Romans 8:1-4: “1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not follow their sinful nature, but follow the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesushas made us free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the sinful nature, God, by sending His own Son . . . condemned the sin of the sinful nature, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not follow our sinful nature but follow the Spirit.”
That’s the ‘Perfect Law of Liberty’ that James talks about in Chapter 1:22-25, speaking of the man who hears God’s Word but doesn’t do it, he says, “He’s lying to himself. He’s like a man who looks at himself in a mirror, and as soon as he turns away, he forgets what he looked like.”
The ‘Perfect Law of Liberty’ is the same as the ‘Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus’ that makes us free from the law of sin and death. The Perfect Law of Liberty is the law that is followed by people who hear God’s Word and do it.
Just for the record, a “Daily Quiet Time”, is a short (maybe 15 minute) time each morning when we focus our attention on talking to, and listening to, God. It usually begins with reading a Bible verse or two, and a short devotional from some brother or sister or group, concerning our lives and our hearts as Christians, and writing in a journal the main point of the verse and the devotional. It ends with a period of sitting (or kneeling) alone, in the Presence of God, and thinking about what I’ve read, how it applies to my life and what is happening to me today, and listening for God to tell me what I should do or think about it. That’s where the revelations come in. Do you know that verse/passage in Matthew 11:25-28, where Jesus is talking to God, and He says, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent andhave REVEALED them to babes.
I haven’t been having a “daily quiet time” all my life. I didn’t know what one was, or even hear the expression till about 10 years ago. I guess I’ve been reading the Bible early in the morning almost every day for maybe 20 years or longer. Continue reading →
SURRENDER to JESUS and MAKE HIM THE LORD OF YOUR LIFE (every day) In some Christian churches you can ‘get saved’ by walking down the aisle at the end of a service and declaring your allegiance (devotion) to Jesus. Maybe you fill out a card with some personal information. Then the pastor introduces you to the congregation and they vote you in on the spot and you’re saved. You’re a full member of the Body of Christ. You’re going to heaven. What more need be said? Well . . .where’s the teaching and the understanding and the commitment?
In other churches you’re baptized into the church as an infant, then when you’re around 12 you go through confirmation, with the intention that you learn the basic principles of the faith and then you make a commitment to follow Jesus, with baptism by the clergy, and hopefully of the Holy Spirit.
Clearly either of these systems is dependent on concerted effort by the church community to teach the Bible, to demonstrate the fundamentals of the faith, to show ’em what it feels like to have a personal relationship with the Living God. It requires all of us having a consistent commitment to Jesus and to our brothers and sisters in the Body. Continue reading →
“So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.” NLT
Most of my life, in fact until this very morning, I have read this passage from James 1, verses 21-27, and I’ve focused on 22-25, where it talks about being doers of the Word and not hearers only, about how if you don’t do what the Word says, you’re like a man who looks at himself in the mirror and as soon as he turns away, he forgets what he looked like. Almost exactly the same guy that Jesus talked about when he said, “A man who hears My Words and does what I say is a wise man, who built his house on a rock, but a man who hears My Words and doesn’t do them is like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. He’s a fool! Matt. 7:24-27.
But today, I really saw and paid attention to verse 21 for the very first time, and God said, “The word God has planted in your hearts” is the real meat of this passage. Continue reading →
My friend Red Smith, serving a 25 year sentence, sent me a letter one day, and it began with this line, “I thank God every day that he delivered me from myself.” That’s all I remember, but it’s enough. That leads me down several paths, but the one for today is what is really going on in God’s plan to deliver us from ourselves and all the other evil that is lurking out there.
