Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Good Book.

"Out of abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks" 


Wisdom I read in a book once. A book that taught me truths about myself before I ever knew them. It warned me of mistakes that I would make, and it testified to it's validity once I'd made them.  It taught me to listen at a time when the voice of pain within me was screaming loudly within me. It taught me to listen beyond myself, To the muted cries of other souls within themselves.

And out of abundance of the heart, The mouth speaks.


I read this, semi-self help book, once. The author was telling me to be on guard. He said to guard my heart, and he told me to guard my words. He said something about taking the thoughts captive too. The thoughts are like seeds scattered on the soil, and should you plant them in the soil of your mind, they will take root....

...and you will reap a harvest. 


I read this book with some friends once. We bonded over the whole connection of head and heart working in unison as God Himself designed. I know a lot of people who have either the head or the heart but not both.
There is are pages in this book, and they talk about one who wanted to be God, and he failed. He fell. He convinced others to fall.  I imagine him saying something to the matter of "If I cannot be seen as God, then I will destroy all that bears His image" 

In this book I'm reading, It tells me things that I've understood before I ever read them. It writes of a history of men, who do not know wisdom. Men who do not know to guard their thoughts. Who have left no watchman on the wall to their hearts.  I have seen these brothers... sisters... fathers.... friends... strangers....  I have watch them empty all that once resembled wisdom, or all that may have been defined as love. I watch their hearts fill with words of hatred. 

.... and out of abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. 

Consumed, they've become. So much of their life is filled with railing against a God that they do not believe.




And when I see, with true eyes, I wonder if this is just a sliver of the pain God feels... Looking upon that which He knew, and loved, is lost. 


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

That Life Sentence.

I cannot recall from the days of my youth, a time where I was not among the mindset that the world was a terrible place full of dangerous things.
As a kid I was, as I would define it, cursed with the blessed sense of awareness. I took in a lot. I observed a lot of things that were very dysfunctional. I experienced things that were abuses. There were traumas, and there was death and abandonment. There were times of neglect.... and so much pain.

Looking back there from here.... where I am sitting now...
It honestly makes me cry a little.

When I think about how, by all rights, I wouldn't even be here now..
It is absolutely impossible to not see the Hand of God in my life, even in most of the the most painful things I've survived.

Survival, is an appropriate word.
I was alive and breathing from one wave of attack to another wave of attacks. The world was pouring out so much destruction  on my family, friends and I.
Naturally, when you spend years surviving.... you're going to have habits that carry over into a time of peace.


Even when I turned to God,
I lived from one thing to the next

Let me me tell you folks, you can read the word of God and you can know the word of God, you can recite the word of God but what worth is it if you don't believe?


I'm talking ALL the Word.

Sure I believed that Jesus saves and died for my sins and that he resurrected ...
Sure I believed that He's coming back...

...but did I really believe that He came so that I could have life more abundantly?

I remember looking up at God and asking Him, as reverently and respectfully as I could ...

"Is this what my life is going to be like for the rest of my days? If It is, and that is what you want from me, I'll follow and I'll live it, but God, is there more to living than just surviving?"


He didn't answer me in an audible voice. He didn't answer me thunder or lightning, nor did someone show up in the middle of the night and bang on the door and say "God told me to tell you that there is more for you!!!"


God just brought to my mind the verse,
John 10: 9 I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.


I said to God " I believe you can do this."

I am so grateful for the mercy that He has shown me, that he has allowed me to be where I am.

" By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise;  for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God."- Hebrews 11: 9-10

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The "Self" Infliction.

I was reading my new Bible the other day, and I had it opened to a passage that kinda floored me.

"Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit,returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry." - Luke 4

There is much in this little bit. A great much.

"And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”

Scripture > how we feel.

We are inflicted with this disease that will plague us from the moment we are aware, to the moment we die.
This infection of "Self"


God is smart, because He knows what went down in the garden, when the serpent was chit chatting with Eve. He knew that the second that she bit into that apple, that the action would doom man to be poisoned with an overwhelming sense of self.  Before the fall, man and woman had their focus on God, and each other... and it was good. Then the idea was brought forth for disobedience, The idea that "God did not say" That there was another word contrary to the truth...   Your word, your way, that surely, You will not die.

The two greatest commands are Love God with all your heart soul and strength, and the second like it, love your neighbor as you would yourself.

Now we struggle to love God in our churches. We don't read much of His word. We don't spend much time in prayer.
When we do, it is usually us telling God what we want, or what we think we need.
Should we pick up a Bible, its generally about a minute or two that we read a passage and then we wait until service for a preacher to tell us more things about what the word of God might say because we want to spend our time doing everything except reading it for ourselves.

Love your neighbor as yourself.
All of the commands of God are pointing to this place where God is trying to get us to stop focusing so intently on US, when we should be submitting to Him.

This sickness of self, it is rampant through the body of Christ. We don't have time to listen to what God wants us to do... because WE are too busy doing the things that WE like, in His name.

It's like throwing a party with a chocolate cake, and a chocolate fountain and chocolate ice cream with chocolate fudge and chocolate sprinkles with chocolate chip cookies and chocolate milk.... for the kid that is deathly allergic to chocolate.

Pride is an over inflated sense of self.


I'll get transparent here with something that happened years ago.

The worst pain that I have ever felt in my heart, was brought about from a moment when I heard the devil say words with my voice. I was experiencing a situation that seemed so, perfect. It involved a woman. When I was near this woman I was the happy. We had feelings for each other.  When I looked at my life, and my situation and all the places I've been and all the things I lost... all the suffering I'd endured in my young life... I was not looking at God, or HIS word... I heard that voice that sounded like mine say "You deserve this one thing. You deserve to be happy in this."  This relationship it felt so right, and romantic, and magic...

...but it didn't feel obedient.

The more years I put between then and now, the more I see how little I understood about love, you know. The sacrificial true stuff. I think one of the hardest things that I have ever done in my life is not be with that woman. My love and my duty to God, my focus on Him... that took me in another direction.
Had I said to heck with everything and stayed, what could I ever have spoken of on Honor, and Submission, Sacrifice and self denial? What could I have said that wouldn't have been contradicted by my action?


