Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Old Testament Way of Salvation

"For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God" - Job (Job 19:25-26)
The Old Testament faithful were saved just as we are today - by trusting in the redeemer. They looked ahead to the coming redeemer, Christ, we look back to the redeemer who came, Christ.

The whole Bible is a book about one man, Christ, and we know his name - Jesus.

- fritz

Monday, November 29, 2010

Enjoyment Without Guilt

Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy - 1 Timothy 6:17
God's gifts are for our enjoyment! If we are not enjoying them, something is wrong.

God has no problem with guilt free enjoyment, he created pleasure in the first place - enjoyment is guilt free when God, not the gift, is recognized as the source.

Our response is to be that of sharing the enjoyment with others.
[D]o good, ... be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; - 1 Timothy 6:18
- fritz

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mercy and Truth Meet in Christ

"Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. - Psalm 85:10
"Truth" and "Righteousness" don't naturally lead to "Mercy" and "Peace".

Truth is that every one of us have done selfish and ungodly deeds. Righteousness demands wrongs to be made right, and we don't have the wherewithal to comply.

We can not bring back the dead, can't restored ruined reputations, can't unhurt or put back what we have wasted.

But Christ, Jesus, can and he has. In Christ righteousness and peace "kiss" and make up. He has paid for our sin, he can heal the hurt, take the wrong and make it work to every one's good.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ - Romans 5:1
- fritz

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Jesus Comes In When Asked

Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you - 2nd Corinthians 13:5b
It is NOT figuratively speaking, it is no metaphor or euphemistic way of expressing some "truth"; Jesus, the living Christ, actually and tangibly lives within the one who has asked Him to do so.

The little chorus is more Biblical and profound then we realize:
Into my heart, into my heart,
Come into my heart, Lord Jesus;
Come in today, come in to stay,
Come into my heart, Lord Jesus.1

1 - link (music and words): "Come into My Heart Lord Jesus"

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hearing from God - Feel the Burn

[T]he bush burned ... and ... was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.

And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him
- Exodus 1:2b-4a
Moses heard from God like we do, today. Events are different but the process is the same - Moses noticed something unusual (the burning bush), he turned aside to see, then God spoke.

This is how we, too, hear from God. Reading the Bible, hearing a word from a friend, pastor, or co-worker, even sometimes a thought from "out of the blue" - something "lights up" though we may not even know why.

That's the time to stop and investigate. It doesn't always happen at a convenient time or place, but when we pause, then and there to wait and listen, God speaks.

- fritz

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Telling the Truth About Oneself

The heart is deceitful ... who can know it?" - Jeremiah 17:9
"[A] man can not tell the whole truth about himself, even if convinced that what he wrote would never be seen by others"- Samuel Clemens1
Search me, O God, and know my heart: ... know my thoughts ... and lead me in the way everlasting.-Psalm 139:23-24
- fritz

1 - "Mark Twain's Bequest," London Times, 23 May 1899 as quoted in Autobiography of Mark Twain Volume 1 edited by Harriet Elinor Smith, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

God Speaks and Listens

"God speaks to those who take time to listen and he listens to those who take time to pray"
- Rev. Desmond Goonesekera, Pastor, St. Cuthbert Episcopal Church, November 21, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

At Some Point Trust Must Begin

They spoke against God, saying, "... Look! He struck the rock and water gushed out; torrents overflowed. But can He also provide bread or furnish meat for His people?"

Therefore, the LORD heard and became furious
- Psalm 78:19-22a
It gets really old to continuously say, "Well, is God going to come through for us this time?"

At some point the child of God has to start trusting God's Care.

- fritz

Monday, November 22, 2010

Voices beyond Death

"And [God] said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground." - Genesis 4:10b
The Bible has always taught this physical life is NOT all there is. An early example of this was Abel, who's blood cried out to God when he was violently murdered.

His blood cried out before God for the justice and caused the perpetrator, Cain, to be banished from God's presence.

Jesus' blood also cried out when he was violently murdered. But it cried for the opposite,
The murder of Jesus, unlike Abel's—a homicide that cried out for vengeance—became a proclamation of grace. - Hebrews 12:24b (MESSAGE)
Our sins were the cause of his death but we, the perpetrators, are brought by that sacrifice of Christ into the presence of God.

What a deal!

