Only one adequate plan has ever appeared in the world, and that is the Christian dispensation.
John Jay - First US Supreme Court Chief Justice
Wednesday's Word

Wednesday's Word

Welcome friends, feel free to look around, make comments and whatnot. I'll try and keep this thing updated with interesting pics, stories and other odds & ends. Feel free to criticize, but please share the 'truth in love'. No reason to be purposefully offensive. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Paid TO



The picture above is food artist Michelle Wibowo recreating Michaelangelo's "Creation of Adam" with about half a billion cake sprinkles. That's dedication!

A common saying among the Christian religiosity is the term: Christ paid for our sins.
Allow me to challenge your thinking. I think sometimes the words that these principles imply get compromised over time. But I really can't say that. I may be giving undue allowance to first century believers in thinking that they understood things better than we do... it's possible but not certain. I imagine things have largely stayed consistent. People who believed, believed and people who didn't, didn't.
Oh yeah....challenging your thinking. What if I told you that not only were your sins paid for but there's more: When your sins were paid FOR, your righteousness was paid TO.

Here's an illustration - There's a customer at an art studio, looking through an artists' portfolio. The collection has pieces that can either be replicated or that can serve as inspiration to produce something new. Of course, in the matter of price there's the standard idea that the cost depends on the size and scope(complexity) of the work that needs to be done. Frequently, larger orders require an upfront deposit for the materials that need to be purchased: special colors that need to be mixed or tools that need to be acquired to aid in the completed work. The balance of the payment becomes due after the customer accepts the finished product.

Now, what if the person tells the artist that he wants something of a scope and scale that this artist has never done or even seen before...trust me, as scary as this situation is, any artist would jump at this chance. Furthermore, he tells the artist that money is no object and a generous estimate would be roughly a million dollars but the customer hands over a check for 10 million dollars saying "This will cover it."
Can you imagine the effort that the artist would put into doing his best to "WOW" that customer? Precision, composition, presentation and style would be at the forefront of this artist's every waking moment to produce something worthy of the customer's generosity.

Here's The Word:

2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Romans 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

1 Corinthians 15:34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

God had an idea for an amazing work of art and many people have a problem with God's "GOD" complex, but suffice it to say, He's the only one that can rightfully have one. God's work of art is making us part of Himself...His Righteousness. And He didn't just put down a deposit depending on our ability to perform. He showed amazing generosity in that no amount of effort on our part could compare to the price, but His concern for us wasn't getting a good return on His investment, it was to show the level of His love and desire. This surely should provoke a level of commitment in us in trying to appreciate His generosity.

Seems that so many people still understand Christianity as a prayer from back in the day plus a loving God equals "Home free".
Where's the appreciation? Where's the presentation and putting every effort into letting The Spirit bring forth the fruits of righteousness in us? Where's the real evidence (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Ephesians 5:9.
We don't put forth effort to earn this grace or to BE saved. We put for effort to appreciate His grace and to prove by the presence of The Spirit's power that we ARE saved. If Christ is your master, let Him make you His masterpiece! He paid FOR your sins and He paid TO your righteousness!


In Him,
Cros

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Bible



I've probably said this before but I admit it, I'm the guy who beats dead horses. I write these blog posts for two reasons; The main reason, hope.
I write with hopes that somehow a post would raise someone's interest enough to ask a question or start a dialogue that would draw them closer to the true, transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The other reason is - simply because I enjoy writing. I find that it helps me improve my ability to express myself. I tend to try and encourage others to journal or write...it's therapeutic.

Even if you dismissed the idea of a trip to the library, I realize that there's literally tons more information available about the topics I write. That's why I try and keep my posts at under 5 minutes for the time it takes to read it. I think if someone has truly become interested, there's much more info available.
Then there are times where I feel like there's something important on my heart but for me to write it would feel like reinventing the wheel. At those times, I think it's best that I simply direct your attention to the better "wheel".

The authenticity and trustworthiness of the Bible is fundamental. Many people have disregarded the Christian religion altogether because they don't feel that there's a way to be absolutely sure about The Bible's contents. I understand. However, I need to admit: I don't believe in Christ because I believe The Bible, I believe The Bible because I believe in Christ.

Link to John MacArthur info on the Canonized Bible

Considering the volume of data available on the study of 'why are the books of The Bible in it?', this link above is a brief bit of info on the subject. It's worth reading if you're interested.

John MacArthur, Wayne Grudem, John Piper, EM Bounds and Francis Chan are my heroes. From solid doctrinal study and proper exegeses of The Scriptures, to prayer, to life issues of true Christianity, I consider them to be extremely well informed and enjoyable to learn from on their respective topics. If you ever find yourself wanting more...allow me to direct your attention.

