Monday, January 11, 2016

The Faith that Pleases God

Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Bible quotes from NIV

God (Father, Son and Spirit) reveals to us that it is impossible to please Him without faith. Faith, somehow, is the key to all of this: Trust, faith, belief.  Yet 1 Corinthians 13 reveals that without love, this all sounds a bit like noise and leaves us as being nothing.  To love, to truly love in spite of what you see or hear, seems to require faith.  On the surface, it seems that faith does not require love, yet love does seem to require faith.  Love is the highest form of equity or currency in the Kingdom of God.  When we are struggling to love someone, to truly love, care and show deep concern and compassion, then we must ask for faith.  Having the faith required to love is faith to move mountains.

"It seems that faith does not require love, yet love does seem to require faith"

The faith that is required to please God is not necessarily the faith that is needed to walk on water, to heal the sick or the blind or to safely walk in dark places, but to love unconditionally, to love “the Elephant Man” so to speak; to love our enemies.  That requires faith beyond walking on water or even raising the dead itself! Yes, it does please God we have that kind of faith to do the things mentioned above, but if we are not careful, we will stop at those things and not go any further in our relationship with God and our fellow human beings.

"Love is the highest form of equity or currency in the Kingdom of God."

2 Kings 4 tells a story of Elisha, how he dealt with a wealthy woman and about human connections.  With all of his dealings with the woman, “the Shunammite” as he distantly calls her, he always sent his servant Gehazi to speak with her and get what he needs, even if she is standing right there in front of him!  Then one day, the woman’s son died, which was a son that was promised to her by Elisha via Gehazi.  When the woman rode quickly to bring the bad news to Elisha, she passed up Gehazi whom Elisha sent to greet her. She went straight to Elisha and told him the news herself.  So Elisha sent Gehazi, who took Elishas' staff to lay on the childs face, to raise the child.  It did not work.  The son laid stone cold dead. So not only did Elisha have to suffer the inconvenience of going to the son himself, but after several attempts, he personally had to lay on his body, face to face, before God allowed the miracle of life to take hold!   Elisha had to be taught that he needed to be more personal, face to face, not just impersonally send a servant to do all his bidding.  God wanted Elisha to have a personal relationship with the woman, her husband and son.  But in the end, Elisha still told Gehazi to “Call the Shunammite” and let her know the son is alive.  Oh well.

God will heal the sick and raise the dead eventually. God really doesn’t need us for that.  In fact, when He does raise the dead, we are dead ourselves, so where do we help? But love is eternal, it is forever.  Love is something that starts when we are children.  Love grows within us, as we interact with humanity from the time we began to see outside of our bodies and minds.  It starts at home, church and community and then the world.  As we began to expand our horizons across the globe, we run into love challenges.  Those challenges usually begin at home.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking that arguing and sometimes fighting with our siblings or our mates is always from a lack of love. Sometimes it is fear that we may not love them or more to the point, that they might not love us.  It is in fearing that we may lose them that cause us to fight.  We are fighting for our relationship, to save it!  But we may be fighting the wrong enemy.  The real enemy here is fear.  Marriages break up, not just for the lack of love per se, though that is failing us, but because of fear!  Fear is the real enemy here, and when we fear someone, we fear we are losing our love for them.

1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
Fear is an invisible enemy that tortures our souls, minds and hearts. It threatens us with punishment.  It stops us from acting in faith.  We may use faith to overcome fear, but when we also misuse love to excuse our fear, are we not making excuses as to why we hold back and not do something we know we need to do? Example: "I love them enough to not do something because I am afraid it might offend them or cause them to lose faith".  We use excuses for fear to take precedence over love and faith.  We have more faith in our fear and use the excuse of love as the reason we live in fear and not act in faith!  What a paradox!

In Luke, 9:51, Jesus used love to overcome fear when he faced the challenge of walking to Jerusalem, knowing he was going to die.   He ran into challenges, well wishers, people who make promises and lots of suggestions that would have taken him from his goal.   He set his face (he was determined, resolute) towards Jerusalem because his love was so great, he was willing to face these challenges and distractions that came his way.  Fear was not on the agenda for that day.

