Thursday, December 28, 2017

Not Void Of Power

Verse thirty-seven caught my eye as I was reading.

"And Mary said unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: wherefore also the holy thing which is begotten shall be called the Son of God. And behold, Elisabeth thy kinswoman, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that was called barren. For no word from God shall be void of power." - Luke 1:34-37 ASV

'The 'rhema' of God nullifies the impossible.' would be an acceptable translation. Elisabeth was part of the Rhema. Mary knew Elisabeth. Mary goes to live with her to sidestep the pressure put on her for having an impossible birth.

"And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned unto her house. Now Elisabeth's time was fulfilled that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son." - Luke 1:56-57 ASV

"And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath looked upon the low estate of his handmaid: For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; And holy is his name. And his mercy is unto generations and generations On them that fear him. " - Luke 1:46-50 ASV

Mary saw God's promise working in Elisabeth.

Power isn't what we think it is. God spoke something in private to Elisabeth's husband in the temple. The house they lived in became a special place Then Elisabeth's life became something that verified a dynamic to Mary so she could 'process' the miracle in her life.

I have people in my life that are like this. They verify a dynamic that I can't put my finger on. They are part of sustaining a hope in the power of truth.

It is very easy to look at our life in a faithless way if we are living in a spiritual vacuum. Mary made her great faith confession in front of Elisabeth in part because she saw what was happening with Elisabeth.

Rhema is linked to fellowship.


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Starting Ariel's Harmony of the Gospels

I have a new study book. It was a Christmas present. It is a hardcover and bound very well. This morning I carefully opened the book from the front and then the back. Then I flipped through all the pages and wrote my name and the month and year in the front of the book. A study book needs to lay open flat with other books. I have found that doing this helps the binding in the long run. I also wrote that it was a gift and the person's name. I treasure these books. To me, they represent hundreds, perhaps thousands, of hours of study, preparation, meditation and editing. I plan to read this book from cover to cover but we know how that goes don't we? Many study books never get read. The binding of the last chapters or middle chapters never gets 'broken'.

Many Bibles are treated like that also. People cherry pick passages quoted by someone else but never read the book cover to cover. A list of names or the account of battles become a mountain range that never gets crossed. It is so easy to skip ahead to familiar chapters or concepts of interest. What treasures are missed when we take that approach? I want every drop of what God has to say.

One of the great things about this book I am starting ('Ariel's Harmony of the Gospels' by Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum) is that it follows the order of Jesus' life as presented in the Gospel of Luke then correlates parallel scripture references from the other Gospels. As you read it you move through the life of Messiah in the order that events happened with a full view of what happened in Christ's life during His incarnation.

"Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught." - Luke 1:1-4 ESV

Yes! Here we see Luke's Spirit led motivations. He is writing to give clarity. He sees the generation he is living in just like we see ours. People need certainty and clarity where it can be found and Jesus provided that for so many things to His disciples. Luke wants the foundations to be preserved so that we could have what was given to him in 'an orderly account.'

Luke writes to Theophilus. The account is written to one person but that name translates as 'God lover'. Luke wanted each 'God lover' to have an account of what happened and was seen by eyewitnesses.

I was taught by my pastor that a man is only as strong as his study habits. I believe that is true. Personality, talent and inherited wealth will only carry us so far but if the middle chapters get the same treatment as the rest of the book we have substance in our soul that can be gained no other way.


Thursday, December 21, 2017

A Heavenly Calling

"That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing." - Philippians 3:10-16 KJV

We press forward because someone divine has known (apprehended) us. We want to know Him also. We do know Him but we want the next adventure with Him so we can know Him more.

At times we get distracted from this perfect grace mindset of hungering to be with Him by faith as an individual in a group of those who know Him.

This 'pressing forward' is in response to a subjective 'calling over.' A 'come follow me' into situations and endeavours. We aren't attaining anything by effort. We are taking possession by faith of what Christ has won for us. It was His effort. He finished the work of reconnection. Our bodies don't look or feel resurrected but we function as if they will be because we have a promise that they will be. Jesus' body was.

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." - Ephesians 2:4-7 ESV

Press forward by faith.

It pleases God when we do that. It requires faith to do that. It is a faith that can only be accessed by looking to the one who knows everything about us and loves us. That love rises above the muck. It puts us above the details and seeming contradictions. We see Him in glimpses and believe moment to moment and that blesses Him.

One day it will be different but now it is this. Press forward today. Go Heavenward.

"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God." - Colossians 3:1 ESV

This is our calling.


