Today

Today too many people are living for the great “I” instead of The Great “I AM”.

Dig Down, Don’t Run

Do It

The Bible is not merely human words. Vast amounts of the Bible are quotes from the mouth of God. Much of the Gospel of Matthew is teachings from the mouth of Jesus. Much of the writing of the prophets is made of quotes from God to them, or the record of the visions/dreams that God gave them. The last book of the Bible, Revelation, is “the revelation of Jesus Christ…to his servant John”, and consists of dreams.

Despite that, a number of years ago a group of “scholars” decided what Jesus was really like, and anything in the Gospels that did not fit their intellectual assumptions was discounted as mere human words.

Paul challenges this kind of academic exercise, teaching Timothy that the Bible has value beyond human thinking because “From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures. They have the power to give you wisdom so that you can be saved through faith in Christ Jesus. Every Scripture passage is inspired by God. All of them are useful for teaching, pointing out errors, correcting people, and training them for a life that has God’s approval. They equip God’s servants so that they are completely prepared to do good things” (2 Timothy 3:15-17 GW©).

So stop giving interpretations of The Bible; stop “making applications to today’s world” and stop picking verses to prove the doctrine to which you are already committed. The Bible points out this error. It corrects such human thinking. It trains you for the life prepared “to do good things”.

The Bible is not a textbook of mere knowledge, but an open channel with God for action on the front-line of life.

Do it; don’t think about it!

Who Is It For?

Human beings have ego. However, those followers of Jesus who have died to self have also crucified the ego.

We compliment people of faith for their help or wisdom under the assumption that those people are more human ego than Godly servant. The mature Christian rejoices when God gets all the glory, for the desire of the humble servant is to do everything “wholeheartedly as though you were working for your real master and not merely for humans” (Colossians 3:23 GW©).

Abba Daniel reported the story of a monk who went to a nobleman’s home where the daughter was demon possessed. On entry the demon slapped the monk through the daughter. The monk, as Jesus commanded, turned the other cheek. The demon is reported to have said, “The commandment of God is destroying me!” and left, and the girl was healed.

When this was reported to the advisor, he gave God the glory, saying “Even the pride of demons falls before humble obedience to the commandments of Jesus Christ.”

No praise to the monk, but only to Jesus.

Do you need compliments and recognition for doing something for Jesus? If so, who is on the throne of your soul? It is likely not the Monarch and Creator of the universe and The Lamb who deserves all “praise, honor, glory, and power” (Revelation 5:13 GW©).

Opinion Is Killing You

Living Love Or Seeing Sin

God is love. So we are told to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Luke 10:27 God’s Word Translation©).

This means we are to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit those who are sick or in jail (Matthew 25:34-36), and to protect the widow and the orphan (James 1:27). Nowhere does it say ignore and slander those trapped in sin. Nowhere is there a condition on who to help. Yet too often church people heap contempt on prostitutes, LGBTQ people, the homeless, anyone who doesn’t agree with our views on religion and politics, and anyone else who “gets in our way”.

No, we hate the sinners more than we hate the sin! Why? Because “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23), including us. If we could hate sin we would convict ourselves, and we don’t. We don’t have time. We spend all our time condemning others and playing God instead of loving like God.

Besides, love costs too much. It will cost us our pride, our personal convenience, and even our life. Condemning others seems the easier way, but the cost of that is eternal punishment (Romans 6:23)!

Jesus did not die on the cross so you could decide whom you will love! Or so you can justify your gossip and slander.

This strikes close to home these days. We have grandchildren who have chosen the road of sinfulness paved with loose living, contempt for parents, lying and anger, and more. However, we still love them with all our hearts.

If we saw sinners as our children and grandchildren, dearly loved, we could hate what sin does to people, but we could also pray for them with tears, show the face of love and make opportunities to express the love of God to people trapped in sin. We would sacrifice ourselves to be a light in the world and not flame-throwers.

We are not the only ones experiencing this. What I see in our present circumstances is a powerful way to talk about what will change people’s lives, namely, the love of God which Jesus showed to death (and life) and which now lives through us humbled by our own pain, and our faith that refuses to give up on anyone.

It was Gandhi that brought this saying to common use – it is not found in the Bible.

