Thursday, June 29, 2017

Everything Everywhere

"My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world." - 1 John 2:1-2 ESV

The whole world is everything everywhere. All time. All thoughts. Every culture. Every family dynamic. Everything.

That alone is mind boggling.

John's reasoning for telling us this is so that we 'may not sin' because every action taken without this knowledge is flawed in some way. It isn't a command to keep pure. It is a declaration that pure individual faith actions are now possible because of this knowledge.

Secondly, If we do sin we have an advocate with a divine person who is now our father. Jesus is the propitiation for sin, all sin, that has turned God's anger aside.

That dark part of your soul that you hide has been dealt with by God. That injustice that shapes your world that no one seems to care about or do anything about has a solution in Christ.

"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience - among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 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 2:1-5 ESV

People are dead in sin. Sin killed them but Jesus makes people alive again in this truth.

By grace we are saved if we believe in this grand all-encompassing truth.

"Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him." - Luke 20:38 ESV

He isn't the God of the spiritually dead but the hope is that the dead can be made alive if this truth is presented and received.

Keeping silent isn't an option. This is to big and wonderful.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Living Faith

James is such an interesting book. This writer uses language differently than the other new testament writers.

In the following passage James is basically saying, 'Kindness is King.'

"For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and filled,' without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." - James 2:13-17 ESV

People turn this into a theological treatise about salvation but it is much more about human relationships and personal testimony. God is merciful. That is very true but are we?

I see mean merciless people quote scripture and I wonder, 'What Jesus are they talking about? Not my Jesus. Not The Jesus.'

Jesus fed people and died for the sins of the world.

When James says, 'works' he isn't saying it like anyone else in the new testament. Elsewhere it is spoken of as 'actions to please God' but James speaks of works as 'actions that affect other people.'

Jesus physically fed people and trained His disciples to do the same but then right before He went to the cross He said this...

"And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.' And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood." - Luke 22:19-20 ESV

He loved us until it killed Him. His love feeds us and clothes us. It connects us to God and that connection also provides 1,000 other provisions for every need in life.

I look at Jesus and my faith comes alive. Without Him I am a selfish rascal. I might talk a good talk but it is only because of Him that I have any kind of walk.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Shallow Breathing

Jesus' ministry...

"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion - to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations." - Isaiah 61:1-4 ESV

This passage really speaks to me today. I focused in on one small part of this passage.

'...the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit...'

'faint spirit' in Hebrew is Ruwach (Strongs H7307) Keheh (H3544) and it means dim or shallow breathing. That is replaced with a mantle of praise. There is a quickening because of joy.

As I read the whole passage again and again and my pulse begins to quicken. My breathing deepens.

This was and Is Jesus' ministry. We get locked up but He sets us free. He has done it and He renews our mind to show us again and again.

This passage has both past and future in it. Verses 1 and 2 are written directly to us and the people Jesus touched as He walked the Earth. Verses 3 and 4 are to a future Israel that He will comfort and quicken but we see who our Saviour Is and what He does for people and for nations.

Maybe you are 'fainting' today. Your spiritual breathing might be shallow now but look to Jesus. He has a garment picked out just for you to celebrate.

He has finished the work of salvation. He did that on the cross. Now history is unfolding until He returns to restore Zion.

Behold Him and breath in the grace and goodness of God. Take one deep breath after another and sing a song of praise.


Monday, June 26, 2017

Coffee Can Contributions

This morning I'm thinking of 'coffee can' savings accounts. Put a little in and a little more and a little more. Lots of deposits but very rare withdrawals. Then when the big day comes those cans get opened and all the little sacrifices become one big party.

"Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." - Matthew 12:33-37 ESV

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" - Matthew 6:21-23 KJV

Notice in each there are two varieties of treasure. Grace treasure and dark treasure. No gray. No combinations. You either know God and have a coffee can of light or you don't and have a coffee can of darkness.

"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. We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat." - Hebrews 13:9-10 ESV

Grace is directly linked to Jesus. No Jesus. No grace. Know Jesus and know grace.

This morning I am refocused on the big party coming later. I will be there because of Jesus. Just looking at Him adds something to my life that is contributing something to the party later on. Every faith thought and every time we value grace as something to receive, give and live it adds a degree of light to a treasure of light.



Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Rhythm Of The Scriptures

I'm reading Proverbs chapter 29 this morning and I find that jumping back and forth from idea to idea is very comforting somehow. A topic is introduced but then another is given and another. Then the writer returns to the first topic and you see it in freshness.

