Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Tax Collectors

Social barriers and tax collectors. I'm thinking of the social outcasts this morning.

"He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way." - Luke 19:1-4 ESV

Once upon a time Jericho was a walled city. It is there that Israel marched around the city and blew their trumpets. But now Zacchaeus was dealing with another wall. People were his wall because he was short but also because he was a tax collector and it was a very unpopular profession for obvious reasons.

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." - Matthew 5:43-48 ESV

The word perfect is the Greek word teleios (Strong's G5046) and it's root is the same as teleō (Strong's G5055). When Jesus said 'It is Finished.' on the cross (John 19:30) He used that second word.

...even tax collectors...
...what reward do you have?...
...function in the perfection of 'It is Finished!'...

It wasn't easy to be a friend of a tax collector. He could betray you and hurt you financially. Also others would put you in his category if you spent time together. Tax collectors had mixed allegiances. The taxes they collected were for Rome.

Walls. There are many kinds aren't there.

"And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, 'Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.' So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, 'He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.' And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, 'Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.' And Jesus said to him, 'Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.' " - Luke 19:5-10 ESV

Another wall fell in Jericho that day. Jesus blew his trumpet of love and unconditional acceptance and the wall came tumbling down.

There is a reward. It is behind a wall. Those we love are already on our side of the wall but there are others who need an invitation... not just 'everyone is welcome'... that wasn't enough. Everyone was welcome to see Jesus pass by in the street. The invitation is what healed Zacchaeus.


Friday, May 27, 2016

Go Ahead And Stand

"Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm." - Ephesians 6:13 ESV

Stand. Go ahead and stand. Don't just sit on the bed. Stand and get dressed to go out.

"Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints," - Ephesians 6:14-18 ESV

But we might say, 'I don't put armor on to go out.'

Well... Maybe we should reconsider that idea. That way we won't be caught off guard by warfare and knocked 'back on our heels.'

This clothing isn't pepper spray. It is positional truth. We are clothed with 'who we are'. We wear what God has made us to be. Readiness to share our faith are the shoes we put on. A belt of truth. Something to protect our heart and head against accusation. We are not flammable when the heat comes to pierce us. We are not defenseless against Godless logic. We are alert. We are aware of others and what is happening beyond our bed where we sleep.

Get up hero. Get dressed. Stand.

"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," - Acts 26:16 ESV

"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


Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Kingdom Of Heaven Is Like...

I need to know what God's Kingdom is like. The Bible tells me.

"He put another parable before them, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also...

...The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field...

...The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.'...

...The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field...

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls...

...The kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind...

And he said to them, 'Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.'... " - Matthew 13:24-26, 31, 33, 44-45, 47, 52 ESV

"...the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents..." - Matthew 18:23-24 ESV

"For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard..." - Matthew 20:1 ESV

"The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son..." - Matthew 22:2 ESV

"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..." - Matthew 25:1-2 ESV

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

His kingdom is gracious and generous. If you read each one you see something special. He has a net because He wants to redeem valuable things. He has a Son and He wants to throw a party for His Son. He wants people there for the celebration.

The Bible tells us a hundred things we could never know otherwise... a thousand. Reading it shows us the outside and the inside. It shows us Heaven and gives us glimpses of Hell.

"If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.' Philip said to him, 'Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.' Jesus said to him, 'Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? " - John 14:7-9 ESV

We must know the Son to see what the kingdom is like from the inside.

As I read these passages this morning (I only gave the first line or two of each) I want the words to sink deep into my soul. I want the comparison to give me contrast as I make decisions.

What is God's kingdom like? Who am I seeking? I want my representation to be gracious so that the people who see me will see a contrast and not just more of the same.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

That Moment

That moment you realize that you are just being stubborn. You get flashes of your attitude and responses over the last few days and realize but instead of continuing in it you cry out to God, 'Oh, Have mercy on me.' and all of your mental rebellion comes pouring out as you close your eyes and turn to God and speak to Him again. The moment of decision comes and you choose humility instead of clinging to hurt. The Finished Work of the cross contrasts your stubbornness and you are overwhelmed by the mercy available to you... that is a good moment

God is stubborn about redemption. His mercy flows like a river. It can either rush past you or you can wade in and be made clean by the flow.


Friday, May 20, 2016

The Gleanings Before Dawn blog will be on hiatus until July 2016

This will be a time of decision making so please pray. I will be praying about taking on another project that requires time, resources and preparation. It is a large and lengthy undertaking so I don't want to start it unless I am also prepared to finish it.

