About lamptofeet

I specialize in pushing the “Michael Jackson” drug followed by a paralytic agent into the veins of my anesthetized patient to ensure respiratory arrest so that I may then ever so gently insert a curved metal object between their teeth and into the throat as I expose their airway that I might subsequently push a piece of cuffed sterile PVC pipe through their vocal cords, into their trachea to supply them oxygen and breaths as a “sadistic surgeon” cuts away diseased anatomy. I am successful when you wake up, look at me and say, “When are we going to get started?” God was the first Anesthetist to Adam in His creation of Eve. An honorable profession!

Sin’s Self-Imposed Blindness… Free of Charge?

Life experience, but much more authoritatively, the Word of God indicates that within the madness of any particular sin is a power by which that particular sin freely offers a self-imposed blindness to consequences beyond the immediate need to cover the deed from exposure. In the moment we think we can sin and survive the catastrophe of death by nondisclosure. (“The soul that sins must die…” yet we think we live as we hide our sin[s].) That is a lie that denies the Law of the Harvest… the principle of Sowing and Reaping. Life is only lived if we learn to confess and forsake. We all have need of confession. 

I was struck by this concept of sin’s madness by walking head long ONCE AGAIN into Proverbs 6 and 7 as I considered the folly of so many young and OLD men and women who tinker and toy with sins of their youth… sins of their flesh. Do these sins ever die? I think not.

Then I recalled my reading this morning in Psalm 44 of God seeing our secrets, our hearts when we forget, in particular, when we forget Him. I considered the madness of any attempt to hide sin from the eyes of the Almighty. Sin blinds. Sin lies. Sin eventually demands payment; it ever “crouches at the door.” Sin has a nonnegotiable small print contract that none of us would ever willingly sign if we could see the future havoc it promises to bring. But the flesh demands satisfaction. The flesh is weak. Do you chose life or death? It is the Spirit that gives life and makes us live. 

God’s gracious gospel call today is to confess and forsake. Get your eyes off of that one who is not yours! That is madness and you will pierce yourself with many a pang! That is a Road to Perdition… to Destruction. You will wander away from the Faith. Live for Jesus if you would know joy in this life! “Oh why will you die?”

All sin is a form of insanity and all sin has at its essence a terminal short-sightedness that “forgets God” in the moment as the glory of the Creator is exchanged for the pleasure of the fallen creature.


Psalms 44:20-21 (NASB)

If we had forgotten the name of our God

Or extended our hands to a strange god,

Would not God find this out?

For He knows the secrets of the heart.

That Most Awkward Moment of Birthing the Baby with No Brain

Years ago we often read to our boys from a Picture Bible Story Book. There were basic but vivid pictorial accounts of many common Bible stories. Blind Bartimaeus was a favorite and always gave pause as he was depicted to lack visible eyes. I still today recall his portrayal as our boys would often cry out in shocked wonder, “Look Mom! No eyes! Poor Bartimaeus, He has no eyes! He has no eyes!” We know it eventually ended quite well for Blind Bart as he cried to the passing King with increasing intensity and frequency, “Jesus, Thou Son of David! Have mercy on me!” It no small disturbance that arose as the crowd attempted to hush him to silence. (Ever noticed how often those who cry to the Lord tender an accusation of disruption?) We know in this case the passing Lord paused, called him over as He requested the manner of his petition, and of course Jesus subsequently granted his request by imparting sight to see what his faith already believed. And he followed Him to Jerusalem. (As a side… I am most thankful where intangible faith is visible to only His all seeing eyes, though scorned by others, His sensitivity to our needs never diminishes, and the King performs acts of tenderness where others only ridicule.)

