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!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

counterfeit



I believe that the Gospel of Christ is simple. It’s straight forward, easily understood and doesn’t present much in the way in deep logical hurdles that would prevent most people from a perfunctory understanding their role in accepting Christ as Savior.
I also believe that the Word of God as a whole, as well as the simplistic Gospel provides the most esoteric philosophical enticements for those who like to dive deep into the mind of God. You may have heard loquacious pastors deliver a riveting sermon with alliterating points and think to yourself – Do I need to understand the power, proficiency and prevenient Grace of God in order to make sense of propitiation?
Clever points with insightful delivery for sure, but absolutely necessary? Probably not. However, no matter how many messages you’ve heard preached, it is The Holy Spirit that reveals truth and it’s good to keep a watchful eye on the messages you hear to validate that you are taking in TRUTH as presented by the word of God. There are counterfeits.

I say that to say this.

The Bible talks about 2 types of wisdom; earthly wisdom and wisdom from above. One is genuine, the other is counterfiet.

Here’s The Word;

James 3: 13 – 18 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

Here’s a thought I had the other day –

1 John 2:15 - 17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

When I read past that common phraseology – lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life, I thought. These 3 things are the counterfeits. If these things really are counterfeits, what are they seeking to replace?

I believe that God’s Word repeatedly offers these three genuine “righteous” provisions

Instead of fleshly lusts, God offers life.
Insatiable, selfish desires don’t produce or help at all with growing godliness. Money and sex are the biggies in this category but there are more subliminal expressions that are just as problematic. They spread weakness but are disguised as blessings; strength and prosperity.

Instead of wanton eyes, God offers health.
In our worldly sinfulness, we go after what we see and more often than not, we compromise or hurt ourselves and produce so much regret, pain and sorrow. The sufficiency in God’s provision may not give you everything you want, but contentment with godliness is great gain (1 Tim 6:6).

Instead of the pride, God offers peace.
It’s not just that ‘All have sinned’. It’s that all seek to sin. Just as Adam and Eve sought to ADD to themselves in direct defiance to God’s instruction, it’s this very fight we all deal with. We want to be more and we want it when we decide. When we reflect back on being delivered from certain besetting sins; we may be greatful, but we’re never far from the memory that it took God’s power to allow us to resist. The power to truly resist sin doesn’t come from within us. Christianity doesn’t make us strong, it makes us submit so it’s God’s power that gets all of the glory.

Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 3 John 1:2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

The Gospel of Christ is simple - its the power of salvation to all who will believe. The Word of God can be insightful, informative and intriguing. It also needs to be handled with strict care when creatively expounding on Biblical messages. Beware of counterfeits and more than just clever talking points, let the word of God deliver you from sin into life, health and peace.


In Him,
Cros

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Charge


Sometimes I wonder if we know what this is all about, or if we even want to know. We tend toward comfort, peace and easy understanding. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but we resist having our comfort, peace and thinking challenged. And we really raise eyebrows when the talk starts sounding strange.
And this indeed is the source of my bewilderment, because our story starts off smack dab in the middle of strange.

Here’s The Word:

Ephesians 2:1-3 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 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.

We were dead, like many who still are. We walked in allegiance with a spirit that influences to disobedience, evidenced by the self-fulfilling actions and thoughts we happily embrace. Without any other thing happening, this reality sealed our fate, rightfully reserving us a place in the full wrath of an Almighty God. Yet something DID happen; That Almighty God mercifully considered our helpless estate and by something way more involved than the snap of a finger, He brought us to Himself. At the greatest cost to Himself, He brought us to life.
Have you ever thought long and hard about that? To say the least, it’s strange.

The letters of the Apostle Paul to Timothy are something awesome! Even though they’re written from an old pastor, to a new one: In them, we see an idea presented that should affect us all. The Charge.
The charge is different from the law. Different from statutes, judgements and commandments. Why is this interesting? I’ve heard more than a few people pontificate on how we’re free from the Law…and as is Biblically presented, I wholeheartedly agree. I’ve heard more than a few people committed to avoiding “judgements” at all cost. Lastly, I’ve heard the arguments on how the commandments are not valid for those of us “in Christ” because He gave us a new commandment, simply rooted and expressed in love…So then what is the charge?