There will be posts here and there as God leads but not on a consistent basis.

As of now we are planning to return to a possibly modified schedule in the first full week of July of 2016. That may change depending on the decisions that are made over the next month

As we have said in past years... there are a few things as a reader that you can do during this time:
  • Pray. Like any venture we undertake the desire is that this blog would be an outreach to touch people with the Gospel, introduce people who have never heard it to a finished work grace oriented approach to the Bible and edify people. This blog is a tool and we seek God's leading in how to proceed with it.
  • Go back and read the archives. To date there are almost 950 entries. Pick a month and read day to day or read entries with titles that interest you. I hope the past entries will be a blessing to you.
  • While you are doing that make comments on blog entries including topics that you would like to hear more about in the future, questions or any edifying comments you would like to leave.
  • If you miss me then tell me you miss me... you can contact me by email at pallanleitner@gmail.com
  • You can also follow me on twitter @Allan_Leitner
  • I would love to hear from all of you. It is expected that we will only be aware of a fraction of the impact any ministry is having on any person's life while we are on Earth. Heaven will reveal what is now hidden. It is however a great blessing to get feedback and hear testimonies if people are led to share those things.
Your Friend in Christ,

P Allan Leitner


Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Wisdom Of Eternal Perspective

I visited the neighborhood where I grew up recently. Don't go very often. I was struck this time by how old the buildings look. I'm not talking about the buildings that were there when I grew up. I expect those to be old. The newer building are old. The buildings that used to be open spaces when I was a boy are old now. How many people remember what I remember?

I read recently that there may only be one person left who was alive in the 1800s. It makes sense. It is 2016 after all. Does that person every remember what it was like they were just a baby then.

Can we fathom eternal life? Eternal perspective.

"But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!" - 1 Kings 8:27 ESV

"The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens! Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth?" - Psalm 113:4-6 ESV

"Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, 'Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,' even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb." - Psalm 139:7-13 ESV

"Am I a God at hand, declares the LORD, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD. I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, 'I have dreamed, I have dreamed!' How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart, who think to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, even as their fathers forgot my name for Baal?" - Jeremiah 23:23-27 ESV

Imagine us describing the world to God? Isn't it folly to disagree with Him? He sees it all. He was there when everything has happened.

"...declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,' " - Isaiah 46:10 ESV

Our God is a God who inhabits the past, present and future all at the same time. A lie must be the most horrible thing for him. He can't lie and nothing is hidden.

If He speaks I want to hear what He says. If He has a recommendation or a commentary a want to hear it and make it more important then my own thought on the matter.

He Is God and His methods are gracious.

I just want to worship Him. I understand why someone would want to use a person with this much knowledge. How can I even have such an agenda? He sees my heart. I am naked before Him. Worship is the right thing to do considering the fact that a person so lofty would function so kindly in our individual lives.

Imagine if I spoke to a boy living in my old neighborhood and said, 'I remember when that building was just a field. I used to run and play ball there.' and he said, 'You crazy old man. That building has always been there.'

God's perspective is eternal. It has value. If He is talking then I am listening. I can only imagine what He has seen. His words matter. They will last forever.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Fire And The Water

Water washes things. Fire changes things.

"...you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance." - Psalm 66:12 ESV

"...when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning." - Isaiah 4:4 ESV

We have a gas stove. I like cooking with gas. The heat seems easier to control. Perhaps there is better technology out there but I and fond of gas stoves.

When the knob is turned the gas in released and something ignites it. It might be a pilot light that is always burning or it might be a sparker of some kind that makes a clicking noise when the knob is in a certain place.

Fire, water and abundance. That is the order. Fire cooks changing raw ingredients into food but intense fire purges. Water washes the grime away. Then God gives abundance.

"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, 'Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.' This phrase, 'Yet once more,' indicates the removal of things that are shaken - that is, things that have been made - in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire." - Hebrews 12:22-29 ESV

It makes me think of holiness. The Spirit of Grace is also the Spirit of burning. Grace changes us and purges us.

"Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw - each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done." - 1 Corinthians 3:12-13 ESV

Holiness is what I want. Heat is required and a spark is required to turn that gas into flame so that the change can happen. If the materials are right the change is a melting change. Gold, silver and precious stones are not consumed... they are molded and set into place.

I look around and I see flammable culture and when people talk about wanting to exit a potential bonfire before it explodes into flame  I understand that feeling.

