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Showing posts from November, 2016

The Deeper Life

Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls; all Your breakers and Your billows have swept over me.
-Psalm 42:7
I am a person who is interested in going deeper.  As a young man, I devoured books on the deeper Christian life.  My quest for depth took me into the experience of so much joy, that I smiled all the time.  I was also introduced to the experience of deep sorrow and pain.
I found out that deeper means the whole package: joy and sorrow.  I found out that the reason Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted is that many people, including me, have had broken hearts that need Jesus.  There is a tension in seeking the deeper life in God, in that when God takes you deeper, when you go deeper with God, you experience the depths of joy and sorrow.
When I first looked at Psalm 42, as a young man, I thought it was just about hunger for God.  And it is true that it is about hunger for God.  "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you", is about hunger, l…

Ministers of The Light of The Gospel

Therefore, since we have this ministry because we were shown mercy, we do not give up. Instead, we have renounced shameful secret things, not walking in deceit or distorting God’s message, but commending ourselves to every person’s conscience in God’s sight by an open display of the truth. But if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we are not proclaiming ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves because of Jesus. For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.
-2 Corinthians 4:1-6

The light of Christ is shining.  Letting that light into our hearts is the beginning of and the way on in the life in Christ.  The light is that God has now acted in history to chang…

This Is My Country: Is Nationalism OK?

When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance and divided the human race,
He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the people of Israel.

From one man He has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. He did this so they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.

-Deuteronomy 32:8, Acts 17:26-27

I woke up one morning, this past week, with the song, "This Is My Country", going through my heart.  You might know this song, which speaks of national pride and national unity.  We are, in America, "One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all".  These are very powerful words that we say.

I believe that we are entering into a time when these words will be more meaningful and come alive to all of us in America.  I, personally,  am proud to be an America and I love the Uni…

God, Bless America

Happy is the nation whose God is Yahweh-- the people He has chosen to be His own possession!

May God be gracious to us and bless us;
Look on us with favor

So that Your way may be known on earth,
Your salvation among all nations.
Let the peoples praise You, God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
Let the nations rejoice and shout for joy,
For You judge the peoples with fairness
And lead the nations on earth.

Let the peoples praise You, God,
Let all the peoples praise You.

The earth has produced its harvest;
God, our God, blesses us.
God will bless us,
And all the ends of the earth will fear Him.
-Psalm 33:12, Psalm 67

I woke up, with the song, "God, bless America", singing through my heart. The song is actually a prayer, written by a Jewish American immigrant named Irving Berlin. A high percentage of Americans (United States of Americans) know this song and it gets sung by everyday people in our country quite often.

We have many other patriotic songs like "…

Give Thanks

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Though He was rich, for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich.
-2 Corinthians 8:9
Give thanks, from a grateful heart.  Gratefulness is an awesome blessing.  Are you grateful?

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  To me, it has all the holidays, including the Jewish ones, rolled up into one.

Thanksgiving is about being thankful together.  We are together with God and with one another.  God has always wanted us together, with him, living in fellowship.

To be thankful is to be simply alive to God.  The recognition of God gives us thankfulness and gratefulness.  When we are thankful to God, we enter into his presence.
The song, "Give Thanks From a Grateful Heart", was written by Henry Smith, in 1978. Henry was a young seminary graduate and wrote the song when he was struggling to find work and coming to terms with a degenerative eye condition that would eventually leave him legally blind.  Here i…

Help People In Real Need

Provide justice for the needy and the fatherless; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute.
-Psalm 82:3
Defend the poor and the fatherless.  Vindicate the weak and fatherless.  Give justice to the lowly and the orphan.
Be fair to the poor.  Defend the weak.  Defend the rights of the poor and the orphans.
Do right concerning the poor and fatherless.  
Give fair judgment to the poor man, the afflicted, the fatherless, the destitute.  
You’re here to defend the defenseless, to make sure that underdogs get a fair break; Your job is to stand up for the powerless, and prosecute all those who exploit them.
Stand up for the weak and for children whose fathers have died. Protect the rights of people who are poor or treated badly.
Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Maintain the rights of the afflicted, the lowly and destitute. Defend the helpless and everyone in need.

Protect the rights of the poor. Defend the rights of the poor and suffering. Uphold the cause of the poor and t…

Pour Out Your Heart

Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is our refuge.
-Psalm 62:8
Pour out your heart to God.  Always tell him each one of your concerns.  Tell him all of your problems.
Tell him all of your troubles.  Pour out your longings before him.  Open up your heart to him.
Pour forth before Him your heart.
God our helper.  God shelters us.  God, a safe place.
God is our place of safety.  God is our shelter.  God is our protection.
God is a safe place to be.  God, our hope.  
Have you trusted God by pouring out your heart to him today?  We have all these swirling thoughts and feelings, questions, fears and concerns.
Tell God.  The line is open.  God is listening.