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Finishing Is Good For Our Soul

In the ministry I am a part of we focus on Bible College and the church is linked to that college. The Pastor is an instructor at that college. The college offers degrees that serve as 'accomplishment points'. Ordination can only happen, though it isn't set in stone, after finishing a specific four year course of study. Of course, if the office of Pastor is recognized and the person is operating in that role, there are exceptions. There is flexibility. This provides a 'finish what you start' mentality to the ministry. Tackle the project, endure the hardships and then finish the course which in missions is vital to establish a work. Finishing doesn't necessarily mean staying forever and encouraging growth. Maybe it does but it may, and often does, mean passing the baton to another leader to tackle another project.

"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." - 2 Timothy 2:15 ESV

"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.' Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. 'Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.' " - Luke 14:28-35 ESV

Once you discover your approval you can take things on.

We should take things on and then finish them. It is good for us.

"And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.' " - Matthew 28:18-20 ESV

A disciple has a lifestyle that goes further. If we have been in one nation we go to the next. If we have built a church we train others in the process so they can go or take over when we go.

Perhaps there are a few out there who are condemned by the talk of 'finishing' because they have many 'unfinished things' in their life. There is no condemnation in Christ. Finish what you can finish and be involved in projects that have a start and end date to gain a momentum of finishing.

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

We have a Savior who finished the work of salvation. The completion of that grand project means everything to us. We are hidden in the person of 'The Finisher' and we can have His mind dwell in us.

I plan to finish 2017 well. No striving. Just making it to the finished line. Then I will tackle some new ventures and finish those also. I find that my soul thrives in those new endeavours. The less 'loose ends' the better.

God, please help us in this. We don't want to live powerlessly surrounded by unfinished business. Give us the strength to finish what is before us so we can start a new chapter with You.


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Sons Of The Father

This phrase caught me this morning...

Only a Son of the Father could do this.

"...God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons..." - Galatians 4:4b-5 KJV

Now the larger concept in a more modern translation.

"I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!' So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?" - Galatians 4:1-9 ESV

If we don't operate as children of the Father we will return to operating as subjects to rules. We had to be freed by 'the Son' and become children.

"And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." - Colossians 1:9-14 ESV

We are no longer under 'a power'. We are in God's organized government as heirs to a throne with a King sitting on it that will never die.

Our 'Abba' is the King.

I marvel at that. It is the sweet spot of true freedom yet at the same time a son represents his father and is a reflection of Him to others. What an honor.


Monday, December 18, 2017

Invisible Warfare

I was thinking yesterday about the angels, both fallen and righteous, and how because they are 'invisible' to humanity spiritual warfare is often discounted or missed in situations.

The first step in spiritual warfare is discerning that it is happening.

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 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. 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, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak." - Ephesians 6:12-20 ESV

A big chunk of scripture there. I notice that the writer isn't blaming these 'cosmic powers' per se. I have met Christians that see demons and devil behind every hardship. They blame speeding tickets on 'the devil' and personal responsibility is deemphasize. This writer knows they are sharing a mystery and that there is mysterious resistance to that activity. The armor he recommends is all invisible also. He isn't prescribing a tin foil hat.

How does a blind man or woman 'fight a good fight.'

"By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible." - Hebrews 11:24-27 ESV

"Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit... (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)" - 2 Corinthians 5:5, 7 KJV

Forgiveness and the promise of eternal life are invisible also. The promises are 'spiritual down payments' that motivate us to move forward.

I understand entirely why if a person even mentions angels and demons folks might shake their heads but seeing the invisible is a key to 'not battling against flesh (people) and blood (our own genetics)'.

God give us eyes to see this week. We want to discern the battle so no one gets hurt by friendly fire. Bless our families and friends. Open eyes to the salvation won for us by your Son Jesus. Give us clarity in our thinking and open doors no man could open. We trust you as we look with our sanctified imagination in Heaven's direction and pray to the Father we can't see with our eyes but know with our spirit. Thank You God. Amen and Amen.


Friday, December 15, 2017

Can A Possession Be Blessed?

Yesterday I was thinking a lot about 'relics'... do objects carry a spiritual charge of some kind? Can we be blessed or cursed by ownership or proximity?

"Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that 'an idol has no real existence,' and that 'there is no God but one.' For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth - as indeed there are many "gods" and many 'lords' - yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist." - 1 Corinthians 8:4-6 ESV

"...we know that an idol is nothing..." - 1 Corinthians 8:4b KJV

That passage holds the key for the spiritual person who is in Christ and yet it seems that demons get obsessed and attached to people. They feed superstition and impersonate the dead having memorized details about their habits and behaviour.

