How Things Happen

burst=fireworks

31 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

33 He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”

Matthew 13:31-33, ESV

These are perhaps the three most potent verses in the entire Bible. And whenever you find “potency” you will find a strong possibility of exponential growth. It may be a steady synergy, or an explosive fission. Either way, it’s going to grow!

Both the seed and the yeast have so much in common. They are two sides of the same proverbial coin. And they represent explosive growth. If they are unleashed, watch out! They are both “pep and power” and now set loose they will take off.

The seed is put in the ground and the yeast in the flour. And the farmer and the baker both do their initial work of planting or kneading, and then they just stand back, their work is pretty much done. They now just let “nature” take its course.

These parables Jesus taught here are small— but hardly less significant because of their brevity. These two can bury you with all they imply and mean. When we think clearly about yeast in your cupboard and that single seed in its package, we should see the “life” that resides in them, and the potential that waits.

I think much about the Church. At times, I admit I get frustrated with it. I get judgmental, and fearful that it won’t survive into the next century.  I truly understand that I can be critical. At times my friends must deal with my “ugliness,” but still they put up with me. (They are true friends.)

The kingdom is growing, and advancing. I love the wonderful promise in Isaiah 9:6, (usually read at Christmas time only. A mistake.) But Isaiah 9:7 is also pretty amazing too,

“His government and its peace
    will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David
    for all eternity.
The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
    will make this happen!”

Let it grow, let it grow! 

*

ybic, Bryan

kyrie elesion.

Stability and Strength

bloodCovenant
“Is it not my family God has chosen?
    Yes, he has made an everlasting covenant with me.
His agreement is arranged and guaranteed in every detail.
    He will ensure my safety and success.

David’s last words, 2 Samuel 23:5, NLT

Covenant is a critical ingredient to our faith. Understanding it gives stability and a strength that can not be found anywhere else. Being in a covenant relationship with God Almighty gives us security and hope.

“Now may the God of peace—
    who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus,
the great Shepherd of the sheep,
    and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—
21 may he equip you with all you need
    for doing his will.
May he produce in you,
    through the power of Jesus Christ,
every good thing that is pleasing to him.
    All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.”

Hebrews 13:20-21

The nature of this covenant comes exclusively through the blood of our Lord Jesus. It simply can come in no other way. The spilled blood gives us all the benefits of a perfect man (even if we’re far from perfect).

The blood says everything about us. It definitively establishes us a righteous (and even holy) in God’s estimation. Once it flowed in Jesus veins and arteries, but now covers us completely. We have no righteousness apart from his death.

 for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many.”

Matthew 26:28

Our status as broken believers does not negate or diminish this covenant. If anything, it makes it easier to accept. We make no claims to any righteousness apart from his blood. We walk in covenant only because he makes it so. As outcasts we receive special grace when it comes to certain things. Trusting in His work means we forever give up our own claims to  ‘completeness.’

“For the mountains may move
    and the hills disappear,
but even then my faithful love for you will remain.
    My covenant of blessing will never be broken,”
    says the Lord, who has mercy on you.”

Isaiah 54:10

Stability and strength. Things we prize and seek. They come to us via the promises. They are only activated by the blood of Jesus Christ.

We apply this covenant by faith. Faith is the only way you can make this work. We dare not pretend there is another way, for there isn’t. We handle these promises of covenant, but we must believe them, and hold them to our believing hearts.

Being a struggling believer, I find myself looking for something (anything) that will work for me. Being included in this New Covenant eases the restlessness and calms my fears. I rest in his blood alone.

“I am ready to meet God face to face tonight and look into those eyes of infinite holiness, for all my sins are covered by the atoning blood.”

 R.A. Torrey

bry-signat-1

cropped-christiangraffiti1 (2)

 

 

For Men Only

Brothers,

I just want to encourage you to consider something. Specifically, your relationship with your wife. Whether you acknowledge it or not, she has been specifically given (assigned?) to you for a solid purpose. A couple of simple thoughts.

  1. You made a covenant before God and His people to love, serve and honor her– in sickness or health, for richer or poorer. This obligates you for the remainder of your life on earth.
  2. Your wife is a compliment to your self. She enhances and enriches you as a person. Your sins and flaws (I’m sure there is a few) are covered and protected by your “help-meet.” You’ve been ‘graced’ by her. (And you also bless her.)
  3. All other sisters, are forever off-limits. You are your wife’s exclusive partner. The ring you wear on your left hand must be a reminder of your status; it must ‘speak’ to you of this special covenant always.
  4. The girls that you dated before your wedding were special, but they were pretty much there to prepare (hone and polish) you, for your wife. You are a different person because of them. Don’t fantasize about how different life would be if you connected someway with ‘x’ or ‘y’ or ‘z.’ Don’t mess with reality.
  5. You are meant to serve your wife. The definite way you honor her is the solid way you serve the Lord God. When you pour out on her, you are pouring out on the Lord Himself.
  6. Never, ever compare your wife to anyone else. You are foolish if you do. She is ‘unlike’ anyone else.
  7. You must lead your wife, and family to the Lord. You are a priest of your home, completely responsible. You must be an intercessor for them, for they are in your care.
  8. God’s grace will meet you, and if you ask for it He will give it to you. All of this should overwhelm you, and if it doesn’t you don’t understand. The Holy Spirit knows all that you need, and He will guide you into the truth.
  9. Your children are there as a result of your love for your wife. They are looking to you for guidance. They depend on you at every turn.
  10. “Everyone sings the blues, and everyone plays the fool.” You will sin, and fall. There will be serious seasons of doubt, and confusion. There will be seasons when you are disoriented about your wife. But stay the course, and all will be well.

I do want to stress that to be a true and faithful husband will demand as much of God’s grace as it would take to pastor a “mega-church.” I surely would not advise you to do the ‘status-quo’ as a husband and father. You can do it, but I think you will regret it later.

As a husband (and father) means you are in the ministry, as much as a pastor, or church leader. You must be faithful and humble. What you do, or think affects far more people than you realize. I encourage you to discover other men who share this calling.

 

ybic, Bryan