Friday, December 21, 2012

Rejoice in the Birth of a King

A celebration of Christ's birth.
Born to die, yes, but to rise again.
Death could not hold him
and so we can celebrate
And because he is alive
we too can have life eternal

The manger is empty
The cross is empty
The tomb is empty
Because the LORD Jesus Christ is risen
He became our Redeemer
 Our Savior and Life giver
Almighty God and Everlasting Father
And so, we celebrate

I  have had for a long time a problem as a believer in the LORD Jesus Christ, celebrating Christmas. What bothers me are the roots of the Christmas celebration.

First is, that the first celebration of Christmas was about 2 centuries after his death.  I believe it was at the time of Constantine 1.  December 25th had been for centuries  a major celebration of  the Persian god Mithras and then taken over by the Roman's.

Romans celebrated  "Natalis Solis Invincti" or the' birthday of the invincible sun god'  Mithra.  The church fathers of that day decided God could not successfully overcome the pagan gods without a little help from them and declared this pagan holiday, tree, and all the pagan celebrations, to now be a celebration of the Christian  Son of God  Jesus Christ's birthday.  So of course the pagan's could celebrate without any change in their beliefs and the Christian's could celebrate, calling it a celebration to Christ.

I in fact saw this exact scenario in Cochabamba Bolivia in the 1960's.  The local  priest was called in to give his blessing on a local pagan festival and that made it okay for church members to participate.  

Back to Christmas, why don't Christian people ask "Why a Tree?" all decked out in shinny babbles?  In Germany the tree was cut and used as a sacrifice to their pagan gods to garner good luck in the upcoming year  for the participants.

I have no problem with taking a day to remember the birth of Jesus.  I rejoice in His birth.   But I do have a personal 'ache' about the trappings that are not in anyway connected with his birth.  I wish the Christian believers would rise up and say, I'm not going to enrich the sellers (in  the temple, as it were) with this pagan celebration.  I'm not going to add onto my celebration of Christ's birth  all those things that draw our attention away from the 'reason' we are celebrating.   I personally have never been to a birthday party where everyone there got the presents, after a token gesture in my direction wishing me happy birthday.   I would not feel like my birthday was very special in such a situation.

I would LOVE a day totally dedicated to worshiping the LORD for his great gift of love.   A gift to Christ, our  gold, frankincense and myrrh as it were,  of worship and praise. Maybe our gift being being from one who had to a  family or person in need.  Not just token presents, but real things, food and clothes and love.  I have seen my daughter-in-law Juanita Weldon do just this, giving out real love and care to others she finds in her life who are suffering, hurting or just needing to experience God's love.  That to me is the real gift to Christ.

I wish every true believer in the Kingdom of God would stand up and say NO to this pagan celebration at least to the extent that we cease to join in with the pagan festivities.  No decorations in our churches, none of this Father Christmas or Santa Claus stuff, reindeer and sleighs, and being good so Santa will give you presents.    Has it ever occurred to parents that when their children find out there is no Santa Claus, their next logical step would be, "There is no Jesus Christ" - He's a myth just like Santa Claus.  And teaching our kids being good as a show to "get something back that we want?" from Santa Claus.  Would it then bleed over into their every day life, to be good not out of love for the LORD, but for what was in it for you?

Funnily, I loved my childhood Christmas'.   We never had decorations.   On Christmas Eve, we kids had to clean the house while dad and mom went to town.  That night we'd often be in church. On  Christmas day, we  children would each get one present .  I don't remember giving my parents gifts.  It was not emphasized   We would get up and after breakfast gather in the living room and dad would read the story from Luke of Christ's birth and we would pray.  Then after opening our one or maybe two gifts, we would play games as a family or dad would play and mom would make some peanut brittle for us to munch on.   It was a lovely family day some of the time.   But we too failed, seeing it as our personal day with our parents. We had an aunt and family we didn't enjoy who began show up to celebrate with us.  We saw it as they came and spoiled all our fun.  We didn't see it as a time to make their day good and to let them see the LORD as our whole reason for living.

I've never, since childhood enjoyed the celebration of Christmas.  It has always been empty of a true celebration of Christ's birth, filled with frenetic activities of opening presents, giving them, eating too much and NO real pause in the whole day to remember and celebrate Christ truly.   I am as much at fault myself as I just went with what everyone wanted to do, but without any joy.  When I've spoken what I wanted  it was clear I was seen as a crank, a nut, and dumb to be so stupid.

In the last two years, in my own heart I have deliberately chosen to celebrate Christ's birth. I cannot fight centuries of an established holiday.  But I can make it a true celebration in my heart.  

