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Saturday, February 17, 2018

To Display You Are Worthy of Our Trust

This article,     prompted these thoughts.  It is one of the best little essays I have ever read, and well worth your time.
If you stop here and pray and then read Ephesians chapter 3, you will get the most out of our time together.
Verse 1 Paul's life does not center on Paul it is given over fully to the Messiah and the Messiah has chosen to use it up entirely for the sake of the Gentiles.
Verse 2 Grace 100% grace, not Paul's the driving force behind this human being, this animated flesh.
Verse 3,4 and 5, we need to refer to what Paul wrote about the mystery of the Messiah, or we will lose what he is saying.  Reviewing sections in Colossians where he uses that same wording it is the amazing revelation that the Messiah is in the believer and is the believers, life, hope, faith, his all in all.
Verse 6 This blessing of grace, this life of the Messiah of the Jews has been extended and given to the Gentiles, the gospel is the ever expanding kingdom realized through one life at a time being given over to the loving Lordship of the living God.
Verse 7,8 God's grace flowing in power through Paul is calling out to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of the Messiah are yours too! 
Verse 9 The unveiling of this part of God's plan, is also the unveiling of a gathering, whose life and mission and high calling is to restore the Father to His firstborn son, Israel.  The Messiah lived and died so that others could be re-gathered, forgiven, healed.  The unveiling of this gathering around the Messiah, is the unveiling of a corporate people who live and die so that others can be re-gathered, forgiven, and healed, to the Jew first and then to the Gentile.  This humble people recognize that their root is not in themselves but in the lineage of the chosen people, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  (The whole train jumped off the rails when it began to think it was the end purpose and goal of God, when it forgot that the heart of God reached back thousands of years with promises and faithfulness, when it chose to use God for its own glory, instead of be used by Him for His glory.)  This unveiling of a never before seen aspect of Messiah's community is still His community, formed in His image, with the cross at the center and the laying down of one's life for the other as the pillar.  His chosen people were called to be a blessing to all the nations of the earth, the Gentiles.  Paul's calling is to tell the Gentiles they are being blessed with the life of the Messiah to be willing to live and die as He did...
Verse 10-11 SO THAT this newly unveiled mystery, would reveal a people who are enlivened to manifest the wisdom of God which is to lay down His life willingly, lovingly, wholeheartedly, for the rescue, the salvation of the "other." 
Verse 12 Through Yeshuah, we ask to be made like Yeshuah.
Verse 13  Paul's life filled with tribulation wasn't a cause for those who looked to him for leadership and guidance to lose heart, quite the contrary, it was a living example of the willingness to suffer whatever down here for the good of those you are called to witness to.
Verse 14,15,16  The Father has a family and through the Messiah of Israel, the God of Israel has been given to us, His life is the power in us to lay down our lives willingly, lovingly, wholeheartedly. This kind of a life is a manifestation of the wisdom of God to the principalities and powers.  Humility connects us to the life of God because His life is humble.  Pride separates us from God, because His life has nothing to do with pride.  Grasping and striving and working to "I will make myself like the Most High." is a dead end.  "I have come to do Your will." is the path of life, is the wisdom of God.
Verses 17,18,19  We need His strength, to even be able to receive the completely overwhelming revelation of His love, a love that is 4 dimensional beyond our ability to even grasp a teeny-tiny particle of it.  "Filled up to all the fullness of God"  I am not so stupid as to even try to make a one word comment on that statement.
Verse 20,21 His power working in us accomplishing His glory in His community through individual laid down lives, that unite in Him for a corporate laid down life of humility.  WOW.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Truth in Love

So I learned yesterday that it is possible to be speaking true scriptures and true scriptural principles and for it to be bringing nothing but death to the person you are talking to.
Totally unintentionally I brought shame and condemnation by sharing what had brought life and help to me, but the timing and the willingness to hear and care for the heart of the other person was absent.
The true words piled up shame and self-hatred, because they were delivered apart from love.
It is costly to love, to endure as one who hopes in what is not seen, to take the time to care for, and hear and accept the heart of another person.
The journey continues.
Heard this quote today from a woman identified with the Sikh faith, "What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb?"
The journey continues with hope for the reality of loving my wife as the Messiah loves His Community.  Oh God, let it be so!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Did Jesus Really Teach A Lot About Money?

Here is a deceptive paragraph..."Jesus talked much about money. Sixteen of the thirty-eight parables were concerned with how to handle money and possessions. In the Gospels, an amazing one out of ten verses (288 in all) deal directly with the subject of money. The Bible offers 500 verses on prayer, less than 500 verses on faith, but more than 2,000 verses on money and possessions."

Luke 16:13 "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Seems pretty straightforward, no real reason to have 287 more verses, that one pretty much sums it up, so let us consider some of the other verses.

The unrighteous steward parable, is that really about money?  (Luke 16)Nope, turns out this guy was forfeiting his commission, giving a discount to his bosses debtors, so that they would be friends with him later, but the point of the story has nothing to do with money except to see money as something that has no lasting importance and should instead be used like everything else in our lives to work toward the Kingdom of God. 

Jehovah Jireh, God will provide, (not "my" provider although that rhymes and is cool, we are not the center of the universe).  What was provided by Jehovah had NOTHING to do with money, the ram of sacrifice/worship to be slain in place of Isaac.  No money was provided or transacted that day, NONE!

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)  What is the context, mercy, forgiveness and compassion, sorry, no money to see here!

Tithe, investigate this on your own.  Is it agricultural in nature, did it mainly have to do with the haves providing for the have nots?  I'll let you decide.  There was a temple tax, but since there is no temple now, that kind of eliminates the need for that.

Treasure hidden in a field (Matthew 13:44) the focus is not on money but on the willingness to give all for the greater treasure...Him!

A wise servant being put in charge of the house (Matt. 24:45) is about faithfulness to the master's instructions.  Using your God given gifts for His glory is the parable of the talents, money isn't the focus, it is the vehicle to make the larger point.

That's enough, it is IMO very deceptive to make it seem like Jesus wanted to teach about money because of how important He knew it was.