Tag Archives: give up your self

CAN PEOPLE CHANGE? 072716

Jesus and the Woman taken in AdulteryIn John 8:3-9 is this story: “Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught[b] in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned.  But what do You say?” . . . He said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”  . . . Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last.  . . . ” He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours?  Has no one condemned you?”  She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

So here’s my question: Can people change?  And if they can, how do they do it?  How do we stop following the traditions of men and start to follow Jesus?  It is not a choice between truth and love; it is finding the place of truth AND love.  (Sorta like Jesus did in this story.)  We can’t  seek a forever solution (we want one, but people just don’t have it in them).  We can only do what God tells us to do today.  I don’t have the right to cast the first stone.

In the traditions of the Jews the person who witnessed the wrongful act and testified against the wrongdoer had to be willing to cast the first stone when they stoned the person to death.  That’s a pretty hard task, when everyone is going to see.  You had to be sure of what you were accusing someone of; and sure that you weren’t just as guilty as that person, of that crime or some other.  It’s like they had to put their integrity where their mouth was.

We never get clean BEFORE  we turn from our sins, only after, we are converted (changed).  We are changed, we surrender and turn to God, THEN we are cleansed of our sins.  When we’re hooked on drugs or control or sexual sin or pride, no one can help us, ’cause we don’t think we need help. But when we’re injured, damaged and suffering, we suddenly become vulnerable and open to be comforted and changed.  Then we suddenly change from rocky to fertile soil; ready, even willing, to receive the Good Seed of God’s Word.  Praise the Lord!

THE PRAYER OF ST. FRANCIS.070516

Saint Francis

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon;  Where there is doubt, faith;  Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; and  Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; To be understood, as to understand;  To be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive,  It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and  it is dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen”

I don’t know much about St. Francis.  I’ve heard a few stories.  I’ve read a few passages from him and about him, about how he was so in harmony with nature and with people; how he was totally surrendered to his place and time; how he, more than most, fulfilled the Golden Rule (see Matt 7:12)   He probably did a better job of following Jesus (of being like Jesus) than anyone I know of.  You know why?  Because he had the attitude of Jesus, the attitude of a humble, obedient servant. (Philippians 2:5-8)  His prayer, cited above, is a clear indication that he got it.

Like Jesus said, “43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven . . “ Matt 5:43-45.

DISCIPLINE VS SURRENDER.062016

A girl and her daddy with apple backgroundDiscipline is one of the ‘fruits of the Spirit’, as in Galatians 5:22-23.  But there it’s called ‘self-control.’ Discipline (as in self-control) is extolled as a virtue, almost without equal.  If you can be self-disciplined, then you can achieve almost any goal known to man.  Wars are won by armies who have the most self-disciplined soldiers, from top to bottom.  Their officers not only give good orders, but their troops respond well to orders, and they always fulfill their orders.  Of such are great men and great events made.

But wait!  What about that line that Jesus said?  If you don’t come as a little child, you won’t get into heaven.”  And “let the kids come to Me, for of such as these are the kingdom of heaven.” [Heaven is filled with people who are like children].  And how do you like, “Thank you Father, that you have hidden these things [things of God?] from the wise and prudent and you have revealed them unto babes.”  Babes have a lot in common with children, especially little children.  Who is disciplined; the wise and the prudent, or the little children?  I don’t know about you, but a lot of days I feel more akin to the babes than to the wise and prudent.  Often I just can’t manage to keep my life in order like it says to, either in the world or in the Bible.  And my observations over six decades plus indicate there are a lot of people out there who are a lot like me.  So what are we undisciplined cotton-pickers supposed to do?  Continue reading

THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS ON YOU! 042616

 

Jesus Preaches in the Synagogue           In Luke 4:14-21; Luke says, “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.  He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’ [Isaiah 61:1-2] Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.  He began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’ ”

First let me say that this story is about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.  At the beginning of His ministry he spent 40 days in the wilderness, fasting and then being tempted by the devil.  And immediately after that is where this passage comes, in the Gospel of Luke.  When He returned to Galilee, He returned from the wilderness, ‘in the Power of the Spirit’.  He spent a little time in the neighboring villages teaching, and then He went back to his home town, Nazareth, where He had spent the first 30 years of his life being a child and then a carpenter.  So this occasion was His ‘coming out’ statement before the ‘hometown crowd’.

And what did He say?  He said “God’s Spirit is on Me.  He has anointed Me.”  (You remember about anointed; that’s the evidence of gift of the Holy Spirit usually given to kings and judges, prophets and priests) (not usually to lowly carpenters with no education, no ordination, no special treatment from the High Priest or the Pharisees or Sadducees.)  And pretty as you please, Jesus gets up and says, “I’m anointed by the Spirit of the Lord.  This verse from Isaiah is talking about Me.”

