Friday, August 28, 2015

THE NEW SONG I SING - Both Good and Calamity come out of God's mouth ...


It amazes me the lessons I am learning. Being observant, asking questions, reflecting on answers and evidence ... growth produces joy and pain, and pain sows seeds that demand patience, wisdom and providence. Joy and pain, like sunshine and rain, produce growth, flowers and fruit. It produces the loving kindness and mercies for the new day.

Looking at people I care about, or are learning to care about, is teaching me new notes for the song I now sing. I am observing by reading posts that express dreams, frustrations and desires ... learning from conversations with me and overheard by me ... expressed goals and aspirations ... what people rely on ... what people trust in ...

I am learning what mercy and grace mean, as I learn from different perspectives, what people are experiencing and how it impacts their world. I would love to have a song of healing and protection that gives peace and joy to those I now care about, a song giving energy that brings peace and prosperity to reflect the beauty I see in them.

Beauty from youth fades, unless we have "creams or genes" that prolong it. Beauty shared from the heart can be, or is, scarred; when shared through the pain that life brings, its benefit are altered to the receiver (good or bad).

As a result, people do what they feel is in there best interest, whether it is to be a giver or taker (or, some combination of both) ... and, we can't expect different. It all depends on the relationship we have with the truth, if it is beneficial or harmful. The principles of truth are the foundations that life is built on; it has been since the beginning of time.

I understand, more and more, the statements made, "The good that I would do, I don't. The evil that I wouldn't do, I do." Joy and pain. I have discovered what my song was, and what the new song being written in my heart is.

It is the song of the Spirit. It is the song seeking life. It is the song based upon principles I see, but have not seen in this world's practices. It is a song of creation that's principles are used in life, but pain has blurred the truth of the principles in usage. There is one truth (that faith produces) that I now am learning, which is the chorus of my new song.

God makes all things work together for our good, to those who love Him and are called to Him for His purpose.

We are to study Scripture to study and show ourselves approved before God, workmen who don't need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.That is one of the reasons the verse from Lamentations has become a strong part of my new song. 

And this is only the beginning of the revelation, it is...


Thursday, August 20, 2015


(This actually should have been posted in my musings blog series, but ... that's life.)
In reading about the horrible sins that were hidden, or/and denied, by Josh Duggars and Jim Staley (before them, it was people like Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Baker), I have been greatly saddened. They feed the fuel of hatred for people who believe Jesus is the only way to heaven, pointing out we are hypocrites hiding behind Jesus. The mantra is, "They are no different than anyone else, and worse yet, they are hypocrites that promote bigotry and hatred. They should let everyone live the way they want to. They are homo-phobes. They are misogynists. They are bigots, hypocritical bigots, at that! They should just shut up, because they stir up hate crimes, and they are no better than anyone, so why do they pretend to be!!! ... And what about all the other religions???

My own flaws, my own blemishes, my own unique and ugly inadequacies are the reasons that I did not become a pastor in the first place; I have feet of clay.During the course of my life, these things have happened to me. I am divorced, I inhaled, I snorted, I've lied, I've harbored impure thoughts, I've drunk too much, I've cheated, I've stolen, I've voted democrat, I've voted republican, I've voted independent ... I've been homeless (not much better now, living in a week to week fleabag motel), I've been car-less (I am right now), I have an ego, I've been proud ... I can go on, but I think you get the drift. Worse yet, I've sinned since I've believed that Jesus is my Savior! I haven't always practiced what I've believed, because I've been either lazy, selfish, prideful, arrogant, or entitled. I haven't always been an appropriate example of what a believer is supposed to be or should be. I'm still human, with all the flaws that entails. But, I have put all these things behind me now. Why, what is the difference? The difference is ... I'll get to that in a bit (it will start with the small bold type below).

The point is, life has pleasures and seductions that snare us all. There is only one person who has been perfect, and He was crucified because of our sins; this is according to my faith. He is the sum of restoration for our creation, because the adversary, Satan, perverts the beauty of creation; he wants us to be prisoners to perversion. He wants us all to be trapped, he want us to continue to be slaves to our ignorance, our lack of knowledge, our resentments, our guilt, our angers. He wants is to be trapped into ways of thinking that deny the integrity and truths of the gift - the free gift, lovingly given to us by a loving God, to anyone who believes in it. What is the gift?

Grace. Grace is this wonderful gift, freely given by God (YHWH). There are also ... Salvation. Redemption. Forgiveness. Mercy. Who receives it? Both Jew and Gentile, Male and Female, free or slave, regardless of ethnicity or nationality ...

