Wednesday, August 30, 2006
"This is not a new doctrine and it ought not to sound different and strange to us. Has not Christ made full atonement for us, and should we not renounce everything that would keep us from the conscious experience of knowing and receiving the Kingdom of God within us?
God's face is turned toward us. The famed lady Julian wrote long ago,'The precious amends our Lord hath made for man's sin have turned all our blame into endless honor!' Paul said it in this way, 'Where sin increased, grace increased all the more' (Romans 5:20b).
It is glorious knowledge indeed that the smiling face of God is turned toward us. Why, then, do we not capture the wondrous, divine illumination of our Savior, Jesus Christ? Why do we not know divine fire in our own souls? Why do we not strive to sense and experience the knowledge of exhilaration of reconciliation with God?
A cloud of concealment of our own making."
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Thursday, August 24, 2006
I recently reopened The Excellent Wife and in the beginning it had this scripture and said God has ordained a place for us not to teach or have authority over any men. It bothered me. I am not seeking to have authority or teach any man. It bothered me because it is ignorant. This passage perplexed me for a long time. I read somewhere around a million commentaries on it and dug into the Greek. I wish I could put here everything Spiros Zodhiates said. It is far too much. Basically, he says that the Greek used here actually is best translated wife and husband, not woman and man. It also says woman, not women. Paul also says, "I do not allow." It does not say God does not allow. He was speaking to this particular church because the women who were not Christian married Christian men and were trying to mingle their old way of mysticism in with the Gospel message. Mostly, what I got from Spiros exposition is that the text is trying to convey that a wife should not teach over her husband and make him look like a fool - as though he were not the spiritual leader. She should not take a higher position in the church over him. I am still digging and researching. What are your thoughts?
Disclaimer: I truly enjoy The Excellent Wife. It is a wonderful book full of encouragement and exortation for Chrisitan wives. I simply did not like this take on the verse given.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
In my first sermon after being away five months, I left something out. It was in the notes, but didn’t seem to flow with the main focus when I got to it. So I skipped it. But I really wanted to say it. So here it is.
You recall that in Luke 18:9, Luke introduces the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector like this: “He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt.” It may seem minor at first, but notice that it says that Jesus told this parable TO some to trusted in themselves that they were righteous. It does not say he spoke this parable ABOUT them. Jesus was looking the Pharisees in the eye and telling them a parable that implied that they were self-righteous. He was not talking about them but to them.
Though it may seem minor, it contains a lesson that is huge for the health of our church. Let’s be like this. Let’s not talk to others about people’s faults. Let’s talk to them about their faults. It is easy—and far too tasty on the tongue of our sinful souls—to talk about people. But it is hard—and often tastes bitter—to talk to them. When you are talking about them, they can’t correct you or turn the tables and make you the problem. But if you talk to them about a problem, it can be very painful. So it feels safer to talk about people rather than talking to them.
But Jesus does not call us to make safe choices. He calls us to make loving choices. In the short run, love is often more painful than self-protecting conflict-avoidance. But in the long run, our consciences condemn us for this easy path and we do little good for others. So let’s be more like Jesus in this case and not talk about people, but talk to them, both with words of encouragement, because of the evidences of grace we see in their lives, and with words of caution or warning or correction or even rebuke. Paul urged us to use the full range of words for the full range of needs: “Admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all” (1 Thessalonians 5:14).
I don’t mean you can’t criticize President Bush without calling him on the phone first. And I don’t mean you can’t discuss my sermon, both negatively and positively, without coming to me. Public figures put themselves on the line and understand that eve ryone will have an opinion about what they say. That’s okay. What I mean is when you know a brother or a sister is in the grip of some sinful attitude or behavior, take the log out of your eye, and then go to them and try to help them with humble biblical counsel.
Perhaps tell them a parable. That’s what Jesus did in Luke 18:9-14. And it’s what Nathan did for David, after his sin with Bathsheba and toward Uriah (2 Samuel 12:1-4). But you don’t have to be that creative. Caring about the person you confront matters more than creativity.
My longing for our church is that we be free from gossip. Let’s be forthright and honest and courageous and humble. Jesus was amazingly blunt at times. Love sometimes sounds like that. He could have easily been accused of callousness or lovelessness. But we know he was the most loving person who ever lived. So let’s follow him in this matter. He died for us so that all the logs and specks in our eyes may be forgiven. That should give us both courage and care in dealing with others. Especially when we realize that the faults of our brothers and sisters have also been forgiven by Jesus.
What an amazing standing place we have for relationships. A forgiven, justified, Spirit-indwelt community of people who love to grow in grace. Thank you for loving to trust and follow Jesus in the way of talking to each other rather than about each other.
Monday, August 21, 2006
A Place To Live.
I believe I heard Audrey Hepburn say that about Paris once. It is a place you come alive. A place you thrive. I do not live in Paris, but I am definitely experiencing the verdure of life.
