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: June 2015

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 30, 2015

But Deliver Us from Evil

We talk about temptation and the fact that God provides a way of escape from it. Evil, however, is an entirely different matter.
I’d be curious to hear from you in regards to what insights you get from a Scriptural study of ‘evil’.
I think most people see evil as an obviously despicable and deplorable thing. An extreme. I see evil simply as a departure from the good order set forth in God and His will toward us. Evil is not always some cringe worthy, overly heinous act; oftentimes it’s subtle, undetectable and even easily disguised as a desirable good.
When you realize what evil really is, you also see your reliance on God to deliver you from it. The children of Israel saw that the other nearby nations had a king. They saw it as something good and wanted it. Even when it was explained that there was more to the story than what they saw, they persisted in their desires. Afterwards, they realized that what they thought was good…was in fact, evil. 1 Samuel 12:19

So as I pray the Disciple’s prayer, this part always makes me think of my natural probability to miss seeing evil for what it is, and my expressed inability to deliver myself from it. Then, an enormous swelling of faith in God’s promises finds reasons to rejoice in the fact that not only is He able, but He wants to. Remember, we were once enemies with God. God didn’t come in one day and catch an attitude with us, WE provoked. WE sought avenues away from His will. WE embraced evil. WE jumped into the middle of quicksand with zero ability to rescue ourselves.

Here’s The Word;

2 Peter 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

Colossians 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

Galatians 1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

2 Corinthians 1:10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;

Our world today is becoming increasingly evil and sadly, our definition blinds us from how pervasive evil’s progression is. We see ISIS as evil and the situation in China of persecuting Christians as evil but hardly ever the more subtle expressions. We’ve become overly comfortable with evil in our midst.
Titus 2 and others give clear direction on how to embrace good and depart from evil.Psalm 119:101 says I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.
Any choice in opposition to God’s word is evil – in speech, action, thought, etc. To not oppose evil is also evil. The Bible says give no place to the devil but I totally understand how we don’t want to be a bother to people, I pray for strength here as well. Yet,see how subtle? See how there’s a clear and present need for us to pray that God would indeed – Deliver us from evil.

In Him,

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

And Lead Us Not into Temptation

Here's The Word;

Mark 14:38 Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.

1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

Temptation implies the ideas of being overtly seduced to fulfill lustful desires. I happen to think it's more than that. I believe Peter was tempted to deny Christ just as Judas did, but due to repentance and the foreknowledge of God, their stories ended very differently.

There's been a running dialogue in my life over the past few weeks and although I was excited about all the things it's caused me to think about, I wasn't sure if it could be related to this - I had no expectations for it.

Ever think much about your personality traits? As individuals, our personalities are as distinct and unique as our fingerprints. However, when it comes to tendencies, most personality profile test use only a few categories to delineate personality types. Think about YOUR personality type. Not what's your favorite color, but the things are you prone towards. Your tendencies. I think we should all take personal inventory and begin to see how our tendencies align with Christ since He's the Model God is using to shape us as new creations in Him - Romans 8:29.

So NOW when I consider Scripture's direction on temptation, it becomes personal to me. I hope it also becomes personal to you because I may not be as subject to failing or falling in ways that you are, and vice versa. James 3:2 says we ALL fall in many different ways.

There's a notable portion of Ephesians 4:26 that says "be angry and sin not". If you're the type that finds it hard to limit your expression once you've been angered, it's more conducive to Christ-likeness for you to tread more lightly in the midst of upsetting circumstances and I believe Scripture supports the idea that as you work toward that perfect balance, there will be times where you'll need to see your exit before you become overwhelmed.

Alternatively, there's a flip-side. You may be overly dismissive and have a hard time being engaging on issues where the Christ-like example is to speak up; for instance, sharing The Gospel. Now, temptation for you revolves around things that would have you continue in silence. In the same way, there will be times that you need to see your exit from being tempted to stay in silence.

Everything about God's Word points to redemption in the person of Christ. Everything in God's plan is to make you complete and completely reconciled in Him. So you see temptation then is much more than the avoidance and the undesirble ideas of smoking, drinking, pre-marital sex or riotous living, it's a prayer for strong continuance on the road of self-denial and Christ exaltation. Anything else is selfish and selfish is evil.

