Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from January, 2017

Only In Christ Are Walls of Hostility Torn Down and Peoples Made One

So then, remember that at one time,
You were Gentiles in the flesh
—called “the uncircumcised” by those called “the circumcised,”
 Which is done in the flesh by human hands. 
At that time,
You were without the Messiah, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 
But now in Christ Jesus,
You who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah.  For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility.  In His flesh, He made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations,
So that He might create in Himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace.  He did this so that He might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross and put the hostility to death by it. 
When the Messiah came,
He proclaimed the good news of peace,
To you who were far away,
And peace to those who were near.  For through Him we both have acces…

Joyful Living

My heart and soul explode with joy- full of glory!
Even my body will rest confident and secure.
-Psalm 16:9 (TPT)

What can I do to cultivate joy in my life?  What actions on my part bring me to a place where joy is birthed and flows out of my life?  What is the source of authentic joy from God?

Have you ever experienced joy, but part of you did not?  That part is like a Christmas light on a string that is burned out.  The electricity passed by it, but not through it.  The electricity touched it, but does not light it up, because it is broken.

Many people have broken places inside.  They experience joy or exhilaration and happiness, but there is a dead place that might be touched but not penetrated.

When we have unprocessed feelings, we can become blocked.  And our soul or our liver does not function properly.  Because of this, we can not experience the joy in life that God wants us to have.

Most of our inside parts of our bodies are hidden from our consciousness, until they cause us…

Teaching vs. Indoctrination

As usual, Paul went to the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days reasoned with them from the Scriptures.
-Acts 17:2

There is a difference between teaching and indoctrination.  Education is not indoctrination.  But some secular and christian education is indoctrination masquerading as education.

If you are a teacher, whether you homeschool your children, teach at the pro level or you teach in your church; it is good to know this difference between indoctrination and true teaching.  Many people are indoctrinated today, rather than taught.

What you might notice, is that when you preach, whether you preach to a crowd or a few, it is easy to be an indoctrinator rather than a true teacher.  True teachers ask people questions and expect them to challenge and debate them.


Teaching

Sharing ideas and conceptsTeaching is absorbed and integrated into one's own lifeConcepts or ideas are questioned and debatedMaterial is reflected uponStudents summarize back what's being learnedStudents thin…

Auld Lang Syne

Forget about what’s happened;
don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

And you don’t put wine in old, cracked bottles; you get strong, clean bottles for your fresh vintage wine. And no one who has ever tasted fine aged wine prefers unaged wine.
-Isaiah 43:18-19, Matthew 6:34 and Luke 5:38-9 (The Message)
We are three and a half weeks into the new year.  The big change happened in November and was made official this past weekend.  America said goodbye to one president and said welcome to the new president.
Many more changes are in the air and are coming, as they always are.  God is doing something in the earth.  Trump's ascendency, like it or not, is emblematic of what God is doing.
Jesus has been building his church.  God is re…

Now is The Time for Words of Grace

No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear.
-Ephesians 4:29


We live in a time of corrupt, foul and unwholesome words.  In the world of non-believers, 'trash-talking' is commonplace, 'par for the course' and 'normal'.  Believers know better.  And when we do engage in putrid, rotten speech, we apologize.

We, who are all called to be saints, do the opposite of what the worlds does; with our words.  We speak only words that are good words.  We speak what is good to others, for building them up.
In this time, in this climate of rotten words, we will speak with words of grace.
In the world, they tear each other down with their words to one another.  Christians, in contrast, build people up, with their words.
We see and hear what others need.  Then we speak words to people, that build them up, according to that need.  We are encouragers, blessing givers and word of grace…

Epiphany

The mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have briefly written above. -Ephesians 3:3
Have you ever had an epiphany?  A epiphany is described as: "a moment when you suddenly feel that you understand, or suddenly become conscious of, something that is very important to you" (Cambridge dictionary) "a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience." (dictionary.com) When we get an epiphany, we suddenly see something, hear something and know something; and we are catapulted into a different place.  And the natural response to an epiphany is prayer.  In prayer, we receive or take in the epiphany that we have been given and take possession of it, integrating it into our lives.

Our response to an epiphany, that becomes a prayer, is first awe.  Epiphanies make our jaws drop.  We say, "Oh, I see it now".

The 'it' is…

Humbled But Happy

Happy are people who are humble, because they will inherit the earth.
God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.
-Matthew 5:5 (CEB, NLT)
The blessings of God are laid out sequentially, by Jesus.  They build upon each other.  Each one of these are called by him, 'fortunate situations to be envied': that is what 'blessed' or 'happy' means here.
We first agree with God that we are hopeless and poor without God and then begin living our lives as 'happy mourners'.  We live in the kingdom of God, receiving its treasures.  And we live with broken hearts that are continually comforted by our Father.
After these fortunate states have been established in our lives, we are in a place where we have been humbled.  We now have a measure of humility from which to live.  And the reward for a life of humility towards God is inheriting the earth.
Jesus way and Jesus words are the complete opposite of the way of the world and the way that ma…

Preparing For The Rain

You gave abundant showers, O God; you refreshed your weary inheritance.
-Psalm 68:9 (NIV)
The rain is coming.  But are we ready for it?  What can we do to get ready?
I would describe what we need to do is to have: Open heartsOutstretched armsEyes that are openShoes on our feetClean hands
Open Hearts
Be reconciled.  Get reconciled with God, with yourself and with others.  Do not have anything against anyone.
Forgive everyone, starting with God. Make sure you forgive yourself.  Get rid of, cleansed of all bitterness.
This heart work may require set aside portions of time now to become aware of your heart problems and get free, get reconciled and purge yourself of spiritual toxins, waste and obstructions.
You may have need of heart warming or palliative care from other people right now.  Your heart disease may be killing you or immobilizing you.  Find out how to reverse the disease and get well and be well and receive from God.
Some hearts are damaged and not functioning properly.  People…

Happy Mourners

Happy are people who grieve, because they will be made glad.
God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. -Matthew 5:4 (CEB, NLT)

Have you wept lately?  Have you wept over your sin?  Have you wept over the sins of others?

