Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Danger of Having Been Touched By Jesus

John 12:9-11 Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.

There were those that wanted to destroy Lazarus but only because his life had been touched by Jesus. Lazarus was now a danger to them because his life now validated Jesus all the more. The Jewish leaders wanted to silence Jesus. They did not want others to believe in Him. They were not content to disbelieve themselves but the wanted to hinder the belief of others. There will be those that will want to destroy our lives for the very same reason. The fact that we have new life and that we are living our lives different testifies to the validity of Jesus. They will do and say anything to destroy Jesus and will do the same to those who have been touched by Him and have been raised from being dead...dead in their sins. They want to destroy you but only if you cause others to believe.

Q? Does my life bring validity to who Jesus is?
Or does the way I live my life invalidate the change that was suppose to have taken place. If I was dead in my sins but I have been raised to new life in Christ can it be plainly seen?
Q? Am I living a new life that points to the truth of what Jesus says?\
Or does my life look the same as it did before Jesus came into my life? Did He in fact come into my life?
Q? Am I a threat to those that would destroy Jesus and if not, why? We have to ask the question of ourselves

We need to remember that most of the time; people are not really concerned with us. It is Jesus they are concerned with. If our lives present no conflict with those in the world then we are of no threat. If we lead no others to follow Jesus then no one will bother us. But if our lives do present conflict, if we do walk in the righteousness of Christ, if we “put on” Christ, then there will be those that will want us destroyed. The good news is that if we are in Christ we can never really be destroyed, at least not in what really counts eternally.
The other side of this situation is that because of him, Lazarus, many believed in Jesus. The fact that his life was evidence that he had been touched by Jesus caused other to follow Jesus. This is what we want, for others to follow Jesus because of what they have seen Him do in us. If we are willing to be touched by Jesus we need to be willing for others to see it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Children of Light

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. Ephesians 5:8:11

In this letter to the Ephesians Paul uses a contrast to speak to the lifestyle that some of the believers were keeping. He was not speaking to those outside the body of Christ but to those within.
The first part of the contrast was who they WERE. “You were darkness ….”, he said, and this described the life as well as the character we had before we were saved from it. In this statement Paul uses a contrast of light and dark, to opposites, to describe who we now are and who we used to be.
Because of that he exhorts us to “walk” (live out life) as children of light. In verse 9 he reminds them that the fruit (the outcome of having the Spirit in our lives) is all goodness, righteousness, and truth and what is acceptable to the Lord. He again uses a contrast of the fruit of the Spirit verses the unfruitful works of darkness. We are not to have to fellowship (to become a partaker of) with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather expose them. Having no fellowship means to have no share or participation in the darkened life-style. Instead he says to expose them? What does that mean? To say exactly what they are. But it is not as much of a verbal exposure as it is a life style exposure. That’s where it gets tough unless we are sold out to Jesus. It is tough because if we tell the truth of things then we can make ourselves pretty unpopular with people who continue to partake in them whether they are unbelievers or believers who want to continue to dabble in the flesh. If we live our lives free from the darkness it becomes very obvious and we are saying with out actions that we think the darkness is wrong. The other situation is that we ourselves can no longer partake of those things and so we must choose to say no to our flesh when it cries out like a spoiled child.
But we have such a hard time to tell the truth about things if we are not living a life that validates our words. We go see “Adult movies” and we watch TV programs with “adult themes.” We also visit “adult” websites and we refuse to acknowledge that what that means is that it is going to be sexually explicit in either what we see or what we hear or both. We partake in “adult beverages” and play “adult games” in the casinos. BUT WE ARE CHILDREN! Or at least we are supposed to be. How much goodness, righteousness, and truth and what is acceptable to the Lord is involved in “adult activities”?
When we received Jesus Christ as our savior we are given the right to become the children of God. (John 1:12). Earlier in this same letter Paul calls believers to be “imitators of God as dear children”. (Ephesians 5:1) Why is it that we think that there is a difference in sin because we are adults? Are we teaching our children that it is okay to have a double standard because we are adults? As they grow up they will look forward to a time when they can partake in “adult” activities. Unfortunately they generally want to try this while they are still very young.
Jesus saved us from our sins. He did not do this that we can continue in them, no matter what our age. He saved us from our sins so we can live in true freedom, freedom not to sin and to walk in the light with absolute freedom and confidence. And….we will be easily identified as His kids.

