Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What is Full-time Christian Service?

We are all called to "Full-time Christian Service". No, not as a pastor, missionary, or "Evangelist" but to be fully engaged with Christ in the roles we have.

We are conditioned to think service to Christ means doing "religious" things and we find those things increasingly irrelevant. We are not called to live his life, we are to allow him to live ours. Recognizing his presence to help us do our lives his way is very relevant, even essential.

Dallas Willard, a university professor, put it this way,
"As Jesus' apprentice ... I constantly have before me the question of how he would deal with students and colleagues ... How would he design a course ... How would he compose a test, administer it, and grade it? What would his research projects be, and why?1
Begin by asking, "Would Jesus do this line of work?" If not ask him to lead you to something else but if, "Yes", ask him do it through you his way.

Butchers and bakers, homemakers and pastors, missionaries and factory workers, if serving Christ, are all in Full-Time Christian Service.

- fritz

1 - The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard, Published by HarperCollins e-books, Copyright 1998

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Burning Our Bridges (and Plows) Behind Us

Elisha, an Old Testament prophet, was plowing his field when his call to service came.1 He killed his oxen and gave a goodbye BBQ party, burning his plow for fuel and letting the neighbors keep the food.

A farmer without an ox or a plow doesn't do much farming. In burning his plow Elisha was, in effect, burning his bridges behind him to his old life, no turning back - if this prophet stuff failed he had no backup plan.2

God wants that same abandon exhibited in us as we respond to the call to give our lives to Jesus - not holding back part of ourselves in case we change our minds or keeping our decision secret to save face; we are to follow Christ fully engaged in the process.

Years ago a presidential candidate said publically, "Jesus Christ is part of my life." That really was the problem, Jesus was only a part.

Few are told by God to sell everything and start walking, but all His are called to be willing.


1. - 1st Kings 19:19-21
2 - Related Post, My Voice and No Backup Plan

Monday, June 28, 2010

Heavenly Bankers

Jesus tells of a man who gives his servants money to manage until his return. In the story when the man returns he condemns a fearful servant for making no attempt do anything with what he was given. The servant was fired with the statement:
"Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury." - Matthew 25:27
Jesus says the man of the story is, actually, the Kingdom of Heaven. We, as members of that Kingdom through Christ are, probably, the servants of the story.

We know we are to do something to produce results for God's Kingdom, and some are really good at it, but what about the rest of us? How do we invest in the "Exchangers" or "Bankers" the parable talks about?

Partner with those whom God is using to produce a return of souls for the Kingdom of Heaven - churches, missionaries, and focused groups, like heaven's bankers, who are successfull at managing pooled resources and who are actually producing results.

As we support them we, too, are participating in their work. Our resources are producing a return for the Kingdom of Heaven.
"you have always been faithful in helping other followers of the Lord, ... support people like them, so that we can take part in what they are doing to spread the truth." - 3rd John 1:5,8
Anyone and everyone can do that!

- fritz

1 - Matthew 25:14-30
2 - 3rd John 1:5, 8 (Contemporary English Version)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What's My Calling?

There are so many causes and so little me, how do I hear God say, "This is the place!", and, "Now is the time!"?

The answer can be seen in the little book, Nehemiah. One day Nehemiah had a curious thought - What's happening back in Jerusalem? He was told the place was a shambles.
"when I heard these words, ... I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven" - Nehemiah 1:4 (KJV)1
To me, Nehemiah's response seems over the top; certainly not everyone had that reaction.

There are certain things that stir our emotions and capture our attention; that's the "where" and "what" of our calling.

What captures your attention and touches you emotionally? Begin there!

- fritz

1 - Nehemiah 1:3-4

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Teaching Jesus' Way

"as [Jesus] was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray" - Luke 11:1
This prelude to the now famous "Lord's Prayer" in the Gospel of Luke does more than set the context, it shows how to teach Jesus' way.

Eleven chapters into the Gospel a disciple finally asks Jesus how to pray. One would, naturally, think Jesus had started teaching prayer from day one. He did, but not the way we try to teach.

We "teach" by disseminating facts, steps, and information. Jesus did some of that with the crowds but with his closest ones he taught by doing and waiting to be asked1. They saw Jesus pray and eventually said, "How can I do that?!"

"Lord, help me to implement that kind of learning in my home and with my family, at my job with my co-workers, and daily with my friends. Amen."


