Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Short Fuse

James 1:17-20 “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession. Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”

Any of us that have or have had the privilege of igniting firecracker on the fourth of July know physically what a short fuse looks like and may have experienced the negative effect of lighting one of those bad boys off. My ears are still ringing. In case you don’t know, sometimes when we light one of those ladyfingers off, the fuse would burn right down to the firecracker, then go out. Not wanting to waste a single big bang, we’d proceed to grab that little nub of a fuse that remained and gently pulled it out a little more. This was proceeded by the not-so-thought-out procedure of relighting that short fuse and getting out of the way before it exploded and damaged something. Consequences never crossed our mind then. Everything is fun until someone gets hurt.

That term “short fused” is now used to describe someone who is quick-tempered, hot-tempered, easily provoked, impetuous, rash, touchy, volatile and let those firecrackers … explosive. Webster’s dictionary defines the term as “a tendency to get angry easily”. They let things get under their thin skin. We all know the type and maybe have been that person before once or twice.

Galatians 5:22-25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

But, there is no love, joy or peace in being “short fused”. Not only are they miserable, but everyone around that person is walking on egg shell trying and to set them off. It surely is not what our Maker, Father God, intended. Our good Lord God, who spoke the Cosmos into existence, never changes, but is in the business of changing us for the better. By His mercy and grace, we can be born-anew with a heart inclined towards God and flowing with the fruit of the Spirit of God – changed from the inside out. The opening passage gives us the Christian recipe to the mature thick-skinned long-suffering patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control that each and everyone of us seek. That being to know and understand that whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father and that we, out of all creation, became his prized possession. 

James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

Life in the jungle of this “fallen in sin world” is no bowl full of cherries, but the bad things (little or big) are really no big thing in the grand scope of life. When a child of God goes down, they go up, so let the stuff that bugs you be like water on a duck. Happiness is holiness as God intended it. Have the God-perspective and you will not have a short fuse.

In Christ, Brian

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Those Who love Jesus

John 14:23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

In surveys of Christians, the fourteenth chapter of the book of John was found to be the favorite chapter. I was not surveyed, but if they had, I’d say that it my favorite chapter also and was far before I heard of this survey. The promises of the Lord Jesus come one after another and they are true blessings for the born-again Believer/Disciple. The bible verse above has always filled me with joy, security and peace. It will forever be a solid and sure directive to live-out the teaching of the Holy Scriptures in my life daily and walk in the indwelling Holy Spirit, which was promised just a few verses earlier in this same chapter.

 John 14:15-17 “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”

Both of these great verses in John chapter fourteen begins with an “if’, indicating that there is a choice involve here and the proof of that choice is reveal in whether or not we keep the Lord’s teachings, statutes and commands found in His Holy Word. The amazing promises of God are ours in our transformational dedication, devotion and desire for Jesus, lived out in our obedience to Him and His Word as our living standard.

The contrary is true and produces opposite promises to those who chose to oppose and disobey the Lord’s teachings, statutes and commands found in His Holy Word. We cannot love God and reject His commands in the Word of God. Someone may say that I am reading that into these verses and passages above, but Jesus made this point clear in the every next verse and that these words were directly from our Creator Father God Himself.

John 14:24 “Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”

Love, joy and peace are things that everyone desires, but they come from a loving relationship with the Lord that is the natural outflow of the child of God, who has confessed and repented of their sin, accepted the free gift of eternal life in the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, had their spirit regenerated and reconciled with God and live a life of obedience; following, learning, growing and maturing in this journey to the ‘promised land” of Heaven.

In Christ, Brian. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Life as God intended Us to Live it - Part 2

Deuteronomy 30:19-20a “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days.”

Continuing Pastor Kyle’s bold message on living by the Word, Will and Way of God, Kyle told us that we may not live in the Garden of Eden anymore, but gave us three positive statements about living rightly in the eyes of the lord today. (1) We are still made in the image of God. We all were formed by God out of the dust of the earth, like clay in the hands of the Potter (Isaiah 64:8). Our Maker forms our life into whatever He wants; not what we might desire. Our view of what is good for ourselves may be distorted as we do  not see the whole picture. We have to trust our Creator father God. (2) We still have the same marching orders from God and that involves obedience. Remember that next to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was the tree of life to test us. God did make us to be robots, but gave us a “free will”. Satan tempted our first parents with a lie, but continues to deceive the world, create confusing doubt in our mind and tempt the flesh desires of our sinful heart today. But, we are to put on the full armor of God (God’s truth and righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith and the Word of God) as we walk in the Spirit and not gratify the sin nature’s desires. (3) Jesus makes the “Garden” intimacy possible again. Jesus said in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The enemy (the devil) has stolen our garden experience. But, through Jesus’ work on the cross, our sin is reconciled and our intimacy restored for the quality of life. Satan steals and kills; God provides and saves.   

Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

Kyle explained that there were numerous methods of dealing with our sinful shortcomings. Some are behaviorally focused. We need accountability, checks and balances, reminders and an occasional “slap on the wrist” for correction to keep us on the “straight and narrow” path of righteousness. Sin makes people feel shame and guilt, but the grace of God heals all wounds. We need to take a look at ourselves and focus on why we go there in the first place and what are the paths that led us there? Some are heart-focused. Jesus said in Matthew 6:20-21 “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Compared to the big picture laid out for us in the Word of God, are there some pieces missing?  The best are holistic. Do we look at the whole picture with an eternal perspective or with an “in the moment” existential short-sightedness? We all carry stress, but what place do you go to (physically and mentally) for relief, or what do you consume to take the edge off? Jesus paid the price for us to have a restored “Garden” intimacy. We have a picture of God’s Way, but need a map to get there and an instruction manual on how to.

2 Peter 1:3-7 “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.”

There is a plan and a picture by God for us to get to the Garden experience. If we have no spiritual growth and progress in life, how can we say that we are walking in obedience with the Holy Spirit? We have the choice to say: “No thanks, I got this.” But, we have to look at why we do what we do in honest conversation with the Lord. We all need to “tend to the garden” of our life in body, mind, soul and spirit, and live our life as God intended us to live it.

In Christ, Brian.   

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Life as God intended Us to Live it - Part 1

Genesis 2:5-7 “Before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”

This last Sunday, Pastor Kyle continued the Sermon series through the book of Genesis and told us how he always puts together assembly items that he buys by pouring out all the pieces, then looking at the picture on the front of the box. But, more time than not, he ends up with a few extra pieces that are needed somewhere, and so calls a friend to come over, who pulls out the instructions manual from the box and puts the item together properly, with no extra parts and works as the manufacturer design and intended it to. How often do we all do that with items we buy and also in our life in general? Do we read and take the directions that God has given and left for us, intending us follow for our own good in life? The Holy Bible is (B.I.B.L.E.) is truing the Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth – our Instruction Manual for living this side of eternity by the Designer/Creator/Sustainer and it is intended to be use and followed.

Genesis 2:8-10 “The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads.”

The story of the origin of life on earth in the Holy Scriptures is not really a story; just like the story of your or my life is not actually a story; it is reality and the factual history of genuine times, people, places and events that took place. God created mankind in a garden paradise of Eden, but, because of sin entering the world, we do not live in the garden anymore; but in a “Fallen” world. When we take our eyes and heart off our Maker and His design for life, we fashion our own little gods to focus on and follow, instead of the Designer/Creator and Sustainer of our life. It goes without saying that our life works best when following God’s instructions, not our own choices by what we think and feel, surrounded by little false gods of our making. Our choice to live as we want is truly a life or death decision, just as Adam and Eve deciding to disobey and eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil did.

