Archive for February, 2007

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Jesus Is:

February 28, 2007

Isaiah 9:6-7  “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and hs name shall be called Wonderful, Councellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.  The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”

John 1:1-5  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning was God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing that was made.  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Revelation 22:13  “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”

This morning I went to the wordpress homepage where we all begin our blogging sessions.  I noticed in the “Blog of the minute” section, a post entitled “Jesus found dead in his grave.”  A story that warrents no logical consideration continues to enjoy the limelight in a world thats all too eager to put God out of its collective memory.  I guess there truly is nothing new under the sun when it comes to the hearts of men and their continued rejection of the only one who can save them from sin.  Yesterdays post went into calling out a number of falsehoods concerning our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Today I really want to focus on who he is.  Things that those who know him are keenly aware of, but we should nonetheless rejoice upon their every rememberance.  There’s no paticular order as this post is a most spontaneous one, so here it goes.

John 1:1o  “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.”

Colossians 1:14-17  “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:  Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”

Jesus is Creator; the image of the invisible God.  As one begins to ponder these things we find ourselves venturing into that which the natural mind cannot comprehend.  How is God three persons and still one God?  How can God be from everlasting?  And why would the creator or all that is take on a physical body, come into a world that was ever so contrary to his holy nature, and give his life to redeem the inhabitants thereof?  As unsearchable as God is, his incredible love for us is every bit as unsearchable.  It simply is beyond any attempt to define its borders with a paragraph.  Yet we know that these things, unsearchable as they are, remain true.  I read a great post, last night after work, concerning the awesomeness of God.  Here’s a link:

www.tikkiro.wordpress.com/2007/02/24/our-god-is-an-awesome-god/

Jesus is completly holy.  These are attributes that we all know, but they are always good to ponder.  He has been the same from eternity past and as a result, has never ever sinned.  Not a single time has he ever been corrupted.  From a natural standpoint, the thought of having no beginning is, in iteslf, beyond comprehension.  When you add to this the fact that during the forever past he has never commited any form of sin, it gives a glimpse into his absolute perfection.  This is a very comforting fact; to know that God never changes.  Imagine the horror if we were to wake up some morning and learn that God had changed.  I’m eternally grateful that we don’t have to concern ourselves with such a thought.  He is absolutely perfect and sinless.  Any alteration would be a compromise of perfection. 

Hebrews 4:15  “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

It was a most incredible thing.  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, by whom all things were created, going into the wilderness where he would be tempted by the devil, whom he also created.  After fasting for forty days Jesus was hungry as anyone would be after fasting for forty days.  The devil tempted him at the weakest point.  “You’re the Son of God; just make these stones bread.  You can end the hunger right now with just a word.”  You can almost hear the attempted manipulation of the flesh.  A soothing tone in his voice; using every trick in the book in an attempt to “alter Gods plan.” 

Matthew 4:4  “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

He then takes Jesus to a pinnacle of the temple and quotes from Psalm 91 in an attempt to, once again, cause God to “alter his plan.”  The devil wanted to “suggest something” and have the Lord bow to that suggestion.  He showed him the kingdoms of the world; saying, “I’ll give you all of this; just worship me.”  For the devil, it’s “all about me.”  He got into trouble the first time because he wanted to set his throne above the most high.  ME! ME! ME!  Each time, Jesus used the infalliable word of God to defeat the devil. 

In his time of dwelling among us in physical form, Jesus never sinned.  He condemned sin in the flesh.  When he was on the cross, many were taunting him with “He saved others but can”t save himself” and “If you come down, we’ll believe.”  He could have called ten thousand angels and executed justice.  But he was obediant unto death.  When he said “It is finished” it was indeed finished.  He went into the depths, stripped Satan of all authority, and three days later, rose from the dead.  I don’t know who it is that James Camerons folks found in that tomb, but I know who it isn’t.   

