Friday, April 29, 2016

Angelic Topics Of Conversation

"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

"And to which of the angels has he ever said, 'Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet'? Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?" - Hebrews 1:13-14 ESV

"Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." - Hebrews 13:1-2 ESV

Sometimes I think with humor about these angels that are not visible to us interacting with each other as spectators of our little human dramas and day to day routines. How can we know what they say to each other of if they even look at one another?

We do know this...

"But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, ' The Lord rebuke you.' " - Jude 1:9 ESV

But this is not angel to angel interaction. This is an angel to fallen angel exchange. These groups are at odds in their purposes. We read about a future battle here.

"Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven." - Revelation 12:7-8 ESV

Satan will be knocked out of the sky and thrown to the ground. That is another topic to explore but I'm glad that God's angels refuse to pass a blasphemous judgment because if that was their tendency then what would they be saying about us as they follow us as witnesses that protect and serve in invisible ways?

God has never said to an angel, 'Sit at my right hand.' He has only said that to His Son.

"...and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places," - Ephesians 1:19-20 ESV

"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," - Ephesians 2:4-6 ESV

Whatever they might say to each other I'm sure it is always in this context. 'These are people who are seated in Heavenly places with Christ.'

As we brush our teeth. As we drive to work. As we think about what we can say to minister Christ to people during the day. As we sit in front of the television or open our Bible. I wonder what they see and hear. Does our Bible glow with life to them? Is the television a blank dead box with no picture and garbled sounds? Do they hear when we say empty sentences and tune in only when the Spirit turns up the volume as we speak redemptively? When are they assigned to us and do they move to another person when we go home to be with Christ? How many of them are there... how many of them can fit on the head of a needle?

We only know what the scripture tells us. No more and no less.

I want to live in the nobility that has been given to me. God forbid that I should have a blasphemous judgment on my lips as a person seated in a privileged position. I want to have grace words and live with reverence and dignity knowing there is a cloud of human and angelic witnesses that surround the stage of time and space.

I want to see Jesus as He Is and live with my face towards the Father. We have this great privileged to go boldly to the throne of grace in our thinking. Angels see the face of the Father even as they guard a child. What about us? What about the men and women who have salvation in Christ? We can live our lives facing that throne also. We do it by faith and how marvelous is that!


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Beware Lest You Be Consumed By One Another

"For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' " - Galatians 5:13-14 ESV

I think of the man who didn't have a father or had a broken father/son relationship that is now faced with the reality of being a father himself. This passage gives us hope that we can transcend what we have experienced.

"But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law." - Galatians 5:15-18 ESV

I always found this biting and devouring portion interesting. What is this caution about consumption? See that you don't... what?

It basically is saying that we should recognize potential toxic relationships and avoid the pitfalls of these relationship triggers. Notice how it doesn't say avoid toxic people or to surround yourself with people who support you and get rid of anyone else. It says, 'Walk by the Spirit.' if we do then when the button is pushed that would have set us off it doesn't because we have a liberty that transcends the law.

"For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." - Romans 10:4 ESV

He really is. Otherwise we set rules and hold others to those rules trying to live treating others along the lines we deem important and end up chewing other people up. No one wins when this happens.

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death." - Romans 8:1-2 ESV

Oh. What a great passage this is. I love it so much. The birds start singing in my heart.

We are free now! We are free to treat others as we wish to be treated. We are able to be the friend we would like to have. The fatherless man has liberty to be a fine father. We can serving by love with attention to the fact that the needs we sense in ourselves are a mirror of all human need.

"Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." - John 14:12-13 ESV

Wow. This is because we are free to walk by the Spirit. These great things happen in light happy places and in dark frozen ones also. We have liberty and walking in it glorifies the Son.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016


"And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, 'This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.' " - Genesis 2:22-23 ESV

Men have an XY genetic arrangement and women have a XX arrangement. Interesting considering the Genesis account has God removing part of Adam and forming Eve. What is not often discussed is that today our genetic code has degraded to the point where as many as 1.7% (17 out of 1,000) people are born intersex or hermaphrodites. That means they have qualities of both sexes but are usually (but not always) a XX genetic arrangement. In the past doctors at times decided to 'make' these children girls by a surgical procedure... sometimes without even telling the parents the situation. Just imagine the confusion of growing up thinking you are one thing when your biology is sending contradictory signals.

It is no wonder that people identify themselves in crazy ways. Genetics and environmental influences have muddied the water so much that the lines are blurred and societies are being forced into making strange decisions. It only going to get worse by the way. 1.7% is today's statistic. That number will only grow as population grows in an ever more poisoned and radiated world.

We aren't going back to the garden. That way is barred forever from fallen men.

So while I agree that darkness and deception are factors they are not the only factors. People are confused and I want to love people and show them the identity that they can have in Jesus. If that means building another bathroom or limiting bathrooms so that they have one occupant at a time then so be it. It is a small price to pay.

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." - Galatians 3:28 ESV

The identity we have in Christ is not primarily a sexual one. Everyone has a special place. The Bible teaches biblical marriage to be between a one man an one woman and sexual contact is reserved for marriage alone. It is a clear teaching and so it must be our conviction. Love is so much more than sex. We must protect our children from perversion with the clear understanding that our world is changing and they will be exposed to concepts eventually. Will we be kind, loving and firm or backward and intolerant?

