and the One who walks with me on it.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Adjustment Time

       To all my faithful readers I just wanted to apologize for not being more consistent with posting.  Right now I am struggling with issues of tiredness again and often fall asleep while writing posts, especially since I don't seem to have time to write until late.  For that reason I am going to take this weekend off and adjust to a different way of getting them done.
       Please be patient and don't give up on me.  As always, I expect that God will continue to work in my life and all of our lives to transform us into the people we should be for His glory.  I also know that one day these issues that we struggle with in this life will all melt away into oblivion and we will be completely healthy and whole, full of vitality and life, and we will understand so much more than now.
       Be blessed, and may our God, Savior Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit find us willing and open to their leading.  May their light shine upon us and may we know the peace that passes all understanding and joy unending that only comes from God above.
       In His love,
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of Jehovah forever.
Ps. 23:6

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Like the Dead Sea

       Have you ever had so much information jammed in your head that you thought it would blow up?  That's how it feels right now.  Who'd have thought studying one of the seven churches of Revelation could be so intensive...  Anyway, there is a physical crash coming soon so I need to post before  I fall asleep.
       Today I read an interesting article.  It used the Dead Sea to describe us: how we were dead in sin (Ep. 2:1,5) before we were saved.  I find this a suitable parallel.  The Dead Sea is so salty that 'nothing' living can survive in it.  In fact, it can kill you if you go diving and drink some of it, therefore you have to use a full facemask to dive.  Also, I've read it can blind you if it gets into your eyes.
       Ah, but you say, I may be a sinner but I have life in me... 
       My answer to that is that even the Dead Sea has bacteria and microbes, but is that genuine life?  Can fishies swim and survive there?  No! Similarly, we cannot have true life without Jesus for He is "the Truth, the Life, the Way..." (Jh. 14:6)  All life is sustained by Him "And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Cl. 1:17 ESV)  Without Him physically sustaining the universe, we would die.  Without Him granting salvation by His blood, we would be spiritually dead- forever dead in our sins and bound for hell.  Dead as the Dead Sea!
(Ok, did fall asleep, so didn't post yesterday...)
       Thinking of us being like the Dead Sea is a bit of a downer, but not if you know what is coming soon, in the end.  Water will flow from under the temple, reach to the Jordan river, and become an impassable torrent, which then flows into the Dead Sea bringing...  new life!!!
(Ez. 47) 
...They are brought out into the sea, and the waters shall be healed. Ez. 47:8
...And there shall be very many fish, because these waters shall come there. And they shall be healed. And all shall live where the torrent goes. And it will be, the fishermen shall stand on it from En-gedi even to En-eglaim, a spreading place for nets shall be there. Their fish shall be according to their kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea, very many. (v.9,10)
And all trees for food shall go up by the torrent, on its bank on this side, and on that side. Its leaf shall not fade, nor its fruit fail. It will bear by its months, because its waters come out from the sanctuary. And its fruit shall be for food, and its leaf for healing. (v.12)
       So, one day the Dead Sea will be healed and returned to fresh water where life will abound once again and fishermen will catch fish there.  And beside the waters will be trees for food where their leaves won't fade or their fruit fail to grow/ ripen whose fruit is for food and the leaves for healing. (sound familiar? Rv. 22:1,2)
       If we allow the torrent of water (Jesus the living water  Jh. 4:10, 14; 7:37) into our dead lives, then He will bring healing and restoration of life in us.  And trees will grow next to the waters that produce good fruit (Gl. 5:22,23) and their leaves shall not wither.  We can be like the revitalized Dead Sea if we accept Jesus into our lives and do what follows:
Blessed is the man who trusts in Jehovah, and Jehovah is his trust. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters; it sends out its roots by the river, and it shall not fear when the heat comes, but its foliage shall be green... Jr. 17:7,8
Blessed is the man who has not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, and has not stood in the way of sinners, and has not sat in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is only in the Law of Jehovah; and in His Law he meditates day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivulets of water that brings forth its fruit in its seasons, and its leaf shall not wither, and all which he does shall be blessed. Ps. 1:1-3

