Monday, December 24, 2012

It’s Christmas – so what’s the big deal?

“Time and again the church has proved a willing accomplice to its own captivity, in the new covenant as well as the old.  Observing this tendency in his day, Martin Luther wrote ‘On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church,’ in which he argues that the church desperately needs to be liberated by its Lord from bondage to the very things it regards as benign or even hopeful.”

“Is the word captivity too strong?  After all, there is nothing like an Office of Religious Affairs controlling the church’s discourse in America.  In his book ‘Amusing Ourselves to Death,’ Jewish writer Neil Postman (communications professor at New York University) points out the difference between two apocalyptic scenarios.  George Orwell’s 1984 predicts a society ruled by ‘Big Brother’—a totalitarian regime.  Congratulating ourselves on having dodged Orwell’s prophecy, at least in America, we have forgotten Aldous Huxley’s slightly older ‘Brave New World,’ with a quite different scenario.  While Orwell predicts an externally imposed oppression, Huxley imagines a self-imposed captivity:

“As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.  What Orwell feared were those who would ban books.  What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book for there would be no one who wanted to read one.  Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information.  Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism.  Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us.  Huxley feared the truth would be drowned is a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture.  Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy.”

If we are slaves, it is not to an external oppressor but to our own trivial desires.  We are willing captives—until God appears on the scene and utters his solemn command to the powers and principalities we have enthroned: ‘Let my people go!’”

Quoted in part from “Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church” by Michael Horton.  Pages 238-239 by Baker Books

Michael Horton’s definition of the American Church today carries some powerful words and concepts.  I quote in part: “If we are slaves, it is not to an external oppressor.   Jesus came “that we might have life and have it more abundantly” not a life burdened with chasing after trivial things.  Yet an honest appraisal of our lives reveals a constant barrage of the trivial, the useless, and the unsatisfying.  Quoting Horton, “We are willing captives…to the powers and principalities we have enthroned.”  Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

“Let my people go” Horton writes.  Jesus came to save His people from their sin (Matthew 1:21 – “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins”.)

Jesus came to serve, not to be served. Matthew 20:28 says: “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

In the midst, the Christ child came to “set the captives free” (Isaiah 61:1-2 says, “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,”

The manger is empty; the cross is empty; the tomb is empty.  Jesus sits at God’s right side interceding for us, waiting for the command from the Father—“Go get my kids”.  Jesus will then rise and come to earth a second time.  Ah, good news for us pilgrims. 

Come quickly Lord Jesus.  Come again – as it says in Revelation 22:20He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”  All this brothers and sisters is the big deal!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Visited Blue Ball

I remember when the first astronaut came around the back side of the moon and saw earth (that perfect blue white ball, suspended on nothing, hanging in space) and in stunned awe the astronaut said, “In the beginning God…”

I can’t really imagine God sitting somewhere beyond the universe some 2,000 years ago looking at His footstool, the earth, and saying, “Today is the day I’m going to send my one and only Son, Jesus to go to earth , to become a microscopic ovum, to be born of a virgin born in a barn, to go and redeem fallen man.”

Have you ever contemplated if no one sinned until now and we were living in perfect peace, and then old Adam and Eve would decide to do some very serious apple crunching. Sin then comes into the world and God would decide to set up a committee to ask advice from us on how to redeem fallen man (He won’t do that but I can speculate). What would you come up with? We would come up with man-made religion. We’d crawl on our belly, into the presence of God and propose some plan of “working off” our sin. We would be in the deal-cutting business. We’d hope we’d be good enough to obtain salvation. We would propose works based salvation. That is the rest of the world’s religions…hoping we’ve been good enough, and that God may in His mercy allow us to live. Who would even dare come up with the idea of God sending His one and only Son to come to earth as an ovum, be born in a barn, suffer taunts of His suspect parentage (Psalm 69), be tempted by the devil himself, be tempted in every way, yet be without sin, be both man and God, and when preparing for the cross, feel so much pressure He would sweat blood in the garden of Gethsemane. We would convict Him on no evidence, have a sham trial, and murder Him on a cross, the most torturous of death, with the idea that He would forgive your sin and mine. Then by God’s power alone, God would raise Him from the dead—victorious over sin and death…Oh, who would dare dream this up, much less present it to a Holy God and awesome God? No one—no one—no one would dare do it; it’s God’s plan alone. A gift to us; undeserved; we can’t comprehend the majesty, the greatness of it! But it is God’s plan…

