Tuesday, March 29, 2011

In The Presence of God

1 Corinthians 2:14The natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judges all things.

A young man called into a radio talk show discussing the topic of our National Motto (In God We Trust) and the Pledge of Allegiance words (One Nation Under God) and asked, “Isn’t it time that America quit pretending to believe in an imaginary, invisible God?” It is time for those who do not know the Lord God to earnestly seek his manifest presence through the gospel of Jesus Christ that they may have eyes to see and ears to hear what they are missing. Don’t pretend to believe the imaginary, but believe in the reality of true life; in a holy body, soul and spirit, as we were created by our Maker to experience this wonderful gift of life in loving relationship is always present. A godly, balanced, full and satisfying life lived in the presence of our glorious Father God. And it is time for the redeemed child of God, setting apart Christ as Lord, to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have, speak the truth in love, with gentleness and respect, that they may seek and find both salvation and life eternal at the foot of the cross; that they may see and know the life in Christ & the love of Christ.

Matthew – 28:18-20 Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age”. Jesus opened the door.

American Christian Author A.W. Tozer wrote, The veil in the Jerusalem Temple that separated the Holy of Holies, where above the mercy seat dwelt God Himself in glorious manifestation, which was rent when our Lord Jesus gave up the ghost on Calvary, and opened the way for every Believer in the world to come by the new and living way straight into the divine Presence. Ransomed and redeemed men need no longer pause in fear to enter the Holy of Holies. God wills that we, His redeemed children, should push on into His presence and live our whole life there. This is to be known to us in conscious experience and at the heart of the Christian message. It is more than doctrine to be held; it is a life to be enjoyed every moment of every day in the conscious awareness in the Flame of the Presence. Spiritual life, divinely given by the Spirit of God alone, is distinctively of God in Christ and distinguishes the Believer, the child of God, the saints from those who are not sanctified, the natural and carnal, unregenerate heart that is void the Spirit.

John 3:3, 5–6 Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God, unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

Tozer adds that the pseudo-Christianity that is popular today knows this Presence of God only in theory. It fails to stress the Christian’s privilege of presence reality. According to its teachings, we are in the presence of God positionally, and nothing is said about the need to spiritually experience that Presence actually. The fiery urge to walk in communion and present relationship is wholly missing. And the present generation of Christians measures itself by this imperfect rule. Ignoble contentment takes the place of burning zeal. We are satisfied to rest in our judicial possession and, for the most part, we bother ourselves little about the absence of personal experience.

Matthew 13:13-16 Jesus replied, “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah: ‘You will ever be hearing but never understand; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart have become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.”

Tozer states the obvious, that the world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God, famishing for want of His presence. The instant cure of most of our religious ills would be to enter the Presence in spiritual experience, to become suddenly aware that we are in God and God is in us. The highest love of God is not intellectual, it is spiritual. God is Spirit and only the spirit of man can know Him really. In the deep spirit of a man the fire must glow, whose soul pants with a thirst after God, as a deer after the water brook, or his love is not true love of God. God is so vastly, utterly and completely delightful that He can, without anything other than Himself, meet and overflow the deepest demands of our total nature, which can never come from a mere doctrinal knowledge of God, but the heart with pure love for the Godhead are those who have been in the Presence and have looked with open eyes upon the majesty of Deity. The world waits for the tender voice of the saint who has penetrated the veil and has gazed with the inward spiritual eye of their heart upon the wonder of God. And yet, thus to penetrate, to push in sensitive living experience into the holy Presence, is a privilege open to every child of God. By the atoning sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, we now have direct access to the presence of our Heaven Father, so why stand any longer outside the Holy of Hollies? Child of God, come in and abide in the Presence of the Lord God Almighty, that your joy may be complete. Read John 15:1-11 with this access in mind.

Matthew 5:8-9 & 13-16 Jesus began to teach them, saying: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

Blessing in Christ, from somewhere in the middle of the Carribean. Brian

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Holy Affections of the Heart

2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.”

