Monday, August 18, 2014

Galatians 1

Paradigm for This Study:  Lessons in How to Walk Like Paul........

1:1  So as Paul was sent, not from men, but from God - so ought we to be sent by God....... to carry the good news, to make disciples, who carry the good news....... to fellowship in faith with those of the Kingdom of Peace.

Have we dared to stand in the audacious confidence which Paul had, knowing we are doing that which we have been called on to do, to be, to say, to pray......?  What is being 'on mission' in my life today - not yesterday - not tomorrow, but today?

Authoritatively Commissioned

.........

1:2  So Paul was a part of the Kingdom, aka: the 'brothers who are with me'.  Did they naturally have such a grave concern for the Galatian believers that they asked to be mentioned in the letter?  Had they prayed together fervently for the strife broiling in Galatia?  Did Paul help to inspire the devotion of those believers who were praying with him?  Did he call upon them to pray for the Galatian believers?  Did they pray specifically for the concerns which Paul mentions here in the opening of his relatively fiery letter to the Galatians?

Have we sought to know the concerns of believers elsewhere?  At the time of this writing, there are believers seeking refuge among the Kurds because of the horrid intensity of the persecution they are facing from ISIS.  Are we praying for them earnestly, and seeking to meet their needs through prayer and mammon?

Drawing the Hearts of the Kingdom's Brotherhood Together for Each Other

.........

1:3  So Paul didn't simply emphasize grace or peace.  Why?  What peace can there be in an imperfect world without grace?  There can be none!  Think of it!?!  We have no peace for ourselves before others without their forgiveness, whether we really like it or not.  Others have no peace with us without our forgiving others.

So it is in our hopes for peace in a relationship with God.  There must be grace.  Praise God, whose grace is more than sufficient to offer grace to us all - to all who will simply receive it......... and to all who receive that grace........ they also receive His peace.

Have we believed it yet?  Do we walk in that peace?

Reminding us of the Peace and Grace we Have through Christ Already

..............

1:4  Ode to be rescued from this present evil age.  That has been done in part........, and the promise is that He will finish the task in full!

God 'Wills' or Will-Do This:  a Complete and Utter Rescue!

"Ponerou":  evil ..... evil age......:  with an emphasis on the pain-ridden life that comes with living in this age when evil is not yet bound........  Many decry the fact that evil is not yet bound, calling God unjust.  This is something I can hear clearly........ they do feel the pain-ridden life's real pain.......... But am I God's judge?  This cannot be until I am able to put order to this universe myself - which I will never be able to do.  So all I have left is to trust His promise that the rescue will come - and the pain-ridden work and trials of living in this present evil age will end.

Reminding us of the Hope to Come!

.............

1:5  Paul has no thought as to judging God, only to praise Him!

So do we seek glory for ourselves still; or do we seek His glory?  What will it be today?

The Glory is All His!

.........

1:6  So Paul was astonished at those who walked away from the true gospel!  Did he give up on them?  No!  He sought to bring them back in line with truth - for only truth sets us free!

Do we give up on those who walk away from truth?

Do we sometimes walk the path of 'works salvation' or some social gospel of 'accepting' everything without consulting God's counsel first?

What about today?  Do we trust His salvation alone, but still, as Peter said, add to our faith in that salvation (II Peter 2)?  Paul certainly did!

What ought we to add to that faith today?  Is there anyone who should hear that we are astonished that they are giving up on the truth?  If so, say so!  If not, don't be complacent - the day might yet come!  Pray for those who do have a need to address those who are walking away from the truth!

Pray for those who *are* walking away from truth!

Calling All Believers to Renew Their Devotion to Truth

................

1:7  So Paul knew that the confusion came from those who seek to pervert the gospel!

Do we recognize the source of confusion when it arises?  Does the perversion from the truth bring true peace into the Kingdom of Peace?  Should we 'tolerate confusion' for the sake of ?peace?

Then what is to be done when confusion is brought in yet again, today, by those who seek to pervert the gospel?

And Recognize the Sources of Confusion Today

........

1:8-9  So Paul is not out cursing anyone......  But he is making it clear that some people come under a curse through their devotion to untruths and others through their devotion to actively twisting the truth.  Tender hearted Christians can feel the brokenness of letting them go - and thereby begin to judge God.    Others are more inclined to unleash a curse themselves.  Neither approach is what God has called us to.

