Monthly Archives: April 2014

A bright sign to an unbelieving generation

4/30/2014

In today’s chaotic world, the soul that has discovered spiritual rest through faith in the finished work of Christ can be a brilliant light in the midst of an ever-increasing darkness of iniquity and depravity. The saint that dwells restfully in true inner peace and spiritual joy will be a beacon to the anxious and striving multitudes of humanity fruitlessly seeking fulfillment of self through worldly design. The peace of Christ dwelling in the hearts of Christian men and women can be a victorious flagship upon an end-times ocean of growing despair and desperation.

This is the privilege of opportunity that God has blessed us with in these last days. An opportunity to demonstrate the blessing of the supernatural peace of God. A peace which transcends all understanding, guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. A peace that brings us blessed assurance in a world full of uncertainty – confidence in the midst of a world overflowing with insecurity. The peace and joy of Christ within us exhibits a timeless kingdom everlasting. A bright sign to an unbelieving generation.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matt 11:28-30

More on this subject at http://jerichoministry.com/enter.html

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The Idolatry of Worry

4/27/2014

Whenever we worry, we are choosing to worry based on past judgments we have made about wanting to have control of circumstances in our life. These judgments are usually formed and then justified inwardly by fears we have experienced. As a result, instead of trusting God, we come to depend on worry as we try to manage life situations. Our worrying becomes a form of self-reliance which replaces trusting God. Whenever we are trusting worry more than trusting God, we are no longer worshiping God; we are worshiping worry.

This is the idolatry of worry.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5 NIV

They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD. Psalm 112:7

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

 

“Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die”

4/23/2014

Excerpt from – The Charge of the Light Brigade

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
“Charge for the guns!” he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Someone had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

The charge of the Light Brigade is a poem about confusion and incompetence coming from the upper ranks. But as soldiers the men understood that they must obey – even orders that seemed absurd. We, however, are better off. We are soldiers of Christ and have been equipped through faith with all the weapons necessary to persevere the absurdities of this world. (See Eph 6:10-17)

We may have legitimate questions about what people of authority in our life are doing. And yet, in a very real sense, oftentimes ours is not to question why, ours is but to do and die’ for God (“die to self,” for the most part). As Christians we are called to obey God (See Job Chapter 38) and man to the best of our understanding even though we will never have all the answers, or even seemingly satisfactory answers much of the time.

Is your boss a jerk? Are you a slave to your job?

Eph 6:5-8  Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

Things will not always make sense to us. People will make poor choices and we may suffer as a result. Although our questions and concerns may be legitimate, we are nevertheless called upon to “Trust in the Lord and do good” (Psalm 37: 3) to the best of our abilities and leave the rest to God.

2Timothy 2:3 – “Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.”

(The Light Brigade, sent into a nearly hopeless situation due to command confusion and incompetence, actually fought its way out of a Russian trap and got back to its own lines, losing 110 of 666 men.)

“…and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.”

Easter – 4/20/2014

Ephesians 5:13-14  But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

Before the light of God came into our lives we were the living dead. We were “asleep at the wheel” of life. When we saw the light and acknowledged it and repented, we woke up from the stupor of spiritual sin-death.

Jesus sometimes referred to an actual death as “sleeping” in order to illustrate the power of the light of God:
Matthew 9 23-26 When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes, he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. News of this spread through all that region.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary says, “A state of sin is a state of darkness. Sinners, like men in the dark, are going they know not whither, and doing they know not what. But the grace of God had produced a mighty change in their souls: Now are you light in the Lord, savingly enlightened by the word and the Spirit of God.”

Believer; you have been illuminated by the light of God that you may effectively become a light that shines upon the sleeper and raises him up from the stupor of sin. Do not believe that he or she is dead and that there is no recourse. Tell those who believe such things “Go away, this sinner is not dead but asleep.” Then shine your light upon the sleeper. If the sleeper awakens, rejoice and continue on. If the sleeper will not awaken, do not stand and weep, but rejoice that you have been given this precious light to share and then continue on.

We are now a light to the world because of the light that is in us. A special education, training or expertise can certainly be helpful to many in reaching the lost, but the more important thing for us to believe is that the light of God that is in you is more than sufficient to raise up those that are asleep.

God is not a screwdriver – God is not a light bulb

The Utilitarian God.

Utilitarian – Exhibiting or stressing utility over other values; a perspective about life that is focused primarily on the practicalities of life.

Do we relate to God as our father and friend or do we relate to Him as a utility? If we are trying to use God as a utility we will be disappointed if He does not seem to be responsive to fixing a particular circumstance in our life. If He is more fixit tool than Father and friend to us, we will become resentful in times of trouble when He doesn’t show up to fix things the way we think they need to be fixed.

We cannot come to know God as a loving Father and friend as long as we think we need Him to control our lives the way we want to have them controlled. We will perceive God as our screwdriver, our hammer, our duct tape that we want to use to hold our tightly controlled world together. As long as we think that life is mostly about being in control, we will expect God to help us to keep that control and we will be upset with Him when it becomes obvious that He is not always going to orchestrate things so that they are within our control.

If we insist on worshiping a utilitarian version of God, eventually we will want to have control of that version of God. We will even develop new doctrines that focus on getting what we think we need and what we want from God – and we will call this faith.

God can only be realized as our Father and friend if we allow Him to be who He is; not who we think we need Him to be.

The Time is Growing Short

The time is growing short and we are living in increasingly accelerated times. Times of fast food, fast knowledge, and fast money to satisfy our fast paced lives.

But there is a great emptiness at the center of the whirlwind of our hurried existence. An emptiness shaped by the disappointment and disillusionment that is the inevitable result of our fast-paced addiction to temporary gratification. The great void we are experiencing inwardly is the absence of lasting inner peace and true spiritual joy.

This deficit can never be remedied by the manufacture of man. It is not a device that it might be fixed by human ingenuity. Nor is it an ailment that it might be healed by a temporary circumstance of happiness.

Lasting peace and true spiritual joy cannot be found in life’s fast lane. Lasting peace and joy can only be experienced as we allow the great emptiness within to be regenerated and rehabilitated by the power and the presence of the living God.

Deuteronomy 4:29  29 But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Psalm 63 – A psalm of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah.

You, God, are my God,
    earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
    my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
    where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
    and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
    my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
    with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

 

The Three Basic Avenues of Desire

Desire: An emotion or excitement of the mind, directed to the attainment or possession of an object from which pleasure is expected. (Webster Dictionary)

Desire was once a perfectly innocent and natural inclination of the soul toward the experiencing of godly pleasure. It was originally a capacity within man for experiencing the delight of relationship with God and His creation but has now become an unbalanced burden as a result of sin.

The Three Basic Avenues of Desire:

That which is…
1. Physically appealing
2. Visually appealing
3. Intellectually appealing

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. (Genesis 3:6)

These are the same basic avenues of desire that are most common to mankind today.