Thursday, August 29, 2013
"We hear it said that a man will suffer in his life if he does not pray; I question it. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God born in him, which is nourished not by food, but by prayer.
We look upon prayer as a means of getting things for ourselves; the Bible idea of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself "
"Prayer is not question of altering things externally, but of working wonders in a mans disposition "
The above quotes from Oswald Chambers daily devotional " My utmost for His Highest " are on the theme of personal sanctification as part of the redemptive process of Gods salvation of the souls of man.
Note I say Gods salvation of man therefore the object of my faith is not myself (Humanism) but on the Hebrew Deity of the Bible "The Most High".-Daniel 4:34 (Read the story of Nebuchadnezzar for insight on a life lived self-sufficient apart from God. His understanding was darkened and sanity returned after acknowledging the one True God vs. 36,37.)
If I depend on anything other than God's power in my life I will never notice when it is gone.
In our faith progress can be traced to an apprehension of the true God and his sovereignty and omnipotence.
"Faith must be tested because it can be turned into a personal possession only through conflict "-Chambers
Remember the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego "..who trusted Him..and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God "- Daniel 3:28
We can choose to write the story of our own life and allow God to be the editor when we make mistakes or we can allow God to write the story of our lives. When life unfolds serious challenges, let God write this chapter too "-Steve Saint
Saturday, August 10, 2013
We count as service what we do (do= our practice of religion ) in the way of Christian work ; Jesus Christ calls service what we are to Him.
Discipleship is based on devotion to Jesus Christ, not adherence to a belief or creed.
Today we have substituted credal belief for personal belief, and that is why so many are devoted to causes (do=our practice of religion) and so few devoted to Jesus Christ.
People do not want to be devoted to Jesus , but only to the cause he started ( more on how this cause is constantly being redefined later).
Jesus Christ is a source of deep offence to the educated mind of today (can you already sense this as you read and want to dismiss out of hand any comments that cause conviction or discomfort ? I can )
that does not want Him in any other way than as a Comrade.
Our Lords first obedience was to the will of His Father, not to the needs of men; (True Religion that leads to salvation and all its redemptive processes ) , the saving of men was the natural outcome of His obedience to the Father.
If I am devoted to the cause of humanity only, I will soon be exhausted and come to the place where my love will falter; but if I love Jesus Christ personally and passionately , I can serve humanity though men treat me as a door-mat. (Think of the Passion Of Christ for best example. truthfully I am no where close on this.) "I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do..I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus "-Philippians 3: 13-14.
The goal in view here is to make disciples who in turn make disciples not of our own inclinations or choices of agenda but rather to the will of God as discerned through clear teaching of Scripture along with prayer and practice through obedience.
Never water down the word of God , preach it in its undiluted sternness ; there must be unflinching loyalty to the word of God; but ( emphasis here mine )
WHEN YOU COME TO PERSONAL DEALING WITH YOUR FELLOW MEN, REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE- NOT A SPECIAL BEING MADE UP IN HEAVEN , BUT A SINNER SAVED BY GRACE.
I will continue this the with a post on " Judging".
The above is an adaptation of Oswald Chambers comments in a devotional titled " My Utmost For His Highest " June 16th-28th
Saturday, March 19, 2011
This post is part a response to a continuing dialogue and debate on the newest book from Rob Bell titled "Love Wins" (which I have not read ) and part an expansion of a current study series in the Sunday Bible class I teach on Church leadership and order.
The book "Love Wins" and its author Rob Bell are at the center of controversy among evangelicals and is a featured topic on various Facebook and you tube links to interviews . You view,compare with scripture ,you decide.
