Leap year day

It's funny how we call it a leap year when we have an extra day at the end of February, every four years or so; because it's as if time actually slows down, rather than speeds up. Maybe what it is, is synchronization?

To leap means to go through a sudden transition.


Go and learn what the Scriptures mean when they say, `Instead of offering sacrifices to me, I want you to be merciful to others.' I didn't come to invite good people to be my followers. I came to invite sinners."

Go figure out what this Scripture means: 'I'm after mercy, not religion.' I'm here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders."

Matthew 9:13

I think that it's a journey that I want to be on, to learn about mercy.

The truth is that Jesus Christ loves sinners.

Jesus mentored a few, did good deeds and taught wisdom (ministered) to many, and confronted the religious.

Jesus Christ: Friend of sinners. We might sentimentally hold the idea that Jesus befriended us when we were in sin and as true and as wonderful as that is, there's more. We're supposed to be like him- friends of sinners too. What? You, if you are a Christ follower, are meant to hang out with, be friends with, and love sinners. Your gift, be it a musical gift, or any spiritual gift, or gift of who you are is not just meant for the club-house of church meetings.

The Goal

I press on
Toward the goal
For the prize
of the upward call
of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14

What's the goal of your life? Where are you headed? What's your destination?
The day to day might be hard or boring or meaningless. You might feel like a failure.
You and I have our unique challenges. But, beyond the difficulties of today or the lack
of feeling success, there is a goal that transcends it all. That is the call of God on you and me
in Christ Jesus.

If you've read "7 habits of highly successful people", by Steve Covey, you'll remember habit #2: Begin with the end in mind. For me, this is a good reference point. How do I want to be remembered? What do I want to leave behind? What will be my legacy? What inheritance will I leave.

My leader for many years, John Wimber, who was very gifted and successful in a variety of spheres, used to say, "I'm just a fat man trying to get to heaven". My current leader once said, "I'm just trying to stay married and get to heaven."

I think that the big goal informs our smaller goals. Heaven is the ultimate goal and that should color everything else. Called from heaven, going to heaven; and while on that journey, bringing heaven to earth in all you say and do.

Goads and goading

Negative thoughts come and goad us to think more negatively, to get bitter, angry, or lustful, or proud. We are goaded with them as if some one or some thing unseen is prodding us to sin.

I once heard Leonard Ravenhill say something like, "it's one thing if a bird lands on your head and and you shoo it off, but it's an entirely different matter if the bird has nested and made a home on your head."

Negative thoughts are going to come and what are we going to do besides being victimized by them into some sort of turmoil and shame? I think that the biggest antidote, for me at least, is the realization that I didn't decide to think that though or start dwelling on that negative thing. I have a friend that says, "thought stop". There is something to taking thoughts captive and making them be obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).

The narrow gate

For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Matt. 7:14

Being a Jesus follower is hard. If your way is easy and you find it easily, you might not be on the right path.

Securities and exchange

What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?

For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

Luke 9:25

This saying Of Jesus is found in the context of his telling people what it would take from them, to be a follower of his: Deny yourself, take up your cross. Then he says that if you try to save your life, you will lose it, but if you lose your life for him, you will find it saved. Then he expound on that with the statement that you may well be able to gain the whole world, but what good will it be ultimately, if in so doing, you lose? Then, as if that person was now listening having turned from their path to self glory, he says that you might be tempted to feel ashamed of his words, but don't do it.

Whole hearts know how to grieve

The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.

Sages invest themselves in hurt and grieving.
Fools waste their lives in fun and games.

A wise person thinks a lot about death,
while a fool thinks only about having a good time.

A sensible person mourns,
but fools always laugh.

Ecclesiastes 7:4, (TNIV, TMB, NLT, CEV)

Part of loving is loss. When we lose someone or something we love, we need to grieve and mourn the loss. People who love much will mourn much. The two go together. To mourn is not to be permanently depressed or bitter, although it may look and feel like it for a time.

People who sell themselves as great lovers, but who skip mourning their losses are not wise.
Mourning heals the heart to love again. Grieve it and get ready for new love, life, experiences.

The reason is God's love

I have made your self known to them
and I will continue to do so
that the love which you have had for me
may be in their hearts - and that I may be there also.

John 17:26, (Phillips)

These are Jesus last words of prayer to God before he was arrested and tortured.
To me, his words explain what the whole thing is about.
Jesus reveals the Father, so that His love He has for Jesus may be in our hearts.

When you get to heaven, what is the one question that Jesus will ask you?
He will ask you, "did you love?"
"How did you love?"

God reached out through Christ in love. Those who are touched, love Christ and become like him.

The beginning is to love Christ That is the doorway to loving as a servant of God.
If you share God's love for His son, then you you are building on the only solid foundation for living and loving,
work and play.

Pray about it, pray again, and keep on praying

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude.

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;

Colossians 4:2, ESV, TMB, NIV, and NKJV

Prayer is an ongoing, continual, pressing in and pressing on. Christian praying is not a mechanical repeating of something until you get light headed. It is relational and organic. It's personal and soulful. Our spirits are in bodies with souls. We're human beings, persons with personalities.

We might long for something. We might have an idea we can't get away from. We might keep having a dream- a night dream or a day dream.

This might be a new thought, but pray with your eyes open. You have to do this when you're driving. You're multi-tasking. But what about praying on something while watching, then praying, followed by watching. Watching prayer or prayer while or with watching is about looking and listening and presence. God is always watching. When you watch, you are watching with God. The night watchman at a warehouse is keeping watch, like the shepherd who's job it is to watch the sheep in the middle of the night while predators are stalking.

Attitude is everything. Prayers and the praying person are soured by ingratitude and bitterness. Thankfulness reminds us and anyone listening that God is almighty.

Prayer isn't a digital event like a vote. It's an organic faith action of continual reaching out to and touching the Father's heart.

Good fortune

From a letter:

How truly I love you!
We're the best of friends,
and I pray for good fortune in everything you do,
and for your good health
—that your everyday affairs prosper,
as well as your soul!

My favorite one,
My wish for you
Is that in all things
You may come into good fortune
And be in good health
Even as you find the right way in the very depths of your being.

3 John 1:2, The Message, My translation

God really does want good things for us. The good that He wants may be different than how we envision it or what we have in mind, but God knowns best. Good fortune in God's economy is so much more than csh in your hand. God wants our dreams to become reality. Not pipe dreams or pizza dreams, but the dreams He has placed in our hearts. God wants us to thrive. We're not called to live as in just breathe and stay alive, then pass on some day. Not at all. We're supposed to be fruitful.

God turns things around

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,
let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion!
When the LORD brings back the captivity of His people,
Let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.

Is there anyone around to save Israel?
Yes. God is around; God turns life around.
Turned-around Jacob skips rope,
turned-around Israel sings laughter.

Psalm 14:7, ESV, NKJV, and The Message

God loves to turn things around. He loves to restore things lost or damaged. This is God's nature. Restore means to give back, to bring back, to renew. To renew is to make new again.

Sky Links, 9-27-17