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, September 18, 2017

Humble



One thing I’ve noticed that I absolutely LOVE about studying The Scriptures is the assumptions it makes about us. For me, it’s one of the main reasons I find God’s Word to be trustworthy: It knows us, deeply. Second Corinthians, chapter 2 opens with Paul continuing his letter to the Church at Corinth and he gets pretty discursive in making his points about sorrow, blame and forgiveness (see for yourself).
In verse 11, he talks about a real danger in misunderstanding the situation: It allows Satan to take advantage, but he concludes with this assumption, “for we are not ignorant of his devices.”

The point is, Satan continually seeks to find a way to disrupt God’s order and stir up confusion among God’s people. (in a group, or internally in our own minds)

In my opinion, the enemy has a deeply effective arrow in his quiver. Comedy.
Well, not simply comedy for comedy sake but humor at any cost of someone’s personhood. Everyone loves to laugh but no one wants to be laughed at. Don’t believe me? Just look at how undesirable it is to sit too close to the stage at a comedy show. Unless you’re really good and confident at defending yourself, being a possible target is an uncomfortable choice.

To be laughed at is to be belittled and we can conclude that as soon as we begin to see something as funny, it’s hard to take it seriously.
We all know the Genesis story of Eve talking to the serpent about what God said. We usually imagine it in a straightforward, serious-toned exchange. But look what happens when we imagine it differently; Imagine Satan, leaning back and slapping his knee (Serpents may have still had knees then) with a loud belly laugh “Is THAT what you think He said?”
See how that changes things?
Now it’s not just about Eve’s struggle for obedience. Now it’s about saving face, and trying to not look dumb or simple-minded. Mainstream Media loves making fun of Christianity and has effectively silenced much of a collective, responsive voice. We're called to contend for and defend the faith but we're not confident because we're not comfortable enough with the little we know. (1 Peter 3 and Jude 3)

The devil knows how careful we are to avoid being laughed at. This is where he takes advantage. This is where he nudges us to promote our pride rather than embrace humility.

If God walked up to you right now and said “I need you to do something.” What would your response be? Many of us think that we would jump at the chance and be like “Yes LORD! Finally, I get to do something for God and It’s gonna be AWESOME!!!”
Yet, if we’re really honest with ourselves, if God walked up to any of us RIGHT NOW, it’d be a near death experience. Scripture knows us and this is what we really see with 2 people; Moses and Isaiah.

Here’s The Word:

Exodus 3:6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. (...and this was just a burning bush)

Isaiah 6:5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

When God first sought to send Moses to lead the Israelites from Egypt, Moses was not a proud recipient of the news. His first response was “Who am I to do this?” (Exodus 3). Moses also worried about his speech impediment (some believe he had a stuttering problem – Exodus 4:10).
We also see Isaiah’s response before he got to the point where he said “Here am I, send me.” Both of them were humble and their responses validated it.

Remember, humility is not seeing yourself as less, it’s about seeing yourself rightly. The Bible assumes our issue with pride and encourages us to fight against it. "Confess your sins one to another and pray for one another that you may be healed." - James 5:16 ...and as easy it is to say "Nobody's perfect", how hard it is to get personal and confess specifics!
The idea of 'humble pie' is never presented as something desirable. Why? We’re all error-prone mistake makers that should praise God way more than we do, and take credit way less than we do. But when presented with humble pie – we take it as we’ve been heckled and we need to defend ourselves. And some of us think we're good with our humility as long as we can dictate when and how much. Why?
I understand about clearing up confusion, but I know how small I am and I know my shortcomings: Sometimes I get angry too easily, I can be dismissive when I should be compassionate, I overthink and underact; Too many things to list here.
And if I’m not careful of the way Satan seeks to take advantage, my sensitivity about my short-comings, makes me all too ready to defend against someone belittling me. This pride puts me at risk. We often imagine pride as a grandiose display of bravado, it's also expressed when I'm resistant (for fear or otherwise) to embracing God's truth.

