Friday, March 1, 2013
Thursday, February 28, 2013
As you are going about your day, you get a knock on the door. When you open it, there are three people standing there. You know who they are, as they've visited before several times...and lately you've been a bit more curious too. There are also a couple families on your block who have joined what they've offered and there is something so different about them, not weird different, but a good and peaceful different. However, life has been so busy, and even difficult, that you haven't ever taken the time to really find out what they offer other than a ticket to what they say is a special place.
They were very nice and asked if you knew or had ever heard about what they offered before? You said you knew of them as they had visited before...but you didn't remember what they said, except that their caring demeanor left an impression. So they proceeded to tell you that it was a travel package to a very special place. It was amazing, because as they spoke your heart was about to jump out of your chest, kind of like it already knew what this was all about before you did!
They told you that it's a place that will make you feel like you are finally home, even before you even get there! That statement rings true, yet, how can that be, you think? Anyway, you ask what day would you have to plan on leaving? They tell you that is still to be determined...but that you will receive upon acceptance a personal hallmark from the Sovereign Himself, so you need not worry about being forgotten when the day comes!
Then you ask them about what one does while they are waiting for that day? One of the men standing there chimes in and says, "Nothing, if you don't want to!" Then he proceeds to tell you that you'll receive a letter written by the Sovereign Himself. A treasured message with many nuggets of His truths, His ways and His love contained within it...all to get you ready for the trip!
But, the words that one said keeps ringing in your ears, "Nothing - nothing -no-thing??" 'Hmmm. I don't have to do anything', you think?? Oh, that's right you think...you didn't ask how much the membership and the trip cost!? Well, no wonder he said NOTHING!... because the whole package is probably SO expensive that there is no way they'd dare ask you to do anymore than what you've already done!! Ha!!
Then before you even open your mouth another one of the men standing there says, "Oh, I'll bet you are wondering the cost!?" You nod whole-heartedly, and then begin to compute in your head how much you've saved up and what you could sell, and how you probably don't have enough to pay your way because of some debts you have...and then if they knew the times you were not honest with your money and....oh, my!...especially since you heard one of them say that all members must have a clean slate before they are accepted!
So, you begin to tell him these things, and with each word you get more and more red as you feel your face become so flushed...and your stomach SO sick! But then he says the strangest, and most unexpected thing - it's free, because it has been totally paid for by the Sovereign Himself. Huh?!? "Naww...there has got to be a catch", you say! Then he continues and says, "It's not only free to you, but your slate will be counted as completely clean...so this means that there is nothing that can keep you out!"
Then another fellow speaks up and says, "Well then, we will be on our way...and when you need us we can always come back"...and then moves closer and looks deep into your eyes, then continues..."after you accept this membership, there will be one very important thing that He'll want you to know as you enter this new life.".
Then without another word, one of them hands you a very lovely box with a card attached, then they turn and begin walking away. You look down at the box, then look up to ask what that thing is...and to say good-bye...but they are gone! You look this way and that...and don't even see any tail lights. Hmmm...
As you turn to go back in the house you about trip on the stoop, as your mind is just going round and round. However, you make it to the couch and sit there looking at the box and thinking about the prospects. You think about what they told you...He invites YOU, and has already shouldered the cost Himself and is getting everything ready there for YOU...and then He Himself sends you a personal invitation to join Him! Wow, you think! Is this really true? Hmmm. But then you remember what one of them said before they left. There is something else He wants me to know!
So, you take a big breath and open the card...as you read the invitation you feel a tug on your heart. Then you pick up the box and shake it alittle bit and look at it from all sides...and begin to carefully open it...but as you begin unfolding the top it seems to open all by itself. Then as you look inside you sense a slight whisper...in fact it is something you know you've heard before.
Very distinctive. Nothing you ever hear on a regular basis. Then the still small voice instructs you to reach into the box. As you do your hand lands on a small feather-light dove...and you just know what to do with it...as if you've known all along! So you enthusiatically press it into your chest and it vanishes. You know something has happened...
In minutes you are pouring out your heart and you know the Sovereign hears you. Then you remember bumping up against a couple of other things in the box too...so you reach in and find two scrolls. Written on the outside of one of them it says, 'Your journey has just begun'. You open that one first, very carefully...inside (URL), they read:
We live in a fallen world. We all fall. Most of the focus, whether over the pulpit, or on Christian radio, or in our own heads...is our favorite subject - sin, and in all the different ways we do it.
However, have you thought about it -- that when you sin, it probably is not against an inanimate object? Moreover, does your sin only affect you?
We are all at some stage of trying, or better said desiring, not to sin against God. Yet, sinning against God Himself is impossible - He's God. When we sin against someone we take at least a little piece of them and damage it. However, God cannot be damaged...as He is not human like us. What I am getting at is that when we sin against one another is how we sin against God. Job was faced with the fact too in Job 35:1-8, that God Himself is not affected by sin the way we are. Anyway...
Recently, I have felt the pain that comes with being sinned against...and it did cause me to stumble. I fell down. It affected my attitudes and my outlook on everything. Their sin caused me to sin. We are not God - we are affected by other's behaviors.
Romans 14: "12Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. 13So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall." Please read this whole chapter here : http://nlt.scripturetext.com/romans/14.htm
1 Cor. 10: 23“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. 31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved."
So, how do we, "live in such a way"? (up in vs 13) We make it so hard...but Jesus said that living for Him is easy and light. Think about, inside yourself, how you would like to be treated. If you like being roughed up...then this is obviously not what Christ was saying! However, in the definition of love in 1 Cor. 13 there are the ways of love we would all like to be treated with. Ya know - some kindness and a lil' patience, instead of storming ahead so you get to be the first in line!