I truly believe that God had men pen the scriptures in such a way that our thinking would be ordered and restored by the words and the 'rhythm of words'

"[To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.] The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer." - Psalm 19:1-14 KJV

Yes. We have secret faults but God has given us words to realign our thinking and we can continue as flawed people living in a perfect provision.

Thank you God.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Quote From A Booklet

A quote from the booklet I am reading this morning...

'The Holy Spirit is God's Spirit, revealed in the love of God and the grace of God. Zechariah 12:10 calls Him 'the spirit of grace.' Galatians 4:4 speaks of the Spirit of the Son. Philippians 1:19 speaks of the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Romans 8:15 says we have received the Spirit of adoption. Romans 5:5 says that God's love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4:32 reveals the spirit of forgiveness, while Isaiah 11:2 and 3 refer to Him as the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and might, and of knowledge and reverence toward God. In Romans 1:4-5, when we received Christ, we received the Spirit of holiness for obedience, and we have the same Spirit of faith (2 Corinthians 4:13). When we walk in the Holy Spirit, we are walking in God's life. We have amazing protection, indescribable provision, unfathomable wisdom, perfect peace, and divine guidance, Romans 8:14. Romans 8:2 tells us about the law of the Spirit of life that overcomes the law of sin and death. John 10:10b calls it abundant life.' (What Spirit Are You Of? by Carl H. Stevens Jr)

Wow. Fill us with Your Spirit today God. Speak to us. Guide us. Thank You God.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Other Woman - Part 5

I'm reading Genesis 38 over and over again this morning and I see so much of modern culture in the account of Tamar. While Joseph is off in Egypt Judah is living the life of a rascal. He is married but has a girlfriend in a village. He has children with this woman and all kinds of intrigue follows.

Tamar marries one of Judah's sons but that man dies and the culture of sleeping around continues. The scriptures are quite graphic in their description of deception and sexuality.

The account makes me think of this passage...

"It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery." - Matthew 5:31-32 ESV

Not a passage often preached on by 'grace preachers'. It seems to forbid remarriage. It doesn't. It uncovers the reality of what broken relationships can do.

If you read Genesis 38, and I suggest you do, you will see that Tamar has needs and the double standard in her culture puts her in a difficult situation. She used her sexuality to get what she needs and what everyone knew she deserved in that culture. Was it right? No. But Judah set an unjust standard and everyone became a victim of his compromise.

The women in our culture need men to be men. It is easy to condemn a person for their loose ways but what made them that way? Nor should a husband who is married to someone who was married before condemning his wife for bringing what 'was' into what 'is'.

"Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered." - 1 Peter 3:7 ESV

She has battle scars. Respect her. Love her. The hard hard world hurt her and she had to adapt. Be a covering and a friend. She is on loan from a God who cherishes her.

Jesus paid for all sexual sin on the cross. He died for the victims and for the people who caused a wild west culture.

As men let's look at Judah and Joseph and make wise choices. Who will we be?

"He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. He will get wounds and dishonor, and his disgrace will not be wiped away." - Proverbs 6:32f ESV



Monday, June 19, 2017

Mercy For The Faulty Father

If you are a father who has messed everything up with his children... God's mercies are new every morning.

If you are a child who has been hurt by a parent... God will adopt you as His own child and be the Heavenly parent that you need.

Jesus died for deadbeat dads. Jesus was raised for children of every age.

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." - John 14:18 ESV

"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." - Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV

Maybe your faithfulness has been lacking. Join the club. It has millions of members.

If in humility you and i will receive mercy and forgiveness then we can have the strength to make the hard choices. If you are breathing it isn't too late to initiate a relationship or a reconciliation. Pray and show love expecting nothing in return. Pray and do it at the right time. Stay built up in God's love. It isn't too late to stop hiding.

You may get rejected but at least you can stop living like a coward and face your fear. Once the fear is faced down the power it has just drains away.

Thank God for all the wonderful fathers out there that did so much for their children. God loves them and He loves you also. If His love was based on our merit we would all be in big trouble. We are loved because of Jesus. We are reconciling because of Christ.

There is new mercy today and it is powerful. It can cleanse away the deepest stain. We have a new day with fresh opportunities.

I want that mercy. Nothing can hold me for very long because of it. Thank You God for that fresh mercy!


Friday, June 16, 2017

The Other Woman - Part 4

Some men will shower women with affection but in and of itself that behavior isn't spiritual. The fall has made men into people who 'satisfy' and 'deprive'.

"I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord." - 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 ESV

Satisfying others, including a spouse or lover, is just an advanced form of self-satisfaction.

Mankind is made to glorify God. Men and woman do this in overlapping ways.

