Jesus My Servant

washing-feetJesus MY Servant??!!

Scandalous!  Absurd!  Blasphemous!

Jesus is not MY Servant!  I am HIS Servant!! 

Would you like to learn more of Him?

Then you must let Jesus wash your feet.

The practice of washing the feet of a visitor to one’s home was a practical courtesy and was typically the job of the servant of the house.  It cleansed and refreshed one’s feet after a long, dusty journey.

John 13 tells us the story of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples.  It was during the Passover meal, and it was meant, by Jesus, to teach an important lesson to the disciples.  And – at first – Peter wasn’t having it. Before you are too harsh with ol’ Pete…consider how you would have reacted to Jesus.

I was celebrating my normal morning devotions as the music was helping me stir the embers of my soul.  The gentle breeze of these words brought the warmth of tears to my eyes:

              “Lord teach me to let You wash my feet.”

Peter was a good, sincere, follower of Jesus.  He recognized Him as his Master.  Understandably, it was Peter’s intent and desire to serve Jesus.  Not the other way around.  (Perhaps like you feel?)

But Jesus basically told Peter that he wouldn’t understand a relationship with Him unless he (Peter) allowed Jesus to be his servant.

There is something really important for us to learn here.  Honestly, it takes the help of the Holy Spirit to “get it.”  It has to be taught to us.  All He is waiting for is that you ask Him.

         “Jesus, teach me to let You wash my feet.”

We won’t truly be blessed in the way that the Lord wants to bless us unless we submit to Him washing our feet (serving us).

It seems scandalous.  Blasphemous.  Absurd.  However, to do so kills our pride and self reliant ambition.  And, it causes our love for Him to burn brighter than it ever has before.

Gary

 

No Longer Rejected

Sun-rays-in-forestOne of the messages from Isaiah 62 that we embrace through Jesus Christ: “I am no longer Forsaken and neither is my place in this world called Desolate. For now, Lord, You call me Your Delight. I am owned, in covenant with, and protected by You, Lord. I thank and praise You that You now know me by my new name, “Sought Out!” Add to that Prov. 4:18, “Through Jesus Christ, I am on the path of righteousness that grows brighter day by day.” I don’t believe in saying scriptures like attempts to “work magic.” However, I do believe that praying God’s Word from the faith intention of the heart has the effect of re-educating our minds and transforming the way we look at life.

Because I have embraced Jesus, I have a great hope.  I am no longer call myself desolate.  I not long think of myself as forsaken.  I am His Delight because He says I am.  I am not rejected, but I am “Sought Out!”

Soak your mouth and your mind in that reality.  Breath it daily.

Gary

What Moves God’s Hand?

hand_ofgod2We realize areas of lack in our lives.  Insufficiency is part of the human frame.   We need the “Hand of God” to be moving for us.

But, what moves God’s Hand?  I desperately need Him to move on my behalf.

God’s Heart Moves God’s Hand

It’s easy to get into theoretical religious discussions on the subject.  Truth be told, most of the considerations – whether serious debates, or simple viewpoints – have some of the essences of truth.  As I like to say, “That’s not inaccurate.  It’s just incomplete.”  However, too many become confusingly and legalistically rigid.

“Faith Moves God’s Hand”

Of course, we are instructed in the Scriptures to conduct the affairs of our lives (walk) by faith.  But, faith in what?

It is appropriate – even vital – to be in agreement with the principles of God’s Heart.  That is without question.

However, the question is what moves God’s hand?

“Love Moves God’s Hand”

As with any human child and parent relationship, the parent desires to hear the agreement of his or her child.  But, the motivation of love is what moves the hand of the parent on the child’s behalf.

As with the parent, God loves to hear the sound of His child’s voice.  His heart is moved, and through His wisdom, His Hand is moved on our behalf.

God’s heart is stirred by His love for us.  As we engage with Him – as we intentionally call upon Him – His hand will move on our behalf regardless because of His stirrings of love.

His wisdom filled love will “move” in different ways depending on His knowledge of our need.