The danger lies with Rob Bells great influence and platform on this wildly popular teaching that we get to have it both ways ..our choice now, Gods Grace later. "Eternity is too long to be wrong". (Or maybe not, so I hear, if it all works out in the end and "LOVE WINS")
Apostasy,"falling away" 2 Thess. 2:3 is the act of professed Christians who deliberately reject revealed truth as to (1) the Diety of Jesus Christ ,and (2) redemption through His atoning and redeeming sacrifice (1 John 4:1-3 ;Phil. 3;18; 2 Peter 2:1)
Apostasy differs, therefore from ERROR concerning truth, which may be the result of ignorance (Acts 19:1-6), or HERESY , which may be due to the snare of Satan (2 Tim. 2:25-26), both of which may exist with true faith. The APOSTATE is perfectly described in 2 Tim. 3:7 "always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" and 2 Tim 4:3-4 "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4. and they will turn their ears away from the truth , and be turned aside to fables"
APOSTATES depart from the faith , but not from the outward profession of Christianity 2 Tim. 3:5 "having a form of godliness but denying its power" Apostate teachers are also described in 2 Peter 2:1-19 , Jude 4,8,11-13, 16.
Apostasy in the church, as in Isreal (Is. 1:5-6; 5:5-7), is irremediable and awaits judgement (2 Thess. 2: 10-12; 2 Peter 2:17,21; Jude 11-15 ; Rev. 3:14-16.
The Good News of Divine revalation is contrasted with "a different gospel" 2Cor 11:4 ; Gal. 1:6 which Paul states is not another but a perversion of the Gospel of the Grace of God.
We are warned of all its seductive forms which deny the sufficiency (or requirement )of grace alone ,to save , keep ,and perfect. (mature)
Its teachers lie under the awful anathema of God. Gal 1:9
Grace is the basis for salvation in all dispensations, and is under all circumstances the only way of salvation from sin.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
The ad campaign however was a runaway success and created an unintended although well received coultural revolution.
The Company was inundated with mail about how the slogan became the turning point for many people ,overwhelmingly women, the target audience since reebok had a dominate position in the mens running shoe market at that time, to finally take action and change something in their lives.
For some it was a job or career change others a relationship or destructive habit or dependency and of course the fitness challenge ,weight loss etc.
This call to action resonates with us all because of the natural inertia to implementing positive change can often impede the best of intentions...just in time for NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS.
We can succeed however with discipline and determination and the positive role models and encouragers we surround ourselves with (or become) , and a dependency on the power of God.
In life ,fitness, spiritual growth and personal development we may measure this process in a variety of ways to gauge advancements (and declines) and to continue to improve and excell.
I think of the business phrase "what does not get measured ,does not get done"
The summary of the book of James is spiritual maturity and like a fitness gym the process is compared to a view of ones self in the mirror, notice how Mirrors are everywhere in gyms to let you see your form and technique. Mirrors are everywhere in the Bible also as we see ourself in light of the truth of scripture and the lives and struggles of the people described therein.
A quick way to tell how this maturity process is going is to look at the impact of obstacles, setbacks and distractions to our progress. (How many times did I blow it today? )
More goals are reached by creating capacity and reducing clutter than by adding yet one more thing to do to an already overcrowded agenda....simplify, create margin." Lead us not into temptation"
This is sometimes easier said than done in reality but we must be vigiliant to protect the commitment and priority of goals.
I see this in my own life and in Psalm 119:37 "Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things"
I like the "Message version"
vs 17 "Be generous with me and I will live a full life; not for a minute will I take my eyes off your road. Open my eyes so I can see. vs 35 " God give me lessons for living so I can stay the course. Give me insight so I can do what you tell me -let my whole lifelong be one obedient response. give me a bent for your words of wisdom , and not for piling up loot.
Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets, invigorate me on the pilgrim way"
Notice the terms road and pilgrim way...Life is A Highway..Rascal Flatts.
Toys and trinkets litter the highway of the immature as they (we all) seek satisfaction in aquisitions and achievements ..I Can't Get No Satisfaction..Rolling Stones..I try, and I try..
We all seek to define ourselves by what is most important to us and the price we will pay (have paid ) ..Think song/video Lyrics "Hurt" by Johnny Cash "What have I become? ..You can have it all my empire of dirt ,if I could start again..I would make you Hurt" A reflective look at the futility of things compared to relationships and the exacting toll on ones life(and others) and true happiness.