In Christ we have liberty and a royal identity. Let's be loving and welcoming to people. Let's teach the Bible as it is written and let God untangle the complexities of each life. He is able. We can't but He can and does if His Son is lifted up in our midst.


Hope Deferred

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life." - Proverbs 13:12 ESV

Are people heart sick because they don't have what they want yet or because they don't want what they already have?

I think it's both. If you spend any time with older people they treasure what they had and remember their youth and middle age vividly. It's like those times come into focus for them. Some fictionalize their past, others have deep regrets but there are others that appreciated things in the moment and then look back with appreciation and insight. The stories they tell about what happened to them in the past instruct a younger generation on what is happening in the present.

Yesterday we spoke about Jesus being the embodiment of hope and I'm looking at this verse in Proverbs in that context. I understand what it is like to live in a battle that rarely seems to end and suffer heartbreak after heartbreak. I know what it's like to want something and have that thing postponed again and again until you don't want to want it anymore but you can't change your heart's desire.

'But God...'

He Is what we have (if we have believed in His Son). Do we want Him?

He wants us.

"The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing." - Zephaniah 3:17 KJV

We can enter into His love and have a present hope that is not postponed.

"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;" - Titus 2:13 KJV

Yes He Is coming later but His appearing is also the day of His visitation.

"For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them." - Matthew 18:20 ESV

People talk about living in the moment and I understand that but that falls short in so many ways because unless that moment is eternal it will turn to dust. Time does that to biological things because of the fall.

Hope is living in the eternal mind of the One who has won the victory over death and Hell. It is a tree of life and trees reproduce in multiplication as they give nourishment.

You may not have what you want but do you want what you have? We are stewards of hope. If we appreciate and take care of what we have God may just give us more to take care of.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Hope In God

God isn't going to change. God isn't going to die. If we place our hope in God we will have hope until the end. We can have hope for each circumstance and each life we come in contact with. It is a realistic hope because we have a risen Saviour.

I almost don't want to say more... Isn't that good?

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." - Jeremiah 29:11 KJV

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:" - Philippians 2:5 KJV

Jesus had a mind full of hope. He was going to the cross believing that God would make everything alright for the world and for Him also. Jesus was and is hope.

We can believe God. Jesus does believe God... always.

Is your situation dark? Jesus is with you in the situation. Is your neighbor's situation dark? God has you there to participate in hope. He has you, His ambassador, there to be a person who believes.

Deception is an absence of Hope in God. Hope is either gone or it is misplaced.

Today can be a great day because of Jesus. God hears prayers because of Jesus. Miracles happen when Jesus is present.

It is simple... very simple... so simple. We say His name and think about who He is. He died and rose and will never die again. He will never change in His love. He is alpha and omega. When He enters a room hope enters also.


Say His name. Demons tremble at that name. Heaven sings when they hear it. Healing comes when hope comes.

Thank You God. Thank You. Darkness would have overcome us but You walked in and saved us. Thank You God. Let healing tears of hope come into dark places today. You are our strong tower. We run to You and hide in the comfort of Your strength and wisdom. You are the awesome God. There is healing in Your wings.


Monday, April 25, 2016

Enter Through The Doorway

Wow. What an interesting morning. I endeavored to study privacy this morning... the good kind of privacy that allows for a covering and the bad kind that allows for corruption and cover ups.

We live in a time of exposure. Private things are made public all the time. Perhaps we long for the days when this wasn't so. We long for a more innocent time. I know I do. At the same time I know there was great behind the scenes corruption happening in those 'good old days' also. People in power did things and there was little accountability. Abuse of power leads to a need to expose. People want to feel safe and they sacrifice privacy to get that safety but the ones who suffer are the innocent ones who need privacy to grow and should be allowed a season of wonder.

"And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, like the vision that I saw in the valley... And he brought me to the entrance of the court, and when I looked, behold, there was a hole in the wall. Then he said to me, 'Son of man, dig in the wall.' So I dug in the wall, and behold, there was an entrance. And he said to me, 'Go in, and see the vile abominations that they are committing here.' So I went in and saw. And there, engraved on the wall all around, was every form of creeping things and loathsome beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel. And before them stood seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel, with Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan standing among them. Each had his censer in his hand, and the smoke of the cloud of incense went up. Then he said to me, 'Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the dark, each in his room of pictures? For they say, 'The LORD does not see us, the LORD has forsaken the land.' " - Ezekiel 8:4, 7-12 ESV

This is a great picture of the mind that lacks faith. There is a hole in the wall. Walls are meant to be sealed as support structures. Doors and gates are where we are supposed to enter buildings but the fallen mind has a hole in it's wall.

"You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments." - Exodus 20:4-6 ESV

Israel was not to create graven images but there they are in a fallen person's heart. We all have the potential to have this 'chamber of imagery'. It is born of a faithless attitude.