The truth is this: that God sent his Son to save us: and the way He chose to save us is by changing us from the inside out. He saves by delivering us from the evil that is in our heart. The war between the flesh and the Spirit, between Satan and God, between God’s will and my will, is one that is going on in my heart. When God sends His Spirit to move in our lives, He doesn’t change our circumstances to affect our world, He changes our hearts so we see things differently. When we are changed inside, that changes what happens to us on the outside. Oh, God uses all kinds of things in the world to get my our attention, but his main purpose is to have us surrender our hearts to Him so that we can begin to see His eternal design for our lives. A good example is the Prodigal Son, it says, “When he came to himself, he said, ‘I will return to my father.’ ” It was because his heart was changed.
[This is an excerpt from a talk on a Kairos Weekend in a prison]
On this final day we need to look back to where we were on Thursday, and then look at where we are today. Might say we’ve come a long way. Think back to the first day and the first talk “Choices”. We said the choices we make effect where we end up in life. What do we mean when we say life is a journey? We’re not really talking about going from one place to another on the earth. We’re talking about in our hearts.
About being in a new place inside. 1] About realizing we’re different, something has happened, something has changed. 2] Feeling different about others. 3] Finding new experiences and new relationships. 4] What are some new things you have experienced these last 3 days? Continue reading →
Yesterday we had Sunday School for youth at our church. The discussion was loosely based on the Lectionary. We discussed two passages in particular, one was Jesus’ prayer in John 17, where He says, “I pray that they (the disciples) may all be one. As I am one with You Father, and You are one with Me, they may be one with Us, that the world may know that You sent me.” The other passage was Psalm 1, verses 1-3, where David says, “Blessed is the one who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His Law does he meditate both day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.”
We talked a little about what it means to “be one” with God. About how if we trust God, His own Spirit comes to live in our own hearts, and in a real sense, we are all one with Jesus and God because we all share the same Spirit. We even talked a little about how when Jesus’ Spirit comes to live in our hearts, we have a change of the way we look at things, the way we feel about things, so that we are better able to DO what we’re supposed to in a spiritual sense and in a natural sense as well, because God is supernaturally moving in our hearts and our lives. Continue reading →
‘Obstacles’ is the next to the last talk on the Kairos Weekend Program in the prisons. “We’ve been talking all weekend about God’s plan for our lives. Let me tell you what His plan is for us; to surrender ourselves to Him. To do whatever He wants us to on a minute by minute basis. To accept the gift of His grace and share it with others. Pretty simple; but it’s not easy.
What is Grace? It is unmerited favor. That means God being nice to us when we didn’t deserve it. Grace is a lot like mercy, Mercy is God being nice to us when we deserved to be punished.Continue reading →
The introductory talk in the Kairos program for the brothers in white in the prison is called ‘Choices’. The person chosen to make this talk (in fact all talks in Kairos) is given certain points to make during the talk, but there are two basic guidelines for every talk. 1] Write it and give it in your own words, and 2] give a personal testimony that relates to the subject matter. While in Kairos we are primarily concerned with talking to the participants about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, in the ‘Choices’ talk, we are specifically directed NOT to say anything about God or religion or the Bible in this talk. We just want to get them to think, to think about themselves and their past, to think about how their past choices have affected their lives. It’s like parents raising their children. In order for the child to grow up to be a responsible, productive citizen, on a natural level, they need to understand the principle of cause and effect. “If you do this, this will happen; if you do that, that will happen.” If we do good things, good things will result. If we do bad things, bad things will result. Continue reading →
In 1 Samuel 16:7, God says to Samuel, “The Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
When I was a little kid in the 50’s, television just came to our town, there were two stations, Channel 11 and Channel 13. Channel 11’s slogan was, “Hey Bud, Whatcha’ Lookin’ At? Channel 11, Good Lookin’!” In those days just having a program on at all was a fascinating prospect. At first the TV didn’t even come on til about 5:00 PM, and stayed on only til after the 10:00 news. How much things have changed. It was a much simpler time, not nearly so complicated. They had a show called “Father Knows Best” which was a family style sit-com; and in those days a lot of people thought father really did know best. We’ve all had to make a lot of adjustments since then, just to try to keep up. Continue reading →