We have only this:  to watch as those who choose to serve untruth come under the troubles of God's judgment.  May we pray that they are short-lived trials.

So We Can ............. Let Them Be!

Yes, there is a need to identify those whom we 'Let be'.  There is even a need to address why we 'let them be.'  But that is enough.  After the conflict is addressed, if peace is not possible 'as much as it is possible with us' (Romans 12), then it is time to 'let them be.'

................

1:10  Is it even possible to please all men in the church?  Paul wasn't speaking of trying to please men in the government, or in the 'politically correct world'.

Paul was admitting that he could not be about the business of trying to please men in the church.

All who try will almost assuredly fail - at least to some degree.  Men are horridly fickle creatures.  So move on when needed........

And be Servants of Christ - That's All

...........

1:11  Preaching a Divine Gospel!

...........

1:12  A Gospel Given by Jesus Christ Himself!

...........

1:13  No Longer at War with the Church

.........

1:14  No Longer Gaining Importance by Warring with the Church!

.........

1:15-16  No Longer Hearing from Men What They Want  -  Yes, seeking counsel can be a good thing, but when God's calling has been made clear, as His call to Paul was made clear; God will send those men whom He will to confirm His calling.  We do not need to seek them ourselves!

God Himself has all power to 'uncover, reveal, unveil' to us what He wills to show us.

*When/if* He does that in your life - He has revealed *Himself* to you:  apokalupto:  the same word for the apocalypse......... 'the unveiling of Him'!

Seeking Revelation/Unveiling of Jesus

This is the secret of having a relationship both with the body of believers and with Him.

.........

1:17  There are even times to distance ourselves from (at least some) believers in order to be prepared for the calling He has called us to - to listen carefully to know what message concerning the gospel we should be most prepared to share with the body - especially once we have heard what our calling is from God - and He has provided adequate witness as to what we have heard from Him!

Sometimes Only His Counsel Will Do!

..........

1:18-22  BUT.......... after that time, it is vital to reconnect with the leaders of the church before going out and fulfilling the calling of God!

That time alone is NOT to be a time of rebellion - but a time of fasting from various aspects of life.

But Then it is Vital to Reconnect with the Kingdom!

Not, however, to be a spectacle!  Paul could have truly created a sensation among as many believers as he would have been willing to expose himself to.  He did not seek to create a spectacle or a sensation.  He sought confirmation and support in prayer.  He sought to put the hearts and minds of the church at peace with the sense of mission which had been placed upon Paul by God Himself.

We must be ready to go out and serve quietly.

There might be a time to go back and reference such truths - but not for our own glory!  Only to substantiate the truth!

........

1:23  That is not to say that we must keep the glorious truth from believers who would praise God with us in spirit!

Seek Prayer for Those on Mission:  Make Known God's Miralces Among the Kingdom-Believers without Sensation!

........

1:24  And the Result?  God will be Praised......... because of ...... ?us?

AMAZING!




Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Staying Stretched to the Max in Love! - - - - - - - - I Peter 4:8-11; Good Morning Girls, Week 7, Tuesday


"Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another,  because love covers a multitude of sins."  (I Peter 4:8 - NAS)

Well.......  ya know, the first part of this verse doesn't seem terribly difficult in the English: it could be restated loosely by saying, 'the most important thing to do is to keep the light of love alive for the brethren'.......

But what does that have to do with love covering a multitude of sins?
.
Certainly Christ's sacrifice was made with fervent love....., and we should be like Him, but is there perhaps more to this than meets the eye...... What about context within this chapter and this letter?  What about the Greek?

Well, let's back up to I Peter 4:1, in which Peter tells us that Christ 'suffered'.  By clicking on the Strong's number for 'pathontos', we can realize how clearly it is said in this verse that His suffering was brought upon Him by others in this broken and fallen world, and that His suffering is something which He felt very, very deeply.

The same verse goes on to say that we should be of this mind:  that we should be *willing* to allow suffering from this broken world to be brought upon our flesh from the brokenness in the world outside of ourselves, and that we should feel that pain deeply whenever God allows that brokenness to weigh heavily upon us.