We wonder why leaders can get so corrupt. They just have the power and resources to do (and justify) what the human heart is prone to do if God is not central in the focus of our minds.

"All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." - John 10:8-11 ESV

Jesus is the door. He is the one way we can understand ourselves. Without Him we will all have a secret life built on illusion. That illusion may be mostly dark or it may be mostly light but if there is no door that opens and closes we will dig through the wall and make images. Then exposure will become the next logical step.

"Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool." - Isaiah 1:18 ESV

Jesus is who we need. He is the door. He is the visible representation of an invisible God. He Is the mystery we all crave. In Him we have privacy and purity. We find a friend when we find Him. We stop sneaking and hiding because we can walk upright before God when we walk with Him.

No matter how moral or well meaning a person is they have the potential to develop a chamber of imagery and make decisions from that chamber. A leader must be someone who walks through the door and not the wall.


Friday, April 22, 2016

Qualities Of Faith

"We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring." - 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4 ESV

The writer saw faith growing in a group as something to be thankful for. It encouraged them. They boasted about it in other places.

"...and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." - Hebrews 10:21-22 ESV

Here it is the full assurance of faith that comes from understanding Jesus' present day ministry of intercession.

"Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?" - James 2:5 ESV

Lastly we have the riches of faith because faith is a living connection to a kingdom that is rich... rich faith because of a rich identity.

These are not things to attain to. This is how faith in Jesus is. It expands in size. It fills a person with assurance because Jesus is still involved. It brings the notions of possessed riches into view because God has a rich kingdom.

'I believe in Jesus. I believe in what He has done. I believe He cares. His kingdom has become my kingdom. I am welcome there. I have a seat with my name on it at His table.'

If we have believed in Him then those statements are true and not just in a historical sense. They are present tense realities.

I spent time at coffee last night and smiled so much that my cheeks began to hurt at the end. At that table we had rich faith and funny stories. We had abundant faith. It was a table where no one was try to be anything. All were accepted and welcome. Jesus was often mentioned. There were questions but there were also answers.

I'll boast in that. I have something wonderful to be a part of. I have a great God. If you have believed in Jesus' death, burial and resurrection then you do also.

Let's be stirred up in faith. What kind of weekend will it be if we are stirred up in faith?


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Cling To Simple Faith

"Timothy, my son, here are my instructions for you, based on the prophetic words spoken about you earlier. May they help you fight well in the Lord's battles. Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked." - 1 Timothy 1:18-19 NLT

We don't want to add what doesn't belong. It can put a wrench in our gears.

God has said things about us. He calls us sons and daughters. He names us as ministers of reconciliation. He commissions us as sowers of seed. He gives us currency to invest.

But if we stretch beyond the boundaries and violate our own 'good conscience' (useful estimations) we can end up in a place where we blame God and paint our belief system into a corner resulting in a dark night (or season) for our soul.

Depravity gives me a healthy distrust for my own spiritual decision making and calculations.

"...Let God be true though every one were a liar..." - Romans 3:4b ESV

If we stay simple and trust the scriptures in simplicity our ship can navigate the roughest seas. God has told us who He has made us to be by grace. That anchor will hold.

"... But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me." - 2 Timothy 1:12b ESV


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Careful Warnings

This morning as I read I'm thinking about warnings. How only someone who cares gives them and how it takes humility to receive them. Some one who is a 'master of their own destiny' may not receive a warning.

Not all warnings are good. Discouragement can be wrapped up in the form of a warning also.

God only warns to protect but men sometimes warn to discourage.

There are warning I have regretted giving. I try to be careful who I warn and how I warn them. I don't want to discourage faith. I do want to discourage foolishness that will get people hurt. A warning should be a specialized tool that only comes out rarely when absolutely necessary.

"Thus says the LORD: "Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, 'We will not walk in it.' I set watchmen over you, saying, 'Pay attention to the sound of the trumpet!' But they said, 'We will not pay attention.' Therefore hear, O nations, and know, O congregation, what will happen to them. Hear, O earth; behold, I am bringing disaster upon this people, the fruit of their devices, because they have not paid attention to my words; and as for my law, they have rejected it." - Jeremiah 6:16-19 ESV

Wow. What an interesting passage.

Our future depends on the rest that we have today. The watchmen on our wall cry out, 'Keep believing in Him!' The doctrines that frame God's character and nature keep us on the path of rest. Our souls have the tendency to wander but grace warns us.

"For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." - 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 ESV

"So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest..." - Hebrews 4:9-11a ESV

What a great warning, 'Don't forget to rest!' This rest isn't a passive sleep. It is a guarded pathway with watchmen that speak to us as we go.

If we are humble we will listen. If we are meek we will be taught.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Word Of God Works Wonders

Can we handle the idea that a perfect God uses imperfect men to communicate His message?

"For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers." - 1 Thessalonians 2:11-13 ESV

This is a great passage for any communicator of the Gospel and I have been thinking about it as I've looked at Abraham, Moses, Ezekiel and Jonah. They are all such different men but God used them.

"Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in [both of] which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts," - 2 Peter 3:1-3 NKJV

The 1 Thessalonians 2 passage continues like this...

