Thursday, January 28, 2010

Whose your daddy?

They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. - John 8:39-44 (KJV)
Your father is determined and/or detected NOT by who does the most things for you or whose bloodline you are from, but who you act like.

The Pharisees said Abraham was their father, but Jesus countered that couldn't be true because they were not acting like Abraham.

They, then, said God was their father but Jesus countered that if that was true they would love him. He then told them who their real daddy was - the devil; and the acorn does not fall far from the tree.

All humans are not all children of God, we are children of the one we act like, and the only way to change fathers is by being born again (John 3:3)

So the question remains to be answered: Whose your daddy?

- Fritz

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Some things are just, simply beneath us!

"That..God...may give you the spirit...that ye may know...what is the exceeding greatness of his power..which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is this world...(and) that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet..." - Parts of Ephesians 1:17-22 (KJV)
Those in Christ have no problem believing that Jesus is now above all authorities, powers, and kingdoms, both good and evil, but it is the next verse we need to understand!
God...hath quickened us together with Christ...and hath raised us up together, and hath made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" - Ephesians 2:4-6 (KJV)
If Jesus is seated next to the Father, with all dominions under his feet, AND we are seated with him then, obviously, we would have God's ear and are also above those same dominions. We are NOT the victims of our circumstances, but the victors.

Maybe this is why Paul describes himself, in Ephesians 3:1, NOT as a prisoner of Rome (where he happened to be in chains) but, instead, a "the prisoner of Jesus Christ...". It wasn't the guard keeping him there, it was Jesus. For grins, read Acts 12:1-25. Paul happened to be in Jerusalem at the time and saw it all happen.

Never again shall I say I am doing well under the circumstances! I am doing well over those circumstances for I am seated with Christ.

- Fritz

Patrikin - Related through The Father (God): Depends on what the meaning of "is" is.

Truth is Not Freedom To All

I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins...Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. - John 8:24,31-32 (KJV)

The oft quoted verse, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" was not said to all, as it is generally quoted by the world. It was said to a select few - the ones who believed on him. For others, truth will be anything but known, and anything but freeing.

Neither does knowing the truth come automatically. Jesus added an "IF / THEN" context which is, likewise, often omitted in quotations. He said "If ye continue in my word, then you are my disciples...and ye shall know...and it shall make you free".

- Fritz

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Beware this argument!! It's a ruse!

Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed. Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,) Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth? They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet. - John 7:47-52 (KJV)

The argument used to discredit Jesus was if any of their group believed in him, NOT whether what he said and did was true.

In fact, at least one of them, Nicodemus, did believe, but had he stood up and proclaimed his belief he probably would have been kicked out of the group (see John 9:22) and the comment would then be made again and the process repeated. If what Nicodemus told Jesus is to be believed ("We know you are teacher from God..."-John 3:2) there were probably others.

Whenever their argument is made there is a ruse going on! You see the same thing among many groups, today, who likewise don't want to deal with truth.
"Do any credible scientist believe this or that?! Yes? Well we will make sure they are kicked out and no longer credible, no longer have tenure, no longer have a job, then we'll ask our question again!"
Stick with the TRUTH, it will keep you safe with God every time, beware anyone or any argument that lets it go.

- Fritz

The Winston Churchill Philosophy...

"However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results." - Winston Churchill

The same should also be said about one's own belief system!

- Fritz

Monday, January 25, 2010

In defence of Jesus' brethren...

His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. For neither did his brethren believe in him. - John 7:3-5 (KJV)

In defence of Jesus' natural siblings, it must not have been easy having him as their eldest brother.

Can you imagine the feeling of being told all your life, "Why can't you be more like your brother?!"

Sibbling rivalry occurs even in the best of homes.

- Fritz

Offence not always the wrong course of action...

These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? ....And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. - John 6:59-60, 65-66 (KJV)

Many church going Christians have expressed concern about being too open and too bold about their faith saying they don't want to be responsible for driving people away from Christ.