More importantly, the one having suffered (in the) flesh is empowered to be able to be finished with sin.  So much so, that, according to I Peter 4:2, the one who has suffered, if he has been obedient to 'be of this same mind' of Christ........, will be able to devote his time to the will of God without being drawn into men's lusts.  Ode to remaining in 'this same mind'........, in order to avoid adding unnecessarily fulfilling further the 'desire of the Gentiles' I Peter 4:3.

Oh, my soul, I would that mankind would no longer fulfill the 'desire of the Gentiles'!  But all too many still desire to fulfill those inclinations.  They even think it is strange that believers do not seek the desires of the Gentiles  I Peter 4:4, not realizing that they will have to give account of the fulfillment of their desires one day I Peter 4:5.

But that's just it, God has been merciful because they did not realize fully what they have chased after; they were 'dead' to the truth!

And here is where He lets us be a part of the solution!  Men who have been *willing* to allow the suffering from this broken world to be brought upon their flesh in such a way that they felt the pain deeply - with the same mind as Christ...... those men have been sent to warn those who still seek to fulfill the 'desire of the Gentiles'!  Those men have been sent so that they might live according to God in the Spirit!

But no man can be 'of this mind' on his own.  No man can 'be of this mind' without Christ changing his heart to a heart of flesh.  When Christ removes the dead heart of stone from within a man, and replaces it with a living heart of flesh, then that 'heart transplant' helps that man to truly live and to 'be of this mind' of Christ........

But not everyone has received this heart of flesh!

So many around us need the life that comes only through this 'heart transplant'!

'The end has drawn near, therefore be sober minded, and be watchful for the purpose of prayers.'  (I Peter 4:7)

And here, the context begins to become more and more clear........

We see that this phrase, 'above all, keep fervent in your love for one another' is couched in the middle of these two phrases:

'Be watchful for the purpose of prayers....... ......... because love covers a multitude of sins.'?  (I Peter 4:7b, 8b)

But how can our love combined with prayers aid in the covering of a multitude of sins?  Isn't Jesus the Great High Priest, whose sacrifice took care of the sins of the beloved who receive His grace through His gift of faith, available to us through His sacrifice?

Is the hymn wrong?  "Jesus did it all!  All to Him I owe!"?

Well, yes, Jesus did it all.  But for whatever all reasons, God wants us to be like Jesus!  He wants us to imitate His love for others!  And when we do, He celebrates our finally 'knowing good and evil' the only healthy way possible:

---to be broken, suffering, taking on the pain of mankind's brokenness in order to spare others' as much of the suffering as possible - able to bear one another's burdens only because of His *plan* of grace!

Back in the Garden of Eden, when we rebelled against God and ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and evil?  Yes, back then, knowing good and evil broke our hearts - and our hearts died!  We had dead, stone hearts!  Our hearts broke, and rigamortis set in so deeply that our hearts became stone!  That's what 'knowing good and evil' our way did for us!

But knowing God's *heart* of grace not only for ourselves, but for others,  helps us to face 'knowing good and evil' with a heart of flesh.

A heart of flesh will still suffer under the 'knowledge of good and evil', just as Christ's heart of flesh suffered for us on the cross!

A heart of flesh will not become a broken heart though, it will be 'brokenhearted' for others, but not broken, lifeless, stone cold, deadness!

Christ was brokenhearted for us!  He truly suffered in the flesh of his brokenhearted state - - - for us!

We ought to be the same mind for others:  brokenhearted for them!  Willing to feel their pain, to bear their burdens as much as they will allow us to...........

In this brokenhearted state, in which we suffer the pain inflicted upon our heart of flesh by those whose hearts are dead, broken stone, our hearts can bear the burdens of others' sins before the throne of grace...... bearing the burden of sin directly to the High Priest, ...........

And here, we begin to see how, in verse 7, the 'purpose of prayers' begins to be made more clear......

We are to be priests before God, joining Jesus, the High Priest, our holy advocate, as He advocates for the forgiveness of a multitude of sins!  (verse 8b)

............

So, that is the context of this verse:  "Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another."''

It is becoming more clear!!!

.........

But what of the original text?  Are there more clues which bring the light and life of these words into clearer focus?

.........

