Wednesday, December 17, 2008
It is something to ponder...
Sunday, October 12, 2008
In the prayer that Jesus gave to His disciples (which was HOW to pray, NOT what to pray), He ends it (see Matt. 6:14,15) with these words: "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
I am not sure why so many Christians seem to latch on to this as something for today. It is no longer in effect. This was said BEFORE the cross. On the cross, Jesus took the sins of ALL - "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" John 1:20.
NOW, as Paul reminds us in Eph. 4:32, we are to "be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, JUST AS GOD IN CHRIST ALSO FORGAVE YOU." Past tense. Done!!
Again, in Col. 3:13 (and thus by the mouth of two witnesses),these words: "..bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has complaint against another, even as CHRIST FORGAVE YOU, so you must do."
One more after-the-cross word (the third of "2 or 3 witnesses")is in 2 Cor. 5;19, which reads "... God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, NOT IMPUTING THEIR TRESPASSES (SINS) TO THEM..."
These are the words of Christ, by/through His Spirit, to Paul, who was not taught by "flesh and blood," but by the Spirit of his Lord (Gal.1:11-12, 16-17).
Truly this IS the "good, glad, merry news that makes a man want to leap for joy!"
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
The point of the writing was that the Lord makes lame His sons in order to have them become overcomers...and we cannot overcome if we are leaning on our own strength. The natural power must be broken, made lame, so that we lean upon HIS power, HIS strength, with every step we take.
Jacob was emptied, made lame, at the ford of Jabbock, which means "to pour out, to empty."
And so, the Lord lames us in order that we be emptied of our own strength, and lean upon Him with EVERY step we take. HE is our "Staff", so to speak.
Yes, even pain has a message, a "parable", to open our understanding of the Lord's working in our lives.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Therefore, to love mysel in the right way and to love my neighbour correspond perfectly to one another; fundamentally, they are the same thing.
So many Christians say we are not to love ourselves; and yet, if I do not love myself (in the right way, of course), then how in the world can I possibly love my neighbour? The two ARE as one...
Thursday, July 31, 2008
"See that in the literal crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, God invades withouta single “if.” Not “if” you repent. Not “if” you learn. Not even “if” you believe. The Absence of the little word, “if” the uncontingent, invading nature of God’s grace, shows God to be the power and victorious Advocate of the entire race of human beings. This is Paul’s grasp of the name Emmanuel, God with us.
A mystery, the crucifixion isGod’s war in our favor, the event of His powerful invading grace, uncontingent on the fulfilling of a single presupposition from our side. On the apocalyptic battlefield, Christ’s death is for those who are under the power of Sin, and that means for all of us. Paul can even say in Christ’s death, God is the one who rectifies the ungodly (Rom. 4:5). Here is the power of God’s grace: that Christ did not die for the righteous, for the morally acceptable, for the noble of heart. Indeed, Paul even sees in the crucifixion that Christ did not die for those who believe. Neither Christian faith nor faith of any sort is a presupposition to God’s invading apocalypse of love in the crucifixion of the Messiah. On the contrary, the crucifixion is God’s invading apocalypse of love in the crucifixion of the Messiah. On the contrary, the crucifixion is God’s revelation of that gift of grace that not assuming or presupposing faith, calls faith into existence."
It always rejoices my heart to read such words, words of truth, words that tell us what God did, and for whom He did it. The operative words are "God" and "He". ALL is of Him - all we can do is say, "Thank You, Lord." Amen!
Thursday, June 12, 2008
"Has Christ been sacrificed only for our sins? Has He not, according to 1 John 2:2, been sacrificed for the whole world? Strange Christianity, whose most pressing anxiety seems to be that God's grace might prove to be all too free on this side; that hell, instead of being populated with so many people, might some day prove to be empty." Karl Barth
Wonderful - all summed up in a single paragraph...