Remember this Christmas, the manager is empty, the cross is empty, the tomb is empty…In these days we do not have to take God to a hurting world, and He is already there. Let’s get up and go see what He is doing!

On this Christmas weekend, old Jer cannot bring anymore light on this subject because Jesus is the Light, the God of the universe among man. Immanuel, God with us. What a story? What a Gift! May we never take it lightly. Amen

(This blog is reposted from December 22, 2006)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Dinner


I would like to share the following which is written by Ravi Zacharias from his book, Jesus Among Other Gods, (Nashville, Word Publishing 2000), 44-46.

“Some years ago, we were spending Christmas in the home of my wife’s parents. It was not a happy day in the household. Much had gone wrong during the preceding weeks, and a weight of sadness hung over the home. Yet, in the midst of all that, my mother-in-law kept her routine habit of asking people who would likely have no place to go at Christmas to share Christmas dinner with us.

“That year she invited a man who was, by everyone’s estimation, somewhat of an odd person, quite eccentric in his demeanor. Not much was known about him at the church except that he came regularly, sat alone, and left without much conversation. He obviously lived alone and was quite a sorry-looking, solitary figure. He was our Christmas guest.

“Because of other happenings in the house, not the least of which was that one daughter was taken to the hospital for the birth of her first child, everything was confusion. All our emotions were on edge. It fell upon me, in turn, to entertain this gentleman. I must confess that I did not appreciate it. Owing to a heavy life of travel year-round, I have jealously guarded my Christmases to be with my family. This was not going to be such a privilege, and I was not happy. As I sat in the living room, entertaining him while others were busy, I thought to myself, This is going to go down as one of the most miserable Christmases of my life.

“But somehow we got through the evening. He evidently loved the meal, the fire crackling in the background, the snow outside, the Christmas carols playing, and a rather weighty theological discussion in which he and I were engaged—at his instigation, I might add. He was a very well-read man and, as I found out, loved to grapple with heavy theological themes. I do, too, but frankly, not during an evening that has been set aside to enjoy life’s quite moments, not someone’s polemical mind.

“At the end of the night when he bade us all good-bye, he reached out and took the hand of each of us, one by one, and said, “Thank you for the best Christmas of my life. I will never forget it.” He walked out into the dark, snowy night, back into his solitary existence.”

“My heart sank in self-indictment at those tender words of his. I had to draw on every nerve in my being to keep from breaking down with tears. Just a few short years later, relatively young, and therefore to our surprise, he passed away. I have relived that Christmas many times in my memory.

“The Lord taught me a lesson. The primary purpose of a home is to reflect and to distribute the love of Christ. Anything that usurps that is idolatrous. Having been lifted beyond the prejudice of culture, Jesus repositioned for the disciples the place of wealth. So staggering was the impact that many of them in the years to come would leave their own homes to go to distant parts of the world in order to proclaim the heaven-sent message that redefined their earthly homes. Eleven of them paid for that message with their lives.

“The first time I walked through the noisy streets of Bethlehem and endured its smells, I gained a whole new sense of the difference between our Christmas carols, glamorizing the sweetness of the “little town of Bethlehem,” and the harsh reality of God becoming flesh and dwelling among us. Ah! But it is not a part of the wonder of God’s disclosure of reality that He point to what we live with to show us what true living is meant to be?

