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Showing posts from February, 2017

Honeycomb

Your lips drip sweetness like the honeycomb, my bride. Honey and milk are under your tongue. The fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon.
-Song of Solomon 4:11
Jesus sees his bride as the most loving force, of people, on the earth.  We have Christ and his words of life.  We have his love in our hearts to share with others, including people who hate us.
We speak well of people who are after us or have it in for us.  We say nice things about people who have us in their sights for ill will.  We have nothing but good things to say about them.
When people curse us, we love them with God's love.  It is like we make an internal turn and let God love them through us, rather than curse back.  That is fundamental to the Christian life.
Our words and what we say out loud and in prayers, are perhaps our greatest tool for goodness and our greatest weapon against darkness.  If our enemy can get us to speak bad words against other people, we have been defeated and taken out.

Blessed Are The Pure In Heart

The pure in heart are blessed, for they will see God.
-Matthew 5:8
How we see is connected to our hearts.  I used to think that this verse meant or only meant that the more pure my heart was, that I stood a better chance of seeing God.  The song, "Open The Eyes of My Heart", by Paul Baloche, from 1998; exemplified this.

I wanted to see God.  My goal was the know God, like the title of the best selling J.I. Packer book.  I also thought that the second part is indeed, "to make Him known".

Knowing God and making Him known still sounds good and that was my motto for many years.  And that is how I saw purity of heart.

But what I have learned in this middle season of my life, is that God is about making me be like Jesus and experiencing the life of Christ all the time.

I have learned, been learning, that God cares more about how I live all the time.

God cares about how I treat people and how I see people.  We see people, have a thought and take an action.
Christ follow…

Sky Links, 2-24-17

You reveal the path of life to me; in Your presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures.
-Psalm 16:11

Here are excerpts from and links to a few of the most interesting and encouraging posts I have read lately:

The Travel Ban Controversy and The Church
Lael Arrington wrote about President Trump's executive order, "The Travel Ban", and the controversy or debate that it gave rise to in the church in the United States: Recently I was asked to sign a Lutheran Ministry’s petition protesting President Trump’s executive order on refugees. Frankly I felt very conflicted, unsure of how to respond. Rarely has a national conversation about social justice been so loaded with appeals to the Bible and a Christian worldview. And yet rarely have Christian leaders been so divided in their response. Even Christian ministries to refugees and foreigners. Franklin Graham, head of Samaritan’s Purse, is defending the order and our need for national security, World Vision an…

Valiant: Courage With Determination

"Now therefore let your hands be strong, and be valiant, for Saul your lord is dead, and the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.” -2 Samuel 2:7 (ESV)
There is a crossroads that we come to in our lives, when we have to choose to be courageous or not.  One way or another, we are given the discernment of what the right thing is to do.  But to do the right thing will require courage.
There is a word, that we do not use much, that describes this very thing.  And that word is 'Valiant'.  To be valiant is to show or possess courage, with a determination to do the right thing.
In the story that 2 Samuel 2:7 is a part of, to a group of men, David sends this word: "Let your hands be strong, and be valiant".  The surrounding context of the story tells us that for these men to turn their allegiance to David, it will be difficult and dangerous.  And that is why David says, "Be strong and be valiant".
To be valiant is to show or possess courage with dete…

Happy Days Are Here, Again

Happy days are here, again.  We are in a new season.  A road is opening up.
We are in a time of God's favor.  We do not have to wait any longer for the new time.  It is here.    

God is doing turnarounds in the lives of people.  What people have been waiting for, saying, "how long oh Lord?", is happening.  Authentic desires, requests and dreams that have seemed impossible are happening right now.

Optimism is overcoming pessimism.  Belief, trust and hope will drown out cynicism.  Mourning will give way to dancing.

Dreams are coming true.  There is an open invitation being given, for a happier life.

From 2 Corinthians and Isaiah 49:
Working together with Him, we also appeal to you, “Don’t receive God’s grace in vain.” For He says:

I heard you in an acceptable time,
and I helped you in the day of salvation.
Look, now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation.
This is what the Lord says:

I will answer you in a time of favor,
and I will help you in the day of salvation.