And I was thinking and praying this morning for that young couple I was honored to care for some months back, as they carried for nine months, and then delivered a known anecephalic baby to love in this world for only an hour or perhaps two at most. They chose the joyful pain of a brief life but not a fruitless extra-ordinary life sustaining effort that would have yielded no final profit but perhaps a few more heart-wrenching hours. The indelible mark they made upon each of us by their life-choices made months previous swept over the C-Section operating room by a manifested weight of bonding, care and tenderness which was modeled in love before family, friends and staff. As the newly delivered baby boy struggled for breath and life, he seemed to know some degree of resolution and comfort as he was immediately taken from mom’s surgically opened uterus to her awaiting warm loving arms and breasts as she washed him in tears and comforted him in tender care. Maybe some tears were mine? I cannot be sure for the pain and weight of glory was very heavy on me that day as I fought the impossibility to retain my composure. 

A short time later in the post-op recovery room Mom, Dad and Brother each held and shared their brief gift of God-given bundle of painful joy. It was then I began to see more clearly the power of love modeled before their three year-old son, and the preeminent glory of God granted in this fleeting but eternal gift who struggled for life, all bundled and wrapped as he tarried but a few moments more… his angels, no doubt, patiently stood near by awaiting his final fleeting breath that they might gloriously usher him to a most Perfect Setting.

It was truly a moment of overwhelming consequence for me that was not without tears. But tears should always bring us to joy as now in reflection. I know Mom and Dad still have hearts that hurt, for mine afflicts me in this random Lord’s Day morning recollection. They chose life, if it was only for a few minutes or a couple of hours at the most. The strength required for mom to carry her baby for those nine months was remarkable. But the grace  demonstrated over the latter half of her pregnancy after she learned that she would only hold her terribly deformed son a few fleeting moments before he departed life, this grace rises to a level beyond description.

“Who sinned that he should be born this way…?” “It was neither that he nor his parents sinned, but for the glory of God.”


I don’t know guys. I don’t know but that is a different type of grace and love, that I can not fully know, but I see it and admire it. And I can thank God for the way He spoke to me that day. Love without the reality of pain is an illusion, and a counterfeit, don’t you think? Fundamentally, our hearts are dangerously exposed to pain when we love. All that we are must be layed upon the table to know love and to give love. Sacrifice of self for the good of others with a view of the glory of God defines love. “Here is love. Not that we loved God but that God loved us and gave…

“Let the little children come to Me.” (Jesus)

Below you will have opportunity to see again why I often point to Jack as one who easily articulates what I struggle to put into words. If you have never taken the time to listen to the audio version of CS Lewis reading from his hand written manuscript copy of “The Four Loves”, you have missed a lot. I can encourage you to consider trying  Audible.com then download the updated, Chuck Colson commentary version. At a minimum pick up a copy of the book at the local library. 

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

CS Lewis

“The Four Loves”

The Murder of Orthopraxy by Orthodoxy

Orthodoxy kills Orthopraxy whenever and wherever absent the Spirit of Christ. The Spirit is given so the totality of our existence may become a sea of Life. “The Spirit gives life, the flesh profits nothing. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and Life.” We must have both.

I believe a great void endangers much of the modern church. I fear this terminal cancer gains ground in many modern conservative evangelical circles. (But hey, who am I? Thankfully as one recently and most pointedly reminded me: I am a nobody. But as a nobody I do know a Somebody, and that is all the encouragement I need. I have no creds but those I present: I am attached to the Vine and the Vine gives glorious life to the branches as we abide in Him. Is there life in another? So whether you like it or not, that establishes my life and my credibility for His Name’s sake. That’s funny isn’t it? A nobody with creds… and some hate that, because I know the King and have an invitation to His wedding, the same as they do. “He has made us to be a kingdom, priests of our God…” (Damn Reformation!) 

It would seem the Spirit of Christ has been disinvited by many for fear of man’s (our) exposure of fraudulent practices of a cold heart often in light of right teachings, “But He when He comes will convict the world concerning sin, and concerning righteousness and concerning judgment…” Now who in their carnal mind wants that? To be exposed as a fraud? As a hypocrite? None but the truly penitent man who sees God high and lifted up as he is bent low in true worship. 

Yet we hear resounded in unison chorus, “Not me!” from the pastors of the First & Second & Third Church of  The Only-Most-Anointed Ones. “We are well content in our self-described-darkness, so please, leave us be!”

