Thursday, February 28, 2008

LENTEN MEDITATION 23 ~~~ Worthy and Well Done
For the Year of Our LORD, 2. 28. 2008


Thou hast a few names even in Sardis
which have not defiled their garments;
and they shall walk with me in white:
for they are worthy.

He that overcometh,
the same shall be clothed in white raiment;
and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life,
but I will confess his name before my Father,
and before his angels.

The Words of The LORD JESUS CHRIST
in Revelation 3:4, 5


Well done, thou good and faithful servant… oh, how we long to hear those words from our LORD! How it comforts us to hear them now in this present evil age. How much more so will it comfort us to hear them later, standing before the Great Judgment Seat of CHRIST. We hope to be workman not ashamed of what we have done in our bodies, inside our minds, within our hearts, and with our time.

Let us pray: O GRACIOUS LORD CHRIST, help me to be single of eye. I confess my propensity towards distraction of every sort. Grant me wisdom to deal with my distractions through the power of The HOLY SPIRIT, through the light of Thy written Word. All Scriptures given for edification and purification let me eat as my necessary food; make them as the apple of my eye. Then, O LORD, I will be as the apple of Your eye.

I ask these things through Thy Holy SON JESUS CHRIST, Who+ lives and reigns with You and Your HOLY SPIRIT, one GOD, through the ages of the ages. Amen.



+
+ +

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

LENTEN MEDITATION 22 ~~~Our Example

Our Example
For the Year of Our LORD, 2.27.2008


And Jesus, when he was baptized,
went up straightway out of the water:
and, lo, the Heavens were opened unto him,
and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove,
and lighting upon HIM+:

And lo a Voice from Heaven, saying,
This is my beloved Son,
in whom I am well pleased.
Matthew 3: 16, 17

While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them:
and behold a Voice out of the cloud, which said,
This is My Beloved Son,
in whom I am well pleased;
hear ye HIM+.
Matthew 17:5


Then said Jesus unto them,
When ye have lifted up the Son of Man,
then shall ye know that

I, I AM ,

and that I do nothing of Myself;
but as My FATHER hath taught Me,
I speak these things.

And HE that sent me is with ME:
the FATHER hath not left ME alone;
for I do always those things that please HIM.
John 8:28,29 (Gk literal)



The Beloved SON+ pleased The FATHER. GOD the FATHER sent a Voice from Heaven to announce HIS pleasure in HIS Beloved SON+ to all who were gathered at Our LORD’S baptism.

Then, The FATHER did it again. HE sent a Voice once more to announce HIS pleasure in HIS Beloved SON+, JESUS CHRIST. This time, the Voice came out of the cloud at the time The LORD JESUS was transfigured on the mount.


The third statement came as the LORD JESUS taught in the treasury of the Temple. HE+ pointed out as HE+ proclaimed His+ oneness with The FATHER that HE+ did nothing… not one little thing… apart from His+ Heavenly FATHER.

But rather, JESUS spoke only those things His+ FATHER taught HIM+. Furthermore, His+ Heavenly FATHER WHO sent HIM+ has never left HIM+ alone.

Why was HE+ never alone? HE+ ever did those things that pleased His+ Heavenly FATHER. Our LORD JESUS learned obedience through the things that HE+ suffered. Wherefore…

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted HIM,
and given HIM a name
which is above every name:

That at the name of JESUS every knee should bow,
of things in Heaven, and things in earth,
and things under the earth;

And that every tongue should confess
that JESUS CHRIST is LORD,
to the glory of GOD the FATHER.
Phil. 2:9-11

Because HE+ continuously did those things that pleased His+ Heavenly FATHER, HE+ was never alone.


Dear Heavenly FATHER, O Ruler of the Universe, I thank THEE for giving to mankind Your Beloved SON JESUS CHRIST Who+ pleased THEE at all times. Help me to go and do likewise. In His+ Holy name I pray. Amen.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

LENTEN MEDITATION 21 ~ Becoming Acceptable

LENTEN MEDITATION 21 ~ ~ ~ Becoming Acceptable…
a Message for the Redeemed, Those in the Covenant of The LORD JESUS CHRIST.

For the Year of Our LORD, 2.26.2008


Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be
acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

This message is ONLY for the Redeemed.
It is only for those who are regenerated, born anew from above.
It is only for those New Creatures in CHRIST JESUS.
It is only for those who have entered into the Covenant of GOD through CHRIST JESUS…
for there is no other Covenant
apart from the Blood of Our LORD JESUS CHRIST.


Bishop +Paul Stanley of All Saints Church in Rome, Ga., explains it this way: “GOD has chosen to relate to mankind in a personal way. HE does this through HIS Covenant. HE does not relate to man [in a personal way] outside of HIS Covenant.”