But  truly every day is a celebration of Christ's birth, his amazing love that chose to lay down his glory and become a man tethered to the earth.  He then chose to give up that life.  He did  not slaughter the inhabitants of the world for daring to seek his death rather than bow to his being their rightful LORD, by reason of being their creator.  All this He did because of His singular, unique wondrous love for his creation.  The creation that had thrown away life in the Garden of Eden,  loving rather to grub about in death in independence.  He did this so that we  could once again enter the presence of Almighty God, our sins covered by the Righteousness bought for us by the price paid by Christ.   That is what celebrating the birth of Christ is all about.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fact or feelings

In reading the Bible I've not found that God writes about our feelings.  He doesn't cater to our fragile frail psyche more than to say in Psalms 23, He restores our soul.  What I've seen is that in the Word, it is man's action in regard to God himself , or in opposition to God and it's consequences that is recorded.

I find I get caught up in my feelings.  But it seems to me my feelings are unimportant in the larger picture.  It is what I do in regard to God and my choice to follow him or go my own way.

Do I worship, rejoice in and obey the LORD God Almighty, the creator of heaven and earth.  Or, do I go my way, act on my desires and live not in faith and trust but doubt and fear.

It is not my feelings but what I do in regard to them.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Practical Atheism - Stephon Charnock (1628-1680)

This is a quote from the book  The Existence and Attributes of God, sermons published after his death.

"We make an idol of our own wills, and as much as self  is exalted, God is deposed, the more we esteem our own wills, the more we endeavor to annihilate the will of God; account nothing of him, the more we account of ourselves, and endeavor to render ourselves his superiors, by exalting our own wills..... To make ourselves, our own rule, and the object of our chiefest love, is atheism.  If self-denial be the greatest part of godliness, the great letter in the alphabet of religion; self-love is the great letter in the alphabet of practical atheism.  Self is the great antichrist and the anti-God in the world, that sets up itself above all that is called God; self-love..... sits in the temple of God, and would be adored as God."

The language is a bit old fashioned  and the sentences long but I am blown away by the truth of this as I've looked in my own heart to see where I pit my will against God - not in deliberate defiance, but in just choosing to do what I want in a situation without following God's ways.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

It is better by Adrian Rogers

"It is Better..... Adrian Rogers

"It is better to be divided by truth than to be united in error
It is better to speak the truth that hurts and then heals,
    than falsehood that comforts and then kills
It is better to be hated for telling truth 
    than to be wrong with a multitude.
It is better to ultimately succeed with truth 
    than to temporarily succeed with a lie."

                                                                                             A partial quote.  

Further on God's purpose in our lives

In this remembering all the ways the LORD has wooed my heart and moreover, protected my life I've also thought of the ways I have chosen my  own will and desires at the expense of His glory and truth.

I can not say for me I ever accidently sinned, or didn't know what I was doing when I sinned.  I cannot use the reason for my sin that I was sinned against and lead into a course of actions as a result of being abused.

I had active teaching on what is righteous and holy before the LORD and made choices contrary to that grounding I had been given.

As I began a period of repentance in my earlier walk with the LORD, I remained trapped by my guilt.  A  man, Dr. Reyneke ministered one night on this very subject and that teaching has been a blessing to me again and again.

Dr. Reyneke taught that we struggle to forgive ourselves for the sins we commit because we believed we were too good to do those sins.  In this,  we place our own goodness above God's power to cleanse and forgive.  

We act on an incorrect self perception that we hold the power to become good in ourselves and so we then begin to try and prove to God we are good enough. The result being that we feel we cannot go to God until we've proven to him we have really repented and are worthy of his forgiveness.  Trying to do enough 'good' to wipe out our sin.  It's a form of saying to the LORD,   "Your death on the cross wasn't good enough to cleanse me.  I need to do something more to be freed from my sin."  I believe this is a terrible  trap of the devil.  

When I realized my guilt trips after asking God's forgiveness was diminishing God's gift of cleansing and forgiveness I was freed from the task of trying to clean up my life enough for his forgiveness to be given.

Yes, repentance for my sin is needful when I call upon the LORD to forgive me.  But, if I had not repented I would not have sought his forgiveness in the first place. Then I need to thank him for his forgiveness and seek him and his ways and rest in his gift of forgivness.  There is  no value in trying to  'be good enough to earn a hearing of him'.

Chosen by God

I've been memorizing Ephesians 1:3-23.  I should say, trying.  After years of not memorizing my minds seems less able to retain what I've just been working on. Also, after memorizing in King James version  Bible as a kid, I've struggled to change to the English Standard Version.  However, this slow process has in fact, been for my good.  I've spent hours thinking about being chosen before the foundation of the world and having been predestined to be a 'son' - in my case daughter of the most high God - and all of that because the LORD Jesus Christ CHOSE to take on my sins on the cross, that I may be made a child of the living God of glory.

I have however struggled with God predestining me.  That he chose me, when I cannot imagine why.   

Then a flood of remembering the ways he has made himself known to me, overwhelmed me.  Things I had no control over but was blessed by.