"For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved" - 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16a ESV

Paul and Peter were amazed that God would use them in a similar way to the men who had gone before them in the Hebrew scriptures. They saw patterns forming as they continued in ministry. Suffering was cross-cultural. Opposition to the Gospel was also.

They saw people that hindered the communication of grace as people who displeased God and hindered all mankind.

Grace Communication. How different it is? Flawed men who teach grace also reflect grace. But there are many who teach something else.

"You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: 'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' " - Matthew 15:7-9 ESV

Men with ideas and people with theories and philosophies apart from the cross of Christ abound but something is missing from their words. They point to a way to live but they don't have words that give life.

The Apostles saw the Gospel do a work in individuals and groups. Patterns formed in front of their eyes. We can see them also if we are patient. God will do what He has always done.

""For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it." - Isaiah 55:10-11 ESV

I never want to be a critic of the Church of God. It is with fear and trembling that I speak words of grace. The Church is God's responsibility and there is much more happening then I can see with my eyes. I might find out later that I opposed God by making His Church a target of my petty criticism. I have been charged with a message of good news. I am not speaking to backslidden Israel like some men of God did before the cross. My message is one that seeks to save that which is lost and it is effective to do it.

"Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand." - Romans 14:4 ESV

Yes. But I want to have a clear message. I need to have an unhindered connection to God. If I have found a place that promotes that connection then I want to nurture it and be a part of it. Many groups that call themselves christian don't have the message that will give life.

We need grace words. We need them to grow. We need them to branch out. We need them to process the hard parts of life. We need people of all kinds and varieties to speak them.

Accusation wants to shut your mouth. Don't let it. Just be clear about what needs to be said and who needs to be lifted up. Then speak because this generation needs people who have something to say that transcends the doctrines of men. This generation, like ever generation, needs grace words and mercy people.


Monday, April 18, 2016

Do We Have A Ninevah?

People think of Jonah as a stubborn prophet. Actually he was a patriotic man of God that had a hard time reconciling his patriotism with his calling.

"And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?" - Jonah 4:11 ESV

John was appalled at Ninevah because of their heathen practices and he wanted to withhold mercy from this people group but that was not God's heart.

Do we have a Ninevah? Is there a group that has hurt our group or stands in direct opposition to it? Who are these people? Is it ethnic, religious, economic or political in nature? Do we impute sin to a whole group? Have we said, 'Guilty' in our own little court of law?

Maybe Our Nineveh is a person and not a people group. Maybe we have taken the lion's share of our blame for the difficulties we have had and placed it on a person's head and we can't minister because of it.

"The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, "By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.

When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it." - Jonah 3:6-10 ESV

I often think that these people might have turned the way they did because they knew that Jonah, a man bleached white from his time in the whale, had good reason to hate them because of past hurts but was preaching mercy anyway. God seemed to use the contradiction.

Imputing sin is the relationship killer. Declaring mercy is the bridge that heals wounds inside and out. Sometimes it isn't an easy declaration but it is a powerful one.

If we have a Nineveh it is easy to identify who they are. They thought of him, her or them shows us. But who is our God? Is it our ideology, loyalty or theology or is it the God of all grace?

People think of Jonah as a stubborn prophet. Actually he was a patriotic man of God that had a hard time reconciling his patriotism with his calling.

"And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?" - Jonah 4:11 ESV

John was appalled at Ninevah because of their heathen practices and he wanted to withhold mercy from this people group but that was not God's heart.

Do we have a Ninevah? Is there a group that has hurt our group or stands in direct opposition to it? Who are these people? Is it ethnic, religious, economic or political in nature? Do we impute sin to a whole group? Have we said, 'Guilty' in our own little court of law?

Maybe Our Nineveh is a person and not a people group. Maybe we have taken the lion's share of our blame for the difficulties we have had and placed it on a person's head and we can't minister because of it.

"The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, "By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.

When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it." - Jonah 3:6-10 ESV

I often think that these people might have turned the way they did because they knew that Jonah, a man bleached white from his time in the whale, had good reason to hate them because of past hurts but was preaching mercy anyway. God seemed to use the contradiction.

Imputing sin is the relationship killer. Declaring mercy is the bridge that heals wounds inside and out. Sometimes it isn't an easy declaration but it is a powerful one.

If we have a Nineveh it is easy to identify who they are. They thought of him, her or them shows us. But who is our God? Is it our ideology, loyalty or theology or is it the God of all grace?


Friday, April 15, 2016

Four Angels - Four Gospels

Ezekiel was a voice God raised up for his generation but if you read his book the first chapter sounds like an acid trip from the nineteen seventies.

"In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the exiles by the Chebar canal, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.

On the fifth day of the month (it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin), the word of the LORD came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the Chebar canal, and the hand of the LORD was upon him there.

As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness around it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming metal. And from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had a human likeness, ..." - Ezekiel 1:1-5 ESV

After verse five things really get rolling but I love the first part of the book. Ezekiel is speaking but verse two and three almost sound like the narrator in a movie spoken by someone else giving an affirmation in a resonate official voice. I gives the who, what, where, when and how of what Ezekiel is going to continue to speak about.