So, throughout this meditation, let us keep in mind we are NOT referring to being born again, anew from above. We are NOT talking about “earning” our salvation by doing good works so that GOD will grant us forgiveness and admission into Heaven when we die.


Indeed, we are not talking at all to anyone
outside of the covenant of GOD.


So now, how do we WHO ARE ALREADY IN THE COVENANT become acceptable to The LORD? Scriptures in several places, including the Psalms, and the Apostles writings, exhorts us to do those things which will make us acceptable unto HIM+.

[An aside: Originally, the Psalms were written by, to, and for the people of GOD who were under the Old Testament or Old Covenant. [Testament means covenant.] These saints were kept safe under the Mosaic Law, the Old Covenant, until the time of the Messiah. The LORD JESUS CHRIST, the Messiah, established the New and Better Covenant… the covenant made through His+ Blood.

We who are not born Jewish have become grafted into the Israel of GOD through The LORD JESUS CHRIST. Indeed, the Jews themselves now must enter into His+ new covenant established by the Messiah. The Old Covenant no longer exists.

The Psalms therefore, including both the promises and the words of exhortation, may be appropriated by all who are in the New Covenant through the LORD JESUS CHRIST. ]





So now, how do we WHO ARE ALREADY IN THE COVENANT

become acceptable to The LORD?



Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults.

Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me:
then shall I be upright,
and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
Psalm 19:12,13


Becoming acceptable unto The LORD involves good grooming of our soul and spirit. We continuously comb out the tangles. We get out the snags. The twisted nests of knots, hidden underneath, must be brought to the surface and be unsnarled, combed straight, and set free. The comb we use has sharp teeth… it is the standard of Scripture, the very words of The LORD CHRIST.

Thus, we monitor our motives, the thoughts of our hearts, in the light of His+ Word. What agrees with Scriptures, WITH CHRIST’S WORDS, we keep. What disagrees with HIS+WORD, we comb out and untangle. Even if we must use the scissors, we rid ourselves of the hidden twisted nests of knots, in the light of GOD’S word and by the power of the HOLY SPIRIT. The Apostle Paul is a good example of this. He urged the Christians to be imitators of him in this respect, to follow his ways of following CHRIST.

Let us not be content to allow ourselves tangles and twisted knots. We think they cannot be seen by others. But, there is ONE+ Who+ sees all.



Dear Heavenly FATHER, THOU art Holy. I need that holiness in the inner man. Help me to be pure in thought… pure in word … pure in deed. Help me to see my motives and ungracious spirit when I think things unworthy of my LORD CHRIST. I do not want Him+ to be ashamed of me and to always have to tolerate my slovenly ways. Help me not to excuse myself, but to walk in a way that is well-pleasing unto YOU, through your Well Beloved SON our LORD, in the strength of Your Blessed HOLY SPIRIT.

I praise You for Your continual goodness toward me. I thank You for Your patience with my errors. I thank You for Your holiness now and Your holiness when You walked on earth as a man. Help me to become more holy in my innermost being. Help me to follow your example as my LORD+ and MASTER+.

I pray this in the unblemished name of The LORD JESUS CHRIST, Your eternal SON and WORD.
Amen. + + +

Monday, February 25, 2008

LENTEN MEDITATION 20 ~ ~ ~

LENTEN MEDITATION 20~~~ The Judgment Seat of CHRIST

For the Year of Our LORD, 2.25.2008


Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent,
we may be accepted of HIM+.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ;

that every one may receive the things done in his body,
according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord,
we persuade men;
but we are made manifest unto God;
and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.

2 Cor. 5: 9,10,11



Whatever could this frightening passage mean? Was it written by just any believer?
No. It was written by the Apostle Paul.

Then, perhaps it was written to non-Christians?
No. The Apostle Paul was writing to the church of CHRIST at Corinth.
Perhaps he was writing about the back-sliders… for we all know the Corinthian church was beset by BIG problems.
But, no, wrong again.
The Apostle Paul was discussing his own ministry from Chapter 4 through Chapter 6!

Yes, it does mean exactly what it says.

[How should we then live?]

LENTEN MEDITATION 19 ~ ~ ~ True Profits


What are we working to gain?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

LENTEN MEDITATION 18~ ~ ~ ~ ~ The Second Death

LENTEN MEDITATION 18
for the Year of Our LORD, 2.23.2008

The SECOND Death

And I saw the dead, small an great, stand before GOD:

and the books were opened: and another book was opened,

which is the book of life:

and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books,

according to their works.

And the sea gave up the dead which were in it;

and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them;

and they were judged every man according to their works.

And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.