A woman needs the subjective experience of being, 'holy in body and spirit' in order to feel complete. A man can never do that for her. He can contribute to an environment where that can happen. He can be a covering and a catalyst but he can't satisfy her in that deepest need of her soul.

"Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." - Genesis 2:18 ESV

Likewise, one woman can help one man to be the man he was meant to be.

"Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct." - 1 Peter 3:1-2 ESV

This subjection is not subservience. It is a present and loving participation in the union. The fall has created in women a need for continuous validation. A believing woman knows she is holy because of the finished work of Jesus Christ. She Is seated together with Christ in Heavenly places no matter what her circumstances may suggest. Other people can reinforce that and provide a hedge for that to be learned and experienced.

A Godly husband points his wife to the holiness she has in Christ and a Godly wife says, in word and deed, that she is with her husband as he pursues his sometimes elusive calling.

"And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him - a threefold cord is not quickly broken." - Ecclesiastes 4:12 ESV

The 'other woman' is attracted to the stability of a man who seems to be pleasing someone else. She doesn't know that by defiling herself she only moves farther away from true satisfaction. Holiness is the only thing that can give her true 'wholeness.'

The man sees another way to satisfy himself by satisfying or depriving another human being but he also destroys his own soul in the process because it is a soul attachment that creates a present and future distraction (because of guilt) from realizing and experiencing his identity in God's calling.

Marriage, the only sanctioned sexual relationship, is a good place to glorify God but it is not the only place. If God gives us this, the closest of unions, so be it. It will never provide the ultimate satisfaction. God Himself Is that wholeness. Jesus came to give that to us and it is ours if we have Him and dwell in the covering thinking with Him provides.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Other Woman - Part 3

"Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah's eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, 'I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.' ... When the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren." - Genesis 29:16-18, 31 ESV

At times I have wondered that western civilization has moved in the direction of monogamy. So much of the Bible, and history, shows men with more than one wife but in God's economy, there is no 'other woman' each woman is the apple of His eye. She stands and sits alone in that she is irreplaceable and precious.

Rachel and Leah were each a wife and the 'other woman' at the same time. Rachel had her husband's love and desire but Leah gave him children and the need she met produced tangible results.

The other woman may be a sexual predator or she may be a very kind person who believes that the man she is with will change or make a change to eventually put her first. The man may dangle that status in front of her eyes. The third scenario is that she just doesn't know she is the 'other', even though she may suspect it, and then at the point of discovery decisions need to be made. Perhaps she is slow to make them because of the emotional consequences of separation.

As I read these accounts I marvel at God's grace and mercy. You could say, 'Why did He even allow situations like these?' but clearly He lets us be who we are and these biographical accounts instruct us don't they? Who among us hasn't not felt second class for one reason or another? Perhaps we console ourselves that at least we contribute something even if we are not 'the special one'. Then in other areas we are in Rachel's place loved but useless. Our production is off and our self-worth is wrapped up in our 'doing'.

"I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words. Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings," - Psalm 17:6-8 ESV

Let me say it again. God has no 'other' in relation to you. You are the apple of His eye. You are what He looks at. If you get close enough to Him you will see your reflection in His eye as He looks lovingly at you.

Knowing God spoils us for manipulating scenarios. We are no longer victims nor do we feel the need to victimize. Grace and love fill a void and we can make hard choices to swim against the current. When you are special you can do that.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Other Woman - Part 2

It is always valuable to look at the 'first mention' of any subject in the scriptures. Most, but not all, subjects are introduced in Genesis and then wrapped up in the book of Revelations.

The first 'other woman' scenario we see in the Bible is in Genesis chapter 16 with Abraham, Sarah and Hagar.

"Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, 'Behold now, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.' And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. And Sarai said to Abram, 'May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the LORD judge between you and me!' But Abram said to Sarai, 'Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.' Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her. The angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, 'Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?' She said, 'I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.' The angel of the LORD said to her, 'Return to your mistress and submit to her.' The angel of the LORD also said to her, 'I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.' And the angel of the LORD said to her, 'Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has listened to your affliction. He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.' So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, 'You are a God of seeing,' for she said, 'Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.' " - Genesis 16:1-13 ESV

Wow, There is so much here isn't there? Human nature is on display. God's love and mercy is also. Men and women make bad decisions out of need but God is merciful to us.

The last mention is darker. Society itself has become adulterous.

"Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, 'Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk.' And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: 'Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth's abominations.' And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. When I saw her, I marveled greatly. But the angel said to me, 'Why do you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her... And the angel said to me, 'The waters that you saw, where the prostitute is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages. And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire, for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. And the woman that you saw is the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth.'' - Revelation 17:1-7, 15-18 ESV

This 'other woman' concept shows the systemic failure of the natural person to cope with their needs apart from God. Problems compound into even more complex problems with a victim until the system consumes itself in the end.

