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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Romans Study #21 6:12-23

At times when i finish a study, i feel like i did not put enough into it. Not this time. Again the main reason i post these is so i will have an online record of them if/when my computer hard drive crashes.

Romans Bible Study # 21
Romans 6:12-23 The Power of Obedience

12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts,
13and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
14For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!
16Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?
17But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,
18and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
19I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.
20For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
21Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.
22But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.
23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.NASB

12-14That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don't give it the time of day. Don't even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you've been raised from the dead!—into God's way of doing things. Sin can't tell you how to live. After all, you're not living under that old tyranny any longer. You're living in the freedom of God.
15-18So, since we're out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we're free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it's your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you've let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you've started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!
19I'm using this freedom language because it's easy to picture. You can readily recall, can't you, how at one time the more you did just what you felt like doing—not caring about others, not caring about God—the worse your life became and the less freedom you had? And how much different is it now as you live in God's freedom, your lives healed and expansive in holiness?

20-21As long as you did what you felt like doing, ignoring God, you didn't have to bother with right thinking or right living, or right anything for that matter. But do you call that a free life? What did you get out of it? Nothing you're proud of now. Where did it get you? A dead end.

22-23But now that you've found you don't have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God's gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.
THE MESSAGE

February 26, in My Utmost for His Highest, has much to say to us about our study of Romans 6;

INFERIOR MISGIVINGS ABOUT JESUS
"Sir, Thou hast nothing to draw with." John 4:11

"I am impressed with the wonder of what God says, but He cannot expect me really to live it out in the details of my life!" When it comes to facing Jesus Christ on His own merits, our attitude is one of pious superiority - Your ideals are high and they impress us, but in touch with actual things, it cannot be done. Each of us thinks about Jesus in this way in some particular. These misgivings about Jesus start from the amused questions put to us when we talk of our transactions with God - Where are you going to get your money from? How are you going to be looked after? Or they start from ourselves when we tell Jesus that our case is a bit too hard for Him. It is all very well to say "Trust in the Lord," but a man must live, and Jesus has nothing to draw with - nothing whereby to give us these things. Beware of the pious fraud in you which says - I have no misgivings about Jesus, only about myself. None of us ever had misgivings about ourselves; we know exactly what we cannot do, but we do have misgivings about Jesus. We are rather hurt at the idea that He can do what we cannot.

My misgivings arise from the fact that I ransack my own person to find out how He will be able to do it. My questions spring from the depths of my own inferiority. If I detect these misgivings in myself, let me bring them to the light and confess them - "Lord, I have had misgivings about Thee, I have not believed in Thy wits apart from my own; I have not believed in Thine almighty power apart from my finite understanding of it."

So this devotional reading points out one of the main stumbling blocks to Romans 6, unbelief. The path and way to victory is shown. The inner workings of the process of sanctification are shown to be things that have already been accomplished by Jesus on the cross, “by grace through faith” we are connected to the power of the Spirit.

Vs. 12-14 Grace is the power of obedience, the power of resurrection. It gives us the will to will the will of God. Sin dwells in this mortal body and will continue to, until death is swallowed up in victory. The now victory, that is waiting for the ultimate victory is that, by the crucifixion of the old man I no longer have to serve sin. Under grace I am a warrior who can overcome the sinful desires. But since my body is still very much alive, its lusts are longing to be expressed and so the battle rages on.
Law kept me under sin, because law told me I had to stop sinning, but gave me no power to stop sinning.. Grace is the power to stop sinning. By grace, through faith, we have what we need to win the battle.
Verse 15 echos verse 2, why so repetitive? I think this is the main argument against grace. If you tell people they are not under the law anymore, they will go “buck wild.” The thing that keeps this from happening is that a true, deep conversion involves a realization of our own sinfulness and a ever-growing gratitude for the grace that we are shown. True conversions have as their foundation an overwhelming sense of sinfulness. Romans 7 times may still come, but they are then drawn back to their first love. Not out of compulsion, but volunteering by grace through faith. Psalm 110:3a “Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power;"
Verse 16,17 A reminder that you are a slave, either to sin, before conversion, or to God after conversion. God’s way with us is not one of overpowering intimidation and manipulation. He is looking for willing obedience. Isaiah 30:15 For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said,"In repentance and rest you will be saved,In quietness and trust is your strength. But you were not willing," “He who is under grace can no more adjust himself comfortably to sin, than the sinner can toy with grace as with an alternative human possibility." Barth
Verse 18 Good news. This is a new slavery. We are not half in and half out of the kingdom of darkness. We are out of the old and in the new.
Verse 19 Again the progressive nature of sanctification is emphasized. Obedience leads to more obedience. Grace leads to more grace. I can definitely recall this principle in my “lawless” days. One act led to another and I could feel myself being drawn in deeper and deeper to darkness. Yesterday’s sins weren’t enough, I had to do more, worse, to get the same “high.”
Verse 20,21 The stark reality of sin, that the devil tries to veil our eyes/minds to. This road is leading to death. Often praying for the unsaved, we are lead to pray, remove the veil God and show them where this path that they are on is leading them too, ultimately.
Verse 22 The lead in to a great verse, simply contrasting the former life with the new life. It is positively amazing, how simple and pure and easy to get the gospel is. How blind we are to its truth and thinking that we are “free” and if we were to surrender our lives then we would be doing things that would take away our fun. The reality is turning to Jesus takes away DEATH, not fun.