This is the second death. Rev. 20: 12,14

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the SPIRIT saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. Rev. 2:11

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone;

which is the second death. Rev. 21:8

The second death is a topic avoided by most preachers and brethren alike.

The second death brings to us the true, horrible, and frightening aspect of spending eternity in the Lake of Fire where the adversary satan will be placed. This likely will be, at the very least, that one will experience the amount of pain and suffering one has done to others during his life on earth... but possibly more, since The LORD takes those offenses as done unto HIMSELF.

Then, there is the accountability of who did one serve: The LORD .... satan.... oneself ?

JESUS HIMSELF spoke of this SECOND death in Mark 9: 42-48. Listen to His Words:

And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.

And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off; it is better for thee to enter into Life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell,

into the fire that never shall be quenched:

where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.

And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into Life, than having two feet to be cast into hell,

into the fire that never shall be quenched:

where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.

And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of GOD with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:

where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.

Life, in the above passage, refers to entering into Eternity with JESUS. Our LORD is telling us that rather than sin and miss Eternal Life with HIM+, it would be better for us to sever our needed body part through which sin has come. Why? It is because when we get to Heaven, we'll be made whole, once again, plus have eternal life in a NEW KIND of BODY, LIKE HIS+ GLORIOUS RESURRECTED BODY!

In other words, no matter the personal cost,

DON'T MISS ETERNITY WITH JESUS.

The opposite is a nightmare which never, ever ceases.

That second death is where all who are waiting in hell for the final judgment are thrown into the Lake of Burning Fire with hell itself and death ! We see that when the unredeemed die, they go to a place of waiting called hell or hades (Gk) or sheol (Heb). They are in torments there, as JESUS told us in Luke 16.

BUT THAT IS NOT THE SECOND DEATH

....WHICH AWAITS THEM LATER.

That awful, eternal, SECOND DEATH,

where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched.

This brings us back to our priorites, Christians...

and our accountability before the great Judgment Seat of CHRIST.

In the light of the SECOND death, how then should we live... before GOD, daily... before our fellow man... in our pursuits of this life... in the priorities of our day?

Are we truly concerned about the peoples and tribes who have never heard about The LORD, that they might be saved from the Lake of Burning Fire, the SECOND death?

Are we truly concerned about our lost neighbors that they might be saved from the SECOND death? Or rather, do we keep things on an easy, comfortable level? Do we even think to pray for them... other than when they get sick? The SECOND death is going to be harder on them than any sickness they have ever seen on this earth... and more long-lasting, too. Do we care enough even to set some regular time aside to pray?

Do we pray for opportunities to share the seriousness of eternal consequences with those who are hostile to us?

Let us pray:

Dear Holy, Heavenly FATHER,

I come to you ashamed of my light-hearted walk before THEE. I have not laid to heart the seriousness of Thy words nor of Thy commission. O LORD JESUS CHRIST, it is my heart's desire that all would know THEE+ ... Thy great love, Thy great cleansing power, and Thy great Life both here and beyond the grave.

Turn me away from self-centeredness, O LORD, and let Thy Anointing rest upon me. Let others sense the seriousness of eternal consequences when they see me or converse with me. And help me, O help me, to dislodge myself from comfort and rise up and do those things which will help to rescue friends and enemies alike from the SECOND death... which was not intended for men but for the fallen angels. I am ashamed of my lack of concern. Where would I be if others had not been concerned about my falling into that very Lake ?

I Thank THEE+, O Holy ONE+, for the salvation THOU+ has given to mankind... for whosoever will come to THEE+ . Help me to rescue the perishing and do my part, to show my love and thankfulness unto THEE+.

IN the name of the FATHER, His+ SON, JESUS CHRIST our LORD, and the HOLY SPIRIT. Amen.

+ + +

Thursday, February 21, 2008

LENTEN MEDITATION 16



LENTEN MEDITATION 16 ~ ~ ~ The Hated People
For the Year of Our LORD, 2.21.2008


Love not the world,
neither the things that are in the world.
If any man love the world,
the love of the Father is not in him.
For ALL that is in the world,
the lust of the flesh,
and the lust of the eyes,
and the pride of life,
is not of the Father,
but is of the world.
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof:
but he that doeth the will of God
abideth for ever.
I John 2:15-17




To do the will of GOD in every instance, in every situation, in every contingency is foremost in the heart of every serious Christian. What is the key to knowing what HIS+ will is, though, in situations about which the Scriptures are quiet?

The first step in knowing HIS+ Will is to make certain we are aligned with His+ purposes. His+ purposes are found in His+ Word.

They begin with our life-styles.



Does our lifestyle reflect in exactness WHO The LORD JESUS CHRIST is?



