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Showing posts from September, 2015

Rulership 101

Okay, so you know how you read through scripture sometimes that you have read through like a million times and all of a sudden you see something new?  Well, what do you know - God isn't dead and his Word is living, alive, and life-giving!  If you experience something new on occasion - seeing some new revelation from scripture - it isn't that there is new stuff in there, it is just that you missed it the first million times because your heart wasn't ready to receive it!  There is actually a scripture which reads:  "Everything that happens has happened before; nothing is new, nothing under the sun."  (Ecclesiastes 1:9 CEV)  It was there all along - so were you - but you just weren't ready to receive it, didn't really need it that much at that moment, or other things needed to be learned before you understood this "new truth".  I often speak of grace - God's unmerited favor - something given to us, never earned, totally undeserved, and in astro…

What we have in common

When you share something with someone, you take part in what one of the two has to offer. In some cultures, all things are put into common and viewed as common resources.  In other words, what one catches or grows is put into common storage and is distributed from the common resources to meet the needs of everyone in the community.  At other times, we may consider "sharing" as what we do when we have a little of what someone else doesn't have and then we give it to them so they can get use of it or enjoy it as much as we have.  Either way, there is this idea of "common use" or "common benefit" from what one has to share. When it is something as significant as our nature, that is a pretty awesome thing to share!
If we say that we share in life with God and keep on living in the dark, we are lying and are not living by the truth. But if we live in the light, as God does, we share in life with each other. And the blood of his Son Jesus washes all our sin…

I want that! Or maybe that! No, that!

How many desires do you have which you kind of wish you could squelch pretty quickly so you didn't have to deal with them?  If you are like the average person, probably a few a day or more!  It might be the desire to reach out and slap that person who is acting pretty stupid right about now, or the desire to indulge your sweet tooth with the biggest and gooiest of treats in the dessert counter.  Some of the desires are because of something totally internal while others are kind of dependent upon another person or someone else's actions, right?  It doesn't really matter where that desire "comes from" as long as we learn to sort out the ones which are correct to act upon and turn away from the ones which aren't.
People who are ruled by their desires think only of themselves. Everyone who is ruled by the Holy Spirit thinks about spiritual things. If our minds are ruled by our desires, we will die. But if our minds are ruled by the Spirit, we will have life and p…

Ever jump the gun?

Have you heard the term "jumping the gun"?  In sporting events such as the 100 yard dash, a starting block is placed on the ground, runners squarely planting their feet in those blocks in order to give them a little "launch" into the race, and then they await the firing of the starter's pistol.  The starter will be poised, ready to pull the trigger, and the runners will be determined to be the first off the blocks.  Sometimes the runners "jump the gun" though. They make a false start - long before the gun fires, they will launch from their starting position and into "action" down the track.  As they recognize their error, they stop short, return to the blocks, and assume the position again.  Do it often enough and the runner can sometimes be disqualified from the race by those who have oversight for the race.  Why? Those false starts signal you aren't really paying attention as you need to be and you are outside of the permitted behavior…

No more dead batteries

We sometimes forget to leave what is in the past in the past, but there are some things we might do well to remember from our past.  One such thing is the work of Christ in our lives.  In the past, we were spiritually dead - kind of like our lives had dead batteries.  All the pieces were there to make us all we should and could be, but there wasn't a "charge" in us which could actually get us moving as we should be moving.  Before Christ energized our spirits with his own, we were dead - without any spark of life.  After he energized us, we were made alive - nothing stood in the way of the current of grace infusing each and every aspect of our lives with his life-giving spark. Nothing we used to do or be matters anymore because the grace of Christ became the life-giving force which now drives us.In the past you were dead because you sinned and fought against God. You followed the ways of this world and obeyed the devil. He rules the world, and his spirit has power over e…

I am God's favorite

Okay, okay...I hate to break the news to you, but I am God's favorite child!  Now, I know this may come as a surprise to you, but God actually favors me as his favorite.  How do I know this?  Simple - he corrects me a lot!  That one fact, according to scripture, indicates I am his "favorite"!  Okay, I don't have an over-inflated ego or anything, but it warms my heart to know God actually "favors" me - by showing his love to me through his correction.  I never got all that excited about the correction of my parents when I was a little kid - in fact, I kind of thought they might just have needed a little intervention to know how warped they were in their parenting!  As they disciplined me, I thought they probably were the worst parents in the whole wide world and there was no one stricter, meaner, or less "loving" than they were.  How warped was that impression!  In the moment of discipline, nothing is pleasant, but when we step back enough from it,…

A plucked apple...

Standing up to anything is kind of hard - especially when it is bigger than you are, stronger, or just plain annoying.  You might want to muster the internal strength to just counteract that object's strength, towering presence, or plaguing niggling, but you find it almost impossible to do so each and every time.  Why?  We are inherently weak and will succumb to the pressure over time if we are only willing to rely upon our own strength, might, or ability to overcome whatever that pressure is.  Temptation is a form of pressure - sometimes from within our own selves, while at others from some outside source, but pulling at something within us nonetheless.  Temptation doesn't have any "pull" if we don't first have some kind of weakness within us which allows that outward pressure to tug at something inside of each of us.  This is important for us to realize, because if we can see this association, it is the first step of breaking free of the "pull".  Here…

The best laid plans...don't trust 'em!

