Monday, June 30, 2008

One Tardy and One Absence

Alright, so the reason I didn't get on Yahoo with everyone last night is because my internet went out the day before and we just now got someone out here to fix it for me. I could have fixed it myself had I known that the problem was the cable splitter! Dang it! But God is good and He works everything out for good for those who love Him.

Apparently it's good not to use cable splitters. You use them to split one cable wire to go in two directions. In my case I was using the splitter to have my cable TV and internet working at the same time. I can easily work around that as I rarely watch TV.

Well..I really wish I could have been there last night. I was bummed about that.

Anyway...Heres to next time, brothers and sisters! Hope you guys had a great time discussing all those super spiritual things like puke and baseball. ;)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Are the Promises of God Yes and No?

I was searching on the internet to see if I could find any teacher who understood the proper meaning of the parable of the hidden treasure or the pearl of great price and I didn't find anyone. I found the same answer over and over which made no sense to me. It would say something like, "I don't mean you pay for your salvation but you must surrender everything or be willing to sacrifice."

Mk...I pay for it, but I don't pay for it. I never understood that. They usually give the same meaning in the parable of the talents as well. "I'm not saying you earn your salvation...But you had better work for it!"

Of course I viewed the parables in the same way, but it never sat right with me. It never made any sense and honestly, it didn't allow me to love Jesus anymore. It caused me to see Him exactly as the servant who was given one talent. I knew Him to be a hard man. It's amazing how the wisdom of God has the ability to cause man to condemn himself. God is so much more wonderful and glorious than we can imagine. And we could see Him if only we learned to be more honest with ourselves and our helpless condition. He gives grace to the humble! Don't confuse humility with false humility.

"For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God to through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe."

"God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God."

Viewing the Scripture through the lens of your abilities and pride closes the Scripture from your eyes. But in realizing your weakness and God's strength, He gives revelation.

If you put yourself under Law, you will be judged by it, but if you put yourself under God's Grace given to you in the revelation of His Son in the Greatest News anyone has ever heard, you will be given Grace. The man with one talent knew God's Law but not God's Grace and he was condemned by the Law he put himself under. He knew his master to be a hard man and he got a hard man. But to those who know the Grace of God in Christ Jesus will receive Grace in that Day. Jesus told men seeking to kill Him that He wouldn't be the One to accuse them on the day of judgment. He said that the very Law they relied upon would condemn them. He didn't come to condemn them but to save them.

It's hard for me to articulate exactly what I'm thinking but I hope you understand at least a little of what I'm saying.

God is no longer your Judge because you are no longer His bondservant! You are His son or daughter! You are a child of the Most High God if you have understood and believed the Grace of God in truth. Set your hope fully upon the Grace of God that will be brought to you in the Day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Words of Malcolm Smith

I was reading on Bishop Malcolm Smith's website today and came across this in a post from the "A Visit With Malcolm" section.

My exhausted and despairing child, stop laboring to the point of utter weariness in your efforts to have faith!

Relax My child! You do not set My purposes in motion by your faith, nor does your faith initiate My will among men. You stumble and are exhausted because you believe that faith is an energy within you by which you can mobilize My hand. That is not faith in Me, but faith in your faith to get things done! It is your flesh faith that arises from your will power and has the agenda of forcing Me to do what you think I should be doing! Faith is not the result of your effort My child, a work of the flesh to be presented to Me for approval and reward.

It is not your puny flesh faith that draws Me out to work on your behalf but My love for you, and My faithfulness to the Covenant that My love has made.

Your faith is not to be found within you, but by looking away from yourself to look upon and rest in My faithfulness. It is never to be a struggle on your part, but always a restful response to My word that I purpose to do in My faithfulness to My Covenant. Great faith is a great sense of helplessness on your part coupled with a great expectancy of My faithfulness.

In Covenant I have sworn by Myself, by My life, by the blood of My Son. For Me to fail to perform My promises to you would be for My very Being to cease and all existence fall into nothingness. It is My faithfulness that makes your faith possible.

