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!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Word Peace



We used to sing a song - "He's God the Whole World In His Hands". I wouldn't be surprised today if many of today's artist came together and released a song called "We've Got the Whole World in Our Hands", and I can see it being one of the biggest selling songs of all times...like "We Are The World" was over 30 years ago...hence the picture. It's subtle reminder that as believers, we have to be careful and keenly aware how words get 'redefined'.

I just finished reading about the recent airing of the American Music Awards. It was another opportunity for people to take the podium and reflect on the current state of things even outside of America.
In my opinion, much of the “free” world seems to have adopted certain words as an obvious attempt to unify and draw peaceful commitment to our similar issues. This happens when dark times are analyzed in ways to point their causes as being the insignificant differences that are allowed to become divisive.

However relevant the method is, I find the means to be quite problematic.
When the human collective gives lofty, ideological talks about peace and unity, we're missing one thing: We’re not good and/or powerful enough to bring it to pass. Nothing about "us" can make these words mean anything apart from their true meaning and their true source.

SO as I expose this, it may come across as odd,
As these words have no meaning if not found in God.
Yet, we overestimate ourselves and I think it’s absurd
That we still seek to cling these, what I call “God” words.

Most of what we hear is a desire for peace
Where senseless violence and strivings cease
We admire ourselves, since we’re nobody’s sheep.
But what really is peace without God?

We all want a life that we make for ourselves
Free from displeasure, in pursuit of more wealth
We want to make Heaven here, is there really a hell?
But what really is life without God?

Since we like to believe, we use faith and hope
The idea of a better tomorrow, just helps us cope
Unable to detect the slipperiness of the slope
What really is hope and faith not in God?

We want fairy tale marriages to have and to hold.
Always exciting, never tired or old.
Played like a poker hand, until most of us fold.
But what really is marriage without God?

Love is what we make it, based on what we feel
And who can ever say that it’s wrong, if it’s real
My relationship with God is my own personal deal.
But what really is love apart from God?

We worship by nature, we sing and we shout
Mostly when we're entertained; that’s what we’re about
Eventually, we’ll all bow, confession will fall from each mouth.
What really is worship for, if not the true and living God?

Most words that we use, we assume God agrees.
Even though they are far from what His word decrees.
In humility, we should all fall to our knees.
For lip service, yet hearts far away from God.

There are words that we use, and words pushed aside.
We disregard or discredit, not breaking a stride.
Whether we like them or not, some words still abide.
In the end, this world answers to God.

Ever notice that you don't hear anymore about shame?
What was once done in the dark, has been given new names.
And anyone who's offended, to them be the blame.
Shame and repentance use to drive us to God.

But we hardly say forever, that concept is lost.
We live for the moment, no matter what the cost.
I’ll seize everyday trying to be my own boss.
Since, there is no eternity, and no God.

Here’s The Word:

Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

1 Peter 1:21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God

Revelation 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

1 John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

1 John 4:10Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Isaiah 29:13(a) Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me

Psalm 96:9 O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.

Daniel 7:18 But the holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.’

One of the difficulties associated with living the Christian life is standing firm when most everyone else has decided to do it differently. Even in Exodus, Aaron the priest under pressure from the masses, help create the golden calf Exodus 32:21.
In our day, so many things have been redefined. So much has been compromised or outright removed from the initial understanding. I pray that the household of faith stand firm and not give in to the compromise. Even if "they" try to redefine us as haters, don't reply with insult. Trust God and let His words remain TRUE in you.

Philippians 3:17-19 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

In Him,
Cros

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

WOW



Sometimes I get it twisted. I believe that my theology is sound but the problem arises when the subtleness of the world seeps into my presentation. Looks like somewhere along the line, I’ve bought into the idea of “winning” souls. This elevated idea of “winning” inherently takes the power from the information and places it firmly (and solely) in the presentation.
But what does The Bible say? How much does the word of God talk about winning souls? This is how we learn: By holding up everything we think we know to the light of truth.

