I heard in passing and I stopped to listen

When you confess your sins as a forgiven Christian, the forgiveness is instant.  Forgive yourself and go on.  God does not remember sins that have been washed in the shed blood of the lamb. (John Hagee)   So why do I carry the rotting corpse of guilt? Because I feel like such an idiot for committing the stupidity in the first place.  The truth is that I really am an idiot when I know this stuff and insist on penance at which point I am moving into pride, my behavior declaring God’s plan of forgiveness on the cross wasn’t good enough.  That just gave me a headache. Forgive me Lord.

I heard in passing the TV set a good one from someone I hadn’t heard before, can’t remember his name but couldn’t drag myself away from the curling iron long enough to surf for a substitute so I half listened until he said something about salvation evolution. I stopped to listen.  He asked if I believed people were saved gradually or if each one of us needs to make a from-darkness-to-light decision.

Do I believe we grow into salvation or do we grow in faith from accepting salvation? What does the seed that is witnessed into my mind grow into? The seed of knowledge grows toward a decision, one that has to be made consciously.  I’ve said it before — does sitting in a garage long enough turn you into a car?  Salvation cannot be applied onto anyone.

At some point you turn from your wicked ways.  The point at which you have wicked defined for you and have the consequences of wickedness clearly stated if you don’t turn from sin, is when you decide to repent or not to repent, which is “turn.”  The One you turn to is not just critical, it’s the point as opposed to “turning over a new leaf” on New Year’s Day.

Maybe you can’t pin the sticker on the calender.  Maybe one day you had an epiphany and acted on it in prayer without thunder. Maybe you were so close that the transition from pre-dawn to light wasn’t that long a ride.  But you did cross over.  Jesus is the source of the salvation.  The Word, the work of God’s Holy Spirit, and personal contact through prayer is the means by which we grow in faith and learn to walk deeper and deeper in Him.

You can attend church for years.  I heard sermons from womb to knees.  But Mom could not paint me with salvation, feed it to me or dress me in it.  All she could do was force me to be there and pray I listened.  I had to reach a point, an actual point in time, when I reached out and I received the gift.  I opened it.  I exercise it.  Me.  Knowledge may have soaked in —

I knew who Jesus was and all about Him but did not know Him until I decided to know Him.

He’s always there, does not go away, holds me, watches me, teaches and disciplines. He gives me the choice to stay or leave, to contact or not to contact Him. I grow when I choose contact, to stay.

The TV preacher asked me if I believed in evolutionary — gradual salvation.  No. I don’t. You’re dating or you’re married. You can even be engaged but you’re still not a bride until you’re a bride and you’re still not married until you take the vows. “I take Thee, Jesus … ” You’re pregnant or you’re not. This is the scariest verse in the Bible:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then will I tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'”                                       —- Matthew 7: 21-23, NIV.

“Knowing” in the original language means “intimacy.” “Never knew” means “You and I did not have an intimate relationship”

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Comment on Purity

I saw in the first line “After they (the enemies) have been destroyed before you,” in Brother Finto’s post.  What strikes me is that the enemies have been destroyed.  All gone.  B’bye.  Not a threat.  Beaten. Dead. Out’o’here.

So what was it that endangered their souls if the enemy was history?

Human nature.  Natural rebellion. Independent spirit.

The scripture tells us that when Jesus comes back there will be 1,000 years of peace under His authority and rule. He will rule with a rod of iron.

Rule? Rule who? Us? Didn’t we just get immortal bodies? Iron? Why does he have to rule?  And why iron?  Isn’t the enemy tied up in the abyss?  There’s no more evil influence, so…. If it’s true that all sin and sorrow is because “the devil made me do it”, what’s the problem?  The lion will lie down with the lamb, etc. etc.  I’m confused.