Here's The Word:

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

1 Thessalonians 2:13 And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.

1 John 5:39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,

2 Peter 1:20 Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation.

John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.


In Him,
Cros

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Think



Ever think that people thought “Noah, what makes you so special?”
Think they thought, while Noah sought to be purified as God’s vessel?
Think they wondered, hearing the thunder, “What ever could this be?”
Did they think the same, when the rains came, with nowhere for them to flee?

Think they thought, they’d never get caught, or that there’s a price to pay.
Some probably thought, just as they were taught, be nice and things’ll be okay.
Did Noah surmise, “It’s no surprise, because of course, I deserve this”.
Or did he learn, God’s anger does burn against the sin of mankind like a furnace.

I don’t know today, if people think either way on the pure HOLINESS of ‘I AM’
We seem to worry more about what others think, to justify where we stand.
We cater to men, so as not to offend, and we still think somehow we’re right.
As if His greatest concern, is that together we learn and neither disagree nor fight

God’s very first order: The first thing he thought of for us is to see Him set apart.
His name, His likeness, His countenance, its brightness is not to be sculpted as art.
Even those well-intentioned, can concoct inventions and we keep an open mind.
We must hold to truth and look closely at proof, lest we forfeit and be left behind.

Do the people today, all going their way really consider how all of this ends?
Did they keep it in check, hang a cross from their neck, saying “see, I’m one of God’s friends”.
I’m not here to judge, tho I surely will nudge “Receive Christ and be made new”
As far as I’ve seen, He’s HOLY, not mean and has no problem just saving a few.

Rather than bow, I see that now there are a lot of good reasons to disagree.
And not one single person, with their railing and cursing can push me to uncertainty.
Make sure that you’re ready, not overly petty about little things of naught.
Don’t let yourself sink, read His Word and think, He’ll teach what needs to be taught.


Here's The Word;

Psalm 119:97 Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

1 Peter 3:8 because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.

1 Corinthians 6:9 - 10 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:19- 21 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Posts like these are often hard to write for me.
I know, and I know OF many people involved in real life and yes, "the struggle is real" - but in Christ, we can never be 100% invested with the world's anecdotes - the struggle is real, but the power to win is MORE real! However, many are only looking for a way out, not necessarily Christ and they parrot much of the world's oldest rationale.
I can only pray that God would grant them repentance, have mercy on stubbornness and help us to see just a glimpse of the Truth and Him in His glory. I pray that we realize the truth of God's word and that His ways are not our ways.
That we would think!
In Him,
Cros

Monday, July 03, 2017

Eyes



As I look at and ponder the wonder of the skies
I think about Your word and how it speaks of Your eyes.
I understand that only You are the reason I live,
But I can’t comprehend all the attention you give.

I can’t fathom eternity, neither future nor past.
You’ve ordained from day one, all the things that would last.
As we all make our choices, you’re watching each step,
With a desire to give good, and not have us bereft.

Our circumstances are real and our choices are too.
You desire our growth in those things that are true.
Yet it’s also true that disobedience provokes anger,
When we go our own way, we’re headed for danger.

But it’s that we would learn, turn back and repent.
Who among us can make sense of the grace that You’ve lent?
Who among us can fathom the price that you paid,
When Your eyes saw Your Son, with our sin on Him laid?

When your eyes turned away, were they holding back tears?
When He sensed the “forsaken” and you couldn’t come near?
That heart wrenching separation that simply had to be
That my sin could be erased when Your eyes look down at me.

The burden of our sin turned noon day into night
He paid it all. Now His righteousness is that much more bright
You poured out Your wrath that was filled to the brim
That now when your eyes see us, You really see Him.

In Christ, we ARE made new and you give us tender care
Hard to imagine the inheritance that Christ with us, will share
But now, with Your eyes upon us, equipping us to run this race
Until the eyes of our faith perfected, we see you face to face.

Let us remember, just how you see us - as a Father over His own
That your eyes are never far from us, Your ways to be made known.
Help us look upon the weak and needy, and dear Lord, not despise.
But give the grace that we’ve received – seen through Our Father’s eyes.


Here’s The Word:

2 Chronicles 16:9(a) For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.

Psalm 34:15 The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.

Proverbs 5:21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings.

Proverbs 22:12 The eyes of the Lord preserve knowledge, and he overthroweth the words of the transgressor.

Zechariah 4:10 For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth.

1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.


