genesis 4:6-7 ESV

That phrase 'sin is crouching at the door' has a dual meaning. Our desire to lash out and it also speaks of the lamb that was offered up to God as an offering. Abel offered up an animal to God and Cain had that option also. He chose murder instead.

Jesus is our lamb crouching at the door. We must not kill each other. There has been another sacrifice that has already been made. Let's tell the world about Him. He is the answer for the murder in our hearts. He Is the One that brings delight to the face of the Father on the throne.

We grieve those who are lost. It is tragic.

The lamb crouches outside the door today. There is another option. Thank God He has made a provision for us.


Thursday, June 16, 2016


Distractions. I suppose in every season of life we have them and some things change categories over time.

"Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come." - 1 Timothy 4:7-8 ESV

"Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he? 'All things are lawful,' but not all things are helpful. 'All things are lawful,' but not all things build up." - 1 Corinthians 10:22-23 ESV

A distraction is something that we 'can' do but does not build anything or perhaps it builds something but does not contribute to the present project or cause.

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 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 5:15-19 ESV

Wow. Isn't this a good passage. People take the middle part of this passage and use it as an anti-drinking passage but really it is an anti-distraction passage.

I don't drink. It is my choice. I have people in my life that have problems with addiction and I would never want to be a stumbling block to them. I don't need it or want it. I don't spend my pleasure that way. I invest my joy in other things. Wine is mocker. It isn't getting my time. It adds nothing to me and only detracts.

But distraction is my subject today. I want to identify what is and isn't a distraction so that I can focus and make a choice. Responding to distractions are choice driven actions. We either don't realize we have a choice, make a compromise or stay focused. Our choices train us and strengthen our future focus or lack of focus.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted." - Hebrews 12:1-3 ESV

Ah Ha!

The Finished Work of The Cross is never a distraction. It is a profitable focus that fine tunes and rearranges our priorities to align with God's mind. He has a redemptive goal. Perhaps we are so project oriented at times that we miss what He has in mind.

Focus us God. We look unto Your Son this morning and we desire to have a distraction free day. Of course there will be potential detours that appear in our view but we desire to have a single eye today. Thank you God. Worship is not a distraction for us. Grace is not. The cross is not. Thank You God.


Monday, June 13, 2016

The Order Of Grace

I was thinking this weekend about the little systems we develop to do things or cope with things. A way that we clean the dishes or an order that we have in certain drawers. If other people don't know the system or purpose of the system they try to fix it or put things out of order without realizing it.

"Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land. Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven." - Psalm 85:9-11 KJV

"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain." - John 12:24 NKJV

God has His systems. We see it in nature.

Truth that passes through the cross springs out of the Earth. This method may not seem convenient for us.

The cross is so necessary. But how can we communicate that truth?

Like our little drawer system we can show someone and then live it out in front of them. I have had God's grace explained to me but I have also seen it lived out in front of me.

Yes, The grain of wheat must fall into the ground and die in order for there to be multiplication. A stone was rolled in place in front of Jesus' tomb but in a few days that stone was rolled uphill and away.

"But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb," - Luke 24:1-2 ESV

Without the cross there is no empty tomb. Other arrangements work for other things but they don't work for this. Righteousness and peace have kissed each other and The Righteous King looks down from Heaven when truth springs up out of the Earth.

Try as you might to get His attention some other way. It isn't going to work unless it is in His order. When we find that order we are wise to pay close attention.


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Two Angry Men

The area where I work is surrounded by a poor section. If I go to the market I often pass people asking for money. I budget what I have so I rarely give money away on the way to the market but I often give it on the way back. I plan it out that way.

I ran into two men this week that I hadn't seen before who asked me for change on the way to the market and cursed at me when I shook my head 'no' as I went. It was unusual... it was very unusual for it to happen twice in one week from two different people.

They were both gone when I came back. After breaking a big bill I had money in my hand for one of them and on the other day I bought an egg roll for the other man because he looked so strung out. After asking at the bus stop and circling the block I had to give up my search because I needed to get back to work. I ended up eating the egg roll myself because I couldn't find that angry young man and I didn't want it to go to waste.

I don't know what made each of them that angry or how many people cursed back at them or gave them a lecture because of their 'bad attitude'. I can only imagine the pain. Maybe when I shook my head they thought I didn't care about them like a long line of others that have not cared. But the truth is I had love in my heart.

I think many times God wants to give us something on the way back. He doesn't owe us help. We deserve Hell... all of us. God wants to bless us and his means is grace. 'No' today may turn into a greater blessing tomorrow. If He is shaking His head He is always doing it with love in his heart. He isn't one to ignore a request, forget a need or have a cold uncaring gaze.

I hope I see those men again. I understand that anger. It is gone from my heart but I really do understand. That anger might just get them killed. I pray it doesn't. I pray they meet the One who won't lecture them... the Savior who loves them just as they are with no excuses or regrets.

Next week I plan to buy an extra egg roll by faith just in case. A gospel tract will go in the bag and if a conversation is possible I pray it will happen and result in seed that grows into a glorious conversion.