I Corinthians 15:3-8  “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  And that he was buried and that he rose the third day according to the scriptures:  And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:  After that, he was seen of about five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.  After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.  And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.”

This post could go on, but I’ll end it for now as I have to get some things done.  Jesus is returning and this time, every eye shall behold him.  I think about that moment often as this is our most blessed hope.  This world has nothing that I desire.  Nothing here can compare to the living waters that spring up within the saint who’se looking for a city made without hands.  An everlasting dwelling wherein righteousness prevails and nothing sinister can ever approach.  A place of everlasting bliss which none of us deserve, but are partakers of by accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. 

Hebrews 7:24-25  “But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.  Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

Revelation 1:18  “I am he that liveth and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and I have the keys of hell and of death.”

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There Be Some that Trouble You

February 27, 2007

This post takes on an ominous sounding tone as it progresses; one that I didn’t expect to be present.  Therefore, I’m inserting  this opening paragraph beforehand; just as a “heads up.”  I always strive to be edifying and encourage all to draw ever closer to the Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that I would not be in the category of “some that trouble you” as it’s not my desire to be troubling to any.

John 20:27-29  “Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.  And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.  Jesus saith unto him, Thomas because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”

Acts 1:9-11  “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.  And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;  Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing into heaven?  this same Jesus, which is taken up from among you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”

The historical acount concerning the ressurrection of Jesus Christ has been under assault ever since the elders gave large sums of money to the soldiers in exchange for their claiming that the body of Jesus was stolen by his disciples.  Throughout the ages, misconceptions about this have been proposed along with an array of doctrines telling of “another Jesus.” One who remained on earth, had physical offspring, was a great prophet but not God, and a plethura of other claims which contradict the biblical account.  My sister has been involved with a particular group for many years and if you discuss things with her on the surface, it sounds like they’re preaching the same Jesus.  If you dig in with deeper questions, however, you’ll learn of their belief that Jesus was once a man like us; not the creator of all that is.  (John 1:10)  They are preaching another Jesus; one that is contrary to the Savior who came from glory to pay for our sins with his own blood.

This past year or so has witnessed a most incredible phenomenon.  There was the book and motion picture “The DiVinci Code which proclaims that Jesus went on to have physical offspring who’s descendants are alive today.  Then there was the “discovery” of the so-called “gospel of Judas” (a contradiction of terms in itself) manuscripts which seek to call into question the authority and accuracy of scripture.  And in the last couple of days, this claim by James cameron that folks have unearthed the tomb of Jesus and  have DNA evidence supporting the claim.  Normally, I wouldn’t give this story the time of day since it runs so contrary to scripture.  yet it’s been all over CNN, folks are talking about it, and it seems that many undiscerning may buy into it.  There seems to be a “racheting up” if you will of the rhetoric which would seek to destroy the faith in Jesus Christ; the Savior of “whosoever will call upon his name.”  I want to link to a blog where I first heard of this latest claim as the individual who wrote it has been blessed of God with a track record of being “ahead of the curve.”

www.cumby.wordpress.com/2007/02/24/james-cameron-claims-to-have-found-the-crypt-of-jesus-christ/

To one who is born again and has the Holy Spirit abiding within, the falsehood concerning such a story seems obvious.  I have heard some question “why give the story the time of day even?”  I do so because for many who are outside of the household of faith, these stories make sense.  I have had people in my own family ask me “how do we know that Jesus had no children?”  The biblical acount is questioned as logic seems to dictate otherwise.  This jump-starts the imagination and when Hollywood dramatizes the lie in theater, those who are not grounded in truth will succumb to error.  “Grievous error” because if Jesus isn’t who he claims to be in the bible, we are yet in our sins.  As we look to the days ahead, the lies will become more deceptive and truth increasingly obscured by the array of claims and counter-claims. 