If we blend in with our decent, conservative, hard-working neighbors… something is wrong. There are countless millions of Hindu’s, Buddhists, Moslems, and peoples who practice ancient tribal religions… who are also decent, conservative, and hard-working and who love “their” nation, culture, or society.

There are countless others in every inhabited area upon this earth who love their culture, the ways of their forefathers, their nation, so much that they would defend it to the death. In every country or nation or tribal area, there are countless “decent people” who would even send their sons and daughters to their untimely death to protect what they have… or think they have. There are countless peoples who train their off-spring to have good educations, jobs, and careers… to climb high, to have a better life than the parents.

But, what does the Word of GOD say? HE+ says this:



For what shall it profit a man,
if he shall gain the whole world,
and lose his own soul?
Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Mark 8:36,37



There are uncountable other non-Christians in every country who do not rob banks nor kill their neighbors, who honor their aging parents, and love their children. These are good values, yes, and all societies have them.



However, The LORD JESUS CHRIST doesn’t blend in
with any culture, sub-culture, society, or nation…
although Scripture teaches that the Church will be
formed out of every language, tongue, people, and nation!

HE+ calls us OUT of our cultures, whatever they may be,

in order to be ONE with HIM+.


Are we Christians supposed to be a blended people… or a separate people?

We are peculiar people. We are strangers and sojourners upon this earth just like Abraham was… we do not put down our roots here, but upward, into that Holy City whose Maker and Builder is GOD. The LORD JESUS said:

If the world hate you,
ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own:
but because ye are not of the world,
but I have chosen you out of the world,
therefore the world hateth you. John 15: 18,19



Yes, we Christians should be a hated people… hated, not because of criminal activities or ill-manners, but because of our righteousness before GOD.

Even without saying a word, the worldlings around us should be able to sense the difference. The HOLY SPIRIT should be resting upon us and within us so strongly that, without saying a word to anyone, any worldling around us should feel a bit uneasy, somewhat uncomfortable for their lack of holiness.

We should notice they start to talk about their philosophies of “God”

or their “good works” of whatever variety they have.

However, the hungry souls around us will be drawn unto CHRIST JESUS. They will be drawn to HIM+ when we lift HIM+ up within us … as we yield unto CHRIST JESUS… as HE+ fills us with HIMSELF because we are turning away from the world. The hungry souls will have conviction fall upon their lives and they will cry out to The LORD to help them. They will know something is missing from their lives.

They will be pricked in their conscience to do something about amending their relationship with the Living GOD. HE+ is drawing, drawing them unto HIMSELF+… as we have lifted HIM+ up.


How do we become this hated people?

We simply separate ourselves from the world and follow CHRIST JESUS.

We separate from the world’s ways, styles, labor and life-styles.

We learn to work for The LORD where HE+ wants us to labor. We learn to live in such a manner that we present a visible yet silent witness to those around us. We set our homes, our dress, our recreation

to reflect CHRIST JESUS and to bear witness to HIM+ at all times

… including holiday times and visits with relatives.


We just simply separate. We will be hated enough.



Then, O then
, will we be able to discern what is the “will of GOD”

for our lives, in so many situations and in so many particular details

about which the Scriptures are quiet.



What a relief to be in the center of GOD’s will.
It is the peace the world cannot give, nor can it take it away.





Let us pray:

Gracious Heavenly FATHER, Beloved SON, and Blessed SPIRIT, I
so long to be in the center of Thy Will. I want to be where You are, O LORD. Help me to turn away from the distractions of worldly things. Help me to forsake the world’s values. By the power of Thy Blessed HOLY SPIRIT help me to desire that holiness without which no man shall see GOD.

Help me to align myself with Your Word in every instance, even if I must disregard my own thoughts and cultural values. Grant me strength to reflect CHRIST instead of the world in my life-style. I re-commit myself to serving THEE+ with every thought and desire that is within me.

Thank You, O FATHER, for Thy Blessed HOLY SPIRIT to lead me into all Truth. Strengthen me to walk in it now and not be afraid to be hated because I am different for Thy sake. This I pray in the name of Thy Precious SON, JESUS CHRIST, Who+ was hated for my sake, so that I might know THEE, the One True GOD, Who loveth mankind. Amen.

LENTEN MEDITATION 15

LENTEN MEDITATION 15 ~ ~ ~ The Fruits
For the Year of Our LORD, 2.20.08

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned,
and done this evil in thy sight:
that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest,
and be clear when thou judgest.

Psalm 51:4


We sin so lightly.
It is with a shrug we sullenly turn our face away from Truth and proceed on with “our” program. We don’t care if it hurts HIM+. As a matter of fact, we don’t even want to hear about it.

Have we ever had a friend… or worse, a family member… treat us like that?
Yes, most of us would sadly say.