Piper on verse 22
Becoming a Christian is not like standing neutral between two possible slave masters and having the power of ultimate self-determination, and then deciding, from outside any slavery, which we will serve. There are no neutral people. There are only slaves of sin and slaves of God. Becoming a Christian is to have the sovereign captain of the battleship of righteousness commandeer the slave ship of unrighteousness; put the ship-captain, sin, in irons; break the chains of the slaves; and give them such a spiritual sight of grace and glory that they freely serve the new sovereign forever as the irresistible joy and treasure of their lives. That's how we got saved. God freed us from one master and enslaved us to himself by the compelling power of a superior promise. So embrace this work of God. Receive Christ and his promise as the treasure of your life.

Verse 23 The black and white, no shades of grey, truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We earn only death, but God gives only life. The amazing exchange!
1 Corin. 1:22-25
22For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom;
23but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,
24but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
25Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.







This is a analogy or illustration that John Piper used to put verses 12-14 in picture form.

First, then, I see verses 12-14 as the description of a great conflict or battleground in the life of a typical believer. This is you and me here. Not an unbeliever. So who and what make up this conflict? Let's describe the situation here. I see eight things in the warfare of these verses. I'll mention them, and then come back and make some brief comments about them in relation to our lives.

1. There is a kingly throne or reign. Verse 12: "Do not let sin reign." There is a reign that is being contested in this passage. A throne. The word "reign" is simply the verb form of the word for king.

2. There is a challenger to this throne, a revolutionary, a rebel who wants to take over the kingdom, namely, sin. "Do not let sin reign." He is in revolt and mutiny and means to lead a coup and gain the throne. And you are called to resist.

3. There are a town and castle that are under attack by the challenger to the throne, namely, your body. "Do not let sin reign in your mortal body."

4. There are servants in the castle who may become deceptive secret agents of the rebel leader and use their inside servant role to seduce and capture parts of the castle. These servants are called "desires." "Do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its desires." The word is neutral. They may become "evil desires" or "lusts," but not if the rebel sin does not capture them.

5. Incremental surrender is possible. That's what the word "obey" signals in verse 12. "Do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its desires." If sin, the leader of the revolt, takes some desire captive and sends it in behind the castle walls with a deceptive promise of immunity and reward for capitulation, the obedience to that desire would be the surrender of part of the castle.

6. There are weapons in the castle that may be captured and turned around and used by the enemy for his unrighteous purposes. These weapons are the parts of your body – your eyes and ears and tongue and hands and feet and sexual organs. Verse 13: "Do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as weapons of unrighteousness." The word, o[pla (hopla), in all its four other uses in the New Testament (three in Paul and one in John 18:3) means "weapons," not just instruments. In other words, I am not just making up this battle imagery. Paul is pointing to it. Don't let the rebel, sin, capture the members of your body and turn them into weapons against the true King.

7. There is a true king over the realm, namely, God. Verse 13b: "Do not surrender the members of your body to sin – the rebel contender for the throne – so he can make them weapons of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as weapons of righteousness to God." So the true King is God. Sin is the rebel and the insurrectionist. Stay loyal to the true King with all your weapons and all your servants – all your desires and all your members.

8. Finally, there is the constitutional authority of the kingdom, namely, grace, not law. Verse 14: "For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace."

King, Power, and Desire

That's the situation Paul describes, the conflict. Now let me make three comments of application to us.

