Category Archives: RELATIONSHIPS,

CONSISTENCY.040516

Open Your Heart Concept

“Consistency is the crutch of small minds.”  Tex (from a letter to my kids)

Some people said Jesus was inconsistent because He said people should abide by the law one time, and the next time He said people should be led by the Spirit, and be merciful to lawbreakers. Even in the Old Testament, God said He’d rather have someone with an obedient heart than sacrifice, even though sacrifice was according to the law.

Over and over in the Bible, it says that God looks at the heart.  Somehow or other it should be the way we look at it too.  I’m sure people ought to do what they say they will, but you don’t have to do the same way ever time. Different situations require different responses.

And this isn’t situation ethics either.  It is just realizing that we ascribe to a higher law, which is layman’s terms is being true to God and the people that God puts you with, above being true to man’s law or any dogmatic principle.  (How do you know which is is right?  If you’re seeking God, you’ll know.)  Like it says in the Bible, “This is the first and great commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, . . . And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”  This is the fulfillment of all of the law and all of the prophets.  If you love God, you will keep His commandments; if you love your neighbor, you’ll treat him right.

My experience has been that if you abide by these two commandments, you won’t always appear consistent to the world, but you will usually do the right thing, and you will be consistent to God and in your heart.

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PRACTICING CHRISTIAN, PART FOUR.102415

Silhouette illustration of a man praying under the lightSURRENDER 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

Kairos-A Christian.051415

[This is an excerpt from the Kairos talk “A Christian”]

the Good SamaritanLOVE is about mercy and forgiveness; Mercy is being nice to someone (cuttin’ them a little slack) even when they deserve to be punished.  That’s what God does for us.

Forgiveness is what love is in practice.  It’s what happens when we love people enough to forgive them, even when they are wrong and we’re right; even when no one is looking and it won’t help us a bit.  Forgiveness is the evidence of mercy in our individual personal relationships.

In 1 Corinthians 13:4, it says ‘Love is patient.’  In the King James version of the Bible, and in the original Greek the verse says, “Love suffers long.”  That means if you really love someone, you put up with them.  I’m thinking about my kids when they were teenagers.  It means that you put up with them, even though you’ve told them 15 times what you expect, and they’re still doing it wrong, very likely on purpose and not accidentally.  That’s what it means when it says love suffers long. Continue reading

OBSTACLES TO GOD’S GRACE: 051115:

FARMER WITH CORN.051115‘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

CHOICES. 050815

Fork roads horizon with grass and blue sky

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

DELIVERANCE TO THE PRISONERS . 050515

Abandoned Jail in TallinnIn Luke 4:16-20, is the story of when, shortly after Jesus returned from His temptation wilderness, He first appeared in the synagogue at Nazareth to announce His ministry.  It goes like this: ‘And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

In a number of places in the New Testament, Jesus says that those who believe (trust) in Him will receive the Holy Spirit (That’s Jesus’ Spirit), like John 7:39; John 20:22;  and Acts 1:8; I take these verses to mean that because you and I trust Jesus, His Spirit lives in us too, and the passage in Luke quoted above applies to us, just as it applied (applies) to Jesus.  We too are to proclaim deliverance to the prisoners.   Continue reading

BE LIKE JESUS. 042815

Teacher talking with students in the clasroomIn Matthew 10:24-25, Jesus said, “A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.  It is enough that the student be like his teacher, and a servant be like his master.”  Like it says in Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind (this attitude) be in you that was also in Christ Jesus.”  (That’s humble and willing to serve)  I pray these verses for you and me.  I pray we can BE LIKE JESUS.  That will definitely change our lives.