Deuteronomy 11:1 Therefore thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway.

The word charge mainly means what we think it means – but I’ll paraphrase it to avoid the words; law, commandment and judgement. And in trying to state it plainly in today’s vernacular, it conveys – "Here are some things concerning the promotion, protection and profession of your new life that need to be much more than just real to you, but they need to STAY real to you."
Charges are authoritative pronouncements that don’t save you, they prove your salvation and appropriate the power of The Spirit in your “new life”.

Here’s The Word:

1 Timothy 5:21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

As the word says, and bears reiteration – put no confidence in the flesh. (Phil 3:3), it’s the last evidence of an old system that is dying away. It doesn’t save. It can’t. It can however, remember desires, push for comfort and rationalize things that have zero benefit to new life. This is why we (purpose to) die daily (1 Cor 15:31), and keep our flesh under subjection(1 Cor 9:27). There's so much Biblical truth that focuses on our conduct. Our fruit. We’re absolutely correct to be mindful in regards to why we do what we do. We don’t do in order to BE saved; once we’re in Christ, there are things we're charged to do that can only be done rightly, if we ARE saved.

Think about it. Christ defeated death (huh?) and gives us power and insight into this life and the life to come. It’s strange but true: You live in a weird world. There’s principalities and powers, spirits and circumstances that go far beyond this temporal plane of existence. It’s important see this reality, accept it for what it is and embrace what it has to offer. Don’t get lulled back to sleep by desires for comfort, peace and easy understanding. Keep these charges, prove your allegiance and give evidence to Whom you belong.


In Him,
Cros

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Children


Kids. You gotta love’em. I’ve been thinking long and hard about what to say and how to speak to the lessons that God teach us using children. First, when the Bible talks about children, it usually does so from one of three different perspectives: One is the idea of offspring. This is where we eventually find ourselves adopted in, becoming legal partakers of the inheritance rightfully reserved for TRUE offspring. Another point is the childlike "faith". The sincere trust that children place in those who care for them - humble submission. The last view is “childlishness”, this is the one I want to focus on.

Here’s The Word:

1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

I remember when I first heard this verse, I was much younger than I am now and my mind went right to the idea of toys and the games we played as children. This understanding stayed with me for years until I really started maturing…like, past 30 years old. Funny thing is that this new revelation had been there right in front of me the entire time. The verse says basically that a child speaks, understands and thinks a certain way - a man should speak, understand and think as a man, not a child. Only a man knows how to stop being childish. Only maturity recognizes childishness and maturity. Childishness recognizes neither. My misunderstanding was the very thing that proved what I was.

That’s what makes children such an awesome example of teaching certain things about the truth of God, because although we may not be in a position to have children or even closely interact with them, we ALL used to be them.

Even though we try to talk in more refined and understanding ways, the Bible is dead on when it talks about the “foolishness” of children. It doesn’t mean that they are fools, it means that they are not mature and shouldn’t be expected to fill the roles of a responsible, learned adult. The logic follows: Connections that God’s Word makes with foolishness and folly readily apply to kids even when a direct connection to children isn’t being made.

Proverbs 14:29 He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.

During our devotional time, me and my Mrs. were confronted with this idea from Proverbs. I thought about how selfish and “hasty” children are. Ever had to have long negotiations with a child on why it's a bad idea to eat desert before dinner, or why a set bedtime (and naptime) are important? The struggle is real, but why?

Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

It makes little difference if your child (or a child you know) is more quiet than most, lest tantrum-prone than others or whatever plusses or minuses affect your particular situation: In children, we get the purest form of what it means to be a sinful human being – evidenced in our selfishness. We want what we want and it takes time and effort to eventually attain to wisdom. Even when we think we’ve got all we need, add a few more years and we’ll find ourselves looking back shaking our heads at our impetuousness and how much more we undoubtedly have to learn.

