PERSECUTION? 100417

Jesus and the Woman taken in Adultery1 Thessalonians 2:14 says, “14 You too brothers and sisters, became imitators of the churches in Judea, because you suffered the same things from your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews, 15 who killed our Lord Jesus and the prophets, and have driven us out. . . . 1 Thess 3:2, “We sent Timothy to encourage you in these afflictions; . . . 4 in fact we told you in advance that you (we) would suffer persecution.”

We haven’t had much persecution against Christians here in the good ole U.S.A. in the past 250 years; but in the last few decades, there has been a steady stream of attack from some adherents of other religions.  Sometimes they claim responsibility, other times the circumstances speak for themselves.  In a few instances in recent years, people, right here in America have been required to recant their Christian beliefs at the point of a gun or be killed.  Some have stayed the course, stood fast for Jesus, and gone on to glory.

In all my nearly 70 years, I have never been required to make such a decision.  The worst I’ve had is for someone to tell me that I was stupid to believe in Jesus.  But I expect that if we’re real Christians we American Christians will “suffer real affliction for Jesus” in the coming days, as Christians the world over are already suffering.  Continue reading

Advertisements

Unity & Harmony

082617 RICH & POOR“Work toward unity, live in harmony; don’t be snooty; make friends with humble people.  Don’t think you’re better or smarter than them; you’re not.” Rom 12:16

How do you ‘work toward unity and live in harmony’ with each other?  Well, you don’t seek the company and the approval of the high and mighty, the rich and famous.  You make friends with working people; you enjoy the company of regular people.  You don’t think you’re smarter or better than them; you’re not.

How ‘upside-down’ can you get?  The world says, “Get rich, get famous, get power, get control.”  God says, “Humble yourself, be like Jesus; be an obedient servant.”  If you want to have a close, personal relationship with Me and with others, quit thinking you’re smarter and better than other people, especially the tired, the poor, the uneducated, those who are struggling.  Don’t just try to help them ‘from above’; make friends with them where they are.  Change your attitude about what’s important!  Then you can have unity and harmony with God, with others, and with yourSELF.

PRAYER? 012517

DAD SON FISHING ON DOCK.071416

Prayer is not mostly about asking for stuff.  It is about seeking God for Himself.  It’s about hearing and knowing what God thinks.  It’s about experiencing who God is.

It’s like having an old friend (an older friend) and saying, “I’m having this issue, this problem, and I want to know what you think about it.  I want to know how you’ve dealt with this problem in the past.  I don’t exactly want you to fix it.  I just want a little wisdom about how to look at it in a new way: to see it from a new perspective.

God can be that person.  He can, and will, and does, share what He knows, Who He is, in that exact situation.  Often, it’s when we didn’t even know we were asking; and we come to a new realization of who we are in that situation and in our relationship with God.

Now, go read Romans 12:1-2 in light of this idea: that God really wants to be, really is: your wise old friend.

SEEK MY FACE.112716

change your life

2 Chronicles 7:14: [God says to Solomon, before the dedication of the Temple], “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sins, and heal their land.”

Had a little discussion in Sunday school with a bunch of high school kids; talking about prayer.  The question was, “What do you pray about?”  Right out of the chute, Kelli says, “I pray to know God.”  I was astounded.  I didn’t think we’d even get around to that part of prayer for a long time, maybe not even touch it that day.  I said so.  I asked, “What do you mean?”  She said, “I want to know what God thinks; what He wants for my life; to understand who He really is. I want to know what it means to really trust Him.”

You know it’s like Oswald Chambers said, “When you stop seeking what God can do for you, you have time to seek Him for Himself.”  I think that’s what the verse means when it says, “Seek My face.”  We talked about ‘listening to God’.  Maybe not an audible voice, but that clear feeling you get in your heart about what God thinks, after you seek God’s face.

Later I had a revelation about this little episode.  Never understood it this way before.  When you start to seek God’s face; seeking to know Him for Himself; you enter a whole different dimension of knowing God.  It’s like the difference between ‘believing in God’ with your head and trusting God with your heart.  It changes your whole relationship with Him.  This is the same way (maybe the same thing in different form), when you seek to know God, to develop a relationship with Him as a Father and a friend, it changes the whole complexion of your relationship with each other.  When you really start to listen to Him for understanding, and not just for provision, you really are changed in your heart.  It’s just like it says in James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and He’ll draw near to you.”

