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No Guts...No Glory

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We are a society that avoids pain--which is good!  I'm a fan of pain-less living!  I usually do not go out of my way to find pain.

However, in our spiritual lives--all advancement require pain.


pain of endurancepain of egopain of pridepain of denial Jesus understood this and lived it!  Jesus' battle was certainly ON the cross--but a huge battle took place prior to the cross.  Jesus was walking in the perfect will of the Father--doing only those things that pleased the Father.  Jesus predicted three times in Matthew's gospel that he would be killed and rise again the third day.  The most intense battle took place in the Garden of Gethsemane where he fought for his very life.  It was there--in that garden--that the real choice was made.
endure pain--walking in the perfect will of the Fatherendure pain--walking into the realm of glory











Jesus remained focused--working towards the goal:  the completion of the mission! It was in the garden just down from the eastern gate of Jerusal…

Be Thou My vision

Awesome words!
Eleanor Hull:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qatBrbqoUdY


Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tow’r:
Raise Thou me heav’nward, O Pow’r of my pow’r.Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whate’er befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qatBrbqoUdY

An Invitation to the Greatest Kingdom Ever!

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The Scriptures—The Bible—is a book that tells a story.  There are things allowed, permitted, or excused throughout the entire scripture because of the following.
1.  Revelation was progressive:  
No one writes a book with all the plot, climax, and story on page one.  Well, neither does the Bible.   It comes together piece by piece.No book comes with all the plot, climax, and story on page one.  Well, neither does the Bible.   It comes together piece by piece. It takes a long time to work through the entire plot. This was written by about 40 authors over a period of  about 1500 years.  But, there is a point to the story.  It is not answered on page one.  Think of it.  No one writes a book with all the plot, climax, and story on page one.  Well, neither does the Bible.   It comes together piece by piece.  The biggest piece is in the person of Jesus Christ! 
Hebrews 1:1,-2 “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways,  but in these last …

How to deal with personal sin

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My sin:


Do I beat myself endlessly?Do I perform penance?  Works?  Weep more?  Confess more?  Perform some righteous acts to prove how sorry I am?Do I read more Bible?  Go to church more?  Refuse the fellowship of the Lord's Table?Do I fast?Do I tell everyone about how awful I am--what a rotten sinner I am--how much I have failed?What can I do?What must I do?
From The Valley of Vision
A collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions





As the Hymn Writer Elizabeth C. Clephane (1830-1869) wrote:
Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand, The shadow of a mighty rock Within a weary land; A home within the wilderness, A rest upon the way, From the burning of the noontide heat, And the burden of the day.
O safe and happy shelter, O refuge tried and sweet, O trysting place where Heaven’s love And Heaven’s justice meet! As to the holy patriarch That wondrous dream was giv’n, So seems my Savior’s cross to me, A ladder up to Heav’n.
There lies beneath its shadow But on the further side …

Truth or Grace

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A couple of months ago I was at a conference where Rev David Hazzard ( https://paoc.org/family/who-we-are/officers/rev.-david-hazzard) presented the participants of the conference with the following challenge.  Where are you on the grace or truth spectrum?



Here’s the background: 
Jesus—according to John—came full of grace and truth  

John 1:14* The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:17* For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

John tells us Jesus was ‘full’ of grace and truth.  Being full of grace and truth implies a perfect balance between them.  Jesus was FULL--or better,  ‘filled with’ grace—Jesus was ‘filled with’ truth.
We however—tend to be wired toward one end of the spectrum. 
The Truth end of the spectrum tends to be defined almost in terms of legalism.  It is almost as if you don’t like the truth—too bad!  Get o…

We adore Thy Cross O Lord

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 Latin text Antiphona
Crucem tuam adoramus, Domine
et sanctum resurrectionem tuam laudamus, et glorificamus
ecce enim propter lignum venit gaudium in universo mundo.

Psalmus
Deus misereatur nostri, et benedicat nobis.
Illuminet vultum suum super nos, et misereatur nostri. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRrYRORosgo&index=1&list=PLAFC3BF61F242A1C6














 English translation Antiphon
We adore Thy Cross, O Lord
and we praise and glorify Thy holy Resurrection
for behold by the wood of the Cross joy has come into the whole world.


Psalm
May God have mercy on us, and bless us
may He cause the light of His countenance to shine upon us, and have mercy on us.

Which direction are you traveling?

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Life is a journey that is going somewhere!  As you progress on life's journey, it is God's intention for you to become closer and closer to God--to the extent that you long to be with Him.  Paul uses this terminology:  "I'm torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me (Philippians 1:23)."

However, when we are not intimate with God--growing deeper with our relationship with Him--we lose focus of the end goal--being with Christ Jesus.


Here is a road map of a choice.  The most significant question you will answer today is this:  What is your direction of travel?

Prov 11:19 Godly people find life----evil people find death














Rules or relationship? Law or Grace?

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How you picture or envision God will answer the above question.