1.  I was born into a family who loves the LORD.
2.  I was actively taught that He died for my sins, and salvation was  
     available for opening the door of my heart to him.  Rev. 3:20.
3.  God sent my parents to Bolivia just after I turned 15.   I, being 
     the last child at home, I was the one who got to go with them.    
     This unexpected turn of events was at a time when, in my   
     personal life,  I was making increasingly  bad choices to find 
     acceptance with my peers - none of them God honoring.
4.  In Bolivia, I was enrolled in a  mission boarding school. There I
     found my peers had a different mindset for what was acceptable
     behavior.  I became aware of how ones peers can be a factor in
     ones choices.  Praise the LORD I was placed in an arena where  
     my peers sought to follow and lived their love for the LORD.
     This was a totally unexpected turn of events in my life.  
5.  I was challenged by the lives of both my teachers and my fellow 
     students to return to the God of my youth.  Their teaching 
     is clearly seen as not returning void.

Now, I know others don't need
all that cosseting of the LORD.  Those who like my husband grew up in an ethically and morally good home but was not churched by his parents is a case in point.  He had some encounters in school with christian teachers and was taken to a Baptist Sunday School for a period of time but he's never spoken of those encounters 
drawing him to the LORD.  
He came to find the LORD, after he entered the work force,  due to a fellow employee in the workplace talking about the LORD and taking him to church with her.  Still, there may have been many ways before that he felt the call of the LORD.  

I believe in all our lives, in all cultures, God sends us definite glimpses of his presence and when hunger is awakened, brings even a more clear word of truth to our lives.   I'm sure every believer with very little thought can pinpoint different nudges from the LORD.

In my own life,  I can vividly remember the LORD touching my heart and life even from as young as 6 years old.  This, the creator of the universe, who created each of us in the womb. The Creator who knew us before ever the first human was created.  What a God.

I have never been the ideal, good and holy child of the LORD.  I've failed, and failed and failed yet again.  So, I am  so grateful that God didn't just choose the beautiful ones, or the 'naturally' good ones, or even the gifted or exceptional ones in his creation, but the ordinary ones like me.

I also can count may points in my life where I was made aware of His direct intervention in my life.  Three times, when I was on a pathway away from the LORD,  I had direct visions from the LORD  showing me where the path I was on was leading.  

I've had a few times where, like C S Lewis I was "Surprised by Joy"  having the curtain briefly raised to glimpse His great glory and experience a special moment of Joy in his presence.

I imagine this is true of many, or maybe all believers.  But for me, I believe the LORD brought these memories together as  I was pondering the scripture I've been memorizing, and wondering why me.  

Why me LORD?  I don't know, but in humility and gratitude I stand in awe of the creator of the universe who knows me and chose me for his own.  

While at Tambo (my boarding school in Bolivia) I do remember one of the teachers teaching on predestination.  I just about fell apart as a teen, questioning 'was I a chosen one'.  I wondered, was I trying to horn in on a salvation  not offered to me.  I finally sent a letter to my Dad. The wonderful man and father that he was, he took off from his work and made a 7 hour bus trip over 2 mountain ranges, to come to school just to talk to me. My dad reassured me at that time that I was chosen by the LORD.  But even so, the question this time was not if but why.

Forty years later I still stand in awe of being chosen, and predestined to salvation by the LORD of glory.

I know there is a lot of teaching on predestination.  Others have also asked, how can I be sure I was predestined, same as I did.  All I know is your heart would not seek the LORD if  he were not calling you.

I know many theologians will 
disagree with me in this but my personal belief is that God died for ALL mankind. He desires to save ALL mankind.  He makes his gift of redemption known to ALL mankind.  Then he makes himself known and  available and leaves the choice to us to open the door and invite him into our heart and life.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Prayer and the Presence of God

A statement in a book I just finished reading really set up  some serious thought for me.  The question asked was to the effect that if I don't seek God's presence  in this life, would I really want to be in heaven?

This question was in regard to the subject of praying, as a body,  for  a true God driven revival in a church.

 This question stopped me in my tracks.  

I pray, and often but confess there is more of a "well, I hope God will do this, or answer my prayers" than a  LORD God Almighty, I love you and want to talk this over with you and /or share my heart with you and hear your thoughts on this issue.

The next thought was,  "why do I want to go to heaven.  Is is because of my deep love for my Savior, and desire to be personally in his presence?  Is that what I hope for in eternity?

I have the vocabulary,  and I have the belief but what is in my heart.  What I saw dismayed me.

I saw my desire for heaven was all about ME.  I saw it was a desire to be free of :






Yes,  I am looking forward to singing praise to the LORD with all the inhabitants of heaven. But there is the aspect of me being filled through and through with music that feeds even that desire.

So often, even when I "count the beads" of why I love the LORD, it is all about what he had done for ME, my blessings.  

Oh Lord,  for all that you are and for all that you do I ask you with all of my redeemed spirit - fill me full of a true love for you.  

A love not based on what I get out of the relationship, but a laying prone before you in awe and humility.  A love that is not just words, but love that desires to be filled up and overflowing with what you desire and long for in me.