Still yet the offer still must be considered continually in a cost benefit analysis..Just look at the use of time, our most irreplacable asset . We are enticed on every internet home page to click to view more or buy more or..e-mail offers ,advertisments and solicitations for some good and some worthless things.
The book The Pilgims Progress by John Bunyan circa 1667 has a chapter titled Vanity Fair..this where we get our modern day magazine name.Its origins are none other than the temptations of Christ.
In the book the central Character named Christian and his companion named Fruitful are ontheir pilgram journey though this mortal life and the physical world we live in to the Celestial City (heaven),with the unseen realm of affliction and advesaries he is (and we are) experiencing .
In this Hububub In The Fair" there are all such merchandise sold as houses, lands, trades ,places ,honors, preferments ,titles ,countries, kingdoms, lust, pleasures; and delights of all sorts, as harlots , wives, husbands, children, masters, servants, lives, blood , bodies, souls, silver , gold, pearls, precious stones, and what not."
The way to the Celestial City lies just through this town and one must go through or go out of this world. ..which is to say keep oneself from being polluted by the world while we must live in it as a light or salt of influence but not be distracted by the temporary pleasures and ultimately unsatisfing desires of the flesh. "Their destiny is destruction there God is their stomachs"( This can also be warning to those who would use outward or physical austerity and fasting as a means to rightousness in context ).
The larger truth as it relates to spiritual maturity is to think long term "For our citizenship is in heaven " Philippians 3:20
As Christian and Fruitful pass through they are noticed for their dress , speech, righteousness, they speak the language of heaven and they traffic in the truth (Buy the truth and do not sell it. Proverbs 23:23...compromise) In the Vanity Fair there is no such thing as tolerance, a sinister spirit lurks. There is a law, and the unspoken law is you must become like us-you either buy or burn.
It is the verdict of the world that condemned the Son of God. Can we come to grips with this? Friendship with the world and friendship with God are two incompatible entities.
Friend of God or Friend of the world ? James 4.4 ,
1John 2 15-17
"If anyone loves the world , the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world-the lust of the flesh and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 The world is passing away and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever."
Read James test of obedience chapter 1 , test of religion..
test of good works chapter 2 test of the tongue chapter 3...rebuke of worldliness chapter 4 ..
warnings to the rich in chapter 5 and an exhortation to take the long view of the coming of the lord and shape up .
Watch out for each other as we sojourn, 1 James 5:19 "Brethren , if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his ways (wrong road ..way) will save a soul from death and cover a mutitude of sins.
Just do it !
A common theme in all our lives expressed here is the will to control our own lives and destiny.
" I went out in search of experience to Taste and to Touch and Feel as much as a man can before he repents "
I like to think of this as a search for truth and understanding of life as we move from a Theoretical to an Experiential Knowledge of Good and Evil or conscience as explained by Scofield.
We first see this in the Bible in Genesis 3:7..".Man sinned By entering the door of moral experience by the wrong door..So Man became as God through a personal experience of the difference between good and evil..(CONSCIENCE )..but unlike God in gaining this experience by choosing the wrong instead of the right. Thus he was placed under moral responsibility whereby he was accountable to do good and abstain from evil. " Scofield Study Bible
Man has since been undergoing trials and testing and ultimatley failing in this responsibilty to abstain from evil. This testing is from God to reveal our "fallen condition" in contrast with his perfection.
The terms Test, Trials and Tempt are often confused and used interchangably but should be understood as to their purpose and origin.
This brings us to James 1:2 "Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience "
Contrast with James 1:13 " let no one say when he is tempted , " I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by Evil, nor does He Himself tempt any one. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own evil desires and enticed "
So the Tempter (Satan ) a created being who succumbed to his own pride knows the heart of man is deceitful Jer 17:9 and cannot be trusted and has been using the phrase "follow your heart " to trick man since the original sin in the Garden of Eden that he can "be as God" and figure out life without God.
Satan even uses "Religion" to decieve us into the fatal ease that we and God are both in control.
