Washed, and Waiting

In the past, some of you were like that, but you were washed clean. You were made holy, and you were made right with God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

 1 Corinthians 6:11, NCV

But we are hoping for something we do not have yet, and we are waiting for it patiently.

Romans 8:25, NCV

Washing and waiting. These two words together form an idea of formation. To be washed implies need. Our world is a filthy place, we must get clean. Often. When my son has spent his morning playing, he needs to be washed. (I sometimes wonder if he intentionally just finds a mud puddle and rolls in it.) To be spiritually cleansed is something God insists on.

Waiting. It’s funny, but waiting is an active thing. Hope is a component of waiting, without a hope we simply loiter. We wander and drift into a life of futility. And if you don’t hope deeply, you can’t wait truly.

Very often, those of us who are damaged and flawed will slide into a despair and a despondency. Depression can often be satanic, the enemy is trying to remove any hope we may have.  The dark prince lusts for your soul. A Christian with his hope removed is immediately shackled and led into the night.

To be washed, and to wait. These two ideas should be yoked together like oxen. They provide strength, and assist us to be fruitful. If we’re not washed, and we are not really waiting, we wander aimlessly. Humans do have a responsibility to be washed, and waiting. We mustn’t lose this team.

“….you need a strong ox for a large harvest.”

Proverbs 14:4

 

 

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Is He Your Friend, or a Doctrine? [Friendship]

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“A rule I have had for years is: to treat the Lord Jesus Christ as a personal friend. His is not a creed, a mere doctrine, but it is He Himself we have.”

  ~D.L. Moody

This can be a liberating secret. It releases us from the terrible bondage of religion and ritual with all its negative connotations. Friendship with our Lord will carry us beyond creed or doctrine to the place of true communion.

But we value legalism, and that is precisely what we believe when we bypass the relationship. Doctrine is a good servant, but a poor master. Creeds are necessary, but incapable of bringing either salvation or a fruitful life. This can only come from a living faith in the Lord Jesus.

We evangelicals talk big about “a personal relationship.” That is indeed crucial. But few be the believers that walk in a daily friendship with their Savior. That is truly a tragedy.

“I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.”

John 15:15, NLT

Friendship with Jesus will bring true guidance. He shares secrets and wisdom to his friends. We are brought into a true knowledge of the Kingdom through the relationship of friendship with the King. We are not slaves– or drones, slavishly serving out of slavish fear. We are His friends.

Jesus wants to confide in us; sharing mysteries hidden by time and sin. And his kingdom is full of amazing perplexities! He is looking to bring us into a willingness of a daily communion.

He will heal our wounds, and forgive all our sins. He is truly our savior as well as our friend.

Friendship comes with a price. It means we are now tethered to the Lord. That can get old, especially when I want to do my own thing. I will continually have to lay things down, and choose to accept tether and follow Him.

But my soul now has a best friend.

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Heaven is Waiting for Us, [Anticipation]

There is a place…

“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven,  Hallowed be Your name.”

 Matthew 6:9

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Philippians 3:20

“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now…Come further up, come further in!”

– CS Lewis, The Last Battle

We often struggle.  Life frustrates us and we really don’t understand why it seems so bitter and confusing.  There doesn’t seem to be any way to get an answer.  The scriptures open up for us at this point.  The answer is ‘heaven’.  Heaven is a promise from Jesus to you.  In that light of heaven we are to live our life anticipating that place.

The assurance of heaven is, is to lift us, and then connect us to that which is eternal.  On earth, life is to a degree, intriguing.  There is, in spite of many conflicts and issues, a certain random pleasure in our lives.  We seem to know that our existence here  is somewhat charmed.  But believe it or not, heaven is so much more, its going to be a ‘kick in the pants’.

The reality of ‘heaven’ is what keeps us moving.  Heaven is the realm in which our Father dwells.  From heaven there is a concerted effort to hold and maintain us as we stumble through life.  Heaven is the provision that is given to faithful hearts who are being transformed by grace.

I hold on to this feeble life because I know and understand the glory of heaven.  Heaven is the place where glory is at home, and heaven is the magnetic pull that will lead me into eternity.  If I am looking for a connection to something way beyond my senses, heaven gives me that wonderful reality. Heaven is where the Lord Jesus is enthroned and is waiting.  When we are once again united with Him, it will be in heaven.

The idea of heaven holds us and inspires us as we try to figure out our walk of discipleship.  It is that promise that compels us, and brings us into a spiritual compatibility.  He is reaching out for us as we are pressing to meet Him.  The very hope of heaven turns our head, and lifts up our vision.  Jesus is the Lord of heaven and He gives us the privilege to dwell in the place where He is.

Heaven is the place where I really belong.  There is nothing that can take its place.  Heaven is a place where all of the redeemed will find a homecoming.  This is where we belong.  Eternity is the force which drives heaven, it is not a ‘static’ place or an existence above time.

Our decision to abide in eternity gives the Father great joy.  He is anticipating our arrival with a great deal of joy.  Heaven will help us forget all the tribulation of our lives here on earth.  It will seem like a bad dream as we step into eternal reality.  Brethren, we are standing on the threshold of eternal life.  Let us press into it, where joy and peace will ambush us in a special kind of wonderful grace.

