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: August 2016

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, August 30, 2016

3 Blind Mice

I try and stay feverishly conscious about how easy being Scripturally creative can end up being destructively heretical, which is why I’m a proponent for exegetical teaching over eisegesis.
However, I offer this intro as a disclaimer; I will be creative with ideas and I don’t intend for my creativity to be confused with proper interpretation of Scripture. Yet, Biblical points will be made an emphasized.

Here’s The Word;

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

This is about 3 different kinds of people on three different paths looking for one thing: Purpose.

Some people look for meaning in life by trying to find “The Way” – A path of benevolence. The right way to harmony and balance in all things natural and spiritual.
They pursue their inner-peace by mental elevation and will work hard to declutter the negativity around them by decorating their lives with serenity. They seek to master their temper and live by the code of “karma”. They’re one with the universe and as pleasant as you please; not overly affected by or attached to things.
It can be quite difficult to see the blindness in them because of the strong perception of disconnectedness and “unbotheredness” masked as peace.

This next group of people look for meaning in life by their epic journey for “Truth” – What is verifiably true. All manner of testing and observation are employed to avoid misinterpretation and deception. Trust doesn’t come easy with these types. Not at all.
These pragmatic pursuants are offended at the idea that an esoteric experience would be even remotely considered as anything other than…debatable. The joy of life is always the next discovery of empirical, irrefutable, trustworthy…data. Blindness here is exposed in the limitations of evidence and frustration at the inability to embrace life and people as entities that don’t always follow the rules.

Those in the last group are just as passionate about their pursuits as the first two: However, they’ve decided that the ultimate expression is simply living their “Life” to the fullest. These are the adventurers. The thrill-seekers. Maybe not in a bungee-jumping, skydiving way but just in the living for the joy of each new experience. Seeing, tasting touching, embracing, etc. brings euphorious elation and the day to day life is either planning or doing whatever pops up, as long as there's the possibility of making them feel more "ALIVE". (and avoiding as much as possible, things that don't)
The blindness here is usually evidenced by the large deflection between the highs and the lows. When life doesn't deliver, depression usually follows.

These three existentialists views on pursuing meaning – Although they may provide feelings of elevated connectedness, assurance and stability and some assemblance of happiness and value; ultimately, they don’t lead to lasting fulfillment or designed purpose.
Christ says the He himself is “the way, the truth and the life”, and immediately follows it up with “no one comes to the Father, but by me.” In this, I see that the ultimate purpose for which we were created is to be with The Father; Communion.
This also makes it clear that any other pursuit for a way, any other endeavor for truth, or any other idea of seeking a deeper, richer, more meaningful existence absent from Christ, is indeed a fool’s errand.

Here’s The Word;

John 17:21 -23 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

Don't be like neither nor any combination of these blind mice - Christ is the singularly, most meaningful expression of way, truth AND life and He heals blindness. Why? So that we can see and become one with The Father.

In Him,

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Witness Stand

Lord, many and varied are the concerns of this world,
And they seem to be nothing if not endless.
Lord, help us concern ourselves with Your Word,
And be about being your witness.

Worldly treasures are but plunder for a thief,
And to amass riches here is senseless.
As cares come upon us, may their distraction be brief,
May our desire for You go beyond us.

To be good stewards over all you provide,
And to run our faith race to the finish.
Outwardly showing that inside, you abide,
Affirming, “Greater is He” that’s within us.

Not saying it’s easy, but you’ve given us Power,
Our old man is formidably contentious.
To stand boldly in truth, not shy away or cower
Whether progressing by much, or by inches.

The push of His plan, involves faithful man,
With hearts unified in consensus.
Who know the brief nature of the world we live in
Not dissuaded by this world’s consequences.

Not lulled by the comforts that this world offers,
To clamor after such would be reckless.
Exalt The King of Glory, and the power of His cross,
The truth, the whole truth and not a bit less.

This is life eternal, to know the only true God,
and knowing His Christ, whom He’s sent us. (John 17:3)
Oh! That our feet would be readily shod
Prepared to stand for the Gospel as witness.