In Him,
Cros

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Super vs Superficial



A quick note about the picture and it’s tie-in to today’s Word. Did you know that Superman isn’t “Super” at all on his home planet of Krypton?
No flying, no strength, no laser eyes. That’s why I’ve always had a deeper appreciation for the Superman logo. Superman wouldn’t be ‘super’ if it wasn’t for what his father did for him...And what did his father do? I’m glad you asked. He exposed him to the yellow Sun of earth, which gives him his powers. So when I wear my 'Superman' t-shirts, I’m not paying homage to the DC character, I’m reflecting on what Our Father did for us in giving us The Son and with Him, The Spirit's power. In particularly:

John 1: 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name

But this isn't about The S, it's about our relationship with God.

Ask the average person about their relationship with God and odds are, you’ll get an answer conveying the idea that even if they don’t believe their holding up their end as well as they could/should, it’s still a good, solid relationship. Most won’t give you the answers you'd likely get if you asked about personal relationships.

Expectation is a word that most people try to avoid when it comes to relationships, mainly because they tie the word to unreasonable extremes. But be very sure that the word ‘relationship’ is synonymous with expectations. They just need to be reasonable and clearly communicated: fidelity, compassion, and sincere investment are reasonable expectations in a committed relationship.
Be sure you’re sure – there are many people in frustrated relationships and although it seems like an answer most women would give, I wouldn’t doubt that it’s a feeling that’s also very familiar with men as well. They’ll say “Well, I don’t know where this relationship is going and I don’t know if he/she REALLY loves me”

It’s a very real possibility that our relationship partners are not as IN the relationship as we are and even though this person can do nice things for us, it doesn’t replace that comfort of knowing that the relationship is solid.
This makes me wonder – because so many people in social media want to pay lip service to God as if their relationship is solid when in actuality, there is nothing being expressed other than God’s common grace that shouldn’t be misconstrued as a solid relationship.

Here’s The Word:

Isaiah 58:3 ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?
(GOD's Answer)
’Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers. Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high. Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the LORD?
(He then gives the right reasons - the expectation)
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
(He then shows how the benefits of the relationship will be manifested)
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Yeah, it’s kind’ve long, but you see where God’s people were confused about their relationship with Him. God wasn’t meeting their expectations. They did what they wanted to do; paying lip-service and giving superficial involvement and were left wondering why their lives weren’t blessed. God’s answer – You know my expectations and you’re doing your own thing. You want to show off while I expect humility. You want to exact revenge when I said “I would repay” – How can you expect me to bless this relationship?

One of the most dangerous places a person can be is thinking that God approves of their action when He doesn’t. God causes the sun to shine on the wicked as well as the righteous and he sends rain on all.
It’s unfathomably precarious to interpret rain on your crops as the significant evidence that you must be IN with God. His common grace does that for people who will not enjoy eternal paradise.

Matthew 5:45 for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust

There’s a difference between getting a blessing and BEING blessed. God says that if you draw near to Him, that He would draw near to you (James 4:8). Reasonable expectations that have a very different outcome than superficial involvement.
The choice is yours: Do you want the heart change, or just to wear a chain with a cross on it? Do you want your prayers to impress people, or move Heaven? Do you want intimacy or an empty imitation? Do you want super or superficial?

In Him,
Cros

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Answers



In these days, we really have to be careful with how we handle what “catches on” in our culture. Post-reletivism has made it too easy to give uninvestigated affirmation to “memes”..I call it Meme-theology and as long as the picture is good and the words are provocative and wise sounding, who am I to say it’s wrong?
Today’s quote is from Peanuts creator, Charles M. Schultz. So of course, with as much as we just LOVE Charlie Brown and Snoopy, Schultz can’t possibly be wrong, right? Let’s check. Chuck is actually being encouraging in saying that there’s no easy answers in life, you have to live it and learn from it. But what if we chose to look at this differently…

Okay, think back…way back. Remember back in like 3rd grade when math got hard? I do. I remember the problems were much harder and the textbook was much bigger. However, as devastating as that was, it was also the introduction to one of the most magical forms of deliverance we’d experienced up until that time: Actual answers in the back of the book. Remember that? Usually it was just half of the answers - all evens, or all odds but it came with the promise of no matter how bad this gets, you can walk away half right. Yeah, maybe you didn’t enjoy that as much as I obviously did but what can I say?

As remarkable as having half of the answers was, it came with an equally impressive amount of responsibility because even if you chose to simply transcribe the answers from the back, you knew that this choice was self-defeating. You knew that eventually a test was coming that would afford you no such advantage. The idea behind providing the answers was not a safety net to stop you from hitting the floor in utter failure, but a guide to let you know you’re learning in the right direction.