Teach me LORD God Almighty, to love truly.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Psalm 34  (ESV mostly)

 I will bless the LORD at all times;   his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
 My soul shall make her boast in the LORD;  the humble hear thereof and be glad.
 O magnify the LORD with me,   and let us exalt his name together!
 I sought the LORD, and he heard me   and delivered me from all my fears
.  (KJV)

I changed the words here to King James Version to  match the song I learned in early 1970's when I renewed my faith in the LORD after several years of drifting.  Even as I tried to read these verses my heart just had to sing them, and so it is every time I see these words.  I often wish all the scripture was set to singable music.  It seems sung words stick better in my mind.

Those who look to him are radiant,   and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him   and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps   around those who fear him, and delivers them.   Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!

1. When our focus is on him he clothes us in radiance.  Our faces
     will never reflect shame.
2.  We, troubled financially or spiritually are heard of the LORD
     when we cry out to him.  His promise is to save us out of our
3.  We are encamped with the LORD's angel and delivered out
     of the hand of the enemy  (Encamped means the angel sets up
     his tent in our camp - maybe even sets up his tent, encompassing
     our tent within it - in other words bringing to us deliverance and
4.  Try him (the LORD) out.  You will only find good.

 Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!  Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints,
 for those who fear him have no lack!  The young lions suffer want and hunger;
 but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

5.  He is our refuge,  In that promise we are blessed. 
6.  In giving the LORD reverence we will have no lack.

Come, O children, listen to me;   I will teach you the fear of the LORD. What man is there who desires life   and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil   and your lips from speaking deceit. Turn away from evil and do good;   seek peace and pursue it.
The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous  and his ears toward their cry.

7.  The LORD's instruction for how to reverence (fear) the LORD
     a.  Tongue speaking righteously.
     b.  Lips speaking real truth, not slanted to make you look good.
     c.  Make your choices based on the LORD's standards of
          righteousness , not the world ethics.
     d.  Let peace be your mode of operation.  Seek it with your
          whole being
     e.  The LORD sees us individually, and hears our personal cry.

I see the righteous as we who love and worship him.  He is the one who makes us righteous and draws us to seek him.

The face of the LORD is against those who do evil,   to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears  and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted   and saves the crushed in spirit.

8.  Evil is not missed by the LORD.  Don't count on getting away
     with it.
9.  The LORD hears our cry for help, and delivers us. 
10. He is ever present, near to us, when our hearts are broken.
11. We don't suffer a crushed spirit alone.  He brings healing and
      comfort to the table.

 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,   but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
 He keeps all his bones;   not one of them is broken.
 Affliction will slay the wicked,   and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
 The LORD redeems the life of his servants;   none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

12. Yes, we suffer hard times,  but we have the promise of
      deliverance by our LORD
13.  Where there is no relationship with the LORD there is no
       protection from life's afflictions.
14.  As servants of the LORD our lives will be redeemed.
15.  In him, the LORD,  we will find security and safety.

In this day,  in the year of our LORD 2012, these promises of an ever present LORD are as true and as present as they were for David. 

My security does not depend on who is elected as president in America, although I do have a preference, but on who holds our lives, our security in his hands.  His promises are mighty to save.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Situation Ethics

I see America becoming a nation that celebrates death not life.  The lifestyle lived by many is what was called "situation ethics" in the 1970's.  The situation determinds what you choose to do.  I was deeply affected by this philosophy or mind set and began to live my life on the creed "I will do what I want, when I  want and how I want" with the stated view that it was okay as long as I was willing to live with the results of my choices.  I now am aware that if I had suffered the full penalty of my actions and choices my life would have been of all mankind, most miserable.  And the fact of the matter is,  God mercifully gives us the option of repenting - and greater still forgiveness for sins for which we have repented.

I had a strong ethical /Biblical background which, by God's grace held me back from some of the choices I could have made, but certainly not all.  There were too many choices that brought hurt and pain to others first, and less pain than I deserved, to myself.  And all of this was done as "a christian" (notice I did not capitalize that designation in this instance) not as one who did not believe in God, nor in the Savior Jesus Christ.  So, in that way, it was, in me,  a deliberate action against a God I said I believed in. 

Today I see a world that has moved beyond "I'll take responsibility for my choices" to seeking to force the whole nation, and the world to accept as a right my choices, and the generation that started out with "Situation Ethics" began to make laws that state their choices made lawful.  Moreover,  to not agree  is now held by many to be the real evil.

So, I find that we are living in a world today which seeks stridently to kill the voice of God in their lives.

Abortion kills a living being.  You can say whatever you want about your RIGHTS over you own body but the fact is that that entity in your body has a heartbeat.  You may not be able to discern it but life doesn't start for that living being on physical birth.  It is murder therefore, plain and simple to deliberately take the life of that child growing in your womb. 

