Archive for January, 2011

v326 Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On

Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On

You never know the strength of the thing you built till a good shaking comes upon it. Many have built their lives on such flimsy ramparts that the slightest downfall can take it down and render them helpless and afraid.

Think of the 9-11 crisis here in the United States. A slight downfall (as compared to war in our borders) of foreign fire and our entire political and economic infrastructures are rattled to their core. Those shakings are still reverberating and have many reeling and wobbling in their boots.

Just remember back to that day. How many were scared out of their minds with the thoughts of attack on our soil? How many had nowhere to turn, nowhere but God? It was like a revival on the first two days. People who never thought nor spoke of God were suddenly turned to Him for help and salvation.

It scared the multitudes into religion. They got their God on! Then as usually happens when the storm clouds passed and the skies began to clear they went right back to their lives, without another thought of God. Whew! Close call.

Well, this is what happens when we realize that we are not in control, that God is Sovereign, that it is only by His grace and mercy that we are alive today. Fortunately He does not send us a dramatic wakeup call everyday. We’d all be basket cases if we really understood how thin the line is between our life and death if it were not for His loving-kindness.

In the same way though, God will bring (or should I say allows the enemy to send, since He does not send you bad things) a 9-11 crisis to your very foundations, not to unleash His wrath and judgment (by then it is too late) but to motivate you to jump foundations. Is you house built on sand or THE ROCK?

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. 3:11.

These shakings are love taps, gentle spankings of correction.

“Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.” Deuteronomy 8:5

“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” Proverbs 13:24

“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” Hebrews 12:6

Why not understand the times? God is pleading, provoking, nudging and motivating you to get on a sure foundation. Why not jump foundations now? Why wait till it is too late?

People, there’s a whole lotta shakin’ going on.

“But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:49.

“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” 2 Tim. 2:19.

v4.25 The Big Picture – Part 8

The Big Picture – Part 8

Plan A – A Personal Appearance

So man is running scared from his God. He is caught in a cycle of listening to lies leading to erroneous self-thoughts, leading to feelings of rejection, producing fear bred from unbelief, hiding and trying to cover over his imperfections, working and building and primping and trying to be acceptable yet failing, running to the enemy for comfort, listening to lies leading to erroneous self-thoughts (of mistaken identity related to being orphaned), etc., etc., ad nauseam.

So God sees us running our endless loop and exhausting our efforts to be good enough, to show Him that we are worthy and acceptable and should be forgiven based on our own righteousness demonstrated in our works. He has mercy and sends His Grace to communicate that we cannot ever be good enough, but that He can be good enough for all of us. God in me is the only Good I can offer you. “And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.” Mark 10:18.

God looks down and says, “Stop the insanity!”. You are doing the same things year-in and year-out, centruy-in and century-out, reasoning that you will get a different result. All you get is tired and distraught, depressed and hopeless. More fuel for the track!

So God sends us the Way out. He puts a door on your infinite-loop, an if/then clause. Whereas we ran the track:

x=doubt and unbelief
If x=doubt and unblief
take another lap

Then when God entered he injected a New Program, a Way to exit:

x=doubt and unbelief
If x=doubt and unbelief
take another lap
set value of x to “believe”; y or n?
If y then x=believe
exit loop
run New Program “HisLife.exe”

We laugh and mock at the Israelites running their little Wilderness course for 40 years in a tight little circle of geography. We can’t understand what was so hard about exiting Egypt and entering the Promised Land when God had paved the entire way for them. It seems to us that they just did not believe God, that they could inhabit the land. Unbelief held them captives.

I wonder what they would think of us running in the same little self-centered circles of me for 2000 years. They must laugh and wonder why we are running so long in circles in so tight a geography. To stop the insanity exit “me” and enter “Him”. It would seem to them that we just need to believe so that we could inhabit Him. Yet, again, unbelief holds us captives.

God came in Flesh and the perfect expression — the Word, to show us the Way. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

God sent His Son, full of Grace and Truth to testify of the Father, so that we might look at Him and know our Father. He is God in Flesh, in perfect expression.

“Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” John 14:9

What you need to do to exit the endless-loop of trying is to believe, start trusting. God sent His Son to change the Way from the Old Program to the New Program. The old program is still valid but it won’t get you there. It is like the proverbial rocking chair. It gives you something to do but doesn’t take you anywhere.

You must seek Him with all your heart, all your mind, all your strength and all your soul. Belief is serious stuff. It does not leave room for unbelief. True belief is like light to a darkened mind. It chases out all the dark, all the unbelief. “Believe and do not doubt.”