Sunday, May 25, 2008
If being "in Christ" was merely a position or a belief held to then losing it would make all the sense in the world. However, being in union with Christ is exactly that: joined to God through Christ. It is the "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me" ... rather than an agreed upon idea based upon the principle of Christ.
Don't you find it rather odd that we have to search the scriptures to find those random verses that SEEM to be calling the whole miracle of Christ into question? On the other hand, isn't it also odd that we think we have to search the scriptures to find those verses that give us an assurance of our "eternal security"? Perhaps all such searching is what we have learned according to the wisdom of the world, and not from Christ. :)
Until the next time...let us all rejoice and give thanks to Him who is our Lord, and in whom we live, and move, and have our being...
Saturday, May 3, 2008
"The love of God is wider
Than the measure of man's mind,
and the heart of the Eternal
Is wonderfully kind."
This is just a small portion of that beautiful poem by Faber, which reminds us of the infinite love of our God whose love "is wider than the measure of man's mind," and who is truly "wonderfully kind."
Ah, Abba Father, the walls of my being are shaken...broken...
And you answered, dear Abba, and said, "You shall not break. I have painted your walls on My hands, and you are continually before Me. I have sent strength for you; I have commanded your strength."
And so, when I am weak, then is He strong...
A good word: The longer I spend in Your presence, Jesus, the more accustomed I grow to Your face, the less adulation I will need because I will have discovered for myself that You are Enough; and in the Presence, I will delight in the discovery of what it means to live by grace, and NOT by performance. For You say: "You belong to Me, and NO one will tear you from My hand."
Yes, in Him, I am in a safe place. I am loved...His beloved.
Isn't this remarkable insight coming from such a young child:
When asked his definition of love, 4 year old Billy replied, "When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth."
Yes - and so, because we are our Abba Father's beloved, we know our names are safe in His mouth.
One last thought (for this post): Salvation is as wide as the fall! Yes, SALVATION IS AS WIDE AS THE FALL...
And ALL creation is safe with Him.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
His rationale came from his illustration of "the difference between the narrow focus of contemporary American evangelicalism and the big focus of the Bible."
The first name (title) came from how D.L. Moody, the great 19th century evangelist, described his calling; he said that he essentially understood the world as being like an ocean liner that hit an iceberg, and God had told him that his job was to "pull as many drowning people out of the water as he could."
As Rich Nathan notes, that was what Moody felt was his calling, and he would not argue with Mr. Moody. But such a theology - a "life boat" theology - claims that the only thing that matters is evangelism, pulling out as many people out of the water as you can...which has been a blessing and a curse for contemporary evangelism.
"On the one hand," writes Rich Nathan, "it has created an evangelistic urgency. And it is evangelical churches that are growing because of this passion. On the other hand, by narrowing the focus simply upon getting people to say the Sinner’s Prayer, we have had almost nothing to say about whole slices of life."
He goes on to offer an alternative theology - Ark Theology. For Noah’s Ark not only saved people, through/by it, but God’s other creatures were preserved as well. God made a covenant with Noah and his descendants that was not only with humanity; in Genesis 9:10, we read these words: "...and with every living creature that was with you - the birds, the livestock, and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you - every living creature on earth." And He gave the rainbow that was not just an everlasting sign between God and people; we read in Gen. 9:12, 15, and 17, that it was a sign of the covenant that He was making "between Me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come (:12)" He assures them that He shall remember this all-encompassing covenant, and never again will waters come to cover and destroy the earth. And the sign of that covenant between Him and ALL life on earth would be the rainbow.
And so he proposes the Ark Theology: "...that God intends to restore all of creation, every realm, every creature, every part. Or as Abraham Kuypur, the great Dutch theologian and politician, said nearly 100 years ago, 'There is not a square inch of the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!'"
Thus we have:
Life Boat Theology: Jesus wants to be Lord of your life.
Ark Theology: Jesus is Lord over the universe.
Now that is something to shout about! A victorious Christ!!!
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Jesus did not live the Christian life.
NONE of us can live the Christian life.