This is why I feel the gospel that is preached in some places, which is often laced with fear, is not a gospel at all.  It is a fear based religion and that is not what Jesus taught or meant for us live in.

How can we have faith in fear, when fear is the opposite of love, which in turn requires faith? When you have faith in fear, then you have no faith in love.  God is Love.  His Love requires faith on our part to not only believe in and trust, but to live out in our lives. Love requires faith that has to be worked out and built every day.  It requires lots of prayer.  When the disciples had trouble casting out a certain demon, Jesus said this particular kind of demon required lots of prayer in preparation. See Mark 9:14-29.  To cast out demons requires faith. True faith requires love.  At the time, the disciples thought the ability to cast out demons goes along with the ability to walk on water, heal the sick, or move mountains.  If love had taken hold on these disciples, then they would have had the faith to cast out this particular demon. Not just  because they were laced with “power”, but their love would have been able to conquer all things.This would have been not only the faith of God, but the Love of God as well.

1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
If love covers a multitude of sins, then where is the accusation? Where is the accuser of the brethren? There is no accuser, there are no more sins, no more demons.  Gone is the evil, gone is the fear.  Faith and Love has prevailed.  And it takes great faith beyond walking on water, healing the sick and raising the dead.

That is the faith that pleases God.

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1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

If love covers a multitude of sins, then where is the accusation? Where is the accuser of the brethren? There is no accuser, there are no more demons.  Gone is the evil, gone is the fear.  Faith and Love has prevailed.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Love by Command

If I were to write a book or an instruction manual on how to live with my family, and you read it seriously, would that make you worthy to live with my family and would you succeed at it?  Would reading and playing out everything I wrote in that book qualify you and truly prepare you for living with my family?  Would that give you the “Right”, the “Qualification”, the readiness to live with my family?  No, especially if I never invited you to live with my family in the first place.  And will you really love me and my family?  All you are doing is playing out a life you will never truly understand and by doing those things in the book, will not prove your love for me and my family.  Yes, it can prepare you and set your habits to a point.
But if I asked you to come live with me and my family and learn to be a part of it, most likely, you would see that I am not following the book I wrote, but set that aside and lived outside of that book, and asked you to follow me. And in that, we learn love, respect, and even obedience.  Does that mean what I wrote in the book is not true or is invalid? No, it just simply means that I wrote the book for your preview and basic understanding, but not for you to live out of. It just gives you a little insight of our lives. The book will never compare to the real lives we live.  You will never understand our lives by what I write in a book until you come to live with us and see what really happens on a daily basis.  However, could you say that once you read the book, started to live with us, that you can see it being “prophetic”?  You will begin to see how things you read in the book start to unfold and being fulfilled in our lives as you live with us!  “Oh! I remember reading about this! Now that I see it, it makes more sense!”

Jesus wrote the book of His life through imperfect prophets and scribes.  He said these laws and prophecies are “forever”.  What does He mean by that?  I keep getting challenged with these words and began to wonder if this is for our spiritual lives today.  I know that these words are “profitable for instruction” and we learn from them. We see how Man lived and the consequences of disobedience.  But I just read an article, Fulfilling the Law,  by J. Michael Feazell, Vice President of Grace Communion International (GCI), about this concept of law and how it was fulfilled.  I began to realize that when I try to defend my case that we are no longer under the law, citing verses such as Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:23-25; Ephesians 2:15 and others, I look at Matthew 5:17-18, and become a bit confused, for a moment.

But I ask, how did Jesus fulfill the law?  And is the law forever?  And is the Law still binding? And does Jesus still live as if He were in a Jewish community, doing all these things the Jewish convert would do? Is Jesus reading the Torah every day to make sure he is in line with the Law?  If Jesus is doing these things now and require us to do them, then the Law was not fulfilled, Jesus did not succeed, and worse of all, Jesus is bound to his own book rather than living beyond the book, the law, the rules that he wrote down for our sake.