Ok. We can do that. But first a word of warning by perhaps only a poor attempt to clear up a thing or two…before I go.  “Even a bad shot is dignified when he accepts a duel.” GK Chesterton (Love me some GKC)

How can we tell this infection or condition exists? The fruits. It’s always the fruits. Fruits are EVER reflective of the good or ill condition of the inner heart or state of being of the body. “What’s in the heart comes out the mouth.” Squeeze a man by truth and the Spirit and see what eeks out of him, out of his character flaws, to get small clue what sort of wrath/anger/malice/ bitterness/vindictiveness/ lack of love/ jealousy/covetousness/ etc may be eating away at him, hidden from the eye of man, but known of God. Pressure and stress tell a true story of the soul’s actual state before the discerning eye of the Word of God. All things are open and laid bare to the Word. Pretense is only superficial and only skin deep. God annihilates it with a breath. 

Back on track…

So it’s the fruits beginning with the fruits of repentance brought forth by restoration from the scourge of religious hypocrisy. A hardened hypocrite hates exposure as such, and is blinded by his narrow perception of light to the reality of his deeds. Yet the gospel of grace enables each of us from our particular point of need and hypocrisy to turn from said hypocrisy by bringing forth the fruit of repentant deeds which are Spirit-born and that develop into the responsible actions fleshed out by demonstrable acts manifested by the Spirit-wrought fruits to His glory. We speak of gospel-empowered growth and gospel-driven progression over the long haul of our Christian walk before God. It’s a marathon race, remember? Fruit must grow and mature; or else it rots and falls to the ground. (Fruit must also be utilized in a timely manner or else it becomes rubbish for the swine.) “Against such things (good fruit of the Spirit) there is no law” or limitation. Make the tree good and the fruit good…” We know what happens to bad trees that produce no fruit or that make BAD fruit… (I just pushed up two in my back pasture last week. Why take up my space and ground? They are slated to be burned!)

Biblical Truth has always lived (or died) by recognition and responsive action to this threat or assault upon right living that desires to camp a mere 18 inches above the heart and between our ears only. This assault is relentless and ubiquitous on all fronts simultaneously. Its subtlety is its attractive inherent snare. Dry intellectualism or formalism and the knowledge of God without knowing God is fulfilling and ever present in some form in EVERY setting from the meekness prayer closet to the most prestigious seminary lecture hall with steps leading to the most popular pulpit in the land. None are exempt. All stations in life are called to answer the alarm to “watch and pray lest you enter into temptation.”

Faith only works through love. “But the greatest of these is love.”

“You will not come to Me that you may have life.”

(Jesus to the Religious elite of his time. Notice it’s not to the common man but to the religious hypocrite to whom He brings condemnation.)

“Take heed to your self and your doctrine… to ensure salvation…”

For me I think a regular reading of Bunyan and Ryle give help in preventing and treating this blindness. Lewis is always helpful for whatever ails me too. To say it isn’t happening to you without evaluating the fruit in your life and ministry is disingenuous and indicative of a potential problem. Coupled with a steady diet of Bunyan, Ryle, Lewis and the like, is the regular practice of acknowledging and confessing our sin of self-righteousness hypocrisy which we so easily fall prey to because of the absolute wealth of information we have literally at our fingertips at any time. This can subtly produce a calloused indifference to the plight of our fellow man as it breeds a smug satisfaction that they get what they deserve as we bask in the warmth of love and grace. We can become tunnel-visioned in our pursuit of the next spiritual nugget of wisdom which we hope to uncover by intellectual pursuits apart from heart surgery upon the idol of Self which becomes puffed up as we engorge him with more information yet devoid of required love.

Spiritual Life however is never by orthodoxy in vitro alone, but can live only in orthopraxy, which always must involve the death of Self in vivo, and that by the Spirit of God who both kills and brings life to light by the Word implanted. 

Prayer: The GOD-Required Original Persistent Irksomeness

“I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.”

Luke 11:8-10

#PersistenceInPrayer is a primary point. God is there. God is faithful. God gives access. Men ought always to pray. Prayer is a chief evidence of saving faith. When Jesus returns He will search specifically for the Intercessors. “When the Son of Man comes shall He find faith in the earth?” On any given ordinary day could you produce enough evidence to convince the Court of Heaven?