First, God is our King. To him belong the castle of the body and the service of our desires and the weapons of our members and the throne of the kingdom. The call here is for us to be loyal to the King. He made us alive and made us his dwelling place through Jesus Christ. Keep trusting him and depending on him and submitting to him. Resist all contenders for the throne of your life. It belongs to God.

Second, sin is a power, not just an act. Verse 12: "Let not sin reign in your mortal body." Sin threatens to reign. It is not just the acts we do but the power that takes us captive through desires and brings actions about.

Third, the desires of the body are not sin in and of themselves, but are servants of the body and can be captured by the rebel leader, sin, and made into internal enemy agents that seduce us into handing over members of our body that become weapons of unrighteousness. In verse 12 ("Do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its desires."), "its" refers to the body, not sin." (auvtou [autou] is neuter, not feminine and so agrees with sw,mati [somati], not a`marti,a [amartia]). In other words, the desires of the body can be captured by the power of sin and made to serve anti-God aims. Parts of your body can be captured by Judas-like servant-desires and handed over to the enemy for unrighteous acts.

Our Desires – Servants or Secret Agents?
Pleasing Delilah was a legitimate thing for Samson to do while she was a faithful wife. But when she was a secret agent of the enemy, Samson's surrender to her meant destruction. So it is with our desires and sin. If they are faithful desires, loyal desires, reflecting the truth and value of God, then we may please them. But if sin captures them and makes them his deceptive agents, then our pleasing them would be joining the conspiracy and may become treason.

Specifically, there is, for example . . .
The desire for food (hunger) which serves us well, but when sin captures it, the desire becomes gluttony or bulimia or anorexia and it rules us for the sake of the enemy, and our tongue and mouth and stomach become weapons of unrighteousness.
The desire for drink (thirst) which serves us well, but when sin captures it, the desire may become alcoholism or caffeine addiction, and the tongue becomes a weapon of unrighteousness.
The desire for sexual satisfaction which is a good servant of procreation and marriage joy, but if sin captures it, the desire becomes lust for pornography or masturbation or fornication or adultery or homosexual relations, and our sexual organs become the weapons of unrighteousness.
The desire for rest and sleep which serves us well, but if sin captures it, the desire becomes sloth and laziness.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

you are a child of God

It is an important step in the Christian life, when you come to the deep
realization that you are a child of God.
It is a much deeper and more costly step when you realize and begin
treating others like they too are a child of God. Valued by Him,
Precious to Him.
Book recommendation, "Adam, God's Beloved" by Henri Nouwen

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

For my pastor, Jerry (and Joel and Larry and Mike and Joe)

It has been a great blessing in my life to know and be under the authority of
Pastors, who understood and lived out their call. This little gem was at the end of a "servanthood class" lesson on blbi.org


"In 1877 in his Yale lectures, Phillips Brooks said,
'Courage is an indispensable requisite of any true ministry. If you
are afraid of men and a slave to their opinion, go and do
something else. Go make shoes to fit them. Go even and paint
pictures you know are bad but will suit their bad taste. But do not
keep on, all of your life, preaching sermons which shall not say
what God sent you to declare, but what they hire you to say. Be
courageous. Be independent.'"

Just want to thank God that the Pastors that I know are, called of God, and
are faithful to their call. They speak the word of God and are not being
led about by the fear of man.
This call to be faithful to our Lord and friend,
Jesus, to be courageous in our witness is for all of us, but I am blessed
to have been taught and shown "how to do it" by loving, courageous pastors.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

You keep loving us and You restore us

From a teaching on love in a class called servanthood on blbi.org

So often God shows me a wrong attitude by taking me through a hard time, where i get to learn that someone i had judged, was doing the best they could with the grace of God they were given, and that God had a bigger purpose in what they were walking through, than i could have known. So there is wisdom in "withholding judgment" and praying for "the other" as if you truly knew that we are all desperately in need of a Savior. I put in Bold letters the lesson.