While we should not be obnoxious, the fear of something we say or do driving people away from Christ is, perhaps, unfounded. Someone taking offence at something we say or do may not mean we did something wrong; perhaps it means we did something exactly right.

We could be left being more concerned than Jesus about who came to him and who didn't. We shouldn't hide our light under a bushel (Matthew 5:15) because someone may get angry and refuse to come to it.

Sometimes our stated concern about not wanting to push someone away from Christ is really a concern about them pushing away from us and the possible consequences to ourselves rather than to the cause of Christ.

- Fritz.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

What about the Pygmies in Africa?!

Someone always asks “What about those who never heard of Jesus, would God be so unjust as to send them to hell when they never heard the gospel?

Let’s draw an analogy using the recent tragedy in Haiti where, because of an earthquake, thousands of people are sick, injured, dying, and homeless on a scale we in America can hardly imagine. Countries are doing their very best to send aid, medical supplies, and food, to alleviate suffering.

Has any sane person asked if America would be so unfair to let those people in Haiti die just because they did not get the aid? Has anyone said the Haitians were doing fine until those aid workers came to their villages? Will the history books record that the Haitians were living peaceably, making their own way, living in their own houses with joy in their hearts until those ugly Americans came in and made them live in tents, and forced them to stand for hours in line just to get food and water!

To do so would show either a gross ignorance of the earthquake and what it did or would show a hidden agenda on the part of the historian to make America look bad. To ask similar questions about the aid God has sent and the missionary effort likewise shows either a gross ignorance of the "earthquake" of sin that has devastated all mankind, or it reveals a hidden agenda.

John Piper put it very succinctly:
God is not unjust. No one will be condemned for not believing a message he has never heard. Those who have never heard the gospel will be judged by their failure to own up to the light of God’s grace and power in nature and in their own conscience. This is the point of Romans 1:20-21
His invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him.
Apart from the special, saving grace of God, people are dead in sin, darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, and hardened in heart (Ephesians 2:1; 4:18). And the means God has ordained to administer that special saving grace is the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. – Desiring God Meditations of a Christian Hedonist, page 227

For us to understand what God is doing we need a paradigm shift; to recognize the indoctrination we have accepted as truth, and to choose a biblical point of view.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

What could be worse than 38 years?!

Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. - John 5:14 (KJV)

Jesus healed a man crippled for 38 years. Later in the temple Jesus had a message for him - sin no more or something worse would happen.

What could be worse than the 38 years of malady he had already experienced, and was Jesus, in effect, telling this man his previous illness was a result of sin in his life?

The idea that when we do good God, life, karma, fate, whatever, rewards us with blessing and when we do bad we are punished, persists even today. Not long ago an actress said a typhoon hitting one country was because of the bad karma that country caused with its poor civil rights record. An evangelist, more recently, said a particular country suffered tragedy because they had previously made a pact with the devil. Even our favorite musical, The Sound of Music, sings “I must have done something good in my youth or childhood” when the two main characters fall in love.

This is ingrained in humanity, but it is NOT what Jesus is saying; in just a few more chapters when asked by his disciples about whose sin caused a man to be born blind, Jesus will tell them sin had nothing to do with it (John 9:2).

So what, then did Jesus mean, what could be worse than being crippled for 38 years?

Hell would be much worse!
… it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. - Matthew 18:8b (KJV)

This world is not all there is, and there is a coming judgment for the things done in this life; justice demands it and God promises it. It really does matter what we do in this life. Even the apostle Paul, a strong proponent of God's grace and the gift of salvation, as am I, said in Romans 2:6 that God shall "render to every man according to his deeds."

Question to ponder next: Is is possible to "Go and sin no more?"

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hung up on the small stuff

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst....And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. - John 6:35, 40-41 (KJV)

Jesus' hearers got all bent out of shape about Jesus saying he was the Bread of Heaven (like the Mana in the Old Testament) and one should "eat his flesh" and "drink his blood", never noticing or addressing the fact that Jesus said on the last day, he would be the one to raise the dead!

