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: January 2014

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!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Good Grief!

Hello All,

I often sit and wonder at some of the fundamental reasons that I believe the church today isn’t all it can be. I ponder at the things that hamper our efforts to be effective Christians. Lately, I’ve been thinking long and hard about the silent indicators we usually look for in Christian discussion; such as holding someone accountable or sharing The Gospel. Of course, you may have a more clear understanding or discernment which precludes you from personally identifying with what I’m talking about, but I think it’s a very common thing for us to consider someone who “feels sorry” as being evidence of true humility or even further, as evidence of the Holy Spirit touching someone’s heart. To our commendation, I think it happens out of our compassion. Yet sadly, we often do it with very little thought and not much consideration to what “else” may be going on. Hopefully, this doesn’t lead you to being less compassionate but more of a real help. My only desire is for proper consideration of the truth – This may not change the action you take in response to a particular situation but hopefully you do it with more of an understanding.

Here’s The Word;

Mark 10:17 and following: 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?

…Jesus recounts a few of the ten commandments..

20 - 22 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.

The first part of Jesus’ words were from the law, but not the second part. Out of Jesus’ stated ‘love’ for him, they speak to grace, compassion and a commitment to foremost follow after righteousness. But my point is this; this man’s initial response was one of sorrow. If we put ourselves in Jesus’ position in today’s world; Many of us might feel pleased with ourselves that we were bold enough to share convicting truth with him and that his response in sorrow may be "evidence" that The Holy Spirit is actively softening this man's heart. But that’s not what’s happening. He’s sorrowful because he simply doesn’t want to lose what he has. His heart is where his treasure is, buried in worldly riches. We don’t see the rest of his story, but reading Jesus’ follow up comment; this man has walked away and will probably not pursue righteousness beyond his comforts. That man’s sorrow was not from The Holy Spirit.

More Word:

2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

Just like the differentiation of worldly versus wisdom from “above” (James 3), this verse makes clear the existence of a different kind of sorrow and inherently assumes that we would care to be aware of the difference. Feeling sorry for someone who feels sorrowful and then having that feeling progress to assuming that they’re in a more workable place because of their sorrow may dissuade us from being the right kind of help that person needs at the moment. I say all of that because I have advised sorrowful people to pray and believe God when in all actuality, they may positionally still be an enemy of God, having never accepted Christ in the first place. And in that situation, it’s important to handle first things first: All grief is not good grief.

In Him,

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

En Garde!

Here’s The Word:

Matthew 12:30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

Luke 9:49-50 And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.

I often speak highly of those I consider to be ‘Forerunners in the Faith’. The most recent being E.M. Bounds, a man I became quite enamored with after being introduced to his writings on prayer through “The Power of Prayer”. It wasn’t until later on that I dug a little deeper into Bounds’ life. Bounds was a Methodist. Actually, he was part of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South which had split from the Methodist Episcopal Church (MEC) over the slavery issue. Now, if you’re thinking that Bounds, being part of the “South” church, automatically means that he must’ve been okay with slavery as opposed to the MEC proper… You’ve got another thought coming. But often times that’s just how we operate; we hear a word or phrase and immediately jump to a conclusion without even knowing what the real offense is. Even the idea of the teachings of “Methodism” may be enough to dissuade many of us “Reformed” thinkers from going any further.

Au Contraire (forgive me, I’m in a French state of mind) – I am totally not saying that there should be no differences that delineate our theological standing. There must be. This is an admirable thing I see in the disciples' comment in Luke. They were concerned, on guard for those who would come and try to draw men away after themselves under the guise of “Christ”. Our standing needs to be on the truth of Scripture. This is why we must prioritize “study time”, to clarify our understanding of the mind of Christ and be ready to “cease and desist” once we find ourselves (or others) heading down the wrong road. On the flip side of the account in Luke 9, the Truth that Jesus imparts to the disciples was probably encouraging because after that moment, the movement was bigger than they’d realized.

So that’s may prayer for us; that we’d know Truth as a deciding factor as we're attentive and watchful for heresies and counter-productive teachings that don’t honor Christ. But that we’d also not be immediately put off by titles or labels and quick to dismiss without really knowing where the error is. Dear Lord, help us to remain vigilant and on guard.

In Him,