"A couple years ago, I had an experience where someone close to me in the ministry betrayed me
and sinned against me. Afterwards, this person was very sorry and appeared to be repentant. But I
was so hurt, I did not trust him anymore. I did not want to forgive him. I just wanted to cut him
off because I had been grieved. I was angry. One day I was telling this person, “Just leave me
alone.” And he said he would, but on one condition—“If you will call Pastor Chuck Smith and
ask him what you should do. I have called him and talked to him and he told me he wants you to
call him.” I was betrayed again! I thought, “No, I am sure he will agree with me.”
So I called Chuck and told him my side of the story. He was sympathetic to a degree, but he
began to ask questions about this person’s repentance. I had to admit the person appeared
repentant. He seemed sorry. But I said, “Chuck I do not believe him. He is a deceiver.” Chuck
said, “He seems very sincere to me.” “Yeah, Chuck, but you do not know him like I do. You see,
I love him, Chuck, but I do not trust him anymore.” And he said, “Wayne, I think you are bitter.”
I said, “No, I am not bitter. I am just hurt.” He said, “You are hurt and you are bitter about it.” It
was not funny at the time, though. He said, “I think you need to forgive.” And I said, “Chuck, I
think I need to cut him off.” He said, “Well, Wayne, it sounds like your mind is made up. So I
have to go now.” It seemed kind of abrupt to me. I said, “Well, will you at least pray for me
before you hang up?” “Sure.” And so we prayed. Chuck prayed, “Lord, thank You for loving us
so much. And thank You that You do not love us like Wayne says that he loves this guy.”
He
actually said that. I thought, “Are you praying to Him or me?” But he prayed and said, “Thank
You that You are so merciful. And yet, when we ask forgiveness, You do not cut us off. You
keep loving us and You restore us. Amen.” You know it really struck a note. Not a good one, but
it struck a note. I told him thank you for praying for me. And I think I mentioned something about
faithful are the wounds of a friend.
Through that God began to show me that there was bitterness that was choking me. It was
choking my life and it had to go. The Lord asked me to fully forgive this person, to restore him,
and cover that sin. Love covers. It forgives and cleanses and forgets. He said, “My love suffers
long and is kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4). I am just really being honest here. I began to think about
this. And honestly I told Him at one point, “Lord, I do not think I want to love like You do if this
is what it is about. I mean, You died for us. I do not want to suffer long. I will suffer short maybe,
but not long. This is just too much.” But He said, “Don’t you want to be like Me?” “Yes, I
absolutely do.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Romans Study #20 6:1-11

Romans Bible Study #20
Romans Chapter 6:1-11
Phrase: “In Christ”

1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?
2May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7for he who has died is freed from sin.
8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
9knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
11Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (NASB)
1-3So what do we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? I should hope not! If we've left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there? Or didn't you realize we packed up and left there for good? That is what happened in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace—a new life in a new land!
3-5That's what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. Each of us is raised into a light-filled world by our Father so that we can see where we're going in our new grace-sovereign country.
6-11Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin's every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ's sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That's what Jesus did. (The Message)

Verse 1,2 If we are really paying attention to and believing what Paul has been saying in the preceding chapters, (it sounds something like this, “By Grace through faith you have peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. His righteousness saved you and the same power and love by grace through faith will keep you, the power of sin is overcome by the power of grace.) we are led to this question. “So do we just sin and sin and sin, and let God’s grace be all the more amazing.” Paul now sounds like every exasperated teacher who has ever stood in front of a class and had a student ask a question, that demonstrates, beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have become terribly lost at some point. He launches into these verses to show exactly what he meant and begins the 3 chapter teaching on how to “walk out”/live the Christian life, which is, the process of sanctification.
An important point is that we are not moving from death to life, death is defeated and life is given. At its root Christianity is not a reforming, educating or improving of the old man, it is the death of the old man and the ever-growing reception of the life of the new man.
Verse 3,4Baptism was key in the early church, it seems you got saved and you got baptized, there was not a lot of time in between. I agree with those who say it is symbolic, but Paul goes beyond that and says there is a very real, powerful change taking place ‘in the Spirit.’ Sin does not reign in you anymore, it doesn’t cast the the deciding vote in your decisions. So baptism is not itself grace, but it is a means of receiving grace. The new life of Jesus living in you is more real than the sin, the life He gives is more powerful than death. His life is like that amazingly powerful “energy thing” in Ironman’s chest that allows him to power all those amazing devices. One with the life of Jesus, we venture out into the world with a sure and true compass, a mighty unsinkable ship, and a power supply fit for every need. These truths from Romans 6 launch us out into the Christian life, of course, we will run into the wall of Romans 7 next, but Romans 8 will show us the way to surmount that wall. This book, this study, is all about the “great things” of this life, sports, entertainment, whatever else pale in comparison to spending time seeking God, seeking understanding, seeking truth through this letter. We, by taking time to do this are giving ourselves to something CRITICAL to our lives, our families and the church, most other things absolutely pale in comparison.