Children are wonderful and nothing brings a smile to my face and joy to my heart than remembering the wonderful times I had with my children or even further back at some of the experiences I had when I was a child myself. However, I also stand in total agreement with the word of God that says –

3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than these things, that I should hear of my children walking in the truth

This verse rings true in regards to my children AND just as true when I consider the grace of God in teaching me His truths. I pray that you receive this as an encouragement. That you would consider the things you know and the things you learned growing up. There's an old saying "What you don't know can't hurt you." Now that I'm older, I'm pretty sure that a child was behind that. Take a fresh look at yourself and let the light of God’s Word both strengthen your wisdom and expose the folly that may still be lingering from your childhood days. It's a regrettable thing to assume that disregarding truth (or exposing and expelling foolishness) is of little consequence. It can affect innumerable things in unimaginable ways. Folly has a way of hiding and masking itself to the point that it avoids being “matured” and it causes many people, young and old to become (or remain) victims of very real dangers.

Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;


In Him,
Cros

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Sing!


Sometimes I steal away to forget this ol’ world.
Pushing my problems and all else aside.
I turn down the noise of cares and concern.
I look up with my mouth open wide.

I long for that day where the shining shines on.
Dark nights will be utterly erased.
The light of God, united with His people splendor,
Testifying of His Amazing Grace.

Soul soothing songs, my heart sings along.
Without fail as tears begin to flow.
Here’s a few of my favs, praising the Ancient of Days;
I sing ‘cause I want Him to know.

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,
And how Jesus paid it all.
Be thou my vision, my Blessed assurance,
Straight to my knees I fall.

Here I am to worship. Worthy is the lamb.
What a friend we have in Jesus.
In Christ Alone, the cornerstone,
He breaks every chain and frees us.

Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary.
Excellent is Thy Name.
Holy, Holy Holy! God, you are Good.
Jesus Messiah, mighty to save!

How great is our God, how great thou art.
How deep the Father’s Love.
How much was poured out, at the Cross.
Grace and Mercy from above.

As the deer panteth for the water, I am in Awe of you!
Better is one day in your courts.
Here’s my heart, Lord speak what is true.

I could sing of your love forever and ever.
With all of Heaven on key and in tune.
And this, in eternity, preserved for me.
I’ll fly away, soon and very soon.

Here's The Word:

Ephesians 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Psalm 7:17 I will praise the Lord according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the Lord most high.

Psalm 30:4 Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

Isaiah 49:13 Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.

James 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.


In Him,
Cros

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

All


Here it is! The Grand Finale. The end all, be all of this short series culminating into one final score. Over the last 2 weeks, we looked at how easily it is for us to confuse Scripture concerning “All” things through Christ. Then we looked at our propensity to make small things big and devalue things that should be incomparably BIG. Today we take the focus off of us and try to embrace what God means when He says “all”. Progressively, the focus has gone from our blindness, to our (mis)perception and hopefully on to fruitful clarity.

Here’s The Word:

Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God

If you notice, this passage doesn’t refer to an “all” at all  but if you continue reading the rest of Colossians, you’ll see such a concentrated presentation of all, it will make your head spin.
If you wanted a little mental “trick” to remind you of what Colossians is about, you could refer to it as C'ALLossians- emphasis on ALL because that’s exactly where it goes. It’s a small book, only 4 chapters: It’s an intro, a little over 2 chapters of all, then a close. Don’t believe me, see for yourself.

This verse which opens chapter 3 is not to be taken lightly. It’s the lynch-pin to some pretty important things in the first two chapters concerning Christ. However, before you can attain to all that comes in Chapter 3 and following, this BIG “if” needs to be reconciled before proceeding.

In the first two Chapters, we see Christ as all –

     • by him were all things
     • he is before all things
     • by Him all things consist
     • in him all fulness dwells
     • He reconciled all things unto himself
     • In him is all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge

This is where chapter 3 constructs its hurdle. If we can receive and give ourselves to all of the things previously mentioned about Who and What Christ is, we can begin to properly orchestrate our lives into the posture of appropriate response. Point being, IF you’re His, here comes ALL that really matters

     • Put off all - (list of ‘former’ things)
     • Put on all – (list of things that attain to righteousness)
     • Above all put on charity
     • Let the word of Christ dwell richly in you in all wisdom
     • Obey your parents in all AND obey in all things your masters –       This is talking about natural and physically legal relationships but if we consider God to be Our Father, and ourselves to be His servants – doesn’t it ALL apply?