If there will be people left over from the chaos of the tribulation, they’ll know Jesus is Messiah.  They’ll comprehend that Jerusalem is the capital, that the Jesus they thought was anything from a myth to a nice guy is not only real, He’s back, He’s in charge and He’s not the woosie they envisioned.  Their nature will still have independence.  They’ll still remember Earth and the prism of politics before Millennium.  Chances are they’ll be stricken with The Lot’s Wife syndrome and want to look back, analyze, and like the Hebrews who grew weary from the plenty of free food straight from heaven that they didn’t even need to grow, weed, or harvest, the survivors of the worst destruction of humans on earth will need serious redirection and education.

“Gee, we really thought socialism would work this time.”

I have a shocker for you.  It will.  Not through mankind’s self serving greed, but only under God Himself in the form of the risen Lord Who once lived in a physical body in the midst of the dust He created.

Add to this concept the thousand years of generations from the surviving mortals.  These will be brand new generations who will live in peace with nature, who won’t know danger from man or beast, who will not fear.  Finally, utopia.  Eventually, as it is written, a final generation will rise in its pride and independence with a last stand against the Lord they will see as having them on too tight a leash.  That last generation of rebels will be the final rebellion and it won’t be as ugly as Armageddon.  I have a hunch they’ll fall faster than they rise.  I have a hunch all Yeshua has to do is glance at them as He did when He landed on the Mount of Olives. They’ll be as toasted as the Antichrist was and as quickly.

And then the final White Throne judgment, the new heaven, the new earth, the new Jerusalem forever and ever.  Praise and glory be to God the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit.

Purity

How do we keep our minds pure?  Where do we find purity?  Where do we find the shields we need to keep the worms of sin out of our hearts and minds?

The preacher reminded us that if we took it seriously, we learned what we needed to know in our first year of Sunday school in the song, “Be careful little eyes what you see.  Be careful little tongue what you say.  For the Father up above is looking down in love, so be careful.” Be careful little feet, little hands, little ears.

That isn’t just for pre-schoolers.  That’s basic Bible for our entire lives.

Input, output.  Data entry, data retrieval.  What you see is what you think.  What you say can slice whole groups of people including loved ones with your words.

What’s your favorite media?  What genre do you choose? “I filter out what’s not appropriate, a trap of sorts.”  Tell me how that’s working for you. Your dreams will tell you what’s in the mind’s storage closets.  Your laugh button will tell you what you tolerate.

Is it time to haul out the Holy Drano?  Is it time to swap filters? I’m not aware of any scripture that indicates God winks at anything.  We are responsible for our own actions and choices.  Holiness in not laid on us.  Righteousness is through the blood of Jesus.  Holiness is grown in us.  We can stunt it.

Don Finto of The Caleb Company wrote the following on his blog site by the same name.  You can go to his site through the link or read below. Brother Finto is a very wise man.

Dangerous Curiosity

I was reading through the “Parasha” reading last week (available here) (R’eh: Dt. 11:26-16:17), and happened upon a word from the Lord that brought clarity to a danger we face: unholy and dangerous curiosity.

Moses is encouraging Israel in their devotion to the One True God and the danger of involvement with false gods who would lead them into disobedience and the evil consequences to follow. During the reading I happened upon this remarkable phrase, “After they (the enemies) have been destroyed before you, be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods.”

“Ensnared by inquiring about their gods?”

“Ensnared by inquiring!”

Some things we need not know. We have no need to know the ways of sin. Curiosity can open the door for inquiry. Inquiry can open the door for attraction. Attraction can open the door for participation.

My thoughts went to Eve in the Garden.

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food
Curiosity: “I wonder how it would taste?

and pleasing to the eye,
Attraction: “I’ll just look at it for a while, no need to touch it, but I’ll look. No real harm done in looking.

and also desirable for gaining wisdom…
Desire: “Why should I not know the ways of the other side? What harm does that do? That would make me wise. Perhaps I could even help others if I knew more about what is drawing them away from God?”

…she took some and ate it.”
Participation and the evil consequences of sin.