So I’m happy to be reminded just how human and imperfect I am. I’m happy to remember that "we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." 2 Corinthians 4:7. I’m happy to embrace humility and remove the stigma associated with humble pie - When the pie is mine to eat, I welcome it.
Not taking myself too seriously or not defending myself when others laugh at me, (even if they're wrong), is a source of strength, not weakness. I extract any validity of their view and use it to help myself become better. I can then be appreciative. I see myself for who and what I really am, and I remain aware of Satan's devices. I don't need to promote myself, God will.

1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

In Him,
Cros

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Good, Better, Blessed


This is about a progression of faith that goes along with our profession of faith. We all start from dark places that actually made some kind of sense to us before Christ started showing us where we fall short. We look back on our shameful days, no longer in grief, but in reflection of the fact that Christ bought us, and He brought us from old, dead things. He's taking us to Life, and that more abundantly.


Good

What good is a kind heart, if Christ is not at its core?
What good is this life, blind to what He has in store?
What good is godliness, detached from any real power?
What good long suffering that gives up after an hour?
What good is a direction without Christ as the destination?
What good is patience that turns out to be procrastination?
What good is the word “love”, without any tangible proof?
What good is information that doesn’t enlighten you to the truth?
What good is 'faith occasionally', which comes and goes like the wind?
What good is having resources, which are never used to help a friend?
What good is encouragement, without really meeting one’s needs?
What good is saying “I belong to Him”, but not following where HE leads?
What good is it, being able to say “I’m blessed and highly favored”?
What good is it to be a witness, yet still a stranger to your neighbor?

Better

What could be better than living proof – it’s better to give than to receive?
What could be better than this resolve: “though not seeing, yet have believed”?
What could be better than unfolding His word, His truth that gives life meaning?
What could be better than beholding His Glory, unable to stop the tears from streaming ?
What could be better than to finally hear “Well done, they faithful servant”?
What could be better than receiving His grace knowing full well you don’t deserve it?
What could be better than letting it all go – strivings for prestige and possessions?
What could be better than the light coming on, when you’ve finally learned the lesson?
What could be better than intimate closeness with God forever and ever?
What could be better than the Son, glorified – all prophecy fulfilled to the letter?
What could be better than pain and suffering gone, never to return anymore?
What could be better than our soul’s rest, cause there’s nothing left to restore?
What could be better than a High view of God, seeking to give Him reverence?
What could be better at life’s final breath – being welcomed into His presence?

Here’s The Word:

Matthew 5:3 - 12

Blessed

Blessed are the poor in spirit: the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
Blessed are they that mourn: they shall be comforted from all their cares.
Blessed are the meek: the whole earth is what they’ll receive.
And those who hunger and thirst to be righteous: God will fulfill that need.
Blessed are the merciful: mercy is what they'll obtain.
Blessed are the pure in heart: It is they who will see God reign.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called God’s heirs.
Blessed are those troubled for righteousness' sake: the kingdom is also theirs.
Blessed are you, when people insult and attack you falsely for Christ’s sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for your reward in Heaven is great.
The prophets before you were treated as such. Eternity is ours for the sharing.
How good, and better and blessed we’ll be when the eternal replaces ‘temporary’.

I was careful, yet creative with 'The Beatitudes' in bringing this together. Take a look and make sure I didn't twist anything.
Just a little something to make you think and rejoice!

In Him,
Cros

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

New



It seems I must be honest with you
Cause I see no other way
There’s a me, in me who denies what’s true,
Who avoids seeking your Way

Oh he wants the best that you have to offer
But doesn’t want to follow
Wants the promises, but not the Author
And boasts about tomorrow

Happy enough to better than most
Living mostly to compare
But deep inside, he still very broke
But he won’t allow You there.

Convinced that it’s his job to be strong
And control things as best he can
How will he ever see that he’s wrong?
He’s scared he’ll be seen a weak man

He wants to see you as more an assistant
Occasionally lending a hand
He can’t see the way you’re persistent
That His life should yield to YOUR plan

There always seems to be some excuse
So many who speak, don’t know
Varying between being too rigid or loose
He’s confused about which way to go.

