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Showing posts from April, 2014

Blessing God, Who Guides in Day & Instructs at Night

I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me.
Psalm 16:7

Each of our lives is a life of walking with God.  We serve the one God who is our inheritance.  We continually praise God who guides us.  And while we sleep, God instructs our hearts .

David was on a wild ride.  Many challenges faced him in his life.  He was a man after God's heart.  He was a worshiper.

Blessing

"I will bless (or praise) the Lord", is a declaration of faith.  No matter what happens or what I see with my eyes and hear with my ears, I will bless the Lord.  We are fond of blessing others.  Blessings is a term of charity that means, "may all go well with you", or perhaps, "may grace accompany you", or perhaps, "may God's favor be upon you".

Blessing is the opposite of cursing.  Cursing is to pronounce or wish bad things upon a person.  Cussing and cursing are closely related.  When we cuss we curse someone or ourselseves.

Looking at the opp…

The Lord is My Inheritance

Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing.
You guard all that is mine.
The land you have given me is a pleasant land.
What a wonderful inheritance! -Psalm 16:5-6

In marked contrast to chasing after money, believers (disciples) have the Lord as their inheritance.  For true worshipers and for the new covenant priesthood of all believers, the Lord is our inheritance.

The Lord is also our cup of blessing.  We live out of his life.  We have joy unspeakable (1 Peter 1:8) in him and we also have fellowship with him in his sufferings (Philippians 3:10).

The land, lot, or portion that the Lord gives to each of us is pleasant.  We feel content with it and we don't compare it to other's portions nor to we compete.  There is no greed or competition at the Lord's table.  If you are audacious enough to ask the Lord, "what about him?", he will tell you it's not your business, but to follow him where he leads you.

I heard this verse, "my boundary lines hav…

Chasing other gods

Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods.
I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood or even speak the names of their gods.
-Psalm 16:4

God designed us to be worshipers.  God designed us to serve and follow him, and he in turn, takes care of those who have given themselves to him in their whole lives (Romans 12).

It is profound and instructive that the first command is, "no other gods", or, "to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength."
In the world, people worship other gods.  There are many other gods and people give themselves over to variety of them in each of their lives.  Richard Foster wrote about money, sex, and power as being the three greatest challenges to navigate, for the Christian, in his book, The Challenge of the Disciplined Life: Christian Reflections on Money, Sex, and Power.

I am going to focus in on the idol of money.

Thomas Merton wrote, "Money has demonically usurped the role in modern soci…

Eventide Prayer

And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming. -Genesis 24:63
Eventide is that twilight time, just after and perhaps including sundown.  Eventide also means nightfall or dusk.  It is the most dramatic time of day, only to be outdone by the sunrise in the morning.  Eventide is the most beautiful time of day to be outdoors.
Isaac was not enjoying the light show or the sun sinking away on the western horizon.  He did not see the sky  with the orange and yellow hues giving way to light blues, purples, and darker blues.  Isaac was looking down.  His mind was on something else.
He was meditating.  Perhaps this describes a form of prayer.  It might describe deep thought, as in mulling something over.  There is a kind of prayer where we think about something, but we are not just worrying nor are we trying to figure it out on our own.  In meditation, or deep thought prayer, we take our worries or our proble…

The Resurrection Changes Everything

I am the resurrection and the life.  Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.  Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this Martha?
-John 11:25-26

The fact that Jesus rose from the dead changes everything.  Jesus came to save us and give us life never ending.  Stepping into life in him gives you and me life in him, now and forever.  No one else in history has promised that or been able to deliver on a promise like that.  Jesus saves us from death to life, because he is God's Son.

The life in Christ is a resurrection life.  That means that when you step into life in Christ, you begin a transformed life.  He brings things to death and brings things to life in your life.  So, the life in Christ is a life of death, burial, and resurrection.

Jesus said to people who want him, who believe in him, or who want to say, 'I am a Christian'; "take up your cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23).  Jesus said that if you refuse…

Sky Links 4-19-14

Truly,truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone.  But if it dies, it produces a lot of grain.
-John 12:24

He died so we could die

Ben Sternke wrote about dying to self and discipleship.  You Have to Die to Make Disciples:
On Good Friday I’m always reminded of Dallas Willard’s statement that Jesus didn’t die on the cross so we would never have to. Instead, he died on the cross so that we could join him there. Good Friday, when we commemorate this beautiful act of love and sacrifice and atonement, is a fitting time to reflect on the journey we take as leaders. Ben Sternke writes about how we die when we offer discipleship and how we die some more when we walk beside others.

Plurality of Leadership is the NT model

I was browsing some denominational documents about how to run a church and there was a section on how, in their tribe, that the pastor (solo pastor, senior pastor) is the one who calls the shots, so to speak.  It basically said tha…

Angry Christians

“You have heard that it was said to those who lived long ago, Don’t commit murder, and all who commit murder will be in danger of judgment. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with their brother or sister will be in danger of judgment. If they say to their brother or sister, ‘You idiot,’ they will be in danger of being condemned by the governing council. And if they say, ‘You fool,’ they will be in danger of fiery hell. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift at the altar and go. First make things right with your brother or sister and then come back and offer your gift.

Be angry without sinning.  Don’t let the sun set on your anger.  Don’t provide an opportunity for the devil.

Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints.
-Matthew 5:2…

Who Is This Who Shakes Everything Up?