When I read this, It’s hard NOT to see what God means by all. If you're like me, I also see how much stuff happens in my days and weeks and years that are not part of all that God has for me, nor are they conducive to all that God expects from me. I may not know all that I should do, but I'm not confused about the things that I know I shouldn't be doing.
Don't get me wrong. I make mistakes as we all do, and I don’t walk condemned, I just make sure that it remains a fight. I stay careful and conscious that old dead things don't find safe haven or protection. That I would truly believe that when God says "Love the LORD with all - mind, soul and strength, that I lean fully into the power of His Spirit and don't hold back.
I know that I have been given all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3) So I use it as encouragement, as I hope you do as well. If you're His, you've been given the Spirit of God which was instrumental in creating all things – the same Spirit Who raised Christ from the dead. This same Spirit seals us in salvation and is available to do both sides of C'ALL-ossians: to recognize Christ and to do all He asks realizing that He’s not the stern 3rd grade teacher who liked watching me struggle and fail. No, He has done way more than anyone could fathom and eternity holds more than anyone could ever imagine. All I have to do is keep Him as the focus of my life no matter what “all-else” comes along.
Nothing else can pay what He paid, and nothing else can offer ALL He offers.


In Him,
Cros

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

All Things 2



Ever play with binoculars? I don’t know what it is about them but they’re the kind of thing that once you pick them up, it’s an amazing engagement. Inevitably, you end up turning them around to look through them backwards. It’s just as fascinating seeing how clear and tiny everything is.

Let's step back from it all and take a magnified look at wanting and having. They’re such wide and weighty concepts. Even as we face every day, we assess (and stress about) our situations by what we have and/or what we want. We may have a good job, but who doesn’t have an idea of a dream job that they'd LOVE, or maybe just less hassle? We may want to stay in bed but we have to get up and give ourselves to the requirements of the day.

I wouldn’t try to blindly qualify wanting and having as bad or good. It’s just a natural part of life.
I do, however, believe that the single most valuable benefit of wanting and having is how it brings clarity in identifying our focus and shows us which way we’re holding the binoculars. You may want new running shoes if your focus is continuing to exercise comfortably or preparing for just to match a cute outfit. You may want a job that pays more because you feel that dull, yet persistently annoying nag of student loans, or you just want to travel more. Maybe you want that job because you have a heart for those starving in desperate situations and $30 bucks a month can provide at least some relief.
Examples and motivations grow exponentially and the best thing to do in light of all of that possibility is to simply look in the mirror and examine ourselves. What do I have, what do I want and why is it significant to me? What's big to me, and what's smaller? How am I holding my binoculars?

One of the most memorable passages in The Bible, Psalm 23, opens with “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.” Is this saying that my daily wanting and having is bad? The better question is Is my wanting and having properly focused? And the real purpose of this verse is focusing us toward The Good Shepherd.
There are many other verses that encourage us to train our eyes to Christ as Our Provider. God is not insensitive to our daily needs. This thinking comes easy, but what if we take that a step further? What priority do we give to our focus and desires for Spiritual things? Instead of staying in a place of want, even looking to Christ, Who will supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory (Phil 4:19) – what if we simply saw the truth.

Biblically if we are His, when it comes to Spiritual things, we can change Provider to provided, past tense. Christ has purchased our salvation. He has given us the Spirit of power, love and a sound mind. He has called us with a holy calling and He’s given us eternal life. It is finished. But if our binoculars are turned around to see the smaller stuff as bigger - If our focus stays on the world, we will never be satisfied. The wanting will continue. If we are able to focus on Christ, although our sanctification continues, the needs by which it continues are all, already present, just for you.

Here’s The Word:

2 Peter 1:3 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:

1 Corinthians 3:21-23 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are your's; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are your's; And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.

When I was younger, I remember how confused I was about “whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” this verbiage is repeated in all four gospels and from the looks of it, Jesus actually said it on more than one occasion. But I think it’s becoming clearer. We’ve put little things in big places which only leaves little places for the big things.
This is not implying a total disregard or even a heartless denial of the little things. They have importance and merit and the lack of them can surely affect us in grievous ways. Just as serving people in need and providing these things do a world of good and prove our hearts of compassion. Remember, its about focus.
In light of eternal truth, what here is worth boasting about; nice cars, trips, jobs, notoriety, or even paid off student loans? As nice as they are, they’re the small things. Christ is the Big thing, and you are Christ’s and Christ is God’s and in that view, you don’t lack one single, solitary thing. It’s all your’s.