It can be scary to carry a child because of your  choices or even being forced to have a sexual  encounter, but the child that grows in your body is a living and innocent entity.  I faced the result of my own wrong choices and I considered abortion.  This became the point in my life where I started to seek God's way, and God's choices over my own.  I spent several days on the work bench before the Lord facing the issue.  At the time abortion was NOT legal so it would have been both murder and against the law.  By God's grace, I chose to have that baby, though I was frightened of what life as a single mom would be.  It also was affecting my parents and who knows how many others.  I was terrified. 

For whatever reason, that baby self aborted and at the time I was relieved.  But ever since  I have longed to know that little child I carried for awhile in my body. He has walked with me.  I wish I had not been afraid, and that I had borne that child alive to birth and beyond.

So yes, having charge of a life you didn't plan on is terrifying and hard.  But it is a life, not a choice. 
In the current laws of the USA it is not seen as murder.  So we can with no fear take the life which cannot protect itself.  What will the next step be?    A culture of death has been born.

And the next big "culture of death" we are living with is same sex unions.   It is saying to God, who made man and woman to come together, and create a child - Your way doesn't please me.   As a defiance of God it's a sin.  No greater or lessor sin  than any other sin.  But a nation that demands that this "lifestyle" be recognized as a holy union,  is establishing that a culture of death is the desired result.   It is a sterile union.  If you want a child you have to take the child born of a union of male sperm and female egg uniting.  It can NEVER be the result of  two of the same sex being 'intimate'.  And even here, the sexual act is never the real thing.  Yes, you can obtain the orgasm but not ever can your interaction create a life.

 Even if you cloned yourself in a laboratory, the best you would have is death because the clone could not reproduce.  We see this in many forced unions in the animal kingdom.  Even in the plant world, man has genetically created new "roses" for one, but have you noticed that NOT one of those genetically altered things has the scent of a real rose.

These to me are two of the more telling actions which which Satan has deceived the world.  His desire is to destroy God. He cannot touch God so he strikes at what God has created.  Satan  is not a god but a created being.  His character is to steal, kill and destroy and we are in his kingdom when we pursue ways of death, destruction and murder in our own personal life choices. 

I see many who claim Christ as their LORD and Savior stating firmly that these two laws in our land today are right.  As God's children, we need to quit listening to the lies of Satan and begin to seek the kingdom of God.    The God who chose us before the foundation of the world. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Christ empowered by God, has life to give to those who believe in Him.

John 5:19-26   So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly,(two truly's mean, pay attention, this is important) I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.
 (John 5:19-29 ESV

This is a truly amazing passage of scripture.  A very clear statement that he, Jesus, was the son of  God and that all he did was taught to him by the Father, and that he had a divine  purpose on earth.  No soft ball statement this. 

Also,  three times in this short passage  Jesus says truly, truly.  He is  making strong and very important points.  It means 'pay attention'.

Starting in verse 19 Jesus states: he can do nothing of his own accord - he can only do what he sees the Father doing
The son isn't able to act out in any way, apart from the Father. As a human he could have chosen as Adam and Eve did, to act independently of God, but  he chose to be obedient to the Father.   

We too have choices.   We think we don't because we are so used to doing what we want to.  But, how come we know, during or after the fact that it was not an act of righteousness before the LORD.  I believe it's because he spoke into our hearts before the act but we chose to not listen.  For me this becomes very clear in my driving.  When I speed, I excuse myself with, "everybody does it"  or "even the police don't stop you for only 5 miles over the posted speed limit".  I'm not talking about going fast briefly to pass a car - I'm talking about my every day battle to go the speed limit.  I argue it's not that important.  But why then does the LORD keep touching my conscience in this area - about obeying the laws of the government over you.   We  hear from the Father through his word in particular, and in many places of our own lives know what he desires and  chose to make it unimportant.

We, like Christ are  loved by the Father.  I believe as our knowledge of God grows, so our love grows and as our love grows, we see, as Christ did, God's ways and desires for our lives.  And as we walk in those ways we learn even more of his heart.

Then, Christ says that the Father is not the judge.  That all judgment has been given to the Son.  This really hit me.  We / I tend to think of the Father as being the one who sits with a stone face, waiting to zap us for sins, large and small. 

In fact, Christ himself spoke about the fact that the Father gave all judgment to him.  This is the Christ the world talks of as a 'good man', or 'what would Jesus do' talking about good works,  or the meek and mild man of Galilee.  But in truth, Christ is judge

Why?   That all may honor the son.  This is clearly not 'all roads lead to Rome', or 'Just live a good life, that is all that is necessary.

Salvation, from Christ's own words is:   Whoever  hears  my word,  and  believes in Him who sent me,  has ETERNAL life.  That one does not come into judgment but passes from death to life.  This life is granted because the Son was given life and judgment in the Father.

For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself

 As the Father has life in himself.  What a powerful truth.  This is what makes God God   Having life in himself.

It's wasn't a bit of nothing that became a tiny molecule, which suddenly, spontaneously 'has life" and spontaneously mutates up and up 'til bang, a world is here and is inhabited by a life that somehow grew from nothing to something?  How stupid can one get.  All that convoluted thinking to avoid having to bow the knee to our Lord God and King.