Here’s The Word:

1 John 5:9-11 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

I was just thinking about court proceedings and how a person is called to take the witness stand. The witness stand is often an elevated platform with a seat near the judge. The job of a witness is not to decide the case, that’s the judge’s job. The witness only testifies to what they know. I actually Googled things a good witness should do and it makes perfect sense that God would use this word in identifying/explaining what our stand is supposed to be as witnesses. Here’s a few of the topics I found. If we would really see these as part of our Job description for “Witness”, I think it would be great to keep these ideas at the forefront of our minds and prayers.

• Refresh Your Memory
• Appearance Is Important
• Speak Clearly
• Be A Responsible Witness
• Tell the Truth
• Do Not Exaggerate
• Listen Carefully To Avoid Confusion
• Do Not Lose Your Temper
• Respond Orally To The Questions
• Think Before You Speak
• Explain Your Answer
• Correct Your Mistakes
• Don’t Set Yourself Up For Error
• Be Positive and Confident

1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.


Monday, August 15, 2016

Real Fear?

What scares you? Do unexplained sounds in the middle of the night start your imagination racing? Could you spend time in a dark, creaky old attic without an immediate unraveling of your constitutions? Is simply the idea of pitch black surroundings unnerving? If so, then you're probably like most people who would rather "pass" on such experiences. It wasn’t until recently that I actually did one of the things that I thought to be most sensibly reckless: I went to a graveyard at night…on purpose.

As a child, just the idea of using today’s title image would’ve been reason enough for irrational fear to set in. However, as I grow in the knowledge of the things of God….well, it doesn’t make me want to be sensibly reckless, but it really has helped me see so many things very, very differently.

Even though I “manned up” for my trek into a creepy night, it doesn’t mean that I’m fearless. I'm still well aware of the presence and oppressive nature of fear. On the way to the graveyard, my friend “primed” me for the experience by having me watch a couple of really scary short films on YouTube (message me, and I’ll send you the links). Hey, what are friends for?
You know what I’ve realized? There’s something noticeably ‘tangible’ about fear. Fear “feels” like something. When you see a Ouija board or a whispy specter on videocam or any haunted tale that’s purported to be ‘…based on a true story’, something else becomes as real as this moment – and that fear holds the promise of danger. You can understand it as irrational but it’s weird just how real it feels. Isn't it interesting how fear doesn’t require that we negotiate ourselves into being afraid? It comes easy.

With that understanding of the tangible nature of fear; based only on a promise of danger (it delivers mental discomfort way more than it delivers real, physically harmful danger): Why can’t our faith work the same way? Why can’t faith feel like something? I think that too often, we spend time “trying” to have faith; negotiating why it makes sense.
Embracing the unknown as it applies to trusting God should deliver us the same ‘tangible’ assurance in the same way that fear does… easy and without all of the negotiation.

Why? When it comes to fear, we're basically operating on a "troubling" perception - with faith, it's not a perception but a promise, and the substance of that promise is Jesus. Jesus is way more affirming and real than our fear. At least He should be.

Here’s the Word;

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (Remember, God is love - 1 John 4:8)

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

The Bible talks about both faith and fear; saying that fear delivers torment but the promise of faith is reward. My point being this: We’re admittedly more familiar with the discomforting substance of fear, whereas we should be growing to where our faith has the same kind of real substance to its promise of God honoring reward.

Here’s The Word:

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Allow me to clarify, caution for danger sake is not irrational. There are situations where it's just smart to play it safe. But it seems to me that faith and fear may be opposite sides of the same coin – belief. Unfortunately, we’re more adept at giving fear the benefit of the doubt while faith seems to be ‘less real’. My prayer is that we become hyper-sensitive to how quickly and easily we allow fear to be something real – that we would see how much we allow it to affect or lives (even subtly) and immediately feel challenged to replace it with real faith. A faith that is as reliable as The God who saved us desires our good.

Btw – this doesn’t mean that I’m up for playing with a Ouija board – Deuteronomy 18: 9 – 12 (see verse 11) prohibits us from “playing” with such things….but it’s due to obedience, not fear.