There is an irritability component of prayer which cannot be ignored, if you have prayed, you know what I mean… That is, we become irritated by the required persistence demanded in all true prayer, for we know He has said, “He knows our needs before we ask.” Ok. Remind me again WHY we are asking, dear Lord? Well one reason: “To obey is better than to sacrifice.” Because He said so. It’s good to pray. Jesus modeled prayer for us. And who can recount the 10,000 or so other reasons we ought pray? It is the chief component of ANY day regardless of where the fire is or what needs are screaming or snapping at our heels. One too cannot help but ask, “Why so many times Lord?” Why so many tines must I repeat this same needed request? But our heart cries, “I come again Lord,” on this another day.

Below enjoy another #CSLewis quote on prayer in his masterful work, “Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer

“Well, let’s now at any rate come clean. Prayer is irksome. An excuse to omit it is never unwelcome. When it is over, this casts a feeling of relief and holiday over the rest of the day. We are reluctant to begin. We are delighted to finish. While we are at prayer, but not while we are reading a novel or solving a crossword puzzle, any trifle is enough to distract us…. Now the disquieting thing is not simply that we skimp and begrudge the duty of prayer. The really disquieting thing is it should be numbered among duties at all. For we believe that we were created ‘to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’ And if the few, the very few, minutes we now spend on intercourse with God are a burden to us rather than a delight, what then?… The painful effort which prayer involves is not proof that we are doing something we were not created to do. If we were perfected, prayer would not be a duty, it would be a delight. Someday, please God, it will be.”

Lewis captures with beautiful poignant honesty that which many of us battle with: We struggle to discover Prayer as that which morphs into a delightful duty which grants us greater satisfaction in joy by seeing our Lord (our Friend) more than receiving the request for we asked.


Sweet Hour of Prayer by Casting Crowns


Dying to Give, Living by Giving

Luke 11:39-41 (NASB)But the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but inside of you, you are full of robbery and wickedness. “You foolish ones, did not He who made the outside make the inside also? “But give that which is within as charity, and then all things are clean for you.”

When we give that within we give that which we love and that which is nearest and dearest to our heart. The Pharisees were lovers of money thus described as being filled with robbery which was manifested in a wicked covetous behavior to hold these idols close. Christ commands them to give it all away, much as he counseled the rich young ruler. “Go sell all that you have, give to the poor, and then come follow Me, and you shall have treasure in heaven.” He departed grieved for his wealth gripped his inner heart with the strength of ten strong men. 


Right.

Cutting off hands and plucking out eyes never becomes easier but it can become more reasonable in the light of an encounter with the Lord of glory. His voice in the Gospel whispers with a powerful confident assurance and increasing clarity of purpose. Regardless, the death of even a small idol is neither quiet nor a clean process. There is always traumatic calamity of separation. There is also an ever-vigilant spirit of watchfulness required lest a caustic recurrent malignancy spring to life again in an attempt to reattach itself in vital heart union. This is more common than originally thought. An honest assessment of life and self must conclude: If we are unwilling to part from that which we hold dear, Christ is not Lord and the Cross is not that to which we cling. How can we bear the Cross with two hands stuffed full of this world’s trinkets? Consider Moses and the reproach of Christ, at the cost of the fame and pleasure of Egypt. 

I would now like to reference CSLewis in The Great Divorce in his beautiful illustration of killing sin (an idol). The “great divorce” is our becoming unwed from the things of this world that tend to hinder and hide from us the more glorious “other world” or eternity which unseen is in reality more tangible and durable. (This concept of eternal greater durability is brilliantly illustrated throughout Lewis’ masterful work.)

In the following illustration of Lewis the “ghost” is a man making a transition from the temporal to the eternal world but he has a lizard (sin) attached to his neck and it has become a part of him. The lizard must die to complete the translation. Though the “ghost” (man) knows it not good and even evil, he simply cannot lay the lizard aside by himself. A mighty angel offers assistance but only upon the threat of pain shall the lizard (sin or idol) die and never easily or quietly. 