When we proceed on, headlong and determined, to do something, achieve something, get something, or enter a job or situation… or alas, even a marriage… out of The LORD’S Holy Will, we sin. How do we recognize that it is sin? By the fruit.

Fruit, we see, is The LORD’S great blessing to us. Because human beings are dull of hearing and slow of heart to hear The LORD, we must learn through our senses. We are all tactile learners in this regard. We simply want our own way. Our conniving minds are well-practiced at reasoning out why what we want
"must certainly" be the Will of The LORD for our lives.


Thus, HE+ blesses us with the fruit of our decisions.



Fruit gets our attention better than a sounding trumpet. Why?
The trumpet blast is over and done with quickly, even though the blast may have frightened us or pierced our ears.
Fruit, however, is long-lasting.
That blessed fruit of our decisions
brings deep inner conviction to our souls.

The fruit of walking within His+ Holy Will helps us to grow.
This fruit comes about by taking heed to His+ Word.
We put into practice those things HE+ has told us, for instance, in Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7. We make our activities to come into order with His+ Word.
What HE+ says in His+ Word
becomes our priorities in our lifestyle.

Did HE+ say, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of GOD, and HIS Righteousness?” Yes, it does. Then we will make serving HIM+ our priority in every area. We will seek His+ Will and counsel before taking a step. We learn what His+ Will is by practicing, practicing, practicing our submission to HIM+, both through the written Word and listening in prayer.

Did HE+ say, “Take no thought for the morrow…”? Yes, HE+ did. Do we repent, then, of taking thought… constant thought… of what we are going to eat, wear, use, pay the bills with yesterday, today, and for many tomorrow’s ?
No...
rather we judge such Christians to be wise and prudent and yes, even Godly.
We do not say, “Wait a minute; he is breaking the Word of God.
He will reap the fruit of anxiety instead of Godly peace.
Let’s pray for him for he got tricked into listening unto man rather than unto GOD.”

Does His+ Word say
, “I will put no wicked thing before my eyes” ? Yes, it does. Then we will toss out all books, magazines, tv shows, dvd’s, and computer input which are wicked. Music which promotes the flesh must go also
… which might include some with Christian labels.


Does His+ Word say, “Love your enemies,” or shoot them, Christians ?


Do we take heed to His+ Word
and follow His+ counsel?

It is His+ will that we do;
that is why it is written down for us…
so that we know what HE+ wants us to do!

Should HE+ then give us more direction
for our particulars in life
IF WE IGNORE parts of HIS+ WILL
that IS ALREADY plainly written?

The fruit of listening to the counsel of our own flesh and heart and mind makes us sorrowful, angry, resentful, and bitter. It robs us of our peace in CHRIST. Then, we have many, many other battles to deal with before we get out of that ravine. Unfortunately for us, that ravine most often could have been avoided.
It is with great bitterness to realize we did it to ourselves.


Spiritual fruit, good or bad, hangs around in front of our face, showering us with joy in the inward man or peppering us with constant consequences.

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned,
and done this evil in thy sight:
that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest,
and be clear when thou judgest.
Psalm 51:4


When we sin, when we disregard His+ plain Word to us, when we plunge headstrong into our own program, we hurt ourselves, yes.
But worse, we hurt the great heart of Our Heavenly FATHER and Our LORD JESUS CHRIST.
The Word was written for our good. When we do those things that HE+ wants us to do, those things plainly written and openly printed for all the world to see, then HE+ blesses us with all those things that money cannot buy.

HE+ loves us dearly. It is His+ Will that we be happy and satisfied. Our Precious Savior knows what will bring our greatest happiness. HE+ exhorts and warns us over and over again against grabbing for happiness and security our way. HE+ knows what will cause sorrow down the road for us. HE+ also knows what will produce good fruit, down the road.


HE+ aches with the heart of a good parent after a child who simply will not take heed, will not listen, will not receive correction. That parent doesn’t want the fruit for himself, but rather for the happiness and well-being of his child. When we don’t listen to GOD, we sin against His+ great heart of love for us.


The LORD JESUS CHRIST is indeed our Savior…
if we will let HIM+ save us from ourselves.


Against thee, thee only, have I sinned,
and done this evil in thy sight:
that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest,
and be clear when thou judgest.
Psalm 51:4





LENTEN MEDITATION 16





LENTEN MEDITATION 16 ~ ~ ~ The Hated People
For the Year of Our LORD, 2.21.2008


Love not the world,
neither the things that are in the world.
If any man love the world,
the love of the Father is not in him.
For ALL that is in the world,
the lust of the flesh,
and the lust of the eyes,
and the pride of life,
is not of the Father,
but is of the world.
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof:
but he that doeth the will of God
abideth for ever.
I John 2:15-17



To do the will of GOD in every instance, in every situation, in every contingency is foremost in the heart of every serious Christian. What is the key to knowing what HIS+ will is, though, in situations about which the Scriptures are quiet?

The first step in knowing HIS+ Will is to make certain we are aligned with His+ purposes. His+ purposes are found in His+ Word. They begin with our life-styles.



Does our lifestyle reflect in exactness WHO The LORD JESUS CHRIST is?



If we blend in with our decent, conservative, hard-working neighbors… something is wrong. There are countless millions of Hindu’s, Buddhists, Moslems, and peoples who practice ancient tribal religions… who are also decent, conservative, and hard-working and who love “their” nation, culture, or society.

There are countless others in every inhabited area upon this earth who love their culture, the ways of their forefathers, their nation, so much that they would defend it to the death. In every country or nation or tribal area, there are countless “decent people” who would even send their sons and daughters to their untimely death to protect what they have… or think they have. There are countless peoples who train their off-spring to have good educations, jobs, and careers… to climb high, to have a better life than the parents.

But, what does the Word of GOD say? HE+ says this:


For what shall it profit a man,
if he shall gain the whole world,
and lose his own soul?
Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Mark 8:36,37



There are uncountable other non-Christians in every country who do not rob banks nor kill their neighbors, who honor their aging parents, and love their children. These are good values, yes, and all societies have them.



However, The LORD JESUS CHRIST doesn’t blend in
with any culture, sub-culture, society, or nation…
although Scripture teaches that the Church will be
formed out of every language, tongue, people, and nation!




Are we Christians supposed to be a blended people… or a separate people?

We are peculiar people. We are strangers and sojourners upon this earth just like Abraham was… we do not put down our roots here, but upward, into that Holy City whose Maker and Builder is GOD. The LORD JESUS said:



If the world hate you,
ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own:
but because ye are not of the world,
but I have chosen you out of the world,
therefore the world hateth you. John 15: 18,19



Yes, we Christians should be a hated people… hated, not because of criminal activities or ill-manners, but because of our righteousness before GOD. Even without saying a word, the worldlings around us should be able to sense the difference. The HOLY SPIRIT should be resting upon us and within us so strongly that, without saying a word to anyone, any worldling around us should feel a bit uneasy, somewhat uncomfortable for their lack of holiness. We should notice they start to talk about their philosophies of “God” or their “good works” of whatever variety they have.

However, the hungry souls around us will be drawn unto CHRIST JESUS. They will be drawn to HIM+ when we lift HIM+ up within us … as we yield unto CHRIST JESUS… as HE+ fills us with HIMSELF because we are turning away from the world. The hungry souls will have conviction fall upon their lives and they will cry out to The LORD to help them. They will know something is missing from their lives. They will be pricked in their conscience to do something about amending their relationship with the Living GOD. HE+ is drawing, drawing them unto HIMSELF+… as we have lifted HIM+ up.


How do we become this hated people? We simply separate ourselves from the world and follow CHRIST JESUS. We separate from the world’s ways, styles, labor and life-styles. We learn to work for The LORD where HE+ wants us to labor. We learn to live in such a manner that we present a visible yet silent witness to those around us. We set our homes, our dress, our recreation to reflect CHRIST JESUS and to bear witness to HIM+ at all times… including holiday times and visits with relatives.


We just simply separate. We will be hated enough.



Then, O then, will we be able to discern what is the “will of GOD” for our lives, in so many situations and in so many particular details about which the Scriptures are quiet.



What a relief to be in the center of GOD’s will.
It is the peace the world cannot give, nor can it take it away.





Let us pray:

Gracious Heavenly FATHER, Beloved SON, and Blessed SPIRIT, I
so long to be in the center of Thy Will. I want to be where You are, O LORD. Help me to turn away from the distractions of worldly things. Help me to forsake the world’s values. By the power of Thy Blessed HOLY SPIRIT help me to desire that holiness without which no man shall see GOD. Help me to align myself with Your Word in every instance, even if I must disregard my own thoughts and cultural values. Grant me strength to reflect CHRIST instead of the world in my life-style. I re-commit myself to serving THEE+ with every thought and desire that is within me.

Thank You, O FATHER, for Thy Blessed HOLY SPIRIT to lead me into all Truth. Strengthen me to walk in it now and not be afraid to be hated because I am different for Thy sake. This I pray in the name of Thy Precious SON, JESUS CHRIST, Who+ was hated for my sake, so that I might know THEE, the One True GOD, Who loveth mankind. Amen.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Lenten Meditation picture


LENTEN MEDITATION 13 ~ ~ ~ Take Heed... both What and How

Lenten Meditation 13
Take Heed… Both What and How
For The Year of Our LORD, 2.18.2007


Two warnings, two ways
The LORD JESUS CHRIST has given
to His+ people through His+ Word.

