Thursday, December 20, 2018

Formed By Love

One of the things that impressed me most about the Church that invested in me before I received Christ were the children.

"We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death." - 1 John 3:14 ESV

"Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law." - Romans 13:8 ESV

"By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." - John 13:35 ESV

There was love in that place and the children there looked you in the face. I can't say all of them were perfect well-adjusted people. I didn't know all of them. I just saw some of them at certain times and those few encounters impressed me.

I didn't grow up that way.

The love that I saw in those children long ago has made its way into my life. Jesus came in and cleaned house. Much remodelling has taken place over those years. I look people in the eyes now. I hope they see the love there. It is flowing in my heart and life because of God.

"And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." - Ephesians 6:4 KJV

I think the KJV says it best for this passage. This 'nurture' is a brand that can't be counterfeited. Jesus is the ingredient that makes the difference.


Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Strong Nurturing

Just sitting here thinking about the 'nurture' part of the nature vs nurture idea. What does it mean for a child to have love, mercy and structure? What is the value of that investment? I dare say that there are no perfect parents or care givers but God does work through some folks. There is a nurture that flows from Him and that flow is invaluable. We can only give what we have received. That is what we have in our pockets. We can only lead someone somewhere we have already been.

Jesus came from God's throne and has returned there. He has been to the other side of death's door to places no one has returned from. He loves from the Father's heart of love because He has gathered that Love right from the Father. He can nurture like no one else can.

It is good to also keep in mind that He Is this person...

"And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." - Revelation 19:11-16 KJV

The lion and the lamb.

His nurture has strength behind it.


Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Sound In The Multitude

I've been thinking a great deal about good vs bad and belief vs unbelief and how they are different economies. A person who believes can be both good and bad but there is a quality there that transcends all of that.

"As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. They told him, 'Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.' And he cried out, 'Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!' And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, 'Son of David, have mercy on me!' " - Luke 18:35-39 ESV

Did that man discern something about this multitude? Did he hear something different in the voices of the people? Clearly, not everyone following Jesus was 'good'. He was rebuked by a few of them.

This blind man cried, 'Son of David' and that was a special thing to say. He was acknowledging Jesus' Messiahship. He wasn't saying, 'Help me I'm a good man who needs help.' No. He was saying, 'I believe in You.'

"And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, 'What do you want me to do for you?' He said, 'Lord, let me recover my sight.' And Jesus said to him, 'Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.' And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God." - Luke 18:40-43 ESV

That was the sound This blind man heard. He heard people in the midst of the multitude glorifying God. Good and bad are all around us. There is nothing extraordinary about that. It is very subjective.

"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 2:15 ESV

Accusing and excusing and it is all natural thinking. We can be in places where the standards are so impossibly high that this is happening all the time and people's thoughts are occupied with accusations and excuses but the blind man heard a different sound in this multitude. It wasn't a crowd of perfect people praising each other's perfection. People were glorifying God and Jesus was in the center of that crowd. He was the person that was making that happen.

We can jump on to the treadmill of performance today but people need to hear a different sound. Some will look for the source of that sound and find Him. He Is the man with healing in His wings. He Is God Himself walking in the multitude that magnifies His name.


Wednesday, December 12, 2018


Thirst and dehydration.

We are back in that season where I need to have water right on the nightstand. I need that water even though I don't wake up thirsty. The heat needed to keep my dwelling place comfortable also pulls the water right out of the air.

"...As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?" - Psalm 42:1b-2 ESV


Our soul needs God like the deer pants after running and looks for that cool water. Perhaps he or she has been running for its life away from a predator and didn't take a calculated path. It just runs until no one is chasing anymore and now that deer needs water.

Drink now. You need it and so do i. Drink of God's mercy. Sip on His enlightened point of view. Your soul needs it much more than you think it does.


Friday, December 7, 2018

Seeing A Person As If They Were Christ Himself

Here are a few passages I was looking at this morning as I was pondering the idea of seeing people 'as if they were Christ Himself' while still understanding that all people are fallen and flawed in different ways and degrees.

"...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus," - Romans 3:23-24 ESV

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' " - Matthew 25:34-40 ESV

"But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side and said to them, 'Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.' " - Luke 9:47-48 ESV


God give us these eyes. We need your eyes of love and grace. There is great dignity in this.


Thursday, December 6, 2018

Learning About Love

I could post this as a quiz but it is something I have been thinking about lately (especially when I see someone preparing food).

Why do food preparation workers to wear those plastic gloves:
a) To keep their hands clean
b) To keep their bosses happy
c) To keep the food sanitary
d) All of the above

I often see people who think 'a' and 'b' are the correct answers. They are just doing what they are told but they don't really know why they do what they do. Option 'c' doesn't happen because the person doesn't know or perhaps they don't care why they need to do what they are being asked to do.

Perhaps the person thinks, 'We only have one box of these so I'll wear this pair as long as possible to make the gloves last. The boss will see me wearing gloves and I won't use very many of them and that will make my employer even happier.'

The purpose of the gloves is to keep the food sanitary so the customer gets a clean wholesome meal. The bosses happiness is just misunderstood even though it may have been explained once after the person was hired. If the person who doesn't understand the gloves trains other people they further perpetuate the myth of false compliance.

'All of the above' is a good answer because if the food is sanitary then the other things are also happening as a side effect.

" '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 grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." - 2 Corinthians 13:14 ESV

Do we understand what love really is and what it is for? No, I don't think we do. The Holy Spirit must teach us, illuminate us and fill our heart with love in order for us to have a moment by moment understanding that love is unity with the Father. Love has side effects but those effects are not the primary goal.

If we misunderstand the gloves we handle the food and trash with the same gloves and think we are exceeding what is expected.

Jesus is the way we understand Love. He is the description of love. He is the bridge and conduit of love.

"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." - Romans 5:1-5 ESV

Wow. Yes.

The Holy Spirit must be our teacher and we are fortunate that He Is a wonderful capable instructor. He shows us that we are loved by a perfect love. If we are good we are loved. If we fail and weakness or even rebellion fills our heart for a season God's love is unchanged. His love is holy love.

Jesus knew the Father's love was 'for' the people who were crucifying Him. He could and did love because He understood love. That love brought Him to a cross.

That love is 'The Love' the people around us need to experience.


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

It Starts With One Person

In my book about hospitality the author was talking about 'becoming hospitable' and he said it starts by welcoming one person into your heart and then doing it again and again.

I like that and think it is true but the desire to become that way usually starts with being around a hospitable person or being the recipient of hospitality. We see it and value it and want it in our life.

Sharing the Gospel is like that also. It can be an uncomfortable and socially dangerous thing to do because faith and unbelief can be very private for many people. Perhaps they weren't ever around people who talk this way or were comfortable about discussing these things. Darkness looks like a good place to hide. It isn't but it looks that way.

I think of 'soul winning' as sharing God's hospitality. Jesus came and died on a cross to welcome people into His Father's heart again.

"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, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve... Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me... But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain..." - 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, 8, 10a ESV

When we are hospitable we are saying, 'This is my life (meal, home, car) and I welcome you into it. You are important and wanted. What I am having I offer to you also. Let's share this.'

It is beautiful and I want to grow in this concept, skill and lifestyle.

But, When we give the Gospel we are saying, 'I am what I am by the grace of God and I'm comfortable with myself. This is God's gift to me and I want you to have this also.'

That is divine. It is supernatural in the most basic and organic way. It is a sublime gift.

It can be something we do if we just start doing it. We talk to one person. We spend time with people who do this and then we become a person who people want to spend time with because they want to learn how to do it.


Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Time We Spend Each Month

Ok. I had more vivid dreams last night and I remembered parts of them now.