Do a Bible word search for the word – win. If you search the KJV, you’re likely to come up with about a few references and interestingly enough, one reference in Philippians 3:8 speaks directly to the true objective of winning “Christ”.
Now search for the word “warn”.
I don’t want this to play out as some sort of conspiracy theory, but I also don’t want us to be asleep at the wheel….or asleep TO the Will of Christ. The meaning behind words are changing about as fast as anything else. Of course, our presentation and delivery of The Gospel is to be seasoned with Grace, but this is not a grace intended to soften the reality of the truth. It’s the truth that makes The Gospel the good news that it is.
Seems that in our culture today, warning people is tantamount to threatening them, and crying out for someone's clarity to the gospel is seen as high-minded, patronizing pity. Calling out or exposing sin as an affront to a Holy God is offensive and usually brings immediate responses of ‘fighting words’ – judging, hypocrite, and bigotry.

Almost immediately, there’s a few thousand, hundred thousand or millions (if it goes viral) of onlookers claiming that you obviously don’t know anything about The gentle, tender, all-loving Christ. And in response, we’re put off, put down and walk away feeling like “Am I wrong? - Are they right?” Because of the focus on presentation, we totally disregard (and/or vehemently oppose) the notion that sharing the truth of the Gospel may be offensive. It may make some, even many, downright MAD at us and it doesn’t mean that it’s unchristian, it usually just means that people love their sin and we live in a day where many have found a way to hurl labels in an attempt to protect it from any negative connotation.

Here’s The Word:

Acts 20:31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

Jeremiah 6:10 To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the Lord is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it.

Ezekiel 3:18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

Mathew 3:7 But when he (Jesus) saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

I used the last verse to make it clear that The gentle, tender, all-loving Christ could be quite abrupt on occasion…but like I said, the culture is redefining words at a rapid pace.

In closing, we are definitely to be about our witness. Striving for excellence, not of ourselves, but because of Christ who’s worthy and who gives us the strength AND direction to do so. But don’t let fear or sinful retribution be the reason you shrink back from ‘tearfully’ warning people about the wrath to come. The stakes are too high. Paul famously says in 1 Corinthians 9:22 that he’s ‘become all things to all men that by all means, he may save some.’ – this helps us see that we DO have a common starting place with all. We all start in sin, and those who can humbly receive this truth are well on their way to receiving The Remedy, but though all may not be “won”, all should be warned.

Colossians 1:28 (Christ) Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

In Him,
Cros

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Excellence



Here’s a liberating thought – none of us know it all. We’re not expected to and if we put such high expectations on ourselves, it’s a recipe for a seriously rude awakening...eventually.
So here’s an encouraging thought – We’re all in this together and we can lean on one another. Just make sure that your trajectory is never satisfied with the status quo.
Seek higher, and seek to help others to higher, better, excellence.
In that frame of mind, here’s some quotes that I didn’t write, but I find them to be inspiring to raise the standard; to reassess the trajectory and to inspire to REALLY give God the best of my efforts since He deserves nothing less.

”If you want to achieve excellence, you can get there today. As of this second, quit doing less-than-excellent work.” - Thomas J. Watson

“Mediocrity will never do. You are capable of something better.” ― Gordon B. Hinckley

"The test of the artist does not lie in the will with which he goes to work, but in the excellence of the work he produces." - Thomas Aquinas

"Today, and every day, deliver more than you are getting paid to do. The victory of success will be half won when you learn the secret of putting out more than is expected in all that you do. - Og Mandino

Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle

”If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” --Colin Powell

”The secret of living a life of excellence is merely a matter of thinking thoughts of excellence. Really, it's a matter of programming our minds with the kind of information that will set us free.” - Charles R. Swindoll

Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence – Vince Lombardi

Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected. – Steve Jobs

“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

Notice these quotes and notice that the people who made them. It’s very likely that none of these people knew each other but the overarching idea of excellence permeates in a way that’s easily understood. If you sat and thought of delivering a quote about excellence – you could, and if you sat and thought about ways to give God your best – you could.
I think that conceptually, this post was the hardest one I’ve attempted in some time. After reading what I wrote initially, I found it to be more pushy than encouraging and although I have an appreciation for that push we all need sometimes, I didn’t feel in my heart that it was the right play. Honestly, I believe that I can speak candidly in saying that my heart’s desire is that we would return and reassume a posture of excellence.