Hmmmmm, in Greek, the word which we render as 'fervent' is a compound word:  ektenes:  with its parts being:

ek - 'wholly out'

&

tenes - 'stretched - without slack' (related to 'tension')

Really?  Keep Stretched to the Max in Love!?!

Wow!  How many trainers would think that it is wise to keep a muscle stretched to the max all of the time?

But maybe we should check out 'keep' in the Greek too?

Hmmmm, in the Greek, there are two words which were rendered as these three words in English: 'Above all, keep'......  They are pro panton:  with 'pro' meaning 'before,' and panton having its roots in 'pas' meaning 'every part of the totality'!

So, thus far, we have 'before every part of the totality..........love, stretched out to the max'!

There is 'echontes', which is translated best as 'you having/holding/possessing'.

Then just the 'eis heautous' perhaps best translated as 'in/among yourselves'.....

So putting it all back together:

'Before every part of the totality, you having/holding/possessing love, stretched out to the max, in/among yourselves.'

So..... going back to the NASB:  "Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another'.......  the word 'keep' is meaningful:  having/holding/possessing..... that's all an ongoing thing!

Staying, and staying, and staying stretched to the Max in love!  ........ in love which is in/among us all.........  STRETCHED TO ALL OF US........ STRETCHED TO THE MAX SO IT REACHES ALL OF US.......... ALL OF THE TIME, BEFORE EVERY PART OF THE TOTALITY......!!!!!

Oh, my soul........ that is so difficult........... Have you ever seen this done right?!?

But all things are possible to those who love Him!

Dear Father, OUR Father, help us to help each other keep that love stretched out to the max - stretched so fully that it reaches all of us all of the time, before every bit of the totality of time....... remembering the purpose of prayer:  prayer from the heart of flesh which you have given to us, and which you will place in all who put their faith in you........ prayer that love, as it stretches out amongst us all, all of the time, covereth a multitude of sins, as we pray for the lost, for those moments when our flesh wishes to go back and fulfill the 'desire of Gentiles'....... and so forth.....

Help us to 'be of the same mind as Christ', feeling the broken heartedness in our new heart of flesh, brokenheartedness for the pain which we all feel because of the horrid things done by hearts of stone.......

And as we feel some small part of the brokenheartedness which Christ bore on the cross, as we bear others' burdens before your mercy seat, seeking the Advocate, that His grace may take yet another fallen man in his heart broken state, and humble him, giving him a heart of flesh and allowing that heart of flesh to feel the heartbreak of life........., thereby becoming heartbroken.........

..........that he too may begin to recognize the intense need for us to intercede for the saints who are, and who are yet to be called........ to faith........ and that he too may begin to share the love, which we need to hold/possess more faithfully amongst all of us, each and every one of us, all of the time, before every it of the totality of this life...............

.......Staying Stretched to the Max - - - - in Love - - - - all of us....... together.....!!!!!






Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Driving Out Punishment & Fear! GMG: Week 7: I John 4:16-21


Oh, my soul, for weeks now, the heralds have gone out telling forth the good news..... :

Have you heard it yet?

........ that the God who *is* love, loves you! yes you!?!

Have you heard it echoing in the deepest chambers of your soul?

Do you believe it?  Or do you yet fear, that in some ways, here or there, that His love is not enough!?!

What have you to fear? You have confidence in the day of judgment!  You have confidence in His healing!  You have confidence in eternal life!

Then what has gone amiss?

Why are you hurt?  Why is your face downcast?

Oh, my soul, you know right well, that yet again, you felt fear rise up this week; you have wrestled again with the pain of those who judge you harshly and even falsely?

But, my soul, that fear cannot please God!  You can only please God with faith.

But what is it that one mere soul can do?

Give thanks!

Yes, Give thanks to the Lord God's tender mercies;
Give thanks to the gentle ministries of the Holy Spirit!
You, oh my soul, have been lead down the path of righteousness in spite of this fear!
He has helped to cast it out yet again!

By faith alone!  In Christ alone!  Through grace alone!

Yes, when fear sought you out!
When fear sought to carry you away!
When fear even got a grip on you for a moment!
Yes, then you felt its punishment this week!

(for fear involves punishment!)