I come to realize that the Law, as good as it was, was fulfilled (not destroyed mind you, but fulfilled) in Christ, and we are no longer trying to live by a bunch of rules.   But is it “forever”?  Yes.  It is forever, but does that mean we “Live by them” to act out in our lives?  No.  The end result of the Law is forever; that is, Jesus Christ and him fulfilling those requirements, which is death.  Death is the real end of the Law.  Jesus died for humanity, therefore the Law, which says “If you don’t obey me, you will die”, cannot take our lives. We are no longer under its strict rules and penalties if we don’t live by them.  The end result is forever. It is completed forever. The prophecies are fulfilled forever.  They are fulfilled by Jesus the Messiah.

But is it love to obey the Law?  Is obeying the Law required to show love?

The article I pointed out earlier confronts this confusion as to whether living by the Law helps us to love, or that we love by obeying the Law.  Is that what love is, obeying the Law?  Or is Love much bigger than the Law?  Can the Law (the Torah) we have written down really contain the Love of God?  Christians understand that God is Love. If God is love and we show love by obeying the Ten Commandments and the Law of Moses, then is the Ten Commandments God?  Of course we will say NO!  Yet we try to “prove” our love by obeying the Law written down by Moses.  But are we to try to prove anything?  Are we to obey the Law, or the One who is greater than the Law?  Is Jesus bound by his own Law?  Is Jesus bound by His own Book he wrote?  Or, is the purpose of this book and its laws is simply to point us to Jesus the promised Messiah?  And now that we are in Jesus, are we to love God in Jesus Christ, rather than trying to prove our love through a book?   If you come to live with us, would you keep referring to the book I wrote, or would you just come in and sit down with us and live with us as we live?  Am I to expect you to constantly refer to The Book I wrote every time I say something or do something?  Or will you allow yourself to be surprised and ride along with me and my family as we live out our lives and adventures together?

I remember an episode of BBC’s Kitchen Nightmares where a world renowned Chef Gordon Ramsey would come in to rescue failing restaurants by confronting the owners.  One chef of a restaurant showed off his cook books including one authored by Ramsey himself.  Gordon tossed out all the books, including his own, because the Chef of the restaurant was too “recipe” oriented rather than cooking from the heart.  Even the famous Chef Gordon Ramsey doesn’t follow his own book for cooking!  He teaches from the heart, the soul and from taste buds, but especially from a real deep desire and love for cooking!

I do not have a “book of life” my daughter reads to get along with us. We have a face to face relationship and we work together (or struggle with one another) to make it through each day.  Some days things don’t go so well, but I don’t pound a book of laws over her head. I remind her of my love for her and what we taught her.   But that is not the same as posting rules and regulations on the wall and pointing at that all the time (we tried it, it didn’t work).   There is just something impersonal and lacking when rules are posted everywhere and rituals are expected constantly.  There is no room for error. There is no room for grace. There is really no room for love.  Love and grace is only limited to what is written in the book and posted on the walls.  And for me to tell my daughter “You don’t love me unless you keep those rules on the wall”, would be very disturbing.  That will be too conditional and problematic.  She would assume then that I won’t love her either unless she obeys these rules. She will obey them, but would always believe that deep down, I really don’t love her and she would not really love me as we know she could have.  It will impede our relationship. However, our love is unconditional, not dependent on rules and regulations, traditions and appearances.  Yes, she gets moody, refuses to do things with me at times, and even disobey me when I tell her to do something (or not do something).  But I just gently remind her that one day she will be older and I’ll be gone from this world and she won’t have a chance again.  But that is her loss, and I can do nothing to force her unless I find it necessary to do so for her own good. In the long run, she has to live her life.  She will come around.