If only they could have waited a few more minutes they would have gotten something they didn't deserve. I was prepared to give a little. I only have a little. God is prepared to give us so much more.


Friday, June 10, 2016

A Stack Of Clean Towels

Praying and repenting this morning. I sit here again... chagrined and uncomfortable as Jesus washes my feet. He isn't making me feel this way. He is taking the feeling away moment by moment. But, How wrong it is that The King of kings would wash this dusty little man's feet. I want to put on my best face for Him but here He is seeing the worst of me... again.

"Jesus answered him, 'What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.' Peter said to him, 'You shall never wash my feet.' Jesus answered him, 'If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.' " - John 13:7-8 ESV

How much like Peter we all are.

The great thing is that when it is done we stand up clean again and our best face is just revealed... It isn't put on.

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me." - 1 Corinthians 15:10 ESV

So here I sit. I come to God based on His work on the cross. My King still easily finds His towel and gently kneels before me. Tears fill my eyes now thinking about it. I should be bowing before Him but here He Is serving me and cleaning up my mess once again.

When He is done He looks me in the eyes and says...

"You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you." - Song of Songs 4:7 ESV

He is not counting the times I have needed this cleansing. He is busy numbering the hairs on my head. He is just loving me and looking forward to what He has planned for the day. That is over and done but a stack of clean towels are waiting on the shelf nearby.

Jesus did a work 2,000 years ago. That work is finished. Grace does a work once again today. By grace I can arise and go into a very productive day. By grace I can have joy unspeakable and full of glory because my feet have been gently handled by the Savior of the world.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Us And Them

'There are two types of people. Those who break everything into two types and those who don't.' -Unknown

I firmly believe there is only one type of person. Us. But there are polarizing forces and roads fork to go into different directions. The Bible gives us twelves tribes to examine in the Hebrew scriptures and they show us twelve personalities each derived from one of the twelve sons of Jacob. All the sons had one father but there were two different wives:

- Leah (Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah and later Issachar and Zebulun)
- Rachel (Joseph and she died after giving birth to Benjamin)

But the competition between the women to have children caused the wive's servants to get into the mix (and you think your family is strange).

- Bilhah, Rachel's servant, (Dan and Naphtali)
- Zilpah, Leah's servant (Gad and Asher)

The house was a two party system... team Leah and team Rachel. This verse gives a foundation for their relationship to Jacob.

"Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured." - Genesis 29:17 KJV

Kind and matronly versus va va va voom.

Human beings seem to gravitate towards party systems. Us and them. These and those. God gave a blanket promise that applied to all of Jacob's children.

"That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;" - Genesis 22:17 KJV

"And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham's sake." - Genesis 26:24 KJV

Don't get me wrong. If I must label myself I would say that I am an evangelical. I believe in two eternal destinations. Heaven and Hell. You are either on the ark or in the flood. Up or down. I just don't believe that the people in the ark are different then the people outside of it. The thing that separates them is a choice.

When I am tempted to say, 'them' I check myself. We might have different mothers but every personality has the same father. I have an ark to run to and I want to be a person who runs out and brings people to the the only person who saves. There are no polarizing forces inside that boat everyone in there is riding out the storm with hope that they are all going to make it to the other side.

If I want to to understand and relate to a person then I must understand who their mother is. Knowing the forces that formed a person is part of caring for them but it doesn't stop there. Everyone who chooses Christ has a birth that completes them as a person.

Ultimately the seed of Abraham that was blessed is Jesus. Jesus brought blessing to that whole house retroactively. Jesus does the same for us... and them.


Monday, June 6, 2016

Different Attitudes For Each Year

I was thinking this morning about the four names given to the years in a four year program.

Freshman - Someone new who is learning the ropes
Sophomore - Someone who knows where the buildings are but is not mature
Junior - Someone who is not a senior but they soon will be
Senior - A person who has survived and made it to the ruling or graduating class

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." - 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV

"See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise," - Ephesians 5:15 KJV

"I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 3:14 KJV

"And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:" - Colossians 2:10 KJV

Until we graduate from this life we are all of these things. We are new and old. We are carefree and sober. We are at the beginning and close to the end.

It is good to have a sophomoric mind in regards to the scriptures. To know where things are and have a hunger to experience and learn from instruction.

We look at those who have gone to Heaven before us and think like Juniors. We aren't there yet. We aren't finished yet. One day we will be but we must persevere until that day comes.

As far as grace goes we are graduating Seniors. All our work is turned in and our finals are behind us. We are right where we need to be. By grace we are placed in Christ and seated in Heavenly places. Nothing more needs to be done. We have arrived.

Maybe the Holy Spirit will convicts us that we are sitting in the wrong class in certain areas of our life. Perhaps we think we are Seniors in regards to the Bible or we function as freshman in terms of our faithfulness because we are Sophomores in grace. Yes. Let that conviction come. It is good for us to be put back in line. That correction is so vital.

"...much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)" - Romans 5:17b KJV

We are training to reign and today is a school day. Thank you God. Teach us. We want to live as professionals as far as grace goes. Show us God. You are our example. We look to You. Thank You God.