But there is hope. God is merciful and has a merciful provision for the individual. The system... not so much.

Hagar found out she was not God's 'other woman.' He had a loving provision for her.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Other Woman - Part 1

For the last few weeks, I have been thinking about the concept of the 'other woman'. In a way, it is a taboo subject but it is an important one to know and understand because it applies to our relationship to God and His relationship to us.

Who is the other woman and why does she exist at all? Someone only becomes the other woman because mankind is fallen. Fallen men fantasize and can lead dual, or even multiple, lives and fallen women are placed in pressurized situations and they settle or opt for choices that allow benefits that have extreme compromises that damage their souls.

"So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, 'If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.' " - John 8:31-32 ESV

"You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." - James 4:4 ESV

This is a multi-part post and we will dive deep into this subject and I believe it will be very edifying and life changing for both the reader and the author. This is only an introduction and not as satisfying perhaps because a subject is introduced but not concluded with a clear thorough application.

Let me just say this...

Jesus has given us a solution for any connection to 'otherness.' The bonds are broken in Him. Each of us is loved with an everlasting love that resolved the needs of men and of women in a pure a satisfying way without compromise.


Monday, June 12, 2017

God Loves Freely

In Hosea 14 verse 4 God says He will love Israel 'freely'.

But in chapter 11 He declares that they will need to go into captivity first because their inward bondage is not apparent to them.

That so speaks to me this morning. Grace is free love and yet we have restrictions on our lives don't we. We have things that hold us in. Responsibilities, debts, concerns and compromises are a part of every life I know. In order to have this we must endure that... or so it seems.

"Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity. Take with you words and return to the LORD; say to him, "Take away all iniquity; accept what is good, and we will pay with bulls the vows of our lips. Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride on horses; and we will say no more, 'Our God,' to the work of our hands. In you the orphan finds mercy." I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them. I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily; he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon; his shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive, and his fragrance like Lebanon. They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow; they shall flourish like the grain; they shall blossom like the vine; their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon. O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after you. I am like an evergreen cypress; from me comes your fruit. Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the LORD are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them." - Hosea 14:1-9 ESV

In this world love comes with a price tag but God loves us freely and that is amazing.


Friday, June 9, 2017

Fan The Holy Flame

Fan into flame the gift of God. He hasn't given you the spirit of fear. His Holy Spirit came with the gift of salvation and His Spirit is clean and full of love.

"As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." - 2 Timothy 1:4-7 ESV

Most of us don't 'fan' things today. When you fan something you are directing air on it. The Greek word pneuma (Strong's G4151) is the word for Spirit and for wind. Pneuma is moving air.

Think with God and be alive today. Fan the flame of faith. Fear freezes us or causes a reaction of fight or flight. God instructs us to fan the flame of faith and live in power, love and self-control. New life is a gift and there is power that came with that life. We have God's Holy Spirit intermingling with our human spirit.

I plan to go into this weekend stirring up love and directing spiritual life so that holy fires are ignited and enlarged.

Others (like Lois and Eunice mentioned in the scripture quoted above) have believed before us. Now it is our turn. We have been given new life because of what Jesus did on the cross. Now we can fan the flame of that good news in our hearts, in our circles of influence and beyond.


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Remembering Today

Histories are written and edited. I often think that way about our personal histories also.

"For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes... He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." - Revelation 7:17; 21:4 ESV

What if our memories will only consist of what we did by faith and everything else just falls away on the cutting room floor to be swept away.

What will be remembered from today? Will it be remembered at all? Perhaps some days will be very short or even missing from our memories. We get up go to the bathroom and realize that there is no toothpaste and 'poof' everything else is gone from that day. We are just waking up again the next day.

The Gospel is such good news. We are forgiven.

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

"See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is." - Ephesians 5:15-17 KJV

Most of all can't recall large portions of our lives. There will come a day when everything will come back into focus like we can only dream of it now. Our mind will be fully reclaimed. Our soul already is. God has purchased us and will one day restore us to a glory we can only imagine. We will see things that are invisible to us now.

"When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known." - 1 Corinthians 13:11-12 ESV

If we redeem the time we will have the clarity of participation. We can stake a 'grace claim' on time and space. This day can either blow away like chaff in the wind or it can be a day of gold, silver and precious stones. Will adversity steal our memory? Will disappointment? No. We can live by faith in what Jesus has done and get all of today into the final cut of the redemption story.