This is a secular example; one that will reveal my age somewhat, but I remember the opening scene of the second Indiana Jones movie when the brawl is taking place in the night club.  Billie is chasing this huge diamond across the floor when a bucket of ice hits the floor.  The diamond is now hidden because of the hundreds of ice cubes that look almost like a diamond.  This is how deception works.  The more deceptions, the more obscured the truth becomes.  It’s a serious situation because to those who are not born again, logic is a primary factor as they try to decipher truth from error.  All deceptions will pander to this “logic” for the most part and the element of flesh will be ever present.  The idea that the physical descendants of Jesus are with us today will stir the imagination of many and call into question the biblical account of things.

One thing to remember.  Jesus is God manifest in flesh.  He is from everlasting to everlasting.  He created all that we see and take hold of and while he was in a physical body, he “never sinned.”  He was tempted in all points like as we are but was yet without sin. This very fact is under assault by an elaborate portrayal of falsehoods.  One comment that came into an earlier post on this site makes mention of the idea that “DNA evidence supports this latest claim.  Science is a seemingly sound method of determining truth from error in a world where natural understanding is trumpeted.  The following passage explains why I consider this topic so important.

Matthew 24:23-24  “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo here is Christ, or there; believe it not.  For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”

While the most recent story doesn’t have signs and wonders, it does fall into the category of “Lo here is Christ.”  The passage about signs and wonders tells us that in days to come there will be “false Christs which are accompanied by false signs.  If a persons trust in the bible can be loosened, they’ll fall for the signs that seem to validate another.  It’s like bringing down a tall building.  First they go in, compromise key components of the structure and strategically place explosives throughout.  Then, when the charges are detonated, the building comes down straight to the ground, leaving behind a very small debris field. 

In conclusion, I truly believe that in the coming days, there will be deceptions so convincing that we will literally have to stand by faith while the gale-force winds of logic and common sense are swirling about.  Such is the case now, but it will take on a whole new dimention once largescale supernatural happenings on the other side enter the fray.  This happened when the children of Israel were in Egypt as on a number of occasions the magicians “did so with their enchantments.” 

Luke 21:18  “But there shall not an hair of your head perish.”

I place that verse in here because this post has taken an unintentional “ominous” tone.  If we are in Christ, he will be with us no matter what and the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth; regardless of what the enemy comes up with.  This I am most confident of.  He’ll give us the measure of faith needed to stand and his grace will be sufficient for any situation.  This I bring up because of a dream that I had going into monday morning.  I am one who rarely has dreams that are remembered in the morning.  Even the cold-pizza dreams are forgotten by the time that I awaken.  As a result when a dream is remembered, it’s notable and when it involves this topic, it grabs the attention. 

Sunday afternoon was a time when we were running about tending to natural matters. (not bad things; just matters of life in general.)  My focus throughout the day was on the physical; not where I would prefer to be.  This state of mind carried into the dream.  In the dream, I was with a house church up in Three Rivers which was meeting in an attached garage.  The assembly was invaded by folks and in my spirit I knew that they were going to demand that we either deny Christ or be killed.  I found myself fleeing into what looked like an attic.  Others were taken but I escaped.  This disturbed me as I felt that I shouldn’t be running.  I found myself on some type of a landing; hidden for the moment and suddenly trying to get back into a spiritual frame of mind with only moments remaining before I was discovered.  I knew that if I had been in prayer and close to the Lord Jesus prior to this event taking place, I wouldn’t have been rattled. 

It’s imperative that we walk in the Spirit at all times.  This is what I gathered from this dream and what I know to be true.  We have the Holy Spirit abiding within and should never be fearful of physical events.  I need to wrap up this post which has now wandered all over the map.  We look ahead and see things taking place in the physical world which are indeed disturbing.  We see our faith in Jesus, who saved us from sin, being attacked from every angle.  The attacks are distressing as we know that there is no other way to eternal life except through Jesus Christ.  I pray that this post would not be distressing to any who are in Christ, but rather, that we would all draw ever closer to the Author and Finisher of our faith. 