Here’s The Word:

Revelation 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

At the end of The Book ; the first words, of the first chapter of the first verse proclaims “The Revelation of Jesus Christ”. Some Bibles have a title page that says “The Revelation of Saint John the Divine”, I don’t see that as much as I used to but the point is that it’s not Saint John being revealed, just that the revelation of Christ was delivered to John to be written down for our benefit.

Even at a glance, you have to realize that Revelation is not like any other book in the Bible. It’s the grand finale. It’s the culmination of ALL things, and in it we see Christ receive His bride as well as full dominion over all things in existence after a final annihilation of the propagators of disobedience and darkness that began at the fall in Genesis 3. We see the ushering in of the eternal state; paradise and intimate closeness for all who know Christ, called to be His.

And just like that old math book, knowing that the answers are in the back of the book is no substitute for the studying to show ourselves approved. It’s no escape for the enduring that we all must suffer as we strive after Christ, and it’s no respite for giving every effort to growing in righteousness at the beckoning and leading of Our LORD.

Hebrews 2:9 - 11 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

The answers are not a net, but a guide – if anything in your doctrine doesn’t promote the Lordship of Christ: The sufficiency of His propitiatory sacrifice, His distinctness, yet full co-equal, co-eternal, singleness in essence, nature, power, action, and will with the rest of The Trinity, as well the plan for the redeemed, culminating in The Bride of Christ – then you’ve probably got some defective reasoning going on somewhere producing inconsistent and unbiblical results. A good Systematic Theology book is a wonderful aid to help you check your math.

So Chuck Schultz isn't wrong conceptually about life, but in his case, there really is no book either. However, we DO have a book of life. It's God's Word. His revelation of Himself to us that reveals Christ and leads "many sons to glory" and in that case, there really are answers in the back.


In Him,
Cros

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What Do You Want?



Take a moment and think of how many ‘wants’ were on people’s minds just this morning. Many woke up wanting a job, while many others woke up wishing they didn’t have to go to work. Some woke up lonely, wanting a special someone in their lives. Others wondering how to fake their own deaths to get out of a bad relationship. And while some woke up wanting a change of pace, others woke up terrified at how fast things were changing, just wanting it to stop. The idea of “want” or desire is very intriguing to me. I think it’s the purest expression of our individual “free will”.

As “proper” Christians, we know that it’s wrong to see God as a genie in a bottle, (even though many still act that way). However, there are times when God proves us by submitting Himself to an open request.

Here’s The Word:


2 Chronicles 1:7 In that night God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, “Ask what I shall give you.”

Mark 10: 35 -36 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.” “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.

Mark 10:51 51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.(the blind man, Bartimaeus)

These 3 requests show God in all His power asking what these people wanted, and I believe that He (within reason of course) was ready and willing to “grant” them their desires which is made evident by His response to them when He received their requests.

In Chronicles, Solomon didn’t ask for riches, which he didn’t have yet – He asked for wisdom to lead God’s people right. Look at God’s response - 2 Chronicles 1:11-12 “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.”

In contrast, in Mark; James and John asked what they wanted – They wanted prestigious position.
Look at our Lord’s response –Mark 10 38-40 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”

And lastly, we see Bartimaeus who of course, was blind. He like many others wanted to be healed from their physical predicaments; withered hand, blindness, leprosy, etc. I believe that each of these people could’ve either picked the Solomon route or the James and John route. It just depends on your own personal focus. In Psalm 23, David’s prayer to God acknowledges God as the divine Shepherd Who knows how to provide good for His sheep – even to the degree that we should never be concerned about our provision. I bring that up because some people think it’s wrong to desire and hopefully by seeing these examples in Scripture, they can come away with a better understanding. Paul says that he LEARNED to be content in any circumstance, that’s the road most of us are on.

A word of caution: We live in a world where Satan is called "The prince of the power of the air" and he does wield powers and abilities that draw us away from God with temptations of things we "want". He believes that we're no more than one thing waiting on the next, while being totally unpropitious to discomfort......but God delivers and strengthens those whose hearts are toward Him. Check yourself.

The take away is this: How deeply do you think about your desires? Are they more closely tied to relief of your current situation? More concerned with your future glory? Or are you mindful to see yourself as God’s and the most important thing you can ask of Him is that you’d be worthy to accomplish what He asks of you. One of my favorite requests someone ever asked of God was the Father of a possessed boy in Mark 9. Jesus says 9:23(b) - 24“All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

We often look at our lives through the lenses of desires and choices and we don’t really factor in God the way we should. Why? Sometimes because we don’t believe that He’s that kind of God and sometimes because we just don’t know what kind of God He is at all. I pray that we get to know our God and what it means for us to truly have a will and desire to be shaped into His using. Where every want is properly aligned with Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.


In Him,
Cros