Now, to get back to the difference is ... it is transparency. Honesty. Repentance. Integrity. Our sins will be shouted from the rooftops (Luke 12:2-3, Matthew 7:5), they will be known by everyone. There will come a time where there are no secrets, that everything we do will be known by everyone. This is one reason why I have my "dirty laundry list" italicized above. I don't want to pretend to be something I'm not ... a person without sin (hamartia in Greek, meaning missing the mark ... the definition of sin) that is better than anyone. I am not better than anyone else ... I'm just forgiven, because I believe Jesus paid the price of my hubris against God ... my sin. I am working at putting my faith into practice, instead of pretending to follow Him and letting my ego dictate my actions. Not politics, not economics, not gender, not success/failure by worldly standards, not anger, not resentment, not envy, not guilt, not stupidity, not ignorance, not lack of knowledge. This is where the actions of Josh, Jim, Jimmy and Jim are easy targets for people who desire to diminish God ... looking at His representatives that portray one thing, until their hamartia - their sin - is found out or discovered.

So, I now seek God (YHWH, Yeshua, Ruah Ha-Kodech) to be first in my life ... something I have claimed to do all my believing life, but I have grown in my awareness of what this means. I have matured in my desire to be serious and to be committed in accomplishing this most basic, precious of actions. I am still saddened by all the pretense that goes on in life and I am understanding more the why, from the experiences that I have had. I thought I was doing this, but I realize the idols I still had in my life colored my desire to follow God. This is what others who have fallen have also fallen prey to. My desire and standards for success, comfort, pleasure ... what I was taught to was success ... were getting in the way of following Jesus as I desired to. I want my words to be powerful, to be able to do the things that Jesus said I was able to do. I want to be able to seek His face ... but, that's for another devotional.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Refresh my heart in Christ

"Yes, brother, let me benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ." Philemon 1:20

Refresh my heart is a term that was used in this time period to describe love and compassion that was (and is) a regenerative aspect to living. Onesimus was a non-believing slave that had run away from his Christian master. One of the areas of life that believers today may not realize or remember, believers in Christ were at one time slave owners. Today, we know that no person should own another. Yet, in this culture, it was a fact of life. Cultural training has always been at odds with our walk with Christ; culturally entrenched sin will always limit our walk with God unless we are able to rise above it.

Paul was talking to a fellow believer who owned people, and Paul was asking for mercy for Onesimus! He did not tell Philemon to set this now fellow believer free (Onesimus must have accepted Christ when he was with Paul, verse 10 and 11), but to treat him with compassion and love. This alone was counter-culture to their times! The Roman Empire was, of course, the dominant culture of the time; yet, Paul was asking Philemon to look at his responsibility to Christ to be the foundation Philemon made his decisions on.

The value of being a believer will not make you error-free; rather, it is the foundation that will be the benchmark for your walk with Christ. We do not run away from our past; through Christ, we are transformed and renewed ... we rise above our past sins and iniquities. We perform our duties out of our love for Christ, therefore we benefit each other, and we refresh our hearts in Christ's sacrifice and resurrection. This is the benefit that Paul must have been talking about; Philemon's growth in love and trust in Christ will bring the benefit, both to Paul and to Philemon (as well as Onesimus)! To live with that response will refresh our hearts in Christ!

Read 1 Corinthians 7:19-21, 16:18; and Philemon 1:7 for more illumination

Monday, June 22, 2009

He will give His angels charge over you

"For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways." Psalm 91:11

The security that God promises is awesome! The promises that God the Father made to His Son are the same promises our Savior shares with you and me ... as we learn to follow His Word, we learn to exercise this authority Christ shares with us! The power of His love can not be defeated by anything! This is not our salvation I'm talking about. This is growing, as mature believers, into useful servants, soldiers and ambassadors of Christ, and trusting our heavenly Father in all situations we deal with, knowing that He is faithful and will not let us down.

"You will only look on with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked. For you have made the LORD, my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place." Psalm 91:8-9
The promises leading up to the security God promised to Jesus are based upon our making the LORD our refuge. Our work at making this a real part of our life is something that is a lifelong effort. It takes work at walking away from the knowledge we grow up with. Maturity demands we grow past the biases we live with ... as the future we are promised becomes a reality for us, they are real instead of just words that we recite or mouth, or are just part of a show!

Satan quoted Psalm verse 91:11 to Jesus when the Adversary was trying to tempt the Messiah to show off God's power. People will always ask us to show off (or prove) the miraculous because we believe God's promises. As Jesus demonstrated on the cross, God's plan for us is to serve all His children and not just ourselves. The world does not understand what true love is; the world focuses on "me" or "I" instead of God and we.