Is There Value In “Faith Confessions”

Yes.  But, not for the purpose of “moving the Hand of God.”  The value of repeating Bible verses is for self instruction (IMHO).   We need to assist the training of our minds with learning what the Scriptures say about issues of life as they relate to the Kingdom of God.

But training our minds to be in agreement with the realities of God’s Kingdom is simple part of good discipleship.  And, in that self training, diligence needs to be given to humble accuracy regarding what those verses are saying.

(Side note:  Head effort alone will not get anyone to the Heart of God’s Word.  We must rely on our conscious partnership with the Holy Spirit to open our eyes and ears.)

So, back to the original question.  What moves the Hand of God?

His Love For Us

His hand will not be moved to do everything we say in the way our “wisdom” (or panic) is asking for…..regardless of how many times we repeat the same verses over and over and over….

His love always contains His wisdom.  They cannot be separated. 

Therefore, “love filled wisdom” will prevail.  But, love is the initiator.  Rest in the fact that HIS LOVE FOR YOU MOVES HIS HEART, NOT NECESSARILY THE PRECISE ACCURACY OF YOUR WORDS.

Gary

P.S.  Train yourself to be humbly accurate with the Scriptures.  It is always pleasing to the Lord for His children to be in agreement with Him.  But, it’s not the key.  Love is, and His methodology of response with be wisdom.

 

 

 

How Simple Faith Works Best

yesExercising faith is not always easy, but it should always be simple.

Complicated faith is the product of a “works” mindset.  It’s always about making sure “I do it right.”

Today, I want to share a simple story of how simple it is to “turn on” faith that receives God’s promises.

I was recently taking a member of my church home after our Sunday family gathering.  When I arrived at the entrance to her building, I saw a young lady who had visited us at The Sanctuary, Davenport a couple of times.  When I greeter her, she asked me the following question:

Do you think God wants to heal me?  I’m bi-polar and am diabetic.”

I talked with her for a few minutes and reminded her of some of the healing and miracle promises in the Bible.

(Side note:  I did not take a hyper faith attitude with her.  I simply quoted some of the scriptures for her to remember.  Otherwise, I believe she would have felt “scolded.”)

I then asked her if I could say “a little prayer” for her.  She said, yes, and I took her hands.  I then prayed a simple prayer – in a conversational tone – acknowledging the truth and surety of God’s grace for her life.   As I was saying amen, the following thought crossed my mind:

“I say Yes to my healing!”

I then gave the young lady this instruction based on what I sensed.  I said, “According to what God has said in the Bible, healing is part of what God desires for us….and you.  Therefore, every day it will be a simple matter of receiving His words as truth.”

I then went on to tell her she didn’t need to worry about saying the right things in prayer or “confession” of healing verses.  I said, it’s just like receiving Jesus into your heart and life.  Just say, Yes!  Every day (and whenever you think about it during the day) simply say to God, “I say yes to my bi-polar miracle.  I say yes to recovering from diabetes.”

I then asked her if she thought she could remember to do that.  With a big smile she said, “Yes.  I definitely can do that!”

The longer I help mentor people in the life that Jesus has already bought and payed for, the more I am convinced that we tend to make all of his life-giving principles into defeat-dealing rules of conduct.  What we too often call faith and grace is a new mask on fear and works.

We need, more than anything, to approach our relationship with the Lord and His life with a K.I.S.S.  (Keep It Simple Stup…err…Silly)

What have you discovered along the way?  Join the conversation in the comments.

Gary

 

 

Take A Deep Breath

yes-breathingWe are now taking a change of topics from Skepticism to issues of Spirit driven life.  Today, let’s “tease” a truth that comes from the commonly known phrase, “Take a deep breath.”

You hear it, say it, and experience it for a variety of reasons that attempt to “settle stress.”   Taking a deep breath is, in fact, the beginning, middle, and end of a peace wrapped life.  Unless, of course, you prefer stress, worry, and anxiety, to joy, peace, and confidence. :)  If you do, then…there’s a problem, wouldn’t you say? :)

Actually, there are people that, without realizing it, do prefer stress and conflict.  It’s the only place that feels “normal.”  One type of person that is often afflicted with this are children of alcoholics.   That is an important area that needs attention.  But, it is not the direct design of this post.