In the mean time, Love is the program that runs constantly in our home.  Not laws. Yes, we do have “house rules” and “social rules”, but those are not based on whether one loves or not, but on necessity to get along and keep things in order, if anyone calls anything in our home “order”.  But we do our best.  But under no circumstances is there a time I don’t love my daughter and my wife.  That is forever. Period. Law or no law.  We live our lives beyond a book of laws. We live our lives beyond a wall full of rules and regulations. We live our lives beyond tradition.  We may make our own family traditions, but that is only for our lives now and we can change that any time we want.  And we are allowed to make new traditions! The bottom line and the top line, the side lines and center, Love and grace is always, always, always the…rule…if you will…of our daily lives.
Join us with Jesus Christ as we live unfettered in His house.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Let Go Of The Fruit

Monkeys are easily caught if you place a fruit inside a cage with a small hole in the side. The monkeys hand can easily slip in the hole to reach the fruit, but the fruit is too large to pull through. The monkey refuses to let go of the fruit, therefore, are trapped and cannot run away, or slows down their progress considerably.

As long as you hold on to your booby prize, you will forever be trapped. Even if the prize, like fruit, is good, is your favorite, and is healthy for you, the way in how it is given to you may be the trap that can cause your demise. Your ministry or church, as good as it is, can be set up in a trap. So watch for the trap, be willing to let go long enough to get away and see where the real fruit and blessings are. Then you are free to enjoy the fruits that are given to you when the right time comes and it is given by The True Giver Himself.

Boyd Merriman

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Jesus As Our Catalyst

Gen. 2:9 “Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

Gen 2:16-17 “The LORD God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die."  (NASB)

When man was told by God that he (Humanity) can eat of ANY tree in the Garden EXCEPT for the tree of knowledge of good and evil, we would have to make the assumption that he could eat of the tree of life that was also planted there.  We may also think that the tree of life would have been a more “tempting” tree and Adam would have gone there first.

However, we know how that went.  See Genesis 3:1-7 for that story.

But we always had a “what if” going on in the back of our minds: What if Adam took of the tree of life first? 

The "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" was not for man, at least, not in this setting or time...yet.  So the next question would be obvious:  Why was it there?  Why did it seem good, taste good, and look good to eat?  Why all this “temptation” in front of man?  Was God teasing man?  Was God trying to find out if man was going to obey Him?  Was it a test?

James 1:13 "When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone"

I don’t think God would deliberately put temptation in front of man that way.  Men have blamed women for being a “temptation”.  So would that imply that Eve was a temptation God put in front of Adam?  No, I don’t think God works that way. You have a dessert on the table.  It is meant for after dinner.  The kids were told (and the husband too) to leave it alone until after dinner.  Eat your dinner first and then you may have some.  Is it a temptation?  Maybe to the kids, but not to mom who said “Don’t eat of it or touch or you will go to bed with out dinner and be grounded for a week!”  Does the cake actually cause this?  No, but it is the result if you don’t follow instructions.  But was that her intent?  Was that God’s intention?  To make someone follow instructions?  To see if they will obey a divine rule?

There is a good reason for this.  Mom knows the reason, God knows the reason. Man does not have to know.

So, back to the tree.  Man is physical.  God is spiritual.  They are incompatible or, worlds apart.   I hear theories that man had a spiritual essence (a glow?) that was present until man sinned.  That is not an option the way the original writing proposes.  However, that tree with the fruit on it, was there for a reason. Was it a dessert? Was it a reward for obedience? Or was it something else? The tree of life may also have been attributed to Jesus Christ later. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. We go to Jesus for everything, especially spiritual knowledge and life.  We know what is truly good and evil through Christ.  And HE gives us that knowledge.  And I think that is where this would have fit in.  You see, this fruit is not compatible with man until a Catalyst is put into place.  Like water and oil, which cannot mix, you will need a catalyst, or another chemical or substance that can help mix oil and water.

Lye is a catalyst used to mix oil (fat, grease) and water to make soap.  By itself, lye is a very harsh ingredient, but with the right mixture with oil, it can be mixed into water to wash out dirt and oily grime.

Yes, I'm making a huge assumption here: That the tree of life was not intended to be a temptation, but a desired fruit if taken with God (Father, The Word and Spirit) as the one giving it at the right time.