I see in You stories, people You touched
Sometimes changing their name
I don’t want to feel like I’m asking too much
That in me, you’d do the same?

Help me let you in my deepest parts
And help me look on my shame
As you extract it out of my heart
As I glorify Thy Name

Fill the emptied chasms. Pour You into me
Down to the deepest of depths
Purge and clean, Oh! My God, set me free!
Show me the width, height and the breadth.

That me in me keeps rising up to pursue,
The old selfishness tries even still
change my "Let me help You", to "Help me let You".
Help me let go of my will

In conclusion, honestly, there’s no other way.
What’s in me rarely wants ALL that’s in You.
Please help me to give more of me each day.
I need you to make me New.

James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Revelation 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

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.



In Him,
Cros

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Little Things



Sometimes I feel as if life plays out like a movie. Certain things seem mundane and inconsequential to the bigger picture, then there are other things that resonate deeply…resurfacing at uniquely odd moments.
Take certain quotes that basically everyone says, or at least knows about: “It’s the little things.” We say it but how often do we carry it beyond the superficial?
I have a few friends that don’t “DO” Facebook. I understand, and I never try to encourage them as if there’s something they’re missing. The aversion is mostly the little “superficial” things that people tend to make TOO much of.

It makes me wonder – On any given day, you’ll see people who claim to be followers of Christ posting very un-Christ-like things. Their caveat – “Don’t judge me, God’s not through with me yet.”
I don’t condemn, but I do encourage Christians the same way that the Bible does in Ephesians 4:1 “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.”

Here’s The Word:

Mark 10: 17 - 22 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

Before we unpack this, keep in mind: This is not to pronounce judgement. This is for us to weigh and consider the little things that may be having more of an impact than they seem.

Now, let’s look at ourselves… I mean, “This guy”. He knew that he had riches and he probably considered them to be “blessings” from God. I’m sure they were. He knew that he was devout when it came to living out the law. Because of that, I assume that he also "knew" he had eternal life and wasn’t necessarily asking Jesus for correction, but rather confirmation.
No one runs and kneels to Jesus the way this guy did if they’re expecting grieve-worthy news.
Jesus says that this guy is lacking one thing, but gives him three things to do; sell, give and take up.

I believe that The Lord was steering his heart toward one thing; sincere, intimate love, rather than a strong sense of duty. Notice the laws Jesus mentioned: He didn't say anything about rule number 1 - God is Preeminent. No other things should be in His place.

All of sudden, this guy had to come to grips with the possibility that his ‘eternal life’ wasn’t as secure as his confidence led him to believe. All of a sudden, Christ pointed out a “thing” in his life that needed attention. It was a thing that was harder to come to grips with than a lifetime of commandments. All of a sudden, ‘being saved’ was too much for him. Read further for clarification in the way the Disciples responded.

Here are two more examples of ‘devotion over duty’:

Luke 10: 41 - 42 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her (Martha was attending to hospitable duty, while Mary sat to hear Jesus).

Revelation 2:2 - 5(Church at Ephesus) I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

In the same way that Jesus approached answering the man in Mark’s Gospel – “Then Jesus beholding him loved him”, Jesus shows that it’s His love for us that acknowledges where we get it right.
However, it’s also His love that directs attention towards the lacking “things” that need to matter in ways that we tend to discount.
The love expressed to that rich man is the same heart expressed toward Martha as well as the church at Ephesus.
If you ask most people about their ‘eternal life’, they’re quick to run down what things they do. This is the same reason why they excuse the contrary things they do. They emphasize that the scales are weighed in their favor.
But is this how Christ sees it?
Would He say, “Yeah, you cuss a little but I’m not through with you yet”? Or would He direct attention to your devotion and proclaim – there’s “One thing” you’re missing? What thing, compared to eternal life, is worth providing safe haven for, rather than counting ALL things as loss for the excellency in true, sincere, devotion to Christ?
I would contend that there's not a single, little thing.