So consider your tendencies. Things that you lean to are either flat out wrong or can (and should) find their proper balance in Christ: Arrogance will be tempered with humility to the level of Christ. Shyness may still be reserved but mixed with compassion and a desire to reach the lost like Christ. A crippling fear of death won't become recklessness, but can be renovated with faith in Christ to an overwhelming sense God's will...and temptation is anything that gets pulls you away from that.

In Him,

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

As We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us

The concept of forgiveness is one of the most popular teachings from The Word of God. It's clear to see that the underlying concept of redemption and reconciliation, which is the core of The Gospel Message, proceeds directly from forgiveness.
Even people who don't identify themselves as Christian, still feel that they have a pretty good understanding of the Christian duty of forgiveness. Herein lies the problem: We have to be careful to continue growing IN the Word and not just "close" to It. The enemy tries to cover all bases. For those who can easily get stuck in unforgiveness, he's there for that. However, for the rest of us, he isn't trying to sell us a message of UNFORGIVENSS, he's trying to sell us a counterfeit version which, to the naked eye, looks authentic. Once you leave the Bible and start leaning to your own(or other's) understanding, you begin accepting this counterfeit and redefining God's Word. Follow that trail and you're basically rethinking God.
This is a major issue in our day: The world has created a kindler, gentler God by failing to emphasize ideas that don't fit the mold. Sadly, these new ideas never really take hold, they just either make things more confusing or find us in a place of negligence. These new ideas persist because like many other aspects of righteousness, the truly biblical concept of forgiveness doesn't come naturally or easy.

Last week we talked about asking for forgiveness and how that takes humility. This next concept is directly joined to the first. We humbly ask for forgiveness knowing full well of our propensity to not only miss God's standard, but also in recognition of our bend to seek our own way. This is WHY we forgive but HOW we forgive is a different matter:

Here's The Word;

Matthew 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

Luke 17:13 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him,

Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

The newly defined idea of forgiveness would say - 'forgive and forget'. Chalk it up as a loss in the Name of Christ. Whatever he stole is temporal anyway right? Free yourself from holding a grudge - loose him and let him go. If you try to confront this thief with the idea of stealing, you obviously have no understanding of forgiveness.
I would say that this counterfeit version is also too easy - It may seem hard to try and forgive when the pain is fresh and the hurting is real but still it's dismissive. You remove yourself, go lick your wounds and try to not wish death on them. THIS Biblical forgiveness says to be involved with this person, care enough to get past your hurt and try to help them become better.

See how the counterfeit is revealed when placed side-by-side to The Authentic?
Yes, we need to be prepared, willing and in great anticipation for "wiping the slate clean".
No, we're not supposed to seek retribution. Yes, we need to hold onto many things in this life with a light grip. However, don't miss an opportunity to give God glory by upholding His standard and offering someone a chance to learn from a situation in the hopes that God can use it as a ripple-effect. There is the real possibility that with this option, you do run the risk that the offender may have no interest in having anything to do with helping others which can be problematic as far as 'what to do next' in the name of forgiveness, but that's also to be left in God's hands. This isn't a message of confrontation, but one of properly appropriated forgiveness and restoration.

Don't circumvent the system. People need to see where they really are and that's done by emphasizing, affirming and encouraging where they're right just as much as correcting them and sharpening them in areas where they need work.
This is how God is with us; We confess, repent and then see what He does

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Forgiveness is not passive dismissal. After forgiving us, He moves on to making us better. Remember, the full message of mercy and forgiveness as the Bible teaches carries a sort of quid pro quo with it. How you do such and such determines how such and such is done back to you. SO remember, it's a beautiful thing to show mercy and kindness but it's also a very loving thing to put for the effort to help someone grow even through uncomfortable circumstances and you would want that kind of love shown to you. Let the true message of The Gospel permeate deeply into your spirit and understand how to lovingly forgive those who trespass against us.