Your flesh faith is as weak as the changing flesh that gives it birth. Your faith born of the Spirit as you contemplate My faithfulness is as strong as My word sworn to you in My Covenant. This faith is not aware of itself and is not anxious continually checking to see how strong it is! It quietly keeps a steady gaze on My faithfulness upon which it rests.

Know this day My weary embattled child that all your fears arise from your trying to pit your futile attempts to have faith against the enemy. Instead send out against him My faithfulness and watch as he flees from you. Your faith wavers because you look at your behavior and worthiness for its authority instead of the authority of My Covenant faithfulness. You are exhausted trying to muster faith from within yourself and then filled with guilt that you are unable to achieve it.

Take your eyes off and away from yourself, your efforts and your worthiness to have and remain steady in faith and look only at My faithfulness. So shall your faith blossom and be strong.

Friday, June 20, 2008


What if there were no hypothetical situations?

The Shack

Mohler, Driscoll and other evangelicals pick The Shack apart plank by plank.

"No, God can't be a presented as a woman. No, the three parts of the Trinity did not all become fully human. Yes, there is a hierarchy in the Holy Trinity with God the Father in command. Yes, God will punish sin."

As I think more about these objections the more I realize how wrong they are. God gave an example of Himself as a mother a few times. I think it's like Steve McVey said. People simply want to tear anything apart that proclaims the Gospel in all it's truth. That is, the Grace of God with no fine print. I could be wrong, but it's my opinion as to the continuous objections to the Shack. Of course, in the book, there are what seems to me to be hints at universalism which I didn't care for. But other than that I didn't see anything wrong with it. It's fiction.

The first objection that says God cannot be presented as a woman. But I say that you had better tell Him that. Because He has likened Himself to a mother and the tender love a mother has for her child. We all know God isn't a woman. The book never says He is. Will Young, in my understanding is simply trying to make the point that God is not man or woman. He is God.

The second objection is that all of the Trinity did not become fully human. Were there 3 Jesus'? Of course not but again, I believe Will is saying pretty much what Colossians 1:19 says. "In Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the Blood of His cross."

Jesus said Himself that His Father was in Him and He was in the Father. And of course we know the Holy Spirit was and is with Him. So was not God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit dwelling in one body? Yes, they were.

So, is there hierarchy in the Trinity? I think I agree that it's not about who rules over who in the Godhead. They're all one and they all seek to glorify one another. It's not about who is in charge. Jesus said Himself that whoever would be greatest among you must be your servant. They love each other. It isn't about hierarchy. To say it is is to completely miss the heart of God.

And will God punish sin? Absolutely. And He already has in His own Son. And the only reason people go to hell is unbelief in what He did. Jesus told the people who wanted to kill Him, "Do not think I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses (The Law), on whom you have set your hope.

Again, Jesus said Himself: "All sins and blasphemies will be forgiven the children of man. But the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven." Children of man sounds like all men to me. But unbelief will not be forgiven. The rejection of the work of the Holy Spirit in Christ will not be forgiven. Their blood is on their own head because Jesus didn't condemn them. He didn't come to condemn the world but to save it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Faith Vs. Feeling

Today was sort of dry for me. It's one of those days where you just feel nothing and it takes an act of the will to believe that I am who I am in Christ and to walk accordingly. Some days my flesh is seemingly stronger than others. The days when there seems to be no excitement of the fact that Christ is in me. Days when I just want to do nothing but watch TV and tell everyone to leave me alone. Of course there are times of resting and thats good...but there are times where we need to ignore the feelings of our flesh and continue to feed off of Christ in us by the act of sheer faith and will, not feeling. But the feeling doesn't always remain. God gives us the strength we need, but there is first a simple act of moving forward, trusting Christ to be our life and disregarding our feelings.

I've been re-reading Malcolm Smith's "The Power of the Blood Covenant" and he talks a lot about actively resting in Christ. That our lives aren't just passively waiting for Christ to sort of take over and we have no part in it. We aren't robots. We have a choice...We either choose to participate in the Life of Christ inside us or we choose to give into the desires of the flesh. Malcolm calls the moving forward, trusting Christ as your Life the "acting as if" mode. It's where you take by faith Christ is your Life and then walk it out, trusting Him to empower you and to live through you. And it's not a one time dedication. It's a moment by moment decision to surrender to Jesus, not dedicate yourself to Him. It's a dance.

But it's not as though our lives are completely emotionless and we're under obligation to obey. Not at all. Who we really are loves Jesus and delights in obeying Him. But sometimes there are days when we don't feel like we're new creations. We feel the pull of the flesh and can easily be duped into believing that we're still sinners. This is not so! You have died and are risen again in Christ Jesus! So let us set our mind on things above where Christ is seated. For we have died and our lives are hidden with Christ in God! Christ is in you whether you feel Him there or not. And when you by faith take that Christ is in you and walk accordingly, you will find that He supplies you with the ability and power. So let's not waste our time indulging in the desires of the flesh! We are children of the most high God and we are His beloved!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Prayer Request

I just want to ask everyone to please say a prayer to God for my neighbor Wayne. He is in desperate need of the love of God. Just pray that I would be open to allow the love of Christ to minister to him. I'm really afraid of showing affection and things. Just pray that I would be filled with the love of Christ for Wayne's sake and that I would pray for him often as I ought to. He needs hope.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Faith Produces Good Works? No...

I hear a lot of guys say "True faith produces good works."

I have to disagree. Faith isn't a work. It's a rest, a trust, a reliance upon what Jesus did for us.

And I want to quit using the phrase "true faith." Faith is faith. Don't confuse the situation for people. I believe faith in the Good News of Jesus Christ brings salvation. I don't mean getting out of hell in order to go to heaven, though that is obviously involved. I mean our faith in the Gospel is the way God saves us. By save I mean He makes us into men and women again. He makes us alive again! We were dead and now we are alive! We were sinners but now we're saints! He put His Law on our hearts and minds and gave us new spirits and new hearts and even put His own Spirit within us! THAT is salvation! The reason we go to heaven is because heaven is where God dwells and we go to be with Him.

So...We're new creations in Christ Jesus. New creations who are no longer sinners. Therefore we no longer want to live in sin. That is, our true selves. Our body is constantly seeking to draw us away from God and the things we want to do. But we ourselves are saved. We are made alive with Christ forever. We have God's Life. Eternal Life!

So then...Faith doesn't produce good works. Faith receives salvation and God, in us, produces His good works. Jesus Himself said "The Father who dwells in Me does His works." "Work out your own salvation (not going to heaven) with fear and trembling. For it is GOD who WORKS in YOU to WILL and to DO according to His good pleasure."

We work it out with fear and trembling knowing that it's not us doing it! It's God who works in us!

So we're zealous for good works because of who we are! A good tree will bear good fruit. A sinner will sin and a saint will glorify God.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sunday, June 1, 2008

When you Believe

Believing the Invisible

You know...I get a lot of accusations and doubts thrown at me regarding who I really am in Christ.

One big step for Christian growth is learning to let Jesus be our foundation and not our senses or our feelings. Some days I act completely contrary to who I really am in Jesus Christ. And then the question comes of how I can really have the Spirit of God in me when I do such things or feel such things or think such things? Why would God give His Spirit to me? I don't do anything special or important.

The biggest step of faith is completely ignoring these feelings and doubts and acting as if we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus not because we feel it, sense it or act like it all the time. No...Faith is the assurance of things not seen. Faith counts it to be so not because it has evidence, but simply because God has promised and God is no man that He should lie. We walk by faith, not by sight. I take this to mean that we also do not walk by feelings, experiences or whatever senses our bodies may have. Let us mix this Gospel with faith! The Lord said blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed!

Faith is, like Malcolm Smith has mentioned, not closing our eyes tightly saying "I believe, I believe, I believe." Faith is a rest and trust in God by keeping your eyes on Him. Faith isn't concerned with itself, but it's object. Those who were commended as having great faith in the Gospels were not conscious of their faith. They were conscious only of Jesus.

So let us fix our eyes on Him and not on ourselves. He will lead us and guide us and teach us. And this process will not be organized. It will be messy.