"The LORD God said to the serpent, 'Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life...' " - Genesis 3:14 ESV

"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground..." - Genesis 2:7a KJV

Demons are attached to mankind like we are attached to our food sources. God basically said, 'You have messed with mankind now you will be entangled in their affairs.'

Objects don't have power. Beings have power. Objects act according to their attributes. Places are governed by who is in power over them. A radioactive object can hurt us but it isn't spiritual. We don't do well with things that have that attribute.

"And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." - Genesis 1:28 KJV

"Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours. Your territory shall be from the wilderness to the Lebanon and from the River, the river Euphrates, to the western sea." - Deuteronomy 11:24 ESV

We can own what God has given us. Those places don't own us. We own them as stewards of God's nature and character.

"In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah, king of Israel, Hezekiah the son of Ahaz, king of Judah, began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Abi the daughter of Zechariah. And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done. He removed the high places and broke the pillars and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan). He trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him." - 2 Kings 18:1-5 ESV

That bronze serpent was considered a 'relic' in certain circles but a godly king destroyed it see the water wouldn't be muddied up. It isn't things or places. It is God and the God of all grace loves people and gives them the authority to tread on serpents and live above the base desires to worship things.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Heaven Has All The Children

Many many years ago King David had a sick child. That child didn't grow up to adulthood.

"David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground, but he would not, nor did he eat food with them. On the seventh day the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, 'Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spoke to him, and he did not listen to us. How then can we say to him the child is dead? He may do himself some harm.' But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. And David said to his servants, 'Is the child dead?' They said, 'He is dead.' Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate. Then his servants said to him, 'What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.' He said, 'While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, 'Who knows whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?' But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.' " - 2 Samuel 12:16-23 ESV

On the basis of verse 23, it is my firm conviction, that all children go to Heaven. Heaven has all the children.

Hell is filled with adults who say 'no' to God. These adults never said 'Yes' to God. Who can share a house with someone who never agrees with them? How does that work in the long run? There must be some basis of agreement. The first thing we ever agree with God about is His Son Jesus.

One day we will go to see God in His house and it will be filled with children and adults that all agree about one thing. They won't be there because they are good. They, we, will be there because God is good.

I'm praying this morning for all those who are weeping and fasting for a child. They want to see that child grow up to adulthood and prosper. We weep with them and pray with them.

One day all the tears will be wiped away.

"And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken." - Isaiah 25:7-8 ESV

We will dance and play. Joyful laughter will echo on shining streets of gold.


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!

As I get older I miss people more. Not just 'people'. I miss individuals in an individual way. Younger me wouldn't understand if I explained it to him.

I love the contrast in this next passage. Joy, but also a sorrow in Jesus that only someone with foreknowledge can have.

"As he was drawing near - already on the way down the Mount of Olives - the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, 'Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!' And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, 'Teacher, rebuke your disciples.' He answered, 'I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.' And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, 'Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.' " - Luke 19:37-44 ESV

I want Christ's emotional state to instruct my sometimes cold heart. Jesus has always had a hot love. He longs for people. He misses individuals and nations. He knows that how they respond to him determines their fate.

I'm praying for the living this morning. It is vital that we don't miss 'the visitation' of God. He misses us when we are 'gone' in an absent-minded way.

Later we will understand what we can not know now. He loves us seeing what was and what will be. That is beyond us.

'Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!'


Monday, December 11, 2017

Having True Joy This Christmas Season

Good theology shrinks the gap between perception (how we see the world) and expectation (how we would like the world to be). The larger that gap is the more frustrated we are as human beings. If nothing is as it 'should be' for long periods of time we can live in 'prevailing unhappiness'.

Holidays can amplify this undercurrent because of all the expectations involved.

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." - John 16:33 ESV

Yes. The overcomer isn't unhappy.

You may say, 'Who are these people?' but if you have believed YOU are an overcomer.

"As it is written, 'For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 8:36-39 ESV

What is this Christmas going to be like? What will this next year bring? Part of the equation is this gap. Are you living in a lost world that needs Jesus or a movie where the good guy wins at the last minute and the girl always ends up with the man who will love her selflessly?

"Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein." - Hebrews 13:9 KJV

That means we expect that we are going to get negative things at times but that we are given a perfect position by God. Not only does he see us as perfect because of His Son. We also get a stream of provision from our Father just like His Son had a stream of provision when He was walking on the Earth.

I want you to have a Merry Christmas. It would be great if we all have one but there is a deeper issue here.

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

Eating and drinking with people you enjoy and enjoy you is momentary merriment. Peace and Joy with God's essence coursing through us is deeper. That can be had in prison if this gap is small.

God help us to live expecting to get 'what we don't deserve'. We deserve Hell but we are getting Heaven. We merit isolation but we have been given at least one divine person who loves us with an everlasting love.

