Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Oil and light

Jesus told a story about 10 virgins waiting for the bridegroom. (Matthew 25:1-13) He said 5 were wise and 5 were foolish. The wise brought oil in their vessels.

I think I may have found a little more understanding about how this works in practical living. This morning I was reading in the Gospel of Matthew, endeavoring to listen for the Spirit of God to speak to my heart. Lately the analogy of salt and light has been coming to mind frequently (really for some time). I was thinking about things like 1 Peter 3:15. “…ready always to give an answer to all who ask you for a reason for the hope that is in you”. Suddenly I realized, no one has asked me for a reason for the hope that is within me.

The realization is clear and painful. My light is not shining so that those around me are amazed and interested.

The 5 wise virgins did 2 things. They brought oil in their vessels and they trimmed their lamps so they would burn clear and bright.

I think the oil in my vessel is the Word of God, the Scriptures, hidden in my heart (psalms 119:11). These are Scriptures memorized and meditated upon until they find a home in my heart. “In my heart”, that is the place where I embrace things and hold them dear, in reality, not just in a catchy tune.

They also all trimmed their lamps. This refers to the part of the wick that is burnt and will not allow the lamp to burn brightly. I am sure there is much to apply to my life here as well but the pain of seeing clearly my need is enough to think about for the time being. And I must take action to correct the problem.

It’s something to think about

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Always a Servant

Of Jesus, it says;
“But made himself of no reputation, and took upon himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:7)
He took the form of a servant. I had never seen that before and cannot yet begin to comprehend the full impact of what it means for me. “the form of a servant.”

I have gone through my life thinking that I was free to be whatever I wanted to be. But in reality, whichever way I choose and whatever I choose to do I am a servant. The question is, “Do I serve sin or do I serve righteousness?”

Until I chose to be born again by the grace and power of God, I was the absolute servant of sin. The main sin being self interest and my rightness.

After I was born of God, I did not automatically stop serving sin or being the servant of sin. No, but then I had received the power (kjv) or authority to choose to be the servant of another (John 1:12).  Now I can choose to be the servant of God and righteousness. I do this by choosing to obey the word of God.

No matter where we are or what we do we are always servants. The question for me is will I serve sin unto death or because of the grace of God will I serve righteousness unto life everlasting.

I am learning to choose better and I pray that you are as well.

Let us each one learn more faithfulness.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Is That Really Funny?

There have been times when I would laugh at jokes about gays, disabled people and minorities. I even told some. There are other groups that are the subject of humor. You might understand what I’m talking about; People who aren’t like me; People who have different value systems.

Many of these jokes are for the purpose of dividing people into us and them.

Dividing; That is kind of the opposite of what I understand to be my calling as a follower of Jesus.
Jesus tells us to “go into all the world and make disciples of all nations”, (that’s a lot of people not like me). In John 17:21 Jesus prays that we might all be one.

If I am taking part in divisive humor how can I truly have any part in creating the unity that Jesus has in mind for me?

I believe this is a serious matter for me. Jesus speaks of a plant having good fruit and bad. He says it is not possible (Matthew 7:15-20). And James speaks of a fountain bringing forth sweet water and bitter (James 3:11).

It’s something to think about.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Jesus Didn't have a Webpage

Today I began by thinking about prayer and how my prayer practice has developed over the years and I may write about that at another time. But then I was thinking about Isaiah 42:1-4 which talks about the servant of God that he will uphold, and of course refers ultimately to Jesus. But as a disciple, Jesus is a pattern for me to consider.

In thinking about the Isaiah passage I was thinking about how Jesus didn’t have any media to announce his upcoming revival meeting. There was no webpage for people to find out where he would be next. Jesus simply went around healing the sick and telling stories. Or providing free lunches for a lot of people, and telling stories.

Matthew 13:34 tells us that

All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable.

Those who came to Jesus seeking, searching, requesting more understanding, more in depth teaching were shown more.

I see three things that I need to give close attention.

First: I need to suppress my desire to make others see the valuable truth that I have found. Mostly they are not interested.