When we know God's character and nature we have great respect for His power and we don't live in fear of His fire. It is controlled and His timing is always perfect. He is for us and never against us even if He turns something we were once fond of into ashes that need to be washed away.

Let's build on a foundation that can't be moved with materials that melt but don't burst into flame and if the fire touches our life then let the water of the word come in to wash away the ashes and cool us down again so that blessing can be abundant in our life.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Regarding Iniquity

"If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear." - Psalm 66:18 NKJV

What an interesting passage. 'Regard' is the Hebrew word ra'ah (Strong's H7200). It means to perceive or observe. 'Iniquity' is aven (H205) and it means trouble, vanity or idolatry.

The picture is one of a person who sees something out of place but just leaves it there even though they have the power to remove it. In this case it's not dirty dishes in a sink. The place is the heart which is the center of a person's being.

Here is the verse in context.

"Come and hear, all you who fear God, And I will declare what He has done for my soul. I cried to Him with my mouth, And He was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear. But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer, Nor His mercy from me!" - Psalm 66:16-20 NKJV

This is a person who is aware that God has already done something great for them and lives with thanksgiving in the center of their being. They weed their garden and iniquity is removed as soon as it is seen.

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

Do doubts arise? Of course they do. But the person who weeds them out and dwells on the finished work of Christ is asking and receiving. They see their heart as a stewardship.

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice." - Philippians 4:4 ESV

This person commands their soul like a gardener commands a garden and has power because God's mercy is a good water source.

"In that day, "A pleasant vineyard, sing of it! I, the LORD, am its keeper; every moment I water it. Lest anyone punish it, I keep it night and day;" - Isaiah 27:2-3 ESV

"A garden enclosed Is my sister, my spouse, A spring shut up, A fountain sealed." - Song of Songs 4:12 NKJV

God help us. Help us to quickly weed blame out of our life and live a life of thanksgiving for what you have done. We all deserve Hell but You have given us grace. Make us quick to pull weeds as we see them so they do not multiply.

Thank You God. You answer prayer. We live now in what You have done and we know that your mercy is turned toward us and not away from us. Thank You God.


Monday, May 16, 2016

A Judas In Every Graduating Class

Before I became a believer I never prayed. I can count the times I remember praying on one hand with fingers left over. Then when I became a believer I had little capacity to do it but like a person who doesn't know the native language of the land they are living in I tried to learn. Bible College was a time rich in prayer. I was the prayer chaplain one semester and much of my time was spent in prayer. Hours at a time. I had prayer homework assignments. I prayed for leaders on the mission field. Some of them I met later in life. Some no longer talk to me but I still pray for them today. I found that I never pray for someone just once. God seems to bring people back to remembrance no matter how long it has been or how things have gone in my relationship with them. If they are alive God has me praying for them. If they go on before me to Heaven I stop because there is nothing else to say.

My prayer life has changed. I have been changed by prayer. Prayer and love are intertwined in my heart. I see the relationship more clearly now.

"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots." - Luke 23:34 KJV

Wow. Jesus loved these people. He wasn't praying by principle alone. His principles mingled with his passion. He loved... really loved.

Maybe some of the people you are close to now won't like you later. Actually I shouldn't say 'maybe'... it is a certainty that this will happen. But if we dig ditches by prayer then God will fill those ditches with water and we will still love people even when they don't like us and cast lots for our garments.

Are you built up yet? {smile}

Love is power. God's love is anyway.

Bible college taught me how to study the Bible but I also learned how to pray there. If you want to make Godly friends and learn to love your enemies (some of which were once your 'Godly' friends) I recommend Bible college... there are other ways to learn of course... sickness... trials... extreme pressure... most of the others that I can think of are kind of unpleasant. {smile}

There are some happy ways. Having a baby is one. Some men and women learn to fall on their knees that way. I hear around 15 years in is when the graduate school course starts.

Well... Pray about it... Bible school that is...

God's language is certainly worth learning. That I know for sure.


Any Bible school worth it's salt is bound to produce a Judas in every graduating class. {smile}

Legalism will try to weed him out and choose the wrong candidate.


Behold The Excellent God

Have you ever gone into a restaurant where the food is good and the service is good and think, 'Wow, This is how a restaurant can be if people really care.' The bathrooms are clean and nice. The staff doesn't treat you like you're invisible because they understand customer service and have set a high standard of excellence.