“For the disciples, Jesus’ answer to their simple question—“Where do You live?”—was to lift them beyond race and culture, beyond wealth and power, beyond time and distance to make them true citizens of the world, informed by the world to come. He brought them into a dramatically different way of living and thinking from the one to which they were accustomed. He showed them the inclusiveness of His love for the whole world. But implicit in that was the exclusivity of His truth, for which they were willing to give their lives. We have reversed Jesus’ order. We have made truth relative and culture supreme and have been left with a world in which wickedness reigns.

“Jesus brought truth to light and a different world to His message. In Him my heart finds its true home.

“G. K. Chesterton has captured the wonder in how Jesus’ earthly address changes ours, as only he can do.

"A child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam;
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost—how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky’s dome.
To an open house in the evening
Home shall men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home."

G.K. Chesterton, “The House of Christmas,” from Robert Knille, ed., As I Was Saying (Grand Rapids: William B. Erdmans, 1985), 304-5.

“Where does Jesus live? Come to Christ and see what it means to live.”

From the Seehusen's to you--God bless you and your family this Advent Season.

Jesus, welcome to our world. May we follow where you lead us. May we use all our gifts and talents to Your glory. May we go to a hurting world even when we want to come home and be cozy and comfortable. Forgive us. Amen. Amen
(This blog is reposted from the December 24, 2009 Beef on the Grill Blog)

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Picking up some church trash

2 Corinthians 6:3-11
“Don't put it off; don't frustrate God's work by showing up late, throwing a question mark over everything we're doing. 4 Our work as God's servants gets validated - or not - in the details. People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly . . . in hard times, tough times, bad times; 5 when we're beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating; 6 with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love; 7 when we're telling the truth, and when God's showing his power; when we're doing our best setting things right; 8 when we're praised, and when we're blamed; slandered, and honored; true to our word, though distrusted; 9 ignored by the world, but recognized by God; terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead; beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die; 10 immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy; living on handouts, yet enriching many; having nothing, having it all. 11 Dear, dear Corinthians, I can't tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life.”
A church affiliated non-profit agency was forced out of business last Friday.  About three months ago when it became evident that they were not getting any more funding, the first thing cut was the bag lunches for the homeless.

Upon arriving early Monday morning, I found they had dragged the remnants of the last management party to the dumpster but did not throw it in.  Over the weekend, the coons and squirrels had a party of their own eating the leftovers of the last party by the agency.  Expensive coffee, expensive bagels (I am avoiding brand names), unfinished very nice sandwiches partially eaten either by humans or the animals of the night made up the trash.

Over the last five years the arrogance of the people at this agency has been a topic of debate among other tenants of the building.  These people were smug, arrogant, cold, and distant and had open disdain for those they were to serve.  People felt the agency’s demise was well deserved but…as a para-church organization, their example can poison non-believer’s hearts.  In away, they represented all Christians—us, if we share the name Christian.

As we picked up the trash, a bitter young man (rightly so) pointed out their hypocrisy.  Closing down the bag lunch ministry (white bread, peanut butter and apple) while they ate and wasted much expensive food.

I now understand why Jesus wants to spit out the lukewarm ones of us; we make Jesus want to puke.  Any blog or sermon that points out our own hypocrisy is not well received. 
Recently a well-established professional in a medium size rural Minnesota town (an elder in the church) told me that if we confront ourselves, no one will listen.  He said to me, “You’re just another Jeremiah no one will listen to.”  We need to do some serious soul searching both personally and collectively as Christians and as the church.  The down and out of our communities do not seek us out because we do not rub shoulders with them…we don’t want to.  Yes, we can eat our expensive bagels, drink our expensive coffee, enjoying our personal Christian ghetto but looking away with disdain when, after a night of overdrinking, they mess their pants.