I’m going to let you “unpack” further personal insights of taking your own deep breath, because to be meaningful…you MUST do your own “work” on it.  That’s called pondering/meditation in and on the Word of the Lord.

But let me simply help you launch your own search with these simple thoughts:

  1. The NAME of God in the Old Testament is Yahweh.  Names in Hebrew culture are about meaning.  A root meaning of Yahweh is BREATH.  In fact to get an idea of how it sounds, you can say it breathing in as you voice YAH and voicing WEH as you exhale.
  2. In Genesis 2:7 Yahweh “breathed Himself” into Adam.  Not just what we think of as physical breath, but His very life.
  3. In John 10:10 you discover of promise of Jesus.  He said that He came that we might have life.  There are three words for life.  One is Bios, which is physical life.  Another is Psuche, which includes the soul process of decision making, emotions, and intellectual process to navigate in this earth.  Frankly, that is what most Christians think Jesus is promising…better earthly experiences.  Now…THAT is a fruit of it, but not the promise.  Because the promise is the very “engine.”  The third word is Zoe, the life of God, Himself.
  4. Some interpret that as an invitation to accept a limited (albeit wonderful) understanding of Salvation which means only being saved from hell so that one day upon death the “saved” will go to heaven.  I do believe in heaven and hell that the Scriptures teach, but I’m attempting to expand what Jesus was actually promising.

He said that you might have life.

  1. HAVE in the Greek is in the tense of owning or possessing (not passively, but actively).  It also is in the present tense meaning RIGHT NOW FOR PRESENT USE.
  2. MIGHT is a conditional statement.  Actively possessing the benefit of God’s very life is conditional.  What are the conditions?  Basically to put yourself in position for the Holy Spirit to act upon your spirit, soul, and body.

KEYS FOR YOU TO DEVELOP THAT ANSWER THE “HOW” OF POSITIONING:

  1. Personal Worship.  The kind where you are not asking for anything but to be “refashioned” after His likeness.  Asking for personal life stuff has it’s place, but not in “taking a deep breath”
  2. Personal Ponder of His Word.

Now it’s your turn to learn the journey of “deep breathing.”

Gary

Jesus Transformation Stories #1

Eye witness testimony is a powerful form of evidence in any courtroom.  It’s part of the legal system whereby guilt and innocence is found.

The New Atheist demands evidence with statements like, “The burden of proof is on you.”  However, by evidence, he/she means “scientific method” evidence.  They will not accept anecdote or personal testimony.

Without realizing it, they shoot themselves in the foot (and head) because they’ve used an argument that comes from a court of law; Not a scientific laboratory.

New Atheism claims that Jesus is just a myth, and was never a real person.  The eye witness testimony of four people in today’s video presentation gives powerful accounts of the active power of Jesus in the lives of people today.

Included:

1.  A Muslim woman is encountered by Jesus in her dreams.
2.  A man attempts to take his own life with his assault rifle.3.  A rodeo cowboy dies in the saddle and sees heaven.
4.  A woman’s life is threatened in a home invasion at midday.

These personal stories of evidence are just examples of what the power of Jesus can do in your life as well.   Watch the video and be encouraged:

 

Jesus Is And Never Was A Myth

In the latest edition of Everyday Faith, there is much evidence that contradicts the New Atheism claim that Jesus was never more than a myth concocted by the writers of a “mythical bible.”

The fact is that Jesus, the historical figure, and the Son of God that now lives within the heart of the Believer is very dangerous to the whole ideology of Naturalism that atheists follow.

If Jesus were not any more real that a sky ferry, or flying spaghetti monster, as atheists claim, what difference would it make.  He wouldn’t make a difference any anyone’s actual lives.  But, He makes a dramatic difference.

