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!

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

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

New


What’s the last new BIG thing you bought? A car? A house maybe?
Think back to when you were looking for this new thing to purchase. More than likely you were a bit more meticulous in finding something that suited your purposes than you would be if you were buying something less significant, like a pair of shorts or flip flops.
Big purchases come with an assumed and unshakable weight of responsibility – It’s got to be right because firstly, you want the house or car you pick to fulfill your needs and ‘represent’ you well….and on the other hand, you’ll be paying for it for quite some time. Initially, big purchases are seen as something uniquely different than something you merely buy, they’re investments and investments have to be worth it.

Next question, Are you still in that house? Do you still have that car? ...Do you still treat it the same as when it was new to you?

Being honest; even if it's a cute new pair of shorts or even flip flops, we treat new things differently... we treat them, well, like they're new but If you’re like me (or the rest of us), a peculiar thing happens over time: Newness wears off. What was once “No eating in the new car!” becomes French fries and condiment packets down in the unreachable area between the console and seat. At home, what was once fresh paint, Pine Sol and streak-fee windows becomes bug splatter, unidentifiable odors and the obvious need for a fresh coat of paint that can hold out for a 'few more months', when I find the time.
Really, I’m not pointing the finger. If you look at the space between my console and seats, or several areas around my house, you’ll see evidence of neglect that I would’ve never confessed to allowing such degradation when I made that exciting purchase. I would've denied it outright.
But these are temporal things. These things are getting older and wasting away more and more each day. It’s to be expected. My encouragement is that we recognize it and it’s appropriateness in the natural, but that we resist having that ‘same mind’ when it comes to spiritual things.

Here’s The Word:

Lamentations 3:22-23 It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

Ephesians 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Hebrews 10:20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

Want to hear something that hits home even more? I initially asked about what we buy for ourselves, but just think about how fast this ‘compromise’ happens when things are bought for us. I could’ve easily pointed out your favorite Christmas gift, which probably still gets some respectable usage. Even so, there’s a high likelihood that even at just under 5 months later….it’s less shiny. This is where and why we need to change our minds and put forth a supernatural effort to not lump all of our stuff into one category. In this case, we have to fight against the tendency to cheapen things over time. Especially because we don't want to convey the idea that free even remotely implies cheap.

Somehow there’s a false expectation of Christianity that we’re supposed to walk around with some fake or manufactured “smile” on our faces and of course, I don’t believe that’s true. Our lives, like the lives of any, go through ups and downs, joys and grief. However, I would like to hope that we aren’t tossed about recklessly, and that we have a stabilizing thing about us, Christ. I hope that we would look forward to each day as if the truth were true – new mercies, fresh from the factory are yours and can be embraced in a better way than we embrace temporal gifts …these gifts don’t wear with mileage and their paint never chips. They’re not temporal, they’re eternal and they remain as powerful and effective as when they were driven off the showroom floor! These gifts are infinitely bigger than any house or car, and by every definition of what God has done for us, there is no comparable investment.

So I pray for you, that each day the excitement of newness would meet you as your feet meet the floor: New joy, new grace, new understanding, a new desire for higher living, new focus, new stamina, new sense of purpose, new commitment to the things of God, new love, new patience, new ability to surrender and give, new hope and a refreshed faith that recognizes that the excitement behind all of this newness is an appreciation for Christ, Who is making all things (brand spankin') new!

In Him,
Cros

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Will Power



The story is about as old as anything. Your regular, average, everyday Joe comes across an enviable amount of power, giving rise to the typical; swift justice to wrong doers, self-exultation in the face of those who once belittled him and a reckless attempt at controlling the love of the human heart.
Why is this the common way of things? Maybe there really is something so fundamental to the human experience that power tends to discover one particular course like a dry riverbed after heavy rains.
If this is true, I think it’s more likely that there’s a flaw in how we define the meaning in our lives.
We want more, we want to be noticed, loved and not as looked over or pushed around. But is this an accurate assessment of what life really is?

Do you know that today, whether you’re a believer or not, you did things that were written down in heaven?
It’s possible that your life is ‘mattering’ more than you know.