In Him,

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

And Forgive Us Our Sins

Luke 11:4 And forgive us our sins,

This is the part of the prayer that lets you know that this is NOT The Lord’s Prayer. If it were Jesus’ prayer, (because He is sinless) He would have to skip this part.

You know, there's two types of people in the world: those who are depraved, and those who are in denial about their depravity. Fact is, we really just aren't that good.

If we compare ourselves to the world, we may be able to compile a long list of wonderful things about us. We eat healthier than some, we workout more than others, we don't curse, or tailgate or are at the mercy of many kinds of deplorable addictions. Don't get me wrong, many of us have come a long way from being something way worse to where we are now and is that not a reason to rejoice? Of course it is, God is good and He honors His people with all kinds of blessings. However, even that 'goodness' still points to an outside source. Our only hope for being (or becoming) any kind of good is humbling ourselves and following the directions that don't come instinctively to us. Even when we feel accomplished, we now that there's still that pull; we talk under our breath at the weird things weird people do. We secretly discount people based on outward appearances or due to their base conversation or actions. We withdraw ourselves from them based on protecting our comfort. Maybe not you but possibly someone you know.

When we look at God's standard of Righteousness and the lengths He went to in order to show us the ultimate Love, we quickly see how we don't measure up. Somehow this doesn't feel as bad though because it's obvious that NO ONE meets that standard and its therefore easy to still protect my 'self-worth' in light of that truth. Something very subtle has crept into our midst: an unbalanced view of self. On one hand, we have a heartfelt prompting to encourage people's self-esteem because depression is a serious reality. And on the other hand, we have to be ever watchful for the disease of vainglory.

You may be saying to yourself; I get what you're saying, but what does any of this have to do with this verse? More than we may initially realize. Without a proper view of yourself, this passage rolls quickly off the tongue in a very passive way. It doesn't feel like it applies unless I know I’ve made a choice to wrong someone and that it can't possibly apply if I've made no such choice. I think this verse may apply in ways we can't even imagine. And here's the difference: Depraved people can humble themselves under the idea of the possibility and be sorrowful and approachable about what they may not know, while people in denial have already decided that this is not directed toward them. Humility is the starting point of confession which leads to asking for forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness Many confuse humility with plain sorrow but they’re not the same and not all sorrow produces good.

Here's The 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.

Humility -->repentance --> forgiveness --> reconciliation

It seems as if this concept has been twisted and because we promote the benefit of 'releasing yourself' or not holding grudges, forgiveness has become the destination: We don't ask for forgiveness, for forgiveness sake. The goal of all of this is to attain to and stay in right relationship with God. Furthermore, it’s not just realizing that we have the ability, but the propensity to make choices that push us away from Him. That alone is reason enough to stay on the humble side of life. I know I’m really not that good. I know I make conscious choices that take me out of loving intimacy with my Father. SO when I see the exhortation to ask for forgiveness, my focus isn’t on how good or bad I am, it’s on how good God is and how badly I want to be close to Him.

Undeservedly In Him,

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

Matthew 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread.

God is so amazingly awesome! This portion of the disciples' prayer continues to become more and more rich to me.
As a child, I saw this in the simplest of ways: Just a prayer to God to provide daily physical nourishment. Now, as an adult, I don't think one conversation can possibly capture all the places my mind goes.

There is no other god but God - There are so many avenues we can pursue for daily sustainment. Our society is filled to bursting with various opportunities that entice us to fulfill selfish desires.
When my heart ponders this verse, it makes it personal that I will only look to Him for all my needs, forsaking all others. I no longer see 'Daily bread', as just food.

Here's the Word;

Matthew 7:9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

John 6:55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

John 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

John 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

Deuteronomy 8:2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.

Psalm 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

Can you see how this is so much more than a petition for daily sustenance? I'd love to hear all the different aspects of God's personality and desires for intimacy with His people that can be gleaned from this Scripture.

I pray that you would begin to read God's Word and embark upon an adventure: Begin to ponder just how deep and wide such a seemingly simple idea can be. This is the kind of bread you can eat all day long, everyday.

In Him,