Friday, February 26, 2010

Fish, not the only thing grilled that day...

(John 21:17) He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

(John 21:18)Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.

(John 21:19b)...And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. (KJV)

On the beach, over a piece of grilled fish, Jesus grilled Peter with one question over and over, “Peter, do you love me?”

With every, “Yes, Lord”, Jesus pushed further. Feed my lambs. Feed my Sheep. Feed my sheep. Follow me, even where you wont want to go.

It’s easy to follow where I want to go, no love required for that. I love my independence but need to love Jesus more than that independence.

It is not too late to give the right answer!

Peter gave the right answer, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you!”, and with God's help he followed through; with God's help so shall I.

An interesting aside, Jesus did not say to go where he would send, but follow where he would lead. Being sent puts me in front but following his lead puts him in front, the closer the better.

- Fritz

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Threat does not a Disaster make.

And the soldiers' counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape. But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose;" - Acts 27:42-43a (KJV)
Paul's was a prisoner on a ship bound for Rome when a storm hit. The guards, who would forfeit their lives if any prisoner escaped, recommended their death.

But God told Paul he would witness for him in Rome (Acts 27:24) not die along the way.

A centurion stepped in and saved not only Paul, but all the prisoners for Paul's sake.

I have this problem with things "hanging over my head", so to speak, threatening to fall at any moment and, yes, one day something is going to fall (the death rate in this world is, still, 99.99999% - Enoch and Elijah being the only exceptions so far), but a threat is not a disaster and God has his "centurions" ready to step in at the right moment.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The WEED Definition Test...

He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. - Matthew 13:22 (KJV)
Looking at Jesus' parable of the sower, fully one quarter of the seed sown was choked by the "weeds", what Jesus called the "cares of this world".

We don’t think we hold onto the cares of this world but call it something else like a “hurt” (as in, “I was hurt when ...”) or call it a “disappointment” (as in, “I was disappointed in ... when ... ”) or see it as an abuse (as in, "The Home Owners Association did this", or, "The Government takes too much of that") and we think it is our "right" to hold on. One day we discover every where we look the life is being chocked right out of us; and where did our "happy" go?!

Here’s the "WEED" definition test:

Do I care about it and does it burn? (Yeah, "BURN", you know what I mean) If so then it is a choker. We don't just hold onto it, it holds on to us!

God has an answer!
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. - 1st Peter 5:6-7 (KJV)
"Casting" is an intentional act of throwing; not just letting something drop - sometimes it won't let go without a fight. And it is not just throwing it down; it is casting it to Him.

This is God's prescribed way of humbling ourselves - casting our cares onto Him. It is humbling to throw some things away, but oh, the rewards!!!

Think about it; here is the choice: do I work it, fret with it, think about it, plan to get even in some way, or do I throw it to Jesus choosing to let the peace of Christ rule in my heart.

After all the scheming, planning, worry, and work, what do I get, or throwing it away, what do I get? Sure, someone may smirk, someone may think they "won", and it may turn out differently than I want, but what could possibly be worth more than the peace of God available right now.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Rules for Eavesdropping...

If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. - John 14:14 (KJV)
Strictly speaking, if you are going to eavesdrop on a conversation you can't, realistically, say a promise made to a participant is a promise made to you.

You can say if one meets similar conditions as the participants it could, possibly, apply at the discretion of the promisor, but you can't think the speaker a liar because what was promised to someone else wasn't done for you, a bystander.

Just because I tack on the " Jesus Name!" to my prayers doesn't mean I should expect, magically, get what I ask for, no matter how much I want it.

On the plus side, however, Jesus made some wonderful promises we can claim with certainty. Note the "He that..." and the "If a man..."
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. - John 14:21 (KJV)
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. - John 14:23 (KJV)
Eavesdropping on Christ's conversations is well worth the effort, you just have to apply common sense eavesdropping rules.
- fritz

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Paradigm Shift for Difficulties...

Therefore, when he (Judas) was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. John 13:31 (KJV)
If you were in Jesus' position (I know, but just try to imagine) how would you characterize your most difficult experience yet to encounter?

When Judas went out to betray him and ultimately cause his crucifixion Jesus, knowing this, said that he was "now" glorified and that God was glorified in him. Would you classify your betrayal and demise that way?

Think of the most difficult thing you currently face. How would things be different if you saw it as God getting glory in your life through that event?

It may not change the event, but I would change your experience of it and the overall result.

- Fritz.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Those that know..."

In Texas about half way between Houston and San Antonio in a little town called Schulenberg is a diner, Frank's. Just before you get there used to be a billboard that simply read, "Those that know stop at Frank's".

