I am please to announce my latest book found here:
A few years back I journeyed 20 miles for a taxing day hike over Blood Mountain. What was special about this day was that I not only went up and over once but I went up and over twice. I walked 10 miles out to Woody Gap from the north side of Blood Mountain and back. I wanted to know if I could hike 20 miles in one day.
This was after a derailed trip to the Shenandoah’s when my backpacking companion became sick after 32 miles of a planned 100 miler. Our trip consisted of two 20 mile days and one 17.5 mile. On day two we only made 13.1 miles which threw a wrench in my plan. I learned a lot of valuable lessons on that trip and now that I am writing, more revelations are coming my way……
So what lessons did I learn?
For one, my pack was too heavy for a 7 day trip. I packed food like our normal 3 day extended weekend hikes times three. Big Mistake!!! While I was sucking it up, I had no empathy for my friend who was struggling with his pack (he should have prepared better, in my not so humble opinion.) We tried to fit 100 miles into 7 days. On our third day, we were trying to beat an approaching cold front where snow was forecasted. Day two was shortened by 4 miles since we just weren’t moving as fast as I had hoped and it was late in the day. All we needed to do was to hoof it and make up the lost mileage. The goal was to make it to the shelter to claim our spot so we would not have to pitch our tents in the rain and snow and stay in the shelter. First come first served is the law of the shelter.
It was all uphill as soon as we left the camp that morning. It was almost lunch when we reached the crest.
We heard how the Shenandoah’s were a piece of cake for those who had hiked it before BUT, those people had hiked as north bounders. We were hiking as south bounders from the top end of the park. As a section hiker you have to work on a schedule. You have a limited amount of time and you need to account for everything like time on the trail, travel time, vacations, pick up points, drop off points, food (breakfast lunch, dinner, snacks,) water, camping spots, day 1, day 2…… and when you hit the trail you’ve got to move. When I look back on this trip we tried to stuff ten pounds of potatoes into a five pound bag.
Our perspective was off, we had made so many assumptions based on 40 mile trips and the opinions of others that when we actually got on the trail, nothing we encountered was what we expected. To the north bounder going down was going up, but to a south bounder everything was backwards. The folks we spoke with were not newcomers to 100 mile plus stretches but this was our first 100 miler.
Think about your walk with Christ, has it turned out as you expected or thought? Have you been disappointed because what you envisioned your walk to be is suddenly without the early fanfare?
How many times have you driven somewhere new and when you drove back you say, “I don’t remember seeing that.” This is what this was like. We heard what others before us said based on their journey and it was diametrically opposed to our experience. They said it was fairly level but that was at the south end of the park not the north.
This was our journey and no one else’s. These were our experiences now used to grow us up. No matter how hard this trip was, nothing would have been learned if I had not stepped on the trail.
I was trying through brute force to push us through. We were going to do this, we just needed to “break on through to the other side.” Yes it was tough but “we can do this” I exclaimed!
My friend kept falling back. We had hiked many miles together prior to this, but I was concerned with the finish rather than the journey.
By the time I realized that this hike would remain on the bucket list, I was mad, angry, and disappointed. My internal thoughts were ugly and my comments where not uplifting. We left the trail and found a lodge in the park. As the night progressed, my friend became sick confirming his inability to continue. I lost a hiking buddy that day. Since then, I have made amends for my attitude and we still keep in touch but…..things were never the same.
So what does this have to do with my 20 mile hike over Blood Mountain two days after my return? I was determined to see what 20 miles felt like even though it was with a day pack. I wanted to know if my 7 day plan was a pipe dream. As it turned out it took 9 hours 41 minutes 53 seconds according to my GPS stats for that day. It was a dream if you take into account we really didn’t have our legs underneath us and the weight of our packs and the elevation changes.
So what is this lesson about you might ask?
It’s about perspective.
After I stopped for lunch at the halfway point and was heading back for the final 10 miles, I had the pleasure to hike 6 miles of those with a fellow hiker. It didn’t take long for the topic of God to pop-up. You have to picture this, two guys talking out loud in the woods about God, Christ, and the differences between the Latter Days Saints and my Protestant/Catholic experience.
You see he left the Catholic Church because he could not get his head around the Trinity. He asked me: “How can God, Jesus and Holy Spirit be the same?” It was because of this one question he was lured away from God as I understand and know Him to be.
