Thursday, June 28, 2018

When Wisdom Can Not Comfort Us

Ok. This next passage comes at a time when the king had troubling dreams. His wise counsellors could not comfort him and he was so troubled that he ordered the death of all the wise men in Babylon.

That alone is telling. Maybe we have all gotten to a place of frustration where we have said, 'There are no answers to my dilemma. All of you people who say you know something can take a hike.'

The thing is... God had a man in Babylon.

"And Daniel went in and requested the king to appoint him a time, that he might show the interpretation to the king. Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said:

'Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king's matter.' " - Daniel 2:16-23 ESV

God raise up people and He puts them down. That says so much to me. Is every leader or person 'raised up' by God? No, Some get raised up by birth, influence or ability but God does raise people up and God does put people down.

Daniel was wise and compassionate. He asked for prayer. Prayer is a mechanism God seems to use. We pray and God restores order. The fall brought entropy into our lives. Things tend to move into a state of disorder but life is complex and ordered.

This is what happened after Daniel spoke to the king.

"Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face and paid homage to Daniel, and commanded that an offering and incense be offered up to him. The king answered and said to Daniel, 'Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery.' Then the king gave Daniel high honors and many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. Daniel made a request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the affairs of the province of Babylon. But Daniel remained at the king's court." - Daniel 2:46-49 ESV

God used Daniel to comfort this king who could be comforted no other way. The king's confusion was turned to joy and satisfaction.

Jesus is my Daniel. Daniel was a 'type' of Christ. Jesus can comfort a person that no one else can reach. Answers sometimes are not the answer. God raises up a person to reveal Jesus and the confusion that seemed to have no remedy is replaced by the joy of eternal perspective.


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Persuading Others

"Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience." - 2 Corinthians 5:11 ESV

That word 'persuade' is the Greek word peitho (Strong's G3982) and it simply means 'to win one's favour', pacify or produce trust in someone.

I love that this is linked to God-consciousness in this passage. This reciprocal relationship a person has with God and that God has with a person is somehow on display and seen.

We say, 'That person knows God and somehow I sense God knows them.' when we are persuaded in the way that this passage is describing persuasion.

Sometimes I run across a religious person and think, 'Does that person even know what or who they are talking about?' because what they are saying is alienating in some way.

"For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer." - 2 Corinthians 5:13-16 ESV

I often don't know what to say or how to help. I want to help. God has inserted care into my heart. That care is linked to a 'fear' (or an awe) of God's way of knowing people.

"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

Thank you God. Give us places to shine. We want people to be persuaded absent from striving, effort and arguing. We want your light to shine in through some small gap into every hardened heart. We want truth to penetrate every lie. We want every drowning soul to be rescued from pain and isolation and brought into fellowship.

It can't be by words alone. It must be by love and by lifting up Jesus and his cross that has impacted every life in some way.

God, Make us people who display the love and impact of the cross.


Monday, June 25, 2018

He Hides From The Skeptical Mind

This struck me as funny.

The powers that be sent men to arrest Jesus and He mocks them like it is a game of hide and seek.

"So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, 'You know me, and you know where I come from. But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.' So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. Yet many of the people believed in him. They said, 'When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?' The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent officers to arrest him. Jesus then said, 'I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.' The Jews said to one another, 'Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks?" - John 7:28-35 ESV

How could they know He was talking about the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension?

These days Jesus is found by faith. The natural skeptic can't find him to argue with Him. He Is in Heaven. If we seek to arrest Him through accusation He Is beyond us. He Is far beyond that.

He Is found by faith. He lives in a place only accessible by faith.

"But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul." - Deuteronomy 4:29 ESV

"And he did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the LORD." - 2 Chronicles 12:14 ESV

"You have said, 'Seek my face.' My heart says to you, 'Your face, LORD, do I seek.' " - Psalm 27:8 ESV

We don't just look with our mind. We must look with our heart and that is a different process. Our heart sees the cross and understands. The cross shows us a love that is undeniable. When we understand that Jesus went to the cross. He wasn't dragged there. He gave His life there. The Father's heart found Jesus in the grave and infused life into Him. Jesus died to satisfy God's mind but rose to satisfy God's heart.