Life is only granted us by the God with life in himself, who gives life.  WOW

God extended/granted  his life to his only begotten son, Jesus Christ.  His son shows us how we too may have eternal life, and opens the way to make that life possible.

Nothing else/ no one else has life in themselves.  We don't even have control over the life in us.  Yes, we can chose to end the life of God in us, but it wasn't a life we put there, it is the very breath of God we extinguish.  But even then,  in all our effort to circumnavigate God's life in us, we, created and given life by him will still face him in judgment.  

All life is a gift from God.  But he takes it a step further and grants us a way to have eternal life ourselves, through the hearing and receiving of his WORD!

Our God is truly an awesome God!

Friday, August 3, 2012

God's purpose and plan

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the
shadow of death, you are with me
A Place of Healing; wrestling with the Mysteries of suffering, Pain and God's
Sovereignty. The latest book by Joni  Eareckson Tada.

I had never read any of Joni Tada's books but had heard her story and been moved by it. 

Being personally in a season of discomfort, not pain, just common or garden itching. But, an itching so severe that I've been removing skin, making myself bleed, and still needing to scratch.  I have come to understand Job scratching himself with pot shards. 

I have prayed earnestly for healing, and have been prayed for by others. Though there was a change, it was not instantly healed. Part of the whole story is I have struggled with the LORD's NO answer. I knew it was not that it was an unheard prayer.

In the midst of feeling sorry for myself, for whatever I tried to to tell myself that was the bottom line, the Lord brought to my attention this book by Joni Tada.  Evey page has challenged me personally.  Not because I have suffered anything so deeply difficult, but because it has opened my eyes in a new way to the LORD's working and purpose in our lives - not to give us a life of comfort and ease, free of all trouble, but a life shaped for his purpose and glory.

I thank the LORD that Joni Tada wrote this book and then he drew it to my attention.  I needed to hear/read the message of the LORD through Joni Tada.

This below is not the main message of the book, but is a snapshot to me of how the LORD's purposes can be accomplished as we allow him entrance to work his plan for us into our lives.

A reported story from Jack Reimer, a syndicated columnist.  He was writing about violinist Yitzhak Perlman.  He stated that Perlman had Polio as a child and walks with crutches and braces on both his legs.

When he plays on stage, instead of being seated when the curtain lifts he chooses to walk across the stage, and when he reaches his chair he sits, places his crutches on the floor, removes the braces from his legs.  Then he bends down and picks up his violin and nods to the conductor to indicate he is ready.

In 1995 during a concert, a string on Perlman's violin suddenly snapped.  Everyone in attendance heard it and wondered how he would handle it.  Perlman closed his eyes, and after a moment of reflection, signaled the conductor to begin again.

Though anyone who knows music understands that it's impossible to play a symphonic work with just three strings, Perlman was undaunted.  Apparently you could see this superb artist actually recomposing the piece in his head as the concert proceeded, and inventing new fingering positions to coax never before heard music from his three-string violin.
Those who were there say that, after the applause died down, he smiled, wiped the sweat from his brow, and said in a soft reverent tone,

"You know, sometimes it is the artist's task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left."

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Life is essentially lonely.
Our LORD God is truly the only one we can "talk" to about everything that is in our heart. I praise Him for His gift of life, and thus access into His presence.
It is an amazing truth "that we are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus"

[4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in  kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Eph 2:4-7 ESV]

Church built in 1200's in England
All of humanity seeks a person or thing that fills the loneliness in us - a loneliness brought about when Eve chose to walk independent of her creator.

We seek to fill that hole with friends, marriage, sex, money, drugs or power.  Also I think we seek mind numbing activity found in many of the games we play. 

Some of the above things are not 'wrong' in themselves, but they don't fill the loneliness.

Not in the highest and best, or  lowest and most base do we find an antidote to our true, bottom line  ALONENESS in the universe.

Only in the LORD Jesus Christ does it begin to be filled - and that isn't just instant and finished for all time.  It is a relationship we need to build but different from all other relationships.  We are building a relationship of faith, with one unseen, but who is, and who loves us.  We find him in spending time in his love letters to us, called the Bible, in talking to him, and learning to listen to his answers.  His answers are found in many ways, but all are through our seeking him and learning to know his heart and way, in obedience to what he tells us in his word.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


From Luke 4 - Christ's temptation

Satan sought a showdown with Christ.  Challenged him to PROVE himself.  Satan approached him at a time and area of vulnerability,  40 day fast and  very hungry.

        i.e. You may query in your mind  "You say God loves you?"
        when you've been crying out to Him  regarding some need or
        personal hurt,  where there seems to be no answer. 

That thought is not your own although it seems like it. 

How to respond?  I've found the only way is to deliberately remember the word of God and to quote it, speak it. To give God praise for his promises of love.  For this reason it's good to seek out scripture that speaks of who God is and what he's done and memorize it.  One doesn't often have a Bible handy when such thoughts come.  If you don't know a verse remind yourself actively that he gave his life for your salvation and that he has all of life, and your life, in his care.