In Him,

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Hearing to Faith

Right now as you read this, there’s a voice in your psyche verbalizing the words: You can literally “hear” them in your head as your eyes scan each word. Many of us may not be familiar with the reference Romans 10:17 but we have “heard” the words of it – “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” When I’ve heard that preached, I thought that I was ‘getting’ faith because I was hearing the Word. Not true. It doesn’t say that faith comes from listening to the word of God – it’s a two step process: Faith comes by a type of hearing. That type of Hearing that produces faith, (in a way far beyond listening) comes ONLY from the word of God. Just like you’re hearing these words, when you hear the word of God preached, you’re listening but you may not be “hearing” in the sense that Romans is talking about.

Here’s The Word:

Proverbs 20:6 Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?

Often times in Scripture, faith seems way easy or WAY hard – which is it? Faith compared to a tiny mustard seed and the faith of a child seem like easy things. But in the Epistle of Jude, he uses language that infers struggle; how we should build up our ‘Most holy’ faith.

So after a bit of studying and emptying myself of “That’s the way I’ve always heard it” I see that the verse in Matthew that has historically lead to the phrase “childlike faith” really isn’t talking about faith at all – it’s talking about a position of humility.

Here’s The Word:

Matthew 18:1- 4 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

The religious community of the Jews at the time of Christ was centered on the temple and the Pharisees and Sadducees. They elevated and valued position: They were pompous and paraded their piety at every opportunity. One could easily assume that these ‘righteous’ men could literally walk into Heaven as one would strut into an expensive restaurant to be waited on. God says No. See yourself not as some sort of part-owner, but a child, having nothing worthy of such expectation. This is how Heaven determines greatness.

Back to the idea of building faith. We often pray for faith but if we look back at Romans 10:17, it seems like God has already mapped out the progression of faith. First, we need to pray to ‘hear’ in the way that He intends us to. True hearing then becomes a matter of utmost importance since the faith that comes from it is the unitary determinant for victory in the life of the Christian. Much of what the Bible says to us as Christians, assumes faith.
Parables were stories that many listened to, but only a few really “heard and understood” – Mark 4:12, Acts 28:26. Pray that as we read His Word, in all humility, that he would bless us with hearing, as it is the hearing that comes from the word of God. Then faith comes by that - “He who has ears, let him hear”.

In Him,

Monday, August 01, 2016

Treasures In Heaven

Promises and power! Yes, we know God’s Word is good,
Though study is important to make things more understood.
And God has sent a Helper. Thank You Holy Spirit,
Spirit and Truth, revealing God’s heart as He draws you near it.

Every moment occurring in your life, Heaven’s recording it all.
Everything you’ll ever do, until your final call.
Every little word you say is being written down up there
Even thoughts long since forgotten, you will be made aware.

A beggar named Lazarus, and a certain rich man died
As their lives were recounted: The rich man only cried.
Heaven bore true witness, to each of their given lots.
Lazarus found comfort: However, the rich man did not.

So in essence, it really doesn’t seem like such an oddly thing.
The Word says “Store up” – I'd contend it’s already happening.
You’re already sending ahead, things to be remembered.
Are you sending selfishness, or proof of a life surrendered?

When your testimony is poured out...Oh! What will it be?
You think you can defend yourself, up in eternity?
We need to take God at His word and consider every day.
Much too late for sad regret when your life being replayed.

Since The Word implores you now, send treasure on ahead.
No such thing as things that will not matter when you’re dead.
It’ll either be seen as gain or loss, so why not make it count?
A selfish life is to your blame, in shame you will be found.

Empty words, like empty calories only add useless weight.
Makes sense that The Bible speaks against strivings and debate.
Gentle words and godliness. Like love, these do not fail.
Affording us treasures in glory; more than tongue can tell.

To obediently store treasure; here is where you start:
Minister to people’s needs in sincerity of heart.
Strive for holy conversation; give glory to The Son.
Let Him transform you and finish the work that He’s begun.

Regrets are sure, for none are perfect. Yet how much will they weigh?
Compared to a life lived in humility, consecrated every day.
Eternally saved, but a real reality is we can suffer loss.
Make a conscious, daily effort to see His crown, despite your cross.

Here’s The Word:

Matthew 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

1 Corinthians 3:13 - 15 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

1 Timothy 4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

2 Peter 3:11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

Luke 18:22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

Matthew 6: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

In Him,