Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Subtlety is a characteristic of satan. He likes to undermine faith with craftiness and innuendo. Such that I find is the subtile nature of religion. So many people defend their religion or ‘faith.’ The presidential race has been pushing it to the forefront. Radio talk show hosts are defending it. Most of them have the attitude that ‘practicing your religion, no matter what it is,’ is the “be all to end all.” To them, you’re a good person if you ‘practice’ your religion.
People call the Boy Scouts a “Christian” organization. I would characterize it as a ‘religious’ organization. The scouts don’t care what ‘religion’ you practice, just so long as you practice some form of belief in a god. Hindu, Vishnu, Buddhism, Islam, Catholicism, Mormonism, or pick whatever religion you want, the scouts don’t care which one.
I believe satan is perfectly happy if we argue ‘religious’ beliefs and not focus on Jesus. Religious beliefs have way of making one feel superior to others. Religious beliefs give one a sense of ‘righteousness.’ Religious beliefs are like the subtile deception in the garden when satan, the serpent, said to Eve, “…you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Gen 3:5.
How many religions claim “godliness” because its members are in good standing? How many times have we heard that someone is a ‘godly’ man because of the way he acts or follows the tenets of his ‘faith’?
The subtlety of religion is that it can lure one away from the “simplicity that’s in Christ Jesus” into an attitude of being “as gods, knowing good and evil.” One can end up thinking that “I’m not like ‘those’ people,” or “I don’t do those things” and because someone talks a good game and looks successful and invokes that ‘name of the Lord,’ we think they are ‘godly.’
Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone that says to me, Lord Lord…but he that does the will of my Father. Many will come in that day and say, ‘Did we not prophesy and do many wonderful works in Your name?’ I will say depart from me, ‘I never knew you.’
But there is a difference between ‘knowing about Jesus’ and ‘knowing Jesus.’ I want to know Jesus more deeply every day, but I struggle with being faithful as opposed to being ‘religious,’ or doing the ‘right thing’ because it is ‘the Christian thing.’ I seek to love as Jesus loves.
But is it really what we do that is important? Matthew 25 talks about the sheep and the goats. The sheep did, while the goats didn’t do…but what the sheep did was an out pour of love, it wasn’t rules and regulations that they were following. James said it well when he said, “If you love, you do well.”
John 6:29 “Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."
What is the purpose of religion? It modifies people’s behavior. It is a means of control. Religion tells its adherence that if they don’t fall in line, then you are out of ‘the will of God,” and you could face the vengeance of the Lord.
Therefore the law was our tutor [to bring us] to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
It’s a tutor to remind us that we need Christ. It is NOT what saves us. For if the law saves us Christ died in vain. Once Christ enters into your life by when you call upon His name in faith you are saved. Christ makes you acceptable to the Father. Christ makes you righteous. Christ makes you an adopted son or daughter of God. We are all created by God, but we are not all God’s children. (That is another subject completely. Read John Chapter 1 for a word about The Word.)
Now consider what Paul told Timothy.
1 Timothy 1:8-11
But we know that the law [is] good, if a man uses it lawfully;
Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;
According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
I think this is where most people get confused. The law or religion will modify your behavior, but IT WILL NOT SAVE YOU. It may make you a ‘better’ person in the eyes of religious people and the world, but it won’t save you. It may keep you alive for a few more years because you, “don’t smoke, don’t chew, don’t date those that do,” but it doesn’t make you acceptable to God. Just because you can behave yourself in the sight of man doesn’t mean that you are righteous in the eyes of God. Jesus condemned the Pharisees because they knew the letter of the law but they didn’t know the spirit behind the law. They knew what the law said, but they didn’t know what love required.
Another thought I had was that it was the religious leaders that were the most adamant about having Jesus sacrificed, and it was the religious leaders who were being ‘righteous’ that were bearing false witness or encouraging the false witnesses against Jesus.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
We are saved by grace through faith, not by works, lest any man should boast. All religions fight with each other because they think they have the better ‘temporary’ solutions to man problems. Religion can try to modify your behavior to make this a better world, but it doesn’t make us acceptable to God. Our righteousness is as filthy rags. Only Jesus death on the cross makes us acceptable to the Father. When we place our faith, hope and love on the Only Begotten Son of the Father, the eternal Word - the Word who is God (see John Chapter 1) - then we are saved.
But if you think because you get someone to behave the way you think they should behave and convince them that is what God wants, you may have just created a well behaved person still destined for an eternity separated from God. Doing good works doesn’t equate to knowing God. Jesus wants to know us because He loves us. Satan convinced Adam and Eve that eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would make them like gods. They ignored the tree of Life which would give them eternal life. The tree of Life is Jesus.
Introduce someone to Jesus, the tree of Life, and help them to know Him and the wonderful Grace of God that’s found in Jesus Christ and watch how Jesus will transform them into the person He thinks they should be, and they will inherit the Kingdom on God through Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
If we think we have to ‘earn’ God’s love we push His grace aside. God made us acceptable to Him through His Son’s sacrifice in our place.
“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but has eternal life.” John 3:16 Whosoever believes, not performs. God has loved us from the very foundations of the world. God loves us yesterday, today and forever.