1 - Related post: "New Take on Pearls and Swine"

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Unchangeable One Changes!

God tells king Hezekiah to get his house in order because he is going to die. But Hezekiah prays and God changes his verdict saying,
"Thus saith the LORD, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years." (Isaiah 38:5)
Fifteen years later a new king reigns, at age 12, who would not have even been born had God followed through with His original pronouncement. History for a nation was changed by answer to prayer.

We sometimes think since God already knows what we need, why ask? We secretly wonder if He acts on His sovereignty, benevolence, and wisdom; not our asking. It may sound spiritual but that idea kills one's prayer life.

Jesus throughout the gospels tells us to pray and not quit. Bible stories like this remind us God is affected by sincere prayer. His greatness is shown in sometimes changing decisions when asked.
It is not inherently "greater" to be inflexible. That is an unfortunate human idea of greatness, ... it is far greater to be flexible and yet able to achieve the good goals one has set. And that is an essential part of the Divine Personality shown in the Bible"1
- fritz

1. The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard, Published by HarperCollins e-books, Copyright 1998, page 251

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Friendship that Sustains

"Now will I sing ... a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: ... and it brought forth wild grapes"- Isaiah 5:1,2b1
Isaiah is giving an analogy - God, the owner, was expecting His vineyard, Israel, to produce good fruit.

What I see is Isaiah's relationship with that owner, the Almighty. Notice how he describes God - "My wellbeloved hath a vineyard..."! The term means "Friend".

Isaiah lived in the midst of injustice on a scale we, too, are beginning to see in today's world. Daily he was grieved with what he saw and he stood strong for righteousness, speaking truth without fear, living without depression, and looking forward to God's presence because he had a friend-to-friend relationship with the Almighty!

Jesus offers that same relationship to sustain us through difficult life tasks.
"Henceforth I call you not servants; ... but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you." - John 15:15a,c (KJV)
- fritz

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Asking, not demanding

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:" - Matthew 7:7 (KJV)
We naturally think this is Jesus' directive for prayer. The context, however, is personal, human, relationships - specifically family; brothers, sons. Only then does Jesus indicate how much better the Father responds.

God wants our relationships to others conducted the same way as our relationship with Him; asking, seeking, knocking - not demanding, hunting, and pushing.

I am seeing how demanding obedience, insisting on my own way, and condemning non compliance is NOT the relationship God has with me or anyone else. Life and growth comes where and when there is respect, requests, and the freedom to say/receive "no" without condemnation.

- fritz

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New Take on Pearls and Swine

"...neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you." - Matthew 7:6 (KJV)1
We sometimes get things so backwards, with our arrogance and propensity for self justification. Look at the Pearls and Swine directive from a better perspective
Jesus is not suggesting that certain classes of people are to be viewed as pigs or dogs ... Anyone who has ever had serious responsibilities of caring for animals will understand immediately ... The problem with pearls for pigs is not that the pigs are not worthy. It is not worthiness that is in question here at all, but helpfulness. Pigs cannot digest pearls.2
Jesus isn't offering an insult to those who don't accept our "pearls" of wisdom, he is chiding us who push things on others that they can't use!
[T]he point is not the waste of the "pearl" but that the person given the pearl is not helped...Our children or others do not know what else to do with us pearl pushers. And even though they love us--as parent or friend, for example--they simply cannot take any more of our "pushy irrelevance," as they see it, or possibly our stubborn blindness.2
- fritz

1 - Matthew 7:6
2 - The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard, published by HarperCollins, copyright 1998, page 229
Related Post: An Armload of Zucchini

Monday, June 21, 2010

I believe, even when...

I believe in the sun
      even when it is not shining,
I believe in love
      even when I am alone,
I believe in God,
      even when He is silent1
- Fritz

1 - Reported to have been found on a basement wall in Germany where a Jewish refugee had been hiding from agents of the Holocaust.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Recognizing Christ

[Mary] "turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus ... Thinking he was the gardener ..." - John 20:14, 15b
Jesus is not always recognizable1; we see gardeners, plumbers, doctors, our parents, our children but not Jesus.

C.S.Lewis put is this way:
You may say `I've never had the sense of being helped by an invisible Christ, but I often have been helped by other human beings.' That is rather like the woman in the first war who said that if there were a bread shortage it would not bother her house because they always ate toast. If there is no bread there will be no toast. If there were no help from Christ, there would be no help from other human beings... At first it is natural for a baby to take its mother's milk without knowing its mother. It is equally natural for us to see the man who helps us without seeing Christ behind him. But we must not remain babies. We must go on to recognise the real Giver. It is madness not to.
- C.S. Lewis2
Today, with God's help I shall recognize Christ through the gracious deeds of others.