The tree of life is that symbolic catalyst, which, had Adam and Eve went to that first (Going to Christ first), then God would have given them the knowledge of what is good and what is evil.  I think the forbidden tree was the second part of what man needed once he went to the tree of life first.  Like the serpent (Satan) who stood by the tree of knowledge, God (Future Jesus) may have been standing by the tree of life ready to give them what they needed.  Then Satan would have been dislodged from the other tree so God can give them the knowledge they needed when they needed it.

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was not a bad tree. It was not a killer except for the fact that it was incompatible to man, as man was physical in this way.  Once the tree of LIFE, ever lasting life, life of the holy spirit, was introduced INTO man, man changes, his character and his nature changes, so that the tree of knowledge is now compatible to man, to do good, not harm.
The Catalyst for humanity now is Jesus Christ.  When Jesus became flesh, man became compatible.  Before, we could not approach God and His throne.  Now we can!  What changed?  Man changed when God (Jesus, or Emanuel: God with us, God in the flesh) became flesh!  God is already everlasting, so nothing (other than a physical and temporary death by a cross) can cause Gods’ demise.  When the Word (Jesus) came to earth, it is like leavening, which leavens the whole lump, and changed mans relationship with God.  Yes, we are still physical, we still sin and can still die and suffer eternal death. But we now have that option to go to that Tree of Life and live. Then we can now take of that tree of the knowledge of good and evil through that Living Tree, Jesus Christ, and live!  But it is by Gods’ grace, love and encouragement, not by Satans’ hatred, selfish and miserable reasons.

Since God made all things and all that God does is always good, therefore, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a good tree, but not good for man outside of Christ, or in this case, the Tree of Life!

Because of what Jesus did, who came to earth to recreate man in his own image and likeness, then be baptized into that relationship, and take of that Tree of Life, and Jesus will give you what you need and it will be an abundant life!  John 10:10

What are these fruits that Jesus will give?  One hint is "by their fruit you shall know them"  Matt. 7:16 and 20.  Also read Galatians 5:22-23  The holy spirit is a giver of fruit, which includes love, joy, peace, patience, etc.  Once the holy spirit is in you, you have that fruit within you.  It is the power you can trust in, believe in.  Oh, it doesn't do Harry Potter stuff, but you cannot get better power than love.   Galatians 5:22-23, and the holy spirit gives you wisdom, understanding and knowledge of God.   Adam and Eve could not touch that tree because they were not ready for this fruit. You have to be baptized into Jesus Christ, go to him first, go to the tree of life, then receive the power of the holy spirit.  You cannot receive the holy spirit by Satan the devil.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7

Boyd Merriman

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Can the Holy Spirit Trump the Bible?

Many read the bible as if God spoke and man wrote it down verbatim. Sure, in the Old Testament, a lot of that was done, especially when Moses took down the words on Mount Sinai, or maybe a prophet had to write down what God wanted him to speak to the people, but in the New Testament, it was written as letters to the Church and to the pastors.  It was never intended to be dogmatic scriptures to be canonized.  Had the writers thought for a moment that their letters were going to be canonized as scriptures for future reading by people of another country, speaking a totally different and unknown language 1500 to 2000 years later, they would have freaked out and never written it down! They wrote down their walk, their faith, their understanding at the time for the people of their time. The New Testament, or the letters to their contemporary church, was written to encourage them and keep them focused on and in Jesus Christ.

The King James Bible was basically the same thing.  It was translated to the best of their ability into the contemporary or modern language of its day. To say that the King James Version is “The authoritative bible and the very word of God” and cannot be modernized or brought to current understanding is to say that we cannot be dynamic in following the Holy Spirit.  Yes, it was the authorized bible, but only to King James who had it brought to current standards for the modern Church of his day. He authorized it for his people under his rule to use. He was the authority behind the translation to reject the Catholic Church’s bible, which was unreadable unless you and your people can read Latin.  Not that many people could read in the first place, let alone Latin. The Holy Spirit is dynamic and helps us to grow. We cannot keep getting stuck in the middle ages of understanding.  