We have access to the Father through Jesus, His only begotten Son. Jesus is “the Way, The Truth, and The Life.” Those who reject Jesus reject God incarnate, reject Love, for God is Love. God won’t make you love Him. Again, why did God sacrifice His Son for us? Because He loves us.
If we start putting conditions on people’s access to God then we are trying to circumvent the grace of God by saying that our relationship to God is based on our behavior. I believe God loves us in spite of our behavior, but I also believe that as we learn to love God we learn to love each other and we learn to abide in Jesus. The first fruit of the spirit we are told is love. As we develop our relationship with Jesus we abide in love.
Accept the grace of God given by Jesus sacrifice on the cross to make us acceptable to God. The burden of trying to earn salvation will be lifted off your shoulders because Christ sacrifice is what God accepts. Then, love God. Love your neighbors. All else will fall into place.
Monday, December 10, 2007
CS Lewis wrote in his book Mere Christianity that,
Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given to you by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already. So that when we talk of a man doing anything for God or giving anything to God, I will tell you what it is really like. It is like a small child going to his father and saying, 'Daddy, give me sixpence to buy you a birthday present.' Of course, the father does, and he is pleased with the child's present. It is all very nice and proper, but only an idiot would think that the father is sixpence to the good on the transaction. When a man has made these two discoveries, God can really get to work. It is after this that real life begins. The man is awake now...
Glen's thought for the day: May we all come to know that it's all His and there is nothing we can add or take away, for He is the One and Only, The Only Begotten of the Father. He is Lord, He is our King, He is Jesus.
Blessings and Grace...
Monday, December 3, 2007
All belong to you
What more could we offer up
What more could we do
If the mountains will cry out
If we do not sing
What more could we offer up
Except our everything
So we bring You all our praises
We bring You all our hearts
We bring You our everything
And that is just the start
We give You all our worship
For You’re our worthy King
We give our hands, our hearts, our lives
We give You everything
Saturday, December 1, 2007
We accuse people of acting ‘worldly.’ Why? What are they doing to be ‘worldly?’ Is it having a beer? Is it talking to someone who we ‘deem’ a ‘heathen’ or a ‘non-christian?’ Is it going to the movies? Is it listening to ‘worldly’ music? Is it because of how they dress?
What exactly is being ‘worldly?’ Do I have an adequate answer? No. There are people who seem to think they have the answer, but I don’t. I can only give you things to think about.
Mike Roe of the 77s, Lost Dogs and solo projects wrote a song called “The Lust, The Flesh, The Eyes and the Pride of Life.” It’s based on I John 2:16 and I’ll try in my own feeble way to break it down. We are told by John not to love the ‘world.’ He was dealing more with ‘worldly’ attitudes. God so loved the world…us…the people…
“Well I feel like I have to feel something good all of the time
With most of life and cannot deal, but good feeling I can deal even though it may not be real
And if a person, place or thing can deliver, I will quiver with delight
But will it last me for all my life, or one more lonely night
The lust, the flesh, the eyes and the pride of life
Drains the life right out of me” – Mike Roe
“For all that is in the world, the Lust of the flesh…” I John 2:16
Luke 4:1-4 & Matthew 4:1-4 “…turn this bread to stone…”
The first temptation Satan presented before Jesus was the lust of the flesh. A simple thing like the need for something to eat can lead someone in the wrong direction. Jesus was fasting. He was led by the Spirit. It can be so easy to forget what we are supposed to be doing when our flesh kicks in.
In CS Lewis’ book The Screwtape Letters a higher demon was addressing an underling about how to mess up a Christian. “If he thinks about reading the enemy’s book (the Bible) tell him he’s hungry. Get his mind on something else.”
Motivation We sell out for physical, temporal satisfaction.
Esau gave up his birthright for temporary satisfaction. Gen 25:29-34
“When I see something and I want it ‘bam’ right now, no questions asks
Don’t worry about if I can afford it now or later I want it and I want it fast
I’d go to any lengths sacrifice all that I have or all that I might get
Just to get something more I don’t need and Lord, please don’t ask what for
“…the lust of the eyes…” I John 2:16
Luke 4:5-18 & Matthew 4:8-10 “…all this I will give thee…” “Come on Jesus…compromise. Compromise on principle Compromise on this whole Jesus thing. You could have a great ministry. People will come from all over if you just let up on the whole Son of God thing. Just talk about being good, and doing the right things and you’ll be financially blessed, but don’t talk about sacrifice and selfless love…The world is before you, just bow down to me, just for a moment…one time…compromise and all will be yours.”
We compromise for the temporal because we can’t quite grasp the eternal. The simple gospel of “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son…” gets lost to “If you do these things then God will bless you abundantly…Give one He’ll give ten…Give ten He’ll give 100…”
“For the preaching of the cross…is the power of God” gets lost to “Godliness is Profitable.”
We give up our lives to gain “junk.” Stuff, things. We sacrifice our time with our families to have a nicer car, a bigger house, a boat, a wide screen TV, a faster computer, a better watch, eat at finer restaurants. We sacrifice love for stuff and claim it’s because we love our family that we want to give them stuff. Soon our families love for you is exchanged for their love of stuff…or should we say “lust” for stuff.
We treat God like a sugar daddy in the sky. “If you love us God…give up the stuff.” We are like spoiled children who no longer love our Father, but just want what He can give us.
After Jesus fed the 5,000 + he separated himself. He knew what was in their hearts…John chapter 6.