We get caught up in these things where we feel a certain way, and we think that because we feel these feelings so strongly and they are so powerful, that they are right.

I have heard people say that they do not feel convicted about certain things in the Bible that God says very clearly are a sin. Suddenly, when we say such a thing, we are now elevating our feelings above the truth of scripture.


Can you imagine, fasting for 40 days?
Can you imagine fasting for 2 weeks?
Can you imagine if Jesus had turned the stones to bread?

He was being tempted to take His eyes off of the focus and exaltation of God and the Power of the Holy Spirit... in order to serve HIM SELF!

.... and he didn't.

I am so far away from the example of Jesus, but I am fighting to get closer to it.
Love God with all your heart, soul and resources.
Love your neighbor as yourself...


A fool does not delight in understanding,
But only in revealing his own mind.- Provbs. 18:2

self focus vs learning from another.

Philippians 2:3-8

 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,  who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.  Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming (obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.


This is something so very basic....

like breathing.


.. and like breathing,


it can kill you the less you practice it.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Movies and Frozen Pizza

Tonight, At about 11pm, I remembered that there was a midnight showing of a movie that I wanted to see. I remembered this about twenty minutes before I got off of work, and that, seemed like the most appropriate time to launch a campaign to try to find ONE person to attend this movie with me.

I'm throwing invitations up on my facebook status, I'm opening chat windows for people Facebook says are online, I'm offering to pay, I'm offering to pick people up because I've gotta tell you, movies aren't as good when you see them alone. I did that one time and it was awful. All the anticipation building up to see the show and  I turned to the empty chair and had nobody to tell how excited I was about it. After the movie, I had all the highs and lows of cinematic critique fresh in my mind, and there was nobody to share it with.
It was super lame.

I even got to the point where I invited the weird guy from work that doesn't exactly get things right, but is not a bad guy and heck, maybe even we might be better friends as a result of sitting seeing a movie outside of work. He smiled at me with a laugh and said he wasn't much of a movie person.
I've never really gotten that much either. I meet people every now and again that hate movies. I don't understand that. I love the stories. The character developments and the sense of adventure.People are like that. Everyone has some story that they can relate too. Everyone can see some character in a movie and laugh or launch into an anecdote about some villain that they faced in their own way. Everyone can tell a story about how they didn't rise in the face of adversity and they stumbled and it broke their heart. They can tell about a friend they lost.

 Perhaps, if I hadn't waited until the 11th hour, I might have had someone respond to my invitation.
Maybe then I would be munching on the golden buttery popcorn in the light of the silver screen instead of crunching on frozen mexican pizza in the dark of my living room.

I may have over cooked this a little. Its a bit chewy.


There is a message about the Gospel in here.

Can we get this excited about the news that not only did our sins be forgiven, but we can have victory over them to the point where we do not continue in them?

Are we telling everyone we can, that there is hope in a redeemer that loves us.
.... that piece was burnt.... I just bit a burnt piece.... I knew I waited too long to pull that out of the oven...

... don't wait to long to do the things that God is telling us to do. He says Go, preach the good news. Share the gospel. When you friends and family and co-workers and neighbors, and enemies and beggars and strangers  are in the heat, sweating out the pains of life without hope....  Tell them about the one who save them. That unlike this part of the pizza, they aren't too far gone.

Listen to their stories. Point out the foreshadows of God's character that is ready to be introduced into their script. The hero of tale.
The one bringing salvation.

The one with the power to twist the plot and make us no longer the villains, but the long lots heirs.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Falsehood

We talk a lot about the Truth in church and in Bible studies.  I personally believe that God's word, the Bible, is truth, from Genesis to Revelation. Most people in the Church would agree that the Bible is God's word and that God's word is Truth. 
However, there have been times when I have presented scriptures in the Word of God, as pointed out to me by God's Holy Spirit, and I have been met with some who believe that I was presenting a false gospel. 

In order to get a better grasp and comprehension of what the fullness of Truth is, I thought that maybe today we would look into the Word to get some definitions of falsehood, the opposition.

Falsehood is found in the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20: 16
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."

Pretty strait forward, don't accuse people around you of  doing something that they are not.
We have examples of people breaking this commandment in  Acts 6:10-15

 But they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.  Then they secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.”  And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came up to him and dragged him away and brought him before the Council.  They put forward false witnesses who said, “This man incessantly speaks against this holy place and the Law;  for we have heard him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and alter the customs which Moses handed down to us.” And fixing their gaze on him, all who were sitting in the Council saw his face like the face of an angel.

We know that isn't true. We know that there is not any falsehood in the Savior. There are many many many places where Jesus says that the Law of God is to be kept. In fact he even goes so far as tell people that those who teach others to break the commandments of God shall be least in the kingdom. ( Matthew 5: 17-19)

We have other examples of people spreading falsehoods in Acts 21:17-26
17 After we arrived in Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly.  And the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present.  After he had greeted them, he began to relate one by one the things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 And when they heard it they began glorifying God; and they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the Law;  and they have been told about you, that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs.  What, then, is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come.  Therefore do this that we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow;  take them and purify yourself along with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads; and all will know that there is nothing to the things which they have been told about you, but that you yourself also walk orderly, keeping the Law.  But concerning the Gentiles who have believed, we wrote, having decided that they should abstain from meat sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication.”  Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purifying himself along with them, went into the temple giving notice of the completion of the days of purification, until the sacrifice was offered for each one of them.


Paul is performing Sacrifices as prescribed in numbers 6 in order to combat the falsehood that was saying that Paul was teaching people not to keep the commands of God.

Peter testifies to this 2 Peter- 3:14-17.

In John 8:43-45 Jesus said this
 Why do you not understand what I am saying?
 It is because you cannot hear My word.
 You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.

How heartbreaking it must have been for the Savior to sit there ant testify the truth, to have the embodiment of the living Words of God within you, and have that pain of the people rejecting Him, and the one that sent Him.

How heart-wrenching.

Falsehoods. Lies. Deceptions. 
 


2 Timothy 4:3-5
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry

Hold to the Truth, that Truth of the Father, that Truth presented by the Son.
Psalms-119:163
I hate and despise falsehood,
But I love Your law.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hebrews and Believing chapters 3-4

Starting in 3

7 So, as the Holy Spirit says:

Today, if you hear his voice,
8     do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion,
    during the time of testing in the wilderness,
9 where your ancestors tested and tried me,
    though for forty years they saw what I did.
10 That is why I was angry with that generation;
    I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,
    and they have not known my ways.’
11 So I declared on oath in my anger,
    ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”
12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. 15 As has just been said:

“Today, if you hear his voice,
    do not harden your hearts
    as you did in the rebellion.”
16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed?

-
Highlights from chapter 3
“Today,  do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion,Their hearts are always going astray,
    and they have not known my ways. See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness"
-
Chapter 4

4 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2 For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.
 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,

“So I declared on oath in my anger,
    ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”
And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. 4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.” 5 And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”

6 Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience,7 God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted:

“Today, if you hear his voice,
    do not harden your hearts.”

8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works,[e](J) just as God did from his.(K) 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.(L)
-
Highlights of chapter 4

"since the promise of entering his rest still stands for we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.
 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience"

Now, 3 and 4 together


“Today, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion,Their hearts are always going astray,
    and they have not known my ways. See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness since the promise of entering his rest still stands for we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.

 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience"


In summary.. If you are a believer, you should not be disobedient to the ways of God. If you are a believer, you should be holding to the commands of God any day that you can call today.  If you are a believer, you obey the Sabbath just as God did, when He ceased from his work.



Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Lies the Devil Tells

19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. - James 2


Calling ones self a believer in Christ does not make one a follower of Christ, as the above scripture points out.


The Devil knows scripture. He preaches. His doctrine is chocked full of bible verses... and its all lies built on the counterfeit in order to set himself up like God.

And we so often believe every word because it is darkness, but brightly lit.

The enemy wants to be Jesus. The enemy has spirits. The enemy can perform works, and signs and wonders...

BUT IT IS STILL A LIE THAT DOES NOT CONFORM TO THE WORDS OF GOD.


Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”

5 Then the devil *took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and *said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written,

‘He will command His angels concerning You’;
and

‘On their hands they will bear You up,
So that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

-Matthew 4


4 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron- 1 Tim 4


3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.- 2 thes 2



43 Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.- John 8

4 Hear, my children, the instruction of a father,
And give attention to know understanding;
2 For I give you good doctrine:
Do not forsake my law.- Proverbs 1-2


What is the doctrine  of the adversary? Lies and lawlessness.
What is the truth and good doctrine? Faith resulting in obedience.

. Be careful, Just believing in something doesn't make it true

Secret Eating

I'm sitting here with a chicken chalupa in my hand and reflecting on the concept of famine.

I know at least 30 different people off the top of my head who would read that and tell me that what I am eating isn't healthy and it probably isn't really food.

I listened to the intro to a sermon earlier that was starting in 1 Tim 4. The preacher is talking about bad doctrine and how in the latter times, people of faith, people who profess Jesus as their savior with their mouths.. will be lead away by false spirits and demons.

1 Tim 4
4 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3 men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; 5 for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer

What stuck out to him as strange, was the part about food.  In this warning about false doctrine, and fake gospel is this note about ...eating?... and Marriage? ....but...eating? 

wut?

I've been thinking about the food thing.

Call it a hunch but I do not think that it is talking about donuts and steak and broccoli.
1) The Spirit of God says that in the later times, some will fall away from the faith.
2) They're teaching things contrary to God, feeling no conviction of sin because their conscience is seared.
3) .... ... ....
4) The things of GOD are good, and nothing OF GOD is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude 
5) it is sanctified by the means of the word of God and prayer.

Okay... Now I know that there are some people who read this and want to say that ... well, just picking an animal here... pig.... is food. They want to say that forbidding the eating of pig means that a person is a liar and a hypocrite because God made pigs

That seems to make perfect sense until you pass it through the filter of God's word and His word says :

Leviticus 11
7 and the pig, for though it divides the hoof, thus making a split hoof, it does not chew cud, it is unclean to you. 8 You shall not eat of their flesh nor touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you.

God did make pigs, yes. The word tells us that they aren't for food.
Isaiah 66
16 For the Lord will execute judgment by fire
And by His sword on all flesh,
And those slain by the Lord will be many.
17 “Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go to the gardens,
Following one in the center,
Who eat swine’s flesh, detestable things and mice,
Will come to an end altogether,” declares the Lord.
18 “For I know their works and their thoughts; the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and see My glory.

The way that is against God, is going their own path, eating the detestable things... swines flesh and mice.
That, sounds like a doctrine of demons.
It is not the actions of someone who believes and holds to the Truth of God

But what is this food that is spoken of.

Acts 10
9 On the next day, as they were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. 10 But he became hungry and was desiring to eat; but while they were making preparations, he fell into a trance; 11 and he *saw the sky opened up, and an object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground, 12 and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air. 13 A voice came to him, “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.” 15 Again a voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.” 16 This happened three times, and immediately the object was taken up into the sky.


What does this mean?
What is the issue here??? 

Cornelius, a gentile man, wanted desperately to be in the right with God.


17 Now while Peter was greatly perplexed in mind as to what the vision which he had seen might be, behold, the men who had been sent by Cornelius, having asked directions for Simon’s house, appeared at the gate; 18 and calling out, they were asking whether Simon, who was also called Peter, was staying there. 19 While Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. 20 But get up, go downstairs and accompany them without misgivings, for I have sent them Myself.”


Why would Peter be perplexed about the meaning if this passage was clearly about eating abominable things that are an affront to God?

Unless, the food was a metaphor for people.... and eating is a picture of taking something into the body...
And peter had an issue with certain gentile people.... and not taking them into the fullness of the body of Christ...

...like Paul did in Galatians

1 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. 13 The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?

Gentiles, sanctified by the word.
Is there something to this idea that people can be spiritual food for the greater body of Christ???

John
31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples were saying to one another, “No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?” 34 Jesus *said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. 36 Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 37 For in this case the saying is true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored and you have entered into their labor.”