I was on the main street of a small town and people were lined up with tables in front of them. Someone was counting off months of the year. A voice would say a month and year and then pause 'November 2016... December 2016... January 2017...' and people would move very quickly like a video being put on fast forward (they must have been angels) and the tables would fill up with all kinds of things. Paper, pencils, cash and coins would pile up and someone with a clipboard would count everything out loud. Then all the things would disappear and refill when the voice called out another month.

'Ten pieces of paper, 4 staples, 3 hours, $193 and 27 cents...'

The people behind the tables didn't move quickly. They stood very calmly behind their tables like they were patiently waiting for these tallies to happen. One couple was holding a child and as the months ticked by the child got older and was eventually standing on his own. Their clothing changed each month and styles grew more modern.

Some people had nothing on their table at all as the months got ticked off and others had piles of things and money so high it surrounded them.

I remember being amazed that everything was being counted no matter how small it was. Even the staples used to bind paper together were all counted very studiously.

This was just a dream of course but it brings different passages to mind.

"Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." - Matthew 6:31-34 ESV

"When Jesus heard this, he said to him, 'One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.' " - Luke 18:22 ESV

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." - Ephesians 5:15-17 ESV

"Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person." - Colossians 4:5-6 ESV

In the dream, I was a spectator but as I sit here now I think of myself as someone standing behind one of those tables with angels filling up my table, tallying it up and taking it away. My God doesn't want me to work anything up. I am not trying to DO anything. God is love and has filled me with love and I 'seek His kingdom' in recognition that each moment is a gift and it can be spent involved in the things that God is interested in.

"So He said to them, 'When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven...' " - Luke 11:2 NKJV

Yes. When we pray. When we speak. This is how we can spend our time.

Jesus hallowed the name of the Father in everything He did. Christ revealed the invisible God and when we reveal Christ we hallow the name of the Father also.


Monday, December 3, 2018

The Inside Of The Cup

Who can clean their own soul? This next passage is interesting and was the subject of much meditation this weekend.

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean." - Matthew 23:25-26 ESV

We can not see inside ourselves much less reach a spiritual brush inside but Jesus made statements like this to reveal a need that only God could meet. We can only try to clean the outside but Jesus says that if the inside gets clean the outside will be clean and our interactions won't pollute other people.

"...having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word," - Ephesians 5:26b ESV

"And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit," - Luke 1:41 ESV

"And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit," - Ephesians 5:18 ESV

We can't Cleanse our soul but God can. He is the only one who can. This combination of Spirit filling, fellowship and the intake of God's word cleanses us from inside out.

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

Grace teaching shows us God's character. Jesus finished the work on Calvary. He did all that needed to be done.

"He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, 'Lord, do you wash my feet?' Jesus answered him, 'What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.' Peter said to him, 'You shall never wash my feet.' Jesus answered him, 'If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.' Simon Peter said to him, 'Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!' Jesus said to him, 'The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.' For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, 'Not all of you are clean.' " - John 13:6-11 ESV

There is a deep cleansing that happens when we know Christ but there is an ongoing one that allows for a fellowship to continue.

God, We pray for those around us that need that deep cleansing and others that need their feet washed. Fill us with your Spirit as we meditate on your words. Draw us near to fellowship with people who are filled with your Spirit in good times and in difficult ones. Thank You God. You are our Rock and salvation.


Thursday, November 29, 2018

A City Set On A Hill

Last night I woke up and texted myself 'Light on a Hill' and went back to sleep. (texting myself is my go-to 'pen and paper' on the nightstand method). This morning I started thinking of the qualities of a 'light on a hillside' and realized I was a bit off base once I looked up the passage.

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." - Matthew 5:14-16 ESV

Wow. Our faith is a city on a hillside. 'The Faith' that is being manifested through a believer is light in this world. The definite article (the) before faith seems to say that this light is the only light there. It stands alone in a dark region. Amazing.

This city can't be hidden. Scouts that pass through the region see a city like that and mark it on their mental maps. Different people have different motives for canvassing the land but no matter what the reason is... a city like that can't be hidden.

'...In the same way, let your light shine before others...'

Perhaps we want to be visible to some and invisible to others but it doesn't work that way.

I inwardly rejoice at negative reactions from people who know where I stand and react to me because of it.

A wise friend and I were talking about a believer we know who has gone into eternity (Ray Kurowski) and how imperfect men have made such an eternal impact on our world. Flawed men. Men who not many people on Earth knew but they may not have left a large imprint out on the internet but they were and are 'the light of the world'.

Unknown on Earth but well known in Heaven.

You may not know or see the impact you have but scouts mark you on their map as a landmark because the light in and around you is visible to those who pass by.


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

My Dream About Remembering

Last night I had funny dreams about a town where everyone forgot things. They all knew that in their special town that was prone to happen and they adapted as best they could in their collective partial remembrance. I woke up thinking, 'This would make a good series of books if it hasn't already been done.'

Then I opened my, 'Ariel's Harmony of the Gospels' to pick up where I left off yesterday and it turns out I'm in a section called, 'The Rejection of the First Sign of Yonah' page 181. In the next few sections the author has collected different portions in the Gospels where Christ was rejected.

After Lazarus came alive again the Pharisees had a meeting. They were sure that Jesus' actions were going to bring the fury of Rome down on Israel. The logic was that Jesus would displace their influence and they would no longer be able to protect the people. They decided Jesus needed to die so that wouldn't happen. This is all recorded in John 11:45-54. After that Jesus withdrew from preaching openly and starting operating in the wilderness of Ephraim.

That brought me back to my dream. Don't we all live sometimes in the 'town where everyone forgets'? We cope as best we can but we know in our heart that things are not right. There should be more clarity.

Jesus withdrew long ago because the powers in charge refused to see Him as being the embodiment of resurrection life. Instead they saw Him as a threat to their fragile control over their situation. He withdrew like our memory can withdraw leaving us struggling to recall the name associated with a familiar face.

It is very human to want control but exercising control has a price. We can miss the moment. We can forsake the mercy God wants to give us. Perhaps our tight grasp doesn't resemble the murder plot described in John 11 but I think it mirrors it far more than we realize. Those simple uneducated fishermen were thinking much more clearly in that situation.


Sunday, November 25, 2018

Overhearing God's Conversation

Young Joshua was learning to listen with his heart and not just his head.

"When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the LORD would speak with Moses. And when all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise up and worship, each at his tent door. Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent." Exodus 33:9-11 ESV

What wonders did he hear outside of God's tent. Others will listen outside of their own tents. Joshua listened to God and Moses talk. We listen to Jesus speak from the Bible in front of God's throne.

I want to overhear Him... not put words into His mouth.


Friday, November 23, 2018

Today Is The Day Of Salvation

"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." Matthew 19:24 ESV

This is repeated in three of the Gospels.

The eye of the needle was a place where merchants came in and out to trade but the animals needed to stay outside. It was a small entrance.

Yesterday won't fit into today's salvation. A rich person needs to leave that richness at the door. Jesus inhabits today and tomorrow. He is the alpha and omega of right now.

The throne of grace is a couple of steps past what is natural. While His disciples were sleeping Jesus took those extra steps into the garden of Gethsemane. He left His camels outside and prayed. He could have called down a company of angels while He was on that cross but He didn't. We also have that privilege if our spirit is alive and the word has divided soul from spirit. We can be unselfconsciously poor and meet with God on His good terms at His gracious throne.


Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving And The Burning Bush

Today is 'Thanksgiving' in the United States and embedded in the day are many concepts. Thankfulness is just one of them. I personally think the attitude of thankfulness is vital. When someone is not thankful for whatever reason there is something truly lacking emotionally. It is a symptom of living in deception. God consciousness involves thankfulness.

I'm not saying this to condemn anyone. Truly. This day called 'Thanksgiving' may not fill you with joy for a dozen reasons and I understand.