“Well I love when people look at what I’m doing or have done
And lay it on about how groovy I am, and that I’m looking grand
And every single word makes me think I’ll live forever and ever with no end
But they’ll probably won’t remember what they said tomorrow
Tomorrow I could be dead
“…the pride of life…” 1 John 2:16
Luke 4:9-12 & Matt 4:5-7 Satan took Jesus to the Pinnacle of the temple. High point. “Come on. Jump off. If you are who you think you are, God will send angels, ain’t that what ‘the word’ says? Do that, and then everyone will have to listen to you. Then they’ll see.”
We like acclaim. We like to be admired for what we’ve done. We think we can be used greatly if we could just do something “spectacular.” Then they’ll listen. Then they’ll see. Pride can be such a powerful weapon of destruction. We puff ourselves up, thinking that we are the world’s only hope. We think we know it all. We think if only…So we try and do something amazing, only to lose sight of what am I doing this for? And we try to maintain the fame, not because we want to share Jesus, but because we like the fame. The fame becomes our idol. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty heart before a fall.” We are all susceptible to pride.
But it’s hard to keep the image untainted. We are swallowed by pride. We try to keep our faults secret. We sit on a pedestal and don’t realize that the ground will be hard when we fall. I developed a new saying the other day. It goes like this. “The thing I like most about NOT being up on a pedestal is it doesn’t hurt as bad when I fall.”
The only One we should be lifting up in our lives is Jesus.
If only 3 people read this...may you come into a relationship with Jesus...
Be blessed...be graceful...be covered in grace...
Jesus loves you.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
This is a lame attempt by me at song writing...I can never put stuff to music...
The Car Won't Start by Glen McClead aka DJ GlenMC
The car won’t start, the roof is leaking
And I can’t find the shirt I’m seeking
The yard needs mowing, and the dishes aren’t done
And I’m so tired and the day’s begun
The bed’s not made and the sink is clogged
The ‘fridge is empty I need to feed the dog
Yet I’ll thank You Lord
For this new day
I’ll praise you Lord
In all I say
For I had a car that took me around
And I have a roof built on some ground
I have some shirts that I can wear
And I have a bed and even a chair
And I have water that flows into the sink
And I have to take a moment to think
Of all the people that don’t have such stuff
So I’ll lift up a prayer that You will be enough
Yet I’ll praise you Lord
For this glorious new day
I’ll praise you Lord
For the freedom to pray
And I’ll praise You for my empty ‘fridge and hungry dog
The overgrown lawn and the sink that’s clogged
Remember what you have and be thankful.
Blessings and Grace,
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
I’m saddened by the lack of understanding inside and outside the church. Jesus wasn’t about political power. He wasn’t about worldly power. As a Christian we are expected to take sides in political races. If you don’t, you’re considered a ‘bad’ Christians…Hello, I don’t know what the difference between a bad and a good Christian is? “There is none good, no not one.” Worldly power is temporary.
Scripture tells us that God “takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked,” so why should we? I heard an old Jewish proverb about when the Jews crossed the Red Sea. After the sea crashed around the pursuing Egyptians, the Jews were rejoicing and dancing. God rebuked them and told them not to do that because, didn’t His people understand that God loved the Egyptians too.
Those in the church seem to rejoice that God will ‘take care of the sinner’ – if you know what I mean. They rejoice in the calamity that befalls others that aren’t acting ‘right.’ We don’t seem to understand what it means to ‘love your enemies.’ Shoot, the church doesn’t even know how to love each other.
I do understand that there are those outside of the church that are trying to destroy it. I also know there are those inside the church that are trying to destroy it. “He who says he loves God and hates his brother is a liar.” Hmmm.
I don’t believe Jesus died on the cross so we can start competing religions. He died on the cross to make us acceptable to the Father. I Corinthians 1:18 “For the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those that believe it is the power of God.”
These are just a few thoughts I thought I would throw out there. So much goes through my head, but I don’t have mega amounts of time.
Blessings and Grace all,
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Neither do I, but I do get emails that claim, “You must not love Jesus if you don’t email this to all your friends,” or words to that effect. Most of them have stuff in them I wouldn’t mind passing on to friends because they have good stories in them, then I get to the bottom and the inevitable ‘guilt trip’ is passed on trying to get you to pass the story on. Some of the time, I’ll edit the ‘guilt trip’ part out then pass on the email. But, a lot of the time, I don’t pass it on at all. “Why not?” you may ask.
When we face Jesus on that day, is he going to say, “Well done good and faithful servant,” because I sat at my computer and passed on emails or because I got out and did something that has a loving affect on someone’s life? Is He more concerned that I followed the rules of the ‘church’ or that I loved those around me? Is it more loving to send out an email declaring, “Look at me, I love Jesus, because I forwarded this email,” or because I was willing to say, “Hi,” to someone that is new to our fellowship no matter what they look like?
Love will protect the innocent. Love will do what it can, not because it’s part of ‘religion’ or the ‘rules.’ Love will do, just because it is a part of who Jesus is, and if Jesus is dwelling within you, it becomes a part of who you are.
Romans 8. The flesh vs the Spirit. Doing things because they are part of my ‘religion’ is trying to do it in the ‘flesh.’ Doing it because it is a part of who you’ve become, not to make brownie points, or prove anything about how ‘spiritual’ you are, is walking in the Spirit.