One of my sons struggles with self-esteem issues, and we have in verses 3-8, the Biblical answer to self-esteem issues. God ‘reckoned’ you to be ‘in Adam’ from your birth, after your ‘new birth’ God reckons you to be “in Christ.” YOU did not do anything to be “in Adam” and you cannot do anything to be “in Christ” it is a work of God. Your vileness and total separation from God was real and complete, but once born again, your beauty and union with God is given as a gift, the beginning of a love relationship process. Your self-esteem needs to be found in what God has done for you, the sin that He has and is covering and the love that He has and is showing. Grades, appearance, people’s opinions, athletic ability, intelligence are all sinking sand, “Jesus loves me this I know” is a solid rock on which to build biblical self-esteem.

“In Christ” becomes the theme and Paul uses it over and over to describe the ultimate blessing of the Christian life, being “in Christ.” Many blessings flow from that blessing.
Rom 3:24being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;
Rom 6:11Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Rom 6:23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Rom 8:1Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Rom 8:2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
Rom 8:39nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1Cr 1:2To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:
1Cr 1:4I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus,
1Cr 1:30But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,
1Cr 15:22For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
2Cr 2:14But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.
2Cr 5:17Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
Gal 3:14in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Gal 3:26For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
Eph 2:10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Phl 4:19And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Verse 5 Tribulation comes into our life from God. We apprehend His increase in our decrease.
Death gives way to resurrection, blindness gives way to sight. His strength becomes more real in our weakness. “Our negative, known, human existence, so little conformed to Jesus, is filled with hope by the positive and secret power of resurrection.” Barth
Gal. 6:17 From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus.
2 Cor. 4:10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
Phil. 3:10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;
Col. 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions.

Verse 6,7 We are still in our body and that body is still a body of sin. But now it is like a fish out of water. It does not have the ultimate power in our lives. Our ultimate power is invisible, and by that invisible power we 'starve out’ the visible.

Verse 8-11 Again we died - past tense and we shall also live - future tense. This is no supposition, it is reality. Faith is knowing what God knows. His death and so our 'death’ is a once and done event, but His life is a life that liveth, that goes on and on. It is His Life that is our “jumping off” point for sanctification. But it is also that Life that is the power that allows us to continue in the process of sanctification. He is our sanctification.
1 Cor. 1:29 so that no man may boast before God.
30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,
31 so that, just as it is written, "LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

2 Cor. 12:15

And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved.
2nd Corin. 12:15

Wow... In real life, the impossibility of actually living the Christian life is hammered home again and again. If our source of love is not the supernatural life of Jesus being manifested through us, all the scriptures will do is mock our
sorry attempts at 'religion.'

Oh God, when i get the feeling that i am justified in cutting someone off, have mercy on me and draw me back to Your heart, In Jesus' Name. Amen

Friday, February 4, 2011

falling up

When things are going "wrong" I go back to wells that have provided fresh water before.
Art Katz on sermonindex.net, Oswald Chambers-My Utmost for His Highest.

This was from Art Katz on the way home yesterday.

"What is the one thing that keeps us from totality towards God?
You will know that you have come to that totality
when you have come to a place where you develop an affinity, an appreciation, a respect, and even a love for a people/person for whom you would otherwise be hostile, or indifferent. It is wholly unnatural, and indicates that we are in touch with God's deepest heart. This is not a "sentimental" thing, it is a willingness to give all, to let go of all "treasure." It requires an "utter-ness" toward God. Consecration is deeper than 'zeal.'"

From Oswald Jan. 30th
God never speaks to us in startling ways, but in ways that are easy to misunderstand, and we say, "I wonder if that is God's voice?" Isaiah said that the Lord spake to him "with a strong hand," that is, by the pressure of circumstances. Nothing touches our lives but it is God Himself speaking. Do we discern His hand or only mere occurrence?

Get into the habit of saying, "Speak, Lord," and life will become a romance. Every time circumstances press, say, "Speak, Lord"; make time to listen. Chastening is more than a means of discipline, it is meant to get me to the place of saying, "Speak, Lord." Recall the time when God did speak to you.

Recently when disaster struck, i was lost in the moment, but when the moment passed i remembered to do this,and said, "Speak Lord." but then i did not "listen." It will have to be a habit developed by the grace of God over time, much time, the process of sanctification.

The difficulties at home have drawn me closer to my wife and to my God, so i can not call this a time of falling down, but falling up, into His Arms
once again...
a victim of relentless affection,
or as Eugene Peterson says,
"aggressive forgiveness."

I appreciate the prayers of those who "love His appearing" whatever form that appearing comes in!