Which is most important to notice - a metaphor about bread and water, or realizing who's voice you will hear on that last day?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Belief can be hard work!

Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. - John 6:27-29 (KJV)

Most of us understand work (labor), we go to work every day and work most of the day; day in and day out. I make it my daily choice to go to work and I stay through sometimes difficult experiences - Why? Personally, I like the paycheck.

Jesus, using the metaphor of work, points out what we should do in our Faith saying, "Don't work for perishable food, but for eternal food".

The Natural question they asked: What is this work? Answer: Belief on Jesus and His word.

Jesus said the results (paycheck?) would be something that endured forever. That end result he is saying to "work" for doesn't start at death it starts now and extends through death and beyond. It is the gift of God, that "living water" Jesus told the woman at the well (John 3), and that "living bread" Jesus tells these.

Could believing be hard work?

Sure it can! When tragedy strikes and the heavens seem like brass, you bet it's work! The Bible tells us all things work together to the good of those who love God and called to His purposes(Romans 8:28). We have to choose to believe that like we have to choose to go to work when we don't feel like it, or like we choose to not quit our jobs when things don't go our way.

When prayers don't see an immediate result, sure it's work! Jesus says that God answers prayer (Mark 11:24) but it is hard "work" to believe that sometimes.

Paul uses the metaphor of sowing and reaping saying we reap if we don't faint ahead of time (Galatians 6:9). As the old song says, Sowing with weeping, reaping with joy.

When events don't go like it seems they should, or the way we just knew was right turns out to be wrong it's work to hold steady and believe God is actively in control, is ultimately bringing this world to a wonderful conclusion, and shall personally guide our steps; ever notice what Jesus said to Pontious Pilot when death was staring him in the face?
Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above... - John 19:11 (KJV)

Yes I know salvation is a gift and not by "works", but Jesus is using the analogy here and so will I - We go to work every day for perishable food, let's go to "work" each day for the imperishable food of wonderful and eternal life in Christ by choosing to believe his word, trust his promises, and lean on His grace. Periodically we get a spiritual paycheck along the way that reminds us it is all worthwhile.

- Fritz.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Faith Killer #1 - Not what you might think.

I receive not honour from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? - John 5:41-44 (KJV)

One might naturally think the number one faith killer would be personal sin, or selfishness, anger, or some other shortcoming but not so. Some of the worst sinners have come to a saving faith in Christ.

Jesus, in our passage, tells his hearers what was preventing their belief in him was their own desire for honour from one another.

Coming to Christ requires an almost brutal honesty about who we are. If we could save ourselves we would not need a savior. One has to admit before God that one has not only done sinful acts but is, in fact, a sinner by nature at his or her very core. This is hard for "good" people to do.

Those trying ever so hard to be good so others will like them, trying to do what will make them feel like a good person in their own eyes and the eyes of those they respect find it the hardest to admit their shortcomings and experience the overwhelming joy, wonder, and excitement the Bible says God can bring.

One does not have to have a bad reputation or act stupid to come to Christ - Lady Hamilton, an evangelical believer among the English nobility early in this century, used to say she was saved by an "M," because the bible says that "...not Many noble, are called" (1st Corinthians 1:26).

But those concerned about what others may think of them if they go all out for Christ, will have trouble even believing.

Perhaps that's why some fairly seedy characters find it easier to throw it all down and go for what they really want - Life! Some might even say they had, all along, been just following other avenues of self gratitude looking for that something which, once found in Christ, satisfied their deepest need.

It has been said by many that once you "taste" what Christ really has to offer, nothing else will do.

Jesus laid aside his own reputation (Phil 2:7) for us, and we should seek honor that comes from God alone.

- Fritz

Monday, January 18, 2010

The St. Mary type of praying

And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. - John 2:2-5 (KJV)

On the way home from work, today, I was experiencing comfort from Jesus and the incident of Jesus turning water into wine came back to mind.

