Tue, Apr 27th - 5:48PM
The Bride Price
When I was a kid I was taught
that to give someone a gift and then take it back was called, “Indian
giving”. Perhaps it referred to
the white men giving the Indians land they later took back? In those days, even little kids knew
Indian giving was wrong, and in fact, it was considered worse than giving no
gift at all.
Have you ever
considered why the ‘gifts of the Holy Spirit’ are called “gifts” instead of
“abilities”? God told me this
afternoon, and I’m honored to pass it on.
He said, quite
simply, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are gifts given by God to His bride,
and they are given to 1) testify to the current betrothal and upcoming wedding,
and 2) to assist the bride in ‘making herself ready’.
For years I
have stumbled ungracefully over a good answer to the question, “Why do I need
to….(pick a gift – usually speaking in tongues)?” Another derivation of the same question is posed more
aggressively as, “So, are you saying I’m a second class Christian because I’m
not baptized in the Holy Spirit?”, but no more.
baptism proclaims and demonstrates to the world that we are believers and
followers of Jesus Christ, and is a testimony to our new lives, the baptism in
the Holy Spirit demonstrates to the world that we have willingly accepted the
bride-gifts from the Groom.
In the New
Testament we see numerous examples and teaching of these two baptisms being
“both, and..”, rather than, “one or..)”. Both comprise the normal Christian experience, and should be routinely
understood that way today.
God the Father
clearly gave the bride gifts in full measure to Jesus following His water
baptism, and Jesus clearly passed them on to His bride following His
resurrection. This transference
was demonstrated on the day of Pentecost as well as spoken of in Ephesians 4:8,
when it was declared, ‘He ascended on high and gave gifts to men’.
It should also
be clearly understood that misuse of the gifts, and we can do that, does not
reflect on the Giver, or the validity of the gifts themselves. In addition, if we allow room for
unbelief, we will not acquire the gifts.
this error, when we create or allow for doctrinal interpretations that explain
why we no longer see the gifts (the very ones we deny by our doctrine), we
justify to ourselves our denial, forfeit the bride-gifts Jesus died for us to
have, and bring on ourselves a judgment I personally would rather avoid.
what judgment you ask….how many sick, oppressed, tormented, under-blessed,
hopeless and perpetually helpless “believers” do you sit next to in
church? Ever wonder why? This must be hard to see because it’s
so obvious (that’s a man-thing!).
Most of the
gifts themselves are given for the edification of the Church because in that
setting, and with proper God-given leadership in operation, the operation of
the gifts is naturally subject to the divine system of checks and balances – as
they should be. Without this
system in place, misuse will result (and does).
The gift of
tongues that is personal, and not for corporate benefit, should be considered
the “lingerie” gift, intimate, and for the personal use of the believer in
prayer. The gift of tongues that mandates a following interpretation is another
gift, to be used corporately for the benefit of all. It is quite clearly delineated in Scripture, and is easily
seen that way once we recognize it
as a different gift. No lingerie
in church, please!
If you haven't
accepted the bride-gifts from the hand of Jesus yet, or have thought only
“special” Christians get them, like the apostles, I would encourage you to get
on board. If that were true, God
would be an Indian giver, and some churches teach He is.
It’s a good
ride, and it is the normal Christian life. Don't believe anyone who would try to sell you short on oil
just so you could join the group of five that didn’t have enough.
the five that had enough oil qualified for the feast (Matthew 25).
Tue, Apr 27th - 12:44PM
some more about the Holy Spirit. Within that context, some decisions are general, and apply to all – all
the time, while others are personal.
the only way to God is through Jesus Christ. That’s plain and always applies to all people, in all
places, all the time. Jesus said
of Himself that He was the only way to God, ‘way’ being like a road. If you happen to believe there might be
other ways, you have rejected Jesus, and rejection is not too strong a
word. Other ‘ways’ equals
rejection, and our sincerity doesn’t count.
simple example of a general, applies all the time-to all people teaching, and
it requires a decision from us all, the lack of which is not an excuse.