- fritz

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Freedom, a Universal Value

"[F]reedom is not an American value; it is a universal value. Freedom cannot be imposed; it must be chosen. And when people are given the choice, they choose freedom."
- George W. Bush, 2010, Decision Points

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Abraham's Blessing - Goes Around, Comes Around

"Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house ... And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee - Genesis 12:1-3
Perhaps most controversial of "Abraham's Blessing" is God's promise to actually bless and curse others according to their actions towards his people.

I have, actually, witnessed this. When people are kind to the followers of Christ their own lives go better.1 Those who make one of God's children, the poor, or widows cry don't last long.2

When even fellow believers hurt each other, they only end up hurting themselves. I don't respond well to those who hurt my children or when my children hurt each other; I don't think God does, either.

Our response, even when hurt, is not to be vengeful but to offer a blessing3 and get out of the way - it is God who takes care of us.4

- fritz

1 - Matthew 10:42 - Even a cup of cold water
2 - Proverbs 23:10-11
3 - Luke 6:28 - Bless those that curse you
4 - Romans 12:19 - God repays, not us

Friday, November 19, 2010

Abraham's Blessing - Being a Blessing

"Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house ... and thou shalt be a blessing ... and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. - Genesis 12:1-2
"Abraham's Blessing" is more than a promise, it's a calling. Abraham, and we in Christ, are called to be a blessing.

Abraham was a blessing to Lott by rescuing him.1 Similarly, we rescue friends, loved ones, and co-workers, by being open with how Christ rescued us.2

Even more practical than just that, by following Christ's principles in our business practices we bless our company and community. Following Christ in our actions at home blesses our families with peace. Following Christ with our actions brings blessings upon our descendants. The aged psalmist wrote,
I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread." - Psalm 37:25
and in Proverbs we are told,
"the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered." - Proverbs 11:21
As we stand faithful to Christ we become God's blessing to others - it is our calling.

- fritz

1 - Lot's capture and rescue is reported in the Bible's book of Genesis, chapter 12
2 - 1st Peter 3:15 - Always be ready to share your hope

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Your Part of a Challenge

"[S]ometimes you don't choose which challenges come to your desk. You do decide how to respond."
- George W. Bush, 2010, Decision Points

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Abraham's Blessing - Fame

"Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house ... and I will ... make thy name great ..." - Genesis 12:1-2
Fame was one of the six-fold promises of "Abraham's Blessing" and that certainly happened for our hero. The name, Abraham, is almost synonymous with faith.

Fame is one of the promises passed down to the followers of Christ1 - not the superstar, "name on everyone's lips", kind of fame but fame where it counts - with God.
"And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever" - Daniel 12:3
Jesus told his disciples "your names are written in heaven.".2 And not just them, everyone who has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord was hand-picked by God, himself.3 That means me!

When God and all of heaven knows your name for eternity - that's real fame!

- fritz

1 - Blog Post - November 8th, "Abraham's Blessing Like a Football"
2 - Luke 10:20
3 - Ephesians 1:5

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Abraham's Blessing - Chased by Good

"Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, ... and I will bless thee..."- Genesis 12:1-2
Many years ago God appeared to Abraham and gave what is called "Abraham's Blessing". Passed down through the centuries it finally resides in Christ, Abraham's promised heir, and we, too, become eligible.
"Christ hath redeemed us ... That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ" - Galatians 3:13a, 14a
For us in Christ this has unique meaning.

There are six (6) things we get to participate in, not the least of which is the fact we no longer have to chase after the blessings we think we want.

When I follow Christ, God's blessings chase me!

This is precisely the meaning of Psalm 23 when it says,
"The Lord is my Shepherd ... Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life"
God is working all things for my good1 as I love him and follow his call his blessings follow me.

- fritz

1 - Romans 8:23

Monday, November 15, 2010

Abraham's Blessing - A New Nation

"Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house ... and I will make of thee a great nation ..." - Genesis 12:1-3
My affiliation with Christ enables me to participate in "Abraham's Blessing".1

Part of that blessing is nation building - not a political nation, but a common bond of heart and soul that will culminate upon Christ's return to rule this earth.

Jesus told his disciples, "I will build my church".2 The word, "Church" literally means "the called out ones." Called out of every nation and ethnic group are individuals who are to be part of his work in the earth. The call is generic in that anyone can participate if they desire to do so. It is specific in that only the ones tapped by God will say, "Yes!" Do you feel that draw to participate? It's him calling.