Love follows Jesus, because Jesus is Love. Everything gets back to Jesus.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Eric Hoffer once said, "A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business."
“If I have him tarry ‘til I come, what is that to you?” Jesus asked Peter.
Lately I’ve had conversations with people about what other people are doing. They’re not doing this, or they are doing that…They should be doing this, or they shouldn’t be doing that. I’m guilty as everyone else.
I’ve been learning lately that it doesn’t matter what the other guy is doing…what am I doing?
Remember the speck and the plank?
When we spend time comparing ourselves with others, we end up either feeling inferior or superior, neither of which God wants from us. We are his children, his workmanship, created for good works. We are saved by His Grace through faith, not by works lest any man should boast.
But we are not to browbeat ourselves into thinking we are not good enough. To be truthful, none of us is good enough. That’s why Jesus died on the Cross for us.
Problem with comparing yourself is you.
There is a line from a movie called “School 4 Scoundrels” that asks the question, “How many of you own self help books?” After the students raise their hands, the teacher responds, “Well they won’t help, because ‘self’ sucks.”
I don’t know what God has planned for you. I don’t know what direction God is taking you in. All I can do is encourage you to seek Jesus first and go where He leads.
We all fail miserably in some way or another. That’s why Jesus died on the cross.
I was told a story once about DL Moody, who wanted to meet Charles Spurgeon. When Moody got to England from America, he went to Spurgeon’s house. Spurgeon opened the door smoking a cigar. Moody looked at him and said, “How can you, a man of God, be smoking that?” Spurgeon responded, “How can you, a man of God,” pokes Moody who was rather portly in the gut, “be a glutton.”
Pride is one of God’s greatest pet peeves. Why? Because most of us don’t recognize it. We believe others to be bad, but compared to what? God? Yes. Ourselves? No. We are no better. We are all sinners in need of a savior.
Sin is sin. All of us fall short. If we focus on Loving God, and loving our neighbor…this is what we are to do. We love our neighbor by sharing Jesus in our own simple ways.
It’s easier to sit on the sidelines and talk about how wrong others are, instead of getting involved in the battle and showing and sharing how right Jesus is. To love or not to love, that is the question. To share Jesus or not.
When we lose sight of Jesus, we lose sight of the most meaningful thing in our lives. If people are not behaving the way we think they should, are we willing to love them anyway? If someone is being self righteous, are we willing to love them anyway? Are we willing to love those around us? This is truly the question.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
The world is littered with ‘religious’ kids who threw off their parents ‘religion’ to experience life apart from ‘religion.’ There are those who have shaken off Christianity, because they don’t think it ‘works.’ They consider it just another ‘religion’ among all the other ‘religions.’ They haven’t experienced a relationship with Jesus.
Why is that? Are we grounding our youth in Christ or just teaching them the rules and regulations of our religion/faith? Are we sharing Jesus with them in more than just our facts and traditions? Is Jesus a living reality to them or is He just a figure from history?
I think sometimes the adults running the show aren’t even aware of what they believe? We concern ourselves with the organizational elements of our ‘faith’ instead of our relationship with Christ. Our ‘religion’ becomes a ‘business’ and we are more concerned with using people that will make our ‘business’ more profitable. We don’t disciple people into a deeper relationship with Christ. We teach them the rules and regulations of our ‘organization’ so they don’t embarrass the ‘ministry.’ Instead of teaching our young people how to be real in the eyes of God, we teach them how to ‘act’ in the eyes of man.
I’ve talked with some who have shed tears because those they are teaching just don’t seem to understand or ‘get it,’ the relationship with Christ, that love the Father has for His children. They grieve over the realization of how much others miss because of a lack of a relationship with Jesus. We are taught the theology of Jesus, but we miss the awesome, wonderful, sweet reality of Jesus.
I sometimes wonder when talking to people who are supposed to be the church (living stones) why they are more interested in the organization of an institution rather than the reality of Christ. Why are they stuck on the rules and regulations rather than the love that the Father has for His children, and the Grace that He has so freely bestowed upon us through His Son, Jesus? I would rather talk about how Great Jesus was, is and evermore shall be, rather than how much the ‘ministry’ is making, or how big our ‘church’ building is, or how much more ‘righteous’ we are than they are.
I've been looking at things more from the Jesus "The Reality" rather than Jesus "the theology." It's no longer stories to learn from but Jesus to see - His character, His grace, His mercy, His love, His forgiveness. You can see the history behind that and see how religion reacts as opposed to how God in human form reacts. Too many years I've spent looking at the nice stories instead of the reality of Jesus and how He wants so much to be close to us. We are told in scriptures to "Draw near to me and I will draw near to you." I sometime wonder if we miss the point of Christ because we focus on what lesson can we learn about how we should act, instead of learning of the character of Christ. We look for lessons instead of looking for Christ. There is a subtle shift towards learning how I should behave or how this applies to me, instead of drawing closer to Jesus. As John once said, "He must increase and I must decrease." We leave behind our first love because we think we need to ‘prove’ our love.
Jesus said, “Love God, love your neighbor. On these two laws hang all the law and the prophets.” He also said, “They will know that the Father has sent Me, by the love you have, one for another.”
James said, “If you love, you do well.”