Don't enter the arena to fight such thoughts.  That is Satan's turf.  Christ could have felt spiritually strong here, from his close and unencumbered commune with his Father, but he didn't enter the arena Satan chose for him.  He chose his own arena, God's word.

Satan left that attack with Jesus, but didn't leave the field.  He came at the attack from a different slant. This one was a challenge to take an easy out offered by Satan.  To not have to die.  It offered quick returns, instant gratification, power, wealth success and adulation, and offered to have no pain.   

That may not be our own "Hot Button".  But we have them in smaller ways:

A little spot of theft.  i.e. software
A little toying with a spot of mental infidelity
A bitty malicious gossip
A little TV watching that flouts God's stated righteousness.

All of which originate with our own desires not entrusted to God.  A feeling nobody will know, nobody sees, nobody cares. 

Christ again spoke the Word of his Father, nailing the real result.  In Satan he would not be free, he would have traded masters and this master wishes to destroy all good.

Satan changed tactics a bit.  He used the very words of God, seeking to make the action appear to  be  God's very will.

Satan tempts us often to test God's validity.  Not seeking God himself, but seeking for our will to be given to us by God.  Failing to judge the request in light of God's holiness and the righteousness of our desire.  We need to be aware that though we have our own lot of  dumb thoughts, we also have an enemy who plants thoughts in our minds.  And whether ours or his, the only answer is to run to God, fall on our knees and worship Him and seek His ways.

And there is not a temptation that will ever come to you that Christ himself did not face.  He chose the Father's way, and he died so you have  the choice in your days.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Ephesians 1:17-20 My prayer

I pray that the God of our
Lord Jesus Christ
The Father of Glory
may give you a spirit of
     and of Revelation
     in the knowledge of HIM.
Having the eyes of your heart enlightened
that you may know what is the
HOPE to which HE has called YOU;
What are the riches of HIS glorious
inheritance in the saints,
And, what is the immeasurable greatness
of HIS power toward US who believe, according
to the working of HIS great might;
That HE (God, the Father of Glory)  worked in Christ when HE  (God, the Father of Glory) raised
HIM (Lord Jesus Christ) from the Dead, and seated
HIM (Lord Jesus Christ) at HIS right hand in the
heavenly places.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Holy Ground

It's easy to find God in the great outdoors, but he is also in the difficult places of life
When I go to my local service on Sunday do I diminish my encounter with the Lord of glory by my casual unexpectant attitude?

Do I enter expecting to encounter the Presence of God there?  Do I come desiring to worship him, together with my fellow brothers and sisters?

I'm not saying go in all solemn faced - making a show of being "holy".  I see it as an attitude thing.

I too often loudly proclaim my point of view politically, or talk about the 'football' game over the week-end.  Not evil things but do they lead my heart and the hearts of those I'm talking to,  to worship, to  rejoice in the LORD. 

Greetings are in order.  Sharing a caring comfort where there is heartache.  Rejoicing in one another as family.  But the core issue is attitude.

Do I 'leak'  the joy of the LORD,  eagerness for his presence, thankfulness for  the privilege I have to worship together with my fellow family members?  

Oh holy majesty who dwells all around us, and knocks on the door of our own lives and waits for us to invite him in. The whole world is full of your glory.  I need to walk in that truth in all the affairs of life.

But when I go into a gathering together with the family of God, he tells us he is there.  Do I act like I believe he is there? 

Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father Almighty - I worship you!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What if Jesus came to my town today?

In reading through the Gospels I am hit hard by the fact that though Jesus came doing incredible miracles and taught with power and a clarity that had people amazed, the nations spiritual leaders rejected him.  Here was a man clearly exceptional, and at the least a prophet.

He came to a nation, at a time when they claimed to be looking for the coming Messiah to deliver them.  And at a time time when they were an occupied nation by a "gentile" power.  But the Jewish leaders of the day, the Rabbi's and priests wanted no part of Christ.  They didn't follow him themselves, and sought to make a fool out of him or trip him up by asking hard questions to discredit him.  They didn't want him to be the Messiah. 

It is easy, 2,000 years down the road with the Bible filled with the history of his life, death and resurrection as our guide, to condemn those leaders but I began to ponder. 

If Jesus came to my town, say driving an old bus, with some  men and women who didn't look like they had a college degree.  People who could be seen to be menial laborers, and who maybe looked a bit scruffy in the bargain.  And say I knew this man Jesus was born in one of the poorer towns in the state how would I react. 

Moreover, I had heard he did miracles, and had even raised  a child from the dead, and feed a huge crowd who came out to where he was staying and it was said he did it with a few buns and some fish fingers a kid had brought for his day out what would my reaction be. 