How many are ensnared into sexual sin by wondering what it is like? How many are lured into a life of drug addiction by wanting to know what it’s like to “get high?” Curiosity, inquiry, attraction, desire, participation with its evil consequences.

An interesting little sideline: I opened the Nashville Tennessean’s Sunday edition this morning and noticed a small side bar at the top of page one, “Nudists Strip Down, Shed Stereotypes,” reference page 1D.

My first impression was, “How gross! Who are these people? What would it be like to be in a nudist colony? Why would that appeal to people?”

My immediate secondary reaction was to turn to page 1D and find out more about this bizarre community.

But I had read the “Parasha” reading this week, and reconsidered my curiosity. Why did I need to know? Why should I even read more? Of what use would it be to me as a servant of the Most High God?

“Ensnared by inquiring!”

Be aware! Live as a faithful servant of the One True God! Lift high the Name of Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah and World Redeemer. Meditate on Him. Praise Him. Exalt Him.

Yeah, but can you do it and not slosh your coffee?

Joy is not in what you have or who others say you are or even who you think you are.  It’s who you are in Christ.  Behave with joy.

I could have told Honey when he opened the Netflix envelope that 9pm is approx 1 hour and 4 minutes too late to start something if you want to see the ending.  But, it was Saturday night, therefore, since hope springs eternal in the mind of those who can’t remember last Saturday night, we hit the start button.

One hour and 4 minutes later, “we have to be at the church early for sound check, we’d better pick this up tomorrow.  But it’s so good…eh….I’m not making it to the end.”  So we paused it and picked it up again right after church so we could still take a nap at 3:00.

We don’t go to concerts for several reasons, top of the list being they’re crowded.  First, you pay an unreasonable amount of money for a ticket in the nosebleed section so off in the wings if the performer is not on the front edge of the stage, you may as well be at home listening to the CD.  Or the DVD.

“This guy has more talent in his left ear lobe…..”

“Wasn’t that fun going to his concert with the Dales? It was worth the parking, the walking, the price, the crowd, the not so good seats…. he’s good.”

We’ve gone to one music concert in our entire relationship in 36 years.  We’ve gone to hockey games, baseball games, the state fair, all of which involve parking in the Australian outback, too much money, high priced bad food, and crowds but this guy was worth it all.

“Oh! I love this one!  Turn it up…. is there still some coffee?”

…the Copa, Copa Cababaaaaana…

One hand on the waist, the other holding the coffee cup, movin’ to the beat, movin’ the feet, all the way to the recliner sofa…

Didn’t slosh a drop.

About this time in the story telling, any one of my kids will have his/her hand over his/her face, shaking his/her head and making “uuuuuuuu..” moans.  Oh, well…

Copa Cabaaana….

“Do you mind if I play that one again?”

“You know, he just doesn’t stand at the mike and yell.  Well, I’m woofed.  Think I’ll lay down for a while.”

We’ll have to rent that one again sometime.

 

I love a good story….

Whenever I hear a good one, a laugh out-louder, I think of my dad and how he never tired of hearing and telling a good ol’ knee slapper.  The rest of us had our own opinions of his reruns and several people would see him coming and scoot out of the way.  Others would humor him and listen to what they knew was coming and laugh anyway for the lost-count time.

Dad’s gone almost 18 years now, but I can imagine a two minute out-louder, his head back, his big hand slapping a knee over a joke making its way around the email circuit.  I think I’ve seen it before and if Dad could adopt it I would hear it again and again.

A thank you to Jim Knowles for keeping it in circulation.

UNDERWEAR IS IMPORTANT!!

If you don’ t laugh out loud at this one, call the morgue and reserve a table, because you are dead….

Always wear clean underwear in public, especially when working under your vehicle…

From the Northwest Florida Daily News comes this story of a Crestview couple who drove their car to Wal-Mart, only to have their car break down in the parking lot. The man told his wife to carry on with the shopping while he fixed the car in the lot.