One thing that deserves mention about this passage is what Jesus said when He finished reading it.  Continue reading

WHAT I BELIEVE; 8 sentences.021916

Doi Inthanon National park

1] ​When we trust​​ Jesus​,​ He takes care of us.

2] Whatever is wrong with us, Jesus can fix it.

3] ​When we surrender and trust Jesus, the Spirit so fills us that we are ABLE to do right; to ​show the fruits of the Spirit;​ and to let Jesus use us to touch others’ hearts.

​4] When we surrender and trust Jesus, we truly begin to live, in our hearts and in our relationships.​

5] When we trust Jesus we help others develop close personal relationships with Him.

6] When we trust Jesus we grow more and more like Him every day.

7] When we share Jesus and His life with others, we DO change the world.

8] When we surrender and trust Jesus, we become ONE with Him and with God through the Spirit.

 

KARMA. 102216

mountain path uphill to the sky at sunsetI thought Karma was like Gal. 6:7-8, “Reap what you sow.”  But the Hindu man on the plane explained Karma to the preacher.  He said, “Karma means that you get exactly what you deserve, based on what you did in your life.”  The preacher answered, “I don’t get what I deserve, because Jesus died for me on the cross and His blood redeemed me from all that I have done.” So there really is “No condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, to those who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1.  We don’t have to pay for all the bad things we’ve done! We are free!!!  We’ve been delivered from sin and death.  (and from the “wheel of existence”, as the Hindus might say.)  
‘Course I guess you might say that Karma (as the Hindus perceive it) applies to your ‘natural’ life, in the sense that there are consequences for our actions.  We end up being responsible for the things we do, whether we like it or not.
But in the spiritual realm, Jesus has provided us a way to be delivered from the sin that so easily attacks us.  If we trust Him, Jesus will (and DOES) deliver us from sin and death.
Just between me and you, I think God lets that deliverance seep over into our (us believers) ‘natural’ lives as well.  “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

PRAYER AND MEDITATION.102915

Young man holding Bible and praying by windowIt’s sad to say, but a lot of people think prayer is solely about asking for stuff, especially in an emergency.  Even sadder is that a lot of them only pray in an emergency.  Makes for a strained relationship with God, if the only time you talk to Him is when you need something, especially only when you are in dire straits.  I’ve heard a lot of parents say that it makes them sad that their college age kids, or even young adult children, only call them when they need money.  Sounds like the kids don’t really care about having a real relationship with their parents.

But you know, God’s not like that.  He really wants to have a close, personal, dare I say intimate relationship with you.  He already knows all about you anyway.  He’s been looking at your heart.  Why shouldn’t you really let Him in and begin to develop a relationship with Him where you know a lot more about Him.  Get intimately acquainted with God.  For my money, that’s what prayer is, and should be about.

Oh, about meditation.  Continue reading

PRACTICING CHRISTIAN 5: Making Jesus Lord.102515

Jesus is Lord LetterpressI’m pretty sure most people in America are not ready to let anyone, even Jesus, be the Lord of their lives.  At least no one besides themselves.  We’re all too focused on me.  But God is constantly moving a person in that direction; to give up himself, to “deny himself; to take up his cross daily and follow Jesus.”  (Luke 9:23)  To “take up your cross” means this: “I am crucified (I died) with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me, and the life that I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)  Jesus said that verse in Luke to anyone who wanted to be His disciple (his student, his follower).  If you give up yourself, surrender yourself, deny yourself, die to yourself, then you DO make Jesus the Lord of your life, because He comes in to your own heart and body and fills you with His Own Spirit, and He BECOMES the Lord of your Life.  That’s how you make Jesus the Lord of your life.  Actually Jesus is the One who chooses you and then you let Him come in. (John 15:16)   Continue reading

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

What Do You Mean, PRACTICING Christian? 101715

Sandhill Cranes in Flight at Sunrise Panoramic ViewBack on August 16, 2015, I wrote a post called  “Making Disciples”.  The last  paragraph said, “Did you notice that I haven’t said anything about talking to these ‘friends’ about Jesus.  After you develop a relationship with them, if you’re a practicing Christian, Jesus will just start flowing through you to them, and touching their hearts, whether you are trying to make disciples of them or not.  ‘Course that brings up the question of what does ‘practicing’ mean?  But that’s a question for another day.”

Well today is the day to discuss some of what ‘practicing’ means.  Let’s see, you know practicing, as in ‘practicing’ attorney?  I happen to be an attorney, and that’s a scary thought.  When are they going to finish practicing and start ‘being’ one?  Or practicing medicine.  What’s the time line for rising to the level of actually DOING it? In those cases, sounds like practicing may be a cover for seldom knowing for sure what is exactly the right thing to do.  Try something and see if it works.  If not, try something else.

Practicing Christian shall be deemed to be “one who is a follower of Jesus”.  Follower in the Bible is often translated disciple, or ‘one who is taught’ (student).  Continue reading