We are told to “feed the sheep” – all of them.  Feeding sheep is sometimes a downright smelly, dirty business.  The bottom line is that the lukewarm ones of us don’t want to be bothered or to get dirty.  Yes, we smugly drink and eat on in holiday merriment while our brothers and sisters slide into hell.
Remember the words of 2 Corinthians 6:3-11 at the beginning of this blog.  Forgive me; help us Oh Lord… send us a Jeremiah…change our hearts Oh God.

Two quotes from the White Horse Inn Blog Spot:
In the time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
George Orwell

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing it, doesn’t go away”
Philip K. Dick


Saturday, December 01, 2012

All the devil has to offer us is…a fallen world

2 Corinthians 1:3-11 - Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. 8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

In meeting with Christians during the last month, many are despondent, hurting and doubting.  People are deeply concerned for the church and for our country.  We are reeling and afraid.

What is God doing?  Why all the acrimony in the country?  Have we truly come to the realization that as a country, we are deeply divided and broke?  We have deep divides in our communities between the haves and the have not’s.  Earlier we have talked about impending doom for America; we now realize that the hoof beats are no longer in the distance but are by the front doors of our homes, businesses and sadly, our churches.

What are we doing?  We are afraid; we are wringing our hands; sometimes I am too.  What should we do?  Pray and remember.  Pray for revival, not for America but for the church.  Pray for revival; personal revival.  Oh Lord, start with us…with me.  Forgive me, forgive us…start your work Lord; start with us.  As a result, the church will then take care of itself.

We are to pray and remember what?  God’s plans and purposes are never thwarted.  His plan will be fulfilled and come to be.  Remember the first Advent—we celebrate this at Christmas.  We should remember the promise of His Second Coming, the Second Advent.  Why is Jesus going to return?  Because He said He would come back.  In the meantime, we huddle in doubt and fear, wring our hands, and doubt some more.  The devil loves all the hand wringing.  Remember this is the eternal battle between good and evil; if we are in Christ, we win.  The days ahead for Christians and America will be hard.  Yes, we may very well suffer.  Temptation will continue to buffet our souls but remember this, all the devil can offer us is a fallen world—nothing more.

When Jesus came, the angels told the sheepherders “Don’t be afraid.”   To all of us, sheep and sheepherders alike don’t be afraid.  Why, the devil has nothing to offer us, nothing.

Pray for personal revival; it is our only hope.  May the Spirit move us to life—true life found only in Christ.  Now is the time to do our best work in the worst times.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Morning


On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine-- the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. In that day they will say, "Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation."   Isaiah 25:6-9

Yesterday morning the sunrise was beautiful as I drove along Lake Minnetonka heading downtown to work.  I thought about how later in the day I was going to attend Lucy Melquist’s funeral in Cokato.  Her son Duane and family were our neighbors.

A tenant stops by my office with a problem easily solved but she seems to be angry all the time, not at me but angry at the world.  Men working on our new building shout as they are trying to wrangle sheet rock through the third floor window.  The homeless woman Marie walks by and smiles.  We know each other; she only asks for help when she needs it, or so she tells me.  Mike stops by to finish winterizing the sprinkler system on our building…life moves on.

I have work and things to look forward to, projects to do, air to breathe, sermons to preach.  I laugh at Andy’s crazy e-mails; Katie tries to take a picture of her cat in a Christmas costume—he doesn’t cooperate but the picture turns out well—we laugh. 

Family and friends are coming for Thanksgiving, young and old, happy and sad.  We have much to be thankful for—great crops and prices in a year where most everyone else was dry.  Our new business venture moves ahead with many problems.  That’s good, otherwise we wouldn’t have anything to do and we’d be complaining.

Tyler’s football team made it to the dome, but lost.  Noah’s play was a resounding success.  Nephew Paul was home from Corpus Christie; we said hi and hugged.  We didn’t get much time to say much beyond “I love you” before old friends pushed in for attention. 

That’s the way life is, bits and pieces, life, death, small victories, accomplishments treasured but quickly forgotten.  Funerals attended, memories pushed to the surface, tears shed, and hope springs eternal.  The sprinklers get fixed, the angry woman smiles and the homeless woman walks on.  She may be happiest of all.