If 'your' God is a tyrant, an overlord, a dictator--an arbitrary leader--then you are stuck with law and rules.  This 'god' above all things is to be feared and trembled around.  Obey this 'god' or die.  Obey this 'god'--or he will get you!  He will hang you.  He will chase you around and make your existence miserable.
If 'your' God is a loving, caring, giving, serving, forgiving Father then you will be looking at relationship and grace.  Jesus puts it this way: (John 14:21-26 NLT) 
21* Those who obey my commandments are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them, and I will love them. And I will reveal myself to each one of them.” 22* Judas (not Judas Iscariot, but the other disciple with that name) said to him, “Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself only to us and not to the world at large?” 23* Jesus replied, “All those who love me will do what I …

I need more? Really?

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Stuff, commercialism, bigger homes, larger bank accounts, better vacations, newer cars, better computers, more clothes, bigger boats, larger TV’s, more channels, mores shoes, better phones—the list is endless.  We are part of a culture that needs so much.



Here is what Jesus said:
Luke 12:13-21
“13 Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.”
14 Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?”
15 Then he said, “Beware! Don’t be greedy for what you don’t have. Real life is not measured by how much we own.”
16 And he gave an illustration: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops.
17 In fact, his barns were full to overflowing.
18 So he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store everything.
19 And I’ll sit back and say to myself, My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!’

Jesus the Vicarious Sufferer

Definitions please!!!
Jesus:  The God-Man.  The ONLY one who could perfectly represent both the guilty party of humanity and Holiness of God.  
Vicarious:  (see Dictionary.com) adjective 1.  performed, exercised, received, or suffered inplace of another: vicarious punishment. 2.  taking the place of another person or thing;acting or serving as a substitute.

Jesus suffered on my behalf.  The cause of the suffering was (and is!)  my sinmy rebellion against Godmy desire(s) to do my own thingmy painmy sicknessmy depressions, anxieties,

Jesus—suffered on my behalf!
For three days now—this old hymns keeps ringing in my spirit:
(W. G. Ovens, v. 1 (1870-1945); Gladys Watkin Toberts, vv. 2-5) Wounded for me, wounded for me,  There on the cross He was wounded for me; Gone my transgressions, and now I am free,
All because Jesus was wounded for me.
Dying for me, dying for me,
There on the cross He was dying for me;
Now in His death my redemption I see,
All because Jesus was dying for me.
Risen for…

Who are you? Who am I?

Who are you?
(From Henri Nouwen p 134  Here and Now)

The three answers that we generally live—not necessarily give—are
We are what do we  (we are our success)We are what others say about us (we are our popularity)We are what we have ( we are our power)

Therefore… ‘when we are dead—we are dead’…because when we die,
We cannot do anything anymorePeople don’t talk about us anymoreWe have nothing anymore
“When we ARE what the world makes us, we can’t BE after we have left the world.”

Solutions:
A.  Just do it!
1.  If there is no ‘God”, no eternity, then be as successful as you possibly can.  Position, authority, success need to dominate your life.  Don’t get stuck in a rut.  Don’t get stuck in relationships that suck the life out you.  Get job promotions at any cost.  You are, after all—what you do.  So do it good!  
2.  Do everything in your power to be popular.  Do anything necessary.  You are —after all—what people say about you.  Buy people.  Buy relationships.  Make sure people love you a…

Do you hear what I hear?

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Gordon M Smith in his book Spiritual Direction, makes a brilliant comment and fleshes out an approach to evangelism that I concur with and see as very helpful.

I have recently been asking people--often unconverted people--this question: "Where are you on your spiritual journey?" Or, "What is happening on your present journey?"

Smith believes that if we approach evangelism from an event basis we are most interested in focusing our conversation on the following.

This person needs to surrender to God.  This person needs to ask Jesus into their heartIf they are know God they need to know certain things, believe certain things, and agree to  live in light of these truths
However, perhaps a better approach, according to Smith is the following:
Could it be that God is at work in EVERYONE'S life?Evangelism is not so much a preprogrammed series of questions--but a particular response of a person at their stage of life.
Here is more from Gordon Smith


So, perhaps in evang…

GRACE

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1.  You cannot give the grace others need—if you do not receive the Grace that God has for you.
2.  If you operate under law—you push law on to others… and want them to step it up.  You are harsh, judgment, and condemning of others--because,that is how you treat yourself!

As long as we continue  to live as if we are what we do, what we have, and what other people think about us, we will remain filled with judgments, opinions, evaluations, and condemnations.  We will remain addicted to the need to put people and things in the ‘right’ place.  To the degree that we embrace the truth that our identity is not rooted in our success, power, or popularity, but in God’s infinite love, to that degree we can let go of our need to judge. (from Henri Nouwen Here and Now New York: Crossroad, p 62)

3.  If you don’t walk in grace you cannot give grace to those around you who fail--and fail, they will!  So you are always disappointed with your level of spirituality and other's level.  It is a tireso…

The God of the impossible

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Mary--and the Birth of Jesus:

You probably know the story well--the angelic visitation in Luke's gospel.  Gabriel visits young Mary and tells her that she will become the mother of the Messiah.  Mary is confused in that she is not married--only engaged to Joseph.  Gabriel explains that the child to be born (the Messiah) will not be conceived in the normal biological way--but will be supernaturally implanted in her womb.  Gabriel's explanation of the miracle?  "Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37)."