Romans 8:28-31  “And we know that all things work together for good to them who love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.  What shall we then say to these things?  If God be for us, who can be against us?”

IF GOD BE FOR US, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?

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Cloud of Witnesses III

February 26, 2007

Genesis 21:10-13  “Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.  And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son.  And God said unto Abraham, let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of the bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.  And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.”

Abraham gained some important understanding with these instructions from the Ancient of Days.  He understood that it would be through Isaac that his seed would be called.  He also learned that in Ishmael a nation would also come forth.  In other words, neither of his sons were going to be cut off.  He could turn the situation concerning Hagar and Ishmael over to Sarah knowing that everything would be alright.  I bring this up because Abraham was grieved over Sarahs demands and God eleviated this grief by promising that a nation would come from Ishmael.  Abrahams simple trust in the words of the Lord were soon to be put to a test that the natural mind cannot begin to fathom.

Hebrews 11:17-19  “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac; and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,  Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:  Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.”

Abraham believed God.  He trusted the words of God over all of the physical evidence to the contrary.  He truly believed that in Isaac would his seed be called and as such, believed that God would even raise him from the dead; had the trial of his faith lasted a couple of seconds longer.  The testimony of Abraham is one that we’ve read and heard teaching on countless times, but as I was reading this earlier, it really began to dawn on me just how profound it is.  No ten step program on how to increase your faith.  No formulas, no correspondance courses, and no indication that Abraham had ever seen a person rise from the dead.  It was a venture into that which was contrary to all earthly recollections and offered no physical evidence of having happened before. 

Genesis 15:6  “And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”

Noah, Abraham, Job, Elijah, Joshua, Daniel, any of these guys.  If one were to go up to them and ask “what’s your secret?’  The reply would be along the lines of “there’s no secret.  God said thus and therefore, thus is true.  Gods word has more authority than the laws of physics and the continual repeating of historical patterns.  This is something that we all must get into our heart of hearts as our faith will be tested in ways that we may well not expect.  A favorite example is “suppose a spacecraft lands on the white house lawn and a bunch of Pleiadians emerge?”  Will our faith stand up in the face of something that seems to be in such contrast to the biblical account of creation?” 

Hebrews 11:20  “By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.”

The story of Jacob and Esau is a complicated one to discuss and I feel woefully inadequate in doing so.  It brings with it questions of predestination in the minds of some.  Romans 9:11-15 discusses this; verse fifteen explaining that the Lord will have mercy upon whom he will.  This is a complex subject indeed as we also know that God isn’t willing that any should perish.  I’m convinced that the biggest problem with Esau was when he sold his birthright for sustaeance in this life.  This is kind of drifting off topic but the following passage is very enlightening.  It also serves as a warning that we should keep our hearts with all diligence.

Hebrews 12:16-17  “Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.  For ye know that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no space of repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.”

Venturing into a few of the “scary verses” this morning.  Esaus problem was “Esau” as is evidenced by the preceeding passage.  Just like Cains problem was “Cain”  I’m compelled to bring up the passage in Genesis where God explains things to Cain. 

Genesis 4:6-7  “And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?  If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.  And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

One thing that taking on a portion of scripture such as Hebrews chapter 11 is that, if you go verse by verse, it forces topics that normally you may neglect to tackle.  Jacob and Esau is such a topic.  In the natural, it really appears sneaky for rebecca to have Jacob pose as Esau in order to receive the blessing. Then when Isaac asks him how he found the venison so fast, Jacob replies “Because the LORD thy God brought it to me.”  Nonetheless, such is how things transpired.  One more verse before moving on. 

John 2:23-25  “Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.  But Jesus did not commit himself to them, because he knew all men,  And needed not that any should testify of man:  for he knew what was in man.”