Let us drawn near to Jesus and we will learn of Love.
Blessings and Grace,
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Where does this statement fall into the Love thy neighbor category? It seems harsh. But, if you take into consideration the Whole council of God, it seems logical.
The first commandment is this “Love God with all your heart, mind, body and spirit.” What the world may perceive as ‘hatred’ for dad, mom, sis, bro, etc is an all encompassing love for God. All others take 2nd place to the One who was, is and is to come.
But I sometimes wonder. I listen to people. The Word of God, Christ Himself, takes second place to our feelings and wants. Christ is not in our hearts. Everything else is in our hearts. Everything else takes precedence over Jesus. What’s convenient is more important than what is Truth. Not looking like a fundamentalist is more important than Truth. Heck, even religion can be more important to people than Jesus.
Ray Comfort once quoted someone, I’m not sure who, but he said, “The fool has more questions than the wise man has time to answer.” I’ve met people that just ask questions. It doesn’t matter if you have a valid answer, or any answer. They will always have questions. People question Christ because of “all the evidence for evolution.” What evidence? The “evidence” has either been forgeries, or can be explained in the light of creation. There comes a time when you have to stop and say, “This is what I believe. This is what I put my faith in.” You either trust in the Word of God, or you don’t. Ever since the Garden of Eden, Satan has been trying to cast doubt upon the Word of God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1
I saw an article the other day where the Vatican has declared that we must trust science over the Word of God, because, they say, if you don’t, you risk becoming a “fundamentalist.” Gasp! Besides, they continue, there is proof for evolution. Oh yeah. Who says? Scientists? Didn't scientists convince the church that the earth was flat, contrary to what the Word of God says? And now Christians are refered to mockingly as "flat earthers." I wonder what the Vatican would say to the Institute for Creation Research scientists. I wonder what the Vatican would say to the Intelligent Design scientists.
This came on the heals of the Catholic church saying that you can’t trust everything you read in the Word of God. If that’s true, why trust any of it? Why trust them for that matter?
A friend told me of a conversation he had with another Christian. They both were looking up at the stars and one asked, “Do you think there is life out there?” My friend responded, “I just don’t know.” Valid answer. Then it came to my mind that a better response to a question like that is, “I don’t know, but how does that help me to love you better?” If we find out there is life on other planets, how does that help us to feed the poor? How does that help us to visit the widows and orphans? How does that help us to clothe the naked?” I don’t mean to set up rules. Love needs no rules. Love just does.
Why do we as a people think of the less important things, new car, new boat, bigger house, and miss the important things? We assuage our guilt for not being around by buying things for our kids. As was once said, “That which we strive to attain, we strive to maintain.” So a new car, house, boat, or stuff requires more time at work, less time at home. Sometimes our kids just want us to take time and pick them up and throw them in the air.
The world looks at a small house, an old car, no Xbox, no large screen tv, no sauna or pool and think this person isn’t very successful. Even some in the ‘church’ are falling prey to the “healthy, wealthy and wise” doctrine, while ignoring the Word of God that states, “Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He has promised to them that love Him?” James 2:5 Hmmm… “…them that love Him.”
Love God first and above all. All else will fall into place. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness…”
Thursday, September 20, 2007
You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men;
clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.
And we have such trust through Christ toward God.
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God,
who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away,
how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?
For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory.
For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels.
For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.
Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech--
unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away.
But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.
But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart.
Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Adam and Eve were given the choice of The Tree of Life (Jesus) or the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Law). The law brings death, but "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty."
Friday, August 10, 2007
How do I tell you how to feel the breeze on your face
How can I tell you how to see the stars in the sky
How do I tell you how to live in God’s grace
How can I tell you how you need to love
How can I tell you what you need to do
What rules can I give you if it’s not in your heart
What does it mean if it’s not inside you?
Monday, July 30, 2007
I was thinking about faith and what it means. Some equate ‘faith’ with doing good, being good. “I believe in God, therefore I will do good stuff. If I don’t do good stuff, God will get me, He will punish me, He will send me to hell.” We cower at the feet of God likes slaves trying to please a vicious task master. Or, we think of God (unconsciously) like an abusive husband whose wife feels like “he only beats me because I’m not good enough, so if I do better he’ll treat me better.” We can even quote scripture verses that back up our views of faith. He’s even portrayed that way by many churches. Eventually you realize that you’re not good enough, then you either give up and slip away, or surrender to playing ‘religious’ games and hope no one finds out what a hypocrite you are and hope maybe God will accept you in the end.
We’re told that “Without faith, it’s impossible to please Him. We must believe that He is, and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” But we like to add, that He’s a punisher of those who don’t seek Him.
A thought came to me today. What do we place our faith in? We like to sing, “Jesus loves me this I know.” But how many actually believe that? How many actually believe that, “God so loved the world…?” Do we really believe that God loves us? Do we place our faith, hope, our lives on “God loves us?” Or do we place our faith in “God loves us if we’re good. God loves us if we’re religious. God loves us if we act ‘spiritual.’” We just don’t put faith in “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.”
We don’t trust God’s love for us that all we have to do is walk through the door (Jesus) and we’re saved. We believe God’s love is conditional. We don’t believe that God’s love for us is not based on what we do.
God loves us. It’s such a simple concept, yet, so hard to grasp. It’s so freeing to know that when we are unlovable, God loves us anyway. He loved us so much He made the only sacrifice acceptable to cover our sins to make us acceptable to Him. We no longer have to strive to make ourselves acceptable because in Christ we are accepted. God’s love is not something I have to earn. God’s love is something all I need to do is accept. Faith is not about hoping just maybe I’ll obtain God’s favor if I’m good enough, or religious enough, or perfect enough. Faith is knowing that even if I’m not good enough, religious enough, or perfect God loves me anyway and He did it for me. He did it for you. Jesus died that we might have life. Our life is Christ.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Many things in the Bible I don't understand.
Many things in the Bible I only think I understand
But there are many things in the Bible I cannot misunderstand.
"Religious" people throughout the ages has either ignored, misquoted, misapplied, and misunderstand/misunderstood the Word of God...I'm guilty...but like the last part of that quote says, there are many things in the Bible that I cannot misunderstand. John 1:12...how can we misunderstand such a simple concept? John 1:12 "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:" Using God's word as the guideline...not everyone is a child of God...only those who received Him and believe in His name.
We are called to a relationship with God through Jesus. The more we learn about Jesus, the closer we get to God. I believe in listening to teachers of the Word, but like Acts 17:10,11 says:
10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.
11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
We should receive the word with readiness, but also check scriptures out for ourselves whether what we are being told is true. Most people think that since "we don't have a degree" we should trust what the 'learned' people tell us. I believe God is bigger than degrees...sometimes degrees can be a hindrance to God. We get so caught up in how smart we are, we forget that God uses the simple things of the world to confound the wise. We doubt God, because someone "smarter" than us causes us to question what the word of God says. I don't "know it all." I don't claim to. I'm no smarter than you. You know me. But for me, it's not about me...It's about Jesus. Not how religious I can be. Religion is about trying to make myself better. I can't do it. But, as I trust Jesus on this journey I'm on, I find that He makes me better without me having to think about it.
The Word of God is not some daunting religious document meant only for scholars with letters to tell us what they say. The Word of God is a love letter to "those who believe" to "those who call on His Name." It is God's promises to us. It's His reminder to us of how much He loves us.
Oh, there is just so much to the depths of God's love, the simplicity of His Grace, that gets lost in the morass of religion.
If we think we are good enough because we've done our "religious duty" we miss the awesome love of God that was given to us by the sacrifice of His Son on the cross. If we think that God can loves us any more because we behave ourselves and follow all the rules, we miss the awesome love that God has for us.
As bad as I am, I know how much God loves me and I would not trade that for anything. His grace is sufficient for me...
Friday, July 6, 2007
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier [matters] of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
[Ye] blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
[Thou] blind Pharisee, cleanse first that [which is] within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead [men's] bones, and of all uncleanness.
Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
Religious people (on the left and the right) are so concerned about what the outside looks or acts like, that they fail to realize that only Jesus can change a person where it matters – on the inside. Trying to talk about faith in Jesus and trusting in Him alone with a religious person is like speaking a foreign language. The religious always couple faith with works. If you aren’t “doing” the right things you aren’t ‘in Jesus.’ Or rather, if you are not doing things like they think they should be done, you are just not a “good” Christian. It’s all about appearance.
Religious people will turn on you if you don’t say things right, or don’t push for more rules. They will denounce you if you play ‘heathen’ rock music in church, or if you are friends with people they deem unworthy. They will turn their backs on you if you vote the ‘wrong’ way, or read the ‘wrong’ things. They will use threats of hell to bring you back in line. But Jesus has taken that threat away.
“Saying, I will declare Thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
“And again, I will put my trust in Him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.
“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
“And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
We are all unworthy. We are all sinners in need of THE Savior. That’s why Jesus died on the cross. He makes us acceptable. Nothing I could do will ever add to what Jesus did. Nothing I ever do will take Jesus’ love away from me.
Change comes from the inside to a heart that has called on the name of the Lord, to a heart that has been set free, for in Christ, you’re free indeed.
I’m just a simpleton, who chooses to simply believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no one comes to the Father but by Him. In Christ alone I find my peace.
Keep up the gospel of peace Pastor James. Rock on Bro!
DJ GlenMC aka Glen McClead
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
But to be honest, my human side wants to know as Pink Floyd would say..."IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE?"
So feel free to comment. Feel free to not comment. In Jesus you are free.
Blessings and Grace,
Glen aka DJ GlenMC
Saturday, June 16, 2007
It was written by Jeff VanVoderen. I don't know anything about him. (So don't write to say anthing about him.) I found the following section of the book interesting food for thought.
"In a healthy functioning church system, God is the source of the acceptance, love and value. The pastor, leaders and teachers are there as the helpers and equippers of the other members. Their job, as in a family, is to use their positions of power and authority to equip members for the work of service by serving, building and providing need-meeting experiences, messages and relationships.
"There are some religious systems, however, where what the people think, how they feel and what they want or need doesn't matter. Their needs go unmet. In these dysfuntional systems the members are there to meet the needs of the leadership. When this happens in the spiritual area, it amounts to spiritual abuse.
"Where there is spiritual abuse there are people who, through spiritual means, attempt to meet their own needs for importance, power, intimacy, value, or spiritual (really, self-related) gratification. They attempt to find spiritual fulfillment through religious performance of the very people whom they are there to build up and serve.