A mighty angel approached the man and asked, “Would you like me to make the lizard quiet?”

“Of course I would,” said the Ghost.

“Then I will kill him,” said the Angel, taking a step forward.

“Oh—ah—look out! You’re burning me. Keep away,” said the Ghost, retreating.

“Don’t you want him killed?”

“You didn’t say anything about killing him at first. I hardly meant to bother you with anything so drastic as that.”

“It’s the only way,” said the Angel …. “Shall I kill it?”

“Look! It’s gone to sleep of its own accord. I’m sure it’ll be all right now. Thanks ever so much.”

“May I kill it?”

“Honestly, I don’t think there’s the slightest necessity for that. I’m sure I shall be able to keep it in order now. Some other day, perhaps.”

“There is no other day ….” 

“Get back! You’re burning me. How can I tell you to kill it? You’d kill me if you did.”

“It is not so.”

“Why, you’re hurting me now.”

“I never said I wouldn’t hurt you. I said it wouldn’t kill you.”

[Suddenly] the Lizard began chattering loudly: “Be careful,” it said. “He can do what he says. He can kill me. One fatal word from you and he will! Then you’ll be without me for ever and ever. I’ll be so good. I admit I’ve sometimes gone too far in the past, but I promise I won’t do it again ….” 

“Have I your permission?” said the Angel to the Ghost.

“You’re right. It would be better to be dead than to live with this creature.”

“Then I may?”

“Blast you! Go on can’t you? Get it over,” bellowed the Ghost: but ended, whimpering, “God help me. God help me.”
Next moment the Ghost gave a scream of agony such as I never heard. The Burning One closed his crimson grip on the reptile: twisted it, while it bit and writhed, and then flung it, broken backed, on the turf.

Then I saw, unmistakably solid but growing every moment solider, the Ghost materialize into a man, not much smaller than the Angel.
At the same moment something seemed to be happening to the Lizard. At first I thought the operation had failed. So far from dying, the creature was still struggling and even growing bigger as it struggled. And as it grew it changed. Suddenly I stared back, rubbing my eyes. What stood before me was the greatest stallion I have ever seen, silvery white but with mane and tail of gold.
The man, now free from his torment, climbed upon the stallion that had been his sin and rode into the glowing sunrise towards the Savior.

This is why we need Lewis today. 

Navel-Gazing vs Finding the Real Cause of it All!

“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.” (Paul)Philippians 3:7

Grace takes natural gifts, and even spiritual privilege, spiritual pedigree and all zealous works and shifts them in total to the liability side of the balance sheet, from our perception of the asset column in which we had placed them. These “assets” are one and all without exception hindrances to our entry into the narrow door, and must be repented of in their entirety. Self-Righteousness and good works unto attempted justification before holy God will condemn a man to hell as certainly as blasphemy. In the parable of the Wedding Feast the man’s appearance without proper wedding apparel into the King’s dinner celebration resulted in his being cast into outer darkness. He made it a great distance and convinced many of his eligibility to enter, but he failed the King’s scrutiny in the final judgment. We must take heed unto our selves and our doctrine. 

If we are trusting in our confidence of a ticket stub held in hand that gives apparent validation of an past experience or decision we made, and not the present experience of the living God who works deeds of deliverance in our lives today, we need to go again to the basis of saving faith. We must again reconsider, remember and reflect upon the One Mediator sufficient to bring about an eternal ceasefire between ourselves and the Holy God of Heaven. Am I navel-gazing and overcome with grief, sorrow and guilt over my failures to meet my standard, or even worse, condemned by His impossible standard? Or do I grace-gaze into the heavens, anticipating the blessed hope and glory of the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ? I say it is a potential idol to look at a decision or anywhere else, and not to Jesus alone. No where in scripture is such counsel given to recollect a past decision as the basis of hope, but rather, “As you received Christ as Lord, so walk in you Him.” FAITH! We are always compelled to look to faith’s Author and Finisher!

Peter says it well for us all in John 6:

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You alone have words of eternal life and we have believed and come to know that You are the holy One sent from God.”

We must never forget: There simply never has been an adequate Plan B. Not ever. WHEN WE BELIEVE WE BEGIN TO KNOW GOD, and that is Eternal Life. 
Suggested Reading:

#KnowingGod

#JIPacker

An Ecclesiastical Change of Gears: Leaving the Reformed Faith for a Traditional SBC

Yesterday after many agonizing months we walked through a whole new door as we began a new chapter in our ecclesiastical journey by our departure from formal association with the Reformed Faith and formerly opted for a traditional SBC church. This has been an emotional and painful journey that has vexed and confused us as to the purposes of God fleshed out in daily life. We are joyfully thankful to find light and comfort today.

The call of God and opportunity to utilize the gifts of God to the glory of God in the building up of the body of Christ are two of the more significant reasons for leaving the reformed faith. For many years I have experienced little encouragement from most reformed leadership pastors (for various reasons) to utilize my gifts in service. In this immediate area (Shreveport-Bossier) I see no opportunity to serve God in the preaching of Christ beyond being a bench warmer. That is not what God has called me to; time is short, days are evil and I have lots of gray hair. I have been actively engaged in multiple ministries to the glory of God for years yet with no formal church support, and this is to my great distress. But now to my joyful expectation of more power in corporate prayer and support and encouragement, I am truly glad to have the Body umbrella of protection once again as I seek to utilize God’s entrusted gifts as a faithful steward both without, and now WITHIN the body of Christ. I am thrilled at the opportunity that exists!

My convictions: The Truth of God has not changed, nor has my faith in it. I still affirm substantial adherence to the 1689 LBC and the WCF and their accompanying catechisms.

I still believe in…
1. A Sovereign and Holy God
2. A Sinful Man
3. A Saving Christ
4. A Repentant Faith
5. A Holy Life
6. A Responsible Churchmanship

“The old truth that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, that Paul preached, is the truth that I must preach today, or else be false to my conscience and my God. I cannot shape the truth; I know of no such thing as paring off the rough edges of a doctrine. John Knox’s gospel is my gospel. That which thundered through Scotland must thunder through England again.”

Charles H. Spurgeon

Is it OK to Keep an Offensive Shot Chart?

Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Matt 18:21-23

Oops! Here it is again. Forgiveness. Or the real and potential lack of it: Unforgiveness. As I read for probably the “umpteenth time” Peter’s self-proclamation of spiritual excellence by aspiration to forgive up to seven times it occurred to me that if we are keeping a shot chart we are probably in failure mode anyway. I mean really? If I am looking at the bean jar and see that this clown only has one bean left, then he had best toe the line, for after that I am licensed to cultivate bitterness in my heart by harboring unforgiveness for repeat offenses. Now that really makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? I trust my sarcasm is apparent.

2016-08-28 (2)

Jesus moves beyond the ordinary sized “bean jar” and makes us calculate not by addition and subtraction of beans, but by multiplication: 7 x 70 = 490, and that means I am assured to lose count and will have likely forgotten the original offense anyway, so let’s just forget the whole blooming thing! Maybe that’s the point?

CS Lewis talks a lot of this in his life struggles and in his works: Mastery of forgiveness of the offense and of the offender is a given when once it is done, on that initial occasion that grace is discovered, but when it is convenient to dredge it up again to utilize the offense for manipulative purposes in the present, that original offense reoccurs in the mind just as real and readily as before. Lewis then accurately identifies the quality of “re-forgiveness required to be just as real as the original forgiveness because just as much grace is demanded to satisfy our sinful hearts as before. You did not think your flesh had improved in the last few weeks did you? Not hardly. Lewis was especially helpful to me to be watchful for the “replaying” of previous offenses whenever I find myself idle or it seems convenient such as when I encounter an occasional friend who challenges my grace of love and forgiveness. The tendency is to immediately run back in my mind and say to Self, “Do you remember when!?” And we justify our coolness of response for his previous offensive word, deed or attitude. There are real life struggles here for offenses are experienced every day. They are in my world anyway.