I had no answer except I believed it and have felt all three aspects of God work in my life at one point or another. I can still see this guy asking me that question on the south side of Blood Mountain on April 17, 2014.
I would not have been on that mountain if I had still been in the Shenandoah’s. I was on the mountain trying to satisfy my pride and ego. Regardless of my attitude and ego, when I heard the call of God that afternoon, I stopped facing inward but outward and upward.
My perspective changed. I was no longer trying to prove something, I was celebrating my Father who art in Heaven. I was declaring His glory in the mountains with a stranger.
We talked for 2.5 hours about God. We agreed to disagree on many points, but in the end we prayed before we went our separate paths. I pulled a Holy Spirit sneaky on him and prayed that the Holy Spirit would convict his spirit. That was the last I saw of him. I do not remember his name, but I can still picture him. I didn’t try to shame him, tell him he made a mistake. My soul was not trying to convert him back, we talked about God and I shared how wonderful He was to me even when I am a brat.
So why are we here today? I was reminded of this gentleman at the dinner table with my aunt the other day.
My aunt made a statement that answered this question about the Holy Spirit. It was about perspective. We go into many situations with preconceived ideas. We have biased opinions. We go into debates with one goal to prove you wrong and I/we right. Are we open to HEAR the other side? We expect certain outcomes. We try to force solutions.
And many times we are reluctant to try and understand the truth, or try and find another way to explain the truth. Instead we sometimes throw our hands up. Do we see any examples of that in the Bible? Who usually throws their arms up? Those trying to understand God, Christ and the Holy Spirit.
Many of us have based our faith on the experience of a south bounder when we are traveling north. How many times had we fallen off whatever wagon we were on because we were disappointed in God or did not try to understand Him. When the answer does not come easily do we turn inward instead of upward?
So back to the trail. When everything started to spiral, I became mad, angry and disappointed, as I said. At the start of my journey I was happy, excited and everything was possible. But as the journey progressed, I was not a stellar graduate from charm school. Take everything we have discussed and replace everything with an experience related to your Christian walk. One where you got your nose out of whack over someone’s behavior or you were judging your insides by other people’s outside.
When the truth starts to reveal itself and we don’t have all the answers, many of us try to white-knuckle our faith or look for an easier softer path.
That gentlemen I hiked with found a church that answered all of his questions through doubt and tangible beliefs. I was all too eager to speak with him to bring him back. Ready to place an offering on the altar per say when only four days earlier I had no compassion for my friend. Why??? Because I was focused on myself. It is always easy when we are not emotionally involved.
It is almost five years to the day since this tale occurred and, because my aunt was willing to share her experience, it helped me relive the truth about two hikes.
So today, this is my open letter to the man who could not grasp the Trinity, compliments of my aunt. I hope the Holy Spirit finds him listening because I can finally answer your question after five years. God did not take your question lightly and He loves us all even if we stray.
Are you ready?
It comes down to the molecular make-up of water H2o. Whether it is water, ice or vapor it is still H2o. Water runs through your hands, ice and snow can be held and vapor breathed in. On top of that, at room temperature, it is called humidity and under pressure heated above 100 degrees it is now steam.
Coal and diamonds are made of carbon, but to look at them, you would not think they are from the same element. One, we think of as dirty and the other, pure.
This is the conundrum of God.
God is and whatever form He takes it is still God. I know that man believed in creation so if God created water and coal and they can take many forms, is it such a leap for God to take different forms?
Come home the water’s warm.
God Loves you, I love you and there is nothing you can do about.
The audio version the same but different
Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2. of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. Hebrews 6: 1-2 NASB
Proverbs tells us that death and life are in the power of the tongue, and we see that through words, God created the heavens and the earth. He created light out of the darkness. God uses words to create. And because we are made in His image and in His likeness, our words also have creative power. The reason why we must choose carefully what we speak is because our words, like God’s, have creative power. Being Word-confident is crucial. We want to speak life! Word at Work Ministries 4/10/2016
It seems that everywhere we turn, we hear of a scandal being dragged into the light. We all gather around to hear the juicy details, salivating over what comes next, wondering what is the final outcome. Every act of personal destruction comes with a cliff hanger enticing us into the next episode. Will they lose their job, marriage, go to jail or will they be driven to the point of no return. Then, as the next unrelated scandal is reported by grapevine central, we move to the next cannibalized morsel and everyone forgets the last incident; Like ravenous packs moving from victim to victim.