decisions are personal. While not
necessarily less important than general decisions, they are more subject to the
maturity of our understanding. For
instance, you can't expect a child to make healthy-choice food decisions before
maturing into understanding their
importance, but all children will eat. Sooner or later, decisions are called for, and in my context they are
called for by God, and our responses should necessarily follow as soon as the
truth is revealed.
old illustration of the frog in the pot of water? If you turn up the heat gradually, the frog will eventually
boil to death before deciding he needs to jump out of the pot. The opposite is also true. If the water in the pot is gradually
withdrawn in small increments, the frog will end up in a pot devoid of
water. Either scenario does not
represent a good day for the frog, and both are unsurvivable.
realized to my horror that I was the frog in the empty pot, and I realized it,
because my friend the Holy Spirit showed me. Minus His revelation I’d still be in the pot. Are you in a pot too?
what I would term the “Law of Obverse Truth”. I don't know if it’s 100% accurate, but I’ve not seen
it fail yet. It works like this –
God’s revealed truth also reveals an obverse truth. For instance, if we know, “Sin is bad”, we can consequently
know, “Not to sin is good”.
realized yesterday, to my horror, was this obverse: “If testifying truthfully about the Holy Spirit is good, and
glorifies God – not to testify about Him is sin, and does not glorify
God”. This applies immediately
upon the arrival of the revelation!
I said this
was personal, and as such, as soon as I realized this obverse was in play I
felt called upon to confess my lack of testimony as sin. It was my decision – you should make
your own. I think God leaves this
one up to us as individuals, and without personal revelation in the matter I
would question the integrity of any decision made.
I find myself
in a situation where I have been silent about what I know to be a true testimony concerning the ministry
and gifts of the Holy Spirit. My
reason was that I didn’t feel it my place to be a burr under the saddle of my
current congregation. Instead,
I prayed earnestly for “revival”. I guess I was hoping that one Sunday morning, the Holy Spirit would blow
down the front door to my church and make Himself known as He really is. But yesterday, I realized I had in
fact, been praying that the Holy Spirit would do my job for me. This is like hoping for a pot of gold
to magically appear at your front door – in place of holding down a job. I can't believe how much time I’ve
repentance, I made a vow today – one not to be taken lightly. A vow is binding, so if you also
consider it, please think it over carefully. There is no quickie divorce from this. Just the same, I would submit this for
your prayerful consideration:
“I vow today
that I will never, under any circumstances or due to any personal cost or
social risk, remain silent about what I know is revealed truth to me concerning
the Holy Spirit, His personhood, His ministry in the church, His gifts or His
anointing – ever again! I will
never remain mute when He is ignorantly or willfully maligned, or ignored. I will remain true to this vow and true
to my best friend.” I dare you to
dare to be the burr under your saddle. It’s a lot more fun than waiting for the door to be blown open – and
it’s our calling.
Mon, Apr 26th - 1:01PM
Skepticism - The Unholy Mix
I touched on
it in my last post, titled, “Power of Confession”, but more needs to be said
about the problem of current American skepticism concerning clear Bible
If you were to
have a recipe for skepticism, the easiest would be eight parts unbelief mixed
with two parts of fear. If this
was just a food recipe, who on earth would choose to mix it up and consume
recently heard several well-traveled folks say that biblical miracles are much
more common in countries other than the United States. Why is this? Why should I need to travel to some third-world country to
see my God in action? Why indeed –
good old American skepticism.
We in America
are proud, arrogant from any other viewpoint, and we are very proud of our
skepticism. There are limits to
our skepticism that are difficult to understand. For instance, we are quick to believe politicians who tickle
our ears with stupid promises that logically have no substance, yet we won't
believe God substantially moves and acts within real time in many of our
churches. Put that way, maybe our
problem isn't so difficult after all…we trust man, but not God. Well, that’s easy to see!
I think we
subscribe to our current unhealthy doses of skepticism because we are
basically, 1) slow to believe God, and 2) fearful of looking stupid in front of
our skeptical peers. Well, good
grief! There it is again – easy to
I would like
to raise a question: if God is
acting according to New Testament standards, but only in the third world –
what’s their problem?! Oh dear,
perhaps that’s backwards – what’s our problem?
I don‘t just
need the cross of Christ to help me die well. He died so that I might truly LIVE – now, and forever.