And if Jesus did not live the Christian life, what makes you think you can?
God the Father lives the Christian life. How does God the Father live the Christian life? He doesn't. He IS the Christian life. He IS the highest life. He IS the wellspring, the Source, the first motion, and the fountainhead of the Christian life.
The Father indwelt His Son here on earth for 33 years. He lived the Christian life inside Jesus. It was the Father's life, and His life alone, which lived the Christian life...which lived the Christian life - and His life alone - inside your Lord. It is the Father's life, and His life alone, that ever lives the Christan life. It is the Father's life, and His alone, which lives the Christian life in you..."
Surely such a truth is a freeing one, oh, Abba. Peace comes. No more struggle, no more trying. You, Abba Father, are living out in me, in each of us, such a life. So simple, so "organic", for you to do. Free from "do's" and "don't' s".
FREE TO LIVE!
Friday, March 21, 2008
These translations of 2 Cor. 3:18 are glorious reminders of what is going on...right now!
And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued [believe present tense is more accurate here] to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.
II Corinthians 3:18 (Amplified)
...and I really like the Arthur Way translation of this: "All of us, with face unveiled, gazing on the mirrored glory of our Lord, are hourly being transformed into the same likeness from a mere reflected glory into an inherent glory, as may well be, since it proceeds from the Lord, the Spirit." II Cor. 3:18
One more, from Conybeare: "...and we all, while with face unveiled we behold in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are ourselves transformed continually [the tense is present!] into the same likeness; and the glory which shines upon us is [now being] reflected by us, even as it proceeds from the Lord, the Spirit."
Do we really believe what we are being told here? If so, then surely it will make a difference in how we view our life in Christ, and HIS work in us (yes, it is HIS work, not our efforts. A God business, PTL). No more striving, but, rather resting in His work IN us, AS us.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Well, one of those was Gehenna, which was a burning garbage dump, in Jerusalem, where refuse of all kinds was burned, including the bodies of criminals (which, of course, no self-respecting Jew would want for his end). It didn't burn "forever", for today, Gehenna is a lovely park...you can even have a picnic there, or go for a stroll.
The other word He used was Hades, which means, simply, "unseen", the place where all who die, go. No burning, eternal torture - simply, unseen. (In the OT, the word is Sheol - again, the unseen, the grave.)
The final word, spoken by Peter, was Tartarus, which he gleaned from mythology...where angels were "reserved for judgment."
Interestingly enough, Paul, who had his teaching from the ascended Christ, never once uses any of those words.
Food for thought for those who prefer to think of "sinners" (whom Jesus called "the lost") being tormented for eternity (another word it would be wise to check out as to its meaning in scripture).
How thankful I am tht Jesus Christ is the Saviour of ALL - that He truly IS a Saviour, and not just a Saviour who wanted to save, or hoped He would be able to save...who had to confess to His Father that He had failed...
In Is. 53:11, we read, "He shall see the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied..." How could such a think be? Because, praise God, He knew that He would draw ALL to Himself: "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth [and He was, on the cross]. will draw ALL unto Me..." John 12:32, 33.
I rejoice in that day when ALL shall know this, and the "glory of the LORD shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea." Amen.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
It is NOT so with us! To us, who are His sons (gender is not issue), God says, "You are My beloved son, in whom I am well pleased."
Ah yes, a son, and not a servant.
To those who would point out that we are slaves of Christ, I would clarify and say, We are sons of God, and His slaves to men.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Today, I came across a piece of free verse that has blessed me more than once over the years. It is called:
Redemption and Creation...
Is man sorry first,
and then forgiven,
or forgiven first
and then sorry?
If he is sorry first,
then God forgives His friends,
but if he is forgiven first,
then God forgives His enemies.
We don't need a God
who forgives His friends.
Did Christ die before
or after Adam fell?
In time, after Adam fell,
but in eternity, before Adam fell.
In the mind of God
Adam was forgiven first
and then created.