These four creatures represent the four Gospels that would be written about Messiah but these books are not just books. They are alive. If these four angels have DNA the Gospels would be that DNA. Just listen as you read the chapter... but beware... if you hear what He is describing you can't remain the same. Unlike acid this will expand your very soul.

"...but each had four faces, and each of them had four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the sole of a calf's foot. And they sparkled like burnished bronze. Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands. And the four had their faces and their wings thus: their wings touched one another. Each one of them went straight forward, without turning as they went. As for the likeness of their faces, each had a human face. The four had the face of a lion on the right side, the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and the four had the face of an eagle." - Ezekiel 1:6-10 ESV

Four face. Four Gospels. Jesus as a man. Jesus as a royal lion. Jesus as a hard working ox. Jesus as an eagle soaring with divine perspective. Each book walks straight. Each book touches the other books. Each book sparkles like burnished bronze.

I just want to worship God that He would reveal Himself to us with such clarity in these Gospels! Thank You God.

"Such were their faces. And their wings were spread out above. Each creature had two wings, each of which touched the wing of another, while two covered their bodies. And each went straight forward. Wherever the spirit would go, they went, without turning as they went. As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches moving to and fro among the living creatures. And the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. And the living creatures darted to and fro, like the appearance of a flash of lightning. Now as I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, one for each of the four of them. As for the appearance of the wheels and their construction: their appearance was like the gleaming of beryl. And the four had the same likeness, their appearance and construction being as it were a wheel within a wheel. When they went, they went in any of their four directions without turning as they went." - Ezekiel 1:11-17 ESV

I wish I could remember and post the visual representations of these wheels with wheels. Just imagine a crank that you turn but as you turn clockwise the gear touching it turns counter clockwise and that gear touches another larger one and turns that. These are the wheels that touch the Earth. The likeness of the wheels is like the likeness of the four creatures. The Book touches the Earth in an intricate working.

"And their rims were tall and awesome, and the rims of all four were full of eyes all around. And when the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose. Wherever the spirit wanted to go, they went, and the wheels rose along with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels." - Ezekiel 1:18-20 ESV

Are you still listening or have your eyes glazed over?

The Spirit is in full control. If the book is read in a place where the character and nature of God has been revealed then the Spirit of God is present and moving the mechanism of spirituality.

"When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those rose from the earth, the wheels rose along with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. Over the heads of the living creatures there was the likeness of an expanse, shining like awe-inspiring crystal, spread out above their heads. And under the expanse their wings were stretched out straight, one toward another. And each creature had two wings covering its body. And when they went, I heard the sound of their wings like the sound of many waters, like the sound of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of an army. When they stood still, they let down their wings. And there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads. When they stood still, they let down their wings. And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance." - Ezekiel 1:21-26 ESV

Above the book is the Throne. Above the sound of the wings of the creatures is another sound that is heard when they let down their wings. It is the voice of God. The person of God is revealed.

"And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him. Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking." - Ezekiel 1:27-28 ESV

Yes. He fell on his face. Who wouldn't?

That is just chapter one.

Are we listening? If we hear the Gospels they bring us to the place where Ezekiel lives in this book. Our consciousness expands. Connections that have no physical representation in our vocabulary form in our soul.

Thank You God for your great book! It amazes us. It reveals who You are and we are in awe You.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Gentle Message

"One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people. He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. When he went out the next day, behold, two Hebrews were struggling together. And he said to the man in the wrong, 'Why do you strike your companion?' He answered, 'Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?' Then Moses was afraid, and thought, 'Surely the thing is known.' When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and stayed in the land of Midian." - Exodus 2:11-15a ESV

'Why did you strike your companion?' Ouch.

Instead of being seen as a Savior Moses was seen as just another man who beats people up. That wasn't his heart but it was the outcome of his rough actions.

Those who freely slander others are in danger of a similar judgement. There are always a few in the group who will wonder, 'When will I be next?'

After Moses did his time on the backside of the desert he returned as a man who wasn't a brawler.

"Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, 'Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, "Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness." ' " - Exodus 5:1a ESV

He held a staff in his hand. He could cast it on the ground and it would turn into a serpent. He could put his hand into his garment and bring it out as leprous and then put it back in again only for it to come out clean and healed. He had power with God. He wasn't just beating on Israel's oppressors. He had a place to bring the people he wanted to help. He was to bring them into the wilderness for a feast... it wasn't going to be just one glorious meal either. They were going to be brought to freedom and into a liberated destiny.

If men truly meet God and taste his grace their balled up fists loosen. They realize that their hands (and hearts) are leprous and destructive and only God can heal the hard stony heart by giving them a new one that fills with thanksgiving instead of anger.

I care deeply about my fellow man. The Gospel is my way to help people without using my fists. If requires no hate or insult. It is peaceful toward flesh and blood.

God make us harmless today. Let evil tremble at the gentle approach of Your Son's message but let people rejoice at the discovery that they are loved.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Call Of Grace

Abraham was a voice God found.