This Thanksgiving may we be thankful for all things; blessings and trials, the same.  Life and death the same.  Victories won and battles lost; thankful all the same.  Value each smile; appreciate each hug, it may be the last.

The God we serve is Lord of all things not just the “good” things as we, with limited judgment, judge them to be…let’s be thankful for just one more day.  Share the tears, laugh out loud, dance for joy, sing as if no one is listening (they probably aren’t any way).  Our God is Holy and Good beyond measure.   

Thursday, November 15, 2012

In light of these times

"Tragedy comes when principles change."
A quote from "Violets for Mr. B" by Margaret Jensen

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Collected thoughts on the morning after the election

Isaiah 46:8-13 - "Remember this, fix it in mind, take it to heart, you rebels.    Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.    I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.    From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.    Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted, you who are far from righteousness.    I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel."

Revelation 19:11-16 - "I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war.  His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns.  He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.  He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.  Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.   On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS."

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Jesus is Above All

Jesus is Above All”

John 3:31-36  --  "The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony.33 The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."
Two times in verse 31 it says “above all.”  Jesus is the one who is above all.  As Christians it would do us well to remember this; drive this verse home in our head, make it part of our heart, soul and mind.

Last week a survey was released that stated that for the first time in America’s history Protestant Christians dropped below being 50% of the population.  I received a phone call about this asking what I think about it.  Two things: 

1.    It is fulfillment of Scripture (1 Timothy 4:1 says “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.”

2.    It challenges us to do our job—reach the world for Christ.  If we truly believe what it says in John 3:31-36 (printed above), what more motivation do we need?

Jesus is the only way.  He alone is “above all.”

Thursday, October 11, 2012

“It is written”—Telling the devil to “be gone”

Luke 4:4 says:  Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone.' "

Jesus was tempted by the devil and to every temptation Jesus said, “It is written…”  He used God’s Word to battle the “evil one”.  In Ephesians 6 it talks about “the full armor of God”; note—the only offensive weapon is the “sword of the spirit” which is the Word of God.  Fight evil with the Word of God.  Here are some evil fighting words; may I suggest you use them liberally.

·         When the devil tempts us with the idea that God cannot be found or does not care, use Jeremiah  29:11-14 which says:  For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."

·         When the devil tells us that God couldn’t possibly accept us plus with all the day-to-day frustrations of life, God couldn’t possibly give us rest, use Matthew 11:27-30:  "All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.28"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

·         When we are afraid, lack peace and feel so alone (the devil likes us to be alone—that’s when we are the most vulnerable).  Remember this from John 14:25-27 --  "All this I have spoken while still with you.26But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

·         When you are tired and weary and devil says, “Where is your God now?” read Isaiah 40:28-31 --  Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

·         When the devil says, “Good luck; you are on your own”, read Philippians 4:19-20And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.  And, in Colossians 1:9-14For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

With whatever lies the devil is tempting you with use God’s Word to tell him to “be gone”; be gone from my life.  Jesus is my Lord and Savior. 

Walk on Christian, Jesus is with us.

Fight on Christian, with Jesus we win in the end. 

Be Christ to your neighbor; with the peace of Christ, live it out.

Occupy with love-demonstrated in word and deed by the power of Christ.


Thursday, October 04, 2012

Do you love The Master?


Slavery is a cruel system. But, in earlier times and in some cultures, slaves were well taken care of.  The slaves were poor; they had very little, if anything.  Masters on the other hand needed a loyal work force so they took good care of their slaves.  American slavery was for the most part cruel.  Almost all were taken into slavery against their will.  Order and loyalty to the master was enforced with barbarism and violence.

Jesus says in Matthew 20:25-27, “Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.  Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave

Words like slave and servant may rankle some of us.  We like our freedom to do our own thing when we want it, how we want it, we want our own way.  Does the word Master (Jesus) –word- make you uneasy?

