Saturday, July 31, 2010

Intended for Joy

"Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.

In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted."
- Psalm 89:15-16
God's people are intended to for joy. There are times of distress and sorrow but the majority of our daily experience should be upbeat. If that's not an accurate description of our experience something needs to change.

Jesus told his disciples to pray in his name, "that your joy may be full"1, and it wasn't just intended for his original crew, the apostle John tells ordinary believers,
"these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full." - 1st John 1:4
Don't blunt the impact by "spiritualizing" it or defining "joy" differently; do an honest assessment - do these verses describe you? I discovered they can.

Receiving anything from God, including joy, begins by: 1)Recognizing the need; 2) Choosing to believe what God offers is really available; 3) Asking to receive.

We were intended for joy.

- fritz

1 - John 16:24

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Church Clock

"Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael. When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, "I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless." - Genesis 16:16-17:1
A pastor friend of mine had a clock with a steeple on top and a little man underneath. The figurine would continuously pull up and down on his little rope and every hour the clock would "ding".

I commented it was cute but he said it was more than that, it was a representation of life - a whole lot of pulling for one little "ding" each hour!

We think every effort should result in a "ding" but it doesn't work that way, even for the faithful. Look at Abraham - the bible records a 14 year period after the birth of Ishmael where there was nothing recorded, still Abram kept faith.

We, as spiritual children of Abraham, are called to be stay faithful, active, and confident day in and day out knowing God is still at work and that at the right time there will be another "ding!"
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." - 1st Corinthians 15:58

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Don't turn off your brain!

"The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven." - Matthew 16:1
Jesus was asked for a sign from heaven proving He was the Savior. He told his audience they had the signs all around them if they would only use their brain and an observant eye.
"He told them, "You have a saying that goes,
'Red sky at night, sailor's delight;
red sky at morning, sailors take warning.'
You find it easy enough to forecast the weather—why can't you read the signs of the times?"
- Matthew 16:3b (Message)
Waiting for a sign isn't an issue, but an excuse. An open mind, an observant eye, and a desire to see the truth are all that are really needed.

God can work with that!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Freedom from sin even if not free of it.

"And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin." - 1st John 3:5

"For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." - Romans 6:14
Sin is the real culprit in our failed relationships and broken lives; most understand this but find it impossible to avoid.

Jesus brings forgiveness and the ability to refuse to obey sin's call - he gives the ability to say, "No". That fact is not diminished even when we still sometimes say, "Yes".

Dallas Willard has a helpful way to look at this; take a moment to think about what he wrote.
"The psychological condition established in us by the influx of Christ's life--a psychological reality--allows us to rise above our "old person" for the motivation, organization, and direction of our physical existence.

Even if we waver and turn back to the "old person"" upon occasion, we still are able to do otherwise. People without the new life have no choice. but we have a new force within us that gives us choice. In this sense we are free from sin even if not yet free from it. Doing what is good and right becomes increasingly easy, sweet, sensible to us as grace grows in us."1

1 - Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines (HarperCollins 1998) by Dallas Willard (emphasis is mine)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bucket of the Mouth from the Well of the Heart

"Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man." - Jesus (Matthew 15:11)
Jesus' followers were criticized for what they ate, but Jesus said what goes into the mouth is not as important as what comes out.
"[T]hose things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man." - Jesus (Matthew 15:18)
The old saying is, "What's in the well of the heart comes out through the bucket of the mouth."

Want to know what is really in your heart? Listen to what you say in your unguarded moments.

BTW - Jesus changes hearts for the asking.

- fritz

Monday, July 26, 2010

Honoring Mom and Dad

"God said, 'Honor your father and mother' ... But you say that if a man says ... 'Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,' he is not to 'honor his father' with it" - Jesus (Matthew 15:4-6a NIV)
Jesus' view of keeping the 5th Commandment is not just saying, "Sir" and "Ma'am", it includes taking care of them financially in their old age.