We are encouraged to embrace behaviors contrary to our moral fiber as instilled by God. There is an infatuation with watching people squirm. If you are on the politically wrong side of a God-centered issue, many wring their hands ready to watch you burn at the stake. Today they yell “Christian“ instead of “witch“.
Living in this world, one is easily, as Paul describes in Corinthians, pulled back into, carnal behavior, relenting to the pressure instead of standing firm in Truth; but what does it take to stand firm?
As immature Christians:
Are we eager to punish and chastise those who, in our opinion, fall short of God’s grace?
Do we judge the stranger, as they walk through the door looking for help?
Do we withhold speaking the Truth with dignity and grace to those who are clearly not walking within God’s covenants?
ARE WE EAGER TO TELL OUR CLOSE CHRISTIAN FRIENDS WHAT OUR REAL OPINION OF THAT PERSON IS?
DO WE FORM UNHOLY ALLIANCES WITH OUR CLOSEST CONFIDANTS TO GAIN FAVOR?
How different are we if the end result is exclusion? A mature Christian practices the art of inclusion.
If we are more focused on what we get from Christ or our church; Who is there, to help pick up the pieces and protect the spiritually vulnerable while they are down, if we are busy talking about them? Do we resist being helpful because we assume that they are desperate to merely get themselves out of a jam? Do we see an opportunity to share God’s love or do we sit on the sidelines to see what travails they fall prey to? Waiting for a cry for help with a hypocritical sincerity, as you voice your analysis as a concerned brother in Christ.
What sort of fruit is produced from this type of Christian?
As a mature Christian, as Oswald Chamber says, our work as His disciples is to disciple lives until they are wholly yielded to God. One life wholly devoted to God is of more value to God than one hundred lives simply awakened by His Spirit.
Principles 1, 2 and 3 in Hebrews 6:1-2 work almost in unison to draw in Holy Spirit to recreate us from the inside out and prepare us to become a disciple, guiding converts to discipleship. At this point in our journey, a joint effort is required where the new and aged (very aged like some of my close friends) must support each other.
Jesus said we shouldn’t put new wine in an old skin, but he never said to throw the old wine away. They each have a place at the table.
We need to drink each other’s wine, but what happens if the old wine is sour? Again Oswald Chambers said concerning this topic on April 24, “Unless the worker (mature Christian) lives a life hidden with Christ in God, he is apt to become an irritating dictator instead of an indwelling disciple. Many of us are dictators, we dictate to people and to meetings. ” It comes does to our relationship with Christ again and how we relate to Him, in public or from within the closet.
There are brands of Christianity that focus on the benefits of a Christian lifestyle as a means to an end. Others speak materially as a member of the Christianity club or the “I am a prophet, listen to me club”. Each has a preaches a message that captures the attention of a new and old believer alike, that itches the ears in areas they would likely need deliverance from. In other words, we can be drawn to desert instead of being drawn to the actual meal, as a child would.
Each of these groups is chasing or dictating something that continually tries to prove that God really exists. YOU can get more if you do this or that. In the any context it paints a skewed view of the Way, as a means to an end on this physical or spiritual plan. Everything is done with a result in mind.
Without maturity in our ranks to bring balance, chasing the next new thing of God, we become lazy and will only reach into the cookie jar of our new idol: the prosperous life of a Christian who promotes things we can be amazed in.
26Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. 27But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”
28They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”
29Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”
30They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do?” John 6:26-30 NLT
They wanted a magician who they could believe in. IF YOU WANT US TO FOLLOW YOU PROVE TO US WHY WE SHOULD.
God IS amazing!!!!!! Look around, but look in the mirror and ask yourself if your words paint a picture of a walk rooted in seeking or promoting great things? Or are you seeking to be closer to God and used to enlarge/promote His Kingdom?
If your walk looks like the former, you childishly, (Child-LIKE is how he wants us, childish is the shadow position) run into God’s arms over and over again wanting to feel the rush of being of being loved and forgiven on a never-ending forgiveness merry-go-round.