Or maybe it is a person's home. The style of decoration may be different but you are knocked over when you enter each room because of the care and taste these people have and the ability they have to express themselves in the way they keep their living environment.

Excellence. We can envy it or we can just have it ourselves and appreciate it without envy.

My God is an excellent God and He makes those that know Him excellent.

"And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day... And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth... And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day." - Genesis 1:3-5, 25-26, 31 KJV

Everyone in the world has value and every person is important but not everything is excellent. When you find something excellent you can appreciate it and it always has people or one person behind that excellence. If that influence wanes then the quality goes downhill.

The bathrooms aren't as clean. The recipes may be the same but the food isn't as hot and the waiters care more about talking to each other than they do about creating an experience for their guests.


As I wake up this morning I'm tired and very aware of my frailty as a human being but I turn my face to an excellent unchanging God.

"Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy gentleness hath made me great." - 2 Samuel 22:36 KJV

Yes! Not just good. Greatness. Not just going through the motions. Creative excellence that stands out as cleaned, oiled and firing on all cylinders.

"Shake yourself from the dust and arise; be seated, O Jerusalem; loose the bonds from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion." - Isaiah 52:2 ESV

Shake off the bands of mediocrity. Arise and rest in the excellent God of all grace.

Let's joke and laugh and shake off the dust. Let's look in God's direction and behold His Majesty. Sure if we looked at the circumstances we might have reasons to be discouraged but let's look past the circumstances and gaze at a perfect throne where everything is in place just as it should be. It is the best of the best and we are transformed just by beholding it.

"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--" - Ephesians 2:4-5 ESV

"Plead my cause and redeem me; give me life according to your promise!" - Psalm 119:154 ESV

"My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!" - Psalm 119:25b ESV

We are quickened by grace. We can be quickened by truth.

Mediocrity isn't an option this morning. 'No' to that thinking. Oh God... We say 'Yes.' to you this morning. We look at you and marvel. Let the dust of accusation and depression be far from us. Let our faces be warm with the light of your presence this morning and all through the day. Thank you God. What would we be without You? You are our light and our salvation.


Friday, May 13, 2016

Drunk With The Power Of Reason

"But the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.' So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate." - Genesis 3:4-6 ESV

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is a delight to the eyes and looks nourishing. The serpent hisses his invitation, 'No, It's not going to kill you. It is going to make you powerful.'

The comedian who thrives doing stand-up comedy get drunk with the power of bringing an audience outside the box. Have you ever been drunk with that power? I'm sure you have seen someone who has been.

Oh, The knowledge is pleasant to the eyes and looks nourishing but it is an illusion without substance and the end of it is death.

"For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God." - Philippians 1:8-11 ESV

Yes. Jesus is a different tree. The nourishment we get from Him has real substance.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!" - Psalm 139:23-24 ESV

"[Pe] Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them. The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple." - Psalm 119:129-130 ESV

"How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light." - Psalm 36:7-9 ESV

Thinking with God.

Having friendships with people where there is doctrinal rapport and not just intellectual overlap. Oh it is vital. It is life giving to have a friend who gives grace because of deep conviction.

Hidden in the Gospel is the possibility of doctrinal rapport. It is outside the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It is truth free from infection. It is eternal and unchanging and if a person eats it they are born from above. The serpent divided mankind from below with his well placed words. Jesus makes something brand new with His.

Oh God search us. Illuminate our thinking so that we can identify and reject the fruit that will kill us and sit at the table that will truly nourish us. Make us people who speak words of grace that don't just weight right and wrong. We want to hear You and then speak what you have spoken to us. We want to be filled with your Spirit and let the days where we have been drunk with the power of reason fall forever into our past and be forgotten.


Thursday, May 12, 2016


I started reading another booklet this morning called, 'Taking Care of Your Soul' and it has me thinking about the desires we might have for balance in our life. The booklet starts off talking about Adam and how after the fall his spiritual development fell behind his emotional and intellectual development which caused imbalance.

"then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature." - Genesis 2:7 ESV

"but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."" - Genesis 2:17 ESV

Adam had lived as he was created. God's breath sustained him in the garden but after the fall his spiritual capacity was dead but his body was alive for a season without it and there was imbalance. The whole world became that way.

"Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned--" - Romans 5:12 ESV

We long for balance. Maybe we want more vacation or relaxation time. Perhaps we eat to much and exercise to little. It has been raining here so much lately and I'd like a little more sun to balance this rain.