Speaking of unreadable, if you put the "Authorized King James Version" that first came out in front of most people today, they will have trouble understanding it anyway due to archaic language that is not used today, not to mention the spelling, the shapes of letters, etc.   It had to be modernized for our language today, as well as languages around the world. Even the early Church had to change, move, and grow in understanding.  As Paul quoted, “We live, move and have our being in Him (Christ).” For example, in Acts 10, Peters visit to the gentiles would have been completely shut down had he just looked at the scriptures and say that nothing can be done.  Instead, he allowed God via the Holy Spirit to help overcome his fears of social and "scriptural" dogma. Giving Peter some credit, he did try to divert it by quoting scripture, saying that he has never eaten anything that is common or unclean, and in his current social and scriptural understanding, he was correct.  He could have responded with "The bible says it, I believe it and that settles it!"  But he also knew that the Holy Spirit trumped social and scriptural dogma.  We use the scriptures as the foundation and beginning of truth, but we allow the Holy Spirit to move us beyond what we see and hear.

I hear people say “We are a bible believing church” as if others don’t use the bible.  But what they are really saying is “We use the King James Bible and nothing else, and if you use anything else, you must not be a bible believing church”.  I find when churches use only the King James and nothing else, as if The King James IS the very word of God himself, even praying to God using old English language, they are often very legalistic and stuck in their beliefs.
I am NOT saying that the King James Bible is wrong and should not be used. I use it too, but I also use The New American Standard Bible (NASB), New International Bible (NIV), The New Living Translation (NLT), The Revised Standard (RSV) and new versions of the King James (NKJV).  I use whatever the individual can understand and will accept in their current position and faith in life.  I will not pull out a KJV and pound it over their heads, nor will I pull out the International Version when all they are willing to read is the KJV.


When the disciples (now apostles) received the Holy Spirit that day of Pentecost, they spoke to the people who had different languages and they heard the apostles speak in their own native language even though the apostles were speaking in their own Aramaic language. It reminds me of the Swedish Chef on the Muppet Show who, on the international special, told a joke to the international group back stage. The Swedish Chef had a language all his own that is a mix of broken English and something else nobody knows. Kermit (the frog) never did understand the Swedish Chef since they met, but everyone in the group (Chinese, German, Italian, Russian, French, etc.) all understood him and laughed at his joke!

Acts 2:5-12  Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.  When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.  Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans?  Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?   Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontusand Asia,  Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome  (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”   Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

The scene on that day of Pentecost was the beginning of what we now know as “Speaking in tongues”.  It is speaking in the spirit, which allows the Holy Spirit to translate not only the language, but the meaning behind what is trying to be said with truth so the person in the other language can understand.  If five different languages were present in the hearing, then all five would have heard the message via the Holy Spirit, in their own language and understanding.

Today, we have professional translators, those who can speak in many different languages and are capable of speaking to others without having to resort to “speaking in tongues”, even though that is exactly what they are doing on a physical level.   Translators of the bible are learning the old language better and know how to better translate into our modern language and as a result, we can get a better understanding of what is being said. But with that said, keep in mind, that even the early church still had a long way to go to understanding, and what they wrote, they did so in the understanding of their day.  Maybe it was a good thing that they waited thirty or more years before they wrote what we see today, or the canonized letters and gospels would be different than what we see now.  Even Pauls’ letters show growth in understanding over the years.

We must not be so dogmatic that we cannot allow the Holy Spirit to guide us into truth. When we allow our local church to dictate to us, even to the point where we fear being ousted or lose our friends, we are not allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us and lead us where we need to be or to go.  We allow jobs and companies to move us, but not the Holy Spirit.