Here’s The Word;

Mark 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

Isaiah 58:2 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

Notice that these men who were moved by the Holy Spirit didn't know each other either. However, they had a high view of God in His magnificence. They yielded themselves under the power of God, allowing Him to produce His most excellent word through them. The same can be true for us in letting His light shine through us.
God, in Christ, reached down to our lowly estate and not only did He free us from the power of sin and death, He called, justified and glorified us, bringing us into inseparable communion with Him. He, in The Spirit, has empowered us to shed the old deadness we were incased in - that we would be able to grow in righteousness and give Him the excellence He so deserves.

In Him,
Cros

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Judge



Ever see someone who claims to be a Christian and almost immediately, everything about their life begs to differ? No reverence, no peace, no joy, no worship...nothing other than occasional “religious speak” that would give any indication of faith whatsoever.

Few words cause dissonance the way the word “Judge” does. In most “Christian” crowds, a conversation about judging usually divides people into one of two camps: Those who are too quick to judge and those who resist it all costs.

Interesting thing is that everybody uses the saying - "Don't judge me." whether they're religious or not. It makes me wonder if we've defined things the way the world does or are they misunderstanding it because of us.

Here's The Word;

1 Corinthians 5:12 - 13(a)For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside

This verse may strike an odd chord because life 'inside' the church doesn't look like it's supposed to. We are called to love each other which assumes a "knowing". We're called to bear one another's burdens which assumes a "knowing". However, it seems that many of us just take our own personal protective bubble everywhere we go...even church. This is not how God intends.

Christians, we have a high calling on our lives. It’s so high that we’re not, in the least, expected to carry it out on our own. We’re given The Holy Spirit to help us understand, and make choices about things that are impossible without Him. We’re called to consider many, many things; our own progression in the faith, love of the brethren, discipleship, gentle restoration of those at fault (who are repentant), guarding the flock and being aware of the tricks of our true enemy, the devil.

Not everyone in church is a Christian, and it is ultimately God who knows whether we’re “GENUINE” or “FAKE” but as the Bible tells us that we are to be able to recognize a tree by its fruit, we have a response to what we encounter.

Our response should look one of two ways; if you encounter a genuine person, you can usually tell but you still investigate for clarity sake. The Bereans knew who Paul was but they still checked the Scriptures to make sure what he said was right.
Matthew 7 has the familiar passage that says "Judge not, lest ye be judged." Less popular is John 7 that says "Judge righteous judgement." Are these verses in conflict? not at all, they're just looking from different angles. Too many people are quick to judge, and do so more harshly using only the surface appearance. Don't be. Look deeply, ask questions, seek truth before you determine what comes next.
If the person shows NO FRUIT of spiritual conversion, it’s still not in your hand to condemn, but you’re also not at a place of privilege to be comfortably negligent in avoiding sin. Galatians tells us to “gently restore” – gentleness being a fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5.

I believe that humility is the key, humility on our part to seek grace and the words to help our brothers and sisters. Also we look for grace in our brothers and sisters to receive our sincere pleas for God’s best in their lives. The bible says that God gives grace to the humble. It may not be immediate but if you do express concern with a brother’s walk – they may say “Don’t judge me” but it’s not judgement, it’s the love we’re supposed to show one another in desiring God’s best for each other. If they can’t receive you in gentleness and if they continue in this rejection, the problem is truly theirs, not yours. God resists prideful hearts.

I'll leave you with this sober reflection: The Bible says "Don't be fooled, God is not mocked." Galatians 6:7
Which can also be said as "If you're a mock Christian, God is not fooled.