You whose emotions died for decades at the tender age of seven.  You, who God guided gently, and carefully back away from the Abyss of the Tragedies; Aye, back from the wild, and twisted, and ragged Abyss of Tragedies, with its jagged edges, from aberration to aberration; with its varied crevasses of immeasurable depths...........;

Yes, You.

Yes, you, oh my soul......... who God challenged and nurtured, with the challenge to learn to ...

............ feel again........

Yes, you, oh my soul, who finally feel pain!

You finally discern more quickly which pain is the inherent grief over the brokenness of life.  Which is a healthy thing!

Such pain drives you to seek to share the good news of His grace!
Such pain drives you to pray fervently for His coming-again!

But more than that!

You, oh my soul, finally discern more quickly which pain is self-destructive........ which is Punishment-Self-Inflicted...... out of fear........ of others' brokenness....... of their brokenness breaking through and hurting you, precious soul created by God, yet again.

What did the Spirit's tender mercies reveal to you this week about this?

Oh, my soul, by His tender mercies, He revealed that:

In your moment of fear, in the fear of more pain from the rejection of those who call themselves 'brothers' and 'sisters'........ In that moment, you began to thrash yourself....... self-flaggelation!!! Not out of mis-informed penance, but out of fear!

How can it be, that out of grief of pain, by focusing on the pain, we thrash ourselves further with the whip of pain provided by those who have rejected us?

But that is so much the case........

And here it is........ The Solution!:

First!  To focus on His love for us........., aye, even for you, oh my soul!

For, again, if His love and saving grace is enough to heal us from our own sin, how can His love and saving grace be insufficient to heal us from the pain of those caught up in the throws of this broken world!?!

Second!  To focus on His love for us......., aye, even for them, and oh!!! their precious souls!!!!

So now, oh, my soul!, you ought to hope for that same confidence-in-the-day-of-judgment ..... for those others around you.

Do they have that confidence yet?  If not, seek to share it with them!

Oh...... but, if they do have that confidence already?  Celebrate it with them - in spite of their frailties!  Even when their frailties hurt you, oh, my soul.........

And if they will not celebrate it with you!?!  If, as much as it is possible with you, you seek to live in peace with them - - - but they reject such peace thus far.......

Celebrate the gift of grace provided for them - past, present, and future!  Even when their frailties hurt you, oh my soul.......  For you can trust Our Father to both heal you, and to correct them in time............

But how?  By being perfected in love...

But won't they hurt us again? ...... Does that matter?  Remember, it is in all these things that we Overwhelmingly Conquer!  Yes, IN those things!  Do we need to fear conquering in these things!?!

But there is more.........  Oh, my soul, have you not heard?  Perfect love drives out fear........

Oh, my soul!  Oh, my soul!  Oh, my soul!  Do you believe it yet!?!

Call upon the Lord!  Call upon the God of Peace!  Call upon the God who is with you!  Call upon the God of Righteousness!  Call upon the God of Healing!

Call upon the Lord our Banner!  Follow His banner wherever it leads you, and faint not!

Let His perfect love fill you and overflow through you........... to all those around you......

............ in All These Things.................

And yes......... in All These Things........... Overwhelmingly Conquer.......... in Love!

Oh yes.......

Faith, hope, and love..... abide these three............... but the greatest...............


........of these.........

........................is love.........!

...........................His love......!



.....................


 


Lord, Why Am I Anxious..........













Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Being Glorified! - - - GMG: Wk: 5 - Romans 8:28-30


So here it is!  He is working in us, and how surpassingly great is His power working in us who trust Him, Him who has provided a light to the eyes of our hearts!  That, through the eyes of faith, we may see the riches of His glories which He has prepared for us!  And when we look through the eyes of faith, through the eyes of our new  hearts, we see that we are on the path of hope, a path called straight, running straight through our heart, heading straight Home!  Yes, Home! Where Freedom reigns!

And even before arriving Home, we find that He has already provided Freedom for those on the Path called Straight!  Freedom from condemnation and death, and freedom to eternal life, and freedom from sin, and even freedom to examine ourselves and come to Him honestly and openly......, so that.........

.....yes, so that........ we can be Free to Lift Up and Build Up a Brother - thereby helping establish peace in the Kingdom of God!