And if He
could sacrifice His life, the least I can do is sacrifice my skepticism.
Mon, Apr 26th - 12:28PM
Power of Confession
underestimate the power of a negative confession.
the Bible we say we believe, we live our lives here on earth while being surveilled by
a ‘cloud of witnesses’, and the context is one of Eternity. Now I don't know if Christians already
with the Lord in Heaven watch us on some sort of eternal, cable TV, or what,
but I understand that we are not living in private little vacuums – we are
We are also
witnessed by the watching world; and while most frankly don't care, most of the
time, some do, and they are curious how Christians live out their lives while
facing the same sewage common to everyone.
To sum: on
every level we are being watched! And we are being watched for more important reasons than that of idle
curiosity. How we live our lives;
what we believe in, and what we do within that framework are matters of current
and eternal importance.
Satan knows he
has but little time, and while I don't know if he still thinks he can one day
rule the world, I do know he is on the job every day in an unceasing effort to
deny God a family that will. When
we agree with Satan – against God – our negative confessions not only throw
dirt on the Son of God, they destroy the confessors.
Case in point:
What have I done when I, a child of God, confess that I have an incurable
disease? Or as a husband, confess
that over my wife or children? Or
much worse, use a teaching position to promote that idea among the
In a context
of earthly medical knowledge, I can truthfully say medical science has no cure,
but to confess before the children of God that my disease is ‘incurable’ begs
the question: incurable for whom? And if I don't delineate the ‘for Whom’ carefully, it becomes a horrible
curse over my life or those to whom I am responsible.
careless and thoughtless confession, I have agreed with the devil against God,
while at once giving him free reign over my physical well-being, and
concurrently throwing dirt on the cross of Christ. While human wisdom (and limited experience) is foolishness
to God, it is death only to me and mine.
So here’s a
confession I can believe in:
pre-paid in full for my deliverance from sickness and demons. By a faithful choice, I choose to
believe it and live it. I renounce
skepticism for what it really is – unbelief + fear, and I am daily thankful
that God’s Spirit inside me is also healing my body through the blood of Jesus. And if I ever die sick, it won't be the
fault of Jesus or His cross.
So here is my
incurable disease (seen from the devil’s viewpoint): I am incurably in love with Jesus and everything His blood
procured on my behalf – and I want it all – this side of the grave –
where it matters and is witnessed!
Fri, Apr 23rd - 12:09PM
definition of insanity goes like this:
Doing the same thing, over and
over, while expecting different results.
One of my
favorite on-line papers is the Patriot Post (.com). It’s a free, on-line subscription, and I get it several
times each week, plus the stand alone, and excellent editorials by the editor,
Mark Alexander. If you consider
yourself a Constitutional Patriot, you owe yourself this weekly insight. However…
As a patriot,
my personal list of Truly Despicable People is expanding out of control, and
any current list of elected officials, from the president on down seems
redundant to my own list. But
having said that, I will have to declare that God has appointed these current
quislings to be at our national helm at this time, and we did it to ourselves.
The Word of
God plainly declares it is God who appoints men to positions of authority over
nations and governments, and it is also God Who pulls them down. Consequently, I have to acknowledge
that the current batch of elected buffoons are in fact serving God’s
purpose(s), no doubt unwittingly.
Due to the
incredible national angst I see documented on the media polls, there are many
encouraging us to vote in the upcoming November mid-terms in line with our
values; i.e.: vote for the candidates who best reflect them. Frankly, I find this bit of advice more
than a little disturbing for at least two reasons:
1. We should have been doing that all along, and
2. Our national values, and indeed, our national
identity has been headed for the sewers of civilization for well over 30 years;
God help us all if we elect people who reflect what they have, and are
becoming, in 2010.
I could go on,
but I’ll stop at the first two that come to mind. You might be able to go the distance to a depressing ten! But according to my definition
posed above, I have to declare that even this is at best, an ill-conceived hope
– opiate for the right wing voters.
To put the
current problem in context, let’s first figure out what it really is, and then
perhaps a solution will become evident. Here’s how I see it:
1. The cornerstone of our country is, and always
has been, our Constitution.
2. The cornerstone of our Constitution has always
been the God of the Christian Bible.