In Him,
Cros

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Resolve



In the military, we have a saying; “Train like you fight!” and I believe that’s all well and good except for one thing; Fighting for real is different.
Mike Tyson is credited with one of the best quotes illustrating what I mean – He said, “Everyone has a plan until they get hit ….then they fear and freeze.”
What a far-reaching statement. Somehow, when I think about Mike Tyson, the athlete, there was more to his training than simply coming up with a plan. Seems like he not only knew how to fight, but he also knew how to make his opponent forfeit his plans and basically forget his training.

That’s exactly the kind of enemy we have. Memorizing Scripture, proclaiming God’s promises, and praying until we’re blue in the face doesn’t work the way I thought it would once I get hit – then I’m disappointed, disoriented and discouraged.

We can’t go to God saying, "I have fought the good fight…until I got punched in the face."

This understanding should revamp how we live and how we disciple. It’s not just about devising a plan. It’s about developing resolve and a bounce back mentality that has to be punched to be proved.

Our resolve needs to be rooted in love. The world has devised a false dilemma: You're either a lover or a fighter. God says that lover's ARE fighters! The Bible doesn’t say that love is always happy, but it does say that love never fails. In this fight, you may think that Spiritual maturity provides the fancy footwork that can bob and weave, and avoid getting hit. Not true. The enemy knows this and simply waits until you're tired. The best thing is to develop a deep love for The God who knows what we go through. So even when we've been rocked: face-down on the canvas hoping for ‘some other way'. Love will help us position or hands to push ourselves back up off the floor, and stand up.

In Matthew 26:33 we see that Peter had a plan. He told Christ that even if everyone else leaves him, he would stay til the death (v 35). Jesus replied….Peter (and the others), you’re about to be punched in the face…and you’re going to tap out.
Yet, after Peter’s knock down, The Lord still received Him. He asked Him three times about his love…which I believe was speaking directly to his resolve, finishing each statement with “feed my sheep”….like saying STAY in the fight!

Here’s The Word:

1 Corinthians 9:26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:

1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

Our fight is not the kind where we get to mix it up for 3 minutes at a time, then rest for a bit. No! Way too often, our fights seem endless. In the midst of these punches, we start questioning everything - mainly the idea that God wants me to be happy and not fighting. Obviously, not true. God is not a throw in the towel kind of God. Circumstances that squeeze us, prove us, and prepare us for the next bout.

We’ve grown all too accustomed to looking forward to reward when the focus is resolve.

Look at the picture above. Tyson’s opponent looks like he’s in serious danger right? But He’s doing exactly what he should be doing. He has his protective gear, and he’s got his hands up to shield himself.
Look at Ephesians 6, where we read about The Whole Armor of God – we see our defensive/protective gear. The directive is not to throw punches, it’s to stand. The only striking weapon we have is God’s Word.

I close with this:
2 Corinthians 4:7-9 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

Now, we stand and fight...but it's Christ; the undisputed Champion of the world, Who brings the total victory later. Don't give up.

In Him,
Cros

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Them



What about them?
They’re just filled with hate.
They won’t talk or debate.
They just want to dominate?

What about them?
They’re destroying our stuff.
They’re trying to call our bluff.
Enough is enough!

What about them?
They want to resist.
And they just persist.
What’s the answer to this?

What about them?
They think that they’re right.
They harass just for spite.
They just want to fight.

What about them?
You see what they do?
Pointing fingers at who?
They’re staging a coup!

What about them?
Power makes them blind.
They don’t care to be kind.
No peace shall they find.

What about them?
They whisper and talk.
They don’t walk the walk.
Bodies outlined in chalk.

What about them?
They don’t know how to love.
They just push and shove.
How can they rise above?

What about them?
What more can be said?
I’m tired of seeing red.
This continued bloodshed.

Reading this, you may have been trying to find out who’s identified as “Them”. You may assume that you know. You may have tried to connect recent events and see whose SIDE this speaks about. You may assume that you know. Most times its easy to point the finger at the evil that’s causing problems. It’s easy to establish where the hate comes from, and when the source is identified, the solution is justified.
Fact is, this is an idea for a discussion that could've happened in Heaven just before the decision was made to flood the earth, saving Noah’s family only. Yep, you guessed it - Them is all of us. (read it again)

Here’s The Word;

Genesis 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Being born in sin, or as I’ve heard it better explained – born with a Selfish, Independent Nature (SIN), we all have the capacity and propensity to seek our own: Our own way, our own promotion, our own means to an end. However, none of these pursuits, even when noble, justifiable or simply excusable by man's standards, work the righteousness of God.

Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

When we’re honest with ourselves and each other, humility is not something where we think less of ourselves. Its where we think honestly and rightly of ourselves. We’re not made of much and what we are naturally made of has no problem seeking selfish means to selfish ends.

Some of us, who were once them, have been awakened. That gift of humility by God's grace is what drove us to seek the right help. And God was there. Now, we have a responsibility – not to save the world, that part has already been done. Our part is to preach Christ. Sometimes this seems like a feeble response to an insurmountable problem. However, it’s the response that keeps us in our place that God will exercise His fullness in His place. It's God who will transform THEM into His new creations...the only answer, and their only hope.

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

God chose sides...all of them. Not to promote, but to save. So no matter which side they're on, they need to know about God's side... God sent us Him - and He sent them, us.


In Him,
Cros

Friday, August 04, 2017

Bridge



Ever been to another country with weird laws?
Did you know that it's illegal to chew gum in Singapore? It's illegal to die in the House of Parliament in England, and it’s also illegal for a man to dress up like a woman in Melbourne, Australia.

Weird right? Feel free to Google it and get a chuckle from all of the other weird laws around the globe. But these crazy laws hang on one important factor: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!

This is where I want to start our discussion about The Law. Well, Biblically , there are two laws and they're based on....you guessed it - Location.

The first law is the law of sin and death. This is the law we're all born into. Its jurisdiction is our flesh because in our flesh, we were all born IN sin.
The other law is the law of the Spirit of Life. This is the law of righteousness that we fall under when we switch locations; when we move from death to life IN Christ.

Here’s The Word:

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 (and since we’re clearing up locations, “The Mount” here is not the mount of Olives as seen in Matthew 24….it’s a different mount)
Yet, in that sermon, Jesus says He’s come to fulfill the law. What did He mean when He said He came to fulfil the law? HOW did He do it?

Matthew 5 hits some pretty high points that His Jewish listeners back then would have easily recognized and understood as the Mosaic Law – addressing topics like Murder, Adultery, Swearing (Lord’s Name in vain) and an argument can be made for the law of "Bearing false witness" when he talks about lawsuits and loving your enemies. He takes what they knew about the law, which by then had become over 600 laws and He moved them even more beyond our ability to be justified by them. Adultery just wasn’t a physical act anymore, but a reflection of the heart. Murder wasn’t just a physical act anymore, but a reflection of the heart. He exposed God’s standard of Pure Holiness and concludes it all by saying, “be perfect”. (Matthew 5:48)

Here’s The Word:

Romans 8:3 - 4 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

So now we see exactly HOW Christ did indeed fulfil the law. He knew the heart of the law and He also knew and embodied God’s standard of Holiness and fulfilled it perfectly. ONLY He could do that, but in doing so, His conquering of the law of sin and death allows us to move from where we are (under that law) to a new location – IN HIM where the law of the Spirit of Life presides.

Thing is, Christ knows ALL of redemptive history. He knows that the Old Law of sin and death, Ten Commandments and all of that could never justify even the best of us. However, it did serve Its purpose to drive us TO God and show us His holiness. He also knows that all of redemptive history centers on Himself.

Here’s The Word:

Hebrews 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

Hebrews 10:9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

This is all about fully embracing the freedom that Christ provides by escaping the trappings and burdens He delivered us from. Every letter of the law and the particulars about them are fulfilled in Christ and we put our sinful flesh to death daily that we may be free from that law in Christ. It doesn't mean we seek to do things opposed to the law, we're free towards (for) righteousness with hearts desirous to please God, not burdened through fear or torment. He is our new location and the old laws have no jurisdiction here.

Colossians 2:16-17 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.


In Him,
Cros