My personal theme for some months has been hospitality and it has become a real source of thankfulness for me. I want to have a thankful heart. I think it is only right and good for God to look at me and see a thankful person but isn't 'natural' for some people. I would say most people. I need to stir it up in my heart and then keep doing it so it becomes a rhythm and pattern.

Today I thought of the burning bush. That bush was burning for Moses. Dry brush often caught fire in the desert but that brush would burn itself out quickly. That one bush kept burning and it caught his attention. He didn't walk straight towards it. The Hebrew suggests he made his way towards it in a roundabout way but when he got there God spoke and immediately called him by name, set up a boundary of movement and declared that the ground Moses was standing on was holy.

"When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, 'Moses, Moses!' And he said, 'Here I am.' Then he said, 'Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.' And he said, 'I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. Then the LORD said, 'I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.' " - Exodus 3:4-10 ESV

This was a visitation. It was a 'day of visitation' and I see hospitality written all over it. I'm sure Moses never forgot that day and thought about it again and again. Moses wrote Exodus. I read it now and this encounter has become mine. It is like a treasure map written by someone long ago but now I have it in my hands. I look for familiar landmarks and match them to my surroundings.

Thankfulness is the treasure.

I sit here stirring myself up and counting my many blessings moving from physical things to relationships. I think of events and possibilities and moments in time. I sift through the sand to find shells knowing that if I could look at that sand through a microscope the sand itself would appear wonderous in its varied shapes and colors.

God visits men. I am so thankful for that.

I hope you have a wonderful day today and hope above all things that your heart is filled with thankfulness or at least that you start on a path for that to happen.

Jesus is our burning bush. You can't extinguish His love. Do you see Him? Make your way over to that light. He is burning for you.


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

White Fields?

Yesterday two of my posts got swallowed whole by the internet. Should I take it as a sign and stop posting? No.

"If I say, 'I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,' there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot." - Jeremiah 20:9 ESV

"Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. The sluggard says, 'There is a lion in the road! There is a lion in the streets!' As a door turns on its hinges, so does a sluggard on his bed." - Proverbs 26:12-14 ESV

If you or I continually do something and there is little or no response should we consider changed tactics or locations? Maybe.

"Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, then comes the harvest'? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.' " - John 4:35 ESV

"And he said to them, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.' " - Luke 10:2 ESV

Yes. There is a harvest out there. Some movement may be necessary and that is good. I see this time as a harvest time. In the ancient times, those were hectic days. Once the crop turned 'white' it needed to be brought in or it might rot out there in the field. If one place 'gave up its yield' the next field needed to be done.

When readership numbers are down and stay that way I start to think about this. Should I move on? Is there a white field nearby that only has a few workers? Am I being stubborn? Perhaps I don't like the sound of some loud fellows voice over in that next field so I don't go there but in this narrow window of time can I afford to be 'picky' in that way?

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." - 2 Corinthians 5:10 KJV

Useful or useless... Prayer is vital.

Here is another good one.

" 'All things are lawful for me,' but not all things are helpful. 'All things are lawful for me,' but I will not be dominated by anything." - 1 Corinthians 6:12 ESV

Prayer. We need prayer and eyes that are looking for something in particular to discern the will of God.

"Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that wicked servant says to himself, 'My master is delayed,' and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." - Matthew 24:45-51 ESV

We are not servants only. We are sons and daughters who serve. We will never be cast out but our works might go up in flames in the light of day if they are of the flammable kind. Still. This is a good principle.

"And He said to them, 'Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?' " - Luke 2:49 NKJV

Yes. This is the mind of Christ. We are about our Father's business.

Pray with me if you would. I'm not writing just to hear my own voice. Perhaps this is a time to shift gears. If so, I want to be available to do that.


Monday, November 19, 2018

A Fiery Dart

Yesterday I was listening to Ravi Zacharias and he was speaking about the boldness of Christ to claim that He would rise from the grave and that His body would be alive again. What a claim that was! A fraud would say, 'I will guide you spiritually after my death.' because it is an easy claim.

Then a thought came in like a dagger, 'Why do you even listen to that book? It is a claim from an imaginary person. If He ever lived at all He is dead and buried just like everyone else.'

That my friend is a fiery dart. A thought lit on fire.

I'd like to say I'm immune to such things but who is immune to fire? Thank God I have a shield called 'faith'. This faith is not general. It is very specific. God created the world and everything in it. He gave men words. In due season those words become a book. Technology progressed. That book was mass produced. Jesus' life was recorded in that book so that His claim of a bodily resurrection would be known and heard by me and millions of others.

Paul said this...

"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, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God." - 1 Corinthians 15:3-9 ESV

Statements like, 'Do you really believe that stuff.' and 'They don't really love you.' or 'Who are you to try and do that. You are weak and unimportant in the grand scheme of things.' are just lies. Easy lies. Lies meant to prey on vulnerable people like you and me. Our limitations seem obvious but are they? What can a person with a shield do? What can your little life mean if God is leading and guiding you?

Once again I choose to be the fool who believes the Bible. I choose to say, 'What I do today is important because I carry God in my heart and He carries me through this life.'

The darts will come. Like a gust of wind, they can interrupt your picnic and send a few paper plates flying. It happens but they can't touch the Rock and those who hide in Christ hide in a strong tower that won't be moved or burned down by doubts like that. It isn't that they are not dangerous. They are and people have become shipwrecked because they had no shield or left it somewhere out of reach.

'He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.' - Jim Elliot (A wise young man who died on the mission field but people still quote him today)

So... Don't buy the cheap lie. Buy the truth and sell it not.


Friday, November 16, 2018

Properties Of Light

I'm beginning to see light in a different way.

There is math out there that describes light as being three dimensional instead of flat. It has tornado like properties. When God said, 'Let there be Light.' we may picture a burst of color appearing in darkness but I'm thinking now that it was more like God was adding a third dimension to our universe. A square becomes a cube. A blueprint becomes a three dimensional object with depth that can be seen. Then God added more complexity to that new medium.

The pillar of cloud by day and fire by night comes to mind. The three dimensional water spout that mingles the water from Earth and sky because high pressure meets low pressure and a spiral is formed.

Jesus says He Is the, 'Light of the world.' and that understanding parallels the idea that He is the 'finger of God' spoken of in the Hebrew scriptures. He is the highest person who reached the lowest place a person can go and returned to tell the tale.

He bring illumination into darkness. He Is the only way that void can be bridged. Eyes need light or they don't 'see'. Souls need Jesus or they remain dead two dimensional blueprints that never made it into spiritual production.

In this model light does not 'travel'. It is more like a crack that forms in the ice. Pressure is exerted because of forces at play and color is the result. God is everywhere present all the time. Jesus illuminates a depth that was unseen. To say, 'You must know Him' is very much like saying, 'Open your eyes' or 'Awake thou that sleepeth'. He is life out of death.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Heading Into Potential Danger

I was reading this passage and Jesus' reasoning really caught me. This is a great picture of why we enter 'risky' situations...

"Then after this he said to the disciples, 'Let us go to Judea again.' The disciples said to him, 'Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?' Jesus answered, 'Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.' After saying these things, he said to them, 'Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.' The disciples said to him, 'Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.' Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, 'Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.' So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, 'Let us also go, that we may die with him.' " - John 11:7-16 ESV

The addict pursuing their addiction is a 'night walker'. They risk in hope of a fix. Lust drives this pursuit. Lust is blinding.

A spiritual person operates as a 'day walker' and risk is something taken into account in the light of what is at stake for someone else.

I can really relate to Thomas here. He sees the risk and wants to stay safe but at the same time He has tasted what it like to travel with Jesus so goes and even kind of sarcastically encourages someone else to go also.