They brought the donkey and the colt and laid their clothes on them. Then he sat on them.Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting,

“Hosanna for the Son of David!  Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Praise God in highest heaven!”

The entire city of Jerusalem was in an uproar as he entered. “Who is this?” they asked.

And the crowds replied, “It’s Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
-Matthew 21:7-11

When Jesus came to Jerusalem, this final time, a week before he was executed for blasphemy; the whole city was shaken up.  It was a true visitation from God.  God had been revealed through Jesus all along, but when Jesus entered Jerusalem this time, he was revealing himself more than before.  It was known that Jewish kings ride in on a donkey and he accepted praise and worship to hims…

Testimony and Salvation Songs

The ropes of death entangled me; floods of destruction swept over me.
-Psalm 18:4

Our lives are testimonies or salvation songs and they are still being written.  We all have our songs of deliverance.

The story of my life is his story.  My story is the story of Jesus delivering and saving me.

The Lord saved me from death.

I experienced a season of time when I thought I was going to die.  I was imagining my funeral.  I could feel the ropes of death and the waves of destruction closing in.  But, every day, I prayed for God to save me.

Death was getting closer.  I was like a man moving towards drowning, as the waters were getting more dangerous.  My confusion increased and my foolishness was great.  But I prayed.  I cried out from my weakened spirit, "Lord protect me".

God wanted to do a lot more than protect me, which he did, from death, but not from emotional pain.  God asked for me to surrender my whole life.  No deals, full Lordship.

The worst season of my life was turned…

Willard: "Knowledge of the Glory of God in the Face of Christ"

If you have known me,
You would also know my Father.
From now on you know him and have seen him.
Philip told him, "Lord, show us the Father,
And that will satisfy us."
"Have I been with you all this time, Philip,
And you still do not know me?"
Jesus asked him.
The person who has seen me has seen the Father.
So how can you say,
'Show us the Father'?
-John 14:7-9

Knowledge of the Glory of God in the Face of Christ, from Dallas Willard
Accordingly, we bring the heart-wrenching goodness of God, his incomprehensible graciousness and generosity, before the mind of disciples by helping them to see and understand the person of Jesus.  On a wearying, dreadful night, Jesus was saying a lot of things that were confusing and upsetting those in his little circle of friends.  Philip blurted out, "You talk about the Father all the time.  Just show us the Father and that will satisfy us" (John 14:8).  Jesus patiently replied, "Haven't you yet understood w…

Sky Links, 4-10-14

The rapture

Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
-1 Thess. 4:17
Did you know that the doctrine or belief in something called the rapture was first propounded in 1830?  In other words, it is a relatively new doctrine and was not popular, widespread, or written about before then.

When I was a teenager, I started reading popular books that espoused the rapture.  Later, I found out that it is a peripheral, controversial, minority (albeit popular) viewpoint.  Looking at 1 Thess. 4:17 reminds me that this event is Biblical (the catching up of those who remain), but talking about it all the time still seems odd.

Rapture fever has the idea in it that the world is going to hell, so we need to get people saved in time for the soon coming rapture.  Jesus had a message that he preached, which was, "repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand".  That's a little differen…

You Have Already Got The Gift

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.
-Psalm 139:13-14, Ephesians 2:10, 2 Peter 1:3


God has deposited a gift within each person.  Our job is to unpack the gift of God within us.  Our quest is to develop our gifting. You have already got the gift, but you are waiting for something.  
Perhaps the enemy of your soul has been attacking you and sidetracking you, trying to destroy you right in the area of the gift God has already given you.  God's redemption is greater than the enemy's destruction.  When God recompenses you or restores you, he may even make you better than before you suffered loss, as in compensation for damag…

Twos

Two people are better than one, for they can help each other succeed.
-Ecclesiastes 4:9
Two is the number of witness & testimony.  (Gen. 41:32, Mark 6:7, Luke 9:32, Acts 1:10, 1 Cor. 14:27-29, and Rev. 11:3-4).  Two (and three) is the number of people who are mentored or discipled together (Matt 18:20).

When Jesus commanded his first batch of learners, and now all of us to go make disciples, he meant and means to go and make learners out of people, as he first did it with them.  That means close up.  That means questions and more questions from the learners.  That means twos, usually.

My question is, do we get it that there is power in the small?  The twos and threes and fours, and all the way up to twelve.  Maybe we wanted our group to be fifteen, twenty, fifty or a hundred.  Maybe we felt like failures if our whole church was less than a hundred.

Jesus words are still true and still powerful:  "Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them."  Jesu…

You Rule The Oceans

You rule the oceans.
You subdue their storm-tossed waves.
-Psalm 89:9
My favorite place to go is to the beach, where I can see and hear the ocean.  Seeing and hearing the ocean always reminds me of how big and how powerful that God is.  The sand also provides a connection for my body with the immensity of the ocean and of God.
During a season of my life, I upped the ante in my love for the ocean.  I added another dimension to it by swimming.  The buoyancy factor of the salt water, along with the tidal flow was very enjoyable for me, and therapeutic or healing for my body, soul, and spirit.  And it was an El Nino season, so the water was very warm. 
I learned how to get away and seek God.  Jesus would get away to a mountain or mountainside (Luke 5:16 & 6:12).  The beach is my place, to get alone; where there are less or no people, and I can seek God there.  Even during the warmest part of the summer, I know the accessible, but lonely places to go, and to get alone.
When I look out…