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Showing posts from December, 2013

Sky Links, 12-30-13

The journey is harder and more rewarding than you thought it would be

Alison Brown, writes:

“10 Steps to Freedom” or “5 Ways to Instant Maturity” are popular paths dependent on someone else’s revelation and my self-help prowess.  Wide at the beginning, they quickly become dead ends.

The Road Less Traveled is where we can settle for nothing less than our personal encounter with God when we are challenged or pressed.  We want to know God in this place for ourselves and discover who He is passionate about being for us now. It’s a toll road, but pay the price gladly.
.No Neon Signs Along The Road Less Traveled, by Allison Brown.


Calling


Have you been called?  Are you called?  What is calling, anyways?  I have been asking this question and pondering it for a very long time.  Mathew Schuler wrote:
For me, the concept of “calling” can quickly warp relationships by imposing a power structure that diminishes one party and exonerates the other...
...So am I “called?” I would say I am beingc…

Happy People Know The Shout For Joy

The people who know the celebratory shout are truly happy!
They walk in the light of your presence, Lord!
-Psalm, 89:15

Happy people know the shout for joy.  "Blessed are they that know the joyful sound" is how the New King James Bible says it.  I have known the song that says this for years, but I did not know that it meant more than enthusiastic singing.  In the translation I use, the Common English Bible, it says, "celebratory shout".  Happy are the people who know the celebratory shout.

I was wondering what this joyful sound was, that the psalmist had in mind.  We might assume that he meant the sound of voices praising God.  That seems like a good answer and that is what I assumed for these past 25 years.  Thank God, for a newer translation, that tries to get closer to the original language's meaning.

The NIV Bible version has been pretty popular, and it says, in Psalm 89:15, "blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you".  Even though I use the…

Happy People

“Happy are people who are hopeless, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
“Happy are people who grieve, because they will be made glad.
“Happy are people who are humble, because they will inherit the earth.
“Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full.
“Happy are people who show mercy, because they will receive mercy.
“Happy are people who have pure hearts, because they will see God.
“Happy are people who make peace, because they will be called God’s children.
“Happy are people whose lives are harassed because they are righteous, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
“Happy are you when people insult you and harass you and speak all kinds of bad and false things about you, all because of me.  Be full of joy and be glad, because you have a great reward in heaven. In the same way, people harassed the prophets who came before you.
-Matthew 5:3-12

Do you want to know who the happy people are?  Happy people are …

Contrapunctus - Counterpoint - Singing Your Part

We have many parts in one body, but the parts don’t all have the same function.  In the same way, though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other.  We have different gifts that are consistent with God’s grace that has been given to us.
-Romans 12:4-6a

Did you know that you are music that is meant to be sung?  Did you know that your life contains a specific gift or destiny for you to uniquely minister or serve?

God has a creative voice that speaks out into every place.  God has also given each person a creative gift or voice.  When we express our gift, sing with our voice, or operate in our special gift, we voice something that is interdependent harmonically, but independent in rhythm and contour.

Interdependent means that you are aware of others, you take your turn, and you are a team player.  Independent means that you have your own goals you are going for, you express your uniqueness, and maintain your individuality.

Contrapunctus m…

Joseph's Story

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. When Mary his mother was engaged to Joseph, before they were married, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit.  Joseph her husband was a righteous man. Because he didn’t want to humiliate her, he decided to call off their engagement quietly.  As he was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child she carries was conceived by the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son, and you will call him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
-Matthew 1:18-21

Joseph's story is a smaller story within the bigger story of God's story, His story, the story of Jesus birth.  Joseph is a credible witness of Jesus birth.  We have already learned that Joseph was a righteous man, who displayed God's kindness and wisdom in his life.

