Archives for posts with tag: truth

signsofthetimes(A Brief Meditation on Psalm 46 and Matthew 24)

The way of grace teaches us that our hope for life begins in repentance. We prioritize out of necessity and for the sake of aligning ourselves with the truth.

We believe in the Lord Jesus Christ because man-made opinions and bubbles burst and the world tries to bustle us into becoming entangled with its causes, wars, and disputes. We believe so our ways might be exchanged for the ways of God, worldly reactions and responses exchanged for the will of God’s Kingdom.

We build up our faith because the systems upon which we lean and depend will be kicked out from under us. There will be divisions along ethnic lines and realms of thought.

We bless others in the power of the Spirit because a spirit of bitterness is taking hold of our society. There is a famine of taking in God’s Word.  We are called to move as free people, willing to let go of our own lives for the sake of those who are locked into their limiting fortresses of unbelief. We know soon all the vain things which leech and consume our attention will be consumed by God’s fiery judgment so while the light of grace still shines we are working.

We bring life in Jesus’ name to those pestered and plagued by sin, seemingly bound to turmoil, chaos, and unrest. We influence this wicked and perverse generation by the rest and stillness we have found in the presence of God. As we allow God to ascend in the midst of what we do, even the ‘fools who say there is no God’ may discover otherwise.

We breakthrough as the One whose name is above all names is exalted in our lives. Everything we know will be shaken including the ground upon which we stand. The confidence we carry is “The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” (Psalm 46: 7, 11)

Knight and Day“See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3: 12 – 13)

If Jesus tells you He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (and He does) and He tells you He is the Door, the narrow gate through which you access life, why are you still walking around looking for an entrance?

How many miracles does Jesus have to do to prove to you who He is?

How many people does Jesus have to forgive before you would call on him to forgive you where you have missed the mark with him?

How many people would Jesus have to restore, heal, and redirect before you would say, that’s something He is really good at doing?

How is God supposed to make things new in your life when you don’t accept anything new into your belief system?

What are you predisposed to believe: God is out to help you or God is out to hurt you? God is out to bless you or God is out to burn you?

Why do you think Jesus died on the cross and was raised from the dead? What if it directly applies to you?

Which is more important: your opinion or the truth?

Thanks for reading. Had to ask.

P. S.  I am reminded of the scene in Knight and Day with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz where Cruise’s character, Roy tries to explain to June her chances of survival: “with me or without me”.  This is why I had to ask these questions today. With Jesus or without Jesus?  Have you got peace, forgiveness of sins, joy, eternal life, an abundance of grace with which to move, breathe, and live?

Had to ask.

 

truthIn John, chapter ten, Jesus makes a declaration: “Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.  They will come in and go out, and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10: 9 – 12)

Then, Jesus describes his disposition: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10: 13) Four more times after this verse Jesus emphasizes that as the good shepherd, he will lay down his life for the sheep, and that he does this willingly and because of love. Jesus has the authority to lay his life down and to raise it up again.

Then, the division and schism from Jesus is exposed. There is a divorce between the Jesus’ deeds, miracles, and example and his death and resurrection. There is a divorce between Jesus’ deeds, miracles, and teaching from his divine claims. Sadly, people today are still pursuing these terms of divorce trying to follow Jesus’ earthly ministry but not following him all the way to the cross and to the empty tomb. There are those still trying to promote his teachings, his exemplary deeds, and miracles but not the reason he had authority to do them.

Why pursue and maintain these terms of divorce? It gives you a reason not to follow Jesus as the LORD HE IS and instead continue to talk like the Pharisees did, as if there is some big, suspenseful unknown about Jesus that if we could have explained, then we would follow him with all that we are or ever hope to be.

There is a decision with which we are left to make. Keep on trying to pick and choose to follow aspects of Jesus or just follow Jesus.

Decide wisely.

 

handstretchMark’s gospel, chapter three tells us, “Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, ‘Stand up in front of everyone.’ Then Jesus asked them, ‘Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?’ But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.” (Mark 3: 1 – 5)

I’m so glad Jesus is able and willing to heal and restore. But, I’m equally angered and distressed that we still live in a world where people do not want Jesus to act.

We have told ourselves lies to justify our opposition to Jesus. We have said that a shriveled life is just as good as a full one. We’ve raved about the multiple religious expressions available  for our choosing as long as we don’t exclaim or emphasize there’s One choice that’s able to make us whole. We have said multiple cultures are equally  beneficial to its citizens. But, truth be told, that’s not the truth.

We live in a world where we are intimidated away from acknowledging the truth or exposing the consequences of sin’s evil. Will we be brave and honest enough to stretch out our hand and through our restoration speak to the parched, broken, and shriveled among us, and tell them of One whose deepest passion is to restore them to fullness of life?

P.S. Please  pray for me and this ministry of writing. I’m trying to stretch out my hand today to move my blog to a self-hosted site where we can do more for those who read our stuff. Me and technology – what could go wrong?

goldenruleIf you want to make proper judgments about people you must operate from the vantage point of your desire to make no judgments apart from the active reception of the Holy Spirit. Ask for the Holy Spirit. Once you have received the Spirit begin seeking the knowledge on the subject (whatever or whomever that is) that allows you to find a basis for how you respond. If nothing adequate or substantive is found, knock on other doors of inquiry. This is not for the purpose of trying to self-fulfill your suppositions but to see if the Truth opens the door and speaks to your search.

If a straightforward, self-evident conclusion is not forthcoming don’t try to create broad scenarios where your suspicions can be validated. Don’t go looking for helpers or other birds who will flock together with you. It is better to watch and pray than to become a watcher who preys on the first thread that will sew your blanket of suspicion together.

Get into getting the story right, not just getting into the story. Jesus teaches that the easiest set of information to string together may not be the most accurate but it will likely be the most destructive. Don’t be in a hurry to paint with a broad brush. Instead, be painstaking in your patience and in your attention to detail and congruity for this is surely how you would want someone to observe and form conclusions about you.

Give it time and conduct the contradiction or “tree” test at the very least. Don’t judge by a snapshot or quick quote. Instead, Jesus says go by the tree test. “Wherefore, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matthew 7: 17 – 20)

Remember it takes time for fruit to come out. While you wait, keep on applying the golden rule: “do to others what you would have them do to you.” (Matthew 7: 12)

random-thoughtsThomas Sowell, the economist and syndicated columnist, often had “Random Thoughts” columns that reflected on the state of our economy, politics, and culture. You could probably still find many online through Townhall.com. I am a big fan of his columns and his books.

My random thoughts seem to all run towards the subject of repentance and faith. These are the thoughts I want to share with you this morning.

“The purpose of grace is not tolerance but repentance unto salvation.”

“The power of grace is not for the purpose of holding contradictory things together but to be free of contradictions as we hold to the Truth.”

“The purpose of grace is not to make us good and dead but alive and well.”

“Christian love and peace is much more than the enemy of my enemy is my friend, so be careful with whom you march and meet.Be even more careful that you don’t reduce the love of Jesus to some skill you perform better than others.”

“By (new) nature, the child of God is evangelistic, ready to suffer ridicule, humiliation, and even death, for the sake of the gospel.”

This week, I saw Gregory Peck in the movie The Big Country (1958). I admire the way his character conducts himself with integrity and doesn’t have to have it authenticated for it to be constant. It’s a long movie but worth watching. This random thought arose again from watching it. “Grace doesn’t have to prove itself loving (demonstrable with a sign) before it calls you to repent and believe.”

Quote of the week comes from a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speech given at Western Michigan University in 1963. “We must never substitute a doctrine of Black supremacy for white supremacy. For the doctrine of Black supremacy is as dangerous as white supremacy. God is not interested merely in the freedom of black men and brown men and yellow men but God is interested in the freedom of the whole human race, the creation of a society where all men will live together as brothers.”

“Pray for preachers of the gospel. I think we forget (or have never learned) that there is a blindness that binds the heart and mind of listeners to their own biases, if not repented of, leaves the listener lost to the good news and that only Jesus can take that blindness away.”

Luke 18: 41 gives the reply of the blind man to Jesus’ question, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied, “I want to see again. I want to recover my sight.”

When we cry for mercy from the Lord, for what are we crying? Are we crying out to see again? Sin has sabotaged what we were meant to be. Ephesians 4 spells out how the resemblance to the Father we were meant to carry has been terribly marred. Our thinking has become devoid of truth and appropriateness, our ability to think things through has been darkened, and we’ve become locked into being strangers towards God. Me, myself, and I don’t know enough to change things.

Not knowing, instead of humbling us, setting us in the road of life crying out for mercy like this blind man on the downhill side of where he should be, we harden our hearts. Instead of recognizing our distance from God as a sinner, unable to look up to God and crying out for mercy (18: 13) , we are busy giving the reasons why we should be justified by God even though we are still in our sin.

Finally, sin causes us to lose all sensitivity because of the spiritual callouses we have built up against correction and repentance.

Only God can reverse and deliver us from what sin has done. Most of the time, when we are complaining about someone’s immoral behavior the damage has already been done. They don’t need reform. They need renewal. They need regeneration and resurrection. They need a new horizon of eternal life set before them and only Jesus can answer that request if and when it’s made.

“Jesus said to him, ‘Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.’  Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.” (Luke 18: 42 – 43)
P. S.
This miracle of recovery began when the blind man heard that Jesus is passing by. Let’s try to be in the crowd that’s telling others this sight-giving, life-giving truth.