You can watch the video here:

 

I Don’t Base My Faith On The Bible

JESUS OVER BIBLENow that’s a very provocative way to begin my post, isn’t it?  Especially for a Christian pastor, eh?  (Maybe I’m loosing my way?)

Truth be told, I didn’t find my way by basing my life on the Bible.

[Keep reading.  Maybe you’ll discover why your faith doesn’t work the way you think it should.  Of course, I’m going to assume, here, that you are an honest person, okay?]  :)

I Do Believe The Bible

<murmering in the background>…”okay, Mabel, I’m confused.  Didn’t he just say he doesn’t base his life on the bible???”

You heard me correctly.  I don’t base how I live my life on the Bible.  And, truthfully speaking, I bet you don’t either.

I Base My Life On Jesus

I’m not just playing fast and loose with words, here.  There is actually quite a bit of difference between the two approaches.

Skeptic’s Accusation, “Why would any sane person base their lives on a brutal, contradictory book of fairy tales?”

A sane person wouldn’t base his or her life on a brutal, contradictory book of fairy tales.  And since I am a sane person with a touch of seasoning :), I don’t for two reasons:

  1.  That’s not what the Bible is
  2.  As already stated, I base my life on the example of Jesus

What Is The Bible?

The Bible is a library of literary genius made up of 66 different collections of literal historic accounts, poems, proverbs, eye witness testimony, and narratives.  Although it has extremely relevant application for today, it was not written by men like us to men and women like us.  It’s absolute truth must be understood by more than “couch potato diligence” to it’s contextual heartbeat.  [Yes.  ‘couch potato diligence’ is an oxymoron]

Why Do I Trust The Bible?

I trust the Scriptures because Jesus trusted the Scriptures.  Not the other way round.  In other words, I don’t trust in Jesus because I trust the Scriptures.  I trust the Scriptures because Jesus understood and trusted them.

“Jesus Is The Final Authority and Example For My Life”

I can’t answer for nor judge every man and woman who declares themselves to be Christian.  I know some precious Christian believers who are “historically Christian” by order and organization.  However, often times, Christianity is very little more than a variety of organized dogmas.  Let me clarify.  I’m not bashing organized Christianity.  I am simply saying that faith based on organized sets of dogma [even what’s known as Word Faith prescriptions] is a poor substitute for the gritty, gutsy, dirt under one’s fingernails, boots on the ground kind of faith that comes from “watching Jesus.”

The Bible is actually a very sophisticated genius collection of messages that tell God’s story and purpose for mankind.  A person wouldn’t realize that without giving it the kind of due it deserves.  But, it all points toward Jesus.  Faith arises from the story and example of Jesus.  The Scriptures give that story context.

As the Gospel chorus says, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus.  Look full in His wonderful face.  And the things of earth will grow strangely dim.  In the light of His glory and grace.”

One last thought:

It was Jesus who declared that the greatest commandment was to love the Lord God with all of the heart, soul, and MIND.

True faith isn’t for dummies, nor lazy minds.  Rest in a daily relationship with Jesus as the cornerstone for your life.  Intently investigate the Scriptures to exercise the ageless context of His Story.   Watch real faith grow!

Gary

Darwin Debunked

All atheists are not, any longer, Darwinian evolutionists. However, their “leaders” like Richard Dawkins means Darwinian when he says, “Evolution is a fact.” In one interview he said, “I don’t believe there could be life anywhere else in the Cosmos, but if there were, it would absolutely be Darwinian.”

In this 3rd episode of Everyday Faith Internet Gathering, unscientific assumptions that “darwinians” make are exposed:

Confident Living In A Skeptical World #2

The second edition of Everyday Faith iGathering is now online.  It opens with the question, “If you were putting on trial as being a representative of Jesus, would there be enough evidence to convict you.

You’ll take a 28 minute journey with me  discovering how the skeptical mindset works, why, and it’s contradictions.  You’ll also be inspired by another testimonial of a woman who was a life long atheist and how and why she became a Christian.

Finally, we make application to our own Christian lives.

Here’s the link to Everyday Faith iGathering 28 minute video: