The Word of God

There is a HUGE difference between being shamed/guilted by others and being convicted by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God.

Don’t try to assume the role of the Holy Spirit in another’s life. He is the Spirit of the Supreme, Almighty Creator of the Universe. I think He can handle conviction through the correct handling of the Word of God all by Himself. He doesn’t need us to do His job. And if He DOES need our assistance, then conviction, guilt and innocence, shame and honor are really worth very little.

Yes, He will absolutely use other human beings and circumstances to bring about conviction and transformation. But, there is a huge difference between the Holy Spirit using us and us using the Holy Spirit.

Conviction will never happen without the work of the Holy Spirit. If there is no conviction, more than likely, there is no work of the Holy Spirit in that matter.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ…

Consume the Word of God. Love the Word of God. Practice the Word of God. Share the Word of God. Don’t be ashamed of the Word of God. Let the Holy Spirit use the Word of God in you.

Knowing God

The Gospel is the Good News that God Himself walked the earth in flesh and blood to become sin for us, to be our scapegoat, to take our punishment for sin, to die in our place and rose from the dead in victory over the enemy, death, hell and the grave.

To receive the gospel is not just to receive or pass along this information. It’s not just about information…it’s about transformation.

To know God is to be invited into Oneness with the Lord our God, King of the Universe, Creator and Savior of our souls is to become ONE with Him…in such a way that it conceives new life within you.

More…not Less

The Christian Life is a life of discipleship. In His short earthly ministry, when Jesus called people into discipleship, he told them to deny themselves, take up their cross (a symbol of dying to self and maybe even physical death) and follow Him. He still calls men and women the same way today. To become a disciple is to surrender ALL of life to Jesus (not some parts), to pursue a transformed life (not a life of self-improvement), and to help others to do the same.

Unfortunately, many expressions of the evangelical church in our current culture have been diluting and dumbing down this call, watering down the message, and blurring the lines of being called out and set apart by God.

In an increasingly secularized America, these expressions of “church” are waxing eloquent on secular ideologies of self-care, self-help, and wokeism, trying to make man “good” rather than bringing him to God through the Gospel of Jesus, as the only One who can make anything good. The Gospel message of reckless abandon TO and reconciliation IN Jesus and liberty THROUGH His Holy Spirit is buried somewhere in the church basement. They have confused an entire generation or more, and rightly so.

Jesus asked for more…not less.

The Fruit of the Spirit

Can you imagine having unlimited resources, generosity, and sacrificial concern for another, offering and being invited into their home to renovate, overhaul and produce nothing but unimaginable goodness, unending amenities and luxuries, and undeniable perfection in every corner and crevice of their home for THEIR good, only to be restrained by them at every turn, denied every opportunity to use your money, your strength, your creativity, your power to do the work you were invited to do? How would you feel?

The fruit of the Spirit’s presence in a repentant, redeemed follower of Jesus is love, joy, peace, patience/forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness/gentleness, and self-control/temperance. The Holy Spirit takes up residence in our body by regenerating our spirit, dead in trespasses and sins, and becomes ONE with us in order to produce His fruit in our lives.

To reject the production of this fruit, to excuse the sinful cancers that counter this fruit, to deny this fruit manifesting itself in our regenerated character is to QUENCH, to SUPPRESS, to DENY the HOLY Spirit of God, to GRIEVE the person of the Indwelling Spirit in our life.

May we crucify the flesh and surrender to His unlimited, sacrificial love and generosity today!

Psalm 73:26

I need You to soften my heart,

To break me apart.

I need You to open my eyes,

To see that You’re shaping my life.

All I am, I surrender.

Give me faith to trust what You say

That You’re good, and Your love is great.

I’m broken inside, I give You my life.

I may be weak, but Your Spirit’s strong in me.

My flesh may fail, but My God You never will.

Psalm 73:26 (HCSB) My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, my portion forever.

4th Of July

…one nation, under GOD, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

In GOD we trust.