When we speak to people we must appeal to both heart and mind. A person can find reasons to reject love but the heart makes different calculations.


Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Answer To Our Identity Crisis

'Redemptive communication starts with God and ends with God. It does not start with the problem. The answer existed before the problem.'

I'm not sure what I was thinking or reading when I wrote this that back in 2014. Wow. What a different mindset that is.

If we are creatures that crawled out from the mud what we face is new then new solutions are needed but if we are eternal created things then the architect that made us also has an answer for what we face. He 'Is' the answer.

A bunch of fiction comes to mind. One, in particular, that influenced me as a young person was the film 'Blade Runner.' A sequel came out recently. The original movie was based on a novel that came out in 1968 called, 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?' On the surface, the film looks like a post-apocalyptic thriller set in San Francisco. This future is dark. Mankind has created humanoid beings called replicants to help him colonize the stars. These beings think they are people and have purposely short lifespans. The main character is a man who has the job of hunting down replicants who are loose among the human population on Earth. As the story progresses it becomes unclear to the man if he is really a man at all. The viewer sees his conflict of identity. Is he really a person with free will or a creation? Near the end of the movie version, a particularly strong and smart replicant named Roy finds a way to get into his creator's ivory tower and argues with him about his short lifespan. In the end Roy kills the man who made him.

I told you it was a dark story. Flawed fallen man has a tendency to picture God as flawed and fallen. A man or woman separated from God's mind must fend for themselves.

'Bladerunner' is considered a classic film for many reasons but things become classic because they hit home in people. Classics touch on some theme that people can relate to.

Am I real? Is God flawed like me? If I can't discover who I am how do I live my life?

Biblical faith is based on a different premise. The Bible reveals a deity who is multifaceted, holy and perfect. We are made in his image and have fallen from that perfection.

"Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures." - James 1:16-18 ESV

Umm... wow...

The answers we seek are in Him and have been there all along.

Jesus walked and talked like a man who was sure of His provision.

"This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet: 'I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.' " - Matthew 13:35 ESV

The Bible has the answers you seek. Your problem isn't new. The answer is actually very old but forever new at the same time.

Jesus is the answer. His cross is the answer. His forgiveness. His life. You may say, 'How on Earth would how that man lived or died have anything to do with my life. You don't know what I'm going through.'

The thing is... Jesus was not just a man... His cross was not just His death... we died there with Him if we believe in Him... God isn't flawed.

"For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God." - Romans 8:6-8 ESV

A man who is separated from God is hostile to God.

"Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God." - 2 Corinthians 5:20 ESV

Yes! That reconciliation is found in Christ. He is the answer. If you find Him Heaven's door is opened to you. He is the answer you seek.


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Give Yourselves To Humble Tasks

"Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men." - Romans 12:16-17 NKJV

That phrase 'associate with the humble' can also be translated 'give yourselves to humble tasks'.

This is good counsel. People can really get messed up when they 'over think'. I'm all for delving into deep waters. If you read what I write you can see that but I find it very therapeutic to collect the chairs at the end of the meeting or help set something up.

I don't want to argue theology.

Yes, We need to get things right but let's do it in kindness and simplicity. Let's clean up together. Let's drink a coffee and have a laugh. Let's marvel at the risen Saviour who conquered death to give us life and draw us close.

"Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men." - Romans 12:17 NKJV

What good is getting it all right if we are not loving one another? Do we have it right if that is not happening?

Prayer. Forgiveness. Fellowship. Kindness. A simple cup of water.

All of it with Jesus at the center. That is a spiritual life.


Tuesday, June 19, 2018


What obligations do we have to the person or people who have invested in us? They may tell us what we need to do or we might invent something but what is the real obligation?

No one needs a false burden. Life is hard enough.

"Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law." - Romans 13:7-8 ESV

"Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor." - Romans 12:9-10 ESV

The best gift we can give any person is liberty. Our love becomes an investment in helping a person become a loving individual.