The wife returned later to see a small group of people near the car. On closer inspection, she saw a pair of male legs protruding from under the chassis.  Although the man was in shorts, his lack of underpants turned private parts into public ones.  Unable to stand the embarrassment, she dutifully stepped forward, quickly put her hand UP his shorts, and tucked everything back into place. She took a deep breath and stood up boldly to face the crowd.

She looked across the hood and found herself staring at her husband, who had been standing idly by.

The mechanic, however, had to have three stitches in his head..

The Blue Bowl

Mom didn’t have much worldly wealth.  One of the few things she had that she treasured was a china bowl.  I have no idea where she got it, if it was something her mother or another relative had, or if she acquired it at yard sale for a nickel.  It was a  heavy bowl, blue on the outside, white on the inside, straight up and down sides, no rim, hard for little girl hands to handle with confidence.  Maybe there were some flowers somewhere on it but I’m too lazy right now to call one of the sisters and ask.

One of the things we did not have growing up was a dishwasher.  I take that back.  We had three — us.  The bowl must have been just the right size for mixing or serving, therefore she used it frequently and she was proud of it.  So much so that we just knew we were unforgiven and out of the will if we so much as cracked it.  When it was time to wash The Blue Bowl, life became slo-mo, sound faded into a background hum, tension increased when one of us had to handle it out of the rinse water.  You drop it, you die on the spot, the parents get off without questions, no arrests, no time served.  Life was bad enough when anything was spilled or something broken — “we just can’t keep anything!!” or “another mess to clean up!!”– it was a feeling in the pit of the stomach….

On other occasions in my life, I’ve felt that same lurch deep in the gut.  We all know the feeling when thoughtless words add another brick to a wall, when an email can’t be pulled back, when the person you’re talking about is standing behind you, when “sorry” can’t erase the disappointment, when Humpty Dumpty is swept into the dustpan.

Once that bowl or another treasure is smashed, it’s never the same.  If it can be glued, the cracks forever tell the story of what you did. When it’s people that are damaged, Holy Spirit can make it like new.  When my little girl broke a chunk out of an oval bowl that was part of my wedding china set, the look on her face broke my heart.  “It’s just a thing, Honey.  Don’t worry, I think we can glue it.”  And we did.  You should have seen the look on Eric Barrows’ face when years later he picked it up by the glued piece and it snapped off.  Where’s the camera when you need it?

Mom was not a screech or an unforgiving shrew.  She had other sorrows that caused her to attach too much to a few things.  Over The Blue Bowl, there would have been disappointment but nothing permanent.  Okay, years later she might have mentioned it out of the blue, pardon the word play.  But she always knew people trumped things.  Again, I have no idea why she valued it to the point that she did.  However, a big however —

When we moved them from the house to a nursing home and disbursed their belongings, keeping some things, sending some off to auction, none of us girls wanted The Blue Bowl.  You would think there would be names drawn, an argument, some sentiment over it.  For me, I didn’t want the phone call in 40 years asking me if I still had it.

I have no clue what happened to it but I pity the person who ever breaks it.

What’s your sign?

Not talking about the zodiac.

Preach talked about the mess in the church body.  What’s your sign? What’s your mess? Messy people, messy issues.  The phrase “nobody’s perfect” is like a rock being turned over to look at the reason why we have messes, why nobody’s perfect and exactly how imperfect the messes are.

If we  could see a yellow caution sign floating over your head, what would be written on it? Is it bold type? script? tiny font or huge? neon? flashing? rotating? What if your most dominant negative personality trait(s) that drives your relationships was advertised on a caution sign so the world would know what to expect from you and how to relate to you?

Life is messy.  People are messy.  It’s a potential mess to deal with people’s messes let alone my own.  How convenient it would be to have a sign to read before I stick my foot in something disgusting.

