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Showing posts from 2014

Tis The Season

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.-Ecclesiastes 3:1, 1 Cor. 15:8 (NKJV)

I am thinking about seasons.  The author of Ecclesiastes lists fifteen pairs of seasons that are opposites, starting with, "a time to be born and a time to die".  One translator writes, "opportune time", for season.  It's like a season is a window of opportunity.

But what if you miss an opportunity or that opportunity is closed off by others?  What if the plan or the positive, logical, sequence of events, is aborted?  Paul's ministry came in a different or peculiar way.  It was born out of due time; not in season, to the natural eyes.

This is Christmas week.  It is the season to celebrate Jesus birth.  But, there are people who are suffering loss right now.  They are in a sad place.  So, there are two season's going on in their lives, out of harmony.

I believe that God supplies…

Perseverance...

Now we want each of you to demonstrate the same diligence for the final realization of your hope, so that you won’t become lazy but will be imitators of those who inherit the promises through faith and perseverance.
-Hebrews 6:11-12 (HCSB)

Do you have perseverance?  It takes perseverance to inherit the promises.  Perseverance is long-suffering.  It is patience, as in a long temper.  It is a "keeping on, keeping on".  Perseverance also means, "delayed hope" (Prov. 13:12).  

A quick diagramming of Heb. 6:11-12 is this.  I imagine this is not perfect, but this is my attempt, to try to understand it better:

Now we want 
-each of you 
   -to demonstrate
       -the same diligence
       -for the final realization
       -of your hope,
       -so that you won’t become lazy
   -but will be imitators
      -of those who inherit the promises
         -through faith and perseverance.

My focus is on this word, perseverance.  It falls within the "imitators" section.  We w…

My Mourning

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
-Matthew 5:4

If Jesus said God blesses the people who mourn, then mourning is alright.  Even Jesus mourned (John 11:35).  Tears are good.

I was at a lecture, and I suddenly felt very sad, about a loss in my life.  There was a grief, a loss, to mourn.  We call it "grief work".  Many of us have pockets of loss or hurtful memories in our hearts.  More than a few times, a scene in a movie has resonated with my grief or loss; and I am suddenly bursting into tears.

I also had a dream this past week, and in it, I was reciting a disappointment, which was mourning a loss.  It got my attention and I agreed to grieve it.  If we ignore our "grief work", the hurts stay with us and contaminate our lives.

Blessed are those who mourn their losses.

We need to let go of the hurt, so that we can take hold of the new beginnings, the new seasons, and the second chances.  For example, when you suffer a loss; if you stay in the p…

My Anger

And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
-Ephesians 4:26-7 (NLT)

A few weeks ago, I was on the way, with my family, to go to a performance of "A Christmas Carol".  I had never been to the theater we were driving to, and was taking directions from the GPS.  We got off the freeway, and I was disoriented about which lane to be in.

I was changing lanes and another man honked at me.  There were four lane choices, and I am not even certain I wanted to get in front of him; but just over, towards him, one or two lanes.

When he honked at me, I honked back.  He honked,  then I hooooooooooooonked.  You get the idea.  It was a, "how dare you honk at me, and now here is a taste of your own medicine", honk.  I think I also upset the panhandler, but he may have already been talking up a storm, before I hooooooonked.

We continued to follow the Magellan's directions, and it was…

He Owns The Cattle On A Thousand Hills -I know He Will Care For Me

He owns the cattle on a thousand hills,
The wealth in ev'ry mine;
He owns the rivers and the rocks and rills,
The sun and stars that shine.
Wonderful riches, more than tongue can tell -
He is my Father so they're mine as well;
God owns the cattle on a thousand hills -
I know that He will care for me.


John W. Peterson wrote this song, published in 1948.  He was born in 1921 and died in 2006.  He wrote over 1000 songs, including Heaven Came Down an Glory Filled My Soul, Surely Goodness and Mercy, This Is The Day That The Lord Hath Made.

It is a great reminder that God takes care of us.  Generous is a word that describes God and we live out lives of generosity:
And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say,
“They share freely and give generously to the poor.
Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”
For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread …

How Firm A Foundation

I will not, I will not leave thee, I will never, never, never forsake thee.”
-Hebrews 12:5 (1)

Have you ever heard J. Vernon McGee's "Thru The Bible", radio program?  It has been on a number of stations, here in Southern California, for decades.  He passed on in 1988, but his radio ministry has kept going, because it is so popular.  How Firm A Foundation, is the hymn that opens the show.  I decided to look at this amazing hymn.  Here is is:

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled? In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be. Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnip…

Obedience Is From A Life That Has Had His Love Revealed, & Loves Back

Whoever holds to my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me; and whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I shall love him and reveal myself to him.'

“The person who knows my commandments and keeps them, that’s who loves me. And the person who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and make myself plain to him.”
-John 14:21 (NJHB, MSG)

The person who loves Christ, has grasped, has layed ahold of his commands firmly.  That person's mind holds onto Christ's words, which are commands to be obeyed.  The person who loves Christ hears him, takes hold of the commands his gives, and obeys them.

But this does not happen in a vacuum.  It happens through God's love for us first.  It also is able to happen, because we are people who have the Holy Spirit.  We take hold of something that deeply impacts us- God's love in Christ, and become lovers ourselves.  And we express that love through obeying God's son.