Some think that full time ministry will fill a certain void and it is an understandable desire. I think what we really need is to have the breath of God regulating us again. We need what Adam needed. We will never have what he had but our needs can still be met because of what Jesus did. He took our bullet and there are many mansions in His Father's kingdom that we will see later but right here in the in-between of life we can have balance.

"His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall." - 2 Peter 1:3-10 ESV

An intake of the Bible keeps our spiritual airways clear and functioning. Grace is oxygen for our spiritual life. If we are cut off from it in our thinking then we lapse back into a purely biological life of imbalance.

We don't have to strive. We inhale acceptance and then exhale in a steady flow. This simple balance is what we need to function and go forward in our calling.


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Adam's Alarm Goes Silent

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us." - 1 John 4:18-19 ESV

I was thinking this morning that fear can be like an alarm bell. Love silences that alarm and replaces it with something greater. The law was given in part to trip the alarm.

"By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return." - Genesis 3:19 ESV

'Ding. Ding. Ding.' Get up Adam. Your time has come. Do. Do. Do. Because soon it will be to late. All your progress is going to regress so make your impact now!

Panic is organic and fear is the primary trigger.

Believing the Gospel silences the fears. Some go all at once and others die out slowly or take time. Truth becomes reassuring. Hymns can replace the silent mantras of condemnation. Love casts out fear when grace is understood.

"We put no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything. We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also." - 2 Corinthians 6:3-13 ESV

If a person is motivated by fear they can't comprehend this passage. Calamities reinforce fear based motivation. Do. Do. Do. Becomes a preventive measure. Pain traumatizes and reinforces the organic cycle.

Grace establishes different motivations. Grace wants no obstacles to be put in a person's spiritual growth. Grace enlarges the heart. Grace sees calamity as a painful stepping stone and looks past the tragedy and sees something greater.

If this was a different medium I would draw a small heart inside someones chest then draw a bigger one. The heart would get larger and surround people. God's heart is larger then the night sky. God's heart is big and if you know Him yours gets bigger and bigger. Awareness of grace facilitates that process.

Paul says, 'Widen your hearts.' but knows as he is saying it that it is something you might say to a child. We must see Jesus and His large heart. When we see Him we are transformed. The alarms are silenced and the heart is widened.

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

"For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?' " - 1 Corinthians 15:53-55 ESV

One day the alarm will no longer be needed. The organic panic will be replaced by imperishable glory. What a great day that will be. As for now we keep taking doses of the antidote and fear is chased out of our lives.

Oh God. Please flood us with love this morning. We pray for the people we know that seem to live with the alarms blasting in their souls. Peace. We pray for peace. We pray that saving grace would be illuminated to us and to them. Grace saves and grace also keeps. We want to see the power of your resurrection today. Fear has a purpose but please silence the alarms for those who have moved past the danger. We want your words to be heard and for them to do a deep work. Thank you Lord. You are the amazing God.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Closing Our Fiscal Year

"I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent." - Revelation 3:1b-3a ESV

Jesus' work is complete. He breathed His last doing the will of the Father. We still have breath. Our generation needs us. If we stop before a project is complete then why did we start it in the first place?

The ministry I'm a part of has an international convention at the end of June. People gather and in a way it has become the end of my spiritual fiscal year. Around this time I start to reassess things. For some this may sound clinical or even works oriented but I see it as a planning tool and a way to fulfill my stewardship of God's possessions. It is a way to say, 'Where are we?, and 'What should we be doing to finish out this year?'

It is not a time of critical self analysis as much as it is a time where I question God because I find it easy to slip into, 'I wanted this and I want that' but what does God want?

It sounds harsh but I think it is very possible to have a reputation for being alive but really be dead. We can talk the talk but like an organization our spending may have far outpaced our debt and a financial collapse is imminent even though from the outside the things may looks sound.

I think most of life should be a moment to moment inhale and exhale. Breath in grace and make a choice (as if it is an exhale) then breath in grace and continue to live that way moment by moment.

"And he said to his disciples, 'Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?' " - Luke 12:22-26 ESV


But then there is also this...

"For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.'" - Luke 14:28-30 ESV

I still have the end of June to close out my year. That's how I choose to think about my life. Large things need a lot of prayer and some flexible planning or they may not happen. God gave Israel already planted fields when He gave them the promised land but they still needed care and tending in order to be maintained.