This is what the"good news"of man's redemption is all about.
He was redeemed first
and then created!...
I am not forgiven becauseI repent.
I repent because I am all all ready forgiven!
2 Cor. 5:19 Amen
Tuesday, March 14, 2006 (as with the following, an entry from a former blog).
Sharing thoughts: March 2006
"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." --Henry David Thoreau
Familiar, of course, but a reminder that the crowd is often wrong. Jesus never listened to the majority, and so...besides, a crowd can so easily turn into a mob!
This speaks to me, for I do seem to "hear a different drummer" - for example, when it comes to what is important to me, especially in matters of faith (have been called a heretic because I believe that Jesus Christ is indeed the Savoiour of ALL men). There are other areas as well, but that (for me) is the primary focus.
I believe abortion is wrong - that people are more important than animals.
Also, forgiveness - for the believer, it is not an option, it is a must. It does not depend on feelings; it does not mean the one forgiven is right. It is, simply, something that I am constrained to do by the love of Christ in me. He forgave me, He forgave ALL. We are to do the same. I realize that for one who is not a believer, a Christian, forgiveness is probably not possible - it is He in us that enables us to do so.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Here are a few questions (from 250 in all) that will help to clarify God's plan of salvation as set forth in the Holy Bible, so that when questions are asked, correct answers can be given. To those holding a limited view of God's plan of salvation, they are truly Questions Without Answers, but, to those who rely on God's Word, the answers become apparent as His truth is revealed to them. The questions were written by A. C. Thomas and appeared in a book by E. H. Lake, entitled "The Key to Truth".
Now the Questions:
- As we are required to love our enemies, may we not safely infer that God loves His enemies? (Matt. 5:44)
- If God loves His enemies, will He punish them more than will be for their good?
- Would endless punishment be for the good of any being?
- As God loves His friends, if He loves His enemies also, are not all mankind the objects of His love?
- If God loves those only who love Him, what better is He than the sinner? (Luke 6:32-33)
- As "love thinketh no evil," can God design the ultimate evil of a single soul? (1 Cor. 13:5)
- As "love worketh no ill," can God inflict, or cause, or allow to be inflicted, an endless ill? (Rom. 13:10)
- As we are forbidden to be overcome by evil, can we safely suppose that God will be overcome by evil? (Rom. 12:21)
- Would not the infliction of endless punishment prove that God HAD been overcome by evil?
- If man does wrong in returning evil for evil, would not God do wrong if He was to do the same?
- Would not endless punishment be the return of evil for evil?
- As we are commanded "to overcome evil with good," may we not safely infer that God will do the same? (Rom. 12:21)
- Would the infliction of endless punishment be overcoming evil with good?
- If God hates the sinner, does the sinner do wrong in hating Him?
- Is God a changeable being? (James 1:17)
- If God loves His enemies now, will he not always love them?
- Is it just for God to be "kind to the evil and unthankful," in their present life? (Luke 6:35)
- Would it be unjust for God to be kind to all men in a future state?
- If all men justly deserve endless punishment, will not those who are saved, be saved unjustly?
- If God "will by no means clear the guilty," by what means can just punishment be evaded? (Ex. 34:7)
These are truly provocative questions...and the author of the above is exactly right; when we do not see God's "ultimate intention," then they are unanswerable.
But when we do see Him who is Lord of all, Lover of all, Saviour of all, Blesser of all, then the answer to each question is...obvious. PTL that the day is coming, in HIS time, when all shall see Him as what He has declared Himself to be - Saviour of the world, and All in all. Amen.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Yesterday is past - gone forever, buried (so to speak) in God. Tomorrow is not yet here - and in one sense, it never really comes, since as soon as it does arrive, it is today. And today is the only day, time, that truly matters - it is all we have, it is where we live. How I thank Father for today, and for the knowledge of His unconditional love for ALL His creation, and for the blessed awareness of His presence...always, no matter where I am.
Not "happy new year," but, "happy new day in Him."