And what if I heard he was down at the corner where the street bums, and some of the rougher town men and women were hanging out.  Moreover, he was sitting with them, eating, drinking and horror, laughing heartily with them.  Would I run down to the corner to join them eager to be with Jesus, or would I spread the word about that he was a libertine?

How would I treat Jesus.  Would I wonder aloud to my 'christian' ( for the sake of the analogy) friends that I could see he was a charlatan; speculated that he  had set some people up to come and say they were healed to make him look good.    Would I say all the people in the crowd had food and just brought it out when it was clear a few loaves and fish fingers wouldn't do the trick?  Would  I say he was too familiar with the street people and those society drop outs - people I avoided?

Would I close my heart to His words and denigrate his  power as just being a big act?  Would I get so put out with the stir he was making in my "safe" world even to want him dead? 

I know many believed and honored Jesus in his life but they were mostly not the right kind of people if you wanted to be a success in life.  He clearly didn't seem to want to get ahead.  And remember, the Jewish nation had looked for a Messiah to set up an earthly kingdom and "sort out all the gentiles".

Who do I resemble in my Christian walk today- the religious leaders, or the men and women who flocked to Jesus in faith.

Do I deny the Lord of Lords, and King of kings today in my own life. 

These are for me hard questions.  Because Jesus does come that way  just as much today as he did 2,000 years ago.  Only today he says "If you do it to the least of these, you do it unto me"

Lord Jesus Christ awaken my heart to your paths, your plans and ways. 
Morning has broken, like the first dawning

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Psalm 46 ESV

       God is our refuge and strength,
       a very present (well proved) help
       in trouble.
       2 Therefore we will not fear
       though the earth gives way, 
        though the mountains be
        moved into the heart of the sea,

3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at
its swelling. Selah
(Sounds like what happened in the flood.)
4 There is a river whose streams
make glad the city of God,  the
holy habitation of the Most High.

5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;  God will help her when morning dawns.

(A place of total safety!)

6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.

7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

8 Come, behold the works of
the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth.

(God is in control. Sin will be destroyed.  But know this, we who believe and trust in God dwell in the city of God)


9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire.

10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”

11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Matthew 10:28  (ESV)

28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Mankind may threaten out physical bodies, but God alone is in charge of our whole man.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Holy, Holy, Holy

Holy, Holy, Holy!
A word spoken twice in Hebrew is “Pay attention”. A word spoken 3 times is “listen, heed, this is vitally, life changingly important”.

I only just bow my head and whisper the words, holy, holy, holy in worship. Even as I strain to “FEEL” the awe of a holy God, I know they are just words that convey a truth to me. They are not yet a truth in truth in me that ignites my very body, soul and spirit. It’s all there, but in my mind only.
 Yet, as I seek to worship His holiness in my mind I find:
     1. My mind is skittering around, like I’m avoiding the issue;
     2. Someone else’s name comes to mind and I think “They need this”;
     3. I become aware this isn’t a moment to focus on what someone else needs. This is between my life and who I see God as;
     4. I find myself seeing myself . What explodes on my conscience thought is my self righteous judgments. Not one, but several instances flood my mind;
     5. I know at that moment that I don’t need to “FEEL” in worship, but just speaking the words, in deliberate remembrance of God as Holy, Holy, Holy was all God needed to gain entrance into my heart, soul and spirit. He was in, and His light was able to shine on the garden of my heart.

His light was shining directly on the WEED of self righteousness that has so flourished in my garden. This weed was casting deep shade over the good seeds which are trying to grow in the garden. It has kept them unable to grow, let alone bloom.
 I cried out in horror at what I'm seeing, “Rip it out, Lord, Please, rip it out”.

 The answer in my heart is “You must pull it up.”

 I am dismayed, but choose to act on the thought. I grasp it towards the top, thinking a little tug only would be needed and it would just pop out.

 I grab it and feel a prickle as of nettles, but not to bad, so give it a jerk. The top  leaves break off in my hand, but the weed is still very much present and unmoved. Moreover, my hands are on fire.

 I try and find a hold lower down looking for a place between thorns. A place it won't hurt me to grasp it to uproot it.  I find my hands are stinging just from the topmost leaves I did manage to break off. Every place I even try to place a finger encounters more and more pain. It's like there is a poison that enters the hand as I grasp it - to keep me from trying to pull it out.

It's like I hear mocking laughter .

 I despair I cry out “Oh LORD, help me. I cannot do this.”

 I feel his hand cupping my hands. He wraps my hands firmly around the very bottom of that weed, and closes them securely against the stem. And holding my hands in place he drew that weed up and out, roots and all. It hurt – like I was tearing my very body apart. I thought I would die of the pain. But as I looked, I saw the weed was gone. There was a crater the size of my life in my garden.

Next will be the ongoing repentance against judging others, and keeping my eyes on Him. I need give Him the Lordship of my life. In Him only can I be healed, cleansed and made into his image.

Oh Holy, Holy, Holy LORD GOD Almighty! Father, Creator, Savior. I love you. I worship you. Thank you!