To be very transparent I look at my life at times like this and say, 'Am I walking by faith?' or 'Have I walked by faith this year?' and I not sure I can answer that question with a full affirmative. But there is still time. The year isn't over. My life isn't over. The questions when I face God are going to be more about faith then accomplishment. Did I start by faith? Will I finish by faith?

All the accomplishments are His anyway. We are stewards and by His grace co-laborers.

Help us God. Steer us away from self analysis but make us good stewards and responsible managers of time and resources. Be glorified in our midst. Thank You God! Thank You for this generation. We want You to be made visible here and now in this time and this place. Thank You. You have given us so much.

I also want to pray for anyone who is in a season of doubt. Strengthen them God. Help them. Bring clarity and eternal perspective. Let the word of God light their path and illuminate each step. Your grace has made a space for them. Please reveal that in a fresh way. Thank You God.


Monday, May 9, 2016

Who Did Jesus Trust?

I am thinking this morning about trust. Who do we trust? When do we trust? How far do we trust? A couple of verses come to mind.

"Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man." - John 2:23-25 ESV

Jesus was and is wise.

"...who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men." - Philippians 2:6-7 ESV

He emptied Himself. His divine ability and knowledge was set aside but as a sinless man He was not cut off from His Father and because He saw the Father He knew not to entrust Himself in certain ways.

"For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them" - Romans 2:14-15 ESV

This is an aspect of trust isn't it? But it is trust based on performance. The word 'Gentiles' could easily be translated 'nations' or 'people that aren't children of Abraham's seed'. In all the variety there is still the commonality of accusing and excusing.

Jesus was a sinless man. He trusted God from the womb. Jesus was full of grace and truth and He grew in it. He also saw very clearly that other people did not operate this way.

Still He took on disciples and trusted them to handle things.

"I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one." - John 17:6-11 ESV


Jesus trusted God. He gave what God gave. He said what God said. He wasn't accusing or excusing in His heart even when He discerned things He gave grace. There are so many examples of this in the Gospels.

Jesus doesn't say what He says in John chapter seventeen in front of successful people. The disciples still didn't understand so many things. They trusted Jesus but their performance was far from stellar. They had already misrepresented God several times. They wanted to call fire down from Heaven and they shushed men who wanted healing who cried out too loudly. Jesus had stepped around them many times.

Jesus knew His words would do a work. They did. His Father was faithful.

Who do we trust? When do we trust? God gave Jesus discernment. He will give it to us also. Jesus trusted God and looked at hearts. We can't afford to be foolish or naive but can we look past performance? Today is another day to listen to our Father and walk by faith.


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Take Up Your Bed And Walk

"Jesus said to him, Get up, take up your bed, and walk.' And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, 'It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.' But he answered them, 'The man who healed me, that man said to me, "Take up your bed, and walk." ' They asked him, 'Who is the man who said to you, "Take up your bed and walk?" ' Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place." - John 5:8-13 ESV

Jesus told this man to do something. He did not want the man to rest in the same place he had been resting for the last thirty eight years. Is it work to move your bed? The religious people of the day thought so.

Discipleship involves moving our place of rest but Jesus disappears and the man is just left with words. It's interesting really because Jesus didn't do this with many people. He told Peter and John to follow him. They had a clear idea of who he was but this man had an identity in his sickness. He spent his days with sick frustrated people like himself who just couldn't get up fast enough. Jesus gave him words and gave him a commission like he gave Abram long before. He told him to leave what was familiar and enter into a new kind of rest.

"Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, 'See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.' The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him." - John 5:14-15 ESV

Jesus found the man in the temple. The man was in God's house.

We pray a prayer with people but their identity will linger near to the place they find rest. Alcohol. Sentimental attachments. Illness. Sports. Fiction. Politics. Salvation is real but unless it moves to discipleship there is a real danger that it will lapse back and the person won't 'find Jesus' again except in times of great strife. The temple is where we find Him.

"[Others] Where has your beloved gone, O most beautiful among women? Where has your beloved turned, that we may seek him with you?

[She] My beloved has gone down to his garden to the beds of spices, to graze in the gardens and to gather lilies. I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine; he grazes among the lilies." - Song of Songs 6:1-3 ESV

The girl had lost her beloved in the chapter before. He had gone to feed his flock among the lilies. The once sick man lost Jesus temporarily but found him in the temple.

We find Him at Church where people gather together and ponder His word. We find Him where Pastors feed their flock lilies (grace words). That is where we live in our new identity and find a new place to put our bed.

Moving the bed seems like work but really it isn't. It is establishing a new place to rest far away from a victim mentality.


Friday, May 6, 2016

Ruffled Feathers

God wants us to be free.

"But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, 'There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.' Then the Lord answered him, 'You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?' As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him." - Luke 13:14-17 ESV

I love this passage. The day of rest is a great day to be free. It's Friday so there are millions of people working today who don't have to go to a job tomorrow. Many are saying, 'Thank God It's Friday.' because they want to be free even if it is just freedom from the restrictions of work for a few days. Monday a lower percentage of those same people are saying, 'Thank God I have a job.' because the money and possibly the benefits of their job give them freedom in other ways.

Something started to happen to this woman eighteen years before she met Jesus. Perhaps it was gradual but she was losing mobility. She must have learned to live with it. That's what people do. They learn to live with the issues that won't go away.

Then one day when she was resting Jesus healed her. Did she have rest from her bent over condition. No. Not yet. She was resting in the rest God prescribed.

The rulers of the synagogue prided themselves in the knowledge that they were 'sons of Abraham'. Part of why they were ashamed was because Jesus identified the woman as a 'daughter of Abraham'. She was like them. She is like all of us but they were so occupied with the rules that they lost sight of the miracle.

Freedom. I want people to have it. If Jesus never walked her way then she would have died a bent over person.

"And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said, 'Man, your sins are forgiven you.' And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, 'Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?' When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, 'Why do you question in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Rise and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins' - he said to the man who was paralyzed - 'I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.' And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God." - Luke 5:18-25 ESV

Let's tear off the roof to lower people down and see Jesus.

"And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, 'Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!' " - Mark 10:47 ESV

The blind man yelled at the top of his lungs. It bothered the people around him.

Our methods might bother a few people. Jesus wasn't obnoxious. He did what He did and it shamed them when He calmly explained it to them.

I am free and I plan to use my freedom in ways that I know will bother some people. I can't heal like Jesus. Jesus healed every person that came to him. He never walked away unsure what just happened.

The power we have is just as amazing. We can rip off they roof and lower people down to see Jesus.

I wonder if those same men came back later and fixed the roof. The scriptures don't say anything one way or the other about it.

I suppose if we plan to have Jesus over we aught to expect that there might be some property damage also.


Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Words Of Psalm 119

"[Aleph] Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD! Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways!" - Psalm 119:1-3 ESV

I'm reading Psalm 119 this morning. It is a long Psalm. One hundred and seventy six verses long and it's main theme is the love of God's communicated word.

After looking around I finally found a guide that was in a Bible given to me right after I became a believer that broke down seven key words in this Psalm.


I think I'm going to study each of these words out and include a few more and make a bookmark to put in my Bible so that whenever I approach this Psalm I'll be able to easily reference the meaning of the each word. I might include a couple more like 'ordinances' and 'ways' for good measure.

The way we walk in can be the way of God's mind. That is the way of blessing. We can keep his testimonies. Those are the accounts of His great exploits. If we know how He thinks then we will seek Him because His thinking is wonderful. His gracious thoughts are what our heart and soul long for. If we know how to think then we will be able to make good decisions. Our thinking will become sound and our judgement will be a reflection of His judgement.

Good thinking. It is vital. We live in a world filled with ideas that are built in the sand but a person who studies the God of the Bible can have a sound mind.

There are many things to praise God for but this is something that causes me to praise Him this morning.

Help us God. Weed out the thoughts that are based on a wrong foundation. Help us to think in the light and make decisions that have stability, mercy and holiness woven into their fabric. Show us the answers and how to ask our questions. Thank You God. We long to think with You and converse in agreement and communion. Thank You God.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Narrow Gate

"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." - Matthew 7:13-14 NASB

These are red letters. This is Jesus talking. Oh, How right this statement is. Believing the Gospel is the narrow gate.

"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.' " - John 14:6-7 ESV

If we pass through this gate we will get to know the Father. There are other roads but none of them bring us to the Father.

I marvel at the simplicity of the message and I'm shocked at how powerful it is in my life and what happens to me when I choose the path that leaves little room for my baggage.

"'Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.' When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, 'Who then can be saved?' But Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.' " - Matthew 19:24-26 ESV

Many say that the 'eye of the needle' was an actual trade gate that was so small that traders had to take their goods off their camels before entering because the camels could not fit through the entrance. The gospel does make you do this in a way. The door Jesus creates for us is to small to for any of our vehicles. Only we can pass through. Not our past. Not our power. Not our methods. Not even our goodness. We come and believe the Gospel and pass from outside to inside but then we are rich and God moves. The Bible comes alive. We have words of mercy.