The Pharasees got around this, in their own minds, by saying all they had belonged to God and couldn't be used for others.

Using religious technicalities and excuses for furthering one's own agenda may fool some who don't think it through, but it certainly doesn't fool God, and he's the one who gives us breath.1

God is interested in people, not religious pretexts.

- fritz

1 - Acts 17:25

Sunday, July 25, 2010

What about the other guy?!

"Peter ... saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him ... what is that to thee? follow thou me." - John 21:21-22
Peter, after being called to service by the risen Christ, points his finger and asks, "What about that guy?!" Jesus patiently responds, "Pete, that's none of your business, follow me."

It is only natural; the Psalmist writes
"Behold, these ... ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning."1
He works himself up over it until he looks at life from what he has from God, not what others get away with.
So foolish was I, and ignorant ... I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory."2
Each is on his/her own faith walk with Christ3; what others do, or not, is none of our concern.

Like he did with Peter, Jesus asks, "Do you love me? Follow."


1 - Psalm 73:12-14
2 - Psalm 73:22-24
3 - Related Post: No One But God - July 24, 2010

Saturday, July 24, 2010

No one but God

"Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy." - Proverbs 14:10
Proverbs gives down to earth wisdom about living and interacting with God and others.

No one else can truly share your joys or your sorrows, so quit trying to get them to. Distress happens when we try to receive from people what only God can provide. He, alone, can share and comfort.

As the chorus from the hymn, "In the Garden", says
And he walks with me
And he talks with me,
And he tells me I am his own.
And the joy we share
as we tarry there,
none other, has ever, known
Get some alone time with God and let him share your joys and sorrows as no one else can.

- fritz
Related Post: "Be Still A Moment" July 10, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Whole Person

[T]he very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." - 1st Thessalonians 5:23
It is a mistake to believe God is only interested in our "soul".

God created us spirit, soul, and body1 in his image2 and for a reason. One should presume the original intent has not been changed, only delayed, by humanity's obstinance.

Jesus came to preserve the whole person and fulfill God's design in us. Submitted to God, our bodies are holy and pleasing3 to him and he has a divine purpose for them.

Take care of your body, God has a use for it.

- fritz

1 - Genesis 2:7 - "breath" and "spirit" are the word in Hebrew
2 - Genesis 1:26
3 - Romans 12:1

Thursday, July 22, 2010

This Old House

"[O]ffer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God .... Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." - Romans 12:1a, 2a
I enjoy TV shows like "This Old House". They start out with a damaged, worn down, obsolete house then piece by piece transform it, with the help of the owner, into something valuable. It is still recognizable on the outside, but the inside has become very livable.

God does something similar with our bodies. We start out in sad shape, full of sin and strife, hangups and phobias, broken relationships and you name it. God purchases us 1 and begins piece by piece to transform us, with our cooperation, into something valuable.

We are usually still recognizable on the outside, but the inside becomes very livable for both him and us.

- fritz

1 - Acts 20:28

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Written for me

"For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." - Romans 15:4
The biblical viewpoint has always been that the scriptures were written not just for their penman's times but for us, and written in such a way normal people could understand and be encouraged.

I was impressed by what philosophy professor Dallas Willard wrote concerning his own assumptions about the Bible:
"I assume that it was produced and preserved by competent human beings who were at least as intelligent and devout as we are today."

"I assume that [God] did not and would not leave his message to humankind in a form that can only be understood by a handful of late-twentieth-century professional scholars, who cannot even agree among themselves on the theories that they assume to determine what the message is."1
- fritz

1 - Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy (HarperCollins, 1998) 13.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

More literal than we realize

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. - 2nd Corinthians 5:17
The Bible takes our bodily connection to Christ1 more literally than we realize. The biblical position is that what you do, Christ is doing.2

This may be hard to grasp when we only see ourselves in the mirror, but we've had something similar in our business community for years - its called a corporation. In a corporation the activity of the President, factory worker, and everyone in between is all viewed as the activity of that corporation, and the corporation bears the liability.