Perhaps this risk is real physical danger or it might even be the risk of being emotionally unsettled (annoyed, saddened, angered, etc..). We protect ourselves in funny ways don't we? If we feel vulnerable and can either dive into danger as a 'night walkers' hoping for some relief or we can hold back and protect ourselves.

Missionaries are daywalkers.

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

Yes. That is how Jesus was thinking. Do we dare to think with Him and let His brave mind dwell in us?


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Holy Ground

Holy ground is not like other places. Bushes burn and are not consumed. Darkness, thunder and lightning are there. One man glows with glory and Patriarchs speak. It is a place where a shoe must be removed so that skin touches the Earth. Minds change and are elevated because Heaven is overlapping with Earth in an unexplainable way.

If Jesus is just a regular man the mental ground you are standing on is common but if you have eyes to see He Is the Alpha and Omega that same ground is transformed. God is sending people from holy ground. He speaks on holy ground. The smoke of His glory fills that place. Love has terrible power. Judgements that cleanse are proclaimed. On holy ground God is immensely large and we are grateful witnesses to eternal history unfolding.

Golgotha was a bad place. It was a haunted killing ground but Jesus transformed it because of what He gave us. People have defiled minds and we all have places in our soul that are fallow. No plow has ever turned the soil but if Jesus visits that place it will be made holy. If He speaks life there it is a declaration that echoes into forever.

The Gospel has power. Revealing Jesus turns the common places into one where the shoe must come off. Mercy takes red guilt and replaces it with whiteness.


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Hard And Dirty Tasks

In the seventh verse of Philippians chapter two it says Jesus emptied Himself and took on the 'form of a servant.' That word for servant would be better translated slave or bondservant. These servants did the hard and dirty tasks. This person who was comfortable in and sure of His divine status daily woke up and found Himself as a human being. He wrapped a towel around Himself and washed His disciples feet. He healed people. He went out into nowhere to talk to one woman at a well. As a lamb sent to the slaughter He opened not His mouth. We think of that verse in application of His death but He was a man acquainted with sorrow who had joy above His fellows.

You can't help but get the impression that Jesus understood the hardness of life in a very personal way. He didn't shy away from what needed to be said or done. Perhaps because He wasn't worried about the consequences of doing what was next afraid that His life might get harder. A servant is already doing what no one else wants to do. He lived in joy as He did everything to the glory of His Father in Heaven.

Is it beneath us to serve? No. It is a protection. It is being like Jesus. It is strategic. We can be brave as servants. Jesus can strengthen us in that mindset. Maybe we want strength to reign but God wants to supply us the strength to serve so that we can reign as rulers who are not afraid to roll up our sleeves and do the hard and dirty tasks.


Monday, November 12, 2018

He Became A Man

God became a man. He ate. He slept. He wore and washed clothes. He got cold. He had friends and enemies. Demons feared Him. The Father loved Him. Amazing. This 'person' is sitting in Heaven now. That is a place we can't imagine but there is a person there who we can relate to and He can relate to us. His word holds our world together. We can be quiet because He has spoken. We can rest because we are known and accepted.


Friday, November 9, 2018

An Extra Large Place

It is hard to imagine that God has trouble finding guests for His party but imagine if you rented an extra large hall because you wanted to bless a big group of people.. God's heart (kingdom) is very large... He Is Love... He wants to make many people into special guests.

"... Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper." - Luke 14:21b-24 KJV

A major theme in my life lately has been 'hospitality'. I want to grow in this area. I see Jesus with twelve men around him and a multitude that grew and shrunk at different times in His Earthly ministry. He was and Is hospitable.

In the world, people want to have celebrities at their parties. Those gatherings are not for needy people. They are for people who can afford to look their best. The camera may zoom in on the token few who are invited to represent a needy group. God's room could hold that whole group. It can hold whole countries and nationalities.

Jesus invites 'celebrities' also but earlier in the chapter we see that many of those people refuse to come. Still, God has a big room and He wants to fill it. The poor, maimed and halt are not only welcome God wants them there. He sends people out to get them and those folks have needs that might prevent them if they didn't have help and encouragement.

Seeing God's large dining room dazzles and convicts me to live a more expansive life and not just a one crafted around the comfort of a few loved ones.

"Lift up your eyes all around, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be carried on the hip. Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult, because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the LORD. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered to you; the rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you; they shall come up with acceptance on my altar, and I will beautify my beautiful house. Who are these that fly like a cloud, and like doves to their windows? For the coastlands shall hope for me, the ships of Tarshish first, to bring your children from afar, their silver and gold with them, for the name of the LORD your God, and for the Holy One of Israel, because he has made you beautiful." - Isaiah 60:4-9 ESV

Are there extra chairs for guests in my heart? Perhaps that is a good investment.


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Honored Guests

In Luke chapter 14 Jesus speaks of the honored places at the host's table. He warns us that if we take them without being invited we might get displaced. Today I am thinking of those seats like the ideas we most cherish and want to keep near us. If we humble ourselves then we may get invited to the host's table in a person's life.

I invite Jesus to sit at my table. Worry can't have that seat. Shame and regret can go sit somewhere else. I want Jesus at my table. I want His thought to be right at my elbow.

Who sits close to you? It is your choice.


Monday, November 5, 2018

'I Know My Plans For You', Declares The Lord

This next passage is a wonderful promise given to Israel but it was given at a time when there were false prophets in their midst giving false hope.

"For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." - Jeremiah 29:10-11 ESV

We are not a nation in captivity but we are people who live in a perverse world. Things are not the way they are 'supposed to be' in relationships and politics. The ecosystem on our planet is suffering.

People retreat into fiction and there are always folks very ready to tell a good story to make people feel better.

There are two things that stand out to me in this passage from Jeremiah.

First, God is saying that what He has planned is on a strict timetable that he has ordained.

Secondly, (this is the first time I'm seeing this) God is talking 'from' the place of deliverance. He says, 'I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place'. He does not say 'that place'. He says 'this place' like He is standing in the place where He Is going to bring them as He Is making the promise.

This morning I am picturing Jesus seated at the right hand of the Father saying, 'I am standing here but one day you will be with me. Everything is timed out. The future I have planned is full of hope and to bring good things into your life.'

We can want things to be a certain way and there are voices out there that will declare that 'God' is saying all kinds of things that He just isn't saying. We need the objectivity of the Bible more now than ever before. God has spoken. It is all written in a book. We need the hope that God has given us. False hope will cause us to have a false emphasis which will lead to disappointment and disillusionment.

Our promises come from a Saviour who is seated at the right hand of the Father. Jesus Is our hope. It isn't in things or outcomes. It is in knowing Him and making Him known.


Saturday, November 3, 2018

Kenosis And Evangelism

Kenosis is self-emptying. It was part of the strategy used by the Trinity to redeem man. Jesus emptied Himself of power, wealth and privileges to fully identify with us.

That is like being let down on a rope into the deepest mineshaft imaginable to perform a rescue. You are only getting out again if the person at the top is trustworthy.

I associate evangelism with Kenosis. Some try to dazzle people and win them with a better argument. They use the promise of wealth, power and privilege to win a person but identification is the method the Trinity employs. Jesus said, 'The son of man has come...' and it was a bridge from the divine to the person who was lowest and highest in societies view.

I feel like a farmer talking to people. I am not powerful, influential or privileged. I am a person just like them but I have good seed to sow. It is seed that can spring up, 'to eternal life' if it finds good soil and takes root.


Friday, November 2, 2018

Jeroboam And The Man Of God

New Mercies. They are our daily provision. We interpret situations with them. We bring them into each relationship. The believer has newness each and every day. The prophets in the Hebrew scriptures are a great example of this. They lived in the fresh word they received from God in the midst of an often perverse world and culture. They confronted the wrongs in Israel but if they were in their right mind they didn't 'return the way they came in' to the situation.