1 - Related Post: God Opens Eyes
2 - C.S.Lewis Mere Christianity Chapter 29

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Put down the cell phone and talk!

"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." - Hebrews 10:25 (NIV)1
Perhaps a strange quote combination, Garrison Keillor and Hebrews, but there is a correlation here.
too many young American men suffer from a desperate lack of social skills ... just the simple art of extending yourself in a friendly manner to someone you don't know, which is crucial in any job in which you brush up against the great unwashed public. (Or in politics, or spreading the gospel, or simply living a rich life in multivarious America.) Over and over and over, you run into young men with the personalities of warehouse security guards.2
Garrison blames our electronics, cell phones, e-mail, text messaging, etc. Here's his advice:
We can talk L8R about bad spelling and whassup with the acronyms — my concern is that electronics, which seem to open up new vistas in the world, may be shutting us down. Put down that cell phone, good sir, and look me in the eye and tell me something. How are you? Good. I like those tattoos. And the big safety pin in your ear. You from here? No? You're from Oklahoma? Really? Where the waving wheat can sure smell sweet when the wind comes right behind the rain? Cool. Awesome. Totally.2
Life is more than information exchange. Social skills are developed ONLY through personal interaction.

Almost like it was planned that way, real Church fellowship gives believers a future spiritual and social advantage; don't neglect it!

- fritz

1 - Hebrews 10:25 (NIV)
2 - The Silent Brotherhood, Prairie Home Companion, April 20, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

Taping Fruit onto a Tree

"Pursue Love..."1
Trying to be loving doesn't work!

We are taught that to be a good Christian we must act like Christ but when we try we find it difficult indeed! I am never so angry, selfish, and miserable as when I try to not get mad, put others first, and be happy.

Dallas Willard tells of a different approach. Referring to the Beatitudes and 1st Corinthians 13, the Bible's "Love" chapter, he wrote:
People... are taught to read it, as telling them to be patient, kind, free of jealousy, and so on...But Paul is plainly saying -- look at his words -- that it is love that does these things, not us, and that what we are to do is to "pursue love" (1 Cor. 14:1). As we "catch" love, we then find that these things are after all actually being done by us."2
Trying to not get angry, to put others first, or to be happy is like trying to produce fruit by taping it onto a tree. Fruit is produced by making sure the tree the kind wanted and that it is healthy - good fruit is the byproduct.

As we pursue Love, Himself3, our nature changes and we act accordingly.

- fritz

1 - 1st Corinthians 14:1a (New King James)
2 - The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard, published by HarperCollins, copyright 1998, pg.187
3 - 1st John 4:16

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Prayer, sometimes a wrestling match

Bible stories seldom explain themselves1; Jacob's all night wrestling match is one of those where we are left to our own conclusions.
So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak... he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man...Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me...the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome." - Genesis 32:22, 23b, 26, 28 (NIV)
A similar exchange occurs between Jesus and a Greek. Our loving Jesus said seemingly unkind things.
The woman ... begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter...he told her, "for it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs." "Yes, Lord," she replied, "but even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs." Then he told her, "For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter. - Mark 7:26a, 27b-29 (NIV)
Sometimes, I don't know why2, we go to God and it turns into a wrestling match - God doesn't cooperate, things don't change, and the heavens seem like brass.

Saying God (and Jesus) doesn't care then quitting is the easy out, and He'll let us take it, or we can be like Jacob and the Greek woman - not take "No" for an answer.

Tenacity is a character quality God, apparently, likes in his children (I like it in mine - successful living requires it!). We may get banged up in process like Jacob or endure insults like the Greek woman, but we will be glad we endured when we get what we wanted.
"Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life." - Proverbs 13:12
- fritz
1 Related Post: God Needs No Explanation
2 Related Post: Loving God Like He Is

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Loving God Like He Is

"Now we see a blurred image in a mirror"
- 1st Corinthians 13:12a (Gods Word Translation)
Steve Meeks, Pastor of Calvary Community Church in Northwest Houston, told a story I shall never forget.

He was complaining to God about how murky things were. God seems to love riddles and speaks in parables, why doesn't he just make things more clear and make His ways more obvious?! That's when God asked Pastor Steve a question:

"Steve, why can't you just love me like I am?

We want God to accept us like we are, why can't we extend the same courtesy to Him and stop trying to make Him conform1 to our expectations?

- fritz

1 Related Post: God Needs No Explanations

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Jesus is not an OX

"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." - Jesus (Matthew 11:29)
We are often given the mental image of two oxen yoked together, the experienced one helping the other. Jesus is portrayed as the experienced ox helping us pull our burdens.

Jesus' hearers had a different picture.

"Yoke", was the term for embracing God's laws; it is still used is this way, today.1 A rabbi's yoke was his unique interpretation of the law. Each rabbi found the brightest and most able students to take his "yoke" hoping their abilities would ensure dominance. They would learn his ways, live his life, and pass it on to other worthy recipients.

Jesus picked fishermen, tax collectors, political zealots, and even poor failures to take his yoke. He knew success advancing the Kingdom depended not upon the ability of the student but the teacher.
"and such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
- 1st Corinthians 6:11
His invitation still stands.

- fritz
1 Search Google for "Yoke of mitzvot"

Monday, June 14, 2010

Little Fingers and no Shaving Kit!

Half an hour before work and I'm standing around looking for my shaving kit!

My youngest had put it on a lower shelf; mystery solved, just one more thing of mine taken by little fingers, used, and not returned! What pushed me over the edge was discovering my favorite razor and aftershave were replaced with something inferior!

"Don't I even have a place the size of a postage stamp where I can keep my stuff?!" I sputtered at 6:30 in the morning!

I learned two important lessons that day.

Lesson One: Giving my life to Jesus also gave him all that's mine - I'm now a steward not an owner. are not your own ... ye are bought with a price.
- 1st Corinthians 6:19b-20a
I knew this, but over time I forget, sometimes holding even the smallest things too tightly. My heavenly Father loves me enough to reveal unsubmitted pockets so I can enjoy Him fully.

The second lesson would have been missed had I not relearned the first.

My son saw his older brother take my items and go away! My littlest loved me enough to find replacements, put them in my bag, then returned it as close as he could reach, just so I would have have a good day when I woke up!

I learned that day little fingers can have big hearts and are a blessing from God and I told them (my son and my Savior) so!

- fritz

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Reading the Beatitudes Correctly...

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled...

- Matthew 5:3-6
Many read the beatitudes thinking Jesus is recommending these as ideals to strive towards. This being contrary to logic we try redefining them into something more palatable like recognizing our spiritual poorness", mourning our sins, "controlled strength" (meek), always seeking righteousness.

Dallas Willard has a different take it:
"Those poor in spirit are called "blessed" by Jesus, not because they are in a meritorious condition, but because, precisely in spite of and in the midst of their ever so deplorable condition, the rule of the heavens has moved redemptively upon and through them by the grace of Christ."1
In this view Jesus is not recommending a spiritual goal, but offering wonderful opportunity even to the most disadvantaged!

- fritz

1 The Divine Conspiracy, pg.102, published by HarperCollins, copyright 1998 by Dallas Willard

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Taking better care of ourselves

"... and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever." - Psalm 23:6b
At the end of his life of fast living and hard drinking Micky Mantle quoted a line from a Jazz musician Eubie Blake, "If I'd known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself."

Though beginning at different points in time, we are all going to live somewhere for eternity,1 either with God or elsewhere, that's going to be a very long time.

We really ought take better care of ourselves.

- Fritz

1 Daniel 12:2-3

Friday, June 11, 2010

Who does what?!

Psalm 23
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
If I read this right, noticing who does what, my life focus is not finding rest, refreshment, guidance, defence, or anointing for myself - that's His role in my life.

My job is to walk1 close to Him in obedience, trust Him when I'm made to do things I don't particularly want, and choose not to fear when situations look threatening.

Just doing that I won't need to chase "goodness" and "mercy", they'll chase me.

1 Blog Post: Not an Insurance Policy


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Everyone is someone's sheep

"The Lord is my Shepherd," - Psalm 23:1a
In the short time Bob Dylan passed through Christianity he wrote a profound song, Gotta Serve Somebody, with the chorus:
...You're gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.
The Bible put it this way:
"his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness1
Like a teen thinks dressing like every other teen somehow expresses individuality, one may feel under no rule but one's own. That is an illusion, ask any advertiser; they have known for years we all follow someone or something like sheep!

Thank God, because of Jesus, we can become his sheep; He's a better shepherd than the other ones!

- fritz

1 Romans 6:16

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Proof reality is more than physical

Some reject the notion of anything real which can't be experienced in some way by one of our five(5) senses. God is, therefore, discounted as either non-exist or unknowable.

Beginning with this thought as a "given" there is little due diligence on their part to investigate if it's factual and they are unaware their acceptance of the very idea, itself, proves it wrong.

Dallas Willard put it this way:
"Your thought or your wish for for a candy bar or for success in your profession is a trivial example of something you are sharply aware of and can describe in some detail. But you do not touch or smell it, nor would stronger light or glasses enable you to "see" it better. It simply does not have the characteristics revealed to the physical senses. And that is no objection to it, for if it had such properties it would not be a thought or a wish. This observation is associated with the fact that a thought or wish is not localizable in space" The Divine Conspiracy, page 91
If there are some things knowable, describable, and acceptable without the five senses, why not others?

One could say ideas, wishes, and intentions can have no life of their own, if that is so who keeps and promotes the ideas of freedom in the midst of bondage, democracy in the midst of dictatorships, or love in the midst of indifference? If these can persist outside our current experience, why can't something or someone else?
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." - Jesus (Revelation 3:20)
Something to ponder for today.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

God opens eyes

And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; - Genesis 21:19
Hagar, banished to the desert with only a bottle of water, thought she and her son were going to die.

Of interest is the Bible's unique description of God's response. It did NOT say God made a well for her or led her to it; God just opened her eyes, the well was already there. Without that eye opening she would have died of thirst with unlimited water right before her.

How many other essentials are, like Hagar's well, awaiting our eyes to be opened?!

God's kingdom is one! When Jesus preached, "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." 1, he wasn't saying it was soon coming from afar off but that it was already here and experienced by "repenting"; a term literally meaning "turning around" and facing it.

Again, when Jesus said, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."2, the emphases was on seeing (or not) something already there.

Not just for newbies, Paul tells us looking at the unseen is an ongoing experience for believers.
"we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. - 2nd Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)
Jesus, open my eyes to perceive what you have already provided that I, like Hagar, may be refreshed and grow.

1 Matthew 4:17
2 John 3:3

Monday, June 7, 2010

God needs no explanation

God and Satan talk in the Bible and it looks like a giant chess game with Job's family as the pawns. In the garden God calls to Adam, "Where are you?", but doesn't he already know? Joshua is told by God to leave no survivors; where is the love and mercy in that?! People are offended by these and other scriptures, sometimes wanting nothing to do with God because if it.

There are explanations, sure, and we are quick to provide, but this surfaces an important fact about our Heavenly Father - God doesn't try to explain Himself.

Our culture demands explanations. From presidents, employees, preachers, parishioners, parents, children, in public and in private, to others and to ourselves we feel explanations must be given; they don't have to be true only plausible.

God doesn't play along!

Jesus was (and is) constantly misunderstood; at one point losing all but his closest disciples because of it. His response was not, "Wait, let me explain!", he kept loving and obeying the Father. He later put it this way,
"ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep ... My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" - John 10:26-27 (KJV)
True, we are not to blatantly disregard the feelings of others but we shall be misunderstood no matter what we do. We are not to waste time defending and explaining, but keep loving and serving Christ, always ready to explain our hope which sustains us. (1st Peter 3:15)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Not an insurance policy

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." - Romans 5:1-2 (KJV)
The Gospel is not a life insurance policy and Jesus is not the insurance agent we call only to renew or check our coverage.

Jesus died for the forgiveness of our sins not so we can get heaven but to remove the barrier (our sins) between us and God so we can live, work, and walk with Him now and forever; heaven is the by-product

This has always been God's desire.
[Adam and Eve] heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: ... And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? - Genesis 3:8a, 9 (KJV)
Walking with God in the garden each day was a common occurrence, unfortunately interrupted by sin.

God's desire never changed.
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? - Mica 6:8 (KJV)
Jesus' parting promise to his disciples was NOT heaven, but living with God; the place may change but the company doesn't!
"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." (Jesus - John 14:23 KJV)
Question: How would my living be different if my goal was to live, work, and walk with God now and forever?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Carpe Diem!

The Gospel spread like wildfire in part because the world had a new common language. Those whose native tongue was something else wrote the Bible in Greek; barriers were stripped and the Word of God held its own in the public arena!