As Preach preached,  I was madly drawing little caution triangles and filling them in on the back of one of my several medical bills that mysteriously found their way into my Bible filing system.  Here’s a few of the characteristics I thought it would be useful to know about someone before I even open my mouth with a how-do-you-do.  Let me remind you, we’re concentrating on the messy characteristics that cause trouble.

Know-It-All, Oh-So-Important, Shields Up, Smug, Childish, Blank, Clingy, Apathetic, Dry Humor, No Humor, Odd, Weird, Witty, Dull, Sharp Tongue, Flippant, Confused, Needy, Clueless, Arrogant, Unfeeling, Contrary, Cryptic, Perpetually Crabby, Nag, Rebel, Touchy, Perfect, Proud, Doubter, Lemming, Weepy, Shallow, Sponge, Sieve, Argumentative, Cold, Loud, Victim, Professionally Depressed, Martyr, and my most recent favorite — Happy-Dappy- Clappy, aka Pollyanna.

When you know your sign, or more to the point, when everybody knows everybody else’s caution sign, the Body can figure out how to deal, knowing when to walk on eggs with that one, bring along source references for him, stand back 10 ft from them, have non-stop hugs ready (actually, I like that), bring tissues, wear your helmet, and the beat goes on and on and on and on.

This is not good.  This is not right and it is definitely not productive when you consider these two things —

1. Jesus prayed we’d all be one

2. The fields are white with harvest

We’re living in the last days, time is running out, and we’re trying to figure out how to deal with each others’ personality glitches.  I keep coming back to something I heard Joyce Meyer say with one hand on hip and the other hand pointing toward the camera, “We need to get over our sweet little selves!  There’s work to do!”

Milk…meat…milk…meat….hm….let me think.

The Body is the hospital in which we are to be healed from the  dysfunction that grips us, through the Holy Spirit of Jehovah God.  Once you reach the point where you understand what your problem is – no, not issue, I said problem! We’ve got serious problems!  Issues get to cuddle under the blankets in the crib, problems demand resolution.  We are not commissioned to help everybody feel comfortable and all feely-fuzzy.  When you analyze your caution sign, and you figure out how your problem became a problem, you are at that point to recognize the need and source of correction and that would be God.  Then you have reached the point at which you no longer have an excuse, no longer have an excuse, no longer have an excuse, to continue in the non-productive, self centered flaws that have so far resulted in your negative behavior up to that point of revelation….  In other words, grow up and trash the banky and the binky… you go to the hospital for prayer, teaching in the word, fellowship in love…

So that we will be united in faith and purpose, to grow up and out of our mess so that we can reach out as a team, arm in arm, with one mind, turning our flaws outward into talents, and fulfilling God’s plan for salvation for all we touch.

The church body cannot continue to coddle and cradle each other for fear of offending each other, afraid that somebody will have feelings hurt and expect to be productive.  I hurt easily.  But, more and more, I hear “suck it up.”  Well! How do you like that? I walk on eggs too, but I hear “suck it up, Buttercup.”  It’s just not fair. But it is Life.

It makes me think, am I reaping the consequences of my poor decisions from the past or is somebody else sowing seeds from which they’ll reap in their own lives later?

Time is short.  Our 401k accounts will be dried up.  It will be against the law for Christians to pray in public, and has already started in our schools where our children are being trained. Our healing will default to faith in Jesus.  Period.  No doctor options because some form of socialized medical care will be passed this year and no matter what is cut or adjusted, it will deteriorate rapidly against us.  Not convinced that we need to get over some stuff that’s weakening us? For cryin’ in the proverbial beer, the New World Order is crouching in the bushes.  We won’t be hiding out in our church buildings forever.

The flaps are down, people! We need to learn to forgive quickly without discussion, love without conditions, learn with openness, and receive correction from each other and Holy Spirit like steel on steel polishing off the warts we don’t need.

The world is looking for solutions to problems, not a bunch of judgmental, whiney hypocrites unable to function any better than they do.

Hey, Preach! How do you preach to all that personality diversity?

Loudly, fearlessly, tirelessly.