The Father has always loved…

Verily, verily I say unto you: Jesus Is The Amen

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
-John 6:47 (KJV)
"Verily, verily, I say unto you".  Did you know that Jesus said this phrase twenty times, all in John's gospel?  Verily is the King James word for "amen".  We are used to hearing, "amen", at the end of a statement, and not at the beginning.  Jesus says, "amen", at the beginning of a statement, to bring emphasis to what he is saying.  He says, "Amen, amen", at the beginning of a declaration to really emphasize what he is about to say.
The Catholic Bible is one of the few that reads, "Amen, amen, I say to you".  The Revised Standard, New American Standard, and English Standard Versions, read, "Truly, truly, I say to you."  the New Living and New International Versions read, "I tell you the truth".
When we say, "amen", while someone is sharing; we are saying, "I agree", "that's rig…

He's Got The Whole World In His Hands (You & Me)

For the life of every living thing is in his hand, and the breath of every human being.
-Job 12:10

This, too, I carefully explored: Even though the actions of godly and wise people are in God's hands, no one knows whether God will show them favor.
-Ecclesiastes 9:1

He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.
-Colossians 1:17

The Son radiates God's own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.
-Hebrews 1:3

For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen. -Romans 11:36 
He really does have the whole world in his hands, including you and me.  "How is this possible?", our little hearts ask.  It is because our God is big, mighty, all encompassing, and real.
And the person or face of our God is…

Sent Out Among Wolves (Street-wise)

Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.
-Matt. 10:16 (NLT)
It is ironic or a paradox that Jesus sends us out as sheep among wolves.  Normally, sheep are kept away from wolves.  But Jesus' words here, say that we, as his messengers and missionaries, will be seemingly defenseless.
But, the good shepherd goes with us (John 10:12-15).  The point Jesus makes here, is that we have no self defense, in our own power.  We are completely reliant on our shepherd.
We are not force of power, in and of ourselves.  We have a powerful message.  We have a powerful King.  The King can even do powerful things through us.  But we are not a power.  We are defenseless, like sheep, utterly dependent on our shepherd.
But, we are to have a special way of functioning, in our vulnerability.  We are to be as shrewd as snakes and as harmless as doves.  This is a paradox.  
Snakes are careful.  Shrewd, prudent, sensible, or crafty.  All this implies t…

Watch Out For Wolves and That You Do Not Become One

“Go in through the narrow gate. The gate that leads to destruction is broad and the road wide, so many people enter through it.  But the gate that leads to life is narrow and the road difficult, so few people find it.

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you dressed like sheep, but inside they are vicious wolves.  You will know them by their fruit. Do people get bunches of grapes from thorny weeds, or do they get figs from thistles?  In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, and every rotten tree produces bad fruit.  A good tree can’t produce bad fruit. And a rotten tree can’t produce good fruit.  Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire.  Therefore, you will know them by their fruit.

 “Not everybody who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will get into the kingdom of heaven. Only those who do the will of my Father who is in heaven will enter.
-Matt. 7:13-21 (CEB)


Jesus says to watch out for wolves, that are dressed like sheep.  Eve…

Participate Now, Understand Later

Jesus answered, “You don’t really know (realize now, know now) what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
-John 13:7 (CEV, NIRV, NRSV)
I am fond of the quote by Søren Kierkegaard, where he says that life can only be understood looking back, but it must be lived looking forward.  What is implied is that we walk through things that we do not understand, that we do not know.  Later, we can know or understand.  We gain experience.  We are seasoned.  We get it now.
It is encouraging that we do not need to understand all things in order to participate in life.  Not understanding is normal.  I believe that God wants us to participate.  I believe that God calls each one of us to walk with him, into the unknown, in order to grow and to gain working knowledge of how to walk the walk.
I don't really know what he is doing, and that is ok.  God chooses to not have us know.  He is doing something with me, and I don't need to understand it.  He says that I will understand it later.  I…

Forgive Seventy Times Seven

Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”

“No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!

“Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt.

“But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.

“But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment.

“His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and …

God Sees Me

Be still and know that I am God.
Cease striving and know that I am God.
Be in awe and know that I am God.
-Psalm 46:10a

It is a revelation that can change your life: To know that God is active in your life.  We ourselves are often the one thing that blocks us from knowing this.  If and when we slow down, dial down, and cease from striving, we make room to be aware of or to be in awe of God.  We can not 'do' awareness or awe.  We get to experience it.

The idea or concept that God is watching is something not just for children to get, but for adults too.   Like the song that says, "be careful little eyes what you see".
There's a Father up above
And He's looking down in love
So, be careful little eyes what you see God is watching as the loving Father.  When you watch your child, or grandchild, you get a glimpse of what God does all the time.

It is one thing to know that God knows me, because he is God.  But to know that he really knows me, as an individual, is…

Faithful in the Small or Few Things First

“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!'

“The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’

“The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’
-Matt. 25:21-3 (NLT)
I was pondering what are things to have running or have working in our lives, as we walk into a new, upgraded season.  Upgraded software needs upgraded hardware.  The software comes in over the air, but the hardware must be up to spec. to receive it.

Some of the things that have occurred to me, are:
Gracious generosity: Give and it shall be given (Luke 6:38).The upside down job/ministry/life of being servant to all (…