These are, collectively, the "Mountain that filled the whole earth" mentioned in the Bible's book of Daniel, chapter two.3 They are the temple of God building for his habitation.4 They are the "joints and ligaments" of the Body of Christ, helping it to grow into full maturity.5

Entering Christ has made me part of something bigger than myself, bigger than my nation, bigger than my time in history.

How cool is that!


1 - Galatians 3:13
2 - Matthew 16:18
3 - Daniel 2:34
4 - Ephesians 2:22
5 - Ephesians 4:16

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Abraham's Blessing - God's Country!

"Christ hath redeemed us ... That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ" - Galatians 3:13a, 14a
Abraham's blessing, thousands of years ago, has unique meaning for participants in Christ.1

That blessing, found in Genesis 12, includes six (6) things, the first and primary - ownership of a place in God's Country (and it's not Texas)!
"Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee ..." Genesis 12:1
God calls us, like Abraham,2 to abandon our old ways and follow Christ to a land that he, himself, will reveal - to his kingdom on earth now, the Church, and ultimately to heaven prepared especially for us.
"I go to prepare a place for you ... And ... I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." - Jesus (John 14:2-3)
If there were no other blessings, no other promises, this would be enough!

Ah! But there is more!

- fritz

1 - Blog Post - November 8th, "Abraham's Blessing Like a Football"
2 - Blog Post - November 7th, "Abraham's Call - A Prototype"

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Effective Praying

"[Y]e people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah." - Psalm 62:8
Prayer is not so much the putting together of well composed requests as it is the pouring out to God from what is in the core of our being.

"Selah!" (means "Pause and think about that").


Friday, November 12, 2010

George Bush Remembering Alchohol

"I haven't had a drop of alcohol since that night at The Broadmoor in 1986. There's no way to know where my life would have headed if I hadn't made the decision to quit drinking. But I am certain that I would not be recording these thoughts as a former governor of Texas and president of the United States.

I could not have quit drinking without faith. I also don't think my faith would be as strong if I hadn't quit drinking. I believe God helped open my eyes, which were closing because of booze.

For that reason, I've always felt a special connection to the words of 'Amazing Grace,' my favorite hymn: 'I once was lost, but now am found / was blind, but now I see'"
-George W. Bush, Decision Points", 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

George Bush Remembring Billy Graham

"In his gentle, loving way, Billy began to deepen my shallow understanding of faith ... self-improvement is not really the point of the Bible. The center of Christianity is not the self. It is Christ.

Billy explained that we are all sinners, and that we cannot earn God's love through good deeds. He made clear that the path to salvation is through the grace of God. And the way to find that grace is to embrace Christ as the risen Lord--the son of a God so powerful and loving that He gave His only son to conquer death and defeat sin.

These were profound concepts, and I did not fully grasp them that day. But Billy had planted a seed. His thoughtful explanation made the soil less firm and the brambles less thick."
- George W Bush, Decision Points, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How to Control Feelings

Dallas Willard surfaces an interesting fact.
"We cannot just choose our feelings"1
But, he says,
"you can evoke and to some degree control feelings by directing your thoughts. Our power over our thoughts is of great and indispensable assistance in directing and controlling our feelings, which themselves are not directly under the guidance of our will."1
Perhaps this is why the bible says
"whatsoever things are true, ... honest, ... just, ... pure, ... lovely, ... of good report; ... think on these things." - Philippians 4:8
- fritz

1 - Renovation of the Heart, by Dallas Willard, page 104

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Little Slow on the Uptake

"The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you ... Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran." - Genesis 12:1, 4
The words "had said" gives a little insight about Abram (later called, Abraham). He wasn't as quick to respond as we like to think. God's call had come earlier, perhaps much earlier. When Abram finally responded he was 75 years old.

What do we learn from this?

God is patient, and being a bit slow on the uptake doesn't disqualify from success with God and in life.

It tells us that while breathing it is not too late to say, "Yes", to God and his call.

Don't feel condemnation over a late response or missed opportunity say, "Yes", now. It is not too late to walk with God and receive his blessing.