The simple truth is that God knows every thought and every intent in every heart of every person who ever has walked the earth, walks the earth now, or will walk the earth in the future.  That’s an unimaginable amount of information that God has and as such he sees the “whole picture.”  His ways really are past our finding out by folks who pass through this life as a vapor that quickly vanishes away.  This offers us a glimpse into the awesomeness of God and the incredible salvation that we have in Jesus.  

Hebrews 11:21  “By faith Jacob, when he was a-dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.”

Genesis 48:20-21  “And he blessed them that day, saying, God make thee as ephraim and as Manasseh:  and he set Ephraim before Manasseh.  And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again into the land of your fathers.”

An expected end; the expected end that all who love the Lord look to.  Jacob looking not just till the days of famine were past, but into the future when they would leave Egypt altogether.  I’m going to leave this for now and post it; probably before I should as I really haven’t gone through it as I would like to yet.  I have to run around this morning and I don’t know how much time I’ll have here.  This is forcing me to ponder things as going through scripture should always do; no matter how many times we may have read a certain portion.  It never gets old; it only gets deeper and sweeter. 

Well I’ll publish it and see what happens.  If I have typed error in anything, please bring it up.  One thing about dialogue of this nature is that it provides a means of discussion with folks who like to discuss things. 

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Wordstress

February 24, 2007

James 3:5-6  “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things.  Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth.  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth he whole bdy, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and is set on fire of hell.”

It’s a Saturday morning and I came out here with nothing particular to write on until just a moment ago.  Here in the electronic world of the blogosphere, we can write, edit, rewrite, and if if still doesn’t flow we can either delete it or place it into the ever-lengthening collection of partially completed drafts.  It doesn’t really become an issue until published.  And even then we can go back in and edit.  I will do this at times if there haven’t been any comments yet.  Once someone comments are on it though, I leave it as to not nullify the comments.  I may tend to a grammerical error, but the content, at that point has become part of a dialogue and will remain intact.  (Unless it’s a really serious error that would lead astray. Then an explanation would be added)

Real life is a little more complicated in that, once words go forth, they’re out there.  I find it amazing how politicians will scramble for a camera at every opportunity.  I know that they have an agenda to fulfil and a constiuency to represent, however, each time that one goes before a camera, they risk making a less than flattering comment that forever becomes synonamous with them.  Such statements include: (these are not necessarly word for word but they get the point across)

“This means peace in our time” (Neville Chamberlain)

“Read my lips; No new taxes.”  (George Bush 41)

“I did not inhale” (Bill Clinton)

“Either you’re with us, or you’re with the terrorists” (George Bush 43.  Few people recognize the inherit danger associated with this statement)

“I actually voted for the war; before I voted against it” (John Kerry)

“Otherwise; you get stuck in Iraq” (John Kerry again)

One could spend their time in nothing else but to record and display the untimely comments of others. The more often that one exposes themselves, the greater the risk of providing fodder for David Letterman and Jay Leno.  Nonetheless, they go on; jockeying for advantage, pandering to contributers, pandering to whatever needs to be pandered to in order to further their ambitions.  When a misstep is made in the arena of speech, the individual will often apolagize in a variety of places or explain what they really meant to say, but by then, it’s in the atmosphere and every atempt to downplay it serves only to amplify it. 

James 3:8  “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”

This should be a stern warning to us all to watch the words that we utter.  To thouroughly examine that which is before us before passing an opinion based on a partial observation.  I have a great deal of respect for anyone who declares “I haven’t looked into that enough to form an opinion.”  Or better yet “I need to spend some time in the scriptures and in prayer before commenting.”  To be “quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath.”  It may not be popular in this age of instantaneous soundbytes, but it’s a path taken by those of understanding.  I have a great deal of respect when someone says “I don’t know.  I’ll look into it.” 