I was thinking, again, why Jesus' mother, during a wedding where Jesus was only a guest, would tell Jesus about the wedding's lack of wine. I am not convinced she knew what Jesus would do, or even what she wanted him to do.

It seems her first response for any perceived need was to just tell Jesus; not tell him what to do about it, but just tell him. This could have been because Jesus, as the firstborn son and with Joseph gone, was the man of the house. It could, also have been a gentle nudge for him to begin his ministry, she certainly knew who he was destined to be and do.

But an additional thought struck me, today. It is comforting just to tell Jesus about the things we see and the need. Jesus was, after all, her savior too. This may be where our female equals in Christ (1st Peter 3:7 Message Bible) have some natural insight. It is sometimes comforting not to press for a solution but just to express the heart and mind. It is comforting to realize something Mary discovered about her son, our savior, and that is it is enough to tell him a problem without trying to figure out what he should do about it.

I have some issues that I don't know what to do with, I don't know what I want Jesus to do about it because the results, any way it goes, are far more reaching than I realize and I want what is best for all concerned.

That's when I offer up a St. Mary type prayer: "Jesus, this has happened", and leave it at that knowing Jesus is the same today as he was then - perhaps a little reluctant, but full of compassion, love and wisdom.

- Fritz.

Faith Killer #2

How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words? - John 5:44-47 (KJV)

I've been to school, I've been in the "higher education" classroom studying the Pentateuch and Wellhousen, the "Synoptic Gospels" and Tillich, and higher textual criticism all pushing the students NOT to believe Moses wrote what he did and NOT to believe what was written, either. I could regurgitate it like any other student.

To them there was no Adam and Eve. To them there was no crossing the Red Sea, no serpent image on a pole bringing healing to those bitten, no water from the rock, no cloud by day and no fire by night - all stories and myths to have their layers peeled back like an onion until the truth could be discovered. And after the peeling, where is the onion, how much should be peeled?

They do the same with the stories of Jesus, trying to determine who really wrote the gospels and letters, and what really happend with the feeding of the 5,000, the raising from the dead, the virgin birth - continually doing more and more peeling.

Jesus said from the start, "If you don't believe Moses, you won't believe me".

There are a lot of books documenting the evidence for biblical authenticity - the issue is NOT one of evidence, but of desire.

As Samuel Clements (Mark Twain) said, "It is not the parts of the Bible I don't understand that bother me, it is the parts I do understand"

- Fritz.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Just a nudge

And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. - John 2:2-5 (KJV)

My attention was caught this morning in a seminarian's sermon. He moved on in his message, but I did not; he made other good points, but I was struck with the kind of mothering Mary did and the kind of sonship Jesus had with her.

How often do mothers (and fathers) not only let their children know what needs to be done, but tell them how to do it, and keep reminding them until its finished. How often as parents do we try to talk (argue?) our children into doing something; not Mary.

She had always known Jesus' calling and I think she noticed the change in Jesus after his baptism. Like most mothers, I think she had a sense it was time for Jesus to act. She gently nudged him, nothing more, not even asking Jesus to do anything. She only said four (4) little words, "They have no wine"; only a nudge. Even with his initial resistance she did not argue, nor retract.

And Jesus? He had such love and respect for his mother nothing more than a nudge was needed. Though reluctant, he acted. I think Mary knew this about him; that's why she told the servants to do what he would tell them.

How often I have told my wife, and others, "If you want me to do something then ask me!" But that was not Jesus' way, nor should it be mine. I should not have to be formally asked, the act of making the need known IS the asking.

Today, in that small part of the message, I heard God tell me I need to be more like Mary and more like Jesus at the same time - like Mary in only giving nudges to my love ones, letting them respond in their own way, and like Jesus I should respond to the needs of my wife, family, and friends without having to be formerly asked.

Jesus, help me be better at both of these.

- Fritz.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Not all the dead are in the graves.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. - John 5:25-29 (KJV)

Jesus introduced metaphors into middle eastern faith. To the woman at the well (another of the "hour is coming and now is" scriptures) he talks about "Living" water - meaning a refreshment to the Soul, like water to the body, and indicated he is the one who gives it.

Here, in this scripture, Jesus tells the Jews there is a judgment coming for those who are in the graves (physically dead), when all shall be physically raised and actually stand before God, Almighty,and receive the results of what they did in life. This held no controversy for them, all but the Sadducees already believed in the physical resurrection of the body and judgment for actions; they had read the prophet Daniel (Daniel 12:l-3) and the Psalms.

What he told them they did not know was that 1) It would be the voice of the Son of God that would awaken them; 2) There is a different kind of death - an unresponsiveness to God's and His ways, like the unresponsiveness of the physically dead to their own surroundings! (Not all the dead are in the graves, yet); and 3) It was his voice that, if they would only listen, could raise them, now, to a wonderful, glorious life!

- Fritz

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Want to be made whole?

In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk...waiting for the moving of the water - John 5:3 (KJV)

When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? - John 5:6 (KJV)

Jesus asks us, too, "Do you want to be made whole, or are you satisfied with just playing church?"

Enough of this waiting around until something happens; let's cut to the chase, let Jesus make our legs work, and let's start walking.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Set your sights higher

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. The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. - John 4:14-15 (KJV)

The famous "woman at the well" incident reveals a problem we have in common with her! We keep our focus based on the tasks we have to do, not the gifts he offers.

Jesus tells her of a different kind of water to satisfy a different kind of thirst. He says his "Living" water will satisfy her real thirst and is received for the asking! She can't stop thinking in terms of doing and asks so she doesn't have to come to that well any more. A totally different focus.

It is like the Norman Rockwell painting, "Lift Up Thine Eyes". The Church is proclaiming the Gospel and saying, "Look up!", but all the people are walking right by looking down.

We, like the people in that painting, are looking down at our next step instead of looking up to the one who makes all steps meaningful.

Jesus, in all my journey let me never be so focused on the path details and absorbed in other mundane thoughts that I loose sight of the Glory of You and the wonders of the trip!


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Lets Make A Deal" Faith

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. - John 3:18 (KJV)

There was a TV program called, "Lets Make A Deal", where contestants were shown numbered doors and told to pick one. Behind one door would be a great prize, behind another a donkey or some silly thing. Of course, the contestant had neither before the choice and would often hesitate, afraid of picking the wrong door.

Many, look at faith that way. They think they have choices, as in more than one. Choosing to believe in Christ would bring one result and choosing not to believe in Christ would bring another, and they wait, thinking that hesitation insulates them from bad (or unpleasant) consequences - Not so!

Jesus' admonition in John 3:18, is that there is really only one choice because not believing leaves one in the current condemned and fallen state, and that "condemnation" is a life lived in "Darkness" which just never ends.

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.. - John 3:19-20 (KJV)

Being in the dark is a lonely place, even in the midst of a crowd; it puts one in proximity of a lot of unsavory creatures, who also live in the dark; and it places one under the "authority" of darkness (Colossians 1:13).

Monday, January 11, 2010

Depends on what the meaning of "is" is.

And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. - John 3:13 (KJV)
The word "is" is very telling of how Jesus thought of himself during his earthly ministry. There was no question in his mind that he was the "Son of Man", and no question he was on earth accomplishing his tasks, yet he did not say, ...the Son of man which was in heaven", he said, "...the Son of man which is in heaven."

He did what he did not being previously in heaven but now on earth, he did what he did being previoiusly in heaven and still in heaven, joined eternally with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

We, too, are to see ourselves currently in heaven, with Christ.

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: - Ephesians 2:5-6 (KJV)
He is expecting us to consider ourselves currently seated with Christ as we live our lives on earth! I want to know it, feel it; have it engrafted (James 1:21) into me and I into it to be part of me!