And here on this path, this path called Straight, the Mighty Warrior is with us!  Yes, our Beloved (who calls us 'Beloved'), the Mighty Warrior, who has already achieved Complete Victory - a victory He calls us to share with Him - and on our way to join in the fullness of His Victory, there are still some residual battles being waged by those who have not yet received the official news that they will finally have to submit to His Victory.......... battles through which we may draw men of peace out of the ranks of those attacking us...... or...... rather, those who have been attacking Him (unwittingly or not........)..........

And along the way, on this path called Straight, He guides us on through various battles and through our various trials - *in* which we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us, trials in the midst of which He helps us to pursue those things which make for peace and the building up of one another...., in the which we find great Exultation!

.............And thusly we move on together, building up each other, being sober of spirit (knowing that a lost and dying world needs the truth of the cross and its redemptive power), being alert (watching for His soon return - and praying for it as He commanded), resisting the evil one (telling him, "May the Lord rebuke thee," - for even Michael did not rebuke the evil one himself), standing firm in our faith (which is still a gift of God)..........., for trials are a'comin.....

And thusly, we also move on together, because of the blood of the Lamb, by the word of our testimony, not loving life, even when faced with death........, and moving on together, awake, righteously, examining ourselves that we come not under judgment....... as we move Home.........

Home, furnished with an abundance of grace and glory!

.........

So then, are we prepared to walk into a realm of such grace and glory?!?!

While it is true that we will be changed in the twinkling of an eye, changed to a blessed state in which we are holy and imperishable, it is also true that He marked our horizons prior to creation (aka: predestined us), to be morphed-to-be-like/with Him, it is also true that, towards these ends, 'We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose......For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.....and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified!

Thus, we are 'morphing-to-be-like/with Him' - - - 'in all these things' through which we Overwhelmingly Conquer' through Him who loved us........... that we might be glorified.........

,,,,,,,,,,readied, through His handiwork in our lives, to walk into His realm of amazing grace and glory!

Oh, my soul....... are you seeking it?
Are you seeking as much Morphoses Most Glorious as you can receive each day?
Have you grown in His glory....... today?

Ode, Ode, Ode, to the redemptive power of His loving sacrifice...... which makes the Morphoses Most Glorious ........... available to us!



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Walk Through the Heart! - - - - - - - - - GMG Wk:5, Tuesday - - Proverbs 3 (esp. vs. 5-6)


Does the word 'detour' sound good to you when you are heading home, and you can hardly wait to get there?

I remember through the years, when my children were very young, when each of them, in turn, would wonder why we couldn't just go straight home, or straight to Grandma's and Grandpa's....... or - etc.  At those moments, I always brought up my father's chuckles about the phrase, 'as the crow flies.'  I never really had a sense that my children appreciated the term.... since they couldn't simply go 'as the crow flies....'

That simple little phrase has given rise to many a moment imagining finally taking off and going somewhere 'as the crow flies.'  Today, I still love to imagine levitating out of the car and heading out - 'as the crow flies,' looking down at all of the roofs and trees, and children bicycling, and cars moving along - but not keeping up with me!

Ode to innocent desires........ a longing to go home yes, and a longing to seek adventure along the way......, but sometimes we realize we really want a straight path home - as the crow flies, as it were.

........

Yesterday, the Good Morning Girls' study 'You Are Loved' brought us to Psalm 84, where we saw that

--Godly men long to finally arrive 'home' in His courts.....

&

--the highway to Zion, which takes us home to His dwelling place, runs through our hearts!

So often, it seems that there are many detours along the way!  But is that true?  Let's check out this relatively well known verse:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.  (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Does He mean that the paths, or highways in our hearts, those highways that will take us home, will be made straight!?!

Well, let's look at the first couple of verses in the same chapter:

"My son, do not forget my teaching,
But let your heart keep my commandments;
For length of days and years of life
And peace they will add to you."  (Proverbs 3:1)

Okay, backtracking to my younger years again...... when those around me would debate, 'length of days and years of life and pace'....... and what that meant...., the conclusions seemed to come to this:  That this is true of the general principles of life and living......, though in some instances, in our imperfect world, tragedies thwart the natural consequences of godly living.  Though statistically speaking, I'm not on the last leg of my journey (and Lord willing I ?am/not?), I have finally come to the point in my life when I don't think of 'length of days and years of life' in terms of this life.......