Like a corporation, when we give our lives to Christ we are viewed as one with him and our actions reflect upon the whole, not just ourselves. To this new "corporation-like" creation both Jesus and we have contributed all we had and what we now have is shared by both. I contributed my body and my sins, he contributed his body, his payment for sin, his grace, his love, his mercy.

Now, in a very real sense, when I go to work it is the new creation sitting in the chair typing on the keyboard. When I go to prayer, it is me and Jesus as a unit standing before God with all debts paid. When I misbehave, it is both Jesus and I who bare the liability in the eyes of the world.

Unlike a corporation, he actually begins to move on us physically, mentally, and spiritually to actually become more like him.

We need to adopt the viewpoint God has already ascribed to us, it will help us understand God's word and help us cooperate better with what he is doing with us.

- fritz

1 - Related Post: July 18, 2010 "Members of His Body"
2 - 1st Corinthians 5:16

Monday, July 19, 2010

Knowing What We Are, and Why

"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
"I'm an atheist!" said the little girl at the Russian school we were visiting in 1992.

The Berlin wall had fallen and that vast communist country opened its doors and hearts to something different. We were there sharing our home education program in their schools and offering to partner with them in teaching character.

My friend said to this little girl, "Oh? What's an atheist?", and after thinking a while she responded, "I don't know."

We are sometimes like that little Russian student, thinking we believe something without really knowing what it means or why.

As believers we need to grow up and learn what is true and how to apply it in ways that actually make a difference.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Members of His Body

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." - 2nd Corinthians 5:17
Something happens when a person gives his or her life to Jesus; the Bible says a new "creature" is begun. The term "creature" literally means "formation", "building", "creation".

This is not just a euphemism for a mental change or attitude adjustment; the biblical view is that we become joined to the risen Christ in such a way that we are bodily part of him and he is bodily part of us.

Our physical bodies are not valueless. God created them with purpose and, joined with Christ, they become an expression of Himself.

Listen to how the Apostle Paul expresses it,
"Now the body is ...for the Lord; and the Lord for the body ... Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. - 1st Corinthians 6:13, 15
How would your actions change if you saw your body as actually being God's earthly representation of Christ's body?


Saturday, July 17, 2010

The "Much More" of "Life"

"For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." Romans 5:10
God wants to do "much more" than just take us from being enemies to being forgiven. If being "saved" was just about forgiveness this verse would not make sense.

"Salvation" is not something we save up for and wait for like social security, it is a daily experience of the risen1 Jesus; living in the his kingdom now and forever. King David put it this way,
"Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation." - Psalm 68:19
- fritz

1 - See "Resurrection of the Body" (July 6,2010)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Algebra in the Bible

"[T]he kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. - Matthew 13:45-46
In algebra class we were given word problems. We had to express them in terms of variables ("x", "y", and "z") then solve the equation. We considered them both enlightening and confusing - enlightening if figured correctly, confusing if our equation was wrong.

Jesus taught parables both illustrating and obfuscating reality, but they can be seen like heavenly word problems that, with the right correlation of variables, reveal their secrets.

Jesus, here, says there is a Merchant man, a valuable pearl, and currency to purchase it - "x", "y", and "z". He also tells us the merchant man, "x", is really the Kingdom of Heaven. What, then, could the currency of Heaven be? Not gold, that's paving material, the valuable God had was his only Son.
"Christ purchased our freedom [redeeming us] from the curse (doom) of the Law [and its condemnation]" - Galatians 3:13a (Amplified)
And the Pearl of great price, that would be you and me.
"... true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks." - Jesus (John 4:23b NIV)
Do you see yourself as a valuable pearl? God does.

- fritz

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Considering alternatives?

Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard. - Proverbs 13:15
Following Christ can be hard but, considering the alternatives, life without Christ is harder and has no future.
"To depart from righteousness is to choose a life of crushing burdens, failures, and disappointments, a life caught in the toils of endless problems that are never resolved...The "cost of discipleship," though it make take all we have, is small when compared to the lot of those who don't accept Christ's invitation to be a part of his company in The Way of life.1
- fritz

1 - The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Seeing Christ (and us) in the Psalms

"He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me" - Psalm 41:9 & John 13:8
Jesus had a unique way of reading the Psalms.

Here, beyond the context of the psalmist and a faithless friend, Jesus indicated it actually referred to himself, the Christ, and his betrayer. He interpreted the first person pronouns, "Me" and "My", from the point of view of Christ, not the psalmist.

He wasn't alone in looking at Psalms this way. Peter stood up on the Jewish feast of Pentecost preaching the resurrection of Jesus and quoted,
"For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." - Psalm 16:10 & Acts 2:27
He told his audience it wasn't David, the psalmist, but Christ who was referred to; again, interpreting the first person pronoun, "My", from the point of view of Christ.

Try reading the Psalms from the first person of Christ, and us (as having been united with him1), it will add a whole new dimension.

- fritz

1 - Post from July 12, 2010 Bible - a book about one man

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bible - a book about one man

And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, [Jesus] expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. - Luke 24:27
Two travelers on the way to a place called Emmaus picked up a stranger they did not recognize as Jesus. He took them through the Bible with a new perspective. Their response, "Did not our hearts burn within us!"1

The Bible is, really, a book about one man.

All the apostles saw it that way. Paul, quoting a very familiar passage about Adam and Eve said it really means something more:
"For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church." - Ephesians 5:30-32
Our very salvation hinges on the fact that when we accept the living Christ, Jesus, as our savior we are joined to him. Both we and Jesus are no longer just ourselves, we are eternally linked in covenant.

He took on our sinfulness, we take on his righteousness2 to become one new man3, the last Adam4 (male and female 5). We now approach God with nothing owing and all debts paid, his Grace working is us in all circumstances to bring about our good and more.6

- fritz

1 - Luke 24:32
2 - 2nd Corinthians 5:21
3 - One new man (not referring to Jew and Gentile but us and Christ) - Ephesians 2:14-15
4 - Last Adam - 1st Corinthians 15:45
5 - Adam, male and female - Genesis 1:27
6: - See Post from July 11, 2010 - "Where is God's Blessing"

Monday, July 12, 2010

Panic attacks nothing new and don't last

Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness ... I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest. - Psalm 55:6b-8
Life sometimes hurts; Psalm 55 expresses this. We get emotionally bruised and feel like running away, feel like vengeance, feel dread at facing what is next.

Those feelings, though real, are not accurate or lasting in the psalmist or in us.

During the thick of it let God speak to your mind and heart, just as he did to the Psalmist a few verses later:
Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. - Psalm 55:22

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Where are God's blessings?

They will name him Emmanuel (Hebrew for "God is with us") - Matthew 1:23 (Message)
In Christ God is with us in our life's situation now. This is very hard to realize when the car breaks down, the children are sick, the job is floundering, and more sometimes all at once.

The fact is we must see our lives and circumstances as the place of God's blessing, the place of service, and the place of our current calling. The Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul said,
"we know that all things work together for good to them that love God ... called according to his purpose." - Romans 8:28
We must hold tight (in spite of opposite feelings) to the knowledge that God is at work through the good and difficult - not that all things we experience are good things but that God is using all things, even the unwanted, for our good.1
"God has yet to bless anyone except where they actually are, and if we faithlessly discard situation after situation, moment after moment, as not being “right,” we will simply have no place to receive his kingdom into our life. For those situations and moments are our life."2
- fritz

1 - see also: "Escapism in the Bible" (June 4, 2010)
2 - The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard, published by HarperCollins, copyright 1998

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Be Still A Moment!

"Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." - Psalm 46:10
While camping, sitting on the river bank with nothing to do and no one around, I began to chunk rocks. A patch of grass in the stream my target I fired away as the day went by.

I then realized king David of the Bible, keeping his father's sheep as a lad, was likewise alone for long periods of time with nothing to do but sling rocks, play a harp, watch sheep eat, and talk to God. His brothers were all busy doing man's work with no time or inclination to rest and when the king selection process began they were passed over.

The term, "still", in this verse doesn't mean unmoving but, rather, letting go, doing no purposeful activity, taking time off to be alone. Fresh ideas come to mind and a new resolve engages in the "stillness".

God says we need those times of being alone with nothing to do and no where to go to let life's clamour fade; he even commands it. He uses stillness to refocus our attention and get us refreshed with who he is.

Today stillness seldom just happens; take the time, get alone with no agenda other than being alone, let your mind wander, chunk some rocks, listen to some birds, and talk to God.

- fritz

Friday, July 9, 2010

God in the Circumstances

And [God] said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. - Genesis 15:7
Abraham lived in Haran when he heard God's call on his life.1 Terah, Abraham's dad, had years before moved the family there from Ur, about a thousand miles away.2 As far as Abraham was concerned his faith adventure started in Haran, but not according to God.

Ur was from where God said he brought Abraham from, not Haran.

The circumstances and events in our lives are not random events until we find Christ; from our very beginning, God is actively involved orchestrating our character, composition, and desires to bring us to himself.
"God ... separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace" - Paul (Galatians 1:15b)
- fritz

1 - Genesis 11:31-12:3
2 - Link: Where was Abraham's UR?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cloth and Wine

"No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment ...Neither do men put new wine into old bottles ... they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved." - Jesus (Matthew 9:16-17)
Jesus brings something comparable to new cloth and new wine. He doesn't make his freshness fit into old religious systems, but he doesn't throw them away either.

The context is fasting and, by inference, other religious observance. By saying, "...both are preserved" Jesus indicates the old has value but can't contain all Jesus offers. Continuing the analogy, old garments are comfortable and new cloth is strong; both have value. Old wine skins hold mature full bodied elixir and new wine is fresh and tasty; again, both have value.

We can enjoy traditional liturgy and religious observances seeing Jesus in them and be touch by its maturity, beauty, and stability. We can also enjoy freedom of worship with hands raised, shouts of praise, and a Jericho march or two (but probably not in the same service).

Both are wonderful when we recognize the value is not the wine skins, but the wine.

- fritz

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wedding or Funeral?

"Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them?" - Jesus (Matthew 9:15)
Jesus said living with him was like being in a wedding - a celebration.

The short absence between the cross and Easter is past; Jesus offers to be with everyone who will allow.
"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) your life more like a wedding or a funeral?  The difference between the two is the presence of the one for whom the event is given.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Resurrection of the Body

"Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." - Jesus after his resurrection (Luke 24:39)
Jesus' resurrection was not "spiritual" as we, today, define the term. He didn't become a ghost and he doesn't live in our hearts and minds like our departed loved ones; he was bodily raised from the dead.

That has always been a part of the faith. When the Bible says in Psalms 16:10, "neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption", it's declaring Christ's body would not decay like the rest of humanity; impostors can't make it past the grave1.

Certainly the resurrected body is different from the body that died; it could materialize anywhere2, was not always recognized3, is no longer subject to illness or death4, and is "spiritual" in the sense that it is not limited to this earth's physics5. But it is a new dimension of physical that can still eat6, be touched7, and interacted with like any other physical object8.

The resurrection of Christ defeated our last enemy, Death9, and when Jesus returns our mortal bodies shall change to be like his.10

That is the classic "hope" of the resurrection, not to be some disembodied ghost somewhere but to be wholy redeemed individuals in the place Jesus went to prepare for us.