Mercy People

Happy are people who show mercy, because they will receive mercy.
God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
-Matthew 5:7 (CEB, NLT)
Are you a merciful person?  I don't mean how you see yourself, but I mean what you do.  Merciful means compassionate and kind.
Have you thought about kindness?  God is kind to us and we are kind to others.  The Bible says that God's kindness is what gets people saved.
I became acquainted with 'the kindness guy', Steve Sjogren, a number of years ago.  Steve has a couple of books all about God's kindness.  I will never forget when my friend Mike and I knocked on doors of businesses, on Valentine's Day, and gave flowers to ladies, in Jesus name.
Years ago, I also learned about how God heals people because of his mercy and compassion.  In Matthew nine, there is a story of the two blind men, who call out to Jesus, "Have mercy on us, Son of David!" (9:27)  And that is the mercy that Matthew has in mind,…

Keep An Eye On Me

Protect me as the pupil of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings. -Psalm 17:8
What is the Christian life about?  Is it about obedience, about being good?  The Christian life is about walking with God.
The psalms have poems that reflect the life of believers.  
God has his eye on me.  That is the life of the believer.  Walking with God is what the life is all about.
God is watching me and protecting me.  That is what the life of the believer is all about.  That is the fountain from which my life flows and the light from which my life emanates. 
Love for God is the basic thing, the center, the fountain from which the life flows.  God has his eye on me.  I am in God's gaze.  He is protecting me.
With those thoughts in mind, I live my life.  The Christian life is about walking with God.

Questions About Prophets and Apostles

In the church that was at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius the Cyrenian, Manaen, a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

As they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work I have called them to.” Then after they had fasted, prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them off.

Being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they came down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. -Acts 13:1-4

And God has placed these in the church:

first apostles, second prophets,
third teachers, next miracles,
then gifts of healing, helping,
managing, various kinds of languages. -1 Corinthians 12:28

A question about prophets:

A lady was complaining about prophets.  She said that the church she attends, has a lot of so called prophets.  She wonders about false prophecies and words about nice cars and jewelry.  The advice of many people, to her, is to run away from this church.  Some …

The Brilliant Dance of Your Life

The whole creation waits breathless with anticipation for the revelation of God’s sons and daughters.
-Romans 8:19 (CEB)
I believe that our life, as believers, is meant to be a brilliant dance.  It is a dance of the soul and our partner, who dances with us in brilliance, is the Spirit of God.
We sparkle and we shine.  We whirl and are vivacious.  Those watching us often will say, "How did they do that?"
The brilliant dance is when you do something remarkable.  You are a person who comes out of obscurity and brings leadership to a situation.  You are a person who knows what is to be done and says it out loud.
That is the brilliance of you and the dance of your life.  It is a dance of your soul and your partner is God.
The whirling and twirling of you life: "How did they do that?", onlookers will say; is because of the dynamism of God inside your life.
You seemed to come out of nowhere.  They will say, "Where did you go to school", or, "Where did you …

New Day Old Way

Why have You forgotten us forever,
abandoned us for our entire lives?
Lord, restore us to Yourself, so we may return;
renew our days as in former times,
unless You have completely rejected us
and are intensely angry with us.
The instruction of the Lord is perfect,
renewing one’s life;
the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy,
making the inexperienced wise. -Lamentations 5:20-22, Psalm 19:7
The new day of today, of this season, is not all happy.  Many believers want a good new day, but feel like it is a bad new day.  Many believers believe or live like God has forgotten us.
Since I was a kid, and it was going on before I was born; many Christians have been very negative about what is going on in the world, and made their focus that the end was near.  That message is still here and probably still popular, although (I hope) less so.
Most all of us could be less negative towards everything and adopt the Biblical way of negativity called lament.  Lament sees the reality of things: no rose-colored…

It is a New Day

A new day will dawn on us from above because our God is loving and merciful.
He will give light to those who live in the dark and in death's shadow.
-Luke 1:78 (God's Word translation)

I have noticed that it's a new day.  I don't know if you have noticed, but I thought I would mention it.  Something new is happening or ready to happen.
Change has been in the air for some time.  The atmosphere has been changing and a new time is here.
Many things have not changed, but it is still a new day.  I still have many of the same problems.  But it is a new day, so the way I am facing those problems is a bit different.
Not only is it a new day, a new time and a new season; but I am becoming aware that I have changed or been changed.  And as I look around, at the people in my life, it seems they have been changed too.
In the new day, I believe I can expect new things.  And I do, but I don't know what they will be.  I have learned that God's gifts are often different and b…

The Craving For Righteousness and Justice Fulfilled by God

Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.
-Matthew 5:7 (CEB, NLT)
Righteousness and justice are what the world needs today.  Agreed?  Righteousness and justice are the need we see in the world today.  
And we hunger and thirst to see things made right and to be bringers of justice.  This is what drives some of us and becomes our mission.  But this is not the mission nor the message of Jesus.
Didn't Jesus come to save the world, to fix it?  
And isn't Jesus the answer for all the injustices?  
Isn't the heart cry of the Christ follower for things to be made right?
Pause.
Jesus' first audience for this word, were people who had been slaves as a people.  
Jesus' first audience for this word, were people who were living under a brutal occupation by a violent, unjust government.  
Jesus' first audience were very likely …