The Lord isn’t slow to do what he promised, as some people think. Rather, he is patient for your sake. He doesn’t want to destroy anyone but wants all people to have an opportunity to turn to him and change the way they think and act” (2 Peter 3:9 God’s Word Translation©).

Spirit Revealed

Sometimes God reveals divine wisdom and knowledge directly to a person, through dreams, visions, speaking to their spirit, insight reading (or remembering) Holy Scripture. Sometimes God’s revelation comes through preachers, both those alive now and those whose sermons and teachings have been written down and passed on to us, as well as through faithful scholars who translate the Bible and/or study under The Spirit to discover deeper insights from Scripture seen in history, language, context and writings of past Christians of all ages and in multiple languages. Sometimes God’s message comes through another person’s prayer, or comment, or question, or spiritual act, at times when they don’t even know God is speaking through them! Sometimes God inspires us through creation and the wonders of animals and plants which the hand of God has brought into being and sustained. The Gospel is plain and simple so that even the simplest person can grasp it and pass it on, yet it is so profound that even the most intelligent person can find newness every morning, walking by faith and not sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 ESV) and so The Spirit works all the time in every way to win every person everywhere!

Less Load Love

I love my wife, and my family, and clan.

When extra pain enters our world an extra weight falls upon me. I care.

Today two things were given to me. The first I know and just needed a reminder, “Casting all your care upon God Who cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7) is a decision and an action.

The second thing is that I love my family, but no matter how deep and wide that love is, it cannot compare to the love which Jesus has for each of those in my love bubble. The love I express falls short, and so in order to love them as much as they deserve, I have to love with God’s love, not my limited human love. It is human arrogance that says I will love and that will help. It simply adds a load, however if I let God’s Spirit love through me, it not only is bigger love, but Jesus is bearing some of the load for love and lightens my own weight and allows me to focus more on The One Who Is Love and less on my caring and, often, inability to cause a positive result with the ones around me.

Human love resides primarily in emotions. If I let God love I can care more deeply, more effectively act for the loved one, and not be drained by emotions that are usually magnified by seeing the pain and not having a ready fix.

At this moment I need this lesson to be carved on my soul. It is the only way to get through.

What Happened?

Like others who blog I follow blogs. But something has happened over time. Only 9 of the bloggers have posted anything in the last year! What happened?

So, O God, I pray for those people who have shared their thoughts and lives with me through blogs over the years. For those who no longer feel called to write, may they know they were appreciated. For those whose lives are in such a place that they no longer have the time or energy to write, I lift them up to You in Your mercy. If any have passed through the veil into Your heavenly arms, I pray for their family and close friends and colleagues. Jesus, I am grateful for the contributions that each made in my spiritual journey, and the glory they brought to Your Name.

Be Content

During our morning devotions today this came into my mind:

I am not spiritually weak because of this pandemic, and I am not obsessed with gathering in person with others who name Jesus as Saviour to get back to “normal”. God has not left me during this time, nor left me without an abundant supply of spiritual food. Indeed, I have never felt alone nor unattached to the people of faith in my life. A strong binding has kept my spiritual comrades close to my heart, in my mind’s eye and in thoughts and prayers.

And then this thought entered the process, one which has both intrigued me and encouraged me for 17 years:

In the Ojibwe language there is no word for “good-bye”! Whether someone is physically present or not, the connection remains intact over time and distance because being face-to-face does not determine the depth of affection and attachment to the people in our life.

The Words of God in the Bible are even more lively and penetrating (Hebrews 4:12) than ever before as I am given a clearer vision of the heavenly realm and reign of Christ on earth.

“So, brothers and sisters, I love you and miss you. You are my joy and my crown. Therefore, dear friends, keep your relationship with the Lord firm!…Always be joyful in the Lord! I’ll say it again: Be joyful!…The Lord is near. Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks. Then God’s peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, keep your thoughts on whatever is right or deserves praise: things that are true, honorable, fair, pure, acceptable, or commendable…I’ve learned to be content in whatever situation I’m in. I know how to live in poverty or prosperity. No matter what the situation, I’ve learned the secret of how to live when I’m full or when I’m hungry, when I have too much or when I have too little. I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:1-13 God’s Word Translation©, selected).

We do not need others in order to live with Christ, but we need The Spirit free in us to live with others!