My praise to the Lord and my prayer to Him today, as we celebrate our Nation’s Declaration of Independence from tyranny, may we be reminded from Whom the power comes, to Whom our allegiance is owed, and on Whom we are dependent.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

–That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

-Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world:

The Art Of Missing the Point

We spend a lot of time waiting and even praying for God to change our circumstances, paying little attention to why the circumstances have come into our lives. Instead, we focus on the circumstances – we talk, gripe, and complain about the circumstances, some incessantly. And God IS sometimes in the business of changing our circumstances. We see it throughout scripture.

But God’s greatest desire is to change me THROUGH my circumstances, to transform me into the image of His Son. How rare it is that we talk about what God is changing in us, what He’s teaching us in the circumstance, how He’s shaping and chiseling us into His image.

He wants me to gear up with the same way of thinking as Jesus, with a love and a passion for the will of God rather than the passions of my flesh.

Idolatry

Idolatry = giving anything – possessions, people, activities, hobbies, occupations, etc. – higher priority than the worship and will of the Lord your God, King of the Universe.

Idols are the loves, thoughts, desires, longings, and expectations that we worship in the place of the true God. They are the things that we invest our identity in; they are what we trust. Idols cause us to disregard our heavenly Father in search of what we think we need. Our idols are our loves-gone-wrong: all those things we love more than we love Him, the things we trust for our righteousness or “okay-ness.” When followers of Jesus have idols in their lives, God calls it adultery against Him.

I’m continuing to tear down idols of my own heart, both alone and in community with brothers and sisters who love me enough to speak truth into my life.

I endeavor to never encourage or support anyone’s elevation of idols in their lives (even if the idol is their own image) but I will support their pursuit of Jesus, glorifying Him as King of their lives and joint heirs with Him, and I will, by invitation and in the power of the Holy Spirit, assist in any way I can with the tearing down of idols in their lives as God has taught me to do.

Reversed Ruling

While I am deeply grateful that the highest court of our nation has reversed its 49-year-old ruling on the willful termination of life created and designed by God, I am deeply grieved and my joy is over-shadowed by the hateful words and behavior of professing christians, name-calling and spewing sarcasm passive-aggressively to these hurting, confused, and angry pro-choice advocates. Sure, the hatefulness has volleyed both ways, but it is those that are dragging the name of Jesus Christ through the dung heap that sickens my soul. They claim to possess a Spirit that empowers and educates them to know better, to minister Truth with the same compassion, grace, and mercy that they claim to have received.

May God have mercy on the souls of those that have made tragic decisions because they felt trapped, cornered, or abused. May God have mercy on the souls who continue to advocate for the willful termination of innocent life. And may God have mercy on the souls of those who further abuse them with vile words and actions in the name of Christianity and defense of life.

May God grant us the wisdom, discernment, and resources to provide solutions rather than slander, help instead of hate, compassion instead of contempt. May God grant us favor in the face of adversity, blessing in the face of cursing, and peace in the face of persecution.

Separating Identity From Behaviors

Our American culture is in conflict over a handful of issues that illicit great hatred, judgment, rudeness, and anger for/with one another. The question that evokes this horrible dialogue among image-bearers of God is often “Do I approve/disapprove of a specific behavior in our culture to which someone has assigned a universal identity based on the behavior?”

The question is not whether you or I approve of a certain behavior or not. The question is whether the Lord our God, Creator of the Universe approves of it and whether you or I want to submit to God’s approval or not.

This is not about me and you. I honestly do not care whether you approve of my behavior or not and you should not care whether I approve of your behavior or not. I only care about your thoughts to the extent that my behavior poorly reflects on the character and image of my Savior Jesus Christ. It’s about the Creator of the Universe and how He said He wants us to live.

I cannot control how you choose to respond to the Creator of the Universe about your behavior. Jesus did not force people to accept His Way of human behavior. However, I can and should control how I respond to cultural indoctrination that opposes God’s design and redemption plan.

It IS possible that we love things that God hates. We SHOULD pay attention to that. We SHOULD separate the identity from the behavior. When God calls us to repent of a behavior, we SHOULD respond to that in repentance, obedience, and trust in the One who designed us, redeems us, reconciles us, restores us, and conforms us (changes our identity) to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.

–thanks Mike Winger for the seed thoughts.