That is a mark of an authentic Christian.  If you are not mourning over your spiritual bankruptcy then do not claim to be a Christian.  Grieving your hopelessness is the path of Christ that we walk on.

Being grieved over the sin around us is also the way of life for the disciple of Jesus.  The message of Jesus Christ to the world dying in sin has always been, "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand".  This is the message that Christ followers carry into the world today and we carry it and communicate it from broken hearts.

God is not angry at the world, but grieved and broken hearted for a people trapped in sin.  We have the privilege of sharing God's heart of mercy and compassion for the lost.  Our lives are filled with immense joy and …

The Generous Life Lived in Mercy

And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil.  Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.  Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over—will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” -Luke 6:34-38
Three or four years ago, I asked the Lord where we would live in the future, and I heard 'Merced'.  I know that the Lord often speaks to me in 'dark speech', parables or symbolic language and sometimes plainly.  In this instance, I looked up what 'Merced'…

Enthroned? Abiding and Dwelling: Being With God

May he sit enthroned before God forever.
-Psalm 61:7a
In Psalm 61:7, it says, "May he sit enthroned before God forever", and this word 'enthroned' is used in my HCSB and many other translations, like the ESV, NIV, CEB and the NRSV.  The NLT goes further and has 'reign', and the CEV has 'rule'.  My reasoning is that king David is the author and could there be any influence upon translators from New Testament theology, from Paul, that teaches that we are seated in heavenly places, with Christ (Eph. 2:6)?
Paul also says that believers will judge the world and judge the angels, in 1 Cor. 6:2-3.  These are interesting considerations, but I am going to assume that the translators did not have these New Covenant concepts in mind, when they broke down Psalm 61 into English.  The question really is, "What did David have in mind and how do his words apply to us?"
David's story is that of a humble shepherd who was the youngest of seven or eight so…

My Inheritance of Abiding With God

May he sit enthroned before God forever; appoint faithful love and truth to guard him.
-Psalm 61:7
Abiding with God, being guarded by faithful love and trueness is my inheritance.  Sitting enthroned before God is all about God's love and not about me.  God has dealt kindly and truly with me.
God has appointed or assigned to me his faithful love and his true blue faithfulness.  God is forever loving and true to me.  And my inheritance is to abide with God forever.
The desire to abide with, before and in God is not a hope for the distant future, but a declaration of what I want now and forever.  Abiding with God is living in and before God.  Abiding is hiding, but in plain sight.
I abide in God as I live, as I go and as I live my life.  When I cry out, "Take me away, so I can be with You", this is not an expression of a desire for escapism or isolation, but rather a desire to have intimate fellowship with God as I face everything in my life.

I do desire and I do long for…

Sing To God!

Sing to God! Sing praises to His name. Exalt Him who rides on the clouds -- His name is Yahweh--and rejoice before Him.
-Psalm 68:4

I sing a lot.  I think I was born singing.  My mom is a singer who taught me to sing and make up songs too.  She taught me to sing our phone number and address before I could read or write.

One night, last week, instead of worrying, thinking or praying, I just sang, to God.  I just made it up and sang my heart out to God and it was good for me. The next morning, this verse came up for me, that says:

"Sing to God!"

Why sing to God?  It would seem self-evident, but here is why it is a great idea:

Sing if you love the Lord. Sing if you have problems.  We need to sing more. I'm convinced of this. It's spiritually healthy. It's Biblical. Are you depressed? Sing. Sing praises. Sing the truth that you may not feel or believe.  When you sing the truth, your spirit will say, "amen", and affirm the truth that God is good, no matt…

50 Things Men Want In A Church

I am writing to you, fathers, because you have come to know the One who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have had victory over the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you have come to know the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you have come to know the One who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, God’s word remains in you, and you have had victory over the evil one.
-1 John 2:13-14
This is a follow-up to my recent post, Why Men Hate Going To Church (notes from David Murrow).  After that post of notes from what I heard David say, the question was, "What do men want or like and what would make them stay in church?"  This list is the answer.
David has a quiz or survey on his website, to determine how 'man friendly' your church is.  An extremely manly church might not be enjoyable for many women or for men who are not jocks, hunters, handy with tools or Nascar fan…

Happy Are People Who Are Hopeless

“Happy are people who are hopeless, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
"God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. -Matthew 5:3 (CEB, NLT)
The beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-10, are a list of blessed facets of the followers of Jesus.  But "blessed" is a  word that we have to make sure we understand.  Jesus is not talking about the person whom God blesses, but is describing a happy person, a fortunate person: "someone who is to be congratulated, someone who's place in life is an enviable one" (RT France, Matthew, p. 108, 1985).
The second part of this saying, usually translated "poor in spirit" (Blessed are the poor in spirit) has to do with poverty inside of us.  Poor people have a frame of mind that comes from their destitution, desperateness and their experience of oppression: "Happy are the oppressed", is the way Donald Hagner has translated Matt. 5:3 (D. Hagner, Matthew, p, …