Monday, March 29, 2010

Greatest obstacle to Enjoying God's Love

"Perhaps the greatest obstacle to enjoying God's love is our mistaken belief that we have to be a delight to ourselves before we can be a delight to God" - Sam Storms The Singing God page 147

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Little foxes and tender grapes

Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes. - Song of Solomon 2:15 (KJV)
The Song of Solomon is a strange little book many see as an allegory of the heartfelt relationship between Christ and the believer/Church.

Inside that strange little book is a strange little verse, apparently standing alone, in the middle of the woman's professed devotion. But vines represent the believer's life and connection to Christ (John 15:5) and grapes represent the result, or fruit, of one's life (John 15:16).

The haunting message, right where it belongs, is that in the middle of devotion, growth, and love for Christ there can still be "little foxes" (sneaky little things that creep in under the radar, so to speak) that can spoil the results of our devotion.

We also call these blind spots, a pet belief (of a person or a religious group) having no (or obscure) scriptural support, or a favorite "little" unrepented sin, and we wonder why we can't make traction or why things showing so much promise turn out a disappointment.

That's why we need believers, not just from our group or mindset, who love us enough to correct us, to point out those "little foxes".

The wise will ask for feedback and listen.

One Small Detail From Jesus' Triumphant Entry

(Mar 11:2)"Go to the village across from you. As soon as you enter, you'll find a colt tethered, one that has never yet been ridden. Untie it and bring it.... They brought the colt to Jesus, spread their coats on it, and he mounted. - Mark 11:2, 7 (Message Bible)
A small detail - The colt Jesus used had never before had a rider. Other gospels also point out the colt was a donkey.

What can we learn from that? Jesus takes unbroken, headstrong, inexperienced creatures and immediately makes them useful to his purposes, whether they be donkeys or humans.

Jesus stilled the storms with a single word (Mark 4:41) and peacefully rides the unbroken and naturally stubborn with just his touch.

- Fritz

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Difference between Love and Intimacy.

If we don't earn our way into heaven, then why do good works? If God doesn't play favorites, why do some appear closer to Him than others?

These are questions often heard.

The Bible clearly says salvation (all that means both now and eternally) is a gift by God's grace not based on the good works we do but the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross (Eph. 2:8-9). It also tells us God does not play favorites (Romans 2:11).

I think of it in terms of my own children. I love each one equally but the "closeness" I feel to each differs and sometimes fluctuates.

Love moves me to provide for their needs, sometimes above my own, to act in their best interest even when they don't appreciate it, to not hold grudges against them and to long for a greater closeness to each.

Some of my children have at times felt I loved others of them more and have said so, but I know that is not true. What is true is that the actions of some have, at times, developed an intimacy not always shared by others at all times. Love can be one direction but intimacy can not! The level of intimacy has always been their choice, not mine.

While there is nothing more they can do for my love (they each already have it) there are things they can do to increase our intimacy.

Desiring to spend time with me is a good first step. Showing my opinions are valued also helps. Doing what I consider "good" things simply because I consider them "good" things makes love a two way communication and joys my heart.

The purpose of us doing "good" works is because it brings God pleasure. Taking the time to read His word, the Bible, in a desire to know Him better, fosters a two way communication available to anyone but chosen by only some. Moving towards Him doesn't make Him love us more, it makes us love Him more. It doesn't change Him, He is already at 100% for us; it changes us.

A pastor friend often said in his sermons, "You can be as close to God as you want."

Something to think about.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Bridal Paradigm

"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. - Ephesians 5:31-32 (KJV)
Jesus elevated physical existence and circumstances to a new level.

He spoke of "living" water - something like water, but for the soul (John 4:10). With his water you don't get wet but you do get refreshed, in a different way.

Jesus said He was the "Light" of the world. He illuminates reality. It could be said light is simply a physical metaphor for what God does when he come into the human heart.

The Bible uses another physical metaphor, that of being a Bride for Christ.

Our female brethren may have an easier time understanding the metaphor, but not the exclusive rights to it. It has nothing to do with gender or sex like his "living" water has nothing to do with getting wet.

It has everything to do with the relationship and love between the saved and their Saviour. It describes the heartfelt relationship Jesus has towards me (individually and for the Church as a whole). It illustrates the excitement of being sought out and chosen by the real "Mr. Right" - not in us finding him but him finding us(Philippians 3:12b).

If 2nd Timothy 3:16 is to be believed, when it says "All scripture is inspired..." then the mystery of "a man with a maid" (Proverbs 30:19) and the book of the Song of Solomon are physical metaphors of the mystical relationship between the man, Christ Jesus, and the maid, us individually and collectively as the church.

I have heard this but until now it has been dormant; I am awaking to a whole new world!

- Fritz

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Secret Society Anyone Can Join

There is a secret society who's membership spans countries, cultures, and languages. It crosses all social organizations, genders and churches, overcoming barriers of philosophy and all political parties. It can be found anywhere and everywhere - its members can meet for the first time in foreign countries, recognize each other quickly, and form an immediate bond stronger than family.