Thoughts & Recs:

  1. Burn the Shot Charts and Accounting Ledgers… They are only good if you desire to feed bitterness and to ensure YOU fall into painful heartache. In fact I would say that if we are holding onto an account of offenses we are not truly forgiving by turning over the offender to the Almighty to be the one who recompenses: we are desirous to reserve the right of retribution if and when required and convenient. Remember: “Vengeance is mine says the Lord, I will repay.” Biblical forgiveness liberates us from having to fix the wayward wanderer. Our forgiveness may very well mean in a real and painful sense that we hand the scope and rifle to God and say, “Here, you take the shot.” “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful but sorrowful…”
  2. Remember the standard: “Be kind toward one another, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has forgiven you.”
  3. We are all debtors to grace. If we believe we are better than the caught sinner we lie to ourselves and have a “Pharisee-complex”.
  4. The presumption in Peter’s hypothetical is that “brothers sin” against one another. Don’t be shocked, but good men have bad fights. It happens. Remember Forrest Gump as he ran? “It happens.” Yep. Got several Tees and some folks we do well to simply stay away from, even brethren. Let’s pray for them and love them from a distance. I have no doubt that Paul loved Barnabas and Barnabas loved Paul, but their ministry philosophy seemed to be at an impasse. That happens. That doesn’t mean these guys are against one another. God simply has them in different fields.
  5. Now. How about a time-out? “Take 5” and quietly sit alone without phone or distraction and truly ask God to reveal all those you are embittered against. “Making a list, and checking it twice.” Then deal with it however He leads.
  6. Review the “one another” commands in the New Testament, and figure out how the heck to practically implement them. Positive action of “faith working through love” has a way of removing offenses and squelching future occasions for sin. It’s hard to hate on someone you are serving with.

I noted with interest in my “one another” search that the first “one another” in the epistles deals with love and preference to one another, and the final reference speaks of the judgment of God upon unrepentant man as we devour “one another”. There could be a subliminal message there? Just kidding… or maybe not? Some segments of society are excelling at the latter scriptural observation, yet we as believers are guilty too of lagging in diligent love toward one another. Our goal ought be to out do one another in love to His glory by His grace. Then “the world will know we are His disciples when we have live one for the other.”

May the Lord help us to heed His holy, sufficient and relevant word today, and speedily at that. Don’t you sense time is short? I do.

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord…” Rom 12:10-11

“And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men should slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.” Rev 6:4

As We Wait for the Burning Bush

It is so very easy to perversely assume God’s indebtedness to us today. You know, that He is obligated today to do the enormous because of such and such, and because of all we do and have done for Him. (Pride and faulty logic really foul up a man’s theology, and ultimately trip one up and into the path of destruction.)

We forget the prep time of Dungeon Joseph and of Desert Moses. Always too, bear in mind that John the Baptist apparently was reared in the desert “before the day of his public appearing,” and our Lord Himself hung out for 30 years in a carpenter shop before adorning the Gospel in public ministry. I naturally think as Eddie Rabbit, “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights”. (Well maybe Mr. Rabbit had other issues he sang about as I listened to him years ago in The KEG in Lafayette.)

Our duty in the meanwhile is to stay spiritually sensitive, mentally keen, and physically engaged in the kingdom calling before us today, regardless of the size or significance of our ministry. We don’t do this by moping or by sitting around telling old stories as we polish shield and sword, and as we care for the battle gear we were given some years back. To be faithful in that which is least means we are practicing grace where we are today. Now! (Athlete, Soldier, Farmer… remember? Marathon runner?) Get off the couch, Mr. Potato Head! Quit licking past wounds and mourning old offenses that you cannot make right. The Kingdom languishes and the King is at the door!

You know, it may be today we look and see and are called to turn aside to a burning bush that is not consumed. We might have an encounter with God as never before as He opens the sealed orders’ envelope marked by our name, and then He may commission us to regions beyond in glorious endeavors that we have prayed over for years. Likely though for most of us we will still walk a similar path as before… just as we did yesterday and last week and last year. There are glorious exceptions, and there is glory wherever and whatever path of obedience we walk.