Judge Not - Notes From Bonhoeffer

Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged.   For with the judgment you use, you will be judged,  and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 
Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye
but don’t notice the log in your own eye? 
Or how can you say to your brother,
‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’  and look, there’s a log in your eye? 
First take the log out of your eye,  and then you will see clearly
to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. 
Don’t give what is holy to dogs
or toss your pearls before pigs,  or they will trample them with their feet,
turn, and tear you to pieces. -Matthew 7:1-6
Following up on my last post, I was reading what Dietrich Bonhoeffer had to say about Mathew 7, and he has a whole chapter on the verses above.  I have felt battered and bruised lately, from listening to and reading, including myself; the invective that Christians have been leveling at other Christians.  My question has been, "how does Jesus want…

No One Ever Is To Blame

Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye? Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Don’t give what is holy to dogs or toss your pearls before pigs, or they will trample them with their feet, turn, and tear you to pieces.
-Matthew 7:1-6
"No one ever is to blame", is a way of saying the same thing Jesus said about not judging.  Yet, we constantly judge or blame others.  It seems to me that the log in the eye and getting trampled and torn to pieces, is the more common way that we live, than the way of Christ.

There is a better way to live than the way of blaming:

Start dealing with your…

The Heritage

God, You have heard my vows; You have given a heritage to those who fear Your name.
-Psalm 61:5

God hears our vows, the promises we make to Him in prayer.  God gives us rewards, possessions, prosperity, land, and blessings.  We pray this way, because we honor, are loyal to, and have reverential fear towards God.

In a believer's life making vows or promises to God is optional: you don't have to, but also natural: you want to, because as you discover God's goodness, you naturally want to make promises and vows to Him.

God is the prototypical, the first and foremost generous person.  Giving is God's nature.  God gives a heritage to those who honor Him.

A heritage is something that is handed down, inherited, or reserved for us.  We individually have rewards, we collectively take part in the reward, and we are given to one another as a reward.

I believe that the heritage is "the whole package", meaning and abundant life in and with God and people.  The main gif…

The Reversal

The nations will escort Israel and bring it to its homeland. Then the house of Israel will possess them as male and female slaves in the Lord’s land. They will make captives of their captors and will rule over their oppressors. -Isaiah 14:2
What God has planned and wants to do is a complete reversal in the lives of believers who have been oppressed.  God not only wants to set people free who have been held down, held back, and left behind; but He also wants to put them in charge over those that they were under before.  God wants to take people from servitude to ruling.
God wants to restore his people to their place of rest.  God wants to take his people out of bondage and into a place of stewarding authority.  God is freeing his people, so that they may serve and disciple the nations who previously held them in bondage.
The same people who imprisoned believers and kept them locked in and locked down will become the helpers, guides, and rides to take them to their inheritances and des…

Happy But In Need of Reconciliation in Our Family

But the righteous are glad; they rejoice before God and celebrate with joy.
-Psalm 68:3

I am glad, are you glad?  I am rejoicing and celebrating.  And it is before God.

I have hope and I believe things are getting better.  I believe in the redemption of all of mankind through Jesus Christ.  I believe God wants to save everybody, that the invitations have been going out and it is up to us to get the word out and up to the people to respond through their choices.

The big naughty, that I saw, heard, and read, from Christians to Christians, over this past year, was when we questioned the character of other Christians for their views.  This ought not be so, and highlighted the fact that the church in America is very divided and carnal in that we sometimes get too "over the top" about politics, and are unloving towards one another.

What happened to, "They will know we are Christians by our love"?

In a few weeks, we will celebrate my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.  And …

Grief In Moab, Curse Broken, and Freedom into Destiny

For their cry echoes throughout the territory of Moab.
Their wailing reaches Eglaim; their wailing reaches Beer-elim.
-Isaiah 15:8
Some people are sad today and some people will be sad for a while.  Misfortune comes upon people and there is a way that is right, in how we observe their misfortune; so as not to sin in watching the news.  Those who have suffered loss are our brothers and sisters.
Moab was the son of Lot, who was the nephew of Abraham.  And Ruth, was from Moab, and she was David's grandmother, and Jesus' great, great, great, great, grandma.  When Moab came under judgement, it was appropriate to be compassionate towards them.
The Bible instructs us to not rejoice or gloat when our enemy or brother falls (Pr. 24:17, Job 31:29, Ob. 1:12).  Isaiah writes, in the context here, "My heart cries out over Moab..." (15:6a).  
People of Moab can still be in the people of God.  Ruth is an example of this.  Where you were born and who you were born to or where you h…