We honor those who have loved us. We do that by letting love shape us. The Holy Spirit must lead us in anything 'beyond' that. The highest, and only, true obligation is obedience to God. That doesn't mean we pull passages out of the old testament given to Israel and say they apply to us. Jesus has already fulfilled that law and we are given the righteousness of that fulfilment as a free gift.

If someone loved us but taught us something that was wrong we honor the investment but not the incorrect principle. If someone loved us and taught us something eternal and right and good we are wise if we teach that to others as we love them because it is eternal, right and profitable.

Wrong principles usually have bondage attached to them.

"Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, 'Where I am going you cannot come.' A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another." - John 13:33-34 ESV

When Jesus knew His time was short He cut His disciples loose. He didn't make them declare oaths of allegiance. The freedom He gave them wasn't aimless. It was liberty.

"He said to them, 'It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.' And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.' " - Acts 1:7-11 ESV

I love this. It is like the angels are saying, 'He set you free. Go. Be free.' yet at the same time, Jesus gave them a place where power could be received without bondage. If we are at God's house at the right time we will receive power in our liberty. We could be at 'the end of the Earth' and still have a place to get power from God. Small rooms become 'upper rooms' when people are gathered and the book is opened. Jesus is revealed.

Those disciples that He set free became Apostles.

Hey, The people we invest in may forget about us. It isn't ideal. It isn't honorable but did they become loving people? If so, It was all worth it.

I want to honor those who have loved me. I see it as an obligation because it honors God. Even more than that I want to love people because I have been reconnected to love again and again far beyond what I could ever deserve. God loved me when I was his enemy. Now, I can love the unlovely also because His Spirit is in me moving me to love beyond my present capacity. He constrains me in this love.

I'm praying God breaks all of our false bondages and sets us free to love as He intended. I'm also praying we all find a place of power to gather and be renewed in objective truth. That place will preserve our freedom and send us out with seed that will grow up and become a vehicle to break every bondage a man or woman can find themselves in.


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Some Thoughts About Nabal And Investment

Today I was thinking about Nabal and investment in people.

"And there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel. The man was very rich; he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. He was shearing his sheep in Carmel. Now the name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. The woman was discerning and beautiful, but the man was harsh and badly behaved; he was a Calebite. David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep. So David sent ten young men. And David said to the young men, “Go up to Carmel, and go to Nabal and greet him in my name. And thus you shall greet him: ‘Peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have. I hear that you have shearers. Now your shepherds have been with us, and we did them no harm, and they missed nothing all the time they were in Carmel. Ask your young men, and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we come on a feast day. Please give whatever you have at hand to your servants and to your son David.’” When David’s young men came, they said all this to Nabal in the name of David, and then they waited. And Nabal answered David’s servants, “Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants these days who are breaking away from their masters. Shall I take my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers and give it to men who come from I do not know where?” So David’s young men turned away and came back and told him all this. And David said to his men, “Every man strap on his sword!” And every man of them strapped on his sword. David also strapped on his sword. And about four hundred men went up after David, while two hundred remained with the baggage. But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, “Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to greet our master, and he railed at them. Yet the men were very good to us, and we suffered no harm, and we did not miss anything when we were in the fields, as long as we went with them. They were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep. Now therefore know this and consider what you should do, for harm is determined against our master and against all his house, and he is such a worthless man that one cannot speak to him.” Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves and two skins of wine and five sheep already prepared and five seahs of parched grain and a hundred clusters of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on donkeys. And she said to her young men, “Go on before me; behold, I come after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal." 1 Samuel 25:2-19 ESV

Nabal was rich but he didn't understand or appreciate human investment. Abigail did and she also knew that Nabal's behavior would enrage David who was an investment minded person.

God owns the cattle on 1,000 hills. He is an investor. He is rich and that is how truly rich people operate. They invest. They own things and even use debt to their advantage.

There is so much to learn from this account. Deep principles. Who are we going to be? David is royal in his investment. Abigail is wise. Nabal lives in his emotions and is shortsighted at best.