To know when to speak and when to be quiet is something that none of have a total grasp of.  I struggle with this issue at both extremes as I want to be obediant and speak truth to my neighbor, but don’t want to take a misstep that would only lead to scattering.  Knowing that souls are in the balance, and knowing the incredible power of words we all should give the utmost of attention to this.  This is something that I eventually want to post about, but here’s the scripture:

Matthew 12:30  “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.”

Our words and actions will either serve to draw folks to Jesus or scatter them farther away.  When I was in the navy, we had a chaplain who was as contrary as one can imagine to that which he claimed to represent.  I remember one night overhearing some guys talking.  Both were of the “partying” crowd, and yet one said to the other “Man, if I was going to be a christian, I would be one; I wouldn’t act like that chaplain.”  A guy who was of a riotous nature had a better grasp of this than did our chaplain.  Those who love the Lord Jesus in spirit and in truth will do everything to maintain a good testimony; both in word and deed.  

Matthew 10:19-20  “But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it will be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.  For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.”

This shows us the key to controlling the little member called a mouth.  Walk in the Spirit and remain close to the Lord Jesus at all times.  In ourselves, we cannot effectively control our words, but through Jesus Christ we have victory over this.  Words can slip out in the wrong order when we least expect it and we need to be always mindful of this.  I’ve done more than my share of scattering over the years as a result of comments or attitudes which were out of sorts.  Praise God for his mercy and that he is able to save us to the uttermost. 

I’m going to cut this short as I need to get some things done before my wife gets home and asks “what did you do this morning?  The house is a mess!”  This post involves a topic that we’re all very familiar of, but because of the intensity of the issue and the damage that can be done, it’s always good to think on it.  To keep our words and attitudes in check; being always mindful that both will be tried when we’re least expecting it.  I wish a great weekend to all. 

Proverbs 15:23  “A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good it is.”

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A Weekend Pondering

February 23, 2007

On Phils site (Christ Formed) is a link in his latest post concerning visions of eternity.  I bring this up because on Monday, I saw the same testimonies and was considering posting them.  Here’s a link to Phils site.  www.abmi.wordpress.com  

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Gold Diggers

February 23, 2007

 Psalm 39:6  “Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.”

Psalm 52:7  “Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.”

Yesterday as I was working around the house, I caught tidbits of a program on the History channel that was telling about the fabled “Lost Dutchman mine.”  This mine, operated by a guy whose name I didn’t catch but I assume that he was Dutch, is believed to be located in Arizonas “Superstition mountains.”  I didn’t hear the first part of the program; only the last as they were telling about the many folks who inevitably spent their entire lives looking for this mine.  It told about how a sense of desperation would begin to set in along with old age as their “one shot at happiness” involved the discovering of this mine.  Their days consumed by that which can never satisfy while the everlasting realm was given no thought.  It’s amazing how the allure of riches will drive men to such extremes.  It’s like in various stories where a group of folks will set out to find treasure.  When they locate it, one of the members of the group will move to take it all for themselves.  They inevitably will turn on each other in this power play over vanity. 

In the Superstition Mountains, acording to the documentary, many of the Dutchman mine seekers would tell “I know where it is.  It’s right up there” or “its right over yonder.”  (That’s why I’m digging here; because I know it’s over there.)  They would proclaim to know where it was located but would “never” go to where they were certain that it was at.  They were fearful of being disappointed.  If they went to where it “definately was” and found out that it “definately wasn’t” they would be completly broken in spirit.  The whole quest took on a life of its own and a philosophy that, while has been reenacted many times throughout history in various venues, is nonetheless a exercise in absurdity. 

This is a side note, but it parallels somewhat the thinking of the miners who would not dig in the place where they were certain their dreams would come true.  I have been guilty of not exrcising that which I believe for fear of disappointment.  A good example is healing.  I know that the Lord heals people supernaturally and yet, in times past, have neglected to ask in faith over such matters for the fear of finding out that I was lacking in faith.  Our older son is autistic and I pray for him much as you can imagine.  This makes the subject a front-burner issue all of the time.  It has been a source of much pondering in the past and is the focus of much prayer now.  I don’t allow it to deter me in any way; I just leave it in Gods hands knowing that he really is in control.  This is a subject worthy of a post in and of itself.  I know that the Lord Jesus can instantly deliver Matthew from this.  I also wonder if a greater work is in progress; one that I may well not even be aware of.  Or if I’m simply making excuses. 