This is right in the middle of His encounter with the Samaritan woman.The woman who was half Jewish, half Gentile

Later in John Jesus says this:
Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal (John 6:26-27).


Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink (John 6:53-55).






...and I think about famine.
I wonder how many of us are starving to death because we are not eating
We are not each day dying to our self, and our flesh and our mindsets that are carnally opposed to the life of Jesus and the God who saves us from our sin.

We hunger but we are not satisfied.

The devil knows scripture.
The devil makes doctrine that are full of scripture.

Matt 4: 4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”

5 Then the devil *took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and *said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written,

‘He will command His angels concerning You’;
and

‘On their hands they will bear You up,
So that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”





.... I want the Manna of God. I want the fruit of belief. Chicken burritos aren't going to even compare to the nourishment and the flavor of the power of God.

We now, at our fingertips, can Eat and be filled of the Word of Christ.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Elijah

It's nearing August.

For me that isn't some casual annotation as I glance at some Dilbert calender on the wall like someone might, to note an upcoming payday or dentist appointment.
In the beginning of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, there is a soothsayer that utters the phrase"Beware the Ides of March" over again as a foreboding shadow of things to come.
It's just a month. A regular month. It happens every year...
...but then again, I think of Veterans who have seen the face of war. I know many who get messed up on an anniversary of tragedy. It is a wound. Not the kind that Neosporin helps you patch either. It is the kind of hurt that goes beyond the physical nature of a person and leaves a mark upon their soul. A compound fracture.

I've had two different relationships end in August.
August is also the month that My father died.
It is also around the time that a very important friendship of mine ended.

These things have been on my senses lately. They cross my mind once in a while, every now and again throughout the year, but the frequency tends to increase the tempo in the progression towards August.

Now, I don't know if it was a series of God orchestrated events strung together with a purpose... or an assault by the enemy to strike in the same point in an attempt to instill a weakness.

It's there though. Some years, I've hid. Some years I've ran. A few I've tried to ignore it away completely.

When I lost my Dad, I was out on the Indian Reservation with a bunch of strangers at a sweatlodge. My Mom and Brother and Sister had all moved out of state prior. It was my Dad and I, and I will spare you all the details, He died. He died right in front of me.

And I was alone, out there, in the dark, surrounded by strangers... Just God and I, because I know He was there.


When I was 18 I knew this Girl. I thought that we were in love with each other. I trusted Her and allowed myself to be vulnerable. Some people can trust easy, and get their heart broken and in a day or two its like nothing ever happened.  I wasn't that way. I was very very careful with who I gave the opportunity to hurt me. There was long phone conversations across the long distances that we were doing what we could to make work. It wasn't enough though.  I packed my things I was keeping, and I sold the things that I wasn't. I boarded a plane to where she was and was staying in her youth pastors basement. I'll spare you the details, but it was only 3 days before we broke up.

And I was alone out there, in the dark, surrounded by strangers, ... Just God and I, because I know that He was there too.


In these times, I think of Elijah and that idea of being out there alone, Just him and God.
I read things  like this:


 The word of the Lord came to him, saying, “Go away from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan.  It shall be that you will drink of the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to provide for you there.”  So he went and did according to the word of the Lord, for he went and lived by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan.  The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he would drink from the brook.  It happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.- 1 kings 17

I wonder how alone he felt out there, eating bird scraps, Just him, and God.

One of the passages that I think of often is this one:

Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.”  And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.  But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.” - 1 kings 19


I think about how he was with God, and He was walking in the obedience that God had called him.
I think about how he cared... and saw a great many people who didn't care.  I think about that sometimes and I wonder. The next part I recall often.

Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”  He said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away


A life of solitude, called to deliver a message to a people, and when delivered... it is met with such hostility. I can imagine him with a burden of vision, seeing that God would prefer recollection with his people, a people that would rather kill the messenger.

 So He said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing.  When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Then he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”

I was never truly alone, when My dad died. My family was out there somewhere.  Or when the women that I cared about left, I still had a few close friends. When my friends left, I still had a few core people that didn't leave me stranded.

 The Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you have arrived, you shall anoint Hazael king over Aram;  and Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. It shall come about, the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall put to death. Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

 So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, while he was plowing with twelve pairs of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth. And Elijah passed over to him and threw his mantle on him.  He left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Please let me kiss my father and my mother, then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?”  So he returned from following him, and took the pair of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the implements of the oxen, and gave it to the people and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah and ministered to him.


After Elijah literally throws in the towel, God brings him someone that ministers to him.



I know that God is bigger than August.
I know that He's stronger than the world.

Elijah was without a doubt one of the most amazing Prophets in Israel...
and I know that he felt pain, and solitude too.

 Endure until help arrives.
Endure until God brings the car around.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Patriot or Priest- Our government and God

Most of my friends on Facebook are far too aware of the fact that I read the news and keep myself comprised of what is going on in our country. I make very little effort to hide that when I post 3 or four articles with captions like "WHY IS AMERICA FUNDING TERRORISM AGAINST AMERICA" and "STOP GIVING EGYPT FIGHTER JETS"

I spend 5 to 10 minutes here and there through out the day reading headlines, and I'm sure that in my news feed, it probably looks like I'm scouring the internet pasting together articles in some dimly lit room mumbling about drones or whatever. I'm sure that it looks worse on Facebook than it actually is.

This isn't my life...
However, there are things that I read and I see going on in this country that do effect my life.

The right to bear arms is kinda a big deal to me. I was mugged once when I was 14 and living on the racial divide back in Michigan. Ever since that moment, I never wanted to feel like a victim to an unjust oppressive force. It doesn't matter if that force is 16 people of a specific ethnic persuasion or specific branches of a government entity.

I was talking to a very nice gentleman about something that I struggle with as a believer. The balance between being a patriot, and being a priest. Our government was established with certain ideas in mind...

Life...
Liberty...
the ability to pursue happiness....

Are these God given rights?
I assured him that for the first two I could make a solid case.

Life and liberty.

Can these two things be supported from a biblical text ?

Deut. 30: 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, 20 by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

Proverbs 14:27
The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.


A case can be made that we are each given the right to choose, Life or death.
We are given an inalienable right to Life, by God.
God doesn't force Life upon us... but HE allows us to chose it.
HE allows us to choose Him.
 Or, we can choose our way, the ways that defy him, and death.


Choice. 


I honestly think that many of us believers want heaven.  We want heaven, and we want Jesus to come back, but if he's coming back, we want it to be a suitable place for him... and it isn't a suitable place right now because look at all these terrible sinners... 
I think we have this idea, that if we start legislating Biblical ideals then more people in this godless nation will have to follow the law, and therefore sin- less. We picture this in out minds and we want something like that to play out. Sometimes we get so desperate for heaven that we try to create it in our own image. 


Recently, the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down by the Supreme court. They stated that it was unconstitutional. I thought long and hard about that, and I had some conversations with some godly people regarding the separation of Church and State.  My brother pointed out the position of the Anabaptists who initially called for the separation. Christians. Christians stated that our government, and religion should have no partnership. 
He poised a question so deeply profound that here, weeks later, I still am wading in the depths of.

"IF God Himself, gives man the option to either follow His ways or to not.... .... ... Then who are we impose a demand on others to submit to His standard of rule" 

I believe that homosexuality is a sin. The Bible states that it is a sin. Do I have the right to force people who engage in homosexuality to submit to God's standard? 

I don't believe I do. 
In fact,
1 cor 5
9 I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; 10 I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. 11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? 13 But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.

What have I to do with judging those who are outside ? 
It isn't my place to judge those who choose the things not of God. 
I can't find a place were Jesus says "go forth and picket a funeral, be a complete tool to anyone who is not a believer in me, and hate... hate a bunch of folks because then that will really show them my love"
I don't know what version of the Bible that everyone else reads, but that isn't in mine.

The Bible states that Jesus was tempted in every way... That includes sexual immorality.


Our Government isn't Biblically focused. Our leaders are men of power and flaw. 
We won't know the fullness of Life and Liberty until our Messiah establishes His everlasting government. 
Our government isn't going to solve all our problems. 
Until the Messiah gathers all whom are His from the corners of the earth... 
We submit.. 
We pray for our leaders instead of mocking them in really hilarious facebook posts.... 
We pray for them instead of photoshopping them with underwear on their face. 
We pray that God be stronger in all of us as a nation, and His Spirit would stir our convictions to repentance. 


Matthew 7 13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

I see much of being a patriot as political dissent and rebellion... which is really cool, but the opposite of the Biblical prescription
I see being a priest as being submitted to God so much that we can serve even the most sinful of hearts with an attitude of the one who has saved us.

I'm working on that.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

"Our Father. "

It's Fathers day. I started writing this post about a week ago, but something said "wait, there is more to it than you're ready to write" and I got distracted.

I recently listened to an in depth study from a very godly man who was teaching on praying in the spirit of God.  He was talking about the Lords prayer and when he spoke something resonated with me, loudly.
We know the model in which he taught us to pray:

Matthew 6: 9 “Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
‘Give us this day our daily bread.
 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’


Our Father. Ours.

Growing up, I spent a lot of time alone, locked inside my head. Pouring over books and thoughts and concepts, because in my young life, I felt like there wasn't anyone I could really talk to. I felt a great sense of isolation after I saw my dad die.  That isolation and sadness carried on with me for a great many years.
Growing up, I had a revolving door of people coming in and out of my life, as my various family members sailed from one trauma to another.

Growing up, I had a really strong sense of self reliance. In my head, it was me vs the world that wanted to destroy me.  As I grew, God and I found each other.... or I found Him, I don't think he ever really let me out of His sight.  Then, in my mind, it was just me, and God. God and I walking around among other believers. God and I walking around among the world. There were these walls that I had built up in my heart and mind to keep from trusting people, to keep from getting hurt by people.

This one man Army mindset was even in my prayer life. When there was a need, or  I felt lead to pray...
It was always like I was asking my God for things for other people. It was still me, and my God, even if their God was also my God.

I was still holding walls. My Father, was Their Father.... but he wasn't Our father.
and it has occurred to me, the divisional aspect of such a simple thing.... it isn't a good thing.

Our Father...


Even in praying for others...  for individual needs, I know that they are not the only ones in the body of the Messiah that are hurting or in need of the same thing.

So and so is feeling alone, and he's hurting and feels like God isn't answering his prayers, or if he is, he can't hear the answers...   and so I'd pray, God please help so and so. Meet the needs specifically of so and so.
I know that this is a good thing, I know that this is a needed thing......

...but the bigger picture here...

The Our Father picture....

God, I pray for all your people who are fighting this. God I pray that you meet the needs of all who are part of your body that are struggling in this area...

 Give US this day, OUR daily bread, forgive US OUR debts as WE forgive OUR debtors....

Taking a step back.... I can see a little clearer.
If I, and probably others... if We can adapt the mindset that when one falls, we all fall, when we stand, we stand as one.  Perhaps, when we think as the collective "One body" and we move as "one body"... we will repent as "one body". We can walk righteously as "One body"

The royal "we"
-
I'm seeing this too.


A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.
God makes a home for the lonely;
He leads out the prisoners into prosperity,
Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land. Psalm 68:5-6

Monday, June 3, 2013

post

God there is still much to be destroyed in my heart.

I believe that is something that you have been trying to show me for the past year, holding me in places of humility where men of pride speak over me.

In each of the places I have lived you have shown me a different type of pride in each of three men.
I prayed to you about how terrible it was for me,  and how ugly I saw it to be in each of them.

Like a tailor holding a mirror for the one he dresses, you have panned the angles around me and shown me the various ways that each reflection is me... and how I present myself in differing lights.

God, I have seen in my heart, again, and again and again, these areas of pride, and again and again and again I tell you about them before I say there is something I need to do about them.

I'm trying.
I fail, but I am trying.


And God, I need you to be stronger than where I start, fail and finish.
God I don't want to be an asshole.

I know that you're not an asshole, and I am supposed to be a reflection of your character.

I don't want to just feel bad about sin, God I want to be free from it.

I'm a believer, help me believe.
Help my unbelief.
I know that in every moment that I am more me, than I am like you that my actions are crying out that God isn't really on the throne

and I want nothing to do with such a decree.


I've prayed "God make my spirit stronger"  and I have prayed "God strengthen my resolve"

Tonight I am praying "God, keep me from getting in the way of You living in me, YOU speaking in me, You working in me , You keeping me from dying and running and falling and failing... because You are my Savior. YOU are so much more than I can or could be.

You have got to be bigger than I keep keeping you from being

And I am sorry God, I am sorry.

and I want to believe that I can change, and that I will change....
I do believe that you can change me....
 but there is this doubt God.

There is this doubt in my mind that says "do not tell him that you repent because if you slip again it is as if that repentance never transpired  ... and I don't want to lie to you God.
I hate dishonesty.

 Your ways are not my ways...

But I want it your way.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

To all the friends I've lost.




I'm sorry.  

I'm sorry that we aren't still friends.  I'm sorry that you felt that there were things in my life or yours that we couldn't work through. 
I regret that at times, my depression was heavy. 
I know I leaned on some of you more than I should have. My burden wasn't for you to carry. 

I look back over our friendships.... my old friends, my former friends. I grieve over much of what was lost. 
Friends I've called brother.  

Brothers I've stood before God with in praise, and served with. 
I'm sorry for all the times that I wasn't a better reflection of his character. I'm sorry for the moments when my pride won out over my spirit and I spoke to you in anger of flesh. 

I know that I hurt some of you. 
I pray that you forgive me for that. 

I'm not going to make excuses for not being better or stronger, or anything like that. 
I'm not going to justify what happened. 

I miss you old friends.

There were times, in our friendships, each one of them that I sacrificed for you, and you sacrificed for me.  There were times when we fought and yelled, and screamed, and it was ugly... 
...and then we healed and were stronger in the fresh air of honesty.

That is what I thought.  
Perhaps, I had just pushed you a little further to the edge each time. 


Forgive me, if you are able for my times of vanity. Forgive me for my times of pride. 
Forgive me if you are able, and May God watch over your travels. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Irony. Being all Ironical.




In my studies and researches and biblical goings on, and my emphasis of the living in the manner of Christ...
I underscore the points of God's eternal and holy law, as it is called in scripture.


Now a point of irony has dawned on me,

In my research of God's law and its role in the life of the believer...


I've been called a Pharisee .

Can you believe that? For having a heart for God, and desiring obedience to his word... A pharisee.

Now the Irony that I may not have been aware of or by God's grace for my heart, I've forgotten...

I was reading this passage among a handful of others, in a study of Honor when I came across this passage again..

This is the REBUKE for the Pharisees....


Matthew 23

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.

27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.


The text in the King James says

28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.


Defining iniquity

Greek: Anomia

1) the condition of without law
    a) because ignorant of it
    b) because of violating it
2) contempt and violation of law, iniquity, wickedness


Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for not keeping the Law of God

.... and When I say to my brothers and sisters in Christ, Hey guys, this Law of God is important...

I sometimes am labeled as a Pharisee.


Am I the only one who thinks that is kinda funny?


This same word, iniquity, meaning lawlessness is used some other places.

Matt 7


21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

Matt 24

9 “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10 At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 12 Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. 14 This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.


Matt 13
    Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us       the parable of the tares of the field.” 37 And He said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, 38 and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. 40 So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, 42 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.


Titus 2
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

Monday, May 13, 2013

You don't want God.

God said something like that to me one day.

I was sitting in a chair praying a normal Christian formula prayer.

I said  with a dry and calloused heart " God, I want to know more of you"


I had tried praying, and things felt stagnant. I knew I had some sin that I wasn't dealing with.
But I prayed, because that is what Christians do. They pray.

So, out those words came.

I don't know why I didn't expect such a blunt response when he replied
"No you don't. You don't want to know more of me. If you wanted to know more of me, you would seek me."

I felt something penetrate my wall of numb emotion. I felt a stirring. 

I searched my heart, and my soul decided to be honest with GOD, who knew when every I was lying anyway.

"You're right " I said, like he didn't know that already " But... I want, to want you more. "

Yeah, I desired the desire to desire him.
God is real, I knew that. God is powerful, I knew that too.  Why is it that I didn't want to chase him?
He saved my soul and I remembered how in the very beginning that I latched on to him. I clung to him fervently. Now, I treated him... well, .... like a thing.

" That, I can work with that" He said to my second request. I'm sure I have told you guys this story in other posts....


But that is what is on my mind.


Who is God in your life?

Who is he?

Really?


I'm not asking you to recite a few passages, or off the top of your head tout some greek-hebrew title.

No.

Who is HE.  ....and do you know Him?

 Do you read the book of John and say

14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.


This... THIS is my God... HE is grace upon grace upon grace.



.... and nothing else.





Is that it? Don't get me wrong, that is HUGE..... but.... that is one verse.
There are thousands of verses in the book.


Is he your provider?


but just the provider?



Is he he your redeemer who redeemed you from sin...



..... just so you can keep on sinning?

How much do you love sin?

Certain sins?

That one specific sin?

Do we love that one more than God?

Do we tear out the part of the bible where God told us that one sin isn't okay.


....or do we say, no, God says its fine. MY god says its fine.


We've all done it.
Many of us still do it.
MY god would never tell me that, because this thing that I like... well, I like it. God wants me to be happy. He wants me to be rich and He wants to give me all the stuff that I want...right?


^ take a look at who is really sitting on the throne there.


God wants your heart.  He wants you to surrender.  He wants you to serve Him. He wants your repentance and your confession that YOUR ways are not HIS ways.

He wants you to be free, and the ONLY way to be free is if you let him free you.



.....but He has to be God.  You can't be.
I can't be.

 Thus says the Lord,
“Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind
And makes flesh his strength,
And whose heart turns away from the Lord.


All those moments where we say, I AM GOING TO DO THIS!!!!!!!!for god.
and I WILL DO THAT!!!!!my way.


How big is He?/


It's a whole different story when He says "Listen, move, now, go, do this as I have commanded you!"



I know personally, I want Him in my life. Not just because He gives me stuff and feeds me.  

He isn't just that.

I want Him in my life because HE is so much better than I am. He is so much greater than I have ever been.
He is Holy. He listens. He cares. HE is Just. HE is so so SO much smarter than I can even imagine.
I want Him in my life because He is.

.... and He says to me, If you want to be like me, I will help you walk like me, and talk like me, and I will give you My words, and I will break your chains, and I will show you my power,


I sometimes am reminded how God is so much bigger than we allow Him to be in our lives.


and He is jealous to reveal Himself to us.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Thinking About Gay Stuff.

It's 5:03 in the morning.
I was just laying in bed, about to sleep and feeling tired finally after a nights work and mental stimulation.
I was comfortable and I was ready to sleep.
However, I couldn't stop thinking about a conversation that I had with someone while at work tonight.


I was on patrol and an acquaintance sought to have me weigh in on the discussion that she was having with her co-worker.


 "Do you go to church?"  She asked me.

"Yep. Why, would you like to come? " I replied.

"I have a question, and you can answer honestly, please answer honestly..."

By the tonal fluctuations in her voice I could tell that she was sincere and was about to ask me a very personal question.

" Am I going to hell for being gay?"

I'm going to be honest here, when she asked it, a part of my own heart instantly hurt with her.

" Are you afraid of going to Hell because you are gay?" I asked.

She told me how in her relationship, her significant other is starting to become increasingly fearful of the end times, and in that, she is afraid that they're going to hell for being gay.

There were many things that I wanted to say. Many responses that I wanted to give... and all of them were focused on the truth, and the heart that was seeking it.

I started off by telling her that I am not qualified to judge who goes to hell and who doesn't. I personally am far to faulty for that... plus, the job is taken by a qualified applicant.... Jesus. I mean he passed the bar, I failed half the exams.

To respond to her question I stated the fact that the Bible states that homosexuality is a sin.

The more important fact that I really tried to emphasize, is that God loves her/us/you/me.

HE does. IF you are reading this, know that God loves you. If you are gay, and you are reading this, Know that God loves you.

A lot of churches like to quote verses from the Bible in a pointed context to stab folks with it.
IT is almost as if they get a sense of enjoyment and satisfaction from it.

Westbro Baptist Church is a prominent face out there holding up signs that "GOD HATES FAGS" or "GOD HATES GAY PEOPLE"

Some of them will  quote Leviticus 18: 22 You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.

I'm not sure.... maybe its me.... but I didn't read anywhere in that text that God hates people who deal with homosexuality.

I confessed to her that there are things that I struggle with as a heterosexual man. Are these sins of mine any less offensive? Is lust any less lustful for a man than for a woman?

... Am I defined by this one thing?
... is my struggle with this sin, the summation of who I am as a person?

Hell no. ( I said it)

John 3:16
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.


God so loved the world...
 God, LOVED, WORLD.

Even gay people.  Are you defined by the fact that you're attracted to someone.... or are you defined by the fact that you are created by God, in His image, Knit together in the womb?


Deuteronomy 14:3 Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing

Proverbs 16. 5 Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.

Jerimiah 13: 27 “As for your adulteries and your lustful neighings, The lewdness of your prostitution On the hills in the field, I have seen your abominations. Woe to you, O Jerusalem! How long will you remain unclean?”

Homosexuality is a sin. Eating pork, shellfish, snake, owl and other things God said aren't food ... is a sin. Being proud in the heart is a sin. Lusting is a sin.

My friend isn't less human for the sin. Jesus died for her too.
Repentance is a huge part of the salvation process, and it is important for all believers to exercise grace and patience with all people.

I gave my friend one of the cards I carry for church. I hope she comes and enters into the House of God, as the gentiles did in Acts 15... I hope that she comes and hears and applies the word to her life.


I hope that for a lot of us out there.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Law, Love and Fulfillment



m sure that there are some people who read this blog and might think " Why does he always talk about the Law?... Shouldn't he be talking about Jesus more instead? 

Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: No. 

Let me explain that. 

The focus of everything here is to point to the Savior, Our Messiah, Our redeemer. 
When I talk about the Law of God, I am talking about the things that Jesus taught about. When I talk about keeping commands of God, I am talking about what Jesus kept. When I talk about following in his footsteps, I am literally talking about what scripture refers to as the path
"And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem."- Isaiah 2

"Many nations will come and say, “Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord And to the house of the God of Jacob, That He may teach us about His ways And that w
I'e may walk in His paths.” For from Zion will go forth the law, Even the word of the Lord from Jerusalem."- Micah 4 



Now in my study I have heard people, in some cases pastors tell me that the law has been done away with. THat usually causes me to take their words and compare it to the Word of God. This is the contrast I see:


17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. - Matt 5


This really does seem to say that Jesus didn't come to render the Law of Our God to not be followed. In fact, he said it. Now, when I have pointed out that he fulfilled the law, not rendered it not to be followed... many people still think fulfill means to keep once and then discard. The text above points out that the heaven and earth thing hasn't happened yet, and there are other scriptures that talk about that too.

Lets take a closer look at that line of thinking in comparison to some other scriptures. 

"But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. 3 The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 1 cor. 7 

Fulfill his duty. Looking into the wording on that... that means... you know... husband wife time.  Getting busy.... being fruitful and multiplying so to speak. Yeah, It means to biblicaly " Know" each other. 

How silly would it be to think that the scripture is saying that once you're married, get it done only once... then you have done away with marital relations and therefore rendered them obsolete. Or to say that marital relations was some sort of burden instead of a God orchestrated blessing WITHIN THE GUIDELINES OF MARRIAGE.

I couldn't fathom that.
 Moving on.


"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." -Galatians 6:2

If we take this scripture and apply the "Fulfill means to render not following" mindset... then by bearing the burdens of one another, we are disregarding the law of Christ? We're making the Law of Christ to not be followed? 

According to scripture that doesn't make sense. 

8 If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.- James 2

IF you are doing away with the royal law according to scripture love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing good? NO WAY!!! IF you are keeping God's law, you are loving your neighbor as yourself. You are loving God with all your heart and soul and resources.


Isaiah 8:20 says this:

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.