"If anyone among you thinks he is religious and does not bridle his own tongue but deceives his own heart (there's that deceitful heart again) this ones religion is useless"
(That is one who is outwardly religious) Think song "Losing My religion" (system)
Pure and undefiled religion is this : to visit orphans and widows in their distress (fruits of faith)and to keep oneself unspotted( or polluted) from the world.
These are some of the talking points for this blog series of self discovery as seen in the "mirror of oneself ' from a sudy of the Bible James 1:22-24 " be doers of the word , and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (there it is again deceit)23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immiediately forgets what kind of man he was.'(more on this "Just Do It" next post)
All of the characters and truth in the Bible are a mirror or snapshot of each of our own lives ..strength and weaknesses in common experience of life.
The challenge beforeeach of us is to enjoin ouselves to the truth and forsake the solicitation to evil.
We cannot be a friend of God and of the World 1 John 2;15 "Do not love the world or the things of the world (more on this Vanity Fair) if any one loves the world , the love of the Father is not in him "...James 4:4 "..friendship with the world is enmity with God "
In his 1667 allegory Pilgrims Progress John Bunyan describes this attitude in the charachter Mr Wordly Wiseman ' Religion is fine , as long as you keep it in its place. going to church is good as long as you maintain balance with the rest of your life and only if you avoid going to extremes ."
Mr Wordly Wiseman views religion as a once-a-week happening-a social statement of morality,
He is the respected influential citizen of the community opposed to any kind of religious activity which might interfere with his pusuit of worldly pleasures or monotary gain.
Rather than viewing sin with the hopeless despair and anguish of the soul produced by a sensitive conscience, he carries no weight of guilt or fear of judgment. Further his treachery is found in the counsel he gives that one can serve both God and Satan ( Money or..?) at the same time.
Modern psychology therapist and the educated elite have offered this humanistic view that only the weak minded read the Bible and we must lay hold of the problem and solve it ourselves.
"How's that working for you ?"
" For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God' 1 corinthians 1:18
" O Timothy guard what was committed to your trust, avoid the profane and idle bablings and contradictions of what is falsly called knowledge-21 by professing it some have strayed from the faith' 1Timothy 6;20-21 *
* Truth cannot contradict the Bible , since God , who knows all things, kept the writers of the Bible from error. If theories that rest upon mere speculation or insufficient evidence are presented as fact in any area of knowledge, e.g. in religion ,philosophy, science, etc., they deserve the description the apostle Paul gives here "what is falsly called knowledge,' which we are to avoid . reference *Scofield
Note the lyrics to The Wanderer " They say they want the Kingdom but they don't want God in it"
"I Still Haven't Found What I'm looking For" U2 song describes the hopeless condition of self reliant Man.
U2 and Johnny Cash , I guess that pretty well sums it up for now.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
a vision of a revolution against a monarch who is deposed from power.
The lyrics" who would want to be king?" and all my castles rest on pillars of sand " are descriptive of the fate and reward of those who would try to exert power and influence of empire over a period of time...a fools errand .
Watch the you tube video (TOP) with the series of paintings" coles :The course to empire"
From conquerer "long live the king" to conquest "the old king is dead"
"I sweep the streets I used to own...I now sleep alone"
Or as Jackson Browns' latest album titled "Time the Conquerer" says it all.
So why do so many try?
My office has books about that, Companies "Built To Last "... .....modern Industrialist/builders "Skyscrapers"... "Kings "Castles of the World"...."Wonders of The World " Egyptian Pyramids etc..
It is an effort to leave something beyond this life to future generations to say " My life mattered"
or " I was significant or just successful"
Another take on this is Legacy .
This was a sermon topic today with a visual aid of a pyramid
At its base was CONVICTION....what drives you. Thoughts and motives at your core .
The next layer was CHARACTER...who you are and how your values influence your decisions ,conduct and habits and ultimately your destiny.
At the top was legacy..how history will define you by your defining moments.
In his book "A RESILIENT LIFE" Gordon MacDonald states "Every decision you make is a monument to your life"
Like the pyramids this monument is built a block at a time .