"And he gave a sign the same day, saying, 'This is the sign that the LORD has spoken: 'Behold, the altar shall be torn down, and the ashes that are on it shall be poured out.'' And when the king heard the saying of the man of God, which he cried against the altar at Bethel, Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, 'Seize him.' And his hand, which he stretched out against him, dried up, so that he could not draw it back to himself. The altar also was torn down, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign that the man of God had given by the word of the LORD. And the king said to the man of God, 'Entreat now the favor of the LORD your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored to me.' And the man of God entreated the LORD, and the king's hand was restored to him and became as it was before. And the king said to the man of God, 'Come home with me, and refresh yourself, and I will give you a reward.' And the man of God said to the king, 'If you give me half your house, I will not go in with you. And I will not eat bread or drink water in this place, for so was it commanded me by the word of the LORD, saying, 'You shall neither eat bread nor drink water nor return by the way that you came.' ' So he went another way and did not return by the way that he came to Bethel." - 1 Kings 13:3-10 ESV

We can't fellowship with the way of compromise. Jeroboam's brother Rehoboam had made bad decisions and those decisions split the Hebrews into two nations. People who were loyal to Jeroboam's family stayed with him but he could not worship in the 'right place' so he set up a new place of worship that God could not and did not endorse.

Still... God had new mercy for Jeroboam. All he had to do was ask for it.

Often times we can look at people in the Bible and see that God gives us an account of them to reveal a mindset or method. I see Jeroboam as the 'old me' who is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Others have made bad decisions and I have to live with the consequences and there are no easy answers. The prophet is the 'new man' or 'new me'. He enters with clarity and mercy and somehow exits another way like the wind.

"The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." - John 3:8 ESV

One nation became two. Then after many trials and finally captivities the remnant of this nation returned in unity again and rebuilt the wall and temple (see Nehemiah, Ezra and 2 Chronicles 36:22f). We start out innocent but then something happens. The world harasses us and eventually, we are taken captive but Jesus brings us back 'into the land' in newness. We become a remnant. A people that lives in and moves in mercy.

Today is a day where we might be tempted to fellowship with the old but we have a new option. We can enter in mercy and leave in new mercy because we see Jesus. Wow. Thank You God.


Thursday, November 1, 2018

October And Some Thoughts On Division And Unification

October was an interesting full month. We spent a wonderful weekend with family up north. I attending a funeral. There was a business trip I took to go to a conference where most of the people there spent several days with a big group of people we didn't know before we got there. I watch groups form in healthy and unhealthy ways. One Saturday my plans got rearranged because a friend needed a ride. That diversion added to my life but I also didn't get things done that I had planned to do and that affected me also. I've been reading some wonderful Quaker writers who come at things from an angle I am not used to but have weighty things to say.

I sit here now thinking about why people come together, why we split apart and How God is involved in all of it. To find answers and definition I go to the scriptures and look there. I know I have biases and if I want to find real answers the scripture is where God will speak to me. My mathematics is flawed. My theology can become self-justifying.

At one point the nation that arose from Abraham's offspring split into two nations Israel and Judah. People got polarized and two groups formed. Both Israel and Judah ending up captive to foreign powers but they were brought into captivity at different times. Solomon was the last king to rule over a unified nation.

The reasons we split apart are many but in October I saw people come together at that funeral. I saw it happen at the conference and on our family trip. I met with people because a friend had a need. There was a cost involved in all of these ventures.

I sit here now conspiring with God and asking Him to give me creativity. Funerals bring people together that might not ever get together but are in one place on that one day. That is one way things happen but I want to see people joined in happier ways and for happier reasons don't you?

Help us God. Bring us together. We can form groups based on preference but that actually leads to divisions. Your cause has a purity found nowhere else. You bring life out of death.

"But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony." - Colossians 3:8-14 ESV

In Christ that which was separate becomes one.


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A Look At Submission And Divine Command Ethics

Two concepts are on my mind this morning.

'Divine Command Ethics' - God tells us to do this and not to do that as individuals like He instructed Israel as a nation.


What some groups refer to as ESS (The Eternal Subordination of the Son) which paints the Son as eternally submitting to the Father instead of just taking on the role of a servant for a time in the incarnation, then being exalted by the Father and returning to a co-equal role and sitting on the throne with Him.

I see great linkages between these two concepts. Are we submitting for a time so that redemption can happen in time and space or are we submitted forever?

Do we force submission on others?

What kind of submission is expected in marriage and family? How is our Church leadership structured? If you are a man how do you see and treat women?

Big questions aren't they?

Evolution or natural selection says the fittest will survive. The weak will eventually bow down to the strong. Religion forces submission by divine decree but what is spiritual?

"You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you." - Galatians 5:4-8 ESV

"And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, 'If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.' " - Mark 9:35 ESV

Freedom is an interesting thing. The Israelites faced a crisis when they left Eygpt. It was a freedom crisis. They didn't have anyone to tell them what to do anymore. They asked for rules and God gave them rules because they had no capacity to look at Him and be led in freedom. That generation died in the wilderness.

"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

Jesus obeyed the rules for us. He won our salvation and as a last act of submission, He fell backwards into the arms of God trusting that His Father would raise Him up again. Now He sits at the right hand of God and all those who believe sit there also because they are hidden in His victory forever.

"And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you." - 1 Peter 5:4-7 ESV

We now have a capacity to willing humble ourselves also and not lose our dignity doing it. There is a crown waiting for all those who fall backwards into the arms of God in circumstances because Christ has finished the work of mandatory spiritual submission.


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Power Of Jesus' Life

At a 'face to face' service this weekend many statements were spoken that really touched me. One of them was (paraphrased)...

'By the power of His own life Christ raised the dead'

Another was...

'Jesus said, 'Lazarus come forth' and if He didn't call him by name everyone would have come out of their graves.'


There was power in this one laid down life. Jesus humbled Himself and God the Father exalted Him. He emptied Himself of the power and majesty He had before time began and became the very image of a servant and died in our place. Now God has raised Him up and He Is seated at God's right hand in the place of power.

Heroes. They do something with the life they have been given.

I can't raise the dead. Can you? But we can live covered by the life of Christ and walk in His power by faith. We can be heroes of faith.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Jesus Wept

Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem and He wept when He saw people mourning the death of His friend Lazarus. He wasn't weeping because of the circumstances. He was weeping because of the unbelief of the people. His compassion was, and is, Heavenly. God sees the present and future complications of unbelief and it saddens Him.

When we lose someone or our nation is suffering under oppression it saddens us but there is a deeper root issue. God can take us under His wing. Death is not the end for those who trust that Christ is the resurrection. Will we trust Him? God has joy if we trust Him because He can work in different comforting ways If we trust Him

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

He Knows Everyone

I am from NYC and many years ago I was visiting my family and in Manhattan with my bags ready to go back to Bible college. I had several hours before my bus so I decided to go to Times Square, get something to eat and pray for people as they walked by. I did this for about an hour but then I started to get overwhelmed. There were so many people. Hundreds. Thousands. I would look at one and try to take in something about them and pray but I had to stop. It was too much. It was far beyond my capacity. The waves just kept coming. I realized that growing up in a crowded place didn't prepare me for crowds like that. I had learned to tune them out not take them in to my heart.

I sat on that bus traveling back to college praising a God who knows every face and every story. I felt privileged to know Him and commune with Him. I feel that way again now as I sit here. No one is truly lost in the crowd. He sees them. We couldn't possibly see or remember everyone but He does.

Monday, October 22, 2018

He Brings The Party To Us

I really love this picture.

"Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants!" - Luke 12:35-38 ESV

Can we imagine God this way? Can we see him as a boss who just got married and is full of joy. At the same time can we see our lives like a person working the second or third shift on a job. He visits and brings the party to us and serves us because of a great overflow in His heart.

