Only along the road:
C .S. Lewis in his book Mere Christianity says "There are certain things in Christianity that can be understood from the outside, before you have become a Christian. But there are a great many things that cannot be understood until after you have gone a certain distance along the Christian road."
16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?" 17 So He said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments." 18 He said to Him, "Which ones?" Jesus said, "'You shall not murder,' 'You shall not commit adultery,' 'You shall not steal,' 'You shall not bear false witness,' 19 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' " 20 The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?" 21 Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."
This man without actually following Christ could understand right and wrong and good perameters for living a healthy life. However, he wouldn't have approached Christ to ask "What else do I still lack" unless he understood that something was still missing in his life.
Just like this man, as the story goes on to tell us, most people never get past the thought of selling it all and also never receive the knowledge of God and intimacy with Him that is only available "along the road" as you follow Christ. Of course there is a cost associated with traveling on this road, but traveling the wrong road will cost you much more.
Jesus says... 13 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
For those traveling the narrow road or considering paying the price to get on it, here is a promise from Jesus that is only accessible "along the road"... Revelation 21:5 "Behold, I make all things new"
Great song! http://youtu.be/9PilfgFt-S4
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
With no reference for sin and a God that created them without clothes, I find it hard to believe that the nakedness Adam and Eve wanted so desperately to cover was that of their body parts and skin. To have your eyes truly opened to good and evil as they did by eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and in one moment to realize that not only is there evil but you have committed the evil act of disobedience against your creator , I believe was more than Adam and Eve could bear.
The nakedness they experienced was the climax of so many things happening in one instant. They realized that even though they never knew it they had been covered and protected by God and now they were not. This brings a new light to the statement "you never know what you've got until you've lost it".
In the time it took to eat one fruit they became aware of sin, recognized they had sinned, and longed for the covering of God they lost before they even knew it could be lost. And they compounded the problem by trying to fix it the best way they could figure out without God, fig leaves. When we find ourselves naked and without the covering of God we must recognize it's because we are sinners and then there is only one thing to do... Ask for forgiveness and to be covered by the blood of Jesus... Fig leaves will never do!
God created us to have relationship with Him and with one another. Genesis records that God placed man in a garden east of EDEN then provided an intimate relationship of walking together, talking together, and providing companionship for man. God blessed man with joy from the beauty of all that He had created for man to subdue and have dominion over.
Not many people have intimacy with God, true companionship with other people, or really enjoy the gift of God that is this created world. The question is how does someone get to that place? First let me say that while God's plan for man has not changed, acquiring it takes more than a couple hours on Sunday mornings and a few bucks to enter in to the garden of Eden and walk with God.
please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night
E.D.E.N. - Pray Every Day & Every Night
Moreover You led them by day with a cloudy pillar, And by night with a pillar of fire, To give them light on the road Which they should travel.
E.D.E.N. - Be led by God Every Day & Every Night
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous
E.D.E.N. - Meditate on the word of God Every Day & Every Night
There can only be one:
2 Timothy 2:5
5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus
Make no mistakes about it. While God has placed pastors, priest, teachers, leaders, and elders in the body for a reason they are not the source for beleivers. They help you onto the path, back onto the path, up out of the dirt, and along the way but Just as Jesus is the only Mediator, He also says in John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Honor those who God has placed as guides and supports in your life but new testament believers should remember that when the veil was torn in two you were given direct access to God the Father as long as you come "through Crist" who is the "one and only Mediator" between God and men.
Pastors: When we find ourselves digging for more within ourselves and coming up wanting, remember what were perhaps the most significant words Jesus uttered to the Apostles... Matthew 14:18 He said, "Bring them here to Me."
I know what I'm capable of:
19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you. 21 But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table. 22 And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!" 23 Then they began to question among themselves, which of them it was who would do this thing.
We know that Judas is the one that betrayed Christ but after walking with Jesus for 3 years, witnessing miracles, and coming to know that He was God Himself, the other 11 disciples one by one still had to ask "will it be me?" Why? Because they all knew what they were capable of.
After just over 8 years of walking with Christ one of the things that astonishes me is knowing what I'm capable of. The thoughts I'm still capable of thinking, the decisions I'm still capable of making, and the actions I'm still capable of performing are down right demoralizing at times. I take solice in knowing that the men closest to Christ knew that they were each capable of betraying Him and yet they went on serving anyway.
The most important thing is that Christ knows what I'm capable of and chooses to love me and use me anyway. If you're not in church because "you don't want to be a hypocrite" please realize that the church is full of people who know we're capable of all kinds of crazy things. We claim to be followers of Christ but often end up on roads He's not on, we claim to be delivered from things but find ourselves doing them again. If it weren't for hypocrites who would be left to attend? Come as you are! I know what I'm capable of, you know what you're capable of, but in time you will see what HE is capable of!
All are welcome:
This morning I attended a sunrise prayer service, then hung out with the couple my wife and I stayed with in Egypt when we went on our missionary trip in August. I'm ending the night praying and preparing for church tomorrow when a friend popped into my mind so I decided to text him. He returned my text with a call telling me that the timing and words couldn't have been better. As I began to pat myself on the back for the day I had and congradulate myself for positioning myself to be blessed by God a thought came into my heart. Vaughn, don't ever forget that when you got saved you were high and drunk at a Laker game and I took you as you were because you asked for me and for the first time you did it with all your heart. I didn't save you because you positioned yourself to be blessed that night.
38 And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. 39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us." 40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong." 42 Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." 43 And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."
All are welcome to salvation, change, transformation, true love, and hope... Just ask for it with all your heart and really mean it. No positioning required!
Actions Speak Louder Than Words:
I love you but I'm not in love with you
This statement is used when two people are breaking up a dating relationship or even worse when a couple is getting divorced… If you break down this statement what’s basically being said is I care for you, I want the best for you, you are a special person in my life, we’ve shared so many good times together, and I think you are a great person….. BUT….. How I feel about me and my desires has officially superseded how I feel about you and your desires and it’s become so painfully obvious….. but because I love you I want you to know that I’m going to focus on me for a while but I want to wish you well…..
if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself ." 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor;
Paul is saying that people need to care about others the way they care about themselves….. Most people by nature don’t try to harm themselves and that’s why it’s so serious when people self mutilate or attempt suicide….. When someone says “I love you but I’m not in love with you” one thing you know is that their self preservation or self value mechanism is working just fine…..
One major problem with men and women of faith is that we know God, and most would even say that we love God, but when we examine ourselves it would be very difficult for us to say with conviction that we are “IN LOVE” with God…..
1 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." 2 So He said to them, "When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one."
So I've decided to blog and done so with a very simple purpose. I need the Lord day by day and if there is a possibility that I can be used to encourage someone as they seek God and/or walk with Him I am more than willing and truly honored to take the time to share some of the things God has put on my heart.
I hope you will be encouraged and follow my blog as I follow Christ...
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Perspective: From selfish to selfless... A reasonable service
I spent the first twentythree and a half years of my life with good friends and good family but 100% devoted to myself and my happiness. I've spent the following seven and a half years in awe that God would save such a selfish person and bless him with a wife and two amazing children and a 3rd on the way. As we approach 5 years of pastoring in the city of Brea I am more excited than ever to give all that I have to the Lord and His children He has sent to The Way to nurture their relationship with Him. I still have a selfish nature but I spend as many hours as possible every day practicing to become the selfless man I desire to be. Prayfully the Lord will give me another 60 or so years of ministry to get it right!
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.