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 1John 5:2

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Broken Ornaments

Someone said to me today, "Friendship is like a glass ornament, once it is broken it can rarely be put back together exactly the same way". They didn’t know who said it but it surely seems to be true. But I wonder if they are supposed to be back together exactly the same way. It seems that there was something wrong if it got broken in the first place even if it was accidental. But once broken it will never be the same. That is not to say this is not good, sometimes it be even better. It just will not be the same. Often there are pieces missing, even if they are small and so it can never be the same.
But it can be put back together with the help and the power of God and His love and the willingness of friends to extend grace as well as to seek and to give forgiveness. Often this is hard because there is a lot of self and flesh that can be involved in one or both parties in the relationship. In some cases forgiveness can only be sought when a hurt has been identified. It also takes acknowledgment that a hurt has been done. It also takes extending grace, not just the grace we would want from others but the grace we have already received from God. We may not want grace from others but we know that everything we receive from God is by grace. We deserve nothing by our own virtue and what we do deserve, by His mercy we are spared.
Going back to the subject of a restored but fractured friendship. It can be put back together by the glue of God’s love and can actually be a thing of beauty because, even though it has been rebuilt or repaired, it is still His handiwork. It reminds me of a time when Lynda and had broken a vase or something and was just going to throw it away, our daughter asked her not to and said, “Mom, I want those things that you have broken and put back together because the fact that you put them back together meant that they were important to you.”
I guess our willingness to restore a friendship, even when we know it will never be the same depends on how important the friendship was to us to begin with. Too often we throw things away without even trying to fix them or they have been broken a few times before and we don’t think they are worth it any more and we actually throw away a great treasure. When my children were small and they would break things, they would bring them to me to fix it. It may have only looked like a trinket to others but to them it was a treasure. Sometimes they had tried themselves and made a mess of things but with confidence in my abilities they would say, “Daddy, will you please fix this?” Perhaps many more friendships would be salvaged if we would go to God and ask, “Abba, Father, will you fix this please?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Appearance of Evil

1 Thes. 5:22 (NKJV) Abstain from every form of evil.
The word abstain means to hold oneself off or to refrain from something and the word form means a view (or the way things look) or form (literal or figurative) :- appearance, fashion, shape, sight.
We need to look closely at what this exhortation says. It does not say to just abstain from evil, but to abstain from the very appearance of evil. It also indicates that we should avoid every kind of evil no matter how good or how harmless it might look.
It means that if something even appears evil, we should get away from it. It means that if there is any chance whatsoever that it could be wrong, then we should leave it alone. All too often we think we can handle it but it provides the leaven that grows into full blown problems. It means that if there is even a suggestion that it could be wrong, RUN! A believer must have nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with evil-not even the appearance of it.
Many times we think that just because we are not actually doing something that is “forbidden” by the letter of the law that we are okay. But while the actual act may not be forbidden there is the “appearance” of evil. We need to be careful that things don’t look wrong. There are those times when things just look wrong and they are not. Someone just told me about recently buying a large bottle of IBC Cream Soda. When he walked out with it there were some people who thought he had just walked out with a 44oz. bottle of beer. Those things happen. But to place yourself in a constant situation that resembles evil causes a stumbling of both the world and Christians alike that know you are a follower of Jesus yet you seem be habitually doing something wrong.
David wrote, "Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it" (Psalm 34:14). Sometime we think that peace should automatically find us and we cannot understand the continuing turmoil in our lives. Quite often the reason for the turmoil is because we fail to completely depart from evil. Oh, we depart from the really evil stuff but we allow “little stuff” to remain. Proverbs 14:16 says that, "A wise man fears, and departs from evil: but the fool rages, and is confident.” The fool, simply put, continues in his rebellion and confidence in his own decisions, usually to his destruction.
Paul wrote in his second letter to the Corinthians, “We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. 2 Cor. 6:3 (NKJV). Paul's first consideration in his life, words and actions was what and how they communicated about Jesus Christ. Non- believers are watching us all the time. New believers are listening and learning. We need to be careful that our own selfish or undisciplined actions do not become another person’s excuse for rejecting Jesus or for sinning themselves. Jesus also warned against stumbling “little ones” (children or children in the Lord) in Matthew 18:6-10.
Paul indicates that we should be ready to give up our rights and our freedom (things we deem “okay” to do) to keep from the appearance of evil or from causing someone to stumble, “ It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. Romans 14:21 (NKJV)
But avoiding evil and the appearance of it is not always easy. It takes surrender on our part into the hand and the will of God and a ever deepening desire to please Him before ourselves.

