Thu, Jan 31st - 9:18AM
Matthew 5:44-48 (NIV)
44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
This is in response to Lee's question on testing. I am looking at it broader and have much more to say. I have not the time to give it to you all at once, so I'll post a little snip at a time. The emphasis here is mine, and the context is broader because I think it is important. You might fill in what I miss as I go...
Tue, Jan 29th - 7:35AM
Deuteronomy 13:1-4 (NIV)
1 If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, 2 and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, "Let us follow other gods" (gods you have not known) "and let us worship them," 3 you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.
Tue, Jan 29th - 1:16AM
The smart ones duck, but I am not that smart...
I saw Lee's post using the Feminine to speak of the Holy Spirit.
It raised an eyebrow, and maybe I should have said something. Mine would have been a question, seeking to understand. It might have circumvented a whole lot of stumbling about. So I am at fault as much as anyone...
But, I think I understood what she was refering to in Proverbs:
Colossians 1:15-20 (NIV)
15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Proverbs 3:19-20 (NIV) (wisdom was just refered to as she in the previous six verses)
19 By wisdom the LORD laid the earth's foundations,
by understanding he set the heavens in place;
20 by his knowledge the deeps were divided,
and the clouds let drop the dew.
Knowlege and Wisdom are not one and the same, although closely related. It is a reach, but can you see something beyond the small little box you may be trying to put God in?
Proverbs 8:27-31 (NIV) (for fuller understanding, read Proverbs 8 from verse 1, again this is clearly female wisdom talking)
27 I was there when he set the heavens in place,
when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
28 when he established the clouds above
and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
29 when he gave the sea its boundary
so the waters would not overstep his command,
and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
30 Then I was the craftsman at his side.
I was filled with delight day after day,
rejoicing always in his presence,
31 rejoicing in his whole world
and delighting in mankind.
Philippians 2:5-9 (NIV)
5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
Talk about submissive! Don't we consider that a feminine quality?!?
Matthew 22:29-32 (NIV)
29Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 31But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 32'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead but of the living."
Matthew 23:8-12 (NIV)
8"But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. 9And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ. 11The greatest among you will be your servant. 12For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
Paint me into a corner, and I will lean to say God the Father and Jesus the Son, and the Spirit a complete Mystery. However, I do not find God bound by my dim conventions of male and female. Among my brothers and sisters I have a different conception, which has gotten me into a world of hurt, but let me speak plainly: A submissive wife has an envious position from where I stand. As she is humbled, she can be exhalted!
Even as a Prophetess cannot speak on her own authority, so too, a Prophet who speaks on his own authority finds himself speaking on the authority of -- NOTHING!!! So what is the advantage?
So the difference in Gender of the Holy Spirit may not be something for you and I to discern. It is perfectly ok to think of them in the Masculine, I am sure. To judge those talking of them in the feminine, my faith is not sufficient for me to go there, although God the Mother, instead of God the Father is likely to get a rise out of me...
Ok. Bedtime. And may I sleep in peace. (although I still need to answer Lee's question on Testing...)
Ok. One more:
John 1:1-5 (NIV)
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.
3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
Sun, Jan 27th - 11:46AM
Commentary to What I saw in the Previous Scriptures...
What brings this on is a simple thing I have noticed. Even we as Christians, are willing to tell "little white lies". There is nothing little about them and certainly nothing white. We say it to keep the peace, (and there are scriptures to suggest this even with unbelievers, as much as it is possible) to not offend, because we fear the one we are lying to. There are other reasons, but each are as weak as the last, and counter to God's will in the matter.
I might do something in your presence and it may bother you enough that I see something and I ask you if I am bothering you with what I am doing. If it bothers you, the correct response is to simply admit that. It does not demand that I stop or that you even ask that I stop. I probabaly would anyways. We might talk further about it, too. I might be doing something dysfunctional, and need to be confronted. I might be doing something that for me is something I can do in faith and you cannot be in the presence of. I might be drinking a beer, and you may be an alcoholic. In that specific case, I think I need to stop. I might be spending too much time in front of the television. Again, I should stop, this time for my sake as much as anything. I am sure you can see other examples.
Some things rise to the level that requires that you come to me, seeking me out, and confront me. Jesus doesn't just 'suggest' this. He demands it, and tells you even of a progression to take.