Today is a day to drop all our possessions at the door we have found and enter in the narrow way. We can look for a wider way that will accommodate our past and all the baggage that comes with it but that way will not lead to life even if the majority of humanity seem to be traveling that way.

With God all things are possible. God has made salvation possible by sending His Son to die on a cross and says, 'Only believe.' Believe that He died. Believe that He rose again and that He sits on a throne now in Heaven. Believe for the first time and God will move you to the other side. Believe again today and God will remind you of all that He has done because He only moves us once. Once is enough.


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Grace In Psalm 103

I'm reading Psalm 103 over and over again this morning.

"Of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's." - Psalm 103:1-5 ESV

This part really made me think of my youth. I could run all day. If I hurt myself it was just a matter of time and I healed up and was virtually new again. This is what God does. This is who He Is. He isn't ever old and frozen. He Is full of power. He Is eternal.

"The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust." - Psalm 103:6-14 ESV

Not only is He full of life. He Is full of high holy thinking and Moses got to see His ways. The people of Israel saw His acts but Moses got to know God's ways of love and compassion.

"As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children's children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all." - Psalm 103:15-19 ESV

Because of the fall we live but for a moment and generation follows generation. The flower we saw last spring is gone. The store we shopped at as a child might be gone when we get older but God's throne isn't like that. It is forever.

"Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word! Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will! Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!" - Psalm 103:20-22 ESV

I like this ending. The Psalmist is made bold by his vision of God. He starts telling the angels to worship God like some old man who attends the symphony commanding the orchestra to play. They are playing at the conductors command but he feels emboldened by the music. Worship emboldens us to take dominion and command our own souls to bless God.

As I read this Psalm vigor returns to me and possibilities start churning. I become a young man who know things that only an old man like Moses knows. The Moses spoken of here is the Moses we see at the Mount of transfiguration. He is the Moses that has passed  through death and is alive forevermore because he has a Saviour.

Bless the LORD all you people reading this. Bless the LORD O my soul. Knowing God is full of benefits. Let the knowledge of who He Is and what He has done restore youth to our thinking.


Monday, May 2, 2016

No Familiarity With Forgiveness

"He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?" - Hebrews 10:28-29 KJV

What an interesting passage this is to study in the Greek. I used the KJV because the language is much closer to what is being said in the Greek. One notable difference a should point out is that 'died without mercy' should be 'dies without mercy' because it is a present active indicative (the ESV translation gets this right).

What caught my eye this morning was 'despises Moses law' atheteo (Strong's G114) in the aorist tense and 'done despite unto the Spirit of Grace' enybrizo (Strong's G1796) as also in the aorist tense.

This culture knew exactly what it was to despise the law of Moses. People were aware of the law and their culture reflected it. You had to habitually ignore or rebel against it until there were two or three witnesses who saw you and were willing to testify against you to have the penalties applied to you.

This idea is brought into the idea of having reverence for the blood of Jesus Christ. If a person has a lifestyle that discounts the work of the cross and lives in the culture and enjoys the benefits of the culture but habitually ignores forgiveness then they 'insult' (aorist tense) the Spirit of Grace. If this were past tense then it would be something that happened and is over but it is aorist so it happening in time but has lasting results into the future until there are inevitable consequences. How can you insult someone who gives unmerited favor and is not performance oriented? This is the way you do it. Familiarity with the blood of Christ by acting outside forgiveness until it is apparent and witnessed by people who are so fed up that they are willing to testify against you. Wow.

Jesus is Holy. His blood is holy. We can forgive based on His blood alone. It is in truth the only basis for true forgiveness. If we base forgiveness or unforgiveness on sorrow or apology as a practice then we are careless believers. We are like an Israelite who keeps the Sabbath if it suits him but works if he feels like working. Moses law is flimsy to this man. It is just a guideline and not a boundary that must not be crossed.

I behold the cross and the now empty tomb this morning and it reinforces my resolve. Jesus' blood is holy and I can't be familiar or conditional. I don't want the Trinity to see my life and say, 'Look He doesn't care what we have done. He walks on it like dirt.'

God forbid.

"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel." - Hebrews 12:22-24 ESV

If the eternal blood of God was shed for people's sins then I want to hear what it is saying. It says 'forgive because I have forgiven'. Don't insult the giver. Take the gift and reverence it because it is a precious gift.