"Now the LORD said to Abram, 'Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.' So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran." - Genesis 12:1-4 ESV

Wow. He was 75 years old and leaving everything he knew. It doesn't say when God first spoke to Abram. Did God say it when he was young but it took years for Abram to do it or did God say it in Abram's old age and he obeyed quickly? After 75 years on this Earth a person becomes set in their ways.

"Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, 'To your offspring I will give this land.' So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him." - Genesis 12:7 ESV

This was a beautiful thing about Abram. He built altars. He created physical milestones and worshiped God.

God told Abram to 'go' and he went. It might have been instantaneous or it might have taken some time.

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." - Matthew 11:28-30 ESV

Jesus says 'come' to us and our generation.

It really is a light burden and an easy fitting yoke. I see so many people struggle under a heavy burden and forced to wear coverings that do not fit them. Empty tradition is all some people know and when they leave their 'father's house' they aren't going towards a real hope they are just fleeing from the place they were as refugees.

Do you hear God's voice this morning saying, 'Come unto me'? Is your burden heavy? He has a light one and He wants to trade your burden out for His.

Is it social pressure? Jesus says 'come unto me.'

Do you have financial worries or health issues? Jesus says 'come unto me.'

Is it fear or doubt or a situation that seems to have no solution? We have all been there. Jesus has walked where we walked. We can go to Him and leave the reactions of our genetics and upbringing behind. He will give us rest and like Abraham we can build an altar celebrating the rest He gives.

Later we will look back at these times and worship if we live this way. The landscape of our memory will have become be filled with altars of different shapes and sizes.

As I visit my memories this morning and rejoice I still say, 'The Best Is Yet To Come.' I say it by faith. If God can use Abram and change his life at 75 can't he do that and more for us if we will just come to Him?


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Leadership Of Grace

God always finds a voice. The Bible is full of accounts where this principle is revealed.

I've been thinking of Moses and his leadership style the last few days. It's funny how in an emergency some people rise up as leaders that would not normally be considered leaders. The fire alarm sounds and for those few moments a person becomes a leader because there is a crisis. Moses was that kind of leader. He was a voice that God raised up for the generation he was in.

"Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high," - Hebrews 1:1-3 ESV

Jesus wasn't filling in because it was an emergency. Jesus is leadership incarnate. He came as a servant. He heeded the voice of His Father in Heaven. He was responsive not reactive.

Perhaps our first response can be a reactive one. If we are not prepared we rely on crisis oriented leadership that just wants to get everyone to safety. But the voice that speaks to us isn't trying to corral us. Grace is more than that. It isn't just an emergency measure.

I need to hear His voice first in order to be prepared for life.

"Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them." - Hebrews 13:9 ESV

Moses was a provision for His generation. Jesus is the provision for every generation. He is my portion in this life. If I hear Him then I can respond crisis or no crisis.


Monday, April 11, 2016

The Balance Of Abundance And Need

"Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble." - Philippians 4:11-14 ESV

I'm meditating on this passage today. I got here after reading some of my booklet and looking at verses quoted in the booklet but this passage is where I ended up. The booklet is about honor and this passage isn't quoted in the part that a was reading but some mornings are like that. What you study or read sparks something and brings you down a different path.

The writer is explaining the balance of hunger and contentment. He has learned how to endure the extremes of both because he always keeps a balance of both at all times. The flow is not hindered by a 'I have enough' or a 'I don't have enough' evaluation. Ability is given and there is a strengthening flow.

Bitterness and self-preservation are effectively removed from the equation.

If God adds people as companions it is a bonus. It is something to be grateful for. It is a grace gift and not a necessity or a prerequisite for joy.

As I think about these things I am refreshed with truth and my heart finds balance again. I am strengthened to live in gratefulness and longing. Stones of need can weigh down one side of the scale but as I am stirred up in gratefulness weights are added to the other side until both sides float in the air in balance.

I can do all things once God has rebalanced me. I see what I have been given as a grace gift when I am empowered again.

"...but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." - Isaiah 40:31 ESV

Yes. Because yesterday is not weighing us down and tomorrow is in God's hands. Today is a day of balance. Nothing is missing. We have all that we need to face the day. God is our strength. God has covered our past and His plan is our future. We can do all things.


Friday, April 8, 2016

Dreaming Dreams Of Redemption

Eidetic visualization is the ability to construct internal visual images of something using details described or only briefly experienced by the senses. It involves imagination and is much more prominent in children than in adults. It is akin to reading a book or a series of books and constructing what you are reading in your mind as an image. You have never seen the characters but because they are described to the reader and the reader has seen other things that meet that description so they construct a mental image. The Greeks explored this concept and wondered about the reality of these mentally constructed images thinking that perhaps if many people 'saw' something in their minds that perhaps what they were seeing was a higher plane of existence... a realm of the Gods. Modern authors like Neil Gaiman use a variant of this idea creating stories where fairy tale characters have a reality (or life) based on the number of people that believe in them.

The Apostles spent time with Jesus as disciples and because they did they knew what it was like to be loved. God supplied them with materials that would be used later when Jesus was gone. They had revival muscle memory. When we have been loved we know what it is like to be loved. If we have been in a culture of love we long for it when we have to be in a another kind of culture for any period of time.