The metaphor was not lost an me when I read todays Harvey McKay article titled
"BUILD A PYRAMID OF SUCCESS " about John Wooden A legendary UCLA basketball coach who won 10 NCAA championships, the Medal of freedom, and this summer was named the "GREATEST COACH EVER" by Sporting News. Most of you know I am not a sports fan and these stats are still very impressive but what I liked best was his crediting his father for grounding him in his formative years with this creed given to him on a little card at graduation.
At the top of the card was written "SEVEN THINGS TO DO " (I love the simplicity)
1.) Be true to yourself (conviction)
2.) Help others (character)
3.) Make each day you masterpiece. (legacy..no regrets)
4.Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
5.) Make friendship a fine art. (Think about that one)
6.) Build a shelter against a rainy day.
7.) PRAY FOR GUIDANCE AND COUNT AND GIVE THANKS FOR YOUR BLESSINGS EVERY DAY. ....(NO REGRETS)
Then Harvey McKay Shows how you can construct a visual picture of Woodens pyramid.
On the bottom layer draw 5 blocks and label them; industriousness, friendship, loyalty, cooperation, and enthusiasm.
On the next layer fill in four blocks with these labels ; SELF CONTROL, ALERTNESS, INITIATIVE AND INTENTNESS.
Next on the third layerer draw 3 blocks and label them : condition,skill and team spirit.
On the fourth:poise and confidence
On the fifth and next to last layer one block ; COMPETITIVE GREATNESS
Finallly the triangular crown is divided into 2 halves with the labels: FAITH and PATIENCE
Harvey reminds us
" Wooden did not teach basketball .
He taught life!"
Harvey concludes with his Mckays Moral "(coutesy of Wooden) :
TALENT IS GOD -GIVEN BE HUMBLE !
FAME IS MAN -GIVEN -BE THANKFUL.
CONCIET IS SELF -GIVEN-BE CAREFUL."
7.) Pray for guidance and count and give thanks for your blessings every day. (no regrets)
All that is to say viva la vida "long live life"
Even after your gone....with no regrets!
Sunday, August 30, 2009
I also like the acoustical sound as performed with passion by artist Kelly Sweet ..listen to video bar
"everytime I look in the mirror...(reflecting on past)
lines on my face getting clearer (body getting older and also a better view of self ..making sense of this life)
the past is gone ..(too late to change history)
it went by like dusk to dawn...(life is short ..the days are evil..time gets away)
everybody's got their dues in life to pay ...(consequencences of how we live our lives)
I know, its everybodys sin ,you got to lose to know how to win...(all have sinned and are made aware of their need for redemption by their failings ..that is if given the gift of sorrowful repentance by the holy Spirit
dream on ! NO REGRETS
All my life's on books written pages lived and learned from fools and from sages...(nothing new under the sun.... someone else has been there ,done that....Solomon /Ecclesiastes
"no temptation has seized you except what is common to man" 1 cor 10:13
We are influenced by what we read and by who we spend our time with
as put in my favorite psalm 1:1-3
1. Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.
2. But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3. He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
( How to be successful in Gods ' economy)
Good and evil cannot dwell together
in the same heart, so a good man ought
not to go into evil company.
( Delaware tribe )
proverbs tells us as iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another 27;17
or he who walks with the wise grows wise but a companion of fools suuffers harm.
Or to put it as it has been said of young people "show me your freinds and I will show you your future"
We all have different roles as we go through life , from student to teacher... usually both at once.
or as author Elridge puts the stages in his book Way Of The Wild Heart
I will explain in more detail later but you can figuire it out well enough to see how we all develop and influence as well as are being influenced at any given life stage
Thats why we should heed the warning in proverbs 4:23 .." above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the well spring of life"
So that we can reflect and dream on with
as we sing for the laughter, sing for the day ( enjoy life..live now ..not someday... dreams ?move it up)
maybe tommorrow the good Lord take you away (life is a vapor ...be ready when God calls your name)