Monday, October 14, 2013

Like Babies

       Most babies follow a pattern of development.  Instinctively they demand the needs of their bodies be met, because this is the 'biggest' and most important part.  Food, drink, clean diaper, warmth etc. are all a part of this.  It isn't until some time after the initial needs are met that the baby becomes curious, wanting to see, touch, taste everything, crawling to find new objects and experience new sensations.  This is usually what drives a baby to the walking stage.
       Some time during the curiosity stage, the baby learns to talk in its desire to communicate better.  There are sounds, then syllables, then strings of syllables, finally the formation of easy words, and then more difficult ones.  Eventually the baby learns to put sentences together and THEN begins the constant talking and 'whys'... For some of us at least!
        We follow a similar pattern of development that happens when we are born again or become a true Christian.  As man, we have these three parts of us, "...spirit and soul and body..." (1Th. 5:23)  There is the body or  fleshly part of us; the one that wants our needs (and what we perceive as needs) met.  This seems to be the biggest part of us because even if we have a few good hours/ days/ weeks with the Lord, eventually our flesh wants what it wants when it wants it no matter what God wants... and why would we even think to ask Him? (sorry, Lord...)
       Then there is the soul which basically is what makes us who we are as individuals: our mind, intellect, will, emotions, personality, passions- basically our inner being.  This part of us is smaller than the flesh, but is able to exert control occasionally over it.  The smallest part when we are first saved is our spirit.  That is the connecting with God part of us that He put in us since the beginning of man.
       The body or our flesh is not ready to be transformed yet- not until Jesus comes again (Php. 3:21).  In the meantime, the "...carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can it be." (Rm. 8:7)  Carnal mind here in the Greek means fleshly inclination.  Our flesh is the enemy of God, it hates God and His authority and longs to keep control of our own life.  We will fail time and again if we try to subdue this part of ourselves without growth in the soul or spirit.
The stronger one usually wins out over the weaker.
Which is stronger, our spirit, soul or body?
        Our spirit needs to grow through first through nourishment of the Word as in the Bible, the Word as in Jesus, the Father and the Spirit.  Prayer, devotions, studying the Word, meditation on the Word/ Lord, fellowship with believers, solid teaching, applying the Word to our lives, obeying God's teaching, etc; all these things help to grow our spirit so that it gets bigger and becomes strong IN THE LORD, mature. 
You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect.  Mt. 5:48 AMP
       As our spirit exercises and 'grows' bigger, our soul begins to transform; our thought process, will, emotions, passions- our inner being changes.  Now there is a war inside of us: our flesh continues to try and exert control, but our growing spirit gets stronger and exerts godly influence over the soul which exerts change in the flesh.  (Paul speaks of this inner war in Rm. 7:14-23.)  We fail, we get up and try again only to fail and repeat.  The difference is this:
       As we fellowship closer with God, learn His Word in depth and apply what we learn to our lives (how we act, think and speak), then our failures become less frequent: our flesh begins to loose control, and our mind exalts itself less, because our spirit is getting stronger. 
       So we need to stop whining and crying because 'we sinned again' and do something about it!  We need to get into the Word and God's presence more and more, and allow our spirit to grow/ mature and our mind to transform, and then we will find we sin less and less.
It's all in how we set ourselves to develop...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Just One of the Crowd

       At the age of 82, we’d never think this man was anyone special the way he limps in and out of public transportation in a non-descript ‘shabby’ suit.  There is nothing of note about his appearance: he wears a $15 Casio watch, doesn’t own a car, travels in economy, and buys less expensive wine.  He abhors paying taxes, but not for the reason we’d expect.  His name is Chuck Feeney and his net worth is 2 million dollars.

       While that doesn’t sound like much in this day and age, the only reason he has so little is because he gives most of his earned money away (as secretly as possible though he is now outed)- to the tune of 7.5 billion known so far.  Why doesn’t he keep more?  (He’d probably say something like this)  What for?  It does no good personally but has helped hundreds of thousands worldwide.  The reason he hates taxes is because it leaves him less to give away!

       If Chuck showed up at a public meeting here, probably no one would recognize him or consider him to be wealthy and philanthropic.  In contrast, most famous people today love to stand out in a crowd and ‘be seen’ as successful, powerful, popular, smart, funny, etc. while they amass great quantities of money and possessions- and look the part.  We might think that kings would be this way, but there was one historical king who stood in the midst of the common folk.

And they came in and spoke to Jehoshaphat, saying, A great multitude has come against you from beyond the sea on this side of Syria And Jehoshaphat feared and set himself to seek Jehovah, and called for a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah gathered themselves to ask of Jehovah And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of Jehovah, before the new court, 2Ch. 20:2-5

       The king of Judah stood in the midst of the congregation- not up on the stage, not in front of them to make statements, but with them to plead to the Lord.  He reminds the Lord of some of their history, and meekly admits they need help, “Nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.(v.12)  Their eyes, his eyes are on the Lord.  The Lord speaks (through a prophet) to say He will deliver Judah, and then the king shows his humility again, “And Jehoshaphat bowed his face to the ground. And all Judah and the people of Jerusalem fell before Jehovah, worshiping Jehovah.(v.18)

       This king bowed his body over and put his face, specifically his nose, on the ground.  How many of us can say we do that, ever?   

       Jehoshaphat looked to God for help first and foremost.  What I am trying to get at is that we don’t need to be seen as successful, powerful, etc, even ‘spiritual’, but we can- by our humility and submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ- lead others to worship Him as well.  In that way, we can help others find salvation through His blood and that will continue to grow exponentially, maybe even to hundreds of thousands. 

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory,
but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.
Php. 2:3