Sunday, October 31, 2010

No Fear in Troubled Times

"And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be ... nation shall rise against nation ... and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles - Mark 13:7-8
Jesus predicted that before his return some fearful things would happen.

Could he have been referring to just the sort of things we see now - terrorists, Middle East wars, global warming fears (real or imagined); political and geological problems increasing everywhere? I think so.

Ahead of time he told us this so his people would trust his care and not be afraid like those without hope or faith.

We choose to believe in his personal care, acting from faith not fear.

- fritz

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Reading the Scriptures Adequately and Accurately

"in order to read the Scriptures adequately and accurately, it is necessary at the same time to live them. Not to live them as a prerequisite to reading them, and not to live them in consequence of reading them, but to live them as we read them....It means letting Another have a say in everything we are saying and doing. It is as easy as that. And as hard"1 - Eugene H. Peterson (Author of The Message Bible)

1 - Eat this Book: A conversation in the art of spiritual reading Copyright 2006 Eugene H. Peterson.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Power of Asking

And as he went out of the temple ... Jesus ... said ... Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another ... Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, Tell us, when shall these things be? - Mark 13:1b-4a
Jesus publically predicted the coming Jewish temple's destruction. Privately, four disciples later asked for the details which he gave.

Had they not asked we would not have those details.

Parents of sons understand this concept. Once, while grousing at a son for not giving me advance notice of something, he informed me he said nothing because I did not ask.

Jesus' method of teaching was, and still is, to give to those who take the time to sit down with him and ask. If there is no time and no asking there will be nothing given.

- fritz

Thursday, October 28, 2010

How to Delight God

A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight. - Proverbs 11:1
Doing honest work for an honest wage delights God. You can't love God and cheat people in the market place.

- fritz

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Loud works well!

Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. - Psalm 55:17
Prayer is not always a quiet contemplation with gentle requests. Sometimes is needs to be a loud expressive cry.

True, God is not hard of hearing, but neither is he nervous about emotions - He has them, himself.

Loud praying is sometimes the best praying.
When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: - Psalm 56:9a
- fritz

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What's His is Mine!

For this is what the Lord has commanded us: 'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.' - Acts 13:47
Paul took a scripture from Isaiah 49:6, clearly referring to the work of Christ, and proclaimed it was God's calling to him.

Can he do that? Sure. Can we do that? Yes.

Paul, knew that those who are joined to Christ by faith are part of Christ in actuality.1 What belongs to us now also belongs Christ - our sins, griefs, shortcomings.2 He embraced them and took them to the cross. What belongs to Christ is now ours3 - his payment for our sins, his resurrection, his fellowship with the Father, his anointing with the Holy Spirit, his seat on the throne, even his call to ministry and the work of others in Christ. He now lives his life through us (though not exclusively), and not just for our benefit, but to those He came to save.4

- fritz

1 - 1st Corinthians 6:17, Ephesians 5:30
2 - 2nd Corinthians 5:21
3 - Romans 8:32, 1st Corinthians 3:22
4 - 1st John 4:17

Monday, October 25, 2010

Empty of Evil

"When a corrupting spirit is expelled ... it says, 'I'll go back to my old haunt.' On return, it finds the person swept and dusted, but vacant. It then ... rounds up seven other spirits ... and they all move in...That person ends up far worse" - Jesus (Luke 11:24-26 Message)
Being empty of evil is not enough, we must be full of good.

Not doing wrong doesn't ultimately help, we must do right.

Read the Bible, go to church, pray daily, let God fill up your life with his goodness, let him guide you how to do good things.

- fritz

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Book Review: Giving Church Another Chance by Todd Hunter

Giving Church Another Chance by Todd Hunter - I responded quickly, a free book by an interesting man in exchange for an honest review on my blog - what a deal.

The author was a former Vineyard pastor, now Anglican priest, and I wanted to know why and see what he had to say. I had been reading his blog for a while investigating his involvement in a new kind of church revival movement, so I was eager to participate.