So look for God and listen for God with passion and desire to know Him. I have faith that He will reveal Himself to you like He promised. The wonderful thing about belief is that it totally blows away all our endless-loop methods. It takes doing out of the formula and replaces it with a heart-choice, a choice of will.

“Like a lightning bolt, it strikes down all wisdom and righteousness, every law and commandment, even the law of Moses. It lays before us a different work—a work that is above and beyond us. We cannot grasp Christ with our thoughts or reason. Therefore, faith cannot be our own work. We are drawn to Christ, even though we can neither feel him nor see Him.” — Martin Luther.

How about you? Tired of running in circles? Do you want to enter into the Promised Land? Do you want to end your day in Abundant Life or in redundant ritual?

Alas, by and large, God is and was rejected by men. There are religious systems that have found a way by man-made traditions and rituals, endless loops of effort. They may have started in sincerity to believe and honor God but they are such an attraction for men, offering power and prestige that soon the sincerity is watered down and the original flavor is lost altogether.

Religion does not accept a God that threatens their goals and their existence. The Pharisees were vehemently opposed to a New Program that left them in need of the same God they professed to sell for a price. So they sold him for a price.

These man-made systems do not accept God as revealed in Christ, they have a way that seems right to them. A way that is reasonable, practical and profitable too. I don’t recommend it though. “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Prov. 16:25. Endless loop theology.

Though we had a way to make God exit our program he did not go without dropping seeds in His followers. He infected them with the Holy Spirit when He went away (it was the plan all along). God went viral and began to reproduce Himself in the hearts of men and women. You just can’t keep a Good man down. He arose and is now contaminating every heart that comes to Him with His Love so that it might spread and the world might know that Jesus is Lord.

“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” 2 Cor. 5:19.

This is Plan B. God has hacked into the world system and is working toward a total system takedown. We are his agents to spread the Code, trojan horses in the enemy’s camp.

More on Plan B next week.

Quote Title Quotation Source
Separation From Life Culminates in Death … sin has destroyed the spirit’s keen intuitive knowledge of God and rendered man spiritually dead. He may be religious, moral, learned, capable, strong and wise, but he is dead to God. He may even talk about God, reason about God and preach God, but he is still dead to Him. Man is not able to hear or sense the voice of God’s Spirit. Consequently in the New Testament God often refers to those who are living in the flesh as dead. The death which began in our forefathers spirit gradually spread until it reached his body. Though he lived on for many years after his spirit was dead, death nevertheless worked incessantly in him until his spirit, soul and body were all dead. Watchman Nee – The Spiritual Man, circa 1920, copyright 1968 Christian Fellowship Publishers, Inc.
Finally, Someone to Trust Unfaithfulness is one of the most outstanding sins of these evil days. In the business world, a man’s word is, with exceedingly rare exceptions, no longer his bond. In the social world, marital infidelity abounds on every hand, the sacred bonds of wedlock being broken with as little regard as the discarding of an old garment. In the ecclesiastical realm, thousands who have solemnly covenanted to preach the truth make no scruple to attack and deny it. Nor can reader or writer claim complete immunity from this fearful sin: in how many ways have we been unfaithful to Christ, and to the light and privileges which God has entrusted to us! How refreshing, then, unspeakably blessed, to lift our eyes above the scene of ruin, and behold one who is faithful, faithful in all things, faithful at all times. “Know therefore that the Lord thy God, He is God, the faithful God” (Deut. 7:9) Arthur W. Pink – The Attributes of God, circa 1940, copyright 1975 Baker Books
Self-Incarceration A man or woman who claims to be a Christian but does not actively seek a relationship with God through Christ is by default a slave to the Law. But those who seek and love the Lord their God with all their heart, all their mind, all their strength and all their soul find Freedom in Christ. There are no other options. Tom Van Hoogen
Heaven Is Knocking On Your Door To live God’s way is to love. “Anyone who does not love remains in death” (1 John 3:14). God is so eager for us to love him, issuing an open invitation to the general public is not enough. He makes house calls, going from door to door. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will go in and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). Notice that this divine lover at the door is not content merely to knock. He stands there knocking. He calls out to the soul, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me” (Song 2:10). He rattles the doorknob. Francis de Sales – Treatise on the Love of God – circa 1616; edited by Bernard Bangley © 2003
All Things, ALL Things Work Together Patiently endure the ups and downs of everyday life. Behind every annoying circumstance, learn to see God governing all things. See that He trains you through troubling situations as well as through pleasant ones. The intrusions that God sends you will no doubt upset your plans and oppose all that you want.But they will also chase you toward God. Sit still before Him and yield your will to Him. Your unbending will shall begin to learn flexibility. Fenelon – The Seeking Heart, circa 1690, copyright Christian Books Publishing House
Make for Yourselves No Graven Thing When we try to imagine what God is like we must of necessity use that-which-is-not-God as the raw material for our minds to work on; hence whatever we visualize God to be, He is not, for we have constructed our image out of that which He has made and what He has made is not God. If we insist upon trying to imagine Him, we end with an idol, made not with hands but with thoughts; and an idol of the mind is as offensive to God as an idol of the hand. A. W. Tozer – The Knowledge of the Holy, © 1961 Aiden Wilson Tozer
Modern Day Pharisees with New Causes There is a great amount of Pharisaism abroad to-day, and it is based on devotee-ness to principles. Devotion to a cause is the great mark of our day, and in religion it means being devoted to the application of religious principles. A disciple of Jesus Christ is devoted to a Person, not to principles. Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers
Father Knows Best Each man has worth in God’s sight. Life and action, thought and intent are sacred. And what an end that lies before us — to have a consciousness of our own ideal being flashed into us from the thought of God. Surely, for this may well give way to our paltry self-consciousnesses, self-admirations, and self-worships. Surely, to know what He thinks about us will push out of our souls all our thoughts about ourselves. We may well hold them loosely now, and be ready to let them go. Toward this result St. Paul had already drawn near, when he who had begun the race with a bitter cry for deliverance from the body of his death was able to say that he judged his own self no longer. George MacDonald – The Best of George MacDonald © 2006 Cook Communications Ministries.
Being Left in the Dust The material body cannot keep company forever with the spirit. After fulfilling its purpose for some time as the instrument of the soul for its work in the world, the body begins to refuse, through weakness and old age, to go along with the spirit any further. This is because the body cannot keep pace with the eternally growing soul. Sadhu Sundar Singh – With and Without Christ – circa 1925; excerpted from Devotional Classics by Foster and Smith © 2005