"When anyone with a position of power and authority uses that power to manipulate, or to shame others into performing, it is spiritually (also emotionally and psychologically) damaging. Again, this is wounding to the victim. And the place that's supposed to be the most safe for people becomes the least safe."
May we all learn Grace, peace, love and understanding.
Jesus gave His life that we may have Life in God.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Amongst our vaporous existence
Do we hear the call of God
And His gentle loving persistence
Can we hear Him in the thunder?
Do we hear Him in the storm?
Do we listen when we’re happy
And we’re comfortable and warm?
Do we hear His gentle calling
When the night is filled with fear
Do we surrender to the Savior
When Jesus is so near?
Do we praise Him for His goodness
Praise Him for He is true
Will you surrender all to Jesus
For He gave His all for You…
Written by Glen McClead...sometime in the past...
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Psalms 86:11 “Teach me Thy ways, oh Lord, and I will walk in Thy Truth; unite my heart to fear Thy name.”
There is so much in that single verse. So many things go through my mind. So many things crowd my thoughts. What should I say? What would do the Word justice? What is worth saying?
“Teach me Thy ways, oh Lord…” Jesus told his disciples to “…teach all the nations…teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have taught you.” Matt 28:19, 20 The word observe means, according to Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary “to conform one’s actions or practice to; comply with.” Jesus taught us how to Love. He was Love. He is Love. He always will be Love.
There are so many things that I could talk about on that single verse and I’m having problems comprising my thoughts into one coherent theme. So many scripture verses go through my head. So many parables of Jesus are there for our learning.
We are told to “read the Bible.” It seems like such a daunting task. I once heard a quote that went like, “Many things in the Bible, I don’t understand. Many things in the Bible, I only think I understand. But there are many things in the Bible I cannot misunderstand.”
I was once told by someone that they didn’t need to read the Bible because their priest would tell them what they needed to know. We, as a people, are lazy. We close ourselves off to the awesome wonder of who God is, by not seeking the Lord through prayer nor through His Word. John chapter one declares that “The Word was with God and the Word was God…and the Word became flesh.”
We are given a great and wonderful privilege of knowing God intimately. Many have tried to cast doubt on God’s Word. Many religious people cast doubt on God’s Word. Many have twisted the Word to say what it does not say. Context, context, context. We must be “…rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15.
There are so many supplemental sources for study to help us along, but our main text should first and foremost always be the Bible – the Word of God. Sure, there will always be things in the Bible we won’t understand. Sure there will be points when you say to yourself, as I have said, “What is the point of this or that verse?” But I’ve also taken the attitude that, “Okay God, I don’t understand that right now, but there is still a whole lot that I do understand. Please guide me along as I get to know you more intimately through your Word.”
Consider Job. Lost his money, his family, his health failing. All he wanted was an answer from God for his troubles. Instead he gets criticized by his ‘comforters.’ When God does come on the scene all he gets from God is questions. Does Job get mad? No. Job was given the privilege of being in intimate contact with the one true God, and instead of puffing himself up, he humbled himself before God. He put his faith in God, not his situation. His end was greater than what he had before.
Perhaps you don’t get an answer for your troubles. Perhaps you won’t get an answer. Perhaps the people you are consulting, like Job’s comforters, have all the seemingly correct religious answers, but are you seeking God Himself? Have you gone to His Word? Perhaps you don’t find the answer you are looking for, but are you looking for the Truth? Are you developing an intimate relationship with the One who created you? Have you developed a peace that passes all understanding based on your faith in the One who gave His life that you might have life?
My finite knowledge can not grasp the depths of the Infinite. I can’t understand the depths and breadths and heights of the God we serve. I cannot understand why everything happens. But, you want to know something? I don’t need to know. We are told that “the fear of the Lord, is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7.
My simple prayer is “Teach me Thy ways, oh Lord, and I will walk in Thy Truth; unite my heart to fear Thy name.” That should be everyone’s simple prayer.
Read Proverbs 2:1-5 for a final thought on the subject.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
To be “in love,” what is that? I say these things mostly for myself. I am rambling in my thoughts for you to see my mind. You may be bored. You may find this trifling. What is it to be “in love?” Is it that rush of emotions, the exhilaration of a touch? An Ella Fitzgerald once asked the musical question, “Are the stars out tonight? I don’t know if it’s cloudy or bright. ‘Cause I only have eyes for you dear.” Is that what it means to be “in love?” That loss of awareness of anything else except the person desired?
Can one be “in love” for a lifetime or is it only just fleeting moments of passion or desire that we experience? Can it be classified as being ‘love’ or should it be termed ‘lust?’
The 77’s once sang, “I feel like I have to feel something good all of the time. With most of my life I cannot deal but a good feeling I can feel even though it may not be real. And if a person, place, or thing can deliver, I will quiver with delight. But will it last me for all my life, or one more lonely night, the lust, the flesh, the eyes and the pride of life, drain the life right out of me.” – Mike Roe.
The Bible declares that some people will be “…lovers of pleasure, more than lovers of God.” 2 Tim 3:4. If God is Love, are the pleasures we seek the antithesis of love, thus the opposite of who God is? Is being “in love” only our desire to seek our own pleasure and in direct conflict with God, who is True Love? Since Jesus is God in flesh, is He the revelation of love? If we believe that He is, should we not seek Him first?