And if those secret sealed orders are never unsealed and that burning bush is never revealed and if that still quiet voice never becomes a thunderous heavenly overture to “Go ye therefore,” any further than our resident prayer closet, His call to daily faithfulness is ever before us and we establish His glory and kingdom in like manner according to apportioned grace in our particular corner of the universe by simple, faithful, consistent obedience. And we learn how to walk and please Creator God unto His glory in the simplicity of the life He gives today.

May we ever be diligent to be doers of the Word wherever we are found today, bush or no bush. Excel still more. Never lose heart in well doing. Live in expectation that God is and that God rewards even seekers.

We please God! We please God when we become linked to the golden chain of Romans 8, and whatever His particular eternal calling and purpose may be for us as individuals, we know conformity to the holy perfect Son is a non-negotiable as glorification is off the table too.

Now you were saying, you have problems and concerns?

God has your back and solutions to your most difficult plight and tragedy as He wisely intervenes according to the counsel of His will.

O how I love the Lord! He is our light and our salvation! There is instruction somewhere about waiting for the early and late rains, for the coming harvest. Let’s do that in a manner that never imitates inactivity, but rather manifests diligence in duty.

It occurs to me that in all of the Bible there is only one Burning Bush experience and only one Moses. And it also occurs to me that we have “match point” on Moses: We have the Spirit of God who seals us for the Day of Redemption in the secret place behind the Veil of the Tabernacle which is the Body of our Risen Lord.

 

 

We don’t need no burning bush.”
(colloquial)

 

The Corked & Bottled Universe That Sits Upon God’s Mantle in Which We Live

“But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here.”
Jesus

Jesus makes this alarming statement to 1st century Jews in Palestine and since their world in its quintessential perfection revolved around the Temple and Temple Worship, this contrary claim of His personal superiority would have elicited horrified gasps and raised skeptical eyebrows. None was greater than the One represented by the Temple. None. None that is unless that One who stood before them disguised as a peasant carpenter turned rabbi was in fact incognito “the Word made flesh which dwelt among them…” Emmanuel has come. Don’t miss that. Perhaps today by comparison it would be similar to someone randomly and emphatically stating to us….

“Hey guys, this rock we live upon which rotates at 1000 mph and hurtles around the sun and through space at 67,000 mph in concentric circles, surrounded by eons and infinity of expanding occupied and unoccupied space, stars, planets and other unimaginable formations and creations… Hey guys, all of this seen and unseen, known and unknown universe is actually totally contained within one of those itty-bitty, tiny corked glass bottles, and it sits upon God’s mantle, you know, similar to one of those ships in a bottle we might have on our mantle.”

My God is large.
My God is awesome.

 

Isaiah 40:21-31 (NASB)

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
Has it not been declared to you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
He it is who reduces rulers to nothing,
Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless.
Scarcely have they been planted,
Scarcely have they been sown,
Scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth,
But He merely blows on them, and they wither,
And the storm carries them away like stubble.
“To whom then will you liken Me
That I would be his equal?” says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high
And see who has created these stars,
The One who leads forth their host by number,
He calls them all by name;
Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power,
Not one of them is missing.
Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD,
And the justice due me escapes the notice of my God”?
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

 

Galatians 4:4-5 (NASB)
“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”


We fundamentally must always be ready to answer that most pertinent question and give account for the hope within us by credible evidence:


“Do I acknowledge and worship the One in whose presence I live and move and breath… who is greater, and who calls me to Himself?”

Something greater than the trappings of the day has come. We must never overlook what has happened. God has visited us incognito. “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.” That’s ok. His Kingdom comes, His will be done. In my life. In Your life. In this moment this day.

By the Way. If my analogy is close to true, this means that God Himself entered into the corked bottle and became one of us to rescue us from wrath.


It occurs to me that when Jesus identifies Himself as greater than the temple, the right response would simply be, “Yes Lord, I see. I believe. I worship the Christ in spirit and truth.”