The Bible is a very black and white book. It makes the claim that what God thinks is real. He imagined us and we became real. The atheist wants to believe it is the other way around.

"I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth." - Psalm 139:14-15 ESV

Jesus said,

"But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you." - Luke 11:20 KJV

Which is interesting because He is God's finger. He Is the manifestation of the eternal that God placed in time and space so that we could experience divine reality. Humanity was cut off so God reached into time so that we could experience Him again.

"The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing." - Psalm 34:7-10 ESV

Our belief in God doesn't make Him real. His belief in us makes us real. If we taste and see the goodness of God then we are blessed and a capacity is built in us for blessing.

In Romans 4:17 God made promises to Abraham and declared things that had not happened yet in this man's experience. He said that Abraham would be a father and Abraham mixed faith with that promise. Abraham had the beginnings of a mental structure that matched God's structure because Abraham mixed faith with God's promise. Today we see that Abraham is the father of many. God was faithful.

We have been given the ability to bind and loose.

"Assuredly, I am saying to you, Whatever you forbid on earth, shall have already been forbidden in heaven. And whatever you permit on earth, shall have already been permitted in heaven." - Matthew 18:18 (Wuest Expanded Translation)

We have that ability because of exposure to God's kingdom. The Bible gives us objective exposure and the people of God manifest the life of God in degrees so that we experience Him in other ways. One on one relationships contribute to that and corporate ones do also.

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" - 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 KJV

Revival muscle memory give us the ability to cast down mental structures that are lifted up as accusations. Exercise in love can make us mighty in warfare also if we discern the warfare.

These are lofty ideas but they have day to day application. When we let God love us and when we love people in the same way that we have been loved God builds capacity in people and us at the same time. God builds things using eternal building blocks. We function as ambassadors for a kingdom. The more details that are given to people the more complete the image is. Teaching and speaking about the Bible is so vital. It explains the love. It gives a context for suffering. Deception is recognized and resisted. Reality begins to make sense. Hope is born in the heart.

God helps us today. We love because You first loved us. Let Your love be manifested as a culture of love in new places today. Bring light into darkness. We trust You for this as we dream dreams of redemption.


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Bought With A Price

"For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ. You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men. So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God." - 1 Corinthians 7:22-24 ESV

Wow. What an interesting passage this is. Looking at the Greek adds dimensions I've never seen before.

The Greek word for 'price' is time (Strong's G5092) it is the set value given to an item or the deference given to an office or position. Sometimes it is translated honor.

God has paid this honor debt for every person already. The ones who don't know Him just don't know or recognize that all important detail.

Some job promotions come with perks like a better office but a calling puts us on assignment right where we are. It changes our sense of privilege and debt.

" 'Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.' For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends." - 2 Corinthians 10:17-18 ESV

The 'bondservant' role has a price attached to it. Our price has been paid by the Lord. No fallen person owns us. We belong to God as people on assignment in whatever situation we find ourselves in.

We live in the realm of honor. God has a grace honor system. It is the culture of His household. We are free men and women there. We are also constrained by love in ways that didn't matter to us before.

We are ambassadors of God and His grace where ever we go today. We are living representations that a price has been paid and God's kingdom culture is divine and different.



Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Ministers Of Reconciliation

"This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men." - Matthew 15:8-9 ESV

Intimacy is an unusual thing isn't it?

In Genesis chapter 32 Jacob feared his brother Esau and sent waves of gifts to his brother to try and make their meeting amicable. Then at the end of the chapter Jacob wrestles with an angel all night  until the angel cripples him. That wrestling match gave Jacob a capacity to meet his brother in chapter 33.

Some people let others into their lives foolishly and others have walls up. Intimacy can happen if there is a capacity for it and it can be lost if that capacity is lost.

We all have people in our lives that we just don't know how to get through to don't we? Perhaps there are people that don't know how to get through to us also.

"When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?' He said to him, 'Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.' He said to him, 'Feed my lambs.' He said to him a second time, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me?' He said to him, 'Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.' He said to him, 'Tend my sheep.' He said to him the third time, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me?' Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, 'Do you love me?' and he said to him, 'Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.' " - John 21:15-18 ESV

Peter denied Jesus three times and now Jesus gives three questions to Peter that unravel his denials one by one but what interests me is this morning is Jesus pointing Peter to the care of his flock because that care is a call to intimacy. He is drawing Peter down a road of maturity.

Peter turns a corner much like Jacob does after his wrestling match.

I don't want to live a life 'Honoring God with my lips' but having my heart be somewhere else. God is waiting to be gracious with open arms and there is intimacy there in His embrace.

I'm praying this morning for a number of people who want reconciliation but just don't know how to find it. They struggle and send waves of gifts but the walls stay firmly in place.

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

Yes. God give us creativity. Your righteousness gives us the ability to be true to our self. Please lead us and make us beacons of reconciliation to You.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Rising In The Ranks

"Better was a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knew how to take advice. For he went from prison to the throne, though in his own kingdom he had been born poor. I saw all the living who move about under the sun, along with that youth who was to stand in the king's place. There was no end of all the people, all of whom he led. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a striving after wind." - Ecclesiastes 4:13-16 ESV

Hidden in the book of Ecclesiastes is a passage where Solomon honors the memory of his father David. David was the wise Shepard boy who rose from humble beginnings to be king. Solomon could see the memory of his Father's reign fading from public consciousness and it troubled him.