These are found in two places,
Mark 4:24 and Luke 8:18. It is a double warning.



Both instructive, these two warnings are surrounded by two parables, the same in both Mark and Luke, and both warnings are followed by yet another warning. This third warning, a dire one and a consequence of the first two, is also the same in both of the Gospel books. What was Our LORD’S important instruction to His+ people ?


HE+ told us to take heed what we hear
and to take heed how we hear.


Our LORD was instructing both the people and his disciples using the parable of the Sower Sowing the Seed. HE+ explains the deeper meaning of it to His+ disciples and tells them point blank that the seed is the Word of GOD. HE+ then follows the Seed Parable with another one: no-one lights a lamp and puts it under a bushel basket. Thus, in the context of both of these parables, HE+ issues these warnings.


Take heed what we hear in regards
to the Word of GOD.
Take heed how we hear in regards
to the Word of GOD.


What and how are closely related, yet they mean two different things…both of which are important because HE+ said it. Our LORD made the distinction. Therefore, we ought to listen to the distinct message of both of those words.
~ ~ ~


If we take heed to what we hear, we are careful to listen and to keenly discriminate as to the content.

Is it the true Word of GOD ?
Is it the whole Word…
or just half of the entire statement?

Is it consistent with other Scriptures
about that subject?

Is the Scriptural statement one of many details
involved with that subject…
or is it a general summary
or a resulting condition of that issue?

Is what we hear in regards to the Word of GOD
an extrapolation of men’s thoughts about it…
or is it His+ pure Word and plain intent?
~ ~ ~


How we hear does not ascertain the content. Rather, it involves how much weight The Word of GOD brings to bear upon us. We determine the weight-load ourselves by how we receive the Word. How---in what manner--- do we receive it ? Let us consider this warning to us through the context of the parables of the Sower Sowing the Seed and Putting the Light under a Bushel Basket, the two parables surrounding those two warnings.



How we hear means:
do we lay His+ Word seriously to heart…
or do we casually hear it or read it ?

How we hear means:
are we simply accruing knowledge…
or learning how to live to please GOD
instead of ourselves, our friends, our families,
our cultures and nations ?

How we hear means:
are we listening to learn how to walk
worthy of The LORD and well-pleasing unto Him…
or are we mindful to walk well-pleasing unto the world
so that the world thinks we are worthy?

How we hear means:
we are interested in others who make a change
in their life-styles and philosophies
to bear witness to CHRIST…
yet we won’t lift a finger to separate from the world
or its ways, styles, and philosophies.

How we hear means:
are we complacent to watch others
sacrifice their all for CHRIST…
but we continue in our self-indulgences and comforts and
go on without a modicum of sacrifice
to further the Kingdom of GOD?
~ ~ ~


In the third warning in both Gospels, The LORD JESUS CHRIST tells us why we had better take strict heed to his first warnings:

for whosoever hath, it shall be given to him [Gk.];
and whosoever hath not,
it shall be taken from him
even that which he seemeth to have.


Just what is it that we “seem to have” ? We seem to have an understanding of Truth vs. error. We seem to have an understanding of Salvation and what it involves to keep it. We seem to have an understanding of what CHRIST did on the cross for us although we didn’t and don’t deserve it. We seem to have an understanding of Who GOD is.


Thus, it is certain that we had better take serious heed to
what and how we hear concerning the Word of GOD.

There is certainly ONE+ other Who+ is taking heed to it…

The ONE+ Who+ numbers every hair on our heads…

The ONE+ Who+ understands our thoughts afar off

and Who+ knows the words on our tongue…

The One+ Who+ knows the hearts of men.


If the Word of CHRIST is true, then we have much to lose.


JESUS said,
“The one rejecting ME+ and not receiving My+ Words has ONE that judges him: the Word that I have spoken,
the same will judge him in the Last Day.” John 12: 48

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Amen.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

LENTEN MEDITATION 12 ~ ~ ~ TRUTH OR WOE ?

LENTEN MEDITATION 12
For the Year of Our LORD, 2.17.2007

Thy word is true from the beginning:
and every one of thy righteous judgments
endureth for ever.
Psalm 119:160


HE Who+ tests the hearts and the reins (Ps. 7:9) is a righteous GOD… and all His+ works are done in Truth (Ps. 33:4).


Truth is the standard.

Truth is defined by what the Righteous LORD says it is.

It is HE+ Who establishes it.

Truth is not an option.

WOE… WOE… WOE to mankind who seeks to establish
his own standard of Truth.