3. Worshiping at the altar of “Social justice”, we
have substituted other cornerstones, in place of the original one we were
4. Consequently, we have become lost wanderers in a
wilderness of end-time nations, and we have…
5. Lost our leaders and our leadership – which we
are currently replacing with Global Wisdom, the ultimate end-time mistake of
I don't want
to help elect “leaders” who only reflect the value systems of their
constituencies – we did that in 2008. The only way out of this mess is to elect men and women who reflect the
Eternal Values reflected in our Constitution, and help to bring us back to
meets the definition of insanity.
Tue, Apr 20th - 11:16AM
Division of Labor
I want to
share what God told me several days ago. There always exists a degree of trepidation when I presume to state that
God spoke to me, or let me know some of His wisdom; and so it is present now as
I share what I believe He gave me. Yet not to share, while still a prerogative of mine, seems
unthinkable. So here goes…
It was made
known to me that between God and man there exists a certain division of
labor. Both parties have separate responsibilities,
and while the performance of those responsibilities is entirely voluntary by
both, God is responsible for some things in our relationship to Him, and His
children are responsible for other things, and those things are different. We
get into trouble when we don't know the difference.
I will be bold enough here to state what
God told me. He said, “Stop doing
my job for Me, and just trust Me to do it Myself – My way.” Further, I was told it was my
job to love God and let Him love me. When I love myself, I am doing His job, not mine. It breaks down like
job = 1) love God, and 2) trust Him to love me, His way.
job = love me.
of the problems in our lives and consequently, our world. Aren't they all a product of mankind
getting this division of labor backwards? Isn't all the cosmic warfare the result of us trying to be God, i.e.:
doing His job for Him? It is the
most basic feature of our original rebellion.
One fact that
should be clear by now is that God’s ways are not only different and ‘higher’
than our ways, but usually completely opposite. What biblical hero would we, in our logic and wisdom, have
chosen? What biblical methods of
operations would we have adopted? Plainly, none.
would we even have the kind of love that would be willing to sacrifice our only
children for anyone’s benefit, much less everyone’s? Clearly not.
For me, one of
the outstanding mysteries of God will always be how different we are from Him,
and how divinely ironic that I can only see this because of my created similarity.
So far in my
journey, I’ve consistently done a lousy job trying to do God’s job. I have quite enough on my plate doing
I am not the
Mon, Apr 19th - 4:54PM
re-reading what I wrote in today’s piece titled, “Witness”, I believe a brief
amplification is needed. If I
leave “Witness” as a stand alone document, too many readers may think I am
advocating a meek acquiescence to suffering, and right there is where
amplification and clarification are necessary.
The fact is, a
large percentage of Christians (at least in the United States) seem more ready
to suffer and die for Christ than live their lives in the victory He bought. They have, along with non-Christians,
allowed their lives to be defined by chronic illness or mental torment, and
without a radical change in their thinking and understanding, they will not be
the witnesses to demonstrate the Christ in the Bible. Instead, they may show a denominational Jesus – a partial
representation at best, or worse, no Jesus at all.
forever grateful to God that He called my name to be in His family, and
provided the Way to Himself, just knowing I’m going to Heaven when I die isn't
all that Jesus paid for on the cross, in my opinion. Much, much more was provided, paid for and made available to
each child of God, and if we settle for no more than the promise of Heaven, we
are shortchanging ourselves and cheating God by setting unbiblical limits on
Him and our service for Him.
the “Patience of Job” is settling for half the benefits, if that. Job complained just like most of us
would in the same circumstances – but only up to a point. After that point was reached, Job
radically altered course, saying through his pain and torment, “Even though He
slay me, yet will I trust Him”, and “I know that my Redeemer lives..”. He evidenced a complete transformation
in his thinking, and I am incredibly thankful the transformation is recorded
for our benefit. And the benefits
of Job should make a change in our real, physical lives – more than the
suffering he endured.
When I said in
“Witness”, ‘Let God be God’, I was not trying to create a play on words,
rather, I literally meant it in time and space. I believe with all my heart that while showing the “Patience
of Job” may be a good witness, believing in the God Who never changes speaks volumes more. Someone once said, “One miracle is
worth a thousand sermons”, and they did not understate.
pray for miracles and still die young, but many are indeed raised to new
life. I’m not debating the fine
points on why some are healed and some aren't; that is almost always a quagmire
leading to some Satanic inspired hopelessness. And there are always different factors in play for different
Saints. I would rather state it
like this: if God still heals and
performs other miracles, and indeed WANTS TO, once we settle for ourselves the
questions of the “if” and the “WANTS TO”, we can have a lot more real faith to
believe Him – in His entirety. Do
we indeed believe in the God of the Bible, or some denominational philosophy
closely on that statement I say without reservation, it is God’s intention that
the relationships He longs to have with His children are entirely intimate –
not partially so. Let me say this
without equivocation: when Christians limit God through their doctrine or
experience, they perform a great SIN. Nothing less. The name of that sin is UNBELIEF. And when we teach others under our care to share the same
unbeliefs, for whatever reasons, we are inside or close to the borders of BLASPHEMING.
We should seek
the God of the Bible, always placing seeking Him above seeking His benefits, no
matter what our situations….but there are real, tangible benefits to knowing the living
God, and they come pre-paid in blood.
Mon, Apr 19th - 12:26PM
family, we Christians are His witnesses to the world. We all know this, and there’s no new revelation in it. We are told to live out our lives in
such a way that non-Christians will marvel, and want what we have, so why is it
that we get bogged down in the “Why do bad things happen to good people”
syndrome? The bible Book of
Job explains and examples in great detail just how Job learned the answer to
this age-old question.
Look at the
question from a father’s viewpoint. We reason that a loving earthly father wouldn’t allow his children to go
through such hard experiences as we all do. The horrific tragedies we hear about and sometimes
experience ourselves, beg this question. Then we get mad at God and shout at Him, “Why!”, and the only apparent
consolation is the knowledge we’ll understand in Heaven. But to grieving parents, that
consolation seems inadequate to the pain they’re suffering. So indeed, “Why?”
Look back at
Job…here was a ‘righteous’ man, minding his own business and apparently living
an honorable life in the sight of God and his fellow man. He didn’t volunteer to be singled out
by God for the singular honor of making it into our scriptures, but he was, and
God volunteered him.
stretch to realize that God already knew Satan had been looking at Job, and God
already knew what was going through Satan’s brain. Because of that, the question He asked Satan was rhetorical
in nature. Responding to Satan’s
pre-existing thoughts about Job, God brought up the dialogue that resulted in
Job’s record setting malaise. But
again, WHY? Why not have all the
horrible things happen to someone more deserving than good old Job? Why did God pick on him? Was this indicative of a loving
Father? I say, “Yes”, and I say it
because I know the underlying question behind the “Why?”
question is this: “Why does God leave us in this world after we become His?”
it. Isn't that correct? What earthly father would leave his
adopted child in such a hellish place? Once the adoption is accomplished, an earthly father would spare no
expense to bring his adopted child home; so why does God leave us here?
When we asked
Jesus to be our Lord, we each signed up for a mission we perhaps weren't fully
aware of, namely, to live out our lives as God’s witnesses. And that’s the answer to the “Why?”
The rest of
the world doesn’t desire or benefit from our comfy lives on the church pews. The
rest of the world needs to see us go through the SAME stuff they go through –
with our God being the only difference. They are asking, “How do I know their God is real”, and our trials are
the only witness they’ll ever have. However, it is human nature to avoid trials and tribulations, and
Christians do it as well as anyone else. But when Christians ask ‘why’, they are denying God His parental
rights. Just like with good old
Job, God has plans for each one of us, and a number of those plans won't happen
While I’m not
brave enough to get on the line and tell God I’m ready for tribulation, I do
realize that I belong to Him, and tribulations can be a set-up for an honorable
witness. It does not matter
how different you say you are since Jesus came into your hearts; it only
matters that you demonstrate it.
We are His
appointed witnesses, and we honor Him when we allow our lives to demonstrate
all of Him. But not only do our
lives testify of Him, He testifies of Himself by demonstrating His power – but
only if we’ll allow it.
God’s witness, no matter what. We
are all part of a divine demonstration, and we have a chance to not only be God’s children, but partners with
Let God be
God. It is a choice.
Mon, Apr 19th - 10:07AM
My wife and I
have an ongoing debate over dust and dirt. Her dust threshold is a lot lower than mine, and every now
and then she’ll demonstrate the dust problem by sweeping her hand across a
table, or somewhere else in our house, and sure enough, the dust becomes
visible – even to me!
focuses on my threshold, because I only acknowledge the presence of dust when I
trip over it. After much careful
study and anguish, it would appear we approach the problem of dust from two
opposite directions, like we do with everything else! However, after my dust vision yesterday in church, I have to
admit my wife’s dust threshold is more correct than mine. It’s a real bother to have to admit it!
right in the middle of a worship service, and while worshiping with my eyes
closed, I saw a road leading from me to the Lord. The road was a bit curvy, and had some different sized rocks
and small boulders strewn about – thankfully, not too many, but the surface of
the road was covered with a fine patina of dust.
Spirit, the Lord let me know that the rocks and dust represented sin, with the
rocks specifically representing unconfessed sin. Thankfully, the rocks weren’t hard to find, but just things
I hadn't dealt with yet. The
patina of dust represented pervasive dirt from the world I live in, and because
each particle was so small and seemingly insignificant, it had quietly just covered
the road unnoticed.
was that all the rocks and the dust clogged my communion with my Lord – in
fact, to Him, all were significant. And as I watched the road, the Holy Spirit blew across it and blew the
dust away, leaving only the rocks for me to deal with. And as the dust blew away, I was amazed
at how much dust there had been – much more than I would have guessed when I
first saw it. I was also amazed at
how many rocks had been hidden by the dust.
system we live in and endure every day, has an insidious way of covering each
of us with dust (spelled: D I R T). We need to let the Holy Spirit clear the dust out of the way, because it
not only inhibits our intimacy with the Lord, but can even make it difficult to
see the rocks in our roads. But
the only way to allow the Holy Spirit to clear the way is to allow ourselves to
become intimate with Him, and more is never too much!
had a dust-off in church. Jesus
made me clean, while the Holy Spirit dusted off my way to Him.
What’s not to
Mon, Apr 5th - 4:23PM
In the Gospel
of John (John 5:23), Jesus said that the person who did not honor him,
dishonored the Father who sent him. This is an excellent example of a biblical pattern, and I believe we
should be sensitive to biblical patterns, for they are not in the scriptures by
this pattern, let’s apply it to the scriptures themselves, as the Word of God,
which most Christians affirm them to be. Since we are taught to consider the scriptures as ‘God breathed’, and
inspired by the Holy Spirit, let’s begin there.
Jesus is known
as the Incarnate Word of God (John 1:1). Accepting that particular title of His personage, and using the pattern
above, to reject any portion of the Word of God, is to reject the Word. The only person authorized to alter,
subtract or add to the Word is God Himself.
15:26, Deuteronomy 7:12-15 and Deuteronomy 28+, the Lord is talking about
blessings and curses – both of which are conditional. Deuteronomy 28 is an accurate description of the United
States today. Many modern
Christians have either not been taught about biblical curses or don't believe
in them if they have…but they certainly believe in the blessings, and hold God
accountable when they aren't blessed!
instance, we see mankind assuming the authority to pick and choose from God’s
Word as he will, and at his convenience. This practice, I submit, is a rejection of God’s Word, for with God,
either all of His Word is accepted, or none of it – we can't ‘have it our way’.
In a related
issue, nowhere are we authorized to judge God’s Word by our experiences;
instead, we should judge our experiences in the light of God’s Word. Many among us have that backwards, to
our great loss.
I would also
say that the plethora of deadly diseases we see in our church congregations,
(the same ones we see “in the world”), are possibly the result of a partial
rejection of the Word of God, resulting in a rejection of God.
From time to
time, we all need healing, and yet medical science for all it’s advances, seems
impotent to cure many of the diseases we suffer. Perhaps we have unwittingly cut ourselves off from God’s
blessings, and become subject to biblical curses – resulting in unnecessary
deaths in the Body and ruined faith for many.
Sad to say, in
many churches, terminal diseases result in death as often as the un-churched,
and the closest they get to biblical healing is to pray for a good doctor! Where is the distinction? Hope and Faith are not the same.
I know this
essay could cause many readers to push back; I wish it were otherwise, but we
cannot expect from God whatever we need while at the same time rejecting “uncomfortable”
portions of His Word.
admonished to ‘rightly divide the Word of truth’ (2 Timothy 2:15), but that
does not refer to the gross, negligent dissection I’m writing about. Instead it means to ‘teach the truth
directly and correctly’.
It is one of
my core beliefs that one of the major challenges in the Christian life is not
entry-level belief in God’s Word, rather it is having belief in all of
To sum up, it
is our privilege and duty to believe all of God’s Word, living our lives
accordingly, for Him. It is also
our duty to recognize we have no authority to alter His Word to fit our
theologies, experiences or spiritual comfort.
God’s Word, both blessings and curses exist, available as choices to God’s
people, and it would appear that curses are a default position. I for one, desperately need to place
myself in the path of God’s blessings, and the good news is that it’s available
to all Christians as a free-will choice.
Choose all of
His Word – choose Life.
Sun, Apr 4th - 5:42PM
To my shame,
one of the things I do best is fix what isn't broken. I was talking on the phone this week to a friend of many
years, and I mentioned this to him. We both laughed a little, and he said, as he’s said for so many years,
“Ah Johnny, you’ve always tried to do that.” And we laughed a little more.
pegged me in the 1980’s when we worked together. I was selling something I didn’t need to sell, and later I
had to re-buy it – all in an effort to fix something I viewed as
imperfect. Being a quiet, content
man, he laughed at all my expended effort. He was not malicious, we were, and still are friends, but I
amused him then, and I guess I still do. However, it’s not quite as funny to me.
My week has
been one of struggle, with great effort expended in the cause of Truth,
Justice, and blah, blah…and I finally became so proud of all my energetic effort,
and all the truth I had expounded in the process, that I became worn out by it
in at me, and woeful cries of worthlessness ceaselessly kept hammering away at
my inner ear. I became
discouraged, confused and fearful. I think I may have indeed caused more harm than good! To use an old phrase, I was
sleep was elusive, and my bed was like stone, the sheets like sandpaper until I
got up and fervently prayed, begging the Lord to show me a revelation of love,
a quality I’ve always felt the need of. Then back to the sandpaper sheets until at last, here I am, trying to
explain The Voice.
tossing and turning there was a brief moment of stillness, and in that moment I
saw myself in a small boat on a big lake. Dark waves were crashing into and over the sides of my boat, and I was
all alone and desperately afraid. Then quietly and without fanfare, the Lord steadily and peacefully
approached my boat across the waves and said three words in a quiet voice,
“Peace, be still.”
He did not
shout in a loud, commanding voice, or wildly wave His arms, and I’m not sure
how I heard His quiet voice over the roar of the waves, but I heard Him say in
a calm voice, “Peace, be still.”
waves became still and flat, and there was no noise, no chaos, only a calm,
quiet, pervasive peace that flowed over me.
Only after the
waves stopped and His peace flowed over me could I hear Him in the calm, telling
me to remain at peace. He reminded
me that He’s been talking to me for several weeks. During that time He never raised His voice over mine, never
attempted to overpower me, yet only now in my desperation am I able to hear His
“I do not need
a man of war….in these chaotic times, I need a man of peace; My peace.”
And now, as I keep
back my tears, remembering the gentleness in His voice, I’m struck by how
utterly impossible it is NOT to love Him!
I do not need
to be alone in my own boat. My Lord
Jesus Christ is forever the Ark of His own covenant, a covenant He made with me
in His own blood.
My prayer for
you on this Easter morning is that He is, or becomes the Ark in your storms, as
He was again this morning for me, in mine.
Fri, Apr 2nd - 2:56PM
everyone has certain traits that routinely and consistently produce certain
predictable responses in others. For instance, the perpetually angry will solicit more defensive
responses than the person who is always even-keeled; this must be true,
although it’s hard to find a perfectly even-keeled person, or anything else in
this world at war.
I believe I
need to put forth a disclaimer, not in defense of something indefensible, but
in explanation. Here it is:
I will shamelessly write on any topic in the Christian life,
and some not in the Christian life, based on any and all “inspiration”
provided, from whatever source. I
will strive to be ever truthful, no matter what, within the bounds of decency,
if possible. I will represent God
as He represents Himself to me – at all costs, no matter what.
I would wish
that those who provide the “inspiration” do not take my writings as personal
attacks, as indeed they are usually not intended to be personal. That said, what I write should only be
accepted like new shoes – buy only the ones that fit.
muddy the waters, I am fully and painfully aware that the ‘message of the
prophet is subject to the prophet’, and many times I write my own reflection,
rather than God’s. This too, is
unintended, and I apologize in advance, but my struggle is to present God’s
true reflection, as He reveals Himself to me, and that struggle happens every
That’s my job,
that’s my ministry, and that’s my great passion. And no matter how many friends (hopefully) or enemies this
creates, I will fulfill my ministry to the best ability I’m given. As Rush Limbaugh says about himself,
“Talent, on loan from God”. It’s
not an arrogant statement, although I suspect he says it with tongue in
cheek. We all are on loan from God
– on loan from Him – and to each other.
individually represent God’s gifts to each other, and only He is in charge of
the way it is.
Fri, Apr 2nd - 12:19PM
Cut Off From God
Easter is the
time of year that most Christian churches focus on the Resurrection of Jesus,
the Christ, and rightly so. Many
churches can expect a greater attendance at this time of year – my father used
to call them “E and C Christians”, meaning they made it a point to attend on
Easter and Christmas, but not necessarily in between. I could have entitled this piece, “God’s Love”, but
felt it more appropriate to approach it from our natural perspective, for all
of us began life’s journey cut off from it.
But this is
another one of those “Simply complex” stories. We are designed to thrive on God’s love, but too often, we
settle for much less. We are like
engines starving for lead, on an unleaded diet. Then, when we become Christians, we are told that God loves
us, and in addition, that our normal Christian response should be to love Him
back. However, that takes the cart
before the horse for many of us, because we see nothing in ourselves that would
cause anyone to love us – much less an all-knowing God.
recognizing it, we block out receiving God’s love because our natural arrogance
demands we understand it before we accept it. Years can go by as we starve for God’s love, while we
struggle in the Christian life because of the diet. At least, that’s how it worked for me, and I suspect many
other Christians feel guilty over not loving God because they are still trying
to figure out just what He loves about them.
experience, I can assure you the solution is available, and in fact, not very
complicated. Anyone can love God,
and know that they do, but only if they first accept His love without
attempting to understand it first. It’s just a fact. In fact,
for myself, I finally gave up the attempts at trying to understand what He saw
in me – and just accepted His love. It’s not difficult to do – just difficult to reconcile.
I submit that
most of today’s addictions and other demonic problems are a direct result of
people being cut off from God’s love, whether because they’re not Christians,
or because they are, and cut themselves off. And as long as we are cut off from the only source of real
life, we will operate out of self-hatred, and manifest all that self-hatred
love flowing in, we have no choice but to have fake love flowing in/out. And so, we drudge through our lives
trying to manage the outflow to our advantage. How sad – because it is totally unnecessary.
we are called to show God’s love in our outflow, but too often we manage the
message. Believe me, all the “new”
ways to tickle ears with an updated message concerning His salvation are a
waste of energy. If we want to be
effective for Christ, I believe we should manage to communicate the old message
– God loves you. It’s that
simple. And if we can only decide to accept
it, we’ll quite naturally love Him back – and others.
If you want to
understand why God loves you, you will finally end up here: because it’s
His nature to love – period. You
won't find the reason within yourself, and if you do, you are sincerely
God loves us
because He loves us – no more, no less. The difficult part is our acceptance, and it is vital that we accept His
love with no strings attached. How
can God love slime like you and me? – He just does, and we need to move from
frustrated self-delusions to acceptance. He just does!
tell God that although you don't understand how or why He can
love you – you fully accept that He does, and thank Him for it. If you pray this regularly, you’ll
experience an unbelievable transformation within yourself, and you won't
understand it either!
rather experience the transformation than experience the understanding!
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