Do we truly understand and appreciate the length that God went for our salvation? No one who has realized something of the love of Christ, who died for us, can remain indifferent. Do the inclinations of our soul bend towards what is right in the eyes of the Lord? Does our will align with the will of God for our lives, and do we seek His holy will daily? Where does our heart prove its allegiance by our thoughts, words, attitude and actions? What do we demonstrate to the Lord by our life? The Scriptures tell us to test ourselves because the emotions and commotions of the ages then and now. Galatians 5:16-25 explains to us that the indwelling Spirit is in conflict with our old flesh, that compete for the affections of our heart; the dedication, devotion and desires of our mind, will and emotions daily. This examination humbles me to my knees; to rejoice in the Lord, because our Father God desires that we develop, expand, grow and increase our faith in action; indentifying and trimming off that which is unproductive and/or harmful in our walk with Him, while continually seeking godly knowledge and wisdom from above to produce increasing more heavenly fruit (of love, joy, peace, etc.) aligned with the mercy and grace given us through our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. May we stand up, anew, and boldly walk in His purposes.

Jonathon Edwards, in the year 1746, wrote: If true religion lies much in the affections, then we should do as much as possible to stimulate the affections towards godliness and holiness. Those books, types of preaching of the Word, and liturgies of worship that help us worship God in prayer and praises are to be encouraged, as they help to affect the hearts of those who do these things. But in these times, the apathetic way in which prayer and preaching are practiced no longer excites the affections. Rather, it causes disgust and only creates displeasure and contempt. If true religion lies so much in the affections, we should realize, to our shame before God, that we are not more affected with the great things of faith. It appears from what we have said that this arises from our having so little religion.

For God has given affections to man for the same purpose that He has given all the faculties of the human soul, namely that they might serve “man’s chief end,” to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever, which is the greatest business for which God has created him, namely the business of religion. Yet we find that people exercise the affections in everything else but religion! When it comes to their worldly interest, their outward delights, their honor and reputation, and their natural relations, they have warm affection and ardent zeal. In these things their hearts are tender and sensitive, easily moved, deeply impressed, much concerned, and much engrossed. They get deeply depressed at worldly losses, and highly excited at worldly successes. But how insensitive and unmoved are most men about the great things of another world! How dull then are their affections! Here their love is cold, their desires languid, their zeal low, and their gratitude small. How can the sit and hear of the infinite height, depth, length, and breadth of the love of God in Christ Jesus, of His gift of His infinitely dear Son offered as a sacrifice for the sins of men, and yet be so insensible and regardless?! Can we suppose that the wise Creator implanted such a facility of affections to be occupied in this way? How can any Christian who believes the truth of these things not realize this?

If the Creator has wisely made human nature in this maner, why then misuse our affections? Can we Christians find anything worthier to respond to with all of our affections than what is set forth to us in the gospel of Jesus Christ? Can anything be worthier to affect us than this? For the glory and beauty of the blessed Lord shine in all their luster in the face of an incarnate, infinitely loving, meek, compassionate, and dying Redeemer. All the virtues of the Lamb of God such as humility, patience, meekness, submission, obedience, love, and compassion, are shown us in such a way as to most deeply move our affections. We see too the awful effects of the nature of our sin which our Redeemer undertook and suffered for us. There we see in the most affecting way God’s hatred of sin and His wrath and judgment. As we see His justice and His wrath, we realize what a dreadful punishment was borne for our sins. What cause then have we to be humbled in the dust, that we are not moved more than we are?!

Colossians 1:9-12 “We have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.”

Jonathon Edwards’ words are as true today as when he first penned them, because these natural affections of the flesh and the world, destitute of holy affections of the Spirit of God, creep into the heart quietly and rarely recognized for the evil that they are. Edwards’ goal is not to convict and condemn, but to bring to light the real issue, realize our dependence on Almighty God, and refocus our hearts on Christ alone with eternal holy affections for true love and joy in life. This should be our goal also. Live every day, all day long, abiding in Jesus, enthusiastically moved in body, soul and spirit by the love of God, and in the joy of your salvation in Christ.