The first third of his book was good; expressing his spiritual journey, and providing some ideas and concepts I, too had felt. After that, however, the book turned dry for me as he went through the different parts of a typical Anglican worship service giving various thoughts about how each part of the liturgy ought to touch us in our daily lives.

I think the biggest problem I had with his book was that I thought it promised to show me how to "repractice" Church ("repractice" is his term for doing something again with renewed meaning), but when I look there was no renewed meaning - nothing had really changed.

To be honest, he had a herculean task. I, too, attend a similar denomination as the author. I appreciate the different parts of the liturgy and usually find them a blessing, but I believe everyone must find that appreciation uniquely for themselves.

"The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy." - Proverbs 14:10

Our Returning Friend

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world." - Jesus (Matthew 25:34)
The one all the nations shall stand before in the great judgment will not be an anonymous being out there, somewhere, but Jesus.

He is the one coming in glory with his angels. He will pronounce who is a "sheep" and who is a "goat". He will open his kingdom for those his Father blessed.

It is a good thing we have opportunity to, first, become his friend!
"What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear.
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer"

1 - Hymn:"What a Friend We have In Jesus"
Text: Joseph M. Scriven, 1820-1886
Music: Charles C. Converse, 1832-1918
Tune: CONVERSE, Meter: 87.87 D

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Giving and Receiving Advice

"Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many." - Solomon (Proverbs 4:10)
Every good father wants his children to be successful.

Though Solomon's sons did not heed his advice, God used that fatherly desire and those fatherly words to give wisdom to the sons of God (both men and women) throughout the centuries.

As a father it can be discouraging when one's children care little for your advice - but we continue, knowing God can use it for his glory and for the benefit of his children. And just because one's children don't listen now doesn't mean they won't listen later.

- fritz

Friday, October 22, 2010

Doing Us a Favor

"But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon."" - Jesus (Luke 4:25-26)
Jesus pointed out something that put his whole synagogue in an uproar.

He said the only widow who had food enough for her family during the famine was the one who, first, gave her last to God. They all knew the story from 1st Kings 17 - this widow had one meal left and the prophet had the audacity to ask for it first. By asking her to feed him first Elijah was actually doing her the favor - by keeping him fed she and son never ran out of food while others starved.

Jesus wasn't asking for money, he was pointing out that putting God first, not just being one of God's chosen, brings God's blessing and provision. God's call to service is for our benefit, not his.

Jesus put it this way,
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." - Jesus (Matthew 6:33)
- fritz

Related link: The Prosperity Gospel, September 24, 2010
Related Link: Waiting, October 20, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Not Excused but Cleansed

"Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow." - David (Psalm 51:7)
David sinned, a man died, and a woman lost her baby.

His request for forgiveness reflects something we sometimes forget - God doesn't offer excuse but cleansing.

"Hyssop" is a small bush with a very specific use in the David's day. It was used to sprinkle blood for cleansing. First used at the passover to put lamb's blood on the door post, it continued to be used for sprinkling blood on lepers, various instruments for God's service, and people - all with the idea of cleaning.

David wasn't asking to be excused for his actions but to be cleansed.

Jesus is our sacrifice. Like the passover lamb, his blood is figuratively sprinkled on our lives to save us from eternal death and to cleanse us from our sins.

God offers not to excuse but to cleanse.

- fritz

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Right Kind of Waiting

"But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
- Isaiah 40:31
God calls us to serve for our benefit, not his.

Our waiting is not idle, like a sleeper waiting for an alarm, but attentive, like a good waiter cares for his patrons.

This kind of waiting sustains us through weary and faint hearted times.

- fritz.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Convinced of the Bargan

"Those who are not genuinely convinced that the only real bargain in life is surrendering ourselves to Jesus and his cause, abandoning all that we love to him and for him, cannot learn the other lessons Jesus has to teach us...

Not that he will not let us, but that we simply cannot succeed.

If I tell you that you cannot drive an automobile unless you can see, I am not saying I will not let you, but that you cannot succeed even if I do."

– Dallas Willard

1 - Renovation of the Heart, pg 71

Monday, October 18, 2010

Thirsty Soul

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God." - Psalm 42:1-2a
There are things in us that once awakened cause us to yearn for more and for satisfaction in a way the unawakened can't understand.

Experiencing God is like that. It causes a thirst for more. It is a good thirst, one that God satisfies and makes all other thirsts pale in comparison like the tricycle a child puts away the day he/she learns to ride a bike.

- fritz

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tearing up the "Bucket List"

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." - Romans 12:1
God is not interested in a cold dead sacrifice. He wants something alive and functional in this present world.

Recently a popular movie called "The Bucket List" showed two dying men on a mission to complete the list of things they wanted to accomplish before they "Kicked the Bucket!"

Tear up your bucket list on God's altar.

It's "reasonable service" to pray,
"Father, here is my body - my hands, my feet, my eyes, my mouth, all of me - including everything I ever wanted to do with them." - (Your name goes here)
- fritz

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Is any sick among you?

"Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him."
- James 5:14-15
The idea that gifts of healing ended with the last apostle is clearly not biblical. It is the role of the church and specifically the "elders" to pray for that healing in faith.

If the church is not doing that, it is not fulfilling one of its intended purposes.

If we are not calling the elders for prayer in our sickness, we are not fulfilling our responsibility, either.

Not everyone has been healed but many have. Our oldest son is quite possibly alive today because we called elders for prayer when he was a year old in the hospital with staff infection. A man named Frank Romanelli came on Christmas Eve and anointed our listless son with oil in name of Jesus. That night our son began to improve and was sent home the next day, well.

Also note the word, "if". Christian health is a complex issue, not always because of sin. I don't believe we are capable of understanding the why and how but we can obey and trust God's goodness.

- fritz

Friday, October 15, 2010


Chilean minors, once thought dead, captive under ground for over a month are rescued to shouts of joy. Expected - their captivity is over!

50,000 football fans shouting in the stadium, perhaps just as many shouting in their homes at the TV screen. Why? They like the game, it is fun to shout and be emotionally engaged. Expected, they enjoy the game!

To remaining quiet in either scenario is a sign of disinterest, perhaps even being cold hearted.

Realizing what God has done should, similarly, evoke a shout or two!
"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." - Psalm 5:11
"LET" - meaning something that would occur if not prevented.

I learn at least three (3) things from this passage:
  1. Church doesn't have to be quiet to be respectful, we should let it be a little noisy sometimes;
  2. God's salvation is a "Know-So!" kind - knowing, now, we are released from guilt, the captivity of obsessions, and a certain fate worse than death1;
  3. Following God is expected to be an enjoyable experience, even through difficulties2 - if our walk is not joyful we need to find out why.
I think I'll go shout for a while!

- fritz

1 - Matthew 10:28
2 - Philippians 4:7

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Audacity of Faith

Into the massive ornate Jewish temple, only the second of its kind, rushed a man on a mission. He wasn’t a priest or a prophet just a “good, God-fearing man…waiting for Israel to be saved”1

But he had a secret he probably told no one else; if he had they would have thought him presumptuous. He really believed God had told him he would see the Christ before he died. The faithful had been waiting for generations for the Christ but this man had the audacity to believe God had spoken to him.

Something inside Simeon that day said, “Go to the temple now”, he probably didn’t know why. He obeyed and there at that moment were Jesus’ parents offering two doves and two pigeons, a poor family’s redemption for their son.2

The Holy Spirit speaks audacious things to people who love God. Those things can be generic to all Christ's followers, but sometimes they are very specific - for a child, a situation, a calling.
“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” – Jesus (John 16:13)
Have the audacity of faith to believe the Holy Spirit and his word.