Will you give God a fresh surrender of your life and find victory, even over the appearance of evil?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Self Imposed Isolation

Proverbs 18:1-2 A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment. A fool has no delight in understanding, But in expressing his own heart.

Why is it that we isolate ourselves from others, especially when we need them the most? Perhaps it is because we have already isolated ourselves from God though, to others, it seems like we isolate ourselves from people first. There is a time when we can be withdrawn from others to spend time alone with God but this is not isolation. It is retreating from the influences and distractions from others to be with God and to hear from His.
Proverbs 18:1 seems to indicate that isolation is selfish because the one that isolates themselves on purpose is seeking their own desires. When we seek our own desires we stop seeking Gods. There are many reasons for isolation but the bottom line seems to be, “I want what I want.” And we stubbornly move away from anything or any one that interferes with that goal.
This attitude goes against our relationship with God because His desire is for that of others. He is “others” centered. We withdraw from Him, even though what we want to do is to withdraw from someone else. This is often an attempt to manipulate the situation for our advantage. Another reason we isolate ourselves is so that we don’t have to answer for our actions if those actions are adverse to relationships (which selfishness usually is)
We can be in a room with other people and isolate ourselves. Our attitude and posture puts people off. Then we are justified in our actions because then we can say, “They are not friendly or loving,” when in fact it is we who are unloving in our attempt to manipulate and get our way isolating ourselves from others, pouting as we go.
When approached about our self-isolation we often rage against the wise judgment that people want to give in order to bring us around to God’s way and at the very least draw us out of our self imposed isolation. That would mean that we would have to repent of our selfishness and wrong desires. We would have to admit to our childish stubbornness in having our own way.
Verse 2 goes on to say that the fool has no delight in understanding. That describes us when we want to stay in our sin and our isolation. Foolishly we resent and reject those that would bring understanding that will take us out of our self imposed isolation and sin. We would rather go on expressing our own heart. Our stubbornness and pride is more important that relationship no matter which way it is lost, with man or God.
Verse 12, expresses more of the problem, a haughty spirit. It says that before destruction. the heart of a man is haughty. To avoid destruction as well as isolation the heart has to become humble. This is a matter of choice. Many times it comes after a long time or at a very high price. It is only the humble heart that avoids destruction and it is a humble heart that welcomes friendship and seeks relationship. It is a humble heart that finds honor, not in and of itself but in the relationship it finds with God and others. It seems that the greatest honor is to be in a right relationship with God, free from selfish desires and the manipulation that goes with it. A humble heart is not necessarily shy or overly outgoing but it does seek fellowship, friendship and relationship, first with God and then his people.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Multitude of Words

Proverbs 10:19-21 In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; The heart of the wicked is worth little. The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of wisdom.