This is a 'boss' that comes and brings cake. The 'supervisor' must dread when He shows up at work because this 'boss' serves and tells stories and production comes to a halt until He leaves because He has everyone laughing and enjoying themselves when He is there. This is the one person the 'supervisor' has no power over because this is The King of kings and Lord of Lords.

It is Monday and perhaps the urge is to go sleep in back behind the barrels where no one can see us instead of being invested in our own lives. If we do that we will miss this joyous visitation.

God is the 'master' or 'boss' in this passage but it isn't picturing Him this way to emphasize His power to command us. This passage pictures Him that way because God is the one who has the power to bless us and affect our lives for good. He Is rich. He has the power to pause our work cycle. He has the authority to say, 'Celebrate with Me!'

I want to be the person, 'Waiting at the door' to celebrate what Jesus has done and share in His joy. He died on a cross so that He could take a wife. He reconciled humanity to God to bring humanity into His family with joy and fanfare.


Thursday, October 18, 2018

Looking To The House Of Obed-edom

I woke up this morning thinking about the concept of 'estrangement' and I began reading the Gospels and a conversation we had at coffee a few weeks ago came to mind. It brought me to 2 Samuel the sixth chapter.

"And David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the LORD, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals. And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God. And David was angry because the LORD had broken out against Uzzah. And that place is called Perez-uzzah to this day. And David was afraid of the LORD that day, and he said, 'How can the ark of the LORD come to me?' So David was not willing to take the ark of the LORD into the city of David. But David took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. And the ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months, and the LORD blessed Obed-edom and all his household. And it was told King David, 'The LORD has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.' So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing." - 2 Samuel 6:5-12 ESV

Uzzah got killed because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. David tried to carry the Ark (representing the presence of God) back to Israel incorrectly on a new cart using oxen. The oxen stumbled and Uzzah put out his hand to steady the Ark and got killed.

This tragedy was David's fault. God told Israel how to carry the Ark but David was emotional and got carried away in the moment of zeal.

David was estranged from God for three months.

The correct way to carry the Ark was with two poles. The priests carried the Ark then set it down in the next place.

This brings a couple of things to mind. God wanted human feet touching the ground not wheels. He wanted the presence of God 'suspended in the air' and carried by many people. If one stumbled in would not matter because the others would assume the weight of it for that brief moment.

Secondly, God struck Uzzah down for touching the Ark but He didn't harm David for abandoning the Ark. God just blessed the house of Obed-edom until David noticed the blessing and it dissolved David's fear. David looked in the scripture and found the correct way to bear the presence of God and brought it home again.

I can relate strongly to this account today. That is just how things are in this season of my life.

"And it was told King David, 'The LORD has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.' So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing. And when those who bore the ark of the LORD had gone six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened animal. And David danced before the LORD with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the horn." - 2 Samuel 6:12-15 ESV

I see David in two states in this chapter. I see a David who turns his back respectfully on God and moves on not knowing how to proceed and I see dancing David. I have been both men but this morning I look at the house of Obed-edom and I ponder the blessing that dwells there. That is my blessing. The scriptures must guide my enthusiasm. It can't be all zeal. My zeal can dry up in a moment. I must look to God's ways.

"Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him." - Isaiah 30:18 ESV


Friday, October 12, 2018

Purchased For Freedom

One little phrase that occurs twice in the new testament in the same book. It reveals a reality that protects us from letting our own desires consume us and from other people claiming ownership over our bodies.

"Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." - 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 ESV

"Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. Were you a bondservant when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ. You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men." - 1 Corinthians 7:20-23 ESV

'You were bought with a price.'

Jesus paid for you and me and each individual with His own precious blood. Our lives were very expensive.

If you were a slave to addictions before now you are a 'freedman' of the Lord. We can speak to the thing or person or desire and say, 'You don't own me. I belong to someone else.'

Maybe you don't desire that kind of coverage but it is the truest of coverings.

When peer pressure comes in we can say, 'I need to ask God first. He owns me.'

When the car salesman of lust lays on the pressure and says, 'You deserve to treat yourself. You have been under a lot of pressure lately.' and the offer looks tempting we can say, 'Sorry, I need to sleep on that and get back to you. There is someone at home I need to discuss this with first.'

'...if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity...'

It is a paradox, isn't it? What other owner says this? God is the only one who owns people to set them free.


Thursday, October 11, 2018

Absalom's Sister

Just thinking about Absalom today. If you don't know about this man it would be good to read the accounts of Him in the scripture. He was King David's son. He rebelled against his father. Absalom's sister Tamar was raped by his older brother (from a different mother) Amnon. When no one did anything about the rape Absalom had his brother killed at a party that all of David's heirs attended. The news spread quickly but inaccurately to King David's ears that Absalom had killed all his other sons. It wasn't true but it must have wounded the king deeply. That was the method used to take power in those days. It must have looked for a moment like Absalom was power hungry and ruthless.

I don't know why I'm thinking of this today. Maybe because of all the talk lately of Joseph being falsely accused of rape. Joseph was innocent and it was wrong that he went to prison but it was also wrong that Ammon was almost able to get away with what he did and still be first in line to the throne. That scenario happens so much more often.

Absalom named his daughter Tamar that is how much He loved his dear sister.

I love my sisters also. I try to think of all women that way. They are my sisters. Don't hurt them. Don't use them or play with them or terrorize them.

My Savior is the Prince of Peace and murder isn't the answer. Holiness is the answer. That is only going to come in if people are introduced to a holy God.


Monday, October 8, 2018


"Someone in the crowd said to him, 'Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.' But he said to him, 'Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?' And he said to them, 'Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.' " - Luke 12:13-15 ESV

Interesting. Was Jesus speaking about who He was in the incarnation or was He speaking about God's role in our interactions and transactions with each other? I believe both are true.

This man came to Jesus asking Him to act and make a ruling about an injustice but God didn't act. He made the person who approached Him mindful of his own heart condition.

Perhaps we might say, 'If we have this great relationship why won't you act on my on my behalf when I am in need or treated unjustly?' Earthly friends are 'there for you' when you need them.

If you begin to catalogue God's promises to believers they are mostly about access, not action. He promises unbelievers, nations and fallen angels to act but to those He knows He promises access.

People often pull promises out of a hat and claim that they mean something they don't. Like this one:

"Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known." - Jeremiah 33:3 ESV

They (we) claim the first part of this passage and say, 'Look God will act on my behalf!' but ignore the second part. Doesn't this whole passage describe what Jesus did for those two brothers? God injected divine viewpoint into that argument that was causing a breakdown. That family suddenly had a different option because one of it's members sought out the Lord.

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you." - 1 Peter 5:6-10 ESV


Now that is an action promise. If we use our access and heed His heart condition advice God will 'exalt us' in time because grace will have done a work in us.


Friday, October 5, 2018

Leah's Children And Everyone Else

I firmly believe there are 12 different kinds of people. 4 aspects of humanity that have different variations. I don't think of this very much nor do I categorize different individuals and give them labels. I do however review this idea from time to time because I think it is good to keep in mind that although mankind has shared needs they also have different ways of processing their experiences.

These 12 types of people are characterized by Jacob's 12 children that became (in one form or another) the 12 Hebrew tribes. The family of Messiah was a family that represented all of humanity.

This morning I was looking at the uneven distribution of children in Jacob's family.
- Leah has 6 sons and 1 daughter.
- Zilpah had 2 sons, Bilah had 2 sons and Rachael had 2 sons.
So 6 tribes came from one mother and the other 6 were split between 3 mothers.

In my mind even though there are 12 types of people out there things are not broken out evenly. The majority of Jacob's sons came from Leah and the Bible describes her as a plump, happy and kind of passive baby making kind of person. She wasn't strikingly beautiful. She got a little competitive with her sister Rachael for a season but for the most part, she was a Godly content person and she wasn't out to change the world. The world is filled with Leahs and most of humanity is also. Messiah came from her line. Jesus is descended from Leah.