- fritz

1 - Romans 1:3-4
2 - John 20:19
3 - John 21:4
4 - Romans 6:9
5 - 1 Corin. 15:44 Not "a spirit" but "spiritual body"
6 - Luke 24:41-42
7 - Luke 24:39
8 - Acts 1:3
9 - 1st Corinthians 15:26
10 - Philippians 3:21

Monday, July 5, 2010

Lord or lunatic

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven ... Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord ... then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart" - Matthew 7:22
Some teach Jesus thought of himself only as a good man trying to do the right thing and hoping in the future; that it was, really, his disciples who came to the conclusion Jesus was the divine Son of God.

But Jesus firmly believed in his own Lordship and proclaimed it would be He who decides at the end of the age those entering God's Kingdom. What kind of a man proclaims that? Either the Lord or a lunatic. The "just a good man" theory isn't even on the table.

Paul writes
He remains true (faithful to His Word and His righteous character), for He cannot deny Himself. - 2nd Timothy 2:13b (amplified)
- fritz

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Divine Opportunities - Taken or Not

"Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted" - Isaiah 7:4
Ahaz went down in history as a wicked and faithless king, but it didn't have to be that way. Second Kings and Second Chronicles both record his rule1, but Isaiah tells us an additional detail.

Ahaz's kingdom was under attack and God sent the prophet, Isaiah, to extend an offer - trust in God and be faithful. It was a divine opportunity but it also came with a warning
"If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established"2
Sadly, Ahaz didn't take his opportunity choosing instead to go to surrounding kings for assistance, begging their help. They helped themselves to his wealth and left him in shambles.

We, too, are extended divine opportunities to turn our lives over to Christ and follow Him.
"I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness." - Jesus (John 12:46)
Our choices make a difference.


1 - 2nd Kings 16 and 2nd Chronicles 28
2 - Isaiah 7:9

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Living up to our beliefs

"[T]he kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field." - Jesus 1
The cost of the kingdom of Heaven is the cost to the man in this parable - all that he had. But the man jumped at the chance; why? Because he was convinced of the value of that treasure and his opportunity.

Faith is not a leap in the dark, it action based on what we are convinced. Action based on what we hope is not faith, it's hope.

The man in this parable acted according to his faith, we all do whether we realize it or not.
"We often speak of people not living up to their faith. But ... genuine beliefs are made obvious by what people do. We always live up to our beliefs--or down to them, as the case may be..."
Want to know what you really believe? Look at what you are doing.

Having trouble giving your all? Ask Jesus to give you a better look at his treasure; to touch it, feel it, and bury it in your heart. Giving all you have will seem like a bargain!

Jim Elliott put it this way, "He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose."

- fritz

1 - Matthew 13:44
2 - The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard published by HarperCollins, copyright 1998
Related Post:Hidden Treasure (12/31/09)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Following Christ in the "Real" World

The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!"

He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!"
- Matthew 8:25-27
Jesus spent much of his time getting his own disciples to believe. They had left all to follow but they still had a disconnect between what they considered religious faith and the "real" world.

If they were like me they were thinking, "Sure Jesus is the Messiah, but we're in a real storm, here! Jesus, wake up and start bailing! That's just the lesson they learned, he doesn't need to bail and we don't either - at least not in a panic!

He was, and is, active in the "real" world of storms and layoffs, bills and breakdowns, saving us from what we can't handle, living through us, with his grace, in what we can.


1 - Matthew 16:15-17

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Discovering what means the most

"Take a piece of paper and write what you value the most", said the preacher. We all dutifully put things like God, family, others, prayer, bible reading, making sure we got the order just right; this was not our first rodeo, so to speak.

Then we were told to turn that paper over and write where we spent most of our time - work, TV watching, playing games, sleeping, etc.

Afterwards he said to draw a big "X" over side one; where we spend most of our time is what we, really, value the most.

- fritz