And when things get a little dull, we need to create a little excitement. If this is the basis of your relationship with God, tangible objects or feelings proving that you are still in God’s grace, you are not then willing to work through the maturing taught by God through abandonment, solitude and reflection. If your brand of Christianity serves yourself, when an amazing work of God takes place in someone else, jealously rears up and “Let the games begin”.
What sort of fruit is produced from this type of Christian?
God’s love has no bounds; when we place it in a box, the marketing campaign begins, attempting to convince people to turn from their wicked ways and embrace a doctrine of feelings. Which at the heart of it, is rooted in carnal desires. We have the best message of our time, listen to me?
New believers are told to repent for the Kingdom is near. After a while, if they hunger for Truth they will ask, “Now what?”
Here is a new term we should get familiar with; ADULT CHILD OF GOD- Know what it means? A child in an adult body. You may look like an adult but all your actions tell a different story.
If you are an adult child of God, instead of listening and understanding that new believers need healing and guidance, you will tell what they should “do” in their lives. Come here, do this, go there, do that. You will always talk about what God did, never what God is doing.
How about this? Oh my God, if you want to experience God, you need to go to this conference.
Then there’s the guilt trip. You want to experience God right? That speaker has an anointing, you don’t want to miss it.
Then everyone will compare their feelings after and may not realize if doctrine was distorted, they only know they feel awesome.
Motivational speakers and conferences on parade always provide a great time and inspiration. BUT were we inspired or matured. Were we given new information we are trying to wrap our minds around, which sounds like the truth.
It is like eating a whole bag of Hershey kisses in order to get that rush. What happens after the rush is gone? Need more candy!! As an adult child of God we have been programmed by the secular world to do what it right for us, even in our religious circles. The statistics prove that we resemble the world in divorces, adultery etc….
As an adult child of God we want to (WAIT FOR IT) …….become Rock Stars in the Christian world. Our status symbol is being recognized for who we are in Christ.
We need to be Servants of the Most High NOT ROCK STARS. If God wants you to be a rock star you will be a rock star on His terms. Christian maturity is growing as a new creation not one you created in service to God.
Now if you are a Rock Star for Christ you will probably have groupies too. What do Groupies say; Everything you want to hear.
If you don’t believe me, Oswald Chambers said on May 1st’s reading, “Can we do our duty when God has shut up heaven? Some of us always want to be illuminated saints with golden babes and the flush of inspiration, and to have the saints of God dealing with us all the time”. This was what I read after coining the phrase rock stars from a song I heard instead of superheroes. The song Not Rock Stars by Disciple placed the final bow on this teaching for me:
A mature Christian invests time with people and helps mature the ranks. At some point the we need to stop acting like an Adult child of God and become a Son of God (disciple). We must live in the faith that God will not forget us and He will impart His blessing like a father to son. Does the prodigal son’s brother ring a bell. Luke 15:25-32.
28 “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’
31 “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’” NLT
The Father must tell us to stop behaving the way we are behaving. Join the party and don’t run away.
Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity Hebrews 6: 1 NASB
Jesus lovingly tells us through that parable, for those who have been around a while: suck it up, stop complaining, get back to work and understand that it is not always about you. It is about those we need to bring into the kingdom or welcome back.
When you grasp this phase of our journey, you will be placed in service for the kingdom where God wants to you to be.
As any type of addict, new to recovery, it takes new believers a while for things to settle in, once you are on the path of repentance (go sin no more). At first you must hang around people so you are encouraged to staying addiction or secular life free. You are surrounded people who have gone through a re-creation process. After a while the new creation will slowly emerge. In recovery newcomers are scooped up to get them out of harm’s way. Everyone is hurting and without guidance many will find other means to stop feeling, but when you guide them into the arms of Christ they will be able to see that God will support them.
Everyone who drags themselves through the door, will agree to anything on the first day. Everyone will surrender and say, “I will never do that again” and dance around singing Amazing Grace. If that was all we needed, then Alcoholism would only effect new people and our world would be one big church and no one would fall off the wagon. (Think about that……)
The third principle, instruction about washings, is a catechism (a basic teaching) presented before you take the plunge of discipleship. There were things you need understand on a variety of issues that Jesus taught the disciples and the disciples taught new Christians, which they wrote it down in a document called the Didache. Everything we are talking about leads up to baptism. Say what you want about Catholicism, but if you are an aspiring nun, you need to live as a nun for a year before you take your vows. At the time of your vows, you know what’s required of you, there are no surprises.