But then there are the other 6 children they are different. They have the same needs but they have different mothers. They are minorities in the way they think and relate. Every one of us is unique and special but we all know people that are just out there don't we? They are just coming at things from a different direction.

Why am I talking about this? Maybe just because I want to remind myself that we all have different perspectives. Jesus held the title, 'Son of Man' because he represented all of humanity fully. People who study personalities are baffled by the accounts of Him because He manifests the aspects of each known personality type. He was a unique sinless man. He was the second Adam and all of the genetics of all mankind came from the first one. He was the 'finger of God'. God himself taking on human form like a person who puts his finger into a glass of water. That finger enters that realm and God entered our realm of time and space in His incarnation.

We each are 1 of those 12 variants but in Christ each one of us can minister to all 12. He can minister through us. No matter how different or the same we are He Is our common ground. He levels the playing field even if it seems like there is an overwhelming weight on one side slanting everything one way.


Thursday, October 4, 2018

Clean And Ready To Play

As I was getting ready this morning I walking by my clarinet and got sense of joy just looking at it. It was clean and ready to play as it sat there in it's stand. I am not very good but I enjoy making music. It is a form of praise I have only experienced later in life.

I clean this instrument after I play it. That is why it is ready to be played at any moment. I don't practice unless I know I have time to clean it afterwards. It made me think of God's relationship to His 'instruments'. They are always clean. They stay clean as He makes music with them. His hands don't leave grimy prints.

I want to be clean and ready for use. He assures me that I am clean but my feet often need cleansing and that cleansing happens by making myself available for use.

Do you know that you are irreplaceable? No one can make the music that God wants to use you to make. You are precious. It brings God joy when ever He sees you.

The Second Son

Yesterday I was thinking a lot about 'the birthright' given to the first born son and God's tendency in the Hebrew scriptures to have the blessing fall on the second son instead. The firstborn had responsibilities. Older people tend to be responsible for younger ones. That blessing was a provision to bear that burden. That is right. It is natural. It is important for society.
God's blessing on the second son is supernatural. It is a blessing for a person who isn't responsible. In our new identity in Christ we are this second son. Jesus was the second Adam. We are blessed in grace and by grace. I often struggle with my responsibilities. It is a joy to put on Jesus Christ. We are blessed in Him. In Him we can do 'all things' because He has finished the work of salvation.

Maybe you have heavy things to carry today. Can you stop for a moment and put on Jesus Christ? He wants to bear your burden. He wants to carry your worries and fears and and free you to do what needs to be done.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Sent Two By Two

"And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits." Mark 6:7 ESV

What does this passage say to you? I woke up thinking about this. I think that evangelism works this way today also. It is God pairing together two or more people, sometimes strangers or people who have little in common, and sending them out So that they can bring people back to Him after a witness of power on those two people's lives.

This isn't about me being a nice person at work. That's fine but it isn't necessarily evangelism. I see a structure. I see people going out that have a place... a place where a person is manifested... to bring people home to.

I have seen people leave the structure that allows them to evangelize and then that aspect of their life drys up. I have seasons like that. Let's face it not everyone has the make up to disciple people in faith one on one. Most people need a group or at least the support of a group. I was always taught that winning someone and then leaving them undiscipled is paramount to abandoning a child. You just don't do it and I see the logic of that. A person who believes in Jesus has become new. They have a new identity and they need someone as a guide or it would be very easy to get lost in the woods.

I'm very glad God used a group of people to come and get me. That imperfect team had the power of love. I saw that love and that imperfection. It was a group that could live as imperfect people made perfect in a thinking atmosphere of grace and truth. I go because that group went and I don't have to be perfect to do it. I do however need a place to bring people home to where they can meet Jesus.

I'm not saying that 'place' needs to have a name over the door and a cross on the wall but how else does this 'two by two' dynamic happen? What does that passage say to you? Can you afford to tear it out of your Bible or write it off as being written to some other group of people? There was a power placed on those two people. If we live outside that structure isn't it right to say that we might also be living without that power?


Monday, October 1, 2018

A Time Of Fellowship With Someone In Revival

I spoke to a very amazing woman yesterday who is having a 'prayer revival' right now and it was a real blessing. God gave me a word for her about angels being worshipers and how we become worshipers when we see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ and I just felt humbled that God would use me that way. She is a spiritual giant in my eyes and I kind of marvel at what is happening in her life. It challenges me. She has great hardships, great difficulties and great faith.

"Rejoice always,
Pray without ceasing,
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Do not quench the Spirit.
Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.
Abstain from every form of evil." - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 ESV

This isn't something that can be manufactured. This isn't 'being good.' This is God manifesting Himself through us.

The Bible provides an entrance into this life but there is a person who greats us at the door and ushers us into His home.

When I was fellowshipping with this woman I felt like it was Christmas night and I was out in the dark cold following her into a warm bright home. The light was shining on her as God opened the door for her to enter and I got to walk in behind her. I was still somewhat in the dark and she was shining with light from the doorway. The smells of dinner and Christmas cookies were in the air. The lights were twinkling inside. The festive music was playing and there was a warm spot on the couch waiting just for me. The host was greeting me warmly. I am special to Him but He opened the door for her. She was in front of me. He heard her knock.

God is listening for our knock on His door. Yes, He comes to find us like a shepherd finds a lost sheep. There is this dual dynamic happening. God seeks us first and then we seek Him and others get ushered into His warm festive home as family members.


P.S. Here is a piece of what God gave me to give to her as she was ministering to me...

{I've been reading and thinking about the 'spirituals' that slaves in United States used to sing and the encoded messages in them used to help guide runaway slaves. If the group sang 'Wade in the Water' it was sending the message that the people chasing the runaway had dogs and to get in the river or stream to mask the scent and throw off the dogs. They would sing a series of songs and if one song was sung twice it meant the coast was clear but if they sang a new song it meant there was danger.

Imagine singing to God... singing with all your heart in worship but also singing knowing the message you were sending in the song might mean life or death for someone who just wanted to be free.

The angels are worshippers. I wonder if they get cues about moving or holding back based on our worship. God desires that people would worship Him in spirit and in truth. That kind of worship is Spirit (capital S) led worship. The Trinity is present in the worship of a person who worships God because the glory of God has been revealed in the face of Jesus Christ.

Maybe... just maybe... when our worry turns to worship it signals the next phase of God's plan to bring us or someone else from bondage in to freedom.}


Friday, September 28, 2018

Access To What We Are Standing In

"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God." - Romans 5:1-2 ESV

This is such a loaded passage.

We have access to the grace we are standing in through (and because of) Jesus Christ.

Because of the fall people get disconnected from things they are standing in all the time. They lack access. They stand in a place but miss the beauty of their surroundings. They stand in a family but they are cut off from the warmth and connection of what a family is (or should be). They stand in marriages but lack intimacy.

We gain access to grace through Jesus Christ. We gain access to the knowledge that God is thinking kind thoughts about us. We are connected to the fact that we have favor with God based on the work and character of His Son. This access causes us to rejoice and have hope that God's 'glory' will be manifested in the world.

I see people get disconnected all the time. If the isolation happens and is sustained for long periods of time people start to get strange in their thinking. It is like they have spiritual oxygen deprivation.

Jesus is our access to intimacy. He is the master key that opens all doors. He is how we can have access to what is real and not imagined. Faith in Him can heal our other connections. Peace and justification come into our lives and we get restored over time.

"For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband..." - 1 Corinthians 7:14a ESV

Yes. Holiness can enter the home, workplace or nation because of one believing person who has access to what they are standing in.