Jeremiah writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit says, “I know, O LORD, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.  Correct me, LORD, but only with justice-- not in your anger, lest you reduce me to nothing.  Jeremiah 10:23-24.

Our life is not our own.  The quicker we learn that in life, the easier life will be.

Exodus 21:5-6 says "But if the servant declares, 'I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,' 6 then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.” (Some translations render servant  slave.)

Slave by choice?  The slave wanted to remain a slave and not go free.  Why?  Notice verse 5 says “But if the servant declares, 'I love my master!”  Yes, we will become willing servants or slaves only when we “love our Master.”  We are the slaves; Jesus is the Master.  Are you willing to become a slave for life?  A slave by choice?

The question to ask is, “Do I truly love my Master or are we just playing games?”

Love the Master!  Do His will. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bit Players in God’s Plan

Eph. 6:11-12:  "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

He is a pastor; he is tired and buffeted on every side.  Some days he is extremely discouraged.  He asks himself, “Is this what I am supposed to be doing?”

In his small town he has stood for truth, became involved in the lives of the down and out in his community.  The turf he is treading upon is in many places the devil’s playground.  The devil works overtime to frustrate and wreck people’s lives.  Some days the pastor wants the easy out, just come back Lord, bring an end to it all.  Come back.

In the meantime, we are to be an occupying army; not only occupying but pushing forth the Kingdom of God.  We get tired, we reflect and realize for all our striving we are but bit players in God’s unfolding plan.  Our job is to be faithful to Jesus and God, the Father.  When living out our life being involved in the lives of others, ministering as it is, brings us into judgment  from professional fence sitters—Christian and non-Christian. 

This pastor has been involved in a drug intervention of a non-member of his church; (he is the pastor’s friend.)  One of his parishioners is a friend of this person and asked for his help. Some people do not like his involvement or his decisions.  That’s the way it is some days when we minister in a broken, fallen world.

We get tired and disgusted when we think the furtherance of God’s kingdom depends on us.  We get tired, wounded and hurt but God brings in the harvest.  We are but bit players in the tapestry of everyday life for a Christian.

Push on Christian; rest in God’s mercy; push on, remember God is in control.  We may not understand all that’s happening but we know the one who changes the seasons and rules the affairs of men.

It’s good to be a bit payer; we need to remind one another often of that fact.  Rest well, Christian.  Come quickly Lord Jesus; come.

Rev. 22: 20 - "He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus."

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Crying Time – What kind of tears have you shed?

Jeremiah 50:4-5 -- "In those days, at that time," declares the LORD, "the people of Israel and the people of Judah together will go in tears to seek the LORD their God.  They will ask the way to Zion and turn their faces toward it. They will come and bind themselves to the LORD in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten.”

The prophet Jeremiah talks about seeking the Lord in tears.  Have you shed tears this week?  What kind of tears were they?  Were they tears of joy or tears of sadness?

We shed tears when

·         Our children are born

·         They graduate from high school

·         Our only daughter marries

·         Our son comes home from the war

·         We visit with our war buddy whom we haven’t seen or talked to in forty-one years

·         We hear an old song our mama loved

·         We finally get rain for our dry, dry crops

·         We finally get rain for our dry crops that ends up with hail which destroys everything

·         Our loved ones die and go home to be with Christ

Tears of joy and tears of sadness are intermingled.  It would do us well to be patient in judging events in our lives.  When something adverse happens to us, we shed tears in frustration only to find out in the long term it was for our good.  The tears of frustration become tears of joy. 

May your tears be tears of laughter and joy not sadness.  When they are tears of sadness, be patient until they turn to tears of joy.  The waiting is the hard part; patience is a hard lesson to learn but sometimes we must wait.  Wait for the tears of joy.  We wait for tears to be wiped away.  We wait for the “old order” of things to pass away.  We wait…

Revelation 21:4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."