It goes almost without saying that our culture today is obsessed with heaping to themselves treasures for the last days.  I know of folks at work who will put in psychotic amounts of ovetime so that they can fund their quest for material gain.  More of this, more of that, more of those.  Things which can never bring happiness because if they did they wouldn’t constantly need more.  If a person doesn’t know Jesus as Savior and Lord, this is to be expected.  Sifting through the array of atoms; looking for satisfaction, just as we did when we were still without Christ. 

 Ephesians 2:3  “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh, and of the mind: and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”

The eyes are never satisfied.  No matter how much one accumulates in life, there remains a desire to accumulate more.  This quest often leads to folks acting in the most peculiar fashion.  A recent case; one that seems to be enjoying round-the-clock coverage by the media, is the tragic situation concerning Anna Nicole Smith.  An array of players, a host of competing agendas, and at the root of it all, a baby with a net worth of 400 million dollars.  The circus has been escallating daily it seems.  There are some very important facts to this whole story.

( 1 )  Anna Nicole is in eternity.  The one “tragic” fact out of this entire episode is that a soul has departed the realm where decisions can be made. 

( 2 )  This isn’t a 400 million dollar baby.  It is a child with an eternal soul.  I doubt that her best interests are at the heart of any who are seeking her custody.  (I don’t follow this story; only what I glean from bits and pieces of reporting so if my facts aren’t exactly on; this is why.)

( 3 )  Everyone will stand before God and give an account of the things done in this life.  On that day, the 400 million dollars will carry no authority whatsoever.   

The deceitfulness of riches.  The relentless pursuit of “stuff” while matters of the soul are pushed aside.  Jesus came from glory to seek and to save that which was lost.  He paid for the sins of all so that, through faith in him, we could have eternal life.  Yet many fail to consider this as they’re too busy pursuing the things of this temporal world.  It may not necessarily be monitary gain.  It can be anything that causes a person to think to themself, “I don’t have time for thoughts about eternity.”  Yet each of us will spend eternity somewhere and that eternal abode is dependant upon our standing in Christ. 

Well, I need to run to Kalamazoo as I failed to do so yesterday.  I pray that we would all examine our motivations and desires.  Saints are also succeptible to falling into the pursuit of riches and becoming unfruitful in the process.  I pray that we would have our focus totally on the Lord Jesus Christ and be longing for his appearing.  I’ll close with the following passages of scripture:

Isaiah 55:1-2  “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread?  and your labour for that which satisfieth not?  hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

Philippians 3:7-8  “But those things which were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,”

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Oh, I Can Hardly Wait

February 22, 2007

Ecclesiaetes 7:8  “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.”

Isaiah 40:31  “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.”

Patience is something that seems to be in short supply today.  We are constantly running  to keep up with the pace of life, meeting deadlines, paying bills and occupying our space in the ocean of synchronized chaos.  This hectic pace shows no sign of slowing as better living through science marches on, keeping the masses caught up in its draft. This is why I often blog in the middle of the night, or in the mornings when the house is empty, save for the pets.  In the context of confessing our faults, I have to admit that I’m not the best example of one who is patient.  By the grace of God It’s a work in progress, as we all are. 

Psalm 37:7-9  “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.  Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.  For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.”

There’s a lot of gleanings in this passage, primarily an encouragement to “rest in the Lord.”  A state of being relaxed; not agitated or apprehensive. Trusting completely in the Ancient of Days who always has perfect timing.  Knowing that, regardless of the designs implemented by those who have made themselves the enemies of righteousness, God sees it all and he really does have it all under control.  Psalm 73 tells about the apparent prosperity of the wicked.  Likewise Psalm 91 tells about trusting in the Lord during perilous times.  Waiting is simply a manifestation of trust. 

Philippians 1:6  “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”

When I reported to the USS Guam in the summer of 1984, I had been a christian for less than a year.  I met up with the saints on board and soon began to realize just how much growing I had to do.  I visited Bro Marks church and the Lord baptized me with the Holy Ghost before the service even began.  Gods timing is always perfect; never too early and never late.  I soon began to realize, however,  just how much growing I had to do.  The others didn’t seem to ever get rattled while I was constantly “taking thought.”  They could pull scripture out of thin air it seemed while I struggled.  On the streets they seemed flawless as they would witness while I would take missteps constantly.  It was often frustrating and yet I was right where I needed to be; with serious minded saints who loved the Lord Jesus.  It was hard to be patient, but a lot of growth was taking place that I never realized until quite a while later when viewing those days in hindsight.

In a way, this ongoing battle with patience has a positive side.  It indicates a strong desire to grow into the fulness of Christ.  A hungering to be more like him and less like us.   It also is an indicator of a sincere concern for those outside of the household of faith.  Here is an area that can be like walking a tightrope over a minefield while sneezing repeatedly.  In the earlier days, I had a lot of zeal but very little wisdom to go along with it.  This led to a lot of scattering when I was intending to gather.  Speaking much but praying little and thinking even less, I complicated a lot of situations in those days.  The longsuffering of God is beyond incredible.  In fact, the very thought that he empowers and uses us to carry his words of new life in Christ to a dying world is amazing in itself.   

It’s like a paradox; knowing the seriousness of being without Christ and yet striving to share the truth in meekness with sincere love for those in the balance.  Thus it’s all the more urgent that we abide close to the Lord Jesus at all times and strive to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit.  A lifelong process to be sure; as we continuously strive to be more Christlike in all that we say and do.  In writing this, I find myself taking note of my own array of shortcomings.  

II Peter 3:9-10  “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”

This passage portrays the longsuffering of God, the steadfastness of his word and the temporal nature of this world.  It also portrays yet another paradox.  Those who know Jesus as Savior and Lord long for his appearing.  This is our most blessed hope; as we earnestly desire to be absent from the body and present with the Lord Jesus.  (And so shall we ever be with the Lord)  At the same time, we all know folks whom we love dearly, who are not ready for the Lords appearing.  As much as I desire to be with the Lord, I also thank him for each day that he tarries for this very reason.  We know that time will eventually run out.  Until then I pray that we would all be diligent concerning the task at hand.  This ties in with waiting on the Lord and seeking his perfect will in all things. 

Waiting is hard; especially when issues of eternal significance are at stake, but it’s a must.  The best thing to do is to stay in prayer at every opportunity.   We can be in continuous communication with the Lord Jesus; standing in the gap for those around us, meditating upon his ways which are awesome past finding out, and simply loving him in all sincerety.  Keeping our thoughts in heavenly places regardless of where we find ourselves in this world.  It’s hard to explain in words, but things just “flow” better when we spend quality time in prayer.  I like the telling of Anna the prophetess who never left the temple but served God night and day with prayers and fastings.  (Luke 2:36-38)  She was in touch with that which truly matters, although some may have thought her to be “out there.”  (I would much rather be “out there” with Jesus than to be “in” here.)

Well, it’s time to wrap up for now.  I’m supposed to go to Kalamazoo to pick up some items, but it may not happen.  (It’s not critical)  This attribute of patience is one that I need to work on.  It always feels awkward writing something while being under conviction about the very topic that’s being discussed.  It happens a lot, to me anyways.  I pray that we would all seek the lord Jesus in all sincerety and be more like him with each passing day.

Philippians 4:6-7  “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”