Genesis 2:15-17 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

We may not live in the Garden of Eden anymore, but we are still made in the image of God. 

Let continue Pastor Kyle's  message on "the God-designed life" on the next post.
In Christ, Brian

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Ignite - Part 2

Michael continues; When a nation defies the truth of the Word of God, the only thing that will save the nation from destruction is God's mercy and grace.  Men of God must stand in the gap to lead and to shepherd his people through prayer.  Intercessory prayer allows men of God to forge spiritual bonds as families and as churches in the body of Christ.  As men respond in prayer, God will intervene with the power of his might.  Prayer is God's force multiplier.  Prayer is God's offense in the spiritual battle.  Praying in the power of the Holy Spirit wields the sword of the spirit of truth and allows God to intercede against the powers of darkness.  The golden bowls of incense in the book of Revelation is the prayer of the saints.  God's prophet in the Old Testament said we have no plan and we have no power but my eyes are upon you, Lord.  In prayer, the power of God is loosed upon earth to bring about his purpose and his will.  May our prayer be, "here am I Lord, send me."  Prayer is aligning my heart with his heart, my will with his will, his purpose with my purpose.  As we pray, it is God who works within us to will and to do of his good pleasure.

We are the ones whom God has called to link heaven and earth.  Prayer is the communication... The co-Union between God and men.  We have been called a Royal priesthood to stand in the intervene on behalf of God's people.  For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.  The riches of the Glory of the mystery is Christ in us the hope of glory.  He has called us to lead others from darkness to light.  There is no one in the dark so deep as the one who thinks he's in the light but he's really in the dark.  Therefore quench not the spirit.  May we be like John Wesley who said when someone asked him why people came from such great distances to hear him preach, "I light myself on fire, and people come from miles around to watch me burn." 

Through prayer...let your light so shine before men that they see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven.  O Lord, ignite me, set me on fire so that the light of your Holy Spirit will lead others from darkness and into the glorious light your gospel of Truth.

May God richly bless you,
Your brother in Christ, Michael

Friday, October 21, 2016

Ignite! - Part 1

This week Michael writes: We look for the mountaintop experiences in life.  However, we're built for the battle in the valley of human need to which God has called us.  It's the staying quality that matters.  From life's valley of humiliation we reach up for God to rescue us from pain and shame.  From the valley of humiliation God will remove all doubt...His power is made perfect in our weakness.  According to Psalm 34:18-19, “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.  Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.”

Peter Kling's grand daughter Leslie, a police officer, was recently murdered in the line of duty.  She and her family Jack, and Zachary, had just bought a new home in Hemet last year.  Peter shared a message about seeing his grand daughter again in her "father's mansion" where he as prepared a place for her.  

The catastrophes of life drive us to our knees.  These trying times cause us to run to the Lord and not away from him.  Humiliation steals our sense of value that our earthly life amounts to anything.  In the valley of humiliation the adversary will beat us down.  The devil will remind me that in my flesh there is no good thing.  However, Jesus said, come to me all of you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.  God made children to be afraid of the dark.  However there is nothing worse than grown men who fear the light.  For the light came into the world and men rejected the light because their deeds were evil. God sent his son to rescue us from the darkness.  

The theme of this weekend's men's retreat is "Ignite."  Prayer, studying the word, and fellowship with our brothers in Christ provides the fuel for igniting our hearts.  The spiritual warfare gives us the purpose for prayer.  Prayer and the Word of God are God's offensive weapons in the spiritual battle.  Spiritual revolutions are worked through the power of prayer.  Praying men are God's mighty men, empowered with hearts on fire ignited by the power of the Holy Spirit.  

Let's continue Michael's message "ignite" on the next post.
In Christ, Brian

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Lord's Peace

Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Psalm 4:8 “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

Psalm 29:11 “The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.”

Psalm 37:10-11 “For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; indeed, you will look carefully for his place, but it shall be no more. But the meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”

Romans 8:6 “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”