Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all!!!

May you come to know the true Reason for the Season!
May Christ fill you with His love and presence!
May you know forgiveness and Grace!
May you be blessed in the coming New Year!

Blessings and Grace,


Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Tree of Life or the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

And the serpent was more subtile…Gen 3:1

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.

Galatians 3:24
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.

Romans 8:1-4
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.

Galatians 5:18
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.

Be blessed,

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

God Loves Us!

God loves us. He doesn’t love us because we can sing well. He doesn’t love us because we do great things. He doesn’t love us because we deserve it. He doesn’t love us because we behave ourselves. He doesn’t love us because we worship the ‘proper’ way. He doesn’t love us because we go to the right places or stay away from the wrong places. He doesn’t love us because we evangelize. He doesn’t love us because we teach Sunday school. God just loves us.

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

Thoughts on My Prior Poem...

I found this reference to the CS Lewis quote on a Sixpence None the Richer website. For those of you who were curious where the band got its name.

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

What More

If the cattle on a thousand hills
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

The World.

We worry so much about not “acting” like the world that we lose sight that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”

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…”

“…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 lust…”

“…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.