Emotions can be turned by the whisper of a phrase, the flash of a smile, or the slightest gesture of kindness? But behind the turn, flash, or gesture what is the motive? Do we seek someone’s attention because we think him or her worthy of us and deserve our attention? Do we “love” someone because of what they can do for us? Are we seeking someone for ourselves because they will “enhance our being?” Why are you attracted to the person or object of your desire? It’s so easy to get swept away in a moment that we don’t take the time to plunge into the depths of the object of that affection. So many are battered upon the rocks of reality when getting past the surface to the core of what we desire.
Sometimes when we dig to the core we find the motive in ourselves and we don’t like what we find. We recoil in horror, or we run away in shame. We hide; we push away those that we love. We don’t like what we find and we don’t want others to see. We’re ashamed. When Adam and Eve succumbed to temptation and disobeyed God they were confronted with the specter of themselves – naked and ashamed, separated from God. When God came into the garden Adam and Eve hid and tried to cover their shame. When confronted by God they tried to place the blame elsewhere, even going so far as Adam trying to indirectly blame God for their disobedience. “The woman whom YOU gave me…” Eve had a better excuse…”The serpent deceived me.”
“The devil made me do it!” a Flip Wilson character always used to declare. How much is truly the devil, and how much is our own desires. The devil tempts, we only respond. We can respond by faith to the One who loves us with everything in Him, or give in to the father of lies.
“For God so loved the world…” John 3:16. He loved us so much He gave his life. Everything He did/does/will do He does for us. God made the covering for Adam and Eve. It took a sacrifice. God has made a covering for us. It took His greatest sacrifice. Love covers a multitude of sins. (Proverbs 10:12, James 5:20)
I believe God created us so He could have an outlet to share His love. We responded by rejecting Him, abusing Him, and ultimately crucifying Him. Love, many times, takes a backseat to our own desires. But God, like the prodigal’s father, waits with arms open wide, forgiveness in heart, and a robe of righteousness for our tattered clothes of self-righteousness.
May we surrender to Jesus, for when we surrender to Jesus, we surrender to True Love.
There is so much missing from this. There is so much to learn.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Politics has become like sports to me…not worth watching (I know that statement just turned a few people off). I know that I am in a fallen world. I know that I am to be ‘in the world,’ but not ‘of the world.’ It is so easy to get caught up in the whole “I’m right, you’re wrong,” mind set. It is easy to condemn that which we don’t agree with.
Political debate has degenerated down to name calling. Issues are no longer debated. One side presents an issue. The other side stonewalls, or filibusters. The issues aren’t discussed. Name calling and character assassination are used instead of well thought out arguments of why the other side of the issue is better. He who has the better sound bite oft times wins the debate. Political discourse is not based on fact but who has the best one liner denigrating the opposing view. But a willing media most of the time taking one side of the issue doesn’t help either. They amplify their own point of view and ask leading or misleading questions.
Each side likes to think that God’s not on their opponent’s side. They like to say the other side is acting “un-Christian.” They like to throw Jesus’ name out as a political football. When falling behind in the polls play the “religion” card. Some people fall for it. Others will roll their eyes but accept it as all a part of winning the battle for power.
Jesus quoting Isaiah said, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” Matthew 15:7 (KJV)
I’m all for being part of the political process. I’m all for having the right to vote. I’m all for being involved. What I’m not all for is equating one party over the other as being the party of God.
Joshua 5:13, 14.
13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, "Are You for us or for our adversaries?"
14 So He said, "No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come." And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, "What does my Lord say to His servant?"
The only side that really matters is God’s. How many, who claim that God is on their side, are willing to fall on their face to worship and ask, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” and then are willing to do it?
If we want to analyze this whole right versus left debate lets use a little history. In Jesus time there were 2 main religious groups - the Pharisees or the right, and the Sadducees or the left.
The Pharisees were very ‘religious.’ Rules and traditions were their gods. They believed they were okay with God because they constructed this maze of rules that they believed they were following. They were ‘good’ because they followed their rules. The outside appearance was what was important. They held to their rules while inwardly plotting to have Jesus executed. Jesus said to the Pharisees, “Why do you transgress the commandments of God by your traditions?” Matthew 15:3.
The Sadducees could be equated with the ‘religious left.’ They were the non-spiritual religious group. They denied the resurrection of the dead. It was more important to get along with the world than be faithful to God. Their standing in the places of power was most important to them. They didn’t believe in angels or the spirit world. Bad theology prevailed. One of the things that Jesus said to the Sadducees was, “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the Power of God.” Matthew 22:29.
The thing about the Pharisees and the Sadducees is that both groups hated Jesus and sought to have him killed. On the right, mercy and compassion are sacrificed on the altar of ‘religion.’ On the left the Truth and Life are sacrificed on the altar of ‘self.’
What is the problem with politics? The people we elect into office are still…people – fallen men and women in need of the Savior. We should never place our trust in governments. God sets up governments and God will tear them down. Our trust should be in the God of creation – not in the created. Our problem is not that we are involved with politics. Our problem is we think government will solve our problems.
II Chronicles 7:14: If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
May we all come to trust Jesus for all our needs...for in the end, we all need Love (Jesus).
Blessings and Grace,