- fritz

1 - Luke 2:25 Good News Bible
2 - Leviticus 12:6-8

Related Post: "God Speaks, We can Hear", October 7, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Results Oriented?

"and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour." - 1st Corinthians 3:8b
American corporate culture and our historical social work ethic rewards those who are results oriented - those who can produce what we think is of value.

It is a matter of pride to adopt a "Can do!" attitude, and we drive ourselves to accomplish what we intend. When desired results don't happen we become agitated; when this occurs a lot we feel both shame and futility thinking our work doesn't measure up.

God rewards differently. He rewards us according to our labor.

He can produce results by just a word (Genesis 1:3a) so he is not impressed with our accomplishments. Of value to him is the character worked in us by the labor process. Working as unto him, not being slothful but diligent, being a good steward, faithfulness in difficulties, and getting our sense of worth from him - these are what he rewards.

- fritz

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Crisis Management?

"And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled..." - Mark 11:7
"Troubled"- it seems everyone wants to get us frightened by some crisis. From the weather to the nations, everything is in "crisis management"!

Jesus told HIS followers NOT to be troubled. It doesn't mean we don't care, it doesn't mean we don't act, but we choose not to be in a crisis.

God is our Father, he is personally caring for us, he will give us peace and wise actions to take at the right time.


Monday, October 11, 2010

It Only Takes a Moment

Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh took his signet ring ... and put it on Joseph's finger. He dressed him in robes ... put a gold chain around his neck ... had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command" - Genesis 41:41-43
Joseph was disadvantaged, a slave, and a prisoner for years, but he remained faithful to his morals and to hope. When the time was right his deliverance took but a moment.

Moments are essential; Divine moments change history.

Don't discount moments of time. It doesn't matter how long you have waited, God's answer takes only a moment.

- fritz

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Always a Positive Focus!

"I am the Lord your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the Lord." - Exodus 6:7b-8
God's purpose for his people was not to just get OUT of Egypt but to get IN to the promised land.

This has never changed, God's acts always have a positive focus! As Frances Ridley Havergal, author of the hymn, “Take My Life and Let it Be” wrote 120 years ago,
“[T]he … Christ loving heart cannot be satisfied with only negative keeping ... Every, ‘kept from,’ should have its corresponding and still more blessed, ‘kept for’ ... not only kept from sin but kept for His praise.1
- fritz
1 - Kept For The Masters Use by Frances Ridley Havergal, 1881, page 23

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Two Quotes and a Scripture

Madison Park, CNN, 10/04/10
"From Dr. Spock to Annette Funicello, growing up in the '50s and '60s, we grew up thinking we were special. Somehow, we metamorphosed from peace, love and happiness to a me generation."

"We started accumulating wealth and began focusing on providing for ourselves and our families. That's what we did and now, we're beginning to look around. What's it all about?" he said. "Many of us are divorced. Our families are spread to the seven winds. We're disappointed."1
Jim Elliott, evangelical Christian missionary to Ecuador, October 28, 1949
"He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose"2
The Apostle Paul, Galatians 6:7 (King James Version)
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
Something, today, to think about.

- fritz

1 - Are once-happy boomers behind rise in midlife suicide, Madison Park, CNN, October 4, 2010 8:23 a.m. EDTCNN
2 - Wheaton College archives

Friday, October 8, 2010

Take My Life

"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." - John 6:37
' Take my life !' We have said it or sung it before the Lord, it may be many times; but if it were only once whispered in His ear with full purpose of heart, should we not believe that He heard it? And if we know that He heard it, should we not believe that He has answered it, and fulfilled this, our heart's desire?

Why should we doubt that He did verily take our lives when we offered them—our bodies when we presented them?"

- Frances Ridley Havergal, author of the hymn, "Take My Life and Let it Be"1

1 - Kept for the master's Use, 1882, pg. 5

Thursday, October 7, 2010

God speaks, we can hear.