P.S. I had fun with today’s artwork. The rabbits seem thrilled, and their joy is palatable. 🙂

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Yes, We Are Inconsistent Rascals [Sin]

“Loving Father God, my heart is filled upon rethinking the greatness of your love and the completeness of your plan.  I want to please you, but how often my flesh folds under the pressure of temptation.
I thank you that you know my frame, and you remember that I am but dust.  And I thank you for the abundance of Grace and the gift of righteousness that you have made available to me through the cross of your son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thank you for receiving me back, my gracious Lord.   Amen. ” 
Jack Hayford

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When my children do wrong I ache to hear their confession and see their repentance.  But I cannot imagine disowning them. Never, ever!  How much more is our Heavenly Father ready to receive us back, and hold us close to his heart.

This profound love turns us back to Himself. The very fact you feel the Holy Spirit’s tug is evidence enough that you haven’t been permanently forsaken and ‘cast aside.’ You’ll need to take a step of faith however. Always remember— proximity to Jesus is always a good thing. Stay close, and watch the enemy flee.

Stay real. Confess sin to the real God who loves you unconditionally. Let Him fill you with His Spirit again.

66 “As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” 68 Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

John 6:66-68

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Consider Kindness

Love-shaped-SunBy faith we have been made acceptable to God. And now, because of our Lord Jesus Christ, we live at peace with God. Christ has also introduced us to God’s undeserved kindness on which we take our stand. So we are happy, as we look forward to sharing in the glory of God.

Romans 5:1-2, CEV

 Have you ever felt unwanted?  Maybe coming from a club, or a meeting or even a church.  Being undesirable or unwanted will obviously brings a sense of bad feelings.  We’ll struggle with bitterness and even a simmering kind of anger.  Rejection has a special way of penetrating our thinking like nothing else can. It is a nasty thing.

Those with disabilities are often excluded from many things. We are often overlooked or maybe even shunned. This hurts but we get used to it [sorta]. Often we build robust internal worlds where we belong. But that seems like a poor substitute.

Our faith has made us acceptable to God. 

We are suitable only because of what Jesus did for us.  Jesus makes a connection between God and us. Jesus picked up all of my sin, shouldered it and then carried it far away from me.  He died for my sin , now I will not have to. He took my place, in the ‘greatest mystery’ in the history of man.  ‘Why Him, and why me?’

Romans 5:2 develops an idea of getting an introduction to God and His ‘overboard’, extravagant kindness.  I’ll let you know right now, I am a big fan of ‘kindness’.  There is a goodness that the Father now shows us.  He is gracious, gentle and cordial to me as I struggle along.  But, more then anything, He is completely kind.

motherteresa-kindness-quoteKindness and tenderness fit precisely together.  Both together are quite a force to be reckoned with.  But there is one thing more.  If we delight in all the kindness shown to us, we need to practice pouring it on others.

A 100,000 tons of kindness has just been detonated on you.  Look around you, and then ‘share the wealth’. It’s simple, I have been given a vast amount of kindness for this sole reason– that I might give it away to those around me.

 

ybic, Bryan

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Doctor’s Orders

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And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Mark 2:17

I am convinced that as strugglers who just happen to be believers, there is a deep truth we need to know.  Simply that we are the ‘audio-visual’ (AV) department of the Church.

We display for all who can see with seeing eyes, the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. We can be mixed up, and very confused at times. But in contrast, He is everything, our all in All. As the AV people, we show and declare (out of our very lives) the profound kindnesses of God.

We are meant to be see and heard, because that is what the AV department does best. But that is really not our natural tendency or inclination. Jesus spoke of a “candle on a lampstand,” that gives light into the house. Frightening as this must seem, this is our certain place.

We stand (only because He makes us) and proclaim the solid mercy and kindness of God, for awful sinners. Maybe in this short life– that is all we can really do. Fair enough. But still we hear that compelling call to become visible for Him– His fantastic glory.

We may become quite intimidated. It seems we know far more about sin than we do about holiness. Quite a few of us are expert sinners. Some of us have our  Ph.D in evil. We have taken training in sin, and are quite proficient in it.

“This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all.”

1 Timothy 1:15, NLT

When it comes to holiness or purity, we discover that we are totally out of our league. We will often try to “fake” it, but we are surprised when the Holy Spirit resists us. He will not let us deceive ourselves in this way. We have no claim to self-righteousness.

Our sins and weaknesses, depressions and sicknesses become even more evident in time. We are the ones who walk with a definite limp. We will falter, and we will stumble. But we continue to turn to Jesus. And in this action, others will see mercy that is poured out on rascals such as us.

But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’”

Luke 18:13

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Thinking Out Things

There is a full treatment that the Father intends to work in us. And He will work in us, and we can’t prevent its work.  We don’t really want Him to make us a saint.  But He carries out a different plan.  We shouldn’t be entirely surprised to have Him inside of us, working and building.  We really are brought to a point when the things He does will need to be tolerated, at least.

To be a Christian is a challenging endeavour.  Just ike taffy is pulled to an amazing length, it will always unfold and duplicated.  This work starts to insist that we turn over everything ugly and evil and we turn over the nastiness that wants to invade our darkness.  We are the lost sheep, and we honestly renounce a corruption of our hearts, and the desire to wander away.

There is one of those stories, which can be found in many different cultures.  It is this– a man wears a mask, for several years.  He never takes it off.  The mask is a permanent fixture in His life.  As the moment of revelation when the mask comes off, we all discover that he has been changed, transformed by the wearing of the mask.

Will you wear the mask?

Might it be, that it you will “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh,” transformation will happen as we start to “wear Him” through our unique and surprising life.  We have been bonded to Him, and He is now working “Christlikedness” inside us.  If we try to evaluate the Lords work, we maybe disappointed.  But we so seldom discern these things properly.  However it is clear that He has not postponed His work, but is actively seeking it to work in our lives.