For comparison, the third step of recovery : Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, is a baptism of sorts. You take this vow in the presence of a mature member who guided you through the first two steps and was sure you were ready. (Sound familiar). But once you come up from the water, a person who has traveled this road before after being baptized won’t throw you a towel and leave to baptize another: He will dry you off and proceed with you. Same as in recovery, the real work begins in the next step and very few make it further without support.
We must understand, that to be mature, we must be a living breathing Son of God. When Jesus said Go make disciples of all nations, that message was not a repent or go to hell message or just go to church with a Bible, saying, “I am praying for you brother!!”
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 29:19).
At this point Jesus imparted His blessing on them after he taught them and they were to do the same.
“Therefore” means something happened prior to this. In recovery, you are asked to find a person to be your sponsor. A sponsor is a person, you can count on to assist you through the tough times and mentor you into alternate ways to handle situations differently. Obviously you would need to seek out an experienced member, who has been around the block a couple of times, not a newbie. The blind cannot lead the blind. Or, if you desire to learn something new, wouldn’t you seek out the most experienced teacher as possible.
As a sponsor, we commit ourselves to guide and support the one who gave us the privilege to impart God’s love. We are told, in searching for a sponsor, to look for traits you aspire to, someone who has traveled the road before. It should be no different here, we need to guidance from those who have made tough choices for Christ on the road less traveled.
As mature Christians we need to be the kingdom example for those who are entrusted to us. WE CANNOT DROP CONVERTS AT THE DOOR OF THE CHURCH AND HOPE FOR THE BEST.
The mission of the early church was to bridge the gap on how to live apart from the literal law and embrace the life governed by the law of grace through Jesus Christ that encapsulated the law. A new believer knows something is missing in their life. They know a change is needed but they need a helping hand to hold them steady. The world is only too eager to kill that spirit with a flick of a tongue, but we can also do the same.
The Acts of the Apostles Church, demonstrated how to love and still administer justice.
Each of us must sit down and reflect on what is being said. However if we are not hidden in Christ as we work with and mold our brothers in Christ, we need to be able to only give correction but receive correction where needed. It is a two way street, iron sharpens iron. A lot of people can tell others what they need to do but many cannot hear it directed to themselves without getting their feelings hurt.
That is what a mature Christian should be demonstrating on a daily basis, teaching, correcting and instilling a sense of maturity into the lives you come in contact with. The life of Christian is kinetic not static. A person that talks a good talk waivers when their faith is tested. If the early church wasn’t mentored properly the Way would have died when the Romans and Jews wanted nothing to do with them after the fall of Jerusalem.
If you were not properly instructed, a wine before its time, the kingdom suffers. To make a disciple means you are wholly devoted to God. If you only pontificate, the message you impart will confuse or dishearten a new Christian, during their first challenge.
The Word should be attraction walked out. Until then we are a traveling Good Works show, worshiping Will Power.
Jesus spoke of this, in His parable of the Sower, as a warning when a new seed is not nurtured properly. Matthew 13:3-13,17
3 And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; 4 and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. 6 But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.7 Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. 8 And others fell on the good soil and *yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.”
10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” 11 Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. 12 For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
16 But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
The mysteries of the kingdom are not revealed to just anyone. The Trinity is responsible for the increased revelation(s) in our lives, not the actions of a religious movement that seeks to gain material influence and derive gain from a larger following.
Only those that have a heart for God, and knows what it means to be a disciple, have access to kingdom principles. A kingdom message isn’t spoken; it is lived and more importantly granted.
To you it has been GRANTED to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. 12 For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. Matthew 13:11-12
Who is charge of GRANTING the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, certainly not anyone in this room, only the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ.
So if you wondering why your walk seems at a standstill and it is not producing fruit, and you seem to be forcing and searching for a blessing, ask Holy Spirit to reveal why. Holy Spirit might just send a disciples to show you where you need maturing. It might even be a new believer that brings it to light.
Many Christians seem to know nothing about this maturing process and want an instant anointing. Many think, we need to receive some kind of “magical” charge that will immediately begin to operate through them. Just say the magic word, Lord and I will be healed!!!