Ah ha!!! The journey of joy continues; pardon me while I stop to leap for Joy!!!

Wow!! Afterglow scripture:
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. - Hebrews 12:22-24 (KJV)

- Fritz
Patrikin - Related through The Father (God): Some things are just, simply beneath us!

Friday, January 8, 2010

What could be lacking?!

Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church - Colossians 1:24 (NIV)

I have been cogitating this scripture for a while now (it is actually the search that recently led me to start my Joy Journey) and I think I may have found my sought-after understanding, today in my lunch quiet time.

When Jesus died on the cross he said, "It is finished" (John 19:30), and we, who care about the accuracy of such things, believe the afflictions Jesus suffered were complete with nothing lacking for an unhindered relationship with God.

So what could Paul have meant when he said he was filling up that which was lacking in Christ's afflictions for the Church?

The answer is in looking at the context from Colossians 1:21 through Colossians 1:29. I don't think Paul was talking about salvation, but the fulfillment of his own "dispensation" (Greek word, here, meaning "stewardship") of the word of God. (Colossians 1:25).

Jesus did his work in his flesh (Colossians 1:22), now Paul is completing in his flesh the remainder of afflictions required for the distribution of the good news about that "Mystery" Christ enabled.

Jesus did his required part, in his flesh, purchasing the reconciliation (Colossians 1:22), and Paul is gladly doing the remaining work to make it known to all. (Colossians 1:24-25).

Christ's work is complete, and continuing at the same time. Complete in Him, continuing in us as we fulfill our stewardship of the Mystery!

- Fritz

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Reality Check!

For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: - 2nd Corinthians 1:8 (KJV)

Inaccurate it would be to let an impression remain that all emotion in Jesus is exuberance.

That false impression can be given because most remarks are made when a pentacle is reached and feelings of excited expression run high. But there are valleys between those peaks, when there is no desire to write, but a hopeful expectation that the path will lead to a destination of better joy than any other path.
Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: - 1st Peter 1:6
Even in the valleys, though, there is a knowledge that more peaks are coming, with an anticipation of how wonderful they shall be.
For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. - Psalms 30:5 (KJV)
Why not all peaks?! Why not all feelings of exuberance?! The next verse after our primary scripture answers that:
But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: - 2nd Corinthians 1:9 (KJV)
God knows when we need a reality check!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Another discovery - freedom from fear

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. - 1st John 4:18 (KJV)

There are some things noticed when one has them and others only noticed after they are gone.

Sleep deprivation was like that. Until I used a CPAP machine and experienced real deep sleep, I never knew I was sleep deprived. What I have now is too good, may I never be sleep deprived again!

I did not notice the fear, either, until I realized, today, it was gone. May it never return!

God has touched me and filled me with His love in a special way and I am on a journey I don't know how long will last or where it will go, but I sure like the ride!!

Today was a particularly nasty day at work with people I am trying to serve complaining about the pickiest things. First complaining I did too much, then complaining I did too little, then complaining that what I did was wrong, sending notes up their chain of command to their bosses and my bosses; it was a mess.

What I noticed, praying on my way home, was that I was not concerned - it wasn't a lack of caring, I do care, it was a lack of fear; not being afraid of what someone might think or do nor of what might happen. I then noticed I was no longer afraid of what might happen to my children, either, if they make wrong life choices, not worried about what pain I might feel in my body, or what accident could happen on the way home.

I did not have to tell myself not to be afraid or not to worry - the worry wasn't even there to ignore. Again, it wasn't that I did not care - I care about my life and my family and living; it was that I was not worried or fearful. I knew things would be OK by God's grace.

I remember a friend telling me he was an alcoholic because when he drank he did not have fear; others have told me the same thing. This may be the answer for those struggling with those addictions; I wouldn't know because that is not my struggle.

My inner feelings and thoughts are filled with the peaceful assurance God has delivered me from any authority of darkness (my interpretation: bad things) (Colossians 1:13) and He doesn't just tolerate me and my shortcomings, He is for me, and is blessing my socks off! It is not feeling bad things won't happen, I'm old enough to know better, it is, instead, a strange knowing that God, being for me, is preventing a lot of bad things from happening and making the rest, both good and bad, work for His purposes, my good, and my greatest joy.

Thinking about this on the way home I could understand the scripture that says perfect love casts out all fear. I could see how Paul would write
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? - Romans 8:31 (KJV)
and the Psalmist could write:
I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? The LORD taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me. - Psalm 118:5 (KJV)

Good riddance, fear, I am under new management!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Love is easy, when you are touched.

And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. - Deuteronomy 6:5 (KJV)

Some have wondered how one can feel love for someone who can not be seen. It has also been expressed God doesn't expect us to manufacture loving feelings but to do loving act.

I believe God would not require us to manufacture feelings we don't possess and love is often a choice of action even when it is not felt emotionally, but today I was given a glimpse of how loving feelings arise in our hearts to our unseen Heavenly Father, not out of a effort to feel but a choice to worship.
Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. - Psalm 4:7 (KJV)

God has a gladness that goes beyond natural pleasurable events and experiences. When God touches the heart in such a way that makes it more glad than anything else, loving feelings are an automatic response.
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. - Psalm 16:11 (KJV)
When one gets such fullness of joy in God and pleasures, better than anything else can give, loving feelings can not be stopped.

I am open to the possibility that God's command to love Him is actually a command to come to Him and let Him put His gladness into our hearts that will produce the love He desires.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Affection - A State of Mind

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. - Colossians 3:2(KJV)

Yesterday I looked up the original word for "affection" in this verse and made an interesting discovery. The original language has it the same word translated in other passages as "mind", as in
"For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit." (Romans 8:5)

That word is also translated "thought" as in
"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." - 1st Corinthians 13:11 (KJV)

St. Paul is not telling us where to put our feelings, he is telling us where to place our attention.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Asking the Right Questions

Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.(John 4:10 KJV)
Had the woman at the well known the gift of God and that she was talking to the one who could give it she would quit arguing and start asking.

C.S.Lewis wrote:
"We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinate joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased"
Jesus said God has a gift, something that satisfies now and forever, and he is the one who gives it out.
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.(John 4:14 KJV)

Jesus give me that gift so I don't even want to go to puny wells for refreshment! (John 4:15)


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Asking the Wrong Questions

"In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:" (Colossians 1:13 KJV)
We don't understand the gospel because we don't understand the real problem.

God offers forgiveness and redemption from sin and we say, "I don't need that, I need God to make my marriage work, or to keep the bank from repossessing my car or house, or to keep my kids out of trouble."

We say, "I don't need deliverance from selfishness, I need more friends, God, give me more friends!"

We say, "I don't need to be diligent and study more, I need better grades, God, give me better grades!"

We say, "Sin is not my problem, I need God to work in my life, where is all that benelovance God promises; why is he not answering my prayers?!"

Friday, January 1, 2010

Significance of the First Miracle

Today I think I saw the significance of Jesus' first reported miracle in the Gospel of John, the "Water to Wine" miracle.

I have never been satisfied with my understanding of that story until now. I believe its true significance is to be found in the remarks of the clueless Governor:

"Everybody I know begins with their finest wines...But you've saved the best till now!" (John 2:10 Message)

The significance is not in the timing, in the wedding, in Jesus' reticence to act, or in the obedience of the servants; the significance is that Jesus is the source of something better than the finest mankind can produce.

This was not a church service but a wedding where the focus was the celebration with food and fun, and the one responsible for the food and fun, once he tasted what Jesus provided, thought it better than the finest he ever had.

The treasures found in Jesus satisfy in such a way that, once tasted, leave all else lesser esteemed.