Sin is found when too much is said. Sometimes we speak just to be heard, to be part of a conversation. We often say more than we need to because we enjoy the fact that someone is listening. We like the fact that we are getting attention. We need to learn to speak to the point and nothing more. The problem with a multitude of words is that it seems so easy to sin when there are so many words being spoken. We need to be careful of idle chatter that easily leads to gossip and backbiting. Many times what begins by discussing a problem ends up in a gripe session. When that happens we need to look to see if there is another problem which is a critical heart, but that is hard to see and many times even harder to confess.
He who restrains his lips is wise the writer says. We are wise even though others may not think that we are. It is often our own words that get us into trouble. If we restrain our tongue from saying wrong things then what people will hear most of the time will be right (wise) things. That way we become wise, not so much by what we do say but by what we don’t say.
The “silver tongue” of the righteous is not a derogatory term meaning that it is slick or just coated with silver but that it is truly valuable. People come to value what is said by those that live and speak with righteousness. What is said is not “so much chatter or rhetoric but it has purpose and helpful. The heart of the wicked only brings out things that are of little or no spiritual value. They may say all the right things but the discerning people around them can see that they are just so much words. The wicked heart has nothing but bitterness and criticism, hatred and strife and the bible says that out of the abundance of the heart speaks. If a heart is wicked it will not speak things that bring light, life or unity, instead it will speak things that have nothing of value in the kingdom of God. A critical heart speaks critical things.
What we want are lips that will feed many. We need lips that will speak things of value to the kingdom and edification to those that hear them. If our heart is good and we get our wisdom from God and seek the leading of the Holy Spirit then all our words be a beauty to others and a glory to God.
We need to consciously restrain our lips from speaking things that have no value and we will not only edify others but bring life and nourishment to them as well. We want to make our words such so that they are the source of life. Filling our heart with the Word of God and truly living it can accomplish all of this. Our wisdom and or words must come from God, our life validates what we say.

Oh God, cleanse our hearts from criticism, bitterness and strife. Please replace it with grace, humility and love so that our words would feed, heal and edify.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cotton Thread Bondage

2 Tim. 2:22 (NKJV) Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

In his letter to his young friend Timothy, Paul encourages him to flee, run away from, youthful lusts. Youthful lusts, strong desires, are those things that lead to compromise and sin and once we have engaged in them they can become strong(er) the longer we allow them in our lives. They can be easy to run from or break in our lives but the longer we allow sin to exist in our lives the hard they become and the harder they are to break.
If you were to take a cotton thread and tie someone’s hand together with a single strand that person can break it easily. But if it is wound, even a couple of times it can become harder. The more we wind it around their hands the harder it becomes to break, sometimes impossible.
In the biblical story of David and Bathsheba, David allowed himself to fall deeper and deeper into sin. First, David abandoned his purpose by staying home from war (2 Samuel 11:1). Then he became lazy and gave into his own desires. He was getting up in the afternoon which means he was staying up late (2 Samuel 11:3). When he was presented with temptation of looking at a woman while she bathed he did not look away but instead inquired who the woman was (2 Samuel 11:4). though he was told it was the wife of one of his trusted men, Uriah, he called for Bathsheba any way and he sinned deliberately (2 Samuel 11:4). He tried to cover up his sin by deceiving her husband and everyone else. (2 Samuel 11:6-15). and when that did not work he committed murder to continue the cover-up (2 Samuel 11:15, 17). David’s sin was exposed when Nathan the prophet was sent by God (2 Samuel 12:9) and David was punished (2 Samuel 12:10-14).
Using the cotton thread illustration, we see that David just allowed the thread to go round and round his wrists and each sin made it harder to break the cycle and allowed him to be bound more tightly. We think to ourselves that David could have chosen to stop and turn from evil at any stage along the way and technically that is true. But once sin gets started, it is difficult to stop (James 1:14-15). We are often tempted to compromise with the world using the 'just once won't make any difference' argument but we find that the further we go the more bound we get. And the deeper the mess, the less we want to admit having caused it which only leads to another "strand" of sin. The best place to stop sin is before it ever happens. If we recognize that first thread sin we need to break it before another strand is added. The best case scenario is to do what Paul said to Tim….flee from youthful lusts. But we should not just "run away" we should run in pursuit of the right things. Paul says to ...pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace and we don't have to do it alone. We join in that pursuit with those that have a like heart and a like mind ...those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.



Welcome to my corner of the pasture. I hope you find encouraging words that will nourish your heart as well as words that challenge it... and your thinking.

About Me

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I was raised in southern California, married my lovely wife, Lynda in 1972 and moved to Bullhead City over in 1976. I began a bible study in 1980 that became a Calvary Chapel in 1981. I had been involved in work in Mexico and a made a short term trip to Hungry in 1993. In 1996 I went to and fell in love with Bulgaria. We have been working with several ministries there ever since.