Category Archives: Wednesday

The Gospel Balance

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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.

Second Chance: I Peter 2

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

2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house…9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

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God has designed our bodies from the inside out.  It’s a good design.  We have an internal structure that our entire body is built around.  We are born the first time with everything in miniature, a tiny skeleton along with tiny muscles and organs that all need to grow in relationship with one another. 

The second time we’re born it’s another version of miniature but still a new life.  We’re still “newborn babies” and still based on God’s original design..but this time we’re aware of life in relationship to God and equipped with faith to “grow up in your salvation.”  There’s a new structure that requires different muscles and organs; “your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength” that must grow in relationship with one another into the spiritual house God has designed you to be. 

This is God’s truth: ”you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”  Go big!

Second Chance: Hebrews 2

FYI: No chapter 2 in Philemon
√ Re·new·al: the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken

Hebrews 2:5 It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified: What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him? 7 You made them [for a little while] a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor 8 and put everything under their [Or his] feet.” In putting everything under them,[Or him] God left nothing that is not subject to them.[Or him] Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them.[Or him] 9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 

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The first thing that caught my attention in Hebrews 2 was the [footnoted] path that challenged me look at “them” with the alternate [him.]  That was intriguing because I believe the Old Testament is a foreshadow comparing the glory and dominion God intended for man, then, to our example for life now, Jesus.  This was more than that for me.  God began our world with a plan to establish an identity of “glory and honor” between the divine beginnings of man and His own.


• Genesis 1:26 26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[Or the earth] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
• Later David wrote about man in relationship to God: “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him?  You made them [for a little while] a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor and put everything under their [Or his] feet.”
• Then Paul writes “In putting everything under them,[Or him] God left nothing that is not subject to them.[Or him].  Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them [Or him].  But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”

Did you catch that identity between “man” and “Jesus?”  Both were made “[for a little while] a little lower than the angels…both crowned with glory and honor and everything under their [Or his] feet” or “subject to them.[Or him].”  Clearly a strong identity but not quite a “likeness.”  G.K. Chesterton wrote “one thing is certain – man is not what he was meant to be.” 

• Jesus came into our world with the unmistakable identity of “man.”  He was born a baby!  The Son of God lived his identity with man, lost his identity because of man but was resurrected to reveal another unmistakable identity to man – the image of God!  That’s the revelation that turns our identity with Him into “likeness” and changes “for a little while” into an eternity of shared “glory and honor” with “them” [him].

Second Chance: 2 Timothy 2

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

2 Timothy 2 [NIV]
1 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others…4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this…25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth…

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Renewal is the application of “the grace that is in Christ Jesus” that fills the void sins once occupied in us.  What makes renewal real is Jesus’ grace, and our confidence in it.  That’s the only thing that can overcome our limitations.  

Paul knew it was God who’d entrusted him AND his limitations, to be a witness for Him.  He had first-hand experience of the power of Jesus to change even the most undeserving opponent, despite their limitations.  Isn’t that an interesting thought?  God knows how to teach us to use what we wish he would just take away.  

This is my grand finale for all of us today.  I want our confidence to be in God’s power and the grace of Jesus to help us reveal He is the strength we count on despite our obvious limitations.   Then we can we be His reliable witnesses “qualified to teach others… in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth…”  I guess it’s the “takes one to know one” method of witness….and on a personal note, if God can “gently” instruct and continue to change a woman who once said…I’ve changed enough…He can change anyone.  

Second Chance: 2 Thessalonians 2

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

[NCV] 9 The Man of Evil will come by the power of Satan. He will have great power, and he will do many different false miracles, signs, and wonders.

[MSG] 15-17 So, friends, take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high. Keep a tight grip on what you were taught, whether in personal conversation or by our letter. May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech.

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This chapter is heavy with emphasis on the power of sin to create instability in all of creation and humanity in particular.  The work of “the man of evil” isn’t much of a secret for us anymore.  Our challenge is capturing this truth: God is still at work in the midst of the instability.

That made me think of this illustration.

The Illustration reminds me of a camera tripod.  The tripod has those three legs that reach out beyond the solid center post to provide the stability necessary to support the weight that central post holds.  

That Godly tripod supports the full weight of truth: the camera of God’s word.  We are His photographers.  That’s the combination that makes it possible for us to “take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high,” stabilized and able to capture Paul’s vision for our lives: “May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech.

Second Chance: Colossians 2

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

2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge…8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ…17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 

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A mystery can be as simple as a jigsaw puzzle or as complicated as finding the next piece of faith that begins to help you see the image of Christ in youself.  

Our life of faith is the mystery.  Piecing together that life is the puzzle. The Bible is the box.  The many pieces of the Scripture are what fill the box.  Inside that box are a jumble of puzzle pieces of irregular shapes, sizes, color and design but every one is a necessary part to complete the puzzle.  FYI: No one ever solves a jigsaw puzzle by leaving all the pieces in the box and pulling them out one at a time. 

Paul has given us a big table in his New Testament writings to pour out the whole contents of the box on and begin solving the puzzle.  Paul’s secret that brings life to the puzzle and solves the mystery of our faith is the top of the box, the completed image so we “may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ.”