I'd like to point out that most of those who call on the God for their salvation, who read the word and seek to live like Christ, are following a lot more of the Law of God than they realize.

Regarding this text in Isaiah, I was thinking about this today.

I remember who I was before Jesus came into my life. I remember what I thought was acceptable. I know that there were things and lines of thinking that I thought for sure, were fine. I'd tell God, " Look God, This is fine. I don't need to change that, because really this thing... this thing in my life is no big deal." 


but... that thinking doesn't line up with the word of God.
It doesn't co-inside with the Truth. 

The truth is that if something God says isn't acceptable, then there isn't two ways about it. It's unacceptable. Granted, he'll give you grace and be patient with you as you and Him work on other things in your life, but the standard isn't going to change. HE's just got to get your heart to a place where you take His word for what is right and what is not, or you remove Him from your heart. 

Man cannot serve two masters. He either hates one or he hates the other.

There is war in the body between the spirit and the flesh, Paul writes in Romans. He tells a story about the law of the flesh ( carnality) being in contention with the God's law.
I remember before I began to keep more of God's law, looking at the scriptures and my fleshly mind saying that they were a burden. In my sin, I would look at things like Leviticus 11 on where God says do not eat certain things, because I am God and you are not, and in my fleshly mind I would think... man... what a bunch of rules. What a bunch of restrictions. What a bunch of stuff that isn't .... exalting me.

I prayed about it and I searched God's word. In drawing closer to Him I could see that it was insane to think that it was some great mill stone around my neck to not eat something that God calls an abomination. 

It was quite easy actually. In my heart, I really wanted to abstain from the things that are unpleasing to God according to His definition  and not my standard.
The Sabbath rest? That is a delight!!! God says I have set the 7th day aside for you and I FROM THE BEGINNING OF TIME! How could I possibly think that Gift from Him is anything other than wonderful?

....because that flesh sometimes wants something else. It says things like " Forget God, you need money..."  or " God helps those who help themselves ( not actually in scripture)" 


....that flesh says, Let's be God because we know better. 

... That flesh says  forget the scripture and just think of the taste

.... that flesh says don't help them, because they can't give you anything. 



The word says :
1 John 5:2-3
 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." 
Love and Fulfillment. 



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Broken People.

I've know some atheists in my time.  Some of them are more agnostics, others are more militant haters of the idea of faith. I've known a few people who were once believers in God, and when God wouldn't fit their image, they rejected Him.

One of the things that a good many of these people have said has stuck out with me, and has always seemed ... off.
 " Religion is a crutch for the weak" 

I've heard men tout this as some new truth, as they throw their Bibles in the trash.  
The irony of this, I suppose...  is that the book says pretty much that very thing. 

IF you read the book, from Genesis to Revelation, the story tells of a broken people. A rebellious people that  bring about destruction upon their selves. The book talks about what people do, and live like, at the height of their self reliance and pride. It categories mans wickedness and depravity. 

The book records the capabilities of Man, and how evil our hearts are. 

Religion is a crutch for the weak. Yet we're all lying to ourselves if we think that any of us, regardless of what we believe, aren't weak. 

You have those that see what awful things they are capable of, and what harm and pain people are capable of... Who want to get better. They want to walk right. Stand right. People that want to change, and therefore turn to a loving and accepting God to help them change who they were, into something better. 

.... .... What kind of person takes it upon themselves to kick a crutch out from under a broken person? 

What kind of person figuratively beats a man in a wheel chair? 

Psalms 34:18
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.


I've heard many of these men, old friends, close friends, speak as if to say that they are smarter and stronger, wiser, and perhaps even more compassionate than the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob.

They say these things without holding a respect for the beliefs contrary to their own.
I respect their right to reject God, people have been doing that since the beginning.

Romans 1
28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Of the Annointed Christ I Ask

I know you...
of you at least.
or maybe more. Maybe I've seen you in my heart.
In my mind I wonder if what I see is a remnant of things you were seeing.
I ask you Son of Man.  I ask you in no elevated tone or stature, for whom am I to ask
I am not any one man that could demand an answer,
but I ask...

How alone were you?
As a man aware of a kingdom... your kingdom,
and your people, angry, violent and proud.
Did it break your heart to look them in the eyes and see their thirst for stature?
How could it not?
How many times did you just want to be alone?
Because they didn't understand.. or many of them didn't care to..
Did you retreat to the shoreline to gaze upon the reflective waters, and reflect upon them?
What crossed your mind? Did you think of the beginning?
When there was just water, and darkness, and a hovering spirit over it?
Where you able think on it? Were you distracted by the swarms of people that crowded around you?
Was there isolation within the company?

Then I think of them, the men, the ones that knew every rule.
They knew the Torah through and through but,
They didn't know what it means to live it. Or, live it right.
I want to know what you saw when you looked in their eyes.
Did you hate them the way God hated  Esau?
Was your anger burning slowly, and righteous?
Or, where you with grief? A sadness dripping in as you peered into their souls and saw them destroying things with the means of imparting life?

I see it.
I've seen it. So many times when I have looked at them.
Occasionally when i've looked within.
Graceless as they were or I've been.
Isn't that the thrust of it all? Compassion, servitude, for us, for each other.
Why is it that we have such a hard time with that?
The taking care of each other.
Isn't that why you washed their feet?
or fed the crowds
or healed them
... It was always for them.
Was your life lonely as it was lived for others, whom lived for themselves?

I know it mattered to you, to matter to them...
How disappointed were you when they wouldn't stay awake for even an hour, in your final hours
Did it annoy you when you told them everything that was going to play out, and even, as it was playing out, and they still did not understand?
Was there any comfort found in the words of the thief, that as he died, he knew you...
that he saw you truly?

Tell me Son of God,
as you are, in what you have done, and what I have seen, as I fall and fail and stagger, and try to stand again...
Will you call me friend?
do you look at me as you did Peter?
My desire is to walk with you, and yet still, the undertow tends to take my focus.
I know you are King, I know you are worthy. I know you are holy.
I know these things. I know them about you,
but it terrifies me that though I know much of you, that I may not really know you.
Will you tell me, if it is pleasing to you, do I see you truly?
Do I know you as you are?