Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bushel Basket Mentality....

 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."
Each year about this time, the local Pharisaical cult raises its many horned head and its high priestess begins pronouncing incantations against any who would venture out of their houses on the wrong day, such as today, October 31. "Today" is also lumped in with many other days that they believe any, who are part of the church, must surrender to the enemy (Satan) such as December 25th and Easter. In their opinion, because the world observes these dates with some sort of enthusiasm, it means that Christians must run and hide to show their own "righteousness". The only acceptable days to celebrate anything, in their overly inflated view, are the dates of the Jewish festivals which are celebrated worldwide by the....unbelieving Jewish people, including the secular, the atheist and the Kaballaist (demonic Jewish mysticism)...wait, now how does that work out??? Are not they (above mentioned groups) unbelievers, which makes them part of the world? 
Unfortunately, their own wisdom and reasoning fails them...and rightly so, because it is based on their own righteousness; by self determination of how they must worship and complete disregard for the entirety of the Word of God. Now, in all fairness, I must admit that they do utilize a fair amount of verses, gleaned here and there, as the "proof" of their stance. Now that said, contextually and in accordance with the complete story of God's redemption...they are flat out wrong!! Cut and paste religiosity, when combined with Internet theology makes for students poorly handling the Word of God. Not,as we are called to be, to.."Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
Jesus didn't give us an alternative; we are to the the Light of the world! Reflecting Him! Not burying ourselves under a basket, but rather elevated on a lampstand for all to see. Shining our light (Christ) before all men....and then the darkness loses!! Then Satan can be seen for what he is...a liar, a thief and  the accuser of the Brethren!!
Sadly, this group of broken individuals, who have each refused the redemption and forgiveness offered by Jesus Christ, continues down this path of "pleasing God" in their own way. Trying desperately to manufacture "righteousness" and showing their dedication by isolating themselves from the body of Jesus, His church. They have become gods unto themselves, serving the god of their own belly (their lust and passion) rather than accept the completed work of Jesus Christ... Brothers and sisters, this should not be so!
The psalmist said it so well in Psalm 118..."this is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it"; Not surrender to the enemy what Christ has won by His precious blood and sacrifice!
We choose, on days like these, to turn up to full luminosity, the Light of Jesus Christ shining through us as a church. We will, by His power, pierce this present darkness because we ARE children of the Light! We "are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light;" We WILL show forth the praises of Jesus!!

Now some may perceive this short dialogue as unnecessarily harsh and not very loving...but I must disagree. Jesus had very little good to say to those who stood behind their Pharisee robes condemning all those around themselves and He pointed out that the problem was that their external religious robes didn't match their internal utterly defiled hearts and yet, these He spoke to were the ones with the great heart for Torah...the letters to the churches make clear that apostates are not to be trifled with, but rather exposed and shown for what their deception is. And amazingly, herein is love. To allow some to continue in their sin and apostasy is to place others in jeopardy of eternal loss. 

It is high time for the church of Jesus Christ to be SALT and LIGHT, every day in every way!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Just Incredibly Blessed...

Contemplating the potential of today....I realize that I have been, and am, tremendously blessed. Alive, well and enjoyer of a great family and great opportunities. Not all easy, mind you, but all doable and workable by the Grace of God. As we assembled yet a few more pieces of the current project, I looked around and saw that indeed God is good, all the time. Even in the darkest struggles, even in the most painful lessons of life, He is good. His mercy, new every morning, greets me and offers His peace, His joy and His love and I've done nothing to deserve it, but He has so graciously offered and bestowed it upon me. In the lives of my children, I see struggles that often reflect my own life choices; some painful, some pleasant, but I also see that the overriding choice I made to accept my Savior's gift of Salvation is present. Though they must, for themselves, surrender and allow His process to work in them, even yet now we still are observers and influencers,  while they learn and experience life. 
Deadlines of this world loom ahead, the seasons come and go but I am moved to thankfulness to see, hear and feel the hand of my God in all things. I can do nothing without Him, nor would I ever want to! In years past, it seemed that life had come down to nothing more than the immediate struggles and trials that surrounded us. But in these days, I have come to understand and know God's process deeply and have found His work to be perfect in everything. The trials of the moment are but, as the Scripture writer penned, but for a moment, a light affliction when placed in view of the cross and what Jesus suffered for me. Realizing that interrupting someone else's trial to make my life more simple is foolishness has  brought a new understanding of much of God's Word to me. I thought that the end of my trials would be sooner and without as much pain, if those other folks involved could just get straightened out quicker. But over time I have realized that His work in them, though involving us, is still exactly that...His work in THEM. His work in me is His work in ME. Though the paths may be tangled together by geographic location, or former associations, God is on His timetable and working His purpose in each of our lives personally and independently, even when He may be using one or the other of us as a tool in the other's process. The realization that I don't have to wait for God to fix the other people, so that I can be healed and rooted deeper and grow was a revelation of the first order...God's order! And in this I find tremendous blessing...I'm not dependent on the others for God's work in me to be accomplished. I MUST be dependent on God alone! And so I shall...
Also realized the considerable blessing that comes in trusting in Christ alone for His many are caught in a web of their own design and manufacture. I see so much more, with understanding, what God's Word had to say about those whose god is their bellies. Always thought that this only could mean those who were gluttons or slobs...but I see how this is actually at the heart of most people's self worshiped  self promoted idols and idolatry. Even those who place themselves back under the law are responding to their own "bellies". It shows up in their passionate pursuit of the food components of the law, in spite of ignoring much of what else was contained in the 613 or so commandments of the law of Moses. They will strain the proverbial gnat but choke down the camel to become the strict vegetarians or vegans that they believe the law requires, but will eliminate all fellowship and accountability to the Body of Jesus Christ, His church in their daily lives. They'll clean their cupboard bare and refrain from the "leaven" in order to accomplish some feasts, but breed a huge crop of contempt for any others who might actually be so heathen as to consume popcorn, or a hot dog or similiar food during these times. It's not Christ they are living out, it is the lust of their own bellies; something to allow them to feel superior over their fellow man, to be "chosen". And this inspires in me an immediate response; not to squabble with them over these issues, but to turn in praise to the God who created this world, Who has loved me with so deep a love and is loving me with the same, that I have no other choice or desire than to worship Him with all that I am and all that I will be. Jesus, You are so much more than anything I could ever do to impress You and You are deserving of more than I could ever dream may the thoughts of my mind and the meditations of my heart be always of You and may the gratitude for what You have done, never be replaced by a cheap imitation of my own desire!!