I used to believe like that, looking for the one phrase that brought clarity of purpose. I needed to touch it, feel it, comprehend it, see it, before I would agree with it. I thought God would anoint me as I was because I was filled with good intentions for the Kingdom. Little did I know that He wanted all of me not just the parts I wanted to sacrifice myself in front of everyone. He wanted a new creation and I had to know what that meant.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. -1 CORINTHIANS 13:11
Since September, I have had an anointing with money. I find it everywhere, side of the road, at stoplights, walking, running, outside of stores. I am up to $77.99 and a half cents. It is never a questions of if I will find money only how much. I do no use a metal detecting devices. I walk with anticipation.
But I have learned so much about people through this. I have learned that every coin should be kept. Every coin, no matter if it is broken, should be rescued. I pull coins out of tar strips on the road if I see. I bring a screwdriver in my truck to pull them out.
If you are a Wanna-Be Rock Start for Christ, you will miss the joy of finding one penny lost on the side of the road even a half penny. No matter how road weary they are, they still have value. If all you want is the spotlight as a Christian, you will not see past the first row. When you are done you will be ushered away right past a believer in need, because, to you, they have no value.
If everyone would look for opportunities to find a child of God, jump out of the car to save it, go back and rescue it from tar strips they have been stuck in for years, let them know that they are worth the time even with the road rash. How big would the kingdom be?
It’s time to place the mantel of maturity on our shoulders, for the Fields of Harvest are plentiful. Some need to be gathered, some need to picked and others need to be pruned. Let Holy Spirit guide you, and most importantly stop listening to WIFM, what’s in it for me and listen to WIFG, what’s in it for God.
I love you all and there is nothing you can do about.
When I started this journey back in October, I believed it would be a one and done. However, as we start this the third installment, the picture of what I thought obedience was and how Jesus fulfilled the law has expanded to a depth, hard to find words to describe it.
I used to tell my son to not spill his milk, because I was afraid he would spill the milk. I never saw past it and constantly repeated that phrase and scared him. I tried to prevent an experience I thought was bad and missed an opportunity to grow deeper with my son. As we discuss the Torah, understand this is not about preventing us from living, but learning how to live the life God gave each of us.
What I believe should be required reading for all Christians and what I will be referring to in this teaching are the two following books:
- Restoration- Returning the Torah of God to the Disciples of Jesus by D. Thomas Lancaster found at First Fruits of Zion
- Pagan Christianity-Frank Viola and George Barna
Picking up where we left off last time, I realized while sitting in Kansas where once there was a heavy veil, torn asunder upon Jesus’ death, I replaced it with a sheer of my choosing, a barrier used to keep the full essence of Christ out of my life. The spirit of the word propitiate act of atoning for sin or wrongdoing (especially appeasing a deity), became real. I was beginning to understand the differences between the Covenant of the Law, its pitfalls without the correct heart application and the Covenant of Grace. The points we are discussing are:
- Obeying God’s law
- Choosing which laws to obey
- Don’t judge me as a weapon of silence
As I write this, God brought a novel to mind. In Stephen King’s book, Needful Things, many of the characters in the story, purchase a special item which feeds a desire from a recently established Knick Knack shop. For one character, she wanted to be rid of her arthritis pain. She found a necklace and while she wore the pain vanished. Another saw themselves differently with a set of sunglasses and kept gazing endlessly in a mirror. As the story continues, we find that the town will go to great lengths to hold on to their one item at the expense of others. The characters in the book traded their souls to hold on to the one item they felt would solve an issue in their life that prevented them from enjoying life to the fullest. Continue reading
Sitting in a Kansas hotel reading my daily meditation by my buddy Oswald Chambers, it was brought to my attention, that when I speak and think of God, I speak of a deity who is in charge. I revere Him; I obey Him on the promise of eternal covering. There is no doubt that over the past three writings, we have discussed evil, truth haters and laying out the foundation of who really is charge; Our Father who art in Heaven. We have discussed Free Will and Justice. Free Will with which we purchase our ticket to our final destination, whether you choose to believe or not. Justice in that God is just and will provide judgment, based on His never changing laws, but that does not mean, He doesn’t love you. Just like our children, we love them regardless of their behavior. Disappointed, maybe, but we still love them. We have also discussed iniquity, that which the world continues to spread, without regard to God’s decree’s. Eventually God will sound the ending of all our little tantrums to get our own way.