Jesus was and Is an investor. I want that mind.


Monday, June 11, 2018

Still Water Resting Places

"Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.' " - John 8:12 ESV

What a claim. Today, I wake up and rejoin the caravan of millions doing this. I shake off the dust and follow Jesus. He is the good Shepherd and I know He Is wise and is leading us to green pastures and still water resting places.

"A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever." - Psalm 23:1-6

Yes and Amen.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Resurrection Power

"But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from." - John 7:27 ESV

I am keeping up with my 'Ariel's Harmony of the Gospels' (at p144) and the phrase above caught my attention. Where did this idea come from? Why did they think no one would know where Messiah came from?

His origins are in the scriptures.

"There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit." - Isaiah 11:1 ESV

"Their prince shall be one of themselves; their ruler shall come out from their midst; I will make him draw near, and he shall approach me, for who would dare of himself to approach me? declares the LORD." - Jeremiah 30:21 ESV

"But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days." - Micah 5:2 ESV

I think it arose from the expectation parents put on their children. It was sort of an urban legend. Parents must have said during the hard times of Roman occupation, 'Messiah is coming. He could come at any time.' but then this added element of surprise got added that he would be a stranger.

People assume a new thing must come from a new place but that isn't always how God works.

"And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ? But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from. So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, 'You know me, and you know where I come from. But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.' So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come." - John 7:26-30 ESV

We have treasure hidden in us. I get 'new things' out of a very old book every morning. Mercy is new and fresh or it isn't mercy.

It is the mystery of resurrection power. Alignment with eternal truth has a life that can spring forth at unexpected times and from unexpected places.

I'm sure that when Jesus died people thought, 'I suppose we should look for something else.' but they were wrong. It was just a matter of time and Jesus was going to come alive again and bring power with Him.

If you are discouraged don't despair. God isn't done yet. You don't have to look somewhere else. We just need new eyes for the old landmarks.


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Praying With Tenacity

You have been praying but it hasn't happened yet... so... keep praying...

"And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, 'In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, 'Give me justice against my adversary.' For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, 'Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.' And the Lord said, 'Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?' " - Luke 18:1-8 ESV

I don't think we are going to wear down God with every request... this was a widow who needed justice... this was a person who used to have the support of a husband but now no longer has that support... Is what we are asking for this urgent and needed? Is God the only one who can do it? If that is the case and it is a need and not just a want or a preference then Jesus is giving us clear instructions about what to do.

There are a dozen things I want this morning but do I have a cause like this? Is the great commision a cause like this? I say that it is. I want to do my best to wear God down for souls and the salvation of people. I can't do what only He can do. I am like a widow in this area. I can say words but only He can save souls.

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." - Hebrews 4:16 KJV

That unrighteous judge couldn't stop that widow from coming. God doesn't want us to stop coming.

Thank you God! Really... Give us this heart. Make us tenacious people who keep coming to You over and over until we see You move.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Hospitality In Outreach

Lately, I have been coming back to the theme of hospitality more and more. It is love that is tangible.

"For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. 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 2:7-10 ESV

If you look at this passage in context Paul is urging Timothy to know the people he is ministering to and promoting hospitality in this particular congregation. Paul isn't setting 'rules' for Christians everywhere to obey. He is urging the Timothy and the Church there (who would have had that letter read to them many times) to be loving to people.

Modesty dress wasn't non-revealing dress. It was beyond that. It was dress that wasn't going to intimidate visitors and make them feel like they could never measure up.

Paul encouraged men not to argue loudly over doctrine (which was and is very Jewish) not because it was 'bad' but because it doesn't edify the visitor. It can be very self-oriented and alienating.

One thing I love about outreach is that the groups I go with are hospitable. They love truth and they love people and there is no compromise about either of those things.

I find the Holy Spirit convicting me about this often.

God loves people. He sent His Son to love us. Love and objective truth is what is going to draw people out of whatever they are in. Love.