It was the only advertizement they needed; they have good food and reasonable prices, and a lot of people know it, mostly by experience and word of mouth.

It's that way with Jesus; those that know Him know to trust him. He is not a dead religion, He is the Living Savior.
And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. - Psalm 9:10 (KJV)

"SHOULD" - Throw it out like an old Mattress!!

The word, "SHOULD", causes more trouble than any other word in the English language. We get in our minds what "should" happen if things were as they "should" be and it blinds us to reality!

Technical support tells me over the phone their instructions "SHOULD" have worked, and they think they have done their job.

We think God's blessing "SHOULD" insulate us from being oppressed or from hurting when bad things happen, and we wonder where God is and why it didn't work for us.

Do with "SHOULD" what Mattress Mac says do with an old lumpy mattress,"Throw it out!" Let the reality of Christ seep into your Psyche:
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 1st Peter 4:12-13 (KJV)
It is, precisely, in those "fiery trials" that God's presence can become more evident, not less!
The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. - Psalm 9:9-10 (KJV)
I am discovering in the stressful, oppressive, times of trouble He hasn't forsaken me but is, instead, teaching me how to put my trust in Him, and I am discovering how to let tomorrow's threats of destruction not shake me because when those "tomorrows" have, in the past, become "today" they have always proved God's grace was evident.

- Fritz

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Lesson from a Plasterer's Patch...

My dad, a plasterer, built and patched plaster, cement, and Stucco walls and ceilings. On small weekend jobs he would sometimes take me with him to "help".

Fixing a bathroom wall in one of Houston's underground walkways, he started beating around the patch area with a hammer. "Why are you breaking off more plaster", I protested, "we are supposed to be fixing the wall not making it worse!" More plaster veneer continued to fall.

That's when he taught me something I never forgot.

He told me he was not beating hard enough to damage the wall but that he had to remove what was already loose because if he patched over it the loose part would eventually fail and the blemish would be worse than ever. Removing the loose stuff was part of fixing the problem.

Someimes we ask Jesus to fix our problem(s) and matters seem to get worse. We feel like the banging of life takes away more than we had hoped and we wonder why God would allow, even seem to purposely make, more to happen.

That's when we need to remember He IS fixing the problem. He is only removing what would fall away anyway. He is ensuring his "Patch" (don't go off on a tangent about the term "patch") will hold. The repair is coming, be patient and confident.

" he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:" - Hebrews 12:26b-28 (KJV)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"Let" and "Put" - Not the same

"But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield." - Psalm 5:11-12 (KJV)
Two biblical terms to understand: "Let" and "Put" - One is to not prevent something that would automatically happen if allowed, the other is to cause something to happen, as an act of will and intent, which would not automatically occur.

We dare not confuse the two.

To "rejoice", here in the original language, means "to brighten up" and goes along with shouting for Joy; an emotional high or exuberance that is felt and expressed. The rejoicing is "LET", not "put"; it is a natural occurrence for a particular act.

"Trust", on the other hand, must be "PUT" somewhere. It won't automatically happen without a choice.

I think the reason some are depressed and distraught most of the time is because they "LET" their trust fall where it may while trying to "PUT" joy in their lives.

By God's grace I shall "LET" my joy occur as I "PUT" my trust in Christ, who is My Redeemer, My Defender, My Wisdom, the Great "I am", who surrounds me with favor like it was a shield.

- Fritz.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The One who knows all, judges last; the ones who know little pre-judge.

I saw something while reading the story of Jesus healing the Man born blind in John chapter nine.

The man's parents, when asked about the healing, were afraid to answer because the Jews had already decided to expel anyone favorable to Jesus (John 9:22). The Pharasees had judged Jesus to be a sinner because he did not follow their rules on sabbath keeping (John 9:29). All throughout the gospel, everyone is pre-judging based on little to no knowledge of the truth. When Nicodemous tells the temple leaders the law does not allow pre-judging before the accused has a chance to be heard, they shut him down (John 7:50-52).

God, on the other hand, knows all the facts yet time and again waits until He, personally, interacts with the one deserving judgment.

Primary example - Sodom and Gomora:
And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. Genesis 18:20-21 (KJV)
God already knew the terrible things going on, so why did he say, "I will go down now and see"? This has always been a puzzlement, but I think it points out God's loving nature. Even though He knows everything perfectly He waits, giving every opportunity for change, every opportunity to be shown wrong though He never is.

This may be why there will be a great judgment at the end where everyone will stand before God for the final judgment, when the "Books will be opened" (Daniel 7:10 and Revelation 20:12) though God knows from the beginning.