Again, I say be simple in saying yes is yes, no is no. Don't make it convoluted to be polite. Be direct, yet gentle. You might be demanding something outrageous in their view. That is not your responsibility, although it is something for you to consider. If it is a matter of faith, say they refuse to sing unless the singing is without musical instruments, you need to understand what you are asking them to do and back off once that understanding is clear that you are asking them to violate something that is of their faith that you doctrinally should not require. I understand that this is messy and sometimes ugly, and it is natural for our fleshly nature to shrink from this. We make 'spiritual' sounding excuses, but the truth is something you can test quite clearly. Is there an element of fear? Then it is not out of love. Examine your motives. That is the real key.
I include the "Good Samaritan" to make a further point. Sometimes your brother make calls to you in his distress, being so badly damaged that you cannot make out a distinct call for help even, just moaning in pain. Don't just walk by on the other side of the road. Do what you can. And then do not be afraid to turn the task over to someone more fit than you to carry it to completion. I see the Samaritan as a straightforward and simple man in this parable. Nothing high and mighty. Humble and caring. He demonstrated his heart for another.
This should not be a heavy burden. All of us are going to continue to fail in this from time to time. Hey, I do, and I have been working on this, and getting it just right is not easy. I find it just as easy to be heavy handed as to be ignorant. Neither is our calling.
Go and Do as Christ has done with/for You, for He is our Ultimate Example,
Sat, Jan 26th - 8:51AM
We have Responsibilties
James 5:12 (NIV)
12Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, or you will be condemned.
Matthew 5:33-37 (NIV)
33"Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.' 34But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; 35or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
Galatians 6:1 (NIV)
1Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
Luke 10:30-37 (NIV)
30In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'
36"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"
37The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."
Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."
Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV)
23"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
Matthew 18:15-17 (NIV)
15"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
You know, I have a specific message in stringing these together, but God may have a bigger message than the one intended, just as I think He did with Lee's simple question. So I'll let this percolate for a while and post my own thoughts as comments later on. I may be embarassed by how greatly He shows you something I should have already seen, but my embarrassment will be a blessing, so bring it on!
Mon, Jan 21st - 9:37PM
Weakness and Strength
7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
10And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 PETER 5:7-11 (NIV) (emphasis added by me)
16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice. EZEKIEL 34:16 (NIV) (emphasis added by me)
Mon, Jan 21st - 12:11AM
I am a criminal, but still I will struggle with myself and find my voice of praise...
15 Look at what was happening to you before you began to lay the foundation of the LORD’s Temple. 16 When you hoped for a twenty-bushel crop, you harvested only ten. When you expected to draw fifty gallons from the winepress, you found only twenty. 17 I sent blight and mildew and hail to destroy everything you worked so hard to produce. Even so, you refused to return to me, says the LORD.
18 “Think about this eighteenth day of December, the day when the foundation of the LORD’s Temple was laid. Think carefully. 19 I am giving you a promise now while the seed is still in the barn.You have not yet harvested your grain, and your grapevines, fig trees, pomegranates, and olive trees have not yet produced their crops. But from this day onward I will bless you.” HAGGAI 2:15-19 (NLT)
I read this and am in wonder and awe. Of course, this is speaking to what was happening in the days of this Prophet as He walked across this mortal coil amoungst the LORD's People of those days.
It still speaks to us. Let me give you a strange context to think of this in. I am going to bring you to a thought you can accept or reject, as you see fit...
13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. MATTHEW 5:13 (NKJV)
I ask you to think of this: Salt is used for flavor. It is also used to keep food from spoiling. This "Salt" we are to be is a blessing from God to all. Just a thought to think about. Jesus is the Cornerstone. We are the Temple.
Thu, Jan 10th - 9:32AM
15"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. Matthew 7:15-20 (NIV)
Tied in this little passage are the ideas of discernment (judging) and works. By our works we are known, and our works are judged. This does not contradict the fact that we are not saved by our works. Nor does it tell us to judge these wolves like God does, although I would say we should warn others about them if we love them, and maybe attempt to bring the message to the wolves themselves if that is what we are called to do. This is my thought on this passage.
Thu, Jan 3rd - 9:53PM
This message is for some and has been the same for a looooong time...
4Then I heard another voice from heaven say:
"Come out of her, my people,
so that you will not share in her sins,
so that you will not receive any of her plagues; Revelation 18:4 (NIV)
45 "Come out of her, my people!
Run for your lives!
Run from the fierce anger of the LORD. Jeremiah 51:45 (NIV)
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