NOW is another wonderful opportunity - think about it!
"We live in a literate time, and our children are writing up a storm, often combining letters and numerals (U R 2 1derful), blogging like crazy, reading for hours off their little screens, surfing around from Henry James to Jesse James to the epistle of James to pajamas to Obama to Alabama to Alanon to non-sequiturs, sequins, penguins, penal institutions, and it's all free, and you read freely, you're not committed to anything the way you are when you shell out $30 for a book, you're like a hummingbird in an endless meadow of flowers." - Garrison Keillor 1
With this has come the ability to reach out; barriers are again stripped and the Word of God is free to hold its own in the public arena!

To Garrison, a veteran author, the era of self publishing is cheesy:
"And if you want to write, you just write and publish yourself. No need to ask permission, just open a website.... And if you want to write a book, you just write it ... the future of publishing [is] 18 million authors in America, each with an average of 14 readers, eight of whom are blood relatives ..." 1
But, it's a good thing! If every 14 reached 14 more, calculate the results!

So, dear 14 readers (and , Hello, uncle Bussy!), seize the day's opportunity, share Christ, there's nothing to stop you except you!

- fritz

1. The Old Scout, A Prairie Home Companion, May 25th 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

Escapism in the Bible.

Christians are accused of using the gospel as a form of "Escapism".

There is "escapism" in the Bible but not the kind usually thought; not escape from problems, difficulties, or struggles - we embrace these.1

God offers escape from the "corruption" it says is in the world through lust; the same term is used elsewhere as "wear and tear" of use.2, 3
[God] has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. - 2nd Peter 1:4 (NIV)
There is a "wear and tear" of just living in this world - sweet children become fodder for COPS, 40 year marriages break apart, once vibrant strong believers loose their first love of Christ.4 It doesn't have to be this way, God offers escape by using his promises that, when embraced, change our hearts, douses the fires, and lifts the burdens.

- fritz

1 Romans 5:3
2 Colossians 2:22
3 Patrikin Blog: Christian Roses
4 Revelation 2:4

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Leaving the Pity Party

[Elijah] ... sat down under a juniper tree: ... and said, "It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers." - 1st Kings 19:4 (KJV)
Elijah threw a Pity Party! He felt abandoned and his efforts futile; even thought of suicide.

Four (4) things got him out of it - they work for us, too.
And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. 1st Kings 19:6 (KJV)
1) He ate something nourishing - diet, or lack thereof, affects how we feel.

2) He got some sleep. Studies have shown when we don't get enough sleep we suffer emotionally.

3) He got alone with God, vented some, then listened.
And he arose, ... and went ...unto Horeb the mount of God ... unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him - 1st Kings 19:8-9
Jesus opened the way for us to have direct access to God1; it's no longer the privilege of a few holy men. So utilize the opportunity paid for by Jesus.

Don't miss getting alone with God - vent, cry, even argue with Him but don't give him the cold shoulder, He's the only one who can pull you out! Take the Bible with you, let Him speak to you through it!

4) God gave him a task.
And the LORD said unto him, "Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room." - 1st Kings 19:15-16 (KJV)
Do something that takes your focus off of you and what you don't like. God has plenty of opportunities for service2.

Pity Parties accomplish nothing; get some nourishment, get some rest, get alone with God to vent and listen, then get going for Jesus; feelings will come along.

- fritz

1 Hebrews 10:19-23
2 Purpose for "Lost" Causes

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Acts of God

"... the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. - 1st Kings 19:11b-13a (ESB)
Floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, and fires are call "Acts of God", but Elijah knew the quiet whisper was the real "Act Of God" and that's when he responded.

It has been said we miss the miraculous because we are looking for the spectacular. God chooses the ordinary - the low whisper, a blue collar carpenter family, a stable at an obscure inn of an obscure town, rough fishermen and IRS agents, even our own hands, feet, and possessions - to express Himself.

Being an ordinary expression of Christ is our mission, should we choose to accept it, and it is miraculous.

- fritz

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

An armload of Zucchini

Garrison Keillor, though not in my spiritual or political camp, makes an important point how we should recognize ourselves in today's information overloaded society:
"You've come armed with 20 minutes of wit and wisdom ... like a man with an armload of zucchini, and your audience has been eating zucchini all week and would now like never to see another one.

And so you cut to the chase."
- fritz

1 A Prairie Home Companion May 18, 2010