From my temporary corner office with a nice view of Columbia today,

Blessings, Brian

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Exercises of the Inclination and Will of the Soul in the Affections of the Heart

1 Peter 3:15 “In your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

I love when technical words and processes are broken down and explained, in an elementary manner, in order that the complete meaning is understood and con be properly applied to live issues in our life. When it comes to some biblical terms, we need to explain this “Christianize” simply, so everyone can understand, value and use them in their walk with the Lord. This type of defining moment happened to me as One of America’s Founding Fathers, Jonathon Edwards put into plain words what is meant by “affections”. May I share his words with you? The anticipation of the joy of heaven raises minds to heavenly bliss, and fills us with the light of God’s glory, making us shine with the expression of that glory. Loving God demands obedience to Him in every aspect of our lives, and calling others to obedience – whether that message is popular or not. To confess faith in God is therefore to live a life that is governed by godly emotions, such as the fear and reverence of God, repentant sorrow over sin, joy in God’s steadfast love, and love towards one’s neighbor. With this meditation in mind I propose the following statement: True religion , in large part, consists of holy affections.

What is meant by “the affections”? My answer to this question is the affections are the more vigorous and practical exercises of the inclination and will of the soul. God has endowed the soul with two facilities. One is capable of perception and speculation so that it can discern, see, and judge things. This is called “the understand”. The other facility is that by which the soul does not merely perceive and view things, but is in some way inclined towards the things it views or considers. It is either inclined to them or is disinclined and averse from them. The soul, because of this facility, does not want to see things as an indifferently, unaffected spectator. It either likes or dislikes, is pleased or is displeased, approves or rejects. This facility is called “inclination”. When it determines and governs the actions, inclination is called “the will”. When the mind is related to these actions, inclination is often called “the heart”. Inclination is exercised in two forms. The soul either views things with approval, with pleasure, and with acceptance, or it views things with opposition, with disapproval, with displeasure, and with rejection.
These exercises of the inclination and will of the soul have various intensities. Some are almost completely indifferent. But there are other degrees where approbation or dislike, pleasure or aversion are stronger. When the soul reacts vigorously and strongly, the exercise is still more intense. Indeed, because the Creator has bonded body and soul together, even the physical life can be affected by such emotions. Through all cultures and times this facility has been call “the heart”. These are those vigorous and sensible exercises of the facility that we call “the affections”.

Our Maker, Lord God, created us wired as a triune human individual, in His image, with body, soul and spirit, that we may perceive, discern and judge that which is good and bad, right or wrong, pleasant or unpleasant, acceptable or to reject, based on the standards of His perfect Word, Will and Way, as we walk in His purposes for our life on this pilgrimage towards heaven. May we, this side of glory, continue to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ and the ways of our Creator and act in godliness, holiness and righteousness in the family, friends, community, nation and society with the knowledge and wisdom from above to affect our culture for His honor and praise. Amen

From the beautiful Pacific Ocean between Costa Rica And Panama via satellite.
In Christ, Brian

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Faith on Trial

James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

There is an unspeakable, indescribable joy in the “good news” of the gospel truth that our loving Creator God sent His Son to save believing, repentant sinners from eternal damnation to eternal life in heaven as adopted son and daughters. But the honest truth is that this is not “good” news to non-believers that are willfully lost in sinful living; that love that which is evil in the eyes of the Lord, because the eternal “lake of fire” of hell is their destiny. Author Chuck Colson writes; “The prevalent characteristics of our culture today are rampant narcissism, materialism, and hedonism … it is dominated almost entirely by relativism. The ‘do your own thing’ mindset has ‘liberated’ us from the absolute of faith & belief and set us adrift in a sea of nothingness. We’ve done away with any sense of individual responsibility. What delusions!” Therefore, those who oppose sovereign God’s Word, Will and Way, also oppose His plan of Salvation in their darkness. It then, naturally follows without surprise, that Christians will experience opposite and persecution from those who desire no mention of or judgment on their sinful lawlessness and godless distractions from their unrighteousness today, and the eternal consequences thereof.