All of this is the Truth! We know that, He is the creator of the world; He has established a covenant with His people. We have discussed the mindset of My Life, My Rules and His House , His Rules. AND yet after all that, I, Roland Jutras, am content obeying the rules to please my Father in Heaven.
You might ask, what are you getting at, isn’t that the point? Continue reading
“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach. So you get what we had here last week – which is the way he wants it. Well, he gets it. I don’t like it any more than you men.”
Most of us have heard this famous quote from the movie, Cool Hand Luke. The person, the warden is talking about, is Luke, a rebellious prisoner who will not follow the rules no matter what punishment has been delivered. He is dead set on doing it his way. I thought it would play nicely to what a friend shared with me the other day when he was asked this question; How can a just God condemn a man to hell?
Well, is God condemning the man or is the man condemning himself? Many people, while trying to trip us (Christians) up, will paint a picture of a punishing God, depicting God sitting on a throne giving the preverbal thumbs up or down. Man is just a helpless soul, whose intentions are always good, doing the best that he can, under the circumstances God put in motion. How can a god do this to man, when he put him in this mess to begin with. The only conclusion you can make is that God might be an unjust God. They don’t say God doesn’t exist but they throw it out as a reason not to worship God. The ultimate fist in God’s face. You see the picture; the question is asked upon a supposition. The story is started somewhere in the middle and not the beginning. From this depiction, God should not be revered because he will treat you the same way as the helpless schmuck out there under God’s thumb. Continue reading
Crucify Him, Crucify Him!!
15 Now it was the governor’s custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner to the crowd—anyone they wanted. 16 This year there was a notorious prisoner, a man named Barabbas. 17 As the crowds gathered before Pilate’s house that morning, he asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 (He knew very well that the religious leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy.)19 Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: “Leave that innocent man alone. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about him last night.”
20 Meanwhile, the leading priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death. 21 So the governor asked again, “Which of these two do you want me to release to you?” The crowd shouted back, “Barabbas!”
22 Pilate responded, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” They shouted back, “Crucify him!” 23 “Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?” But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify him!”
24 Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!”
25 And all the people yelled back, “We will take responsibility for his death—we and our children!”
26 So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified. Matthew 27: 15-26 NLT
My lasting writing was about recognizing evil; While that piece was being edited, this following phrase was brought out in a discussion. “Truth is hate for those that hate truth.” Continue reading
In the past few weeks a term has risen to the top of my vocabulary; disillusioned. I didn’t know it at first, but that word was seared into my mind. For years I looked at this word negatively and utilized its context as being hoodwinked. But God is teaching me that I have been disillusioned on who I really am. AND I am learning that I need to ask God to unlearn who I am. As I have heard over the years, God wants me to be rid of self. Now I understand the only way that can occur is to unlearn who I think God wants me to be or better yet how I think God should be seen in me. So, in God’s view, the word disillusioned is revelatory. During this process of revelation, my perception of the world was forever changing, my field of vision narrowed and very sharp. Continue reading
The Book of Joel, Ezra and Haggai.
One of the episodes in my book is titled, Never Promised You a Rose Garden. It outlined a time in my life where I thought once you pledged your life to God as You Understand Him, Jesus or God(Good Orderly Direction), your existence on this earth would be a grand affair. Life would be in abundance and everything that pained me would subside. It was a point where I had to decide to give up some pretty significant bad habits, or else. At the same time, my marriage fell victim to adultery. I also admitted to my Company Commander I was a drug addict and shortly thereafter I was arrested for DUI. Not particularly a rosy scenario. I was exposed to the error of my ways which I had made of my own free will. On top of all that, I was granted custody of a baby to care for. I half-heartedly acknowledged God, but was more resentful to Him than anything else. Through a well intentioned group of individuals, I was figuratively being “drug” to a better life, kicking and screaming. I was given a set of rules to live by in and I was told if I did these things my life would get better. I started believing it and it did get better, but only for a while because I was under temporary grace.
Be as it may, I am never satisfied. My nature is to always seek the next higher level. Once I get to one plateau, I admire the view, take a deep breath and climb higher. Now that has a good side and a bad side to it. Continue reading