 Listening to and following the Holy Spirit is a scary thing and you may be in for an interesting way of life

But when we are given inspiration and feel the Holy Spirit is speaking to us, we have the bible to help us understand whether it is the Holy Spirit that is speaking to us or not. Even then, we may see what is right to do in the bible, but the Holy Spirit may be saying, “No, not right now” or “This is not the best time”.  Or maybe the Holy Spirit is teaching us that what we have perceived to be truth in the bible, and we go to it for that truth, may not be what we think it is at all.  In fact, it may be time to make some changes in our lives and the Holy Spirit is leading us to new truth that is not in conflict with the Bible even though it may be in conflict with your favorite church and your church friends and family.  Listening to and following the Holy Spirit is a scary thing and you may be in for an interesting way of life.  But that is why it requires faith.  Reading and just doing things that the bible says to do does not require near the faith as it does to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

It is the Truth that sets us free, and when you see that Jesus Christ is the Truth, the Way and the Life, then you know who and what really sets us free.

Be more than just a bible believer, be free in Jesus Christ by the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Friday, December 27, 2013

God is not linear - A Christmas Message

God is not linear. He occupies all time and space (Sorry Doctor Who). So when was Jesus born and does it really matter when (or if) we celebrate? Yes, there are pagan rituals and customs that were adopted into Christmas, but then again, we were very sinful and were adopted into Christ, even before the foundation of the world! "Before the foundation of the world" is saying that before time as we know it, God has us adopted and redeemed! So no matter what day it is, whether in the Fall, Summer, Winter or Spring, Jesus came into our humanity. God gave to us before he was born. Jesus was IN our humanity BEFORE he was born (in the physical mother, Mary) so we can, in affect, celebrate his coming into our world nine months earlier! But since God is not linear, he was in our humanity before the foundation of the world. God gave before all time and continues to give and give and give!

So we celebrate Christmas. 

But if we dig deeper, the truth of his coming is far greater than worrying about customs and time. He has redeemed (bought back) all things and all humanity. He has restored us and has reconciled us to himself. There is nothing on earth that has not been brought back to the Father through Jesus Christ. Even our customs, as silly as they are, can be to God's glory and honor. So celebrate, everyday! Be giving everyday!

(My wife was inspired with this message while in the shower and told me about it. Goes to show, even you being in a shower will not stop God's presence)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Swimming in the Safe Embrace of Jesus in Three Feet of Water



Anyone here who has gone swimming with us, knows about our struggles we had with our 6yo daughter when it comes to pools. She stayed by the steps and "swims". She refused to come out even in water that came only up to her waste, let alone further.

Even our attempts to give her flotation devices, water wings, etc, did not give her security. I tried to get her out by carrying her, holding her, embracing her, encouraging her, yet she screamed and yelled and carried on so much that I had no choice but to stop, fearing "child abuse" accusations.

And a large indoor pool arena did not help, with all the echoing of her screams.

She wanted her "secure" pool side steps. Then claims, "when you and mommy are not looking, I swim across the steps". Sorry kid, that does not count!

I told her, "you need to learn to trust me to carry you".

Then an epiphany came to me.

Those steps are our church, our religion. We have more faith in that than in Christ.

Those steps cannot nor is willing to save her if she took a misstep (sin in life) and fell face first into the water. In fact, those same steps may crack her head open if she hits it hard enough.

Yet, I was, and am willing to protect her and save her if necessary if she would just trust me. Especially since most of the time, being over 6' tall, I was standing in three feet of water on the floor of the pool anyway.

So seeing that, I see us struggling in church, by the pool side, sitting on the steps (pews) taking in what others are doing in freedom. We are much safer in Christs arms in the deep than we are sitting on the steps alone.

Christ is out there, swimming, enjoying life and inviting us all to join him. Some get out there Olympic style and swim and play volleyball and have a great time! Some are hanging on to a partner, others use flotation devices and others can swim to their hearts content, but all are out there, weak and strong.

But those who sit on the side will never enjoy the real Jesus and his enjoyment of life when we do not trust him outside of our physical church and our own subjective reality.

Now that is not to say church is wrong, steps are necessary to get us into the pool if we cannot dive in. But staying in one place when the purpose is to "swim" in Christ, is our danger.

Get out there and swim, or at least, let Jesus hold on to you in safe embrace in the unknown three feet of water.