Who on earth can be saved?

A very wealthy man came to Jesus seeking to inherit eternal life.  The one thing that the man needed to do would be tough--sell everything, give it to the poor, and follow Jesus.  The rich man takes option 'b' and walks.  The disciples then ask--(paraphrased)  'Jesus--duh--this isn't working.  No one is going to get saved.  Our club is not going to grow.  Come on Jesus, how about a different plan?'  Jesus replied "Wh…

Please LOOK and SEE Jesus today!!!!

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Mark 14:62  Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.””  When those who arrested Jesus were trying to pin him to the wall—giving them an excuse to crucify Jesus—-Jesus responds with the above statement… “and you will see.”   John tells us:  Revelation 1:7  “Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him--even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the earth will weep because of him. Yes! Amen!”
EVERYONE will actually see Jesus:  humanists, atheists, modernist, backslidden, unbelievers—everyone. There is a choice today.  # 1.  You can see Him—with eyes of faith— as Saviour, Healer, Sanctifier, Baptizer and Soon Coming King # 2.  You can wait—refuse to obey—and see Him later as King of Kings, Judging all who stand before Him: Revelation 20:11-15 “11 And I saw a great white throne, and I saw the one who was sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found…

Are you rejecting Jesus?

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Matt 17  Mount of transfiguration Jesus said about John the Baptist in vs 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, but he wasn’t recognized, and they chose to abuse him.  And in the same way they will also make the Son of Man suffer
John 1:10  He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him.  He came to his own people and even they rejected him..


Not much has changed in 2000 years.  The LORD is rejected He is rejected in the world He is reject in the church. We have our own agendas and lives… we want a nice little Jesus we can shove in our back pocket and pull out if needed. But we are not willing to lay down our lives for this Jesus…and allow him to invade and take our over our social livesour financesour futuresour families

that is way to invasive.    Lord Jesus Christ thou son of God have mercy on us

Lord Jesus Christ thou son of God have mercy on me!!!!

Incremental Revelation

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Jesus taught in parables--a well known fact.  The disciples once asked:  "Ok Jesus--why are you teaching in parables?"  (Matt 13:11FF)

Here is Jesus' response:

1.  YOU--as in the disciples-- are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven and others are not.

2.  If you listen--MORE understanding will be given.

3.  If you do not listen--LESS understanding will be given.

The key: is the Isaiah 6:9-10 prophecy.
If the Spirit comes knocking and you don't answer the door He will go away.
The Spirit stays when and where He is welcomed and His presence is nurtured.
The Spirit is the 'source' of Divine Revelation.  If you want MORE revelation (not just information)--then listen and obey.
If you open your spirit to a small amount of revelation--you will receive MORE and MORE revelation.



Revelation is always incremental.  It's increase is commiserate with your reception of the last revelation He gave.

This is also why unsaved people cannot receive …

Purpose and Destiny

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Here is a great temptation for followers of Jesus:
(The younger you are--the more powerful is this truth!)
Taking second best: Second best is the experience of a short season of happiness--rather than waiting for an eternal presence of JOY!

This was one the temptation that Jesus faced! Matthew 4:8-11 “8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” {De 6:13} 11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.”
Satan’s one constant tactic is to attempt to derail your purpose and destiny. He tries to defeat Jesus—before Jesus’ mission was completed.
Satan's offer:
skip the cross--that will hurt you!  LOTS!skip trying to get this message across to people--that will frustrate you!  They won't believe you anyway!ski…

Experience and the Spirit!

Peter D Neuman (Pentecostal Experience: http://www.amazon.com/Pentecostal-Experience-Ecumenical-Encounter-Theological/dp/1610976924/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1436615625&sr=8-1&keywords=pentecostal+experience)  

http://www.amazon.com/Pentecostal-Experience-Ecumenical-Encounter-Theological/dp/1610976924/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1436615625&sr=8-1&keywords=pentecostal+experience

Quotes Frank D Macchia's  experience with Spirit Baptism in these words:

"I do not refer here to a drunken state but rather a conscious wholly taken up with God so that one feels especially inspired to give of oneself to others in whatever giving God has created within.  It is essentially an experience of self-transcendence motivated by the love of God.  Experience is certainly culturally mediated and will vary in nature from person to person, and context to context.  But I simply cannot imagine this clothing with power unless some kind of powerful experience of the divine presence, lov…

I Would I recognize Jesus

John 16:1-4 “All this I have told you so that you will not go astray.  They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God.  They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. I did not tell you this at first because I was with you.”
Notice this
a-  The Jewish nation:  Think of what they have received:  Paul gives a list in Romans 9… they have received the mandate from the LORD.  They have heard from the LORD.  They have the missions mandate etc..
b-  Jesus, the Messiah comes—and the LORD’S people do NOT recognize Jesus.  Sinners, adulterers, the drunk apparently do—but the LORD’S people do not….
c-  The LORD’S people do not recognize Jesus’ disciples
This falls to this level:  They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a s…