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, January 15, 2018

Surrounded



I do enjoy writing but sometimes I feel like I’m pushing too hard or I’m lacking in gentleness. I’m keenly aware that it is the work of the Holy Spirit from the goodness of God and nothing else that draws men to repentance. It’s a wonderful reminder to me to take a step back and balance things out. I know that there’s nothing wrong with desiring GOOD for people and I will continue to speak on and encourage obedience but at the end of the day, it’s really that I desire GOD for people. Not just to see how ungrateful we can be, but how gracious and merciful He is.

Sometimes, I look around and my mind becomes confounded.
At a world lacking so much, yet true love has abounded.
In Your righteousness, Lord, keep me planted and grounded.
In the beauty of holiness, Lord, keep me surrounded.

Magnificent beyond measure and beauty unsurpassed.
All that is, simply spoken and burst forth in a flash!
And still in quiet tenderness, with gentle embrace.
Love warmly surrounding us, what a joy to seek your face!

How appropriate, a Shepherd, desiring good for His sheep.
That The Shepherd gave His very life, Oh! I can’t help but weep.
Sunshine days, and misty mornings, waters calm and still.
Silent nights and stars shine bright, according to Your will.

Such a wonderful grace, as You work out Your plan.
What’s been prepared hasn’t entered into the heart of man.
However, each day brings mercies, all shiny and new.
Rainbows and flowers owe their splendor to no one else but You.

And Oh! The beauty of a melody, sung softly on the wind.
That echoes on through times and seasons, continues without end.
The warmth of the Sun against my face, eyes just barely closed.
Visions of rapture burst on my sight, of depths nobody knows.

In the midst of our strivings, help us still be impressed.
Help us trade life’s frictions, for an occasional caress.
The chirpings and chatters and beasts great and small.
Realizing that their Maker is the Ruler of All.

You’ve set eternity in our hearts, it’s all beautiful in its time.
I long expectantly for the day when I’m Yours and You are mine.
That Day I’ll stand in joy unspeakable, amazed and astounded.
Thinking back over time to the very first instant, I became surrounded.

Here’s The Word:

Psalm 32:7 You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah

Psalm 42: 1 – 2 & 8 1-2 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

8 Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.


In Him,
Cros

Friday, December 29, 2017

Confusion



I read something the other day that really got me to thinking. It was a comment made in regards to news about something of religious relevance. The comment wasn’t crass or brashly accusatory. It was heartfelt, well-worded and almost ‘eloquent’. However, the point that the commenter was trying to make was that even though he’d read the Bible, he wasn’t as impressed as he assumed he'd be if it really was words from an omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent Being. This was my reply:

Here’s The Word:

1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

I made it clear that I wasn’t trying to argue and that beforehand, I’d prayed that God would grant him repentance and give him spiritual eyes to see. I tried to convey that we all start this same way – we've all come across 'perceived' contradictions; where Scripture seems to go against itself:

 o Don’t judge, yet judge righteously   (Matthew 7:1 & John 7:24)
 o Be confident, yet humble   (2 Corinthians 5:6 & Proverbs 16:9)
 o Be bold, yet gentle   (Proverbs 28:1 & 2 Timothy 2:24)
 o Be about peace, yet rebuke sin   (Romans 12:18 & 1 Timothy 5:20)
 o Don’t argue, but be prepared with your answer
  (2 Timothy 2:24 & 1 Peter 3:15)
 o Don’t answer a fool according to their folly,
yet answer a fool according to their folly   (Proverbs 26:4 & 5)
 o Saved by grace, but works prove faith   (Ephesians 2 & James 2)

If we’re being honest, we can look at these things listed (as well as many others) and see where this guy is really just being more honest than many of us would ever admit to. We spend year after year just doing “Christianity” the way we’re used to, and most of us never achieve that Spiritual state where there is no confusion or contradiction between these things.

How is this possible? Seems that many of us look to assimilate Christianity according to our individual personalities. We dress up our old dead man with overt Christian symbolism and rhetoric. This is why we see some who have admirable humility and others who are impressively fearless but these are hardly ever the same person. The contradiction is not in the Scriptures, it’s in us trying to mix natural and spiritual.

And this is the root of the problem; It’s how we interpret God’s intent. God is not trying to make us better, He wants to make us new. He’s not improving us, He’s renewing us. Sanctification is not cooperation, it’s capitulation. We say “Let go, and let God” but it’s time that we be truly honest about the things we hold onto.

Here’s The Word:

Ezekiel 11:19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:

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

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

I’ll close with this – I pray that God would continue to grow His presence in us, that we would be more sensitive and aware of old tendencies masquerading themselves as spiritual elevation. That we would perceive and let go of the frustration that comes from evading, avoiding or compartmentalizing life in the spirit as pulled and directed by our carnal understanding and comforts. That we would be pleased to hold it all up to The Light – all that we think we know, that we would test it and throw away everything that is not of God. That we would know the peace of a spiritual mind, free from contradiction and confusion.

In Him,
Cros

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Perfect



Ever have a conversation with someone and you can immediately see that it’s really not a conversation: It's two different people trying to make TWO very different points? Happens all the time right? Contending with your child claiming they’re “too sick/tired to go to school”. Negotiating with a traffic officer, trying to get out of a ticket. All the way down to something as seemingly insignificant as to why a particular movie was good or not.

I’m not saying that either party isn’t listening, not at all. It’s just that they’ve become more vested in their side of the conversation…it’s natural.

But what about spiritual things? We need to be cognizant and careful about this tendency when it comes to God and His word. A random missed day of school, the fleeting heartache of a traffic ticket or something as menial as a movie - these things pale in comparison to the eternal realm of The Holy.
Yet our world is immersed in these exact kinds of conversations today with topics that have far more 'lasting' consequences.
A more extreme case is the conversation about homosexuality. This has produced more hard line stances than say, a conversation about women pastors. Still further down the scale, yet of truly significant importance, is the conversation about personal holiness. I think that the most common context that most people are willing to agree on in this area relates to sex and marriage. This is where we’ve decided to agree that God is right. Therefore, having sex with someone you’re not married to is against His word - However, we’re more likely to show “grace” if you’re already having sex with that ONE special someone you plan to marry. We believe that in this case, God understands.

I don’t think we realize how dangerous this is. Yet I’m sure that this kind of worldly infested thinking can never work the righteousness of God.

Here’s The Word;

Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

Philippians 3:15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

2 Timothy 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Hebrews 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

James 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

I don’t think I’ve ever taken part in a conversation about personal holiness that didn’t include the phrase “Nobody’s perfect.” And “We all sin”. Familiar? Yes, and understandable to some degree, but if it’s this thinking that allows us to stay in sin and throttle back a desire for righteousness, I’m not sure that God and us are having the same conversation. God knows our every sin and imperfection. This is exactly where the message of the Gospel starts. But the message of the Gospel sees God meeting our needs. His work eradicates the penalty AND the power of sin. And as a lasting help for us who believe, He gives us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the power to progressively produce this perfection He’s urging us toward.

Nothing natural in us could do it. In all actuality, in our sinful state, nothing in us would even WANT to do it.

So now the question is this: What do you want? Are you still inclined to have your life on your terms and continue to communicate to God about your imperfections? Or do you want life on His terms, in His Spirit? That’s the conversation He’s having. That’s the point He’s making. We can keep having these “sided” conversations with God, but in the end, with all that He’s done to secure, redeem and empower us for an eternity of Holiness, I don’t think that He’s going to be as compromising as we’d like. Are we sure that us and God are having the same conversation?

Here’s The Word:

James 1: 19 - 22 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

2 Peter 1: 3 – 8 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In Him,
Cros

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Start



Here it comes, the year of Our Lord, two thousand eighteen! I think it’s amazing that the phrase, “the year of Our Lord” is a real thing…it’s a subtle reminder that Christ has a command of History.
So, what are your plans for the New Year? Will Christ have command of YOUR story? The beginning of the year is known for New Year’s resolutions that help us take advantage of a fresh start. We propose to ourselves that we will put forth the effort to 'do better'. We want to embrace healthy habits which usually come from a long look at our current situation: We may not be in the shape that we’d prefer – because we’re not eating sensibly, and we lack the energy and drive to change.

Most things are hardly ever ONE thing – eating better is not enough to fully improve your overall health, just as no amount of exercise can reverse the effects of an bad diet. Furthermore, sporadic starts and stops, as well as yo-yo dieting can cause lasting detriment to your health. I used the health and exercise scenario because it’s the most common New Year’s resolution. There are many other areas of change we embrace – A new career path to realize financial success goals. New hobbies or interests that help with feelings of happiness and fulfilment. There’s also something to be said for the things we need to let go of for a fresh start such as unhealthy relationships.

As we take advantage of this opportunity to begin anew – How much more beneficial that we look to reorient ourselves for Spiritual service and fulfilment. Have you considered the opportunities you’ll take in this coming year that will benefit your Spiritual growth and progressive righteousness? Things like studying Scripture, mission trips, donations, serving in ministry or even just assisting people who already do. And on the flip side, what spirit impacting bad habits do we have that need to be done and over with?

Here’s The Word:

Colossians 3:12 - 17 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

The Epistles are wonderful reading for New Years. None of them are written to old churches with members who have gotten into the well-known ruts “Christianity”. No. For the most part, these are all small pockets of new believers who are being challenged and encouraged to embrace what is a new and different thing to what had been before. They’re being cautioned about many “natural” tendencies that still plague us today and they all point to the Truth of The Risen Savior, who is now LORD. He was the Lord of the beginning in creation, the Lord of advent at His first coming, just as He’ll be King of kings and Lord of Lords at the end. Let’s resolve to put Him first, even now, and in the coming Year of Our Lord, Two Thousand eighteen.

In Him,
Cros

Friday, December 15, 2017

Service



You know, I don’t mind that December 25th is most likely NOT the true birth date of Jesus. I don’t mind that the practice of giving gifts more than likely has roots in the ancient Roman celebration of Saturnalia. I’m not put off that the Christmas tree tradition likely began as nature worship moreso than anything recognizable as ‘Christian’. Nope, none of those things bother me whatsoever. The only thought that could challenge my joy of the season is if history would somehow overshadow HIS story.
We’re just about 3 months away from Easter (April 1st), where we often hear the common, yet challenging question; Who killed Jesus?
It’s a provocative thing to consider.

I would like to help make it a common thought at Christmas to ask: Who was Jesus born for?

Here’s The Word:

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Matthew 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Hebrews 10:5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:

Hebrews 10:7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

I’m of the mind that the answer to the question is similar to the answer for the Easter question. The answers are multifaceted, but overall, they lie in the ministry of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5: 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself…
As we reflect and remember HIS story, I pray that you would do whatever it takes: Each year that you would pursue creative ways to keep the Truth of Christmas as real as any gift, or any tree or even any ‘commonly’ uttered phraseology.
For us who are IN Christ, it’s an intimate embracing. We know the will of The Father. But it hits home with us as at Easter, for we know “It was MY sin that held Him there”. Just as at Christmas, we embrace “Joy to the World” in a personal and tearful recognition that this baby came to please The Father on my behalf.

Tis’ no longer up for debate,
This babe brought Joy to my estate.
Impending doom, and wrath to come,
Hath been taken for me by God, the Son.

The Father and Son, on one accord,
Paying a debt I could ne’ r afford.
In His twinkling eyes, I guess He knows,
He’ll wash me clean, yea, white as snow.

By soft and tender, comes my release.
He is God. I am still, my strivings cease.
In awesome wonder, behold the babe,
God clothed in flesh, my soul to save.

Remember HIS story - Merry Christmas,

Cros

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Mercy



As each year draws to a close, from Thanksgiving to Christmas, we’re reminded of how important it is to “stay thankful” each day. Count your blessings, seek peace, and resist the commercialism, keeping in mind the truth that these holidays represent. So, in keeping with that “spirit”

Mercy is a term we often hear,
Especially when Christmas time is near.
Peace on earth and mercy mild.
Behold! The wonder of Christ, the Child.

Lord, bring clarity, help us reflect
That we may respond in proper respect.
What is this mercy? I’m at a loss.
What’s mercy for me, came from You at great cost.

Mercy is aware of how far we’ve strayed.
It feels the rejection, which we’ve all displayed.
Mercy has to swallow the urge to repay.
Doesn’t just disappear, doesn’t just go away.

Mercy only applies where wrath would be right.
It restrains punishment, tho not taken as slight.
Somehow the penalty, need be satisfied.
Now we see Jesus, who suffered and died.

A body like ours knowing happiness and joy.
A body like ours, yet Heaven’s little Boy.
A body like ours with every precious breath.
A body like ours to stand in for our death.

A life like ours? No. Perfect, without blame.
A life like ours? No. Free from guilt and shame.
A life like ours? No. For He was the promised Christ.
His life was like no other…the perfect sacrifice.

It was The Father’s pleasure, His plan was to restore.
Let mercy mean much more to us, now and forevermore.
Mercy smiled on us, but on Christ, was turned away.
Mercy, mild – the reason we rejoice on Christmas day.

Here’s The Word:

Hebrews 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

In Him,
Cros

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Hard



How hard is your heart?

If someone simply came out of the blue and asked you “How hard is your heart?” what would you say? I imagine the most common response you’d get would be a thousand different ways to express ‘How dare you!’
This response, of course, really doesn’t answer the question …but then again, maybe it does.
The question is perceived as offensive and/or confrontational so it’s likely to be met with our fight or flight response. Ignore or engage.
Even though it may seem less significant, I believe that our likely response is a good indicator of the state of our hearts.
Allow me to switch gears as I try to make this point. There’s 2 verses in the bible, they’re back to back and they seem to be in conflict with each other:

Here’s The Word:

Proverbs 26:4 – 5 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

These verses do well in making a particular point in Scripture; often times we’re looking for “what to do” in order to feel confident that our “righteousness” is making progress. However, righteousness is a heart matter and the right kind of heart sees no contradiction in the Proverbial verses.

Fact of the matter is this: Our hearts are hard. All of them. Sadly a hard heart doesn't mean that you won't be financially successful, or popular, highly intelligent by the world's standards. But Christ is not making you to be better in this world, He's making you better for a better world. And biblically, our hearts play a big part in how we grow. The Bible directs us to "guard your hearts with all diligence, for out of it flow the issues of life". Proverbs 4:23. We tend to avoid the issue of our hard hearts for various reasons that seem to culminate in feelings of shame. A hard heart is not a shameful thing since we all start one. But we can't ignore them. A hard heart directly affects your ability to pursue God and see Him rightly. Also be very careful, realize that a hard heart can also indirectly(unintentionally) affect how others see and pursue Him as well.
So in light of coming face to face with our current heart condition, the most important things are the reception and the response. Too many people try and leap frog over the reception and seek to build a wall of response that masks the hardness. When that wall of human effort begins to crumble, the true, hard heart shows through.
When we handle the first matter rightly, humbly receiving that our hearts are hard indeed, we’re forced to deal with several realities that help us reach the proper response.

    1.     You cannot fix your own heart. It’s irreparable.

Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

Psalm 28:3 Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts.

   2.      Initially, The Manufacturer doesn’t repair. He replaces it with a soft heart that He continually shapes.

Ezekiel 11:19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:

   3.     If your hard heart hasn’t been replaced, you can’t trust it.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Even after receiving Christ, our hearts don’t magically become like His in an instant. Having our hearts replaced is an ongoing matter. A process. As we seek to have our newness progressively revealed in Christ, we can look back to see our growth and we can look ahead to see how much more softening we need. The hard heart is marked by unbelief, and an unbelieving person promotes their own understanding over the truth of The Word.

Now, reflect again on the initial question: How hard is your heart? – Not as hard as it was, hopefully less and less, as God softens my heart, transforming me in the process.

1 Thessalonians 3:13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 3:5 And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.


In Him,
Cros