v325 Peace of Mind

Peace of Mind

O for Peace, that we might know Him and be taken away from the fear which so readily seeks us out.

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Isa. 26:3.

“Keep yourselves in the love of God.” Jude 21.

Peace is the vast domain of the Presence of God. When you are there in Christ you have a perfect Peace. “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philip. 4:7.

But where is this peace? What must I do to get it? You do not get it, you get Him. He is our Peace. Peace entered the world in a the little village of Bethlehem, just outside the bustle of city. It came quietly, and then moved on.

Marvel not that I say unto you, you must be born again. Peace is not your lot. It is not in you to have peace. He is Peace and you must enter into that Peace by a death to your self. You must die so that he might live through you. This is the peace “which passeth all understanding.”

You see, the world is a bully and Satan controls it by fear and lies. If you look to the world and your Self you will never find this Peace. You must go to the cross and die there. You know, a dead person cannot remove themselves from the cross. They remain there in Him. This is the place we are to abide. In Him, on the Cross.

It is the Cross that will always remind us of His Love that would not die. That has taken the victory from the grave and the sting from death. It is there that we sit and bask in the unlimitable Love that He has demonstrated to us. How can we fear there? “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.” 1 John 4:18.

You must live in your death, your offering of your life for His. Yet this is not a death unto death but a death unto Life. How can you fear Life? “ I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Gal. 2:20.

So, “Keep yourselves in the love of God.” Jude 21. You must remain in Him wherein Peace is, wherein fear is cast out. This must all sound so ethereal and mysterious, even spiritual. It is. It will not be understood by the natural mind. It is foolishness to them that are perishing.

Here is how you remain in Him and abide in Him. Though the bullies surround you, though the darkness is encroaching and enveloping, though you cannot see a Way or find a solution, trust Him. “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:7.

You must “keep yourselves” in the love of God. This is your spiritual act of worship, your reasonable sacrifice. How? HOW you ask? I am telling you. Concentrate on the demonstration of His Love — Him — on the Cross. Remember that “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things”

God tells us 365 times in the Bible to fear not, be not afraid, be anxious for nothing. I think He wanted us to not be afraid. Don’t you?

In Christ there is Peace. Enter in. Depend, trust, cast all your cares, look not to your own understanding, consider the lilies, look to the Cross, die that you might live.

It is God who gives Peace because it is God who is our Peace. Don’t look at the bullies and the darkness and the problems. Here is the rest of the story, “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 21

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb. 12:2.

