Monthly Archives: July 2019

The Lord’s…

Psalm 19
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.

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√ The Lord’s…Law is complete and able to reinvigorate his people.
The Lord’s…Statutes can be trusted to reveal deep and basic wisdom anyone can understand.

√ The Lord’s…Precepts regulate behavior and thought to bring pleasure to the heart.
The Lord’s…Commands illuminate and eliminate the confusion of what our eyes alone are able to see.

√ The Lord’s…Fear is knowing He watches all of us through the lens of His own unalterable purity and will always have the power to separate good from evil.
The Lord’s…Decrees are the building blocks of His strength that can become our unalterable purity.

Everything

John 15:12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

The “everything” of v15 was the primary word that caught my attention as I read.  Then a simple word count of other key words in the passage became a sort-of-outline for me today; choose/chose [2], servant. [2], friends [3], Father [2], and finally, Love [4]. 

We love being “chosen.” We are blessed to be called a “servant” of Christ.  It’s even better to be called a friend but it’s a humbling to realize that our determination, time commitment, intellect and choice to follow Christ are not the same as “everything.”  A servant’s loyalty can mimic friendship but not necessarily be evidence of the shared intimacy of love.  

You were “appointed”…so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last…” fruit based on a special love relationship. “You did not choose me, but I chose you” is a really important part of our personal relationship to Christ because it’s a really important part of the shared intimacy of love between Jesus and his Father.  That relationship is the primary part of “everything” Jesus wants to share with you.  “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

Listen!

John 10:27–28 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

Alexa!  Hey Siri! OK Garmin!  These are names associated with voice recognition technology that enables a machine or computer program to receive, interpret, understand and respond.  Even if you personally have never used them, you’ve likely heard those names. I suggest there’s an even more important name associated with voice recognition technology…Jesus!

This verse from John is my evidence that God should be the one to get credit for what seems to be a “new” technology that enables those who follow his Son to receive, interpret, understand, hear, recognize…and follow the voice of their Shepherd…and he will respond, “I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”  Listen!  Jesus, Jesus, Jesus; there’s just something about that name.  Master, Savior, Jesus, like the fragrance after the rain; Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, let all Heaven and earth proclaim.  Kings and kingdoms will all pass away but there’s something about that name.  [Bill Gaither]

“Who are you, Lord?”

Acts 9:1 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

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Saul’s question, “Who are you, Lord,?” was the unexpected beginning of his identity with Christ.  We see the reality of the man God created Paul to be unfold in a large part of the New Testament.  Those words still inspire us today to discover the reality of our own identity with Christ.  

You know Paul’s story.  He walked down that Damascus road convinced he knew the unassailable truth about God.  Paul saw himself as obedient, full of moral virtue and willing to brutally ensure the future of what he believed.  God saw something more: a committed man who was not Godless, but not Godly either when He asked “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

Paul’s identity with Christ began when he replied “Who are you, Lord?”  The answer would open his eyes and change his heart from the unassailable truth he knew ABOUT God to the unassailable truth OF God.  The Bible is filled with stories of flawed, but not Godless, people we can easily identify with who were changed into Godly people with a new identity.  Paul wrote about his own experience of God’s revealed truth.  That truth still has the power to change the identity of those who dare to ask “Who are you, Lord?”

The Gospel Balance

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Second [and last} Chance: Revelation 2

Revelation 2

√ Re·new·al: the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken

1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:  These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.  4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first…7 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

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I’ve looked for evidence in these second chapters of God’s continuing desire to replace and repair what is worn out, run-down, or broken.  That word “broken” has been a part of every post. God created life to be an unending circle for those first two people but they broke the circle because they violated the rule of one unique tree. “The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”  Why two unique trees?   I know what the results of that break are and I know Revelation 2 is the answer that repairs that broken circle.

Despite our best efforts here on earth perfection is still lost.  God has noticed our desire has changed from being content to know His perfection to the confusion of trying our best to sort out the knowledge of good and evil.  “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance…you cannot tolerate wicked people.” I know “that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.” I know “You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary…Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. ” 

Here’s the Good News from Revelation 2 about that other unique tree.  “The tree of life” is still standing, untouched, and we still have it’s promise of that first love.  There is repair and renewal for that worn out, run-down, or broken circle.  “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

Second Chance: I John 2

I John 2
√ Re·new·al: the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken

– 5…if anyone obeys his word, love for God[God’s love] is truly made complete in them.
– 21 I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.
– 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

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We live in an age where truth is more like a list of options and opinions rather than an absolute.  Options are good but they’re not necessarily absolutes we can count on to help us fulfill our potential and opinions aren’t necessarily based on fact or knowledge.  John is asking us to consider there is an absolute standard of truth that has been verified over and over again around the world for generations and in countless lives; “Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”

You may have seen this saying somewhere.  “IT’S OK IF YOU DISAGREE WITH ME. I CAN’T FORCE YOU TO BE RIGHT.”  I can’t…but here is an absolute truth in your personal relationship to “Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” that’s bigger, and far easier for you to verify than what I, or anyone else can say or write.  

“The anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.”

IF you will personally study and test that one thing in your own life I guarantee it will became a reality that changes and challenges your options and opinions.  THEN that little footnote in verse 5 [God’s love] will become a blessing of truth that verifies his love is “truly made complete” in you.  It’s more than an option or an opinion, it’s absolute truth.