"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you" - 2nd Corinthians 12:8-9a
Lennon's tomb, 11:00 at night during the changing of the guard, a Russian, a friend, and I discussed the vast changes taking place. Seventy years communism has prevented open discussion about God and all that had changed. As we left we told this man we would pray for him and his response caught us off guard, "You mean, you can talk to God?!"

But that is exactly the point and privilege we have in Christ - we talk to God, he hears, and he talks to us. Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice"1

- fritz

1 - John 10:27

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. - Jesus (Luke 16:25)
Jesus told a parable about a rich man and a poor man. It wasn't a parable about riches and poverty but about justice.

Many complain life is unjust - some are born with with great advantages while others are in abject poverty. Some seemingly have it easy in life while others have problem after problem. There are those in power who oppress for personal gain and no one appears able to stop them.

Jesus points out this life is not all there is.

Jesus' parable indicates if you have been born with advantages use them to help others because life is more than now and justice will out; and if you have been born with great disadvantages remain faithful to God because life is more than now and justice will out.

- fritz

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

God has no Grandchildren.

[The rich man] cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. - Jesus (Luke 16:24)
Jesus told a parable about a rich man and a poor man. Most focus on wealth aspect - in the story the rich man ends up in hell and the poor man ends up in pre-heaven, "Abraham's Bosom", the place the Jews believed the faithful awaited the advent of Christ.

Few notice both the men were descendants of Abraham. The hearers commonly believed all descendants of Abraham were an automatic shoe-in to God's kingdom.

The story indicates entrance into heaven is not a matter of heritage but personal faith and if one ignores what God has already said, more evidence won't make a difference - note the conclusion:
Then he said ... father ... send [Lazarus] to my father's house:...that he may testify ... lest they also come into this place of torment ... Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them .... If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. - Luke 16:27-31
We can apply, today, that being a member of a church or religious group is not enough, one must have a personal faith.

- fritz.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Understanding Western Life and Culture

Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. - 1st Corinthians 6:13b-14
“THE HUMAN BODY is … created for spiritual life in the kingdom of God and to be honored—indeed, glorified—in that context. But when taken out of that context and made the central focus of human experience and endeavor, it is betrayed—robbed of the spiritual resources meant to sustain its life and proper functioning—and in turn it then betrays those who center their life on it.

The sense of this betrayal is what lies at the heart of youth worship in Western societies.

It also is the source of the fear, shame, disgust, and even the anger directed at fat, old age (or just aging), and death and dying that dominate our culture.

An outlook focused entirely on the body finds the body’s failure and cessation to be, of course, the ultimate insult from which there is no recovery.

You have to understand this if you want to understand Western life and culture” - Dallas Willard1

- fritz

1 - Renovation of the Heart, NavPress, copyright 1992, page 184

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Christ in You, the Hope of Glory

the mystery ... hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" - Colossians 1:26b-27
It has been a great comfort to realize God is in me - my body, such that it is; my soul in all it's emotions; and my human spirit.

When I don't know what to do I begin to thank God he is living through me, knows what to do, and will tell me what I need.

As I grow older I thank God my body is his, that I am part of Christ like my finger is part of me, and that he will sustain it1. Believing Jesus Christ came in the flesh2 means many things, not the least of which that He is not in a wafer of bread, but in the human flesh of those who receive him.

He is not waiting for me to do or become anything other than obey him and be his.

- fritz

1 - Romans 8:11
2 - 1st John 4:2

Saturday, October 2, 2010

He is all we need.

Handkerchiefs taken from Paul's body healed the masses1, yet a self described "thorn" was impervious to prayer.

Why? We may not appreciate the answer.

Apparently God has a bigger plan than just us and our wants.
"I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it's all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become."
- 2nd Corinthians 12:6-10 (Message)

1 - Acts 19:12
Related Post: The Prosperity Gospel, September 24, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

Christian Living in Two (2) Questions

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 2:15
Before you do whatever it is you think you ought, ask yourself two questions.

Is it blameless?
Is it harmless?

If so, proceed.

- fritz