God, please help us. We can get lost in the forest of ideas sometimes and forget why we do what we do. We also can get so focused on people that we compromise what is true. We need you to give us the balance. We need You. We need to see Jesus. He Is the One who does this perfectly. Thank you God for sending Your Son. He Is our salvation. He can fill each place with hospitable love. Fill us and our homes with love. We want to bring that everywhere we go.


Monday, June 4, 2018

Salt and Posture

"Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another." - Mark 9:50 ESV

This weekend when we were meeting with the men P Butch Veader brought up the idea of posture and it intrigued me. I have been working on mine the last year or so. Technology like phones and computers tend to erode this. We bend over to look at things. Keeping our back straight (chin up, shoulders back and chest out) is important on several levels. As men we are stronger and look stronger. We can stay healthier with a straight strong back and core. Our circulation is better. Other men who go by appearances will be more likely to listen to a man who looks strong then one who looks lazy and weak. That is how the world is.

The concept of righteousness in the Hebrew involves the ability to look someone in the face. Posture is involved in that.

Good posture takes effort. As we get older it can take more effort. Our shoulders need a degree of tension... not much... but some tension in a continuous way and once good posture is achieved it can be maintained with less effort but if we relax too much for too long it will be lost.

The end of Mark chapter nine throws a few concepts at us about restraint and this idea of saltiness...

"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire... And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell... And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell,... For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another." - Mark 9:42-43, 45, 47, 49-50 ESV

Salt was added to certain offerings in the Hebrew scriptures. It is a needed ingredient. What will i say? What will i do? Can i endure for someone else's sake or do i have to run my mouth and get relief? Will i be a man who pulls his shoulders back and stands upright or a weak minded person who slouches and does not have strength in situations? Will i react or respond with proven gracious principles?

If we wait until the situation happens to prepare we may well be unprepared and the 'little ones' that need to see someone who has fortitude won't be covered and protected.

Salty people can be at peace with one another. I know a few men who have been salted with fire. They have endured hardship. They have had the fires of difficulty and they have also had the fire of the Holy Spirit function in their lives and they are not tasteless. They have depth.

Everyone reading this can be a person of substance. It isn't going to come by effort. Uprightness is a gift from God. God gives us the posture of His Son. That is mystical and amazing to think about. Taking time with Him and hearing His word makes us want to to put our shoulders back and walk looking God in the face. Grace works in us and our thinking and emotions become 'straight' again.

God gives and we receive. We see Him and we become like Him in transformation. Then we walk that way.


Friday, June 1, 2018

Aspects Of Divine Friendship

Just thinking about the 'positional' and 'experiential' aspects of divine friendship...

"You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another." - John 15:14-17 ESV

On one side of the coin Jesus 'called them' friends and when God says you are something it becomes reality if it wasn't before.

"And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light." - Genesis 1:3 ESV

Yes. Here we see Jesus say, 'There there be friendship.' and... poof... there was friendship. It wasn't because of their performance. Jesus' communication made it so. What He told them was 'friendship level' communication.

He was their friend but were they His friends? They were if they heeded His words. The Greek word for 'command' in verse 14 is entello (Strong's G1781) which is just 'telos' with a prefix. Telos is a word which signifies bringing something to a conclusion or it's intended purpose.

These commands are not tasks per se. They are 'ah ha' moments when we see the solution to the puzzle and act on it. We put the last jigsaw pieces in place because the structure has become clear. We finally figure out what that word is in the crossword puzzle. We had four out of eight letters but that fifth letter suddenly gave us the clue we needed and the word becomes clear so we write it in with ink and not just pencil.

If you have believed in Jesus God is your friend. He has been a friend to all mankind. He has demonstrated that friendship again and again but sending His Son to live among us and die on a tree for us was the ultimate proof.

For some today may be the first day they return the friendship and actively enter into it by believing in Jesus. Those who have already believed also have a choice. Will we walk with Him in an active knowledge of who He really is and live in 'experiential' friendship with God? Will we walk in the light not caring what it exposes about us because we trust the One we are walking with?