In Him,
Cros

Friday, April 27, 2018

All Things


This may be the start of a certain series, though I haven’t given it enough thought to bestow a proper name to it. In it, I hope to help us out of that mind where we convey a ‘twisted’ biblical idea because we twist a bible verse away from its proper context. There’s not a whole bunch of them, but the ones that persist continue to propagate the same empty ideas and the same misrepresentation of the Truth of God.

Here’s The Word:

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

This may be the most common. I don’t know, maybe it’s a tie between Jeremiah 29:11 and this one. I guess if you were to conduct a more comprehensive survey, results may vary.

We’re taught early in church life to “Hold onto the promises of God.”
Thing is, we start trying to create biblical promises that feed into our comforts and desires. God is not responsible to promises He Himself doesn’t make, even if we’re sincere in our beliefs about them. I think I also need to add this one thing: Not only do we conjure up promises that come easy and help us want what we want, we also neglect some pretty powerful promises that are plainly laid out in Scripture but we don’t take the time to consider their context and appropriate application.

So what is ALL THINGS? If I sat down for a year on Facebook and only grabbed the situational context from each time this reference is used, I imagine most times it’s used only as a vague encouragement for when things seem a bit more tough than usual.

    • You disagree with people but you’re tired of arguing. Your face tells a different story but... - I can do all things through Christ.
    • Bad news stacking up one after the other and all you want is relief. You're really waiting to win the Lotto but – I can do all things through Christ.
    • Relationship on the rocks and you don’t want to sound like a complainer. Your frustrations are now silently building up to a boil but – I can do all things through Christ.

Does this seem to be a bit nit-picky? Why not let anything that encourages do its job? Well, here’s why; it’s one thing to choose “good” rather than pile worse on top of worse, and quite another to let God reveal Himself in truth in ways that progressively transform you into the image of Jesus.

Let's use an example where Jesus quotes Scripture to affirm His reliance on God; Jesus is being tempted in the wilderness after fasting for 40 days. Satan, seeing that Jesus is hungry, suggests He turn the stones to bread. Couldn’t Jesus have used a verse from Ezekiel, rather than the one He chose from Deuteronomy 8:3?

Ezekiel 34:15 I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD.

You could make the argument that the Ezekiel verse is saying – God will feed me and take care of me...right?
But that’s not the context of that verse.
That portion of the prophecy from Ezekiel to the people of Israel is a condemnation against the leaders of Israel who have selfishly mismanaged things. It's also a promise that one day, God will Himself lead and provide for His people. So we see where initially it may sound good, but context is everything.
There are likely several other verses Jesus could've quoted that sound like they 'do the job', but the verse He chose from Deuteronomy speaks directly to humility before God and the deep lesson of learning what it means to rely on God as a Provider and Sustainer...Just as He is our perfect example, His selection is perfect.

Think about your own particular “go to” Bible quotes. Then, go back and check your quote against its context.
Even take the time to take a new look at the places where Jesus quotes the Old Testament, considering the context.
You may have been overlooking a wonderful, spirit-strengthening, life altering way of seeing that was just beyond your grasp. IN the case of Philippians 4:13, this is Paul, writing from a Roman prison, encouraging other believers to take themselves out of the “center” and to follow his teachings as an example of steadfast obedience to Christ. He goes on to say that although He’s grateful for their contributions, he’s learned how to remain stable. He’s learned how to keep his testimony and strong faith in Christ when things are going well, and also when things are not going well. He focuses on the importance of Christ as the center and sustainer. Even though their gifts to him may come at a discomforting cost, it shouldn’t cost faith or worry about their ‘own’.
Here's the contextual take-away - the strength of my faith is not based on my condition. Conditions change, God does not. If the strength of an unchanging Christ manages my reactions to adversity, there's nothing I can't face and the source of my testimony proves genuine. If we can remain stable in the face of desperation, “casting our cares on Him” rather than losing sleep over worry (even silently), that's a transformation. And rightly applying “I can do all things…” in situations like this, is a way more appropriate use of God’s truths.

In Him,
Cros