In his righteousness, Joseph was deciding what to do.  He was a sensible man, a…

Joseph, The Righteous Man

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. When Mary his mother was engaged to Joseph, before they were married, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit.  Joseph her husband was a righteous man. Because he didn’t want to humiliate her, he decided to call off their engagement quietly.
-Matthew 1:18-19

Joseph was engaged to be married to Mary, when she told him that she was pregnant.  She told him something that didn't make sense.  She told him that she had not had another man in her life, but that she was visited by an angel, who told her that God would cause her to be pregnant, in a miraculous way. 

We do not know how Joseph judged Mary's account of how she became pregnant.  What we do know is how he responded to this crisis.  He responded with mercy and honor in a righteous way.

Joseph's betrothal to Mary was a more serious  matter than engagements of couples today.  In today's language, Joseph was already Mary's husband, while Mary remained at her father…

Jesus' Prayer Request

“I’m praying for them. I’m not praying for the world but for those you gave me, because they are yours.
-John 17:9

It is astonishing that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords would humbly ask a request of his Father for you and me.  Today, that is just what Jesus is doing.  He is praying for us.  Jesus is asking God on behalf of you and me.

If you can let that sink in, it seems to me that we would want to know just what he is praying for us and pray with him.  What is it?  Do you think that each of us can go to God and ask God, "what it is that Jesus is praying for us, for me, because I want to pray that same prayer to you".

I believe that the Father listens to Jesus' prayers.  I also believe that Jesus is wise and would know what to pray for me.  Maybe what Jesus is praying is so deep that only my spirit and can receive what it is a pray that back to God.

When Jesus' life, before being executed on the cross, was coming to an end, he prayed.  He prayed a lot for his …

Insights For Living

You are what you eat and what you focus on or give yourself to is what you become.Your destiny is hidden in your daily routine.What you say is what you are.You can understand your life with your mind by looking backwards, but life can only be lived looking forwards with eyes of faith, hope, and love.We are designed to worship

A life of bad eating leads to poor health and a chance of earlier death.  There is also a spiritual principle that what we behold we become.  If you behold Christ, you will become like him.  I know it is not enough to just look, but by looking at Jesus we hear him and obey him, imitate him, and have his nature imparted to us and are transformed; which is the Christian life or "Christ-i-an".

There is nothing wrong with many things in life like work, hobbies, creative interests, and important relationships; but if any of these becomes what we are living for, they will take over.  We were designed by God as creatures that worship Him in relationship to hi…

Sky Links, 12-7-13

In God’s wisdom, he determined that the world wouldn’t come to know him through its wisdom. Instead, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of preaching.
-1 Cor. 1:21


I love what Paul Pastor wrote about preaching is his article, Have We Forgotten the "Foolishness of Preaching"  Paul asked if preachers today are raising up a church of gnostics, who take pride in hidden knowledge while avoiding transformation and Jesus' mission.

Paul wrote:
"I am weekly in danger of forgetting the “folly of preaching”, not through rejecting a deeper understanding of scripture, but by allowing that Teaching to usurp the place of my Teacher. The lines that determine where that process sours are beyond me right now, but somehow I set my mind on wisdom, and miss the Wise One.
As I think back, some of the worst sermons I’ve ever heard in my life ended up changing my heart, because in some nearly intangible way, they connected me to Jesus." That pic…

Breakthrough Is Preceded By Breakdown & Breakout

Let this endurance complete its work so that you may be fully mature, complete, and lacking in nothing.-James 1:4

I have learned that breakthrough comes through breakdown and breakout..  The kingdom of God is paradoxical compared to the world.  To become big, you must become small; and to live you must die.

People who want a break through, but are refusing to have a break down, never break out.  The Christian life is a life of transformation.  To be transformed, you have to give up something and leave it behind. 

A nervous breakdown is when someone falls to pieces.  A breakdown in God is when we put our sinful nature to death,
So put to death the parts of your life that belong to the earth, such as sexual immorality, moral corruption, lust, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry).  The wrath of God is coming upon disobedient people because of these things.  You used to live this way, when you were alive to these things.  But now set aside these things, such as anger, rage, malice…