Jesus' final response should sum it up for all of us! "Begone, Satan! For it is written, You shall worship the LORD your God, and worship Him only," Matthew 4:10. Jesus used the Word of God to respond to Satan's temptations. Remember ... He will give His angels charge over you!

Read Psalm 91:1-4 and Matthew 4:1-11 for more illumination.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

You were bought with a price

"For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body." 1 Corinthians 6:20
"For you have been bought with a price, do not become slaves of men." 1 Corinthians 7:23

Agorazo in Greek (use a long o) is used of frequenting the marketplace and making a purchase, just as we would at the grocery store and the clothing store. Interestingly enough, this term is used in parables by Christ in Matthew, talking about fine pearls and treasures, and what astute people do to acquire them.

Paul is making a point in this epistle to ensure his readers understand the purchase from the adversary that Christ gave to them (as well as us). We were purchased with the blood of Christ (Revelations 1:5), and we were given the Holy Spirit to indwell in us (Ezekiel 37:3). We are told two things within a very short time frame from Paul. Glorify God and do not become slaves to men. After all, our bodies are the temples (residing places) of the Holy Spirit! Man can not control God, so do not let yourself be controlled by men ... the Holy Spirit will cleanse you, or put you in situations that will correct you. God will not be mocked.

In times like today, it becomes increasingly difficult to not be controlled by society, economics, technology or sensual pleasures. We carry the LORD in our bodies, so we should be a beast of burden, nobly carrying our LORD like a warhorse into battle! We have been bought with a price, let us reflect the nobility of housing a fine pearl and treasure for our God!

Read Psalm 74:2; Matthew 13:44-46, 20:28; Ephesians 1:13-14; and 1 Peter 1:18-19 for more illumination

Fighting the Good Fight

"This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith." 1 Timothy 1:18-19

Hmmm ...having faith to fight the good fight. What does that mean?

Prophecies made in Scripture should give us the confidence to rely upon the blessings that we should count on to live powerful, loving lives. The book of Acts is full of examples of people who have made use of the power of the Holy Spirit. Peter, Barnabas, Saul/Paul, Stephen, just to name a few. Peter, as you remember, denied Jesus; yet, Jesus still entrusted to him the command to tend and feed His sheep.

Even as we have made previous mistakes in our lives, being prodigal and selfish before our loving Father and His loving Son, the Holy Spirit still indwells those who believe in Christ as their Savior. The problem most of us have is having the faith to fight the good fight. Our training (the society we live in which helps produce the mistakes our parents made, the mistakes our teachers made, the mistakes our government made, the mistakes we make) gets in the way of our faith. This training explains a part of "the shipwreck," because we rely more upon this training rather than our faith in God's Word and promises. We lose our light and saltiness.

We are to be the salt (halas in Greek) of the earth (see Matthew 5:13-15). Salt, with it's purifying, antiseptic qualities is still a symbol of friendship and fidelity in many mid-eastern countries. Believers are to be the antiseptic that cleanses the worldly training people have received.

Paul instructed Timothy to have confidence in the promises of God. We must, as well, have the faith to be inspired and aided by God's promises, relying upon the abilities He tells us we have and instructs us to use. We are more than conquerors in Christ, even when our surroundings seem to be so intimidating, bigger than we think we can handle. God promised us! We must fight the good fight by trusting God's Word ... He can not lie!

Read 2 Timothy 2:3-4, Acts 23:1-5, 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, Galatians 3:24, Titus 1:1-3 for more illumination.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Approach the Throne

"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16

Jesus Christ is our High Priest, the person who has given us the strength and ability to approach the throne of God. We are heirs to His Sonship ... He has given us such a wonderful opportunity to approach God the Father with boldness and expectation! This is such a difference from the Old Testament, where only the high priest could go into the throne room in the Temple. He was the only person who had access to the throne room. Because of Christ's birth, death and resurrection, we have access!

Jesus Christ, as our High Priest, has made the way and set the example for all of us. As we serve our Father, we have the knowledge that whatever we have to deal with, He will be there for us! Paul tells us we need to rely upon the promises of our Father so that we may enter His rest (the promise that all who follow will be ruled by God's harmony and beauty). We are given the grace to trust in this message of salvation for our lives.

This doesn't mean we won't have problems in this world; we now have the answers to deal with these problems. Jesus has achieved the victory over our adversary and He shares His power and strength with all of us, ambassadors and soldiers for Him.


Read Ephesians 3:1-14 and Hebrews 4 for more illumination.