LETTER TO PRISON.112416

paper plane gets stuck in barbed wireVince,

I’m really glad that you’re enjoying the Kairos small groups.  I’m just certain that small groups are the key to maintaining your relationships with God and with others.  You can be a Christian with just you and your Bible and prayer with God; but you can GROW as a Christian, and move from being a spectator to being a participant (even a leader) in the process of making disciples, if you’re involved in regular meetings with other brothers where you talk about what God is doing in your lives.  Praise God for what He is doing in your life.  I’m always astounded when I think that God has picked us out, before the foundation of the earth, to BE HIS.  Whoa!

I hope you get to work as a servant on Kairos #5.  I will be there, and maybe we could spend a little time visiting together.  At the very least, you can come to the closing.  I’m looking forward to seeing you.  You’re right; being a servant on a weekend is almost better than being on a weekend the first time, because you know more and you get to see more and understand more.

When you talk about your daughters, not being hungry or homeless, it makes me think about my kids; they’re not perfect, but they’re not on hard drugs, they’re gainfully employed; they’re in their 40’s and not still living at home.  (And a couple of them are serious trusters in Jesus.) What more could I ask?

So here’s the main reason I’m writing you back so soon.  I want to answer the question of “Why bad things happen to good people (particularly to little kids and/or innocent people).  What is the point?  Why does God do this? Or maybe better “Why does God let things like this happen.” Especially to people who don’t deserve it.

I don’t know.  I’m not in charge.  In the Book of Job, God says to Job, near the end of the book, “Who are you to question Me?  Where were you when I created all this?”  In Romans 5:3-5, it says, “3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” NLT Continue reading

WOMAN AT THE WELL.103016

Padua - Jesus and the Samaritan woman metal reliefJohn 4: 5-42 tells the story of what happened when Jesus met the woman at the well.  You know the story, noontime in Samaria, the disciples have gone to town to get food, Jesus is waiting by the well, and here comes a woman to get water.  It was a telling visit.  Jesus says, “Give me a drink of water.”  The woman says, “You are a Jewish man; I am a Samaritan woman; why are you even talking to me?”  Jesus, “If you knew who I was, you’d ask me, and I’d give you living water.”  If you’re not familiar already, please read the “rest of the story”.

This story ends up being about discipleship.  Discipleship is about service; service is about sacrifice; no sacrifice, no service, no service, no discipleship.  Service is about sharing what God puts in your heart, like in John 4.  The woman at the well was changed utterly from hearing Jesus tell her the truth about herself, and she was set free (as in: ‘You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ (John 8:31-36)  Freed, miraculously, from guilt and shame and fear, she couldn’t help but tell what she had seen and heard.  (see Acts 4:18-20)

Our job as disciples of Jesus, if we choose to accept it, is to ”1 make disciples, 2 baptize them, and 3 teach them to observe what I [Jesus] have commanded you . . .” Matt. 28:19-20.  ‘ To ‘observe’ what Jesus has commanded means to 1 surrender to His Spirit and do what he tells you on a minute by minute basis.  Not just to adhere to the rules and customs of the faith but to be one with Him in immediate response to His immediate commands.  It’s that kind of teaching that is required to make disciples.

Some of us, maybe secretly all of us, long to see the miracles of Jesus in our own day; the healings, the deliverances, the raising people from the dead.  But miracles are happening all around us and we just aren’t seeing them.  In fact, the miracle that happened in this passage, of Jesus telling the truth to the Samaritan woman about “everything she ever did, and her being delivered, set free, from guilt and shame, fear and anger, truly a miracle, was just the kind of supernatural event that goes on right here, right now, in our own time and place, when someone surrenders to Jesus and is set free from the bondage of alcohol, drugs, porn or slavery, or from their own fears, anger, resentment, shame and guilt. Continue reading

Anorexia & the Sanctity of Human Life

Haven’t posted much lately, but this just HAS to be shared. Tex

BeautyBeyondBones

I’ll tell you what, you’ve never watched a presidential debate until you’ve watched one in a bar with a bunch of Europeans on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

giphy

I promise, I’m not getting political…

But let’s just say, they don’t mince words about how they really feel about Trump and Hillary. The term “Satan’s Spawn” was definitely used….and I’ll let you decide who they were referring to.

200w

ANYWHO.

I sat down to write this post tonight, and I felt like I needed to update you on my date, but honestly, after watching the debate tonight, and everything that has gone on this weekend, from Hurricane Matthew, to the shooting in Chicago, to the political climate, I just felt like…there are more important things to talk about than my love life….

So, to answer that first question, I had a lovely time on my date. Truly. He had me laughing…

View original post 817 more words