I hope you see Jesus this Christmas, the Risen Christ and not just the tiny plastic baby in the manger. In His presence the gap between 'how it should be' and 'how it is' fades down to nothing. He Is 'how things should be'. Let Him hold you in His embrace.


Friday, December 8, 2017

Seniority And Service

"Now I urge you, brothers - you know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints - be subject to such as these, and to every fellow worker and laborer." - 1 Corinthians 16:15-16 ESV

Seniority and service. Two things that matter.

I really value the people in my life that have believed and have done it for longer than I have. I study a lot and the danger of that is that a person can begin to think they are an expert but before will always be before. A person that still serves... no is addicted to service... because they believe has something.

I'm not talking about old legalists. No. Paul knew 'the household of Stephanas' and he pointed to them. The grace preacher endorsed them as people to look at and be 'subject to' likely because those folks had humility and would never demand the submission of anyone.

When a culture begins to break down one of the first things that goes is a reverence for the elderly.

I want to value my 'fellow workers' who rest in grace and the finished work. They would never demand it but the one who have been around the block a few times and are still at it have secrets that need to be gleaned if any of us are to also have longevity.


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Enter His Gates

"A Psalm for giving thanks. Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations." - Psalm 100:1-5 ESV

I really like this Psalm.

I didn't want to make 'a joyful noise' to the Lord when I woke up. It has been a hard couple of days for me for whatever reason. Motivation is a little harder to find.

Then I followed the progression of this Psalm...

The Lord is God.
He made us.
We are his people.
We are cared for like sheep.
There is a gate we can enter into.
Enter it!
Pick the attitude of thanksgiving when you enter.
Thank Him personally.
His Love is a forever Love.
He was faithful. He is faithful. He will be faithful to ALL generations.

This Psalm changed my mind and my heart began to follow. I found a motivation that is strong. I found it inside the gate of His property.

"I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me." - Psalm 119:93 KJV


They can enliven us because there is a kingdom right behind, beneath and above them. Evil ones can kill us but God's Heavenly ones can bring us into the gates where there is life.


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Come Unto Me

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." - Matthew 11:28 ESV

"And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love." - Ephesians 4:11-16 ESV

The Apostle Paul says a lot in the Ephesians passage but I see it all as pointing back to Jesus' 'Come unto me.' statement. Leadership is to bring people to Jesus. Leadership points people to Jesus. Leadership teaches people who Jesus is and how accessible His Is. It is always going to be needed because there are always people new to the faith or a generation coming up that need this kind of direction.

I can measure today's success very easily. Did I go to Jesus? Did I point people to myself, or themselves or to a gracious Saviour?

It is amazing how a person can wake up and be 'heavy ladened.' I'm going to Him and laying those burdens down. I suggest you do the same. They will only get heavier as the day goes on. He wants to be your burden bearer. He wants to wash your feet. He wants to spend the day with You.

Let's grow into this together.


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Work Of An Evangelist

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

Sometimes when we go out on Saturday (or other days) for evangelism and someone reacts to us telling them about Jesus I will pose this question, 'Do you know the difference between and preacher and an evangelist?' Then, if they care and don't just want us to go away, they will say, 'No. What is the difference?' then I say something like this, 'A preacher tells people the good news and an evangelist brings people to a place of decision. We are here to present the Gospel clearly so that you will make a decision, either 'Yes' or 'No' but we hope for your sake it will be 'Yes' '.

I would rather someone say, 'No!' than for them to smile and nod just to pacify me. It is better for them to look me in the eye and say, 'No!' because I believe God can use that as their life unfolds. 'No' today may become 'Yes' later.

The Gospel is good news. Sin has been dealt with by Jesus on the cross.

"Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you - unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures," - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 ESV

"...because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." - Romans 10:9 ESV

I said 'No! several times. I just didn't trust that what people said about God, or Jesus, was true. People write history for their own reasons and I wasn't sure we could trust any account of history. Jesus, if He existed at all, could have been a good man that people turned into a god but the 'good news' worked on me. Sin paid for? Really? My sins paid for? I came to a point where I knew I needed a Saviour and this historical figure I was unsure of was available to me today through people. I eventually said 'Yes' and I got dunked in truth and stained by it's vivid colors.

"As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry." - 2 Timothy 4:5 ESV

Yes. Let's fullfill our ministry. It is something we are sure not to regret later.


Monday, December 4, 2017

Love And Mercy Make Greatness

Love and mercy make greatness.

"He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great. You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip." - Psalm 18:34-36 ESV

" '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 causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 'For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 'If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 'Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." - Matthew 5:43-48 NASB