Rather, those things are things I look forward to in the hereafter......  and I can hardly wait!

Really, think about it, how long are the 'length of days and years of life' in eternity?  Forever long!

And how does one hope to obtain such length of days and years of life?

Well, the *heart*, where the highways to Zion run, needs to not only remember, but follow His commndments.

Yes, I can hear the antinomians at it already:  But the law is behind us! It is no more!

True, but Jesus, after His crucifixion, just before returning to His Father in heaven, commanded the disciples to .......Go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them...., (and) teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

While the 'commandments' of Jesus and/or the New Testament do not mirror each other in form......., they are still to be remembered........

There are statements made that those who persevere and/or endure receive the prize.....

There is the parable of the sower, in which some receive the seed, but not into their hearts....... their endurance is lacking........

But the endurance, is endurance in love........ without condemning others..........

...........


Here, in Proverbs 3, vs. 13, one is encouraged to read, "How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding...."

But more, in vs. 26, it says, "For the Lord will be your confidence......"

And yet more, in vs. 35, it says, "The wise will inherit honor......"

............

In order to find wisdom; in order for our confidence to be established in Him; in order that we will be wise and thus inherit honor.......... we begin simply:

"Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart....."  (Proverbs 3:3)

And there it is, having to do with the heart again.......

If we are faithful to 'write kindness and truth.... on the tablet of your heart'......

then........ how does that help?

Are kindness and truth not the signposts to help us remain on the straight path through the heart, that straight path which leads to Zion!?

,,,,,,,,,,thus, as kindness and truth are written on the signposts of our heart......

......He makes all of our paths straight...........

.............

He loves us enough to provide us the wisdom that leads us to kindness and truth, which in turn leads us to His dwelling place.......

Truly, His signpost work is truth.........

Truly, sharing His truth........... is kind...........

..............

May we be more like Him.............

Let kindness and truth never leave us.............

Let us love............. as He loved............. and as He stil loves.................

Let us be able to say to others, not only with our words, but with our actions, "You are truly loved!"

.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Source of Grace & Glory!...... Wk:5 Monday, Psalms 84, esp. vs. 11-12


So the post I haven't finished for last week (just one for last week)...... has to do with the EXULTATION!!! - - - that remains after victory........

............

But what comes next........ you know....... when the battles are all finished, and the victory is finally sealed with peace...... peace from grace (for there is no peace without grace......, which is important to remember when the people cry out, "Peace, Peace......" but there is no peace......)?

Oh, what comes next is the best part:  Going Home!

How many warriors, following their king wherever He leads them, are willing to follow Him anywhere......

But....... how many warriors, still long for home.........


And that is how it is for those of us who follow The Mighty Warrior - - - the King of Kings - - - !!!!!


Do we not also long for home, even though we have not yet seen our true home....... even though we still bivouac........ yes, bivouac............  in these temporary tents of ours........ ?

But where is that home?????

"How lovely are Your dwelling places,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord;
My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
The bird also has found a house,
And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young,
Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts,
My King and my God.
How blessed are those who dwell in Your house!
They are ever praising You!"  (Psalm 84: 1-7)

So many people long for a lovely dwelling place...... a safe retreat from the world.......

And is that all wrong?

Absolutely not!

God made us with a yearning for peace, beauty, comfort, a safe place....... a place we can call Home!

But we must remember that the yearning He put in our hearts cannot be fully satisfied by anyone, or anything or any place on earth........

So while we may be home, or long for home as we know it - or merely dream of it....... is there no place we can call 'home' for the spirit of our new life here in this world????

Looking back to the psalm again....

Here we see that the swallow, in her nest, lays her young......where?  'His' altars! And finding themselves at home there, they know they are so very blessed........ so they are ever praising Him!  Singing His glorious praise..... accompanied by the rhythm of the trees clapping their hand....... what a glorious altar..../!!

Without His altars, both the altars which are their homes, and the altar which Jeshua haMashiach made effective?...... even the birds could not hope of finding escape from the struggles and corruption of this world...!!