Why do we trust the people we do in our lives?  If we were honest with ourselves, we'd discover it is because they might just exhibit some type of strength or ability we don't - so we come to rely upon them and trust them fully with that aspect of our lives.  What is inherent in trust is this ability or willingness to rely upon someone other than yourself.  There are times when the only person we do trust is ourselves - but I have to ask you how that has been working for you?  If you are at all like me, you might just occasionally have over-inflated impression of your own ability or strength - trying to tough it out on your own when God has in mind for you to walk it out with another!
Trust the Lord completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge. With every step you take, think about what he wants, and he will help you go the right way. Don’t trust in your own wisdom, but fear and respect the Lord and stay away from evil. If you do this, it will be like a refreshing drin…

Given, Found, Recognized, and Experienced

There are times in life when we just need to sit back and consider what we already have. Yep, we are so busy moving forward to get what we don't have that we sometimes forget about the importance or significance of what we already have.  This is never more important than we stop long enough to consider what it is we have in Christ Jesus.  This one takes a bit of time to think about - because we might not fully appreciate the many blessings we have received in Christ simply because we haven't discovered them fully yet!  In times of considering what we have in Christ, we might just discover we have something we never new we had! 
Think about what we have in Christ: the encouragement he has brought us, the comfort of his love, our sharing in his Spirit, and the mercy and kindness he has shown us. If you enjoy these blessings, then do what will make my joy complete: Agree with each other, and show your love for each other. Be united in your goals and in the way you think. (Philipp…

You are special!

Special:  Distinguished or different from what is usual or ordinary.  Did you ever stop to think of yourself as "special"?  If you haven't, here are some things you may not have considered in thinking of yourself as "special".  A "special" person has a specific purpose in life.  They are particularly "valued".  They have a distinct character.  Now, does that describe you?  It does if you are a child of the Lord!  He declares us to be all of these things and more! As his kids, we have been called to a special purpose - to serve him faithfully.  As his children, we are valued above all other things within his focus.  As his "kin", we are given a very distinctive character as a matter of our "inherited" nature (the nature of Christ birthed within us).  We are indeed "special".

You can be sure that anyone who serves the Lord faithfully is special to him. The Lord listens when I pray to him. (Psalm 4:3 ERV)

Anyone wh…

Getting free - living free

Enable:  to make able; give power or ability; to provide the means; and to authorize a particular action.  If we consider what it means to be "enabled", then consider who is doing the enabling, we might just begin to see our course of action as different than what we might have originally believed it ever could be.  For example, if I believed I might be able to attend college, obtain a degree in a particular field of study, and then become a proficient member of that profession, I might take a certain set of actions to accomplish this dream.  On the other hand, if I know the cost of that tuition will exceed whatever my family could possibly afford, I might settle for a profession similar, but lest costly to attain because of those limitations.  I might pursue some educational grants and even some student loans, but I know these loans can cost me much more on the back end than they may be worth.  So, I might not find much encouragement there.  Yet, if a school sought me out, …

I got your back!

To understand the meaning of the "therefore" in scripture, you have to consider what it is "there for". If we keep in mind this word is used as a means of joining supporting thought together, we will then be encouraged to look at what precedes the therefore to see what it is there for.  In this passage, Paul has just finished telling the believers at Philippi they need to live worthy of Christ's gospel.  The gospel is just another way of saying the good news Christ brings into the lives of those he touches. It isn't just the set of scripture we have which we call our Bible, but the Words of God which set at liberty the bound spirit and distressed soul.  In essence, Paul is reminding us of the importance of being "united" in thought, purpose, and action.  We aren't to have our own little way of doing things while others have their own - but are to live in harmony with each other, learning from one another, and drawing closer and closer to Chris…

Never let the fire go out

I love to study the meaning of the Old Testament sacrifices, complete with the Law of Moses and the things which were established as signs or symbols of the promise of the Messiah and the action he would take in our lives at his coming.  The Old Testament can be a bit hard to read through, especially since it seems like there is a lot of blood wars, blood sacrifices, bad things happening, and a whole lot of sinning going on!  I take heart in all of this, though, because I see regular people, struggling to make a way in a regular world, and meeting with regular issues we all have to encounter.  So, instead of slugging through, I look for the hidden truths and things we might otherwise overlook if we were just reading these chapters as "historical content".  One such passage is this one I am sharing this morning. In the Book of Leviticus, much instruction was given to the priests on how they were conduct their daily business in offering of sacrifices.  In the instructions give…

A waterfall lesson or two

There is a song which has been running through my head all night.  I often awake with a tune of some sorts just running over and over in my mind.  It isn't that I am all that musically inclined, but I think it is my desire to praise God with my life which gives me this song deep within.  As I rehearsed the lines over and over, something began to speak to me from those few words of the song.  Let me share the words of the song are from an album entitled "Love Ran Red" by Chris Tomlin.  The song is "Waterfall" and the words which kept "tumbling" in my head:  "Your love is like a waterfall, waterfall..."  The second remembered set of words from the song probably speak the loudest to me: "It's coming like a flood; I'm dancing in the rain.  Everything I've done is covered in rivers of grace...Amazing".  Those who have followed me for a while know I truly think there is nothing more amazing in this life than grace!  Grace is …

Working on making "second nature" become primary

What I choose to do versus what I am supposed to do is often quite different.  As mom and I sat at the local restaurant trying to decide what she wanted for breakfast (at 1 pm), she decided on two things - french toast and bacon.  The issue is that the breakfast with the bacon was too much for her, and I didn't want much to eat, either.  So, what to get, what to get?  In the end, I settled on the 55+ item which came with scrambled eggs, two pancakes, and two pieces of bacon.  As much as I love bacon (and I do enjoy the greasy, crispy stuff), I gave them to mom.  Mom was in heaven - she had the two things she craved for weeks. Now, lest you think I was doing some grandiose thing by giving her the bacon, I wasn't.  I have been trying to eat a little healthier these days and really need to work as hard as possible on correcting my diet as I am a little deficient in the good nutrients (such as potassium) and a little over-sated in the not so good stuff (cholesterol).  So, it was a…