Ecclesiastes is written from a backslidden man's perspective. Solomon was wise and he saw his father as wise. But we know David didn't get to be king because of his wisdom. Samuel anointed David to be king.

"Then Samuel said to Jesse, 'Are all your sons here?' And he said, 'There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.' And Samuel said to Jesse, 'Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.' And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the LORD said, 'Arise, anoint him, for this is he.' Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward." - 1 Samuel 16:11-13a ESV

Solomon is a man who has lost something. He is wise but not discerning. He has a redemptive history but he misses the redeemer that is in his history. He is right about the fickle public and their short memory but he is wrong also.

David's time isn't over.

"I will rescue my flock; they shall no longer be a prey. And I will judge between sheep and sheep. And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the LORD; I have spoken." - Ezekiel 34:22-24 ESV

Ezekiel is written long after the reigns of David and Solomon. David has a future that is still in humanities future. The word prince there is the Hebrew word Nasiy (Strong's H5387) and it means a leader who is rising in the ranks.

If we look at ministry through tired eyes we see the short memory of people but if God gives us eagle eyes we see the rising in the ranks of grace. Burial always comes before resurrection.

When I think of those who have come before me I honor their memory knowing that not many others will but their ministry isn't over nor was it executed by some natural power or quality that they possessed themselves alone. They did what they did because of God's grace. Let's do what we do by God's grace also.

"The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful - for he cannot deny himself." - 2 Timothy 2:11-13 ESV

I don't want to be wise like Solomon was in the book of Ecclesiastes. I see that book as one that points out the traps of intellect divorced momentarily from divine perspective. I want to have the mind of Christ. He is the Alpha and Omega. He sees every moment based of the beginning and the end of time.

God give us your mind today. Let us not judge by what we see and hear only. Give us righteous gracious judgement that sees redemption as finished on the cross and sees our fellows based on what You have done and not what they have accomplished or where they have failed. Thank You God. Thank You for not leaving us stranded in time. Thank You for saving us from the trap of natural thinking. Thank You God.


Monday, April 4, 2016

The New Song

"Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise." - Psalm 33:3 KJV

"And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD." - Psalm 40:3 KJV

"Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints." - Psalm 149:1 KJV

Really good new music is great isn't it?

Some people like old music best and we see different kinds of music make a comeback when there is a new audience that rediscovers it. Old music was new once wasn't it?

"All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:8-9 ESV

I know I have been at this place. The patterns all seem worn. Things seem predictable and stale.

"Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, 'What does this babbler wish to say?' Others said, 'He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities' - because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, 'May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.' Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new." - Acts 17:16-21 ESV

They were 'new thing' junkies.

What Paul was bringing really was new. It is still new today. I see new people embrace the Gospel as God embraces them and the newness comes in fresh to me again and again.

"And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth." - Revelation 5:9-10 KJV

How can this be a 'new song' when the words were written 2,000 years ago. But it will be a new song.

We could start this day in tired oldness. The more days we have seen the more possible that is.

"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in him.' " - Lamentations 3:22-24 ESV

Yes, new mercies cause us to have a new song.

Thank you God. Let yesterday pass away from us and bring us into eternity with You in our minds and hearts. Give us a new song. Let the Gospel that was on Paul's lips be on ours also. Thank You God.


Friday, April 1, 2016

Many Tears Wiped Away

I just had a wave of thankfulness to God in my prayer time as I remembered last Saturday's outreach time.

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." - Revelation 21:4 KJV

It is hard to know the difference between an empty confession and a confession with a conversion but if there is a confession there is hope for a conversion.

"...because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, 'Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.' " - Romans 10:9-11 ESV

Only God knows and sees the heart.

If we confess with our lips while believing in the center of our being then all tears will be wiped from our eyes.

I got to be a witness to a few mustard seed confessions last Saturday. A seed so small going into the ground doesn't look like much but that seed grows into something fragrant and great.

"Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents." - Luke 15:10 ESV

I gave a man I dearly love a hug at Church on Sunday after a tender exchange where we both got a little teary-eyed and He said, 'I'm 78. I cry more now.' and I said, 'I'm much younger than you and I cry more also.'

I will one day have all my tears wiped away and I am confident that many of the people I have had the privilege of praying with over the years will all be having their tears wiped away also at the same time. Sure some prayed to get rid of me but others prayed believing and those who believed have this promise given to them.

Thank you God. Life can get complicated. Anger flares. Tears are shed. We wonder at puzzles and complexities but this is a simple promise and a beautiful one. Because of You we have hope that one day everything we go through will be worth it.

Hebrews 11:35 speaks about a 'better resurrection' for those that hold unto hope and live in their called instead of denying it in passivity. It is for those who choose to live in who God has made them to be instead of in who they once were.

God help us. Give us the courage to walk as ministers of reconciliation. We want to see many many tears wiped away on that promised day.