Thank You God.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

We Have Toiled All Night But At Your Word

This is a passage that was spoken about at the men's getaway just a few days ago and it stuck with me...

"On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, 'Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.' And Simon answered, 'Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.' And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking." - Luke 5:1-6 ESV

If you have been fishing all night and have caught nothing the last thing you want to do is go back out.

This brings many things to mind but at the moment I am thinking about Godly leadership. Jesus asks to speak from their boat. He asks them to go out again. He doesn't demand it but He Is believing His Father in Heaven and speaking about divine things.

Who will talk about grace? Who will introduce God into the conversation? Who will say, 'Let us go out into the deep? I know it isn't convenient right now but I'm going let's go together'?

My outreach leader makes phone calls to the team every week on Saturday morning and if people are doing something else he just encourages them in what they are doing but that call means something. He is a man willing to stand in the boat and preach. He is willing to say, 'Let's launch out into the deep and fish.'

"They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, 'Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.' For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken..." - Luke 5:7-9 ESV

Peter said that then but he later became the man who stood up to preach when no one else would. Church history tells us that Peter died a martyr with great dignity as a man of faith and leadership.

Thank God for the men and women who are willing to talk about Jesus and say His name when everyone else just speaks in bland generalities of goodness and morality. Thank God for the people who will say, 'Let's go and see what fish the Father has waiting for us' just past our comfort zone.


Monday, June 5, 2017

Power For Change

God will give you the ability to adjust and transition into your new situation. He will give you power.

That is what He did at Pentecost for the Church and He does it for every individual person also.

" '...And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.' And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven." - Luke 24:49-51 ESV

Jesus had died and rose from the dead but they weren't ready to be without Him. His time walking and talking among them must have seemed dreamlike and then as soon as it had started it ended and these men and women would need to adjust to life again.

They were to stay in Jerusalem and power was coming.

"When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language." - Acts 2:1-6 ESV

To read that... It is shocking to the mind and it was a one time only historical event but this happens to us. We have no capacity but then suddenly we do. We can speak in a language that is understood. Death has worked in our life and a transition was needed but God was faithful to bring us through. It wasn't instantaneous. We waited a period of time and those days must have felt like an eternity.

'Jesus is gone. What will we do now?'

'My job is gone.'

'My loved one is gone.'

'My life will never be the same after this.'

Yes, That is true but God will send power. Tarry in Jerusalem. Don't wander off in your weakened state. Stay close. Be in the Book. Be with the people even if you seem numb. Power is coming. Joy will return and when it does you will be able to talk to people you could never speak to before. They will be bewildered that someone like you speaks their language.

Grace will transition you. God will carry you. This is how it is for all of us at times. You are not alone. There is always a whole group going through the same thing somewhere.


Friday, June 2, 2017

The Impeccable Life

Last night we spoke about 'the doctrine of impeccability'. Jesus was both God and man... fully human and fully divine... God by nature is not sinful so on one side of the coin of the incarnation Jesus would not sin. Satan did however tempt Christ and in full identification with us Jesus made choices and chose not to sin. He was and is impeccable. Both sides of the coin reveal the fullness of Christ's divine person.

The result of that impeccable life has been placed on the account of people who believe in Christ.

"And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption," - 1 Corinthians 1:30 ESV

We can say 'yes' or 'no' or we can walk in a powerful liberty that has been given as a free gift.

"As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us," - 2 Corinthians 1:18-21 ESV

Every promise God has made you and I is given through Christ and in Christ. The perfect life of God is found in Him.

All the 'should's of life have been accomplished in Christ. It is finished! Now we have the liberty to live in a 'Yes and amen' life in Christ.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

A Morning Thanksgiving Session

Thanking God this morning. Thanking Him for people and events. Thanking Him for the objects in my home... temporal stuff that might be owned by someone else after I am gone or just discarded as trash but right now it is mine to use and appreciate. Thanking God for hands, feet, eyes and ears. Thanking Him for birds and trees and springtime quickening. Thanking Him. Praising Him. Appreciating Him. I am not just thanking the air I am thanking my Heavenly Father. I know God hears it because I have access to His throne through Jesus Christ. I can only imagine what an infinitely holy God thinks of my thanks. When someone thanks me it means something to me and I am a puny dusk speck living on a spinning dust speck.

Thank You God for bringing this dusk speck close and making me aware of your holy attention and care.

"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace..." - Ephesians 2:13-14a NKJV

I am so aware that if I got what my choices should have brought me. I would have so much less and I would be far not close. Thank You God for giving me good things I don't deserve every day again and again.