I Don’t Look Back

“The things that I once considered valuable, I now consider worthless for Christ” (Philippians 3:7 God’s Word Translation©). In my lifetime I have accomplished many things. With that I have also suffered much, almost to death.

Last night at the fire pit this became physically real. The moon rose. The stars twinkled. Mars glowed brightly high in the sky. Unnecessary records ascended to them as smoke.

Another step was taken on the road toward the Celestial City as all that personal history finally became “history”. “Brothers and sisters, I can’t consider myself a winner yet. This is what I do: I don’t look back, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God’s heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14 God’s Word Translation©).

The achievements, the pain and persecution, can distract a person from the truly vital things that are eternal. Therefore, what I did, or didn’t do, what I have or lack, or what was done to me has become “worthless because I’m much better off knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8 God’s Word Translation©).

Living in the moment is more radical than I had considered. In the moment there is no past to grieve, no future for anxious anticipation. Instead, “Faith knows the power that [Jesus’] coming back to life gives and what it means to share his suffering” (Philippians 3:10 God’s Word Translation©).

Jesus is the Eternal Moment Who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6 God’s Word Translation©). Souls are eternal; not possessions, and the prideful and painful parts of the past.

Every Morning

“Certainly the faithful love of the Lord hasn’t ended; certainly God’s compassion isn’t through! They are renewed every morning. Great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 CEB

Gift Given Not Gained

You have eternal life and peace on earth by what God does, not by what any human does; it is God’s gift [not a badge you earn].” Ephesians 2:8 (my paraphrase)

A Good Model

Painting of Saint Anthony, a part of The Visitation with Saint Nicholas and Saint Anthony Abbot by Piero di Cosimo, c. 1480, Wikipedia

“Antony [c. 12 January 251 – 17 January 356] gathered the best traits from others. He copied…

self-restraint…

cheerfulness…

gentleness…

night devotions.

Antony remembered the love he observed, pondering it and attempting to imitate the best virtues of each person he met. People called him ‘God’s friend’ ”
August 3, By Way of the Desert, Bernard Bangley (Editor), 2007

It is hard to hug from a wheelchair…

A little boy, named David, had come to the home with his kindergarten class. He stood in front of the old man who introduced himself. “My name is David.”
The little boy replied, “So is mine.”
The man’s eyes opened widely and his face shone as though ignited by a holy fire. “No way!” was all he could say.
He was answered with a nod.
The man began to tell his same-named visitor about life on the farm where he was born. The cows and pigs and chickens, and of course, the border collie Rowdy who not only herded the cows for milking, but rescued David and his older brother, Dennis, from snakes in the long grass.
The little David crept even closer as the story went on until big David said, “Would you like to sit on my knee?”
The little one said nothing, but climbed up on the senior’s lap. “May I put my arm around you?”
The little one nodded. The story paused.
“Thank you,” said the almost teary-eyed man. “You know, I haven’t had a hug for years, because when I’m in this wheelchair people can’t reach, and so they wave, or touch my hand. That is nice, but sometimes I just want to be lost in a hug.”
With no hesitation the little boy from kindergarten reached up and shared a hang-on-tight hug, settling his head upon the man’s shoulder, breathing gently.
It was only minutes later that the teacher came along and called David to rejoin the group of young students gathering at the front of the room. He slowly unwound from the hug, pausing to look the happy old man in the face. They exchanged smiles. Then David slid down from the wheelchair and headed for his classmates. Suddenly he stopped, turned, and stood looking at the man again as though a high-speed line of communication was transmitting between them.
The teacher called once again, and he turned as though he was leaving the world’s biggest candy store
The students turned into a choir and sang three songs, ended by short words of thanks from the sponsor and the teacher. As the little learners began to file out the door David split off from the queue and ran to the wheelchair David. He stopped and put a hand on each knee and looked up with sparkling eyes and beaming face at the man sitting there. The man placed each of his hands on the little limbs that were touching him.
The teacher called David to order, who gracefully turned to go, carrying with him a piece of the man’s heart, and leaving a piece of his to fill the gap.
+++++++
This I saw in a vision today, and I share it because of the wondrous things it says about our loving God.

Go But Wait

Jesus last words in Matthew’s Gospel have always been important, but today, listening to my Brother Lazaro preaching from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, it became clear that the last words of Jesus according to Luke add an important element to this.

“I’m sending you what my Father promised. Wait here in the city until you receive power from heaven.” (Luke 24:49 GW©).

Jesus sends the disciples out into mission in Matthew’s account, saying, “So wherever you go, make disciples of all nations: Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to do everything I have commanded you. And remember that I am always with you until the end of time” (Matthew 28:19-20 GW©).

Matthew says, “Go” and Luke says, “Wait.” Before we go out we are to wait to be overpowered by The Spirit.

To go out is very good. To go out with our own doctrine, opinions and energy is very bad.

That makes the spiritual toolkit complete. We go, but God does all the rest!

“This is the word the Lord spoke to Zerubbabel: You won’t [succeed] by might or by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Armies” (Zechariah 4:6 GW©).

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©).