My dear friend, Emily, and I recently found the word verdure in a devotional we do together and fell in love with it. The devotional is Come Away, My Beloved. The word verdure means lush vegetation or a fresh or flourishing condition. I have no idea how I got here, except by the power and allure of the Holy Spirit.
To the credit of my wonderful husband, I have not been to work in 3 years. That has left me free to read, write, paint, plant, love, and equip the saints. Emily and I will soon celebrate our 1 year anniversary of doing weekly Bible study together. I have watched her become a beautiful, captivating, Spirit-led woman. Yesterday, I got to hold Melissa's, one of my closest friends, 4 year old son, Rory, as she and her husband submerged themselves in the watery grave of the baptismal to rise in the newness and fullness of life in Christ.
The Verdure of Life.
Monday, August 14, 2006
I encourage you to do the same.
Each day you can receive emails from
Saturday, August 12, 2006
1. 3 years of beautiful, wonderful marriage to my godly husband and best friend.
2. Solitude on the lake.
3. The splendor of God's people displayed at Carolina Creek Christian Camp.
4. Being in a place where God chose 730 people (out of 4,000 campers this year) to become His children and profess Jesus Christ as Savior.
5. Learning that our DNA forms itself by sound waves and then hearing the verse in the book of Genesis where God called the world into being with His voice.
6. Seeing my husband loving Jesus Christ with the gifts that are in him (and being appreciated for it).
7. Wanting to buy a tea house/bed and breakfast with Emily and Melissa.
8. Handing the final draft of my first book over to a publisher!
9. Due to pregnancy induced lunacy, entering into a men's bathroom at a gas station and seeing my first man at a urinal. (I may never recover from that)
10. Finding a part of myself, something wildly creative and somewhat childlike, that the enemy has long tried to keep buried.
11. Clearly hearing the Word of God and acting on it for myself and others no matter how they receive it. (I have found that everyone loves a prophet when they are speaking to others and attack them when they are spoken to. I am sure that is why so many in the Bible were killed. We do like our ears tickled.)
Thursday, August 10, 2006
The galaxy's massive center, the bright ball of light in the center of the photograph, is about 80 light-years across and has a brightness of about 100 million suns. Astronomers estimate that it has a mass 40 million times larger than our Sun. The concentration of stars is about 5,000 times higher than in our solar neighborhood, the Milky Way Galaxy. We would see a continuously bright sky if we lived near the bright center.
Monday, August 07, 2006
"Behold, is it a small thing that you should weary the Lord God Almighty with your complaints?
Is it a light thing in my eyes that you walk in weakness when I have made full provision that you might appropriate my strength?
Have you not insulted me in that I have condescended to dwell within you, and you have set me aside and quenched and grieved my Holy Spirit and walked in your own ways?
Shall I commend you?
Shall you escape My rebuke and displeasure?
You look in vain for my smile.
For you think in your heart that you can bring me some gift.
“I will do Him a kindness, ”you have said, and you thought I would accept this as devotion.
Do not deceive yourself. God is not to be toyed with. “See,” you have crooned, “I have brought you this basket of fruit.”
Cursed be the ground that brought it forth! Have I not required blood? But you have loathed sacrifice.
And I have said I will have none of your pretty gifts, for God desires integrity, and to obey is better than all your vain attempts to appease.
Behold, I am angry with you, and not without cause.
You have profaned my sanctuary with vain endeavors in the flesh.
You do not come to me in Spirit and in truth; but you have set limits of your own making to check and hinder Me.
You say you fear to offend;
But I say to you, for the very hardness and willfulness of your own hearts, you will not yield Me control.
You keep it in your own hands lest your iniquities are uncovered and your sin appears to all.
Lo, I will have none of it.
I will come to you when you have humbled yourself.
I will purge your sins when you put away your sham and hypocrisy.
I will gather you to my heart when you shall cease loving your own self.
The days are short.
Do you want me to come to you with the rod or in love?”
-from Come Away, My Beloved
by Frances J Roberts
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
1 Chronicles 29:14 b
I have recently begun research for a new book about the ministry of the Holy Spirit. As I am talking with people, I am finding that most people have little to no idea what God through the Spirit is doing for them. They think they make choices and set before themselves spiritual goals for each day. God's Word says He chose us. He calls us. He draws us to repentance.
The reason I am enamored by this verse is that it confirms what God is showing me about Himself. He does everything. It is like lover's prose,"even what we give to You came from Your own hand."
What ministry of the Holy Spirit do you think most people miss?
Like a scarecrow made of straw, we should instantly combust when God's fire - the light, heat, and consequence of the reality of who God is - is brought to bear on us. And when the smoke clears and the heat dies down, we shouldn't be the same as we were before. It's the posture and attitude we should carry into worship because it is an excellent litmus test. If you are able to walk away from the bonfire unscathed
. . .either you aren't a scarecrow
or there was no bonfire."
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