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Showing posts from July, 2014

Old and New, Part 2

“Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked.  They said to him, “Yes.”   Then he said to them, “Therefore, every legal expert (Scribe) who has been trained as a disciple for the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings old and new things out of their treasure chest.” -Matthew 13:51-2 (CEB)

Life is always a dance between the old and the new.  The crown of old age are grandchildren.  Neighborhoods are filled with the elders and the youngsters, making for the variety that is the spice of life.  We have new and old friends.  It is fun to introduce the two and fix it up, as we stand in the middle.

The back drop for Jesus statement that the Scribes of the Kingdom would be disciples in the old and the new, is a lot of conflict and rejection in the previous chapter.  A demon-possessed man was healed by Jesus.  The authorities accused Jesus of somehow being in league with Satan.

Jesus responded to this, and then warned about speaking against the Holy Spiri…

Old and New

Then Jesus gave them this illustration: “No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and uses it to patch an old garment. For then the new garment would be ruined, and the new patch wouldn’t even match the old garment.

“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins.  New wine must be stored in new wineskins.  But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘The old is just fine,’ they say.”
-Luke 5:36-9

Old and new.  It is something we all live in.  There are always new things and old things.  New family and our older family, new friends and old friends.  We are always integrating the new into our lives, that already contain the old.

But sometimes it is an art and a science, as to how we integrate or harmonize old and new.   There is a continuous story of old and new in the Bible.  God never changes.  Nothing is new about God.  But God gives us revelations about himself.  God is all a…

I Long For You

As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God.
-Psalm 42:1
At the end of each day, do you wish you had spent more time with God?  Not in a guilty way, but in the way that a lover just wants more time with and more of his or her beloved.  Do you look forward to more time with God, the next day, when you lay your head on the pillow each night?
When you are at work, or dealing with the stuff of life that needs to get done, are you looking forward to being with God?  Many of us are learning how to practice God's presence, when we are caught up in other, seemingly unspiritual activities, whether alone or with others.  That is good, and I am among those.  But I also long to get away and get into God's presence, which usually means alone.
You might be at a bustling workplace, a crowded school, or in a full airplane, high up in the sky; but you get this longing to be alone with God.  Yes, you can practice his presence, there in the noise, among people.  
But to get…

Keep me Safe

Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge.
-Psalm 16:1

The book of Psalms is the prayer book of the church.  We are in error, if we think that we can let our untransformed hearts lead the way, in prayer.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote about this:
"We confuse wishes, hopes, sighs, laments, rejoicings–all of which the heart can do by itself–with prayer. And we confuse earth and heaven, man and God. Prayer does not mean simply to pour out one’s heart. It means rather to find the way to God and to speak with him, whether the heart is full or empty. No man can do that by himself. For that he needs Jesus Christ.” -Bonhoeffer, Psalms When I was at my lowest point in life, the most depressed and hopeless, I still was able to put some small hope in God.  Looking back, I realize that my spirit was alive.  Even though my life was crashing, my spirit was able to get guidance from heaven.

My spirit was able to receive prayer instructions.  I got the idea to pray, "keep me safe…

The Question - From Him and To Him

Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

Peter replied, “You are the Messiah sent from God!”

Jesus warned his disciples not to tell anyone who he was. “The Son of Man must suffer many terrible things,” he said.“He will be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead.”
-Luke 9:20-22
"But who do you say that I am?"  He is still asking this question.  The 'but' is there, because he wants you to say who you, from your self, say who he is.  The collective is important, but God deals with us one to one.
He wants each one of us to say who we think he is.  Telling what others say is one thing, but what is important is what you believe.  What you believe will govern how you live.  You will be judged on your life, not what someone else said or believed.
"Who do you say I am?", he asks.  Is he after information, or does he want you to come out in the open …

I Will Celebrate

I will exalt (extol) (lift my praise above everything to) you (lift you up high), my God the (and, true) King; (and) I will praise (bless) your name for ever and ever (always) (I will continually bless Your name forever and always).

Every day I will praise (bless) you (my praise will never cease- I will praise you every day;) and extol (praise, lift up) your name (yes, I will praise you) for ever and ever (always).

Great is the Lord(!) (The Eternal is great) and (He is) most (so) worthy of praise (greatly to be praised) (and deserves endless praise); his greatness no one can fathom (measure) (God's greatness can't be grasped) (his greatness is unsearchable) (His greatness knows no limit, recognizes no boundary.  No one can measure or comprehend His magnificence).

One generation (after another) commends (will praise) (will celebrate) your (great) works to another (the next one); they tell of (proclaiming, shall declare) your mighty acts (they will pass on the story of Your powe…

Out of The Depths

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord

From a sea of troubles I call out to you, Lord.

From the depths of disaster I appeal to You, O Eternal One.
-Psalm 130:1 (NIV, CEV, VOICE)
I heard, "out of the depths".  It was dark, the middle of the night.  I knew it was in the Bible, but did not know it was Psalm 130, until I looked it up.
Out of the depths, is the cry of a person, who feels alone, underneath, and entombed by troubles.  Depths, to me, implies darkness, and distance.  God seems far off, while troubles a piled up, over, and around you.
But, in this deathlike place, in this experience of separation from the living God, we cry to, we call out to, and we appeal to God.  We do this, because we believe that God hears, we believe that God  cares, we believe that God is faithful and loyal.  We choose to believe that God is good, no matter what, and that God hears the prayers of his children.  
In the place of disaster, of overwhelming stress, anxiety, or hopeless depression; w…


He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners.It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free.  But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. But the fruit of the Spirit is love,joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.Against such things there is no law.But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom.Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. -Luke 4:18b, Galatians 5:1a, 13, 22-23; James 1:25, 2:12; 1 Peter 2:16 (NIV)
Freedom.  What does that word mean to you?  It means a lot to a slave or someone in prison.  We were all slaves and prisoners, and Christ set us free.  He set us free…

The Deeper and Wider Life

Rejoice with those who rejoice;  mourn with those who mourn. -Romans 12:15 (NIV) The Christian has both a deeper joy and a deeper grief than others, because he lives a deeper and a wider life, because his heart trembles into sympathy with human gladness and sorrow all over the world.
-R. Abercrombie (1) When we hear good news, we want to be happy with that person, and when we hear bad news, we want to be sad with them.  Something is wrong, when we can not rejoice with people, and something is lacking, when we are not able come come along side, and mourn with people.

When we are in Christ, walking in his love, we can freely celebrate with others and freely be with others who are grieving.  Our hearts are already filled and being filled with God's love and we are intimately walking in God's love.

Envy, jealousy, and a spirit of competition, have no place in our hearts, if we are walking in Christ, because we know we are loved by God.  If these feelings come up, then we need to …

Belonging To Christ, To Live The Life

My brothers and sisters who are well versed in the law, don’t you realize that a person is subject to the law only as long as he is alive?  So, for example, a wife is obligated by the law to her husband until his death; if the husband dies, she is freed from the parts of the law that relate to her marriage.  If she is sleeping with another man while her husband is alive, she is rightly labeled an adulteress.  But if her husband dies, she is free from the law and can marry another man.  In such a case, she is not an adulteress.

My brothers and sisters, in the same way, you have died when it comes to the law because of your connection with the body of the Anointed One.  His death—and your death with Him—frees you to belong to the One who was raised from the dead so we can bear fruit for God.  As we were living in the flesh, the law could not solve the problem of sin; it only awakened our lust for more and cultivated the fruit of death in our bodily members.  But now that we have died t…