Do you know that every day you have the ability to lift someone’s spirit (or bring them crashing down) with your mere words?
It’s possible that you already have more power than you know what to do with.

Everybody gets done wrong. Every life deals with slights, being lied to, on as well as being taken advantage of. We have a God who sits high and looks low. Nothing about our being belittled makes us smaller in His eyes. We stay focused, praying for those who would take advantage of us, that they would see the light before it’s too late and receive the eternal advantage in Christ.
When aligned rightly, our prayers are so powerful that an Eternal, Sovereign God takes note of them.
It's a misguided application to want to see yourself as a lion if your only desire is to roar at people who make you feel small.
For us as believers, the Bible says that we're more than conquerors. However, this isn't to exert power and our will to punish those who make us feel inferior. It's a clear picture of our confidence in Christ to stand in Truth. To stand against the powers that would drag us back to an old defeatists mentality...to having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6)

Here’s The Word:

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Proverbs 15:4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.

Maybe you wish you realized more in your life; more potential, more reverence, more effectivity… more stuff.
Are these desires rightly aligned with Life in The Spirit? I don’t think so. It looks more likely that this old story can do nothing but dull the reality of New Life.

So please, dear friend, be encouraged. Be encouraged to wake up tomorrow not only realizing the power already at work in you, but also the potential of it to affect things around you for God’s glory and your good...in that order.
And remember, if you make sense of God’s word as it applies to now and eternity, everyday you’re being tested: He’s seeing what you will do with the amount of power you’re given to show yourself worthy to receive much, much more in the life to come.

Here's The Word;

1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

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.

Revelation 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:


In Him,
Cros

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Approved



Here’s The Word;

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Often times when we read Scripture, we focus on the big words: Love, forgiveness, patience, suffering and things that identify with our current circumstances. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s a testament to just how loving Our God is that His word meets us as intimately in desperation as it does in rejoicing. However, there are other words that can pass us by quickly and are sometimes hardly ever noticed at all, until we study. The Bible doesn’t direct us to “study to show ourselves intelligent”. It’s WAY more involved than that.

In my line of work, I’ve met some pretty intelligent people. Not the kinds that go around waving flags about the letters associated with their titles (although they do have them). I mean the kinds that are impressive in the way that they can see a complex problem laid out and step through it almost effortlessly to a comprehensively clear solution, and for the most part, these folks have been a joy to work with.

Now on the other hand, have you ever met a smart person who’s a total jerk? Of course, it doesn’t take an intelligence to be a jerk, but when you come across it, it’s a little more painful. They seem to have a knack for weighing on you, being condescending to you for being less intelligent.
There’s a saying “knowledge is power.” I believe that to be 100% accurate. There’s another saying – “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Also, undeniably true. This is not something only expressed in extremes: You don’t have to be all-knowing to be belittling to people, and it may not be for the purpose of making them feel bad. Some people have deep inferiority and for them, they're just trying to either make themselves feel better or just not as bad. But to whatever degree you assume to be smarter than the next person, and you use that leverage to treat them as less, it's wrong, no matter the situation.
In this post, we’re talking about the caution we should exercise when knowledge begins to fuel a smart attitude and makes us not just less approachable, but less Christlike.

The word of the day is "intreat". This is one of those quickly overlooked words used sparsely in the Bible. But I believe it addresses the common tendency to exalt ourselves when we’ve become smarter about things.

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.

1 Corinthians 8:1(b) we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.

As we all are becoming Christlike, we see certain aspects of our character that are easily adjusted, and others that take a more concerted effort. No one likes to deal with that smart person who reeks of arrogance, but that’s an extreme view. It’s not only about trying to be less of a jerk. It’s about being pleasantly approachable. Even if the answer is a hard truth, It’s better received from someone who you feel genuinely cares about you over someone who you feel is judging you as you walk away. We can read and memorize Scripture all day long, but I think that how we deal with people who were once in the same places we were is one of many good gauges to help us realize the meaning of “approved”.


In Him,
Cros