Also, if we have our mind set on the things of God throughout the day...then this helps a whole lot too with our own attitudes that can cause us to sin against others. Romans 8: 6" For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." ~ and~ Phil. 4:7 "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."
*The above yellow caution sign was gotten off the internet, with no intentional copy-right infringement. Please let me know if this is yours and I will remove it.
Monday, February 25, 2013
Truth is precious and priceless...it is your treasure. Handing truth over to just anyone is more than unwise...it is foolish. Well, it could be God's truths that He has shared with you...you know, as you go about your day, or inside your prayer closet...those mysteries and that hearty meat of the word that is only for the mature! Oh...or a nugget of truth that falls from the sky and hits you squarely in the middle of your noggin! (Well, it feels like it anyway!:)
Then you walk around for a few hours thinking, "Wow, God has really shared something with ME! AND I actually was able to hear it this time! Then I was reading scripture, and a WHOLE chapter about jumped off the page...and I knew it was a message for me!! Hurray!!"
Or while you are visiting a friend they say something, and maybe just casually...yet, you know it is for you!
God can tell you anything, anywhere, by any means!
In this chapter in Acts 11, notice the many ways God shares His truth with people: http://nlt.scripturetext.com/acts/11.htm
Truth is the most precious thing in the world...which is why God at times would block some people from knowing it! I think of it as a vase that you inherited. What would you do with it? You never even knew the relative...or the person that passed it to you. But you were told it was a priceless antique...so before you make room for it in your life and handle it which such value so it can be passed to your children, would you go and have it appraised to make sure it is the real thing?
Then, how would you handle it? Give it to your young children to play with? Put water in it with a bouquet of daisies...then place it in the middle of your kitchen table? Or safely put it up on the top shelf in your locking china cabinet for all to see? Handling it with the care it deserves still means it can be a blessing for anyone who visits...that is, anyone who values exceptional pieces such as that!
The truth of the gospel and the Person of Christ are the most wonderful of truths...and one that not all would comprehend. Think about it! Why would God send a King? Wouldn't it be to sit on a throne and rule...and pronounce death on wretched wrong doers?? BUT sending a Ruler to DIE on a CROSS FOR wretched wrong doers?? Yeah, right!!
Luke 18: 31Jesus took the twelve apostles aside and said to them, "We're going to Jerusalem. Everything that the prophets wrote about the Son of Man will come true. 32He will be handed over to foreigners. They will make fun of him, insult him, spit on him, 33whip him, and kill him. But on the third day he will come back to life." 34But they didn't understand any of this. What he said was a mystery to them, and they didn't know what he meant.
The Spirit of Christ, in the Old Testament prophets, testified beforehand his sufferings, and the glory that should follow, (1Pe 1:11). The disciples' prejudices were so strong, that they would not understand these things literally. They were so intent upon the prophecies which spake of Christ's glory, that they overlooked those which spake of his sufferings...human thinking, self-focus, and a desire of worldly objects, close our understandings. http://mhc.biblecommenter.com/luke/18.htm
Luke 8:10 He said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’
However, those in Berea, were treating truth as valuable...which is why they made sure that it was the real thing they were taking for themselves!
Acts 17:11 And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those
in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul's message. They searched the
Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.
Once, as a young Christian, when I was with a group of others from church...we went downtown Mpls to do street witnessing. One person we came upon was a man that literally had a large cockroach crawling in and out of his shirt. We, of course were taken back by it, but we persisted. The man had a lot of demonic influence and not loudly, but nevertheless did heckle us and our message...so, needless to say, we were kind, but we didn't stay very long. This, we felt, was not because we were afraid of him...but because he was not ready at all to handle even a portion of the truth. Moreover, we didn't want the enemy to keep us there, which would keep us from those who would be open and ready.
Your own story...your truth. Be careful, as you would with any truth!
Quite a while ago I got a chance to hear Jan Frank, who had written quite extensively about incest and sexual abuse. When she was growing up she was regularly molested by family members. Then as an adult when she was able to get enough healing under her belt, she decided to confront some of them. Well, as you can imagine, they totally rejected her accusations and became angry whenever she brought it up.
She knew that she never wanted to live apart from the truth again, as it was too important...and she didn't want to live as tho it never happened either, yet she also didn't want to be confronted with how her family handled it! So what she shared about this is that she learned that even tho she did not usually talk about it with her family, or even with others, however, she said that 'whatever she does, no matter where she goes, she will always carry at least a measure of truth with her.' I like this!
Matthew 7: 6 "Don't waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don't throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you".
Give not that which is holy - Το αγιον, the holy or sacred thing; i.e. any thing, especially, of the sacrificial kind, which had been consecrated to God. The members of this sentence should be transposed thus: - http://clarke.biblecommenter.com/matthew/7.htm
On the other hand, God does not want you to be so apprehensive that you don't share it, as it can do wondrous things! Furthermore, we need to keep in mind that God entrusted you with it, so you would use it...to further His Kingdom! Matthew 25: 14-29 -- http://nasb.scripturetext.com/matthew/25.htm
This is the story of Shirley Anne...this is her truth. I am sharing it with her permission. It is lengthy, and does contain content that may be too sensitive or difficult for some people to take-in: http://minkyweasel.com/d-my-journey/
Those of us that are very open-hearted may need to be careful IF we share certain truths...as there are some things that the other would treat as trivial. Not because they are a stranger to you...however, they would be a stranger to how much they know what is in your soul...as compared to you and God. Therefore, as the following verse states:
Proverbs 14:10 The heart knows its own bitterness and joy; he will not share these with a stranger.
The heart knoweth his own bitterness - מרת נפשו morrath naphsho, "The bitterness of its soul." The stranger does not understand them: indeed they may be even foolishness to him...so there are some things we ought not share with anyone but God. http://clarke.biblecommenter.com/proverbs/14.htm