People assume that Christians are always supposed to sound a certain way. I don't have room enough here to list out the examples where Christians(even Christ) spoke in a manner that we would define as judging and harsh. I'm not advocating harsh speech, but they signify the importance of our mission and we can't just disregard them like they aren't there. That's why we pray for discernment, so you can judge for yourself.


In Him,
Cros

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Escape



What’s the hardest part about being a follower of Christ?
I would contend that it’s the troubles; the suffering and hard things that we go through.
We know we’ve been redeemed but the pull to act out according to our old man is still very real. Of course, now that our eyes have been opened, we’re grateful that bad choices become more apparent that they are, bad choices. Unfortunately, that fact doesn’t stop the constant barrage of the old flesh's suggestions to the contrary. In response, we grow in our strength – not just to resist, but to acknowledge our faith in God who has better intentions for us.

This thinking about the struggles of the Christian faith drove me to consider long and hard about two words: Escape and Refuge.

Most times, we want escape – total removal from even the perception of harm or danger. God hardly ever provides this option for us.

How can He?
Everything about sanctification is growth. Growing stronger beyond old cravings. Growing more resolute in a God who fights our battles. How can you know that God fights your battles if you’re so far removed from it that you can’t perceive Him working it out?     Exactly.
Faith grows on the battlefield, not the meadow.
To make us like Christ, we face temptations like He Did. We disarm and tear down offenders the way He did, by rightfully handling the Word of Truth, so we study. We’re brought to and through situations and circumstances where our progression is lived out, being evident to us and those who seek to prove(or refute) our credibility.

Here’s The Word:

2 Peter 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

It’s a worthwhile study to focus on these two words. When you see that they’re different, it clarifies how we should see things. Spiritually, we’re seen as having ‘escaped’ from the world. Christ is not a temporary refuge when it comes to salvation as if we have to go out and keep fighting to be saved, although He is a refuge for His believers….you see where that’s different. The Father sees Christ and we’re hidden IN Him, but our day to day still plays out in the midst of tribulation….faith building tribulation. A fight that the Father knows and provides refuge for.

As the Wonderful Father that God is to His children, He is a refuge. Refuge is a respite – an interval of relief. Our job is to keep things in their proper context and know the path we’re on.
If we’re not trying to realize our growth, we’ll try to see refuge as escape. We’ll rejoice and unload our burdens as if our individual struggles are won and done. Not so. This is just to gather your composure, re-orient your direction to Truth, let God wipe a tear or two and resolve to jump back into the fight reinvigorated.

Here’s The Word:

Nahum 1:7 The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

See how closely related refuge is to the fight for our Christ-likeness. Take the time to feed on The Word, but also to become more intimate with it’s Speaker. Don’t expect that a blessed life as to be a trouble free life. That’s not how it works, but put it to the test. Live for Christ and amidst the trials, seek Him as a temporary respite. A refuge. Let Him give you times of refreshing that prepare you to get back to the grind, knowing that eventually, all of us called according to His Name and purpose – will ultimately escape this old world.


In Him,
Cros

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

First



Is Christ just first,
Or does HE have preeminence?
Allow me your attention,
I’ll explain the significance.

If you see Him as first,
He’s a simple priority,
But if He’s preeminent
Then He’s also The Authority.

Some people watch their mouths,
Yet they slip on occasion
They’re trying to DO right,
But not LIVE under the Persuasion.

Christ is not religion...
Read your Bible, sometimes pray.
He’s the deeper motivation
For every moment of everyday.

He’s the reason why I’m silent.
He’s the reason why I talk.
I consider that He’s watching,
So I watch the way I walk.

No matter how complex things get,
And despite the Devil’s tricks.
I cast my cares and keep in mind
It’s me He’s trying to fix.

I never cast my Christ aside
When someone crosses me.
His loss, my gain. For me He died
And suffered at Calvary.

Every thought, therefore held captive
In obedience to my Savior.
So He’s not just a cross around my neck
He’s the crux of my behavior.

I know without Him, I'm not just dead,
I'm an enemy on the offence.
Nothing I can offer, except submission.
Nothing else makes sense.

So there’s nothing after, nothing before.
No alternate persuasion.
It’s Christ alone. Christ is all,
In every situation.

This type of view may seem unbalanced,
Yet, this is why our faith is athirst.
Priorities can sometimes push Him aside
If He’s not preeminent, just first.

Here's The Word:

Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

In Him,
Cros

Monday, October 09, 2017

Unite



Seems we're in a time where so many things are splintering. Yet, just as there is so much division-driven commentary, there's also determined solidarity. The voice of Peace and Unity is loud and strong...but it is right?

What?
The Bible does talk about how good and pleasant it is for the 'brethren' to dwell together in unity (Psalms 133:1)
However, my question is this: Is it possible to be unified, and still wrong?

Here's another one of those moments where I think our perceptions need to be challenged. Through no malicious intent of our own, biblical accounts produce pictures in our minds that can end up 'shading' the truth.
Think about the story of the tower of Babel:
Genesis 11:4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
If you've seen John Huston's "The Bible" with Stephen Boyd as Nimrod, it's probably easier to see these people as ugly, scowling and therefore evil, defiant and antagonistic towards God, but what if they didn't look like that at all? What if they were pleasant, giving and a peace-loving people?
    It's important to see the downside of inadvertently encapsulating ideas with imagery - it moves things far from us. Far from the likelihood that these people were a lot like us with many of the same tendencies.

Our "instant" world draws lines quickly. Something provocative is said and seconds later, it's gone viral and garners just as many advocates as the number of people it offends and ostracizes. It's also not uncommon for a "Christian" voice to try and biblically support either side presented by the issue.

However, my question is this: Who is on The Lord's side?

Here's The Word:

Exodus 32:26
Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD'S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.

In this situation, you would think that EVERYONE would just stop what they're doing and give ear to Moses. Nope, just the Levites.
The people believed Moses had probably died while talking to God. Aaron helped in their wishes to 'produce' another god which they all contributed their gold jewelry to create. Moses shows up with the first set of stone tablets fresh from the Hand of God, sees the worship service in progress and loses it! He smashes the tablets AND their golden calf god.
Then, after the sons of Levi joined with Moses, they took up swords and killed 3000 of their fellow Israelites.

The next day, Moses went to apologize. Not to the Israelites, but to God to atone for the sin of Idolatry committed by the people.

See where this is going? You can absolutely have the most people siding with you, doing what you think is right and be absolutely WRONG in the eyes of God. Why? because there are things that God hates and no amount of unity will change that.

Proverbs 6:16-19 These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Psalm 11:5 The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who loves violence His soul hates.

The thing that trips us up is our expectation of evil. We expect evil to look the part but Biblically, it seems that evil is better at masquerading itself, than our ability to detect it. So many are going against God's statutes, fighting hate with hate, returning evil for evil. It's time to be careful about the things we get caught up in; The band-wagon jumping and blindly following the crowd you're used to. We need to ask the important questions: What saith The Lord? The assumptions are prevalent on both (or all) sides that "God agrees with us"...but does He? Unity is wonderful, but NEVER at the cost of idolatry. Peace is a worth-while endeavor, but NOT at the cost of turning a blind-eye to sin. There's even an ecumenical movement gaining momentum trying to navigate social issues but are they "Godly" issues. Are we honoring God with our lips without realizing how far our hearts are from Him? (Matthew 15:8-9)

Psalm 139:21 Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?

Things are so splintered and polarized that I'm sure the only thing that will bring peace is The Prince of Peace Himself. However, until that day, let's keep our eyes open and prayers to Heaven that we would have wisdom in these times. It may be possible that there is no truly, RIGHT side to choose. In that case, for Christians, our marching orders haven't changed: Preach the word, in and out of season. Watch, endure and do the work (2 Timothy 4).

Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Choose that, and no matter what the masses are doing, even if they hate you - You've united yourself to the right side!

In Him,
Cros