Rich or poor, elite or common,
educated or unschooled,
high church or plain…
woe, woe, woe to that man, family, culture or organization who seeks to establish his/its own truth.

Woe to the ones who dare to mingle some of GOD’s Truth with their own standards.

Woe to those who twist the straight Word of GOD
into a reversal of what HE+ said.

Woe to those groups who use the Word of GOD
against itself, to pervert His+ Truth.

Woe… woe… woe to all who agree with such teachings.

Psalm 51 states clearly that The LORD is without blame when judgment hits. HE+ has done His+ part to school, to warn, to draw the human race unto HIMSELF+.

We have His+ written Word. We have The Word made Flesh, our Savior JESUS CHRIST. We have the examples of the martyrs and confessors of CHRIST all through the ages… including the Old Testament prophets who sealed their witness of TRUTH with their blood. We have the current martyrs and confessors in Africa, in China, in Indonesia, in the Middle East and all the places in between, should we have ears to hear.

Many countries which are over-run by heathens and pagans have had in centuries past the Christian witness, but have, en masse, rejected it for spiritual darkness. This is true for all nations within the circle of “western civilization,” also.



Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight:
that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest,
and be clear when thou judgest.


Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts:
and
in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
(Psalm 51: 4, 6)


It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living GOD.
Hebrews 10:31

ALMIGHTY GOD, to Whom belong the issues from death, I beat my breast as did the publican of old who dared not raise his eyes but cried to THEE for mercy. Look upon me, O LORD, and have mercy too. LORD, I have stumbled along in my own carelessness so many times. So many times I have glanced across Thy Words and have not laid them to heart. I have, with my lack of seriousness, not cared to labor for truth in the inward man, thinking I could get by on knowledge instead of commitment.

Gracious Savior, help me to be more honest, more serious. Help me to lay Thy Words to heart. Help me to stop shielding my heart from truth in the inner man, but rather to allow Thy Words --- all of them--- to pierce my very being, my reins. Hear my cry, O LORD, so that I am not destroyed by my own doings.

These things I pray in the Life-giving name of The LORD JESUS CHRIST, the LAMB of GOD Who+ taketh away the sins of the world. Amen.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

LENTEN MEDITATION 11 ~ Taking Down the Walls





LENTEN MEDITATION 11
For the Year of Our LORD, 2.16.2007

Let us take down the walls.

Christ Jesus our LORD bids us to come unto HIM+,
all who are heavy-laden and HE+ will give us rest.
HE+ bids us to take His+ yoke upon us
and learn of HIM+,
for HE+ is meek and lowly of heart.
HE+ says His+ yoke is easy
and His+ burden, light.




A dear Christian Sister, imprisoned for her faith many decades ago, exhorted the other Sisters with her from her village to eat the rotten food given to them in the filthy prison. The mostly-rotted potatoes were thrown to them by the prison guards. They rolled into the muck by the drain hole in the cell. The Sisters were revolted by the mess they were supposed to eat.

However, this Sister leaned down and kissed a potato and vehemently offered thanks unto the LORD, with tears in her eyes, for provision to keep them alive. She told the other Sisters how GOOD The LORD was to provide them this food because they didn’t even deserve that much. (From the book, Of Whom the World was not Worthy, by Marie Chapian).

Her humbleness empowered the other ones imprisoned with her to also eat the stinking food and sustain their lives. They rejoiced, following her example, and The LORD blessed it to the nourishment of their bodies, as well as to the nourishment of their souls. And, they made it through prison.

Let us take down the walls of our hearts and lay them bare, open unto Our Savior. Let us acknowledge and not let go of our truly humble and helpless state before CHRIST JESUS. Let us do as this imprisoned yet humble Sister did when faced with our own rotted portions that we are forced to endure… without bitterness in our hearts.





We have nothing to lose. We have everything to gain.

As a matter of fact, we cannot lose…
If we embrace them as coming from CHRIST.




No, the LORD did not imprison these Sisters; wicked men did. But ... HE+ sanctified the hardships to them for their utmost good because they yielded their lives unto HIM+. They literally took whatever was dished out to them for His+ name’s sake, for a testimony to HIM+. And now many years later, being Home with HIM+, they are in joys unspeakable and full of glory.

Dear Heavenly Savior, we ask you to help us to humble ourselves…yea, to do it before it gets done for us. Help us to practice lowliness of heart. We acknowledge our ungratefulness. We acknowledge our anger and impatience when we encounter hindrances and hurts. Help us smite our pride.

Thank you for Thy Example and the examples of Christian martyrs and confessors through the ages. Help us to go and do likewise, to the praise of Thy Holy Name. This we pray in the name of the ONE+ Who+ sacrificed His+ all so that