Second: I need to be among those who ask, seek and knock.

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (Matthew 7:8)

And finally or maybe first I need to be finding the good that I can do and be doing that.

Following Jesus is a matter of doing what I can see he did and doing the things he says I am to do. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Wars and Fighting

Do you know where your fights and arguments come from? They come from the selfish desires that make war inside you. You want things, but you don't get them. So, you kill and are jealous of others. But you still cannot get what you want. So, you argue and fight. You don't get what you want because you don't ask God. Or when you ask, you don't receive anything, because the reason you ask is wrong. You only want to use it for your own pleasure.

Does this sound familiar?

How many ways do I try to justify my selfish, self-righteous attitudes?

So many times, I find myself getting angry with religious people who build little kingdoms so they can rule over others and get their living from others. Other times I see business people taking the larger part from the labors of others and I am angered by their greed. Politicians, take extreme wages when most of them are already wealthy, because they want to rule over others.

It is easy to point the finger. All pointing of the finger is just another way of wanting to rule over others.

The first paragraph is a quote from the Easy to Read Version of James 4:1-3. The passage goes on to say that this attitude is the manifestation of our unfaithfulness toward God, and that this love of power and things makes us the enemy of God.

God is a jealous God. You may not like that but it is true. The really good side of that is that He only wants us for our very best. We make ourselves God’s enemy when we make demands and strive to rule over others. God’s greatest desire is to bless us, but he can only bless us according to righteousness. That is why it says,

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says, God resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.
James 4:6

It’s something to think about.

Friday, March 17, 2017


For a long time, I have really loved the book of Romans. In Hebrews, it says “The Word of God is Living and active…”, and as I go through Romans again and again, new things appear that have always been there. Just recently, as I was going through Romans with some friends, I saw something I had missed in several trips through this wonderful book.

In the introduction of the letter, Paul mentions the “obedience of faith”, (Romans 1:5).

After that, he proceeds to explain our condition as rebellious children who have rejected our inheritance and turned to away from our Heavenly Father to invent our own ideas of ‘what is good and pleasant.’ And he shows us the results that these actions produce in chapter 2 verses 6 to 10.

From there to almost the middle of chapter five, he exclaims the wonderful message of the redemption that God has made available, through Jesus. And he has shown us how that, because of this, we can be made right with God. By believing this message we are righteous before God because of Jesus’ righteousness. This is truly Wonderful!

But then in Romans 5:9-10 he says,

MUCH MORE then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, MUCH MORE, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

NOTICE: the message of the statement is repeated. “MUCH MORE… MUCH MORE”! We were justified and MUCH MORE we shall be saved. We were reconciled, and MUCH MORE we shall be saved.

Being justified and reconciled to God, being made righteous before God are wonderful things that God has done for us.

Jesus has shown us the way, by living a life surrendered to the will of God. Therefore, following Jesus, we shall be saved.

And that is MUCH MORE!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Where Did That Come From?

In a discussion, last night someone said it again and I am really wondering where the idea comes from. Is it written in some newer translation that I haven’t seen. Whenever the subject of living the life that we are called to live comes up, someone almost always comes up with a statement similar to the one I got last night.

“I think we can try to (live the life we are called to) but also realize we’ll never achieve it in our lifetime, and what we do achieve, we achieve with the help of the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus says, “Therefore be perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) Where does this other idea come from?

Paul says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) Where does this other idea come from?

John says, “My little children, I write these things to you so that you may not sin…” (1 John 2:1). He does go on to say that God has provided an advocate if we do sin, but the point is he is writing so that we may not sin. Where does that other idea come from?

Peter tells us, according as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who has called us to glory and virtue, through which He has given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, so that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Peter 1:3-4)

I think I found it. In Numbers 13, twelve spies were sent into the promised land to spy it out. The majority came back with an evil report and said we cannot take the land (that God has promised to give us) there are giants and we are like grasshoppers. (Numbers 13:31-33)

The people agreed with the 10 spies and died in the wilderness. Joshua and Caleb believed God and went into the promised land.

Think about it.