But because of The Mighty Warrior's work on the cross...... fulfilling the work at the altar necessary to provide blood for the mercy seat????....... even those of us who brought this corruption into this world.... can find themselves 'at home at His altars.........'

O, sing His glorious praise!

Yes, we still long for the fullness of all that Home means to us....... we still yearn for more than the comfort of the shadow of 'home' that our childhood and/or dreams of a better life could ever offer........  we still yearn for more than the comfort of the shadow of the cross........

We still yearn for His dwelling place........ Home!

But like Dorothy with her ruby slippers, we have the way Home already with us.......

"How blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
In whose heart are the highways to Zion!
Passing through the valley of Baca they make it a spring;
The early rain also covers it with blessings.
They go from strength to strength,
Every one of them appears before God in Zion."  (Psalm 84:5-7)

Did you catch that?  What is more powerful than Dorothy's ruby slippers?

The highways to Zion, yes, Zion! ........ where His dwelling place is being prepared for us!

And where are those highways?  They are in our heart!

Those highways move through valleys empowered by life-giving rains, which refresh both living things and the springs that refresh them!

And those of us who have these highways in our hearts?

We have our strength in Him!  How securely will He guard that strength for us?

So securely that we will go from strength to strength!

And one day, we will all have the strength to go Home to His dwelling place......

O my soul!  What an incredible love He has for us!

...........

So, yes, it is a fine thing to rest at His altar... to rest in the shadow of the cross......
To sense the highways in our hearts........ to sense the refreshing rain there......
And the strength that comes thereby.......
But perhaps most of all......... it is a fine thing to think of finally arriving in His dwelling places......

.......

But.............

.......

Today, my flesh is sometimes weak........ and the darkness of this world looms ominously towards us....... and sometimes it even seems that I'm alone........ and His dwelling place seems so very far away....... and perhaps sometimes, it feels that it may as well not even exist..........

But at those times........ the Lord gives us something amazing!

"O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
Give ear, O God of Jacob!
Behold our shield, O God,
And look upon the face of Your anointed.
For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside.
I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You!"  (Psalm 84:8-12)

What amazing thing does the Lord give us?

Yes, He has given us the Light of Life!
Yes, He is a shield and buckler for us!
Yes, He lends us His ear!
Yes, He seeks *our* face!
Yes, He dwells in this tent with us, that we do not need to dwell in the tent of the wicked!
Yes, He gives every good thing.......

BUT THERE IS MORE!!!!!

What can be more than that?

He gives.............

Grace and Glory!

Glory!

Glory for us!?!

Glory be to God!

O, my soul praise Him!

For how blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

Yes, my soul, you are..... so, so, so loved!




















Tuesday, June 24, 2014

How Great is His Hope! - - - - - - - Ephesians 1:17-19 - - - - - - - GMG, Wk: 2: Monday



How Great is His Hope?

And, Oh! How much that question matters!........

Because the battle wears on!..... even though the war is won!

Many of us have read about wars which have ended, but men are still fighting and dying, because they do not know that the war has been decided already.

Today, we know that the Mighty Warrior has established every foundation for Complete Victory!...... but when the battles wear on and on, sometimes without reprieve........ battle fatigue can set in!

Without His hope...... we might wonder whether the war is really won!

So, is His hope enough?

How Great is His Hope?

Ephesians 1:16b-19:

In my prayers, I keep asking the God of our Lord Yeshuah the Messiah,
The glorious Father,
to give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation,
so that you will have full knowledge of Him.
I pray that He will give light to the eyes of your hearts,
so that you will understand the hope to which He has called you,
what rich glories there are in the inheritance
......He has promised His people
and how surpassingly great is His power working 
........in us who trust Him.

There it is!  Just a glimpse into the greatness of His hope...... but what a glimpse!

It is the hope to which He has called you!  It's not a hope you have to ask for, earn, find, design, devise, establish, maintain, or otherwise provide for yourself.

He has called you to it!

Why has He called you to it?  .......  "For God so loved the world.......... that........." He has called you to a rich and glorious hope in not only His rich glories, but in how surpassingly great is His power working in us who trust Him.

Did you hear that, my soul?

You earned nothing!  He didn't need to give you anything!  But He has provided power which works in surpassingly great ways..........

And what do you need to do?

Simply receive it!

It is 'set before' you.............