John 16:33 Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

I received this message recently in response to a Facebook post, where I wrote about my friends comment on the radical secular sexualization of America and a Bible verse: “Don’t read my sh*t. You have your beliefs and I have mine. Keep your beliefs to yourself, holier than thou. Get off your horse.” This is quite a statement in the free marketplace of ideas, and a nation where freedom of speech and religion are foundational principles. As Ambassadors for the kingdom of Heaven, we have been given a “cultural mandate” and “great commission” to bring the light of Christ’s gospel (the bread of life, the light of the world, the good shepherd, the Way, the Truth and the Life) and the Word of God into the darkness of this lost & dying world to point the way to the foot of the Cross of Salvation, speaking the truth in love.

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Years ago, while talking with my goddaughter about the duty of the child of God in taking the whole truth of God to the whole world, she replied (thinking of those who love their sin), “But, you will be hated”. John 15:17-19 This is my command: Love each other. “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” Christians are not looking for trouble in their compassion to bring a “saving” knowledge of Jesus Christ to the world that does not know the gospel. Though unity in our LORD God - our Heavenly Father, in eternal truth, is the goal, opposition will come. We love, trust and obey God and our love our fellow man, not valuing friendship with and acceptance by the God-rejecting world and detesting sin.
1 Peter 1:8Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see Him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory."

America’s great intellect and theologian, Jonathon Edwards of the “Great Awakening’ of the eighteenth century, in his classic work “Religious Affections” states that even the trial of our faith has a three-fold benefit. First, they show what is “true” religion. Trials suggest that the authenticity of faith is tested. The faith of true Christians which is tried and proved to be true is found to praise and honor and glory. Secondly, not only do trials manifest the truth, but also enhances the genuine, beauty and love of the gospel with the divine excellency of real Christianity. Thirdly, these trials purify and increase faith. They not only show it to be true, they also free it from false admixtures (cheap grace, blended faiths and easy believism). Nothing is left but that which is true. Edwards goes on to state that suffering trials of faith reveals, first, ‘love to Christ” because the natural world cannot see anything to induce themselves to suffer like this or to support them under the carrying of such trials. Believers have a supernatural love for something that was unseen. They love Jesus Christ whom they see spiritually, but the unbelief of the world does not see. Secondly, trials reveal “joy in Christ”. Christians have inward spiritual joys which are greater than their sufferings. Christ, by faith, is the fountain of all joy. It is unspeakable joy, because it is very different from the worldly joys and carnal fleshly delights. No words can describe the sublimity and exquisite sweetness of joy in Christ because God liberally gives Christians this holy joy, and their joy is full of glory. God wishes none to perish, but all to come to a ‘saving” knowledge of and make a rational choice for Jesus Christ, the Savior and Lord of the world. Let’s get on our horse and tell the world.

John 3:16-21& 35-36 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

Love and joy in Christ, Brian

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Truth & Human Philosopy

Colosssians 2:6-10 “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this (sinful) world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.”

Sitting down with our Pastor for a lunch meeting to discuss and evaluate the Wednesday evening “Foundation of Faith” class and the transition of future topics with more interaction, the discussion migrated to some of the comments that many of the class attendees made about the statements which their friends had made but what they believed was truth that was based upon humanistic moral relativism which they had been taught and lived. Being a foundational of Christianity course, the class revisited the gospel message to see how & why such thoughts conflicted with God’s holy word and will. Presenting biblical truths for spiritual cultivation of the interior life of the heart and its affections for godly living by knowing God (Father, Son & Holy Spirit) intimately. That sin truly is disobeying God in contrast to a right relationship with God, and their temporal & eternal consequences. God’s plan of forgiveness and salvation in the free gift of Jesus’ incarnation, atoning death on the cross to pay for our sins, his resurrection and assention to the right hand of God in heaven. The issue centers on justification & salvation by grace through faith, but not a carnal and false belief where the there is no change in the sinner . Salvation involves “lordship”; who truly sits on the throne of our hearts as LORD. Who makes the Rules?

2 Peter 2:1-3 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.

The purpose of such a foundational class is to encourage open and honest discussion on concerns, questions, misunderstandings and live life issues that they have encountered or are on their minds to clearly see the root problem and seek the truth aligned with their Almighty Creator God, backed by Holy Scripture – the Word of God. By having those foundational truths, it is the goal to help the student to understand the gospel theologically, feel passionately its truth, and respond wholly to its reality. That the root issues are seen clearer and understood more in their walk to become more and more like their Savior & Lord Jesus Christ. But new rational questions and issues keep coming up because of the hollow and deceptive philosophy of secular humanism that is crippled by sin and the complicity of a corrupt and depraved egocentric human nature in self-love which they have been indoctrinated with their entire lives. So we revisit the gospel message each time as the foundation of truth to discover and expose the root issues, then we build upon that truth weekly. Walking in Christ Jesus, believing in Him as the express image of God and submitting to His lordship as the way to resist error and grow in the faith. Christ is exhorted, the kingdom of evil is exposed and confronted, the Scriptures are honored as God’s Word, sound doctrine communicated and promoted, with love for God and our fellow men & women upheld.

I was reading that philosophy, in and of itself, is not being condemned because the tools of this discipline gives us can be helpful in formulating summaries (explanations) of biblical doctrine. It is the humanistic philosophy that is based on human reason alone, apart from Christ and divine revelation from the Bible that deceives with false religious instruction and erroneous teaching, is empty and worthless, non-existent, made of that which is unreal, and making promises it could not keep. At its core, this philosophy is of human tradition and the basic principles of this (sinful) world is the following other gods. As Believers, we know that such “other gods” are nothing more than demons that excite sin in people that enslave people in spiritual adultery, breaking the first commandment that we shall have no other gods. The division is not in people, but in lordship that is based on faith and unbelief in this life. Believers and followers of Jesus have been filled with the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit of God who gives life to the dead in sin and the desire and ability to live in the Spirit, not the flesh. Thus, indwelt by the Spirit, we have the power of God to conform us to godliness, and we do not need anything or anyone else to make us holy, and living rightly before the face of God.
James 1:12-17 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

In Christ, Brian

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Knots Prayer +

Dear God,

Please untie the knots that are in my mind, my heart and my life. Remove the have nots, for in Christ I have everything that I need. Remove the can nots, for with the Lord all things are possible. And remove the do nots, that I may serve you in the good works that you planned for me.

Erase the will nots, that I might willingly follow your loving will and way. Erase the may nots that temptations and distractions deceive me. Erase the might nots that may find a home in my heart, and guide my heart’s desire to put You first in everything.

Release me from the could nots that discourage and replace with confidence in You. Release me from the would nots that bring fear where trust in your Almight hand ventures. And release me from the should nots, where Your holy Word says “should”.

And most of all, Dear God, I ask that you remove from my mind, my heart and my live all of the “am” nots that I have allowed to hold me back; for I am saved by your grace through faith, by the blood of Jesus, and I am your child, I am a citizen in Heaven, I am a (brother or sister) in Christ, I am a disciple of Jesus - my Lord & Savior, I am your Ambassador to this world, I am your servant for your “Good” works. You are the great “I am”, and I praise & glorify your holy name. I am yours. Amen
(Author - known by God)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Relational Prayer

Psalm 5:1-3 Give ear to my words, O LORD, Consider my meditation. Give heed to the voice of my cry, My King and my God, For to You I will pray. My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up.

Building on the broken and disconnected relationship between God and mankind created by Sin that was restored by our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ in his atoning sacrifice on the cross as a free gift by God’s grace for the Believer, an inter-personal, intimate, parent-child and spiritual relationship based in righteousness is established. Though Jesus’ redeeming blood, our spirit is regenerated, we are given a new and transformed heart bent towards God and the indwelling Holy Spirit inside; we are adopted as a child of God, given eternal life as a citizen of the kingdom of heaven, and direct access to speak to our heavenly Father. Christianity is not a religion, but a complete relationship with God.

Romans 10:10-13 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

I read this definition: An intimate relationship is a particularly close interpersonal relationship, which include an enduring behavioral interdependence, repeated interactions, emotional attachment and need fulfillment. God, who is merciful and just, met our greatest needs for forgiveness of sins and salvation by sending His Son to save all who accept the gospel truth. We are unworthy, but Jesus is worthy by His sinless life, so we have a right relationship with God through Christ, so “in Jesus’ name” we pray. Any and all good relationships require loving, honest and open communication to grow, mature and stay healthy. Prayer is talking to God in pure relationship, heart to heart. There is no power in the act of prayer; only in the One (Almighty God) we pray to, and prayer changes things.

Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

What a privilege it is come into the presence of God, Creator of the universe, and talk with Him, our Father in Heaven, any time (24/7/365). Will we not make it our daily custom to devote time to pray to Him, Abba? He loved and saved us for this relationship.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Blessings in Christ, Brian

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Lord Jesus Christ

Deuteronomy 26:16-18 “Today the LORD your God has commanded you to obey all these decrees and regulations. So be careful to obey them wholeheartedly. You have declared today that the LORD is your God. And you have promised to walk in his ways, and to obey his decrees, commands, and regulations, and to do everything he tells you. The LORD has declared today that you are his people, his own special treasure, just as he promised, and that you must obey all his commands.”

As the saying goes: “I’m as busy as a bee” lately with coaching Little League baseball, trying to lose weight with gym workouts, Studying for, preparing outlines & teaching a class for Wednesday night small groups, household chores and errands, church and time with family plus blogging on top of my weekday job. Never a dull moment, for sure. The college-aged students in the “foundations of faith” class have commented that the fundamental truths are bringing to light the message of the Bible and making sense in a world that doesn’t. It’s a blessing to see them grow and mature in the Lord.

Psalm 47:1-2 & 47:1-2 Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty— he is the King of glory. Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. For the LORD Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth.

Lord is not a word that we hear much when referring to a person, here in America. There is no royal king, master or sovereign ruler, who exercises supreme authority, or control with dominion and power in our democratic republic of the people. Yet spiritually, someone sits on the throne in the kingdom of our soul as “Lord of our heart”, that exercises supreme authority and governs our mind’s attitude, emotions and will in life. Who do we ultimately obey: God or self? Is Jesus Christ Lord & Savior of our life?

John 14:15 & 23-25 “If you love me, obey my commandments. Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me. I am telling you these things now while I am still with you."

The atheist (Greek: a-, without + theos, god) and the agnostic (Greek: a-, without + gnĊsis, knowledge), the existentialist focusing on the condition of human existence, the naturalist focusing on nature and the natural order, paganism, universalism and all false religions, each buy into the great lie of Satan to Eve in Genesis 3:5: “you will be like God”. It is a fact of Psychology that denies most passionately those things we fear most desperately. Ultimately, living a life of mortal terror of going to hell and these distractions can become life’s purpose as God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. - Ecclesiastes 3:11

Philippians 2:6-11 “Though Jesus was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Because of this, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

We are justified by “saving” faith, repenting of our sins, denying ourselves, transferring our trust from ourself to Jesus Christ alone as Lord of our life and accepting His finished work on the cross for our salvation and eternal life, as a gift from God. A Christian disciple is a dedicated, devoted, disciplined and faithful student and follower of the Lord Jesus with a consecrated life, liberated from the bondage of sin, bearing good fruit in line with God’s will and participating in the divine nature to continually grow and mature into the likeness of Christ. Sanctify means to be set apart by God, for God purposes. There are two things that I know for sure and that is that there is a Lord that I obey and it is not me. It is the Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Halleluiah, praise the Lord!

Grace and peace, Brian