No, it's not the Freemasons, the Illuminati, the Rosicrucian's, or Skull and Bones; these are only poor imitators and impostors. The society to which I refer is much older and once entered satisfies completely, filling one with indescribable joy and true pleasure (Psalm 16:11; 36:8).

Yes, it is hidden, has been from the beginning (Ephesians 3:9), but in plain sight and only from the eyes and minds of those who refuse to see it (John 9:39-41; Romans 1:21-22). Its teachings are secret, but proclaimed openly for all to hear (John 18:20). The membership is exclusive, but the exclusivity is maintained by the excluded, themselves, for everyone is welcome to join (Revelation 22:17).

What does it take to join?

It takes a sense of excitement that stirs with the possibility of experiencing something more, something real in a world that values the false; a willingness to admit and let go of sinful desires and one's own way; a commitment to say, "Yes" to Jesus where ever he leads so long as you recognize it is him.

What an adventure!

- Fritz.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Father's heart is different than that of a brother.

My nine(9) year old son doesn't act as mature as my thirty one(31) year old, yet I am not disappointed in him at all. My heart is filled with joy just being with him and watching him grow!

Every parent knows why - he is supposed to act like he's nine because he is nine. His fourteen(14) year old brother looks at him with disgust, "Mom! He is acting so childish!!"

The heart of a Father is different than the heart of a brother!

Listening to a message by Mike Bickle opened a whole new understanding of how God can be happy with us with all our shortcomings. Our Heavenly Father rejoices in our sincerity and understands our immaturity, being happy with our changed heart through Christ, our growth and future.

The Bible, in Philippians 4:8, tells us to think on that which is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report and what is virtuous and praise worthy - it will make us happy! God knows that, it is exactly what He does with us and it makes him happy.

- Fritz

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Taking Divine Opportunities

And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them. - Luke 5:17 (KJV)
There is a lot of meaning in small words like, “them”, which can be easily passed over by even the best scholars. The King James literally uses “them” whereas other interpretive versions paraphrase.

Luke emphasizes the point that when Jesus was gathered with the PhD’s (smart people) and the religious the power of God was available to heal “them”. But the only one healed was a poor uneducated paralytic carried in by four friends.

So, just having divine intervention available does NOT mean it is taken.

The focus of teaching must be experiencing. I want to learn, it is essential, but the purpose of learning is to experience - to move beyond knowing Jesus changes lives but to say, "Jesus, change me!"; beyond knowing Jesus heals but to say, "Lord, heal me in every way I need it and whatever it takes!"; to be a friend and help a friend experience Christ in every way possible.

- Fritz

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Getting Noticed in a Crowd

Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; - Philippians 2:14-15 (KJV)
Every religious group wants their adherents to be different from society.

Christians are no different in that respect; God want us to be "lights" in the darkness for Christ.

Many groups try to accomplish this by instructing their followers to wear unique clothing, or groom in a special way, all with the goal of being counter-culture. Some non-religious groups also want their adherents to be identifiable by either a pin, or a sticker, one thing or another; something to give them a sense of identity and/or pride.

Paul tells followers of Jesus to stand out in a different way; not by what they wear, but by what they do.

By not complaining ("without murmurings") not being argumentative ("without disputings"), choosing to do the moral and honest thing ("blameless") even when no one is looking, and not hurting people ("harmless") even when they have hurt you, you'll stand out for Christ just fine! That, in itself, shall identify you; not as a member of a particular group but as a follower of Christ and not to indicate you are special, but that Jesus is special.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

4 Quick Lessons from 2 Short Verses...

Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons...(I am)confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:- Philippians 1:1, 6b (KJV)
Lesson #1:
Ordinary believers are "the Saints" not just the Bishops and Deacons. If you have thrown your lot in with Christ and his Church you qualify no matter how imperfect you are; if you haven't you don't qualify no matter who good you are. It's just one of those things; Jesus is the dividing line not our personal competence.

Lesson #2:
Life is not an aimless string of days, weeks, and years; there is a "Day" coming when a real change happens; its called "the Day of Jesus Christ".
My dad once described me as a "Professional Student". It seemed so far off but, still, I believed in a graduation. I couldn't say for sure when or how but I held on to that belief and took each day as it came, not giving up hope or effort. One day it actually happened, I am living proof!
Lesson #3:
God is doing a "Good" work in you; choose to have a little faith in that and try to cooperate, will you? One shouldn't judge an artist's work by looking at his initial sketches, nor should we conclude God is not very good at what he does when he has only just begun.

Lesson #4:
God has NOT put you down and moved on to someone easier to work with no matter what you may be feeling at the moment. Has the "Day of Jesus Christ" happened? ("No" is the correct answer) Well then, I guess He's still at it!

- Fritz

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sacrifice is not the only thing required...

And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. - Genesis 15:9-11 (KJV)
Abraham was interacting with God and was called to present a sacrifice, which he did; but he did something more.

The bible makes a point to mention that when the buzzards came down to feast he drove them away.

The significance?

Whenever we purpose to do something for God, a sacrifice of our time, talents, or treasure, there is always something that tries to spoil it. We must, like Abraham, be alert to and drive away any attitude or action that would try to make our offering of less value.