Friday, September 21, 2018

A New Energy Source

God's approval becomes an energy source for our identity.

"Thus says the LORD: 'Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.' " - Jeremiah 9:23-24 ESV

We boast about the thing that gives us power.

Jesus is the love, justice, and righteousness of God manifested in a man. He is the divine One who was born as the perfect person. Jesus is God's delight.

If we have believed our boast becomes that we are somehow hidden in Christ and a blessing has been put on our life because God sees His Son when He looks at us.

Wisdom, might and riches are what the natural man goes to as it's power source. That is the boast of our natural self apart from God. The person who lives in the approval that only comes from an exchanged life has a different source because they have access to a different identity.

Jesus has done this for us. We were His enemy and He set this up before the world began and in the fullness of time He came and died on a tree so that He could rise from the grave and take us with Him.

That is my boast today. I boast in the cross. My wallet, my method and my huge biceps are not my real power. Knowing the LORD is my power and it has become my identity.


Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Statement That Fills The Void

This is what fills the God-shaped hole in every human heart.

"His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'" - Matthew 25:21 ESV

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened." - Romans 1:18-21 ESV

We need an infinite person to say 'Well done!' but the fall of man has made that seemly impossible.

If we don't get this the 'logic of the market' prevails. We start to look at relationships like profit/loss statements. Does this person help me? Does this person pull me down? A parent may say 'well done' and that means something but it is not enough. A person we respect greatly may say it. We can say, 'Well done.' to our self and other people can say it but this is a big statement said by small people. It doesn't fill that void. Our soul can't believe it because the boat still leaks and takes on water when trouble comes.

"And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, 'Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.' He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.' " - Matthew 17:2-5 ESV

Those men must have been overwhelmed. They just heard what all of creation has been longing to hear since Adam was expelled from the garden. They heard the infinite God approve of a man. They heard what every person longs to hear and angry people who turn their back on God think they will never hear. The hopelessness that comes from thinking that void will never be filled is really at the root of why they are angry.

"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

Part of the truth that frees us is that Jesus has won approval back. He came to represent all mankind and satisfied the anger of God and satisfied the standards of God. We can now hear the words 'Well done!' said to us in Christ and because of Christ.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." - Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

If the perfect, approved of, Savior saves us because we believe we are truly saved. If it is based on our effort our soul knows that that effort is flawed. Our performance can never produce something that will fill the void. It doesn't merit a 'well done' from an infinite God.

Jesus really is 'the praise' for all mankind and the right response from us is praise for Him and what He has done for us.


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A Few Thoughts About Faith

"And without faith impossible to please ..." - Hebrews 11:6a ESV

I put in brackets the words that don't appear in the Greek but the translators added so it would make sense to our English speaking minds.

In the passage before this, the writer talks about the pleasure God had in Enoch so we know that the the writer is referring to is God by context but we can also say that this is a universal principle. The word impossible is adynatos (Strong's G102) is a negation of the word dynatos (Strong's G1415) which can be translated possible or mighty or able. It is an adjective. You could translate this:

'... without faith powerless to please...'

Enoch had faith and God was pleased with him.

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." - Hebrews 11:1 KJV

Another universal principle this time describing what faith is. We may not be able to see the wind but we can see the effects the wind has on something like a tree waving back and forth and we see evidence that the wind is active.

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." - Galatians 2:20 KJV

Whose faith do we live in? What faith gives pleasure to God? What is the evidence that Heaven is at work and that we have a reason to have hope? The faith we want is Jesus' faith. It is the faith 'of the Son of God'. We internalize His belief system and make it ours. We trust in Him as He trusts the Father.

Ok. Last passage...

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." - John 14:6 KJV

Faith brings pleasure in relationships but Jesus is the only way we can interact with God. This faith is linked to Heaven's King. When people witness this faith they see something happen that only interacting with Heaven could produce.


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Times Of Refreshing

"Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago." - Acts 3:19-21 ESV

The people of Israel needed this after the crucifixion and we need personal 'times of refreshing' now. Not just one time every once in a while. We need it like we need to wash our bodies or brush our teeth.

People think the word 'repent' means to be sorry and judge ourselves for our actions but the word means 'to turn'. We turn to God and while we are doing that we are also turning away from all those things and identities that are not in Heaven's direction.

Turning to Jesus 'blots out our sins' from our mind's eye. They are no longer our focus. They move into our peripheral vision and then out of sight as we are captivated by the glory of God.

Heaven must receive Jesus. Not only is that true prophetically it is also true on a practical level.

"Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." - Colossians 3:2-4 ESV

God must also receive you but if we don't turn to Him we won't experience the refreshing. If we isolate ourselves from reminders we might forget we have this provision and live outside of what Jesus bought for us with His own blood.

I need the water of the word. I need to be around people who have this water. I need to be a part of a vision that floats on this water. If the water isn't present I get dusty.


Monday, September 17, 2018

Needing To Be Noticed

Dressing or speaking to be noticed is an unholy desire.


Unholy = not sactified

"I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness - with good works." - 1 Timothy 2:8-10 ESV

"Do not let your adorning be external - the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear - but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." - 1 Peter 3:3-4 ESV

Everyone wants (and needs) to be seen and heard. It isn't wrong that we want that. God sees us and hears us.

Perhaps men yell to be heard and sometimes women dress to be seen. It could be the other way around at times. Men dress to impress and women can need to have the last word.

I am speaking to myself this morning. I like to look good. I want people to read these posts and be blessed by them. When I speak I don't want to be ignored or disrespected but I am I operating out of some need? Do I hunger for some approval or respect? No, By God's grace I don't because God approves of me and loves me just as I am.

"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

"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows." - Psalm 23:5 ESV

The beautiful thing is that God does sometimes put people in our life who reflect His love. No matter what we say or how we look they will love us. If we are free we can be those people to someone else. Isn't that a great privilege?


Friday, September 14, 2018

He Said, 'Teach Us To Pray'

"Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, 'Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.' " - Luke 11:1 ESV

This morning I picture myself in the disciples' shoes watching Jesus from day to day. John the Baptizer told people what to do. He gave clear instruction all day long. Jesus wasn't ordering them around. Jesus talked to His Father and lived His life in front of them.

I imagine this one disciple longed for the clear direction he saw John's disciples had. He also must have been intrigued by Jesus' life of intimacy. Maybe he just wanted to compare methods and see how Jesus' 'method' of prayer compared to John's 'method.'

They must have been surprised by what Jesus said next. I have read and heard this many times but I am surprised again this morning.

"And he said to them, 'When you pray, say: 'Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.' And he said to them, 'Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him'; and he will answer from within, 'Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything'? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!' " - Luke 11:2-13 ESV

It is powerful, isn't it? You could look at every word and phrase here and get something, couldn't you?

I like the 'lend me three loaves' portion this morning. Jesus paints God as a friend but says that God doesn't answer prayers like this one because of friendship. Friendship may be an access point but it's not the reason God answers.

I also like the recognition of God's character, holiness and majesty and Jesus' grace attitude. John said, 'Repent!' as a command but Jesus said, 'When you pray...' almost as if He was saying, 'I pray but you may not be thinking that way but if you are going to do this of your own free will because you desire communication...'

I have been praying for a long time. It isn't a new concept to me. I've been a prayer chaplain. Still. I feel I need to relearn this. If I am going to talk to God I want it to be real and satisfying for Him. I don't have to talk to Him and He doesn't have to talk to me but as I sit here putting myself in Jesus' disciples' shoes looking at Him pray I marvel at His relationship and power and I long for His leadership.

"You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions." - James 4:2-3 ESV

This passage describes how I am sometimes but Jesus isn't this way. He never 'asked amiss'. I have a lot to learn and Jesus is the One who can teach these lessons. His life, death, resurrection, ascension and session are lessons in themselves.