When you do this you will have Peace of mind.

v324 Emotionless Motions

Emotionless Motions

There are ways that God has given us to physically express our emotions. There is a way for the outside to express what the inside feels and desires to make known.

There are many positive expressions of our inward state of heart. Just watch the spectators at an intense football or basketball game. Look at the expressions and animation of a parent when their child begins to walk. Look at the faces of those at a wedding. The body is connected to the soul and the soul is the place where the mind and heart live.

There are also many negative emotions of the heart that express themselves through the body. We can see anger and depression. We can tell when someone has been hurt or suffers pain. The outside reveals the inside.

Emotions are a good thing. They hold our attention to a subject whether they are good or bad ones. When you have feelings regarding something or someone you are invested. You are actually giving some part of yourself to them. You have a thought or a feeling that connects you to them. When someone loves or hates you you can be assured you have their attention. Jesus had this effect on many. There were strong emotions evoked from the crowds and individuals that interacted with Him. He certainly drew out an emotion one way or the other.

But what if someone does not display any or very little emotion? What if they are apathetic? Pathos is the expression of concern for others. Apathy is showing no concern. The pathos of God is Love. His Love endures forever. Surely Goodness and Mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. Surely the Love of God follows me, and you!

I don’t think the world could live a day with an apathetic God. God is deeply concerned as demonstrated by the wide range of emotions good and bad, that He reveals concerning us. He loves us and hates our sin. We need to do this more ourselves – love the sinner, hate the sin.

Anyway, it comes to me that Judas kissed Jesus in the Garden as his signal of betrayal. A kiss is reserved for an expression of love, an affectionate desire toward another. What blasphemy! To take an expression of love reserved for the display of a positive emotion and corrupt its use, is beyond evil. If evil could be more evil it is in the corruption of a good thing.

How then is our apathy in gatherings all across the world to be taken when we are there going through the motions of a display of worship and love for God when our hearts are not there? Every week on a certain day millions gather to make a physical showing of a love feigned but without heart.

Religion, making an external display for which there is no internal reality of relationship, is like a Judas Kiss.

“This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” Matt. 15:8.

It is time we either get invested in a relationship with God or quit going through the motions. Religion is just pure evil.

v323 Lowest or Highest Rung?

Lowest or Highest Rung?

We are here on earth and God is in heaven. Yet there is a ladder, Jesus Christ, that bridges the gap. We may ascend with angels to the very throne of God and descend to bring back heavenly treasures. Are you climbing to higher heights each day?

In the movie City Slickers, a 1991 comedy about a man dealing (poorly) with a midlife crisis upon the advent of his 39th birthday, starring Billy Crystal and Jack Palance, Mitch Robbins (Billy Crystal) is learning (albeit reluctantly and unknowingly) about life from Curly (Jack Palance), a brazened hard-as-nails cowboy. Here is one of those lessons:

Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is? [points index finger skyward] This.
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean sh**.
Mitch: But, what is the “one thing?”
Curly: [smiles and points his finger at Mitch] That’s what you have to find out.

Source: Wikiquotes

Paul found out, and I, by God’s inexhaustible grace will attain to it.

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.” Phil. 3:13-15.

Are you thus minded to this end or “otherwise minded”? If the prize was at the top of the ladder what rung would you be on, the lowest or the highest?

Here is a guide of some of the stops to the top. What rung you are holding on to?

Disinterested – Haven’t found the ladder, not looking for it.

Decided – I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back. Hallelujah! You‘re in! (Many are hanging on the bottom rung, holding on till He comes to rescue them).

Delay – Waiting to see which way will go best for me, further commitment or clinging to the bottom with other bottom feeders. Don’t wait to long though, you may fall back into the cesspool of the world.

Deterring – I am deterring sin in my life however not wholly committed to leaving Sodom and Gomorah.

Disassociation – I have made a show of leaving the world and let everybody know that I am “suffering for the Lord”. This is a really really hard place to stay, neither hot nor cold.

Deny (self) – Here I am putting away childish things. “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” 1 Cor. 13:11. The road gets steeper and narrower continually. But you are strengthened and encouraged at every step. There will be many challenges to test your faith along the way to see if you are motivated by love or self-satisfaction.

Death – You must not only deny, but must be willing to deny yourself to the point of death. You lay it all on the line in the ultimate test of your faith.

Desire – Your only desire is to please Him to know Him and to found in Him. He has become your All-in-All. In Him you live and move and have your being.

Divine Oneness – This is the prayer of Jesus realized. That they may be one with us. Pure Love and Light have found expression in you. The Word has become Flesh.

How is the view from where you are? It is so much better near the top.

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