- fritz

Monday, November 8, 2010

Abraham's Blessing Like a Football

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get ... unto a land that I will shew thee: And ... I will bless thee ... and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. - Genesis 12:1-3
Abram (later called Abraham) is significant for many reasons, not the least of which is his "Blessing". God made promises to Abraham which were to be passed from one person to the next.

His "Blessing" wasn't passed to all Abraham's children but to receivers who would carry it forward. Like a football, it was passed to Isaac1 not Ishmael, to Jacob2 not to Esau, down through the centuries until it was finally passed to Christ who passes it to us, both Jews and Gentiles, who accept Christ by faith.
Christ hath redeemed us ... That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ" - Galatians 3:13a, 14a
- fritz

1 - Genesis 21:12
2 - Genesis 28:3

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Abraham's Call - A prototype

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee - Genesis 12:1
Abram's (later known as Abraham) life is the prototype of faith. He was called to leave his country, kindred, fathers house and follow God to a place he did not know. What he did know is that God would be with him.

We, too, are called to leave, not necessarily our parents or city but the comfortable, familiar, and natural way of life inherited through our father, Adam, and follow Christ to an unfamiliar place we can't truly imagine - except we know that we will be with him, and we will be like him.
Dear friends, now we are God’s children. What we will be isn’t completely clear yet. We do know that when Christ appears we will be like him because we will see him as he is. - 1st John 3:2 (GOD'S WORD)
- fritz

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Swimming with Sharks - God's Answer

My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword. ...I will sing and give praise. - Psalm 57:4,7b
Maybe with a different analogy, but everyone in corporate America knows what the Psalmist means, here. We would say that "we are swimming with a bunch of sharks".

We can not escape this fact of life, our environment is sometimes vicious. But God has an answer - it is singing.

Singing, specifically singing praise about God's goodness and care, dispels fear and dread and brings courage.

Pick a good song or hymn and when fear invades take time to sing.

- fritz

Friday, November 5, 2010

Lingering Guilt - God's Answer

And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us. - Genesis 42:21
The Bible tells of the children of Jacob, the patriarch, throwing their brother into a pit then selling him to foreigners. They got rid of their brother but they could not get rid of their guilt. Years later, and probably every time something bad happened, they remembered that terrible selfish deed as if it was yesterday.

Guilt is like that. It keeps popping up no matter how long it is ignored or who gets the blame. It demands resolution, justice, payment.

The Bible also tells us God's answer for guilt is Christ,
In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: - Colossians 1:14
God's answer for guilt is to confess, not deny, the wrong and ask for the forgiveness Christ provided.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. - 1st John 1:9

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What Love Gives

After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. - Genesis 15:1
God told Abraham, "I am your reward".

Love always gives, but what does it give? Itself.

And that is enough.

- fritz

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Trust means Obey

The idea that you can trust Christ and not intend to obey him is an illusion generated by the prevalence of an unbelieving “Christian culture.” In fact, you can no more trust Jesus and not intend to obey him than you could trust your doctor and your auto mechanic and not intend to follow their advice. If you don’t intend to follow their advice, you simply don’t trust them. Period.

- Dallas Willard, Renovation Of The Heart, Pg. 95

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Grafting Plants and Hearts

Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. - James 1:21
I have a grafted Orange tree. The original stalk was cut and a cultured Orange tree was tied in place until the stock actually grew into and through the graft. If you look closely you can still see the scars.

"Engrafted" is the horticultural term used to describe how the Word of God, both the living and the written, becomes part of our lives.

We are cut by our guilt, grief, and repentance, and God's word is placed in our hearts then held there as we grow into and through it. If you look closely you can still see the scars.

Take the bible, read it, think about it throughout the day, talk about it, meet with others doing the same, letting God's word stay close enough to enable your life grow into and through it.

- fritz

Also See: Patrikin blog post, October 30, 2010 - "Reading the Scriptures Adequately and Accurately"

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Children's Bread

A Canaanite woman ... came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession." ... He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs." - Matthew 15:22, 26
A foreigner asked Jesus for healing. Jesus initially resisted by saying food belongs to the family.

Ignoring the controversy over the way he addressed her and why, notice Jesus equated deliverance and healing to food that a father provides to his children.

There can be extenuating circumstances1 but we need to see that God considers our health and well being as not just important but essential as food on the table, and the Lord's Prayer request for "our daily bread" for more than just something to eat.

- fritz

1 - Paul's thorn in the flesh, 2nd Corinthians 12:7