Friday, June 3, 2016

As We Aught To Know It

"Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that 'all of us possess knowledge.' This 'knowledge' puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God. Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that 'an idol has no real existence,' and that 'there is no God but one.' " - 1 Corinthians 8:1-4 ESV

This speaks to me and resonates deeply.

There is a loveless knowledge that has no existence. The world is filled with it actually. People are filled with a nothingness.

But then there is God consciousness that has communion. There is a knowing that is filled with grace. It doesn't just have grace. Grace has the thinker. Jesus is in the mix as the one who knows and a faith that pleases God is functioning.

Imagining you know something is like an idol. It has a politics and a false spirituality. Yes. I said a politics. People created the construct energized by fallen angels and have expectations and pressures that surround their empty concept.

God's will and God's knowledge are substantive things. That is why a person's calling is of utmost importance.

You are called. Yes. You. You might say in your heart, 'I'm really just a lurker here. I just read what you write to add it to my collage of thoughts.' Sure. That's what you think.

"At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.' And I said, 'Who are you, Lord?' And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles - to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.' " - Acts 26:13-18 ESV

Paul was a tent maker tripping over the tent pegs he just pounded into the ground until He saw Jesus and recognized his calling. Your intentions are a nest of bright happy imaginary threads until you know you are called.

God isn't what you think He Is. Jesus is the ONLY way to know God. Grace is His method. Holiness is His realm of operation. He Is Love. His thinking is truth. His words frame all that we see. He says it and it becomes real.

Your calling is what makes your life make sense. Everything else is a nice meal or a bad dream.

God is seeking You. God is knocking on your door and wants to dine in your house. Answer the door. Pray a prayer. Call out to God.

Having all the facts isn't knowing something as we 'aught' to. Having Jesus is. If we have Him then all the answers we need are on their way. We rest as we seek with expectation.

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!" - Matthew 7:7-11 ESV


We are asking God. We are asking in the midst of thoughts that have substance. Politics aside. Idols in the fire. Basking in the knowledge of your care for us. We ask for leading. We ask for strength. We ask for you to move in specific situations.

I ask that you reveal your calling to those who are reading this. Give them a glimpse of why you have them in this world. This week God. Show them something this week. I ask expecting that You will do this. I ask confident of your love. Thank You God.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Only Loophole

It is very interesting to read the genealogies in the Gospels. They prove Jesus' royal right to the throne of Israel. He was, and Is, The King of the Jews. He is qualified like no other and the proof is right in the two genealogies printed in every Bible.

"Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit." - Matthew 1:18 ESV

Before this grand statement Matthews gospel reveals Joseph's lineage but Joseph was not Jesus' the biological father. Why have his lineage listed. Joseph was of the royal line of David and the Messiah needed to be a royal descendant of David.

"Josiah was the father of Jehoiachin and his brothers (born at the time of the exile to Babylon)." - Matthew 1:11 NLT

" 'As surely as I live,' says the LORD, 'I will abandon you, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah. Even if you were the signet ring on my right hand, I would pull you off... This is what the LORD says: 'Let the record show that this man Jehoiachin was childless. He is a failure, for none of his children will succeed him on the throne of David to rule over Judah.'" - Jeremiah 22:24, 30 NLT

Jehoiachin, sometimes translated Jeconiah, was cursed by God to never have a child on the throne. Jesus' birth had to be a virgin birth or it would have disqualified Him to be Messiah. At the same time He needed to be the son of a man from the royal line in order to be qualified to be Messiah.

Moses was raised in Pharaoh's house but was not genetically linked to Pharaoh. Jesus was raised in Joseph's house but His Father was God himself.

There can be no other Messiah. No one could prove their lineage. Rome destroyed the temple in 70 AD and the official record got destroyed also. No one can prove that their father's fathers came directly from David and even if the could Jeconiah would be there in the bloodline poisoning it.

Is it any wonder that we are reborn in a strange way. Everyone who is born of God is born strange. Adam's line is cursed to die. God snuck us in to His family using a loophole just as He put Jesus in David's royal line using a loophole.

Mary was also of David's line but in Jewish tradition you don't get to be king because of your mother. Your Father must be royal.

"Jesus answered, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' " - John 3:5-7 ESV

Jesus is the king that will sit on the throne of David. He died but He lives forevermore so no one will come after him to inherit that throne but if God is your father then you share in the inheritance of royal lineage. God has no grandchildren. You must be born again. That happens when a person believes in Jesus. Only believe. By believing we escape the curse of the fall. God brings us into His family using the only loophole available to mankind.


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Jingle. Jingle.

"...But he laid his right hand on me, saying, 'Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades...' " - Revelation 1:17b-18 ESV

Jingle. Jingle. He has the master keys to every bondage and He holds them up with two fingers smiling and waving them over His head.

Fear not. Those handcuffs of doubt are about to drop to the floor. That cell is about to swing open wide. Fear not. Jesus has knocked out death cold. Hell can't hold him. He has regained the keys that Adam unwitting handed over to the Devil. Power has transferred hands. Your friend, the one who will never leave of forsake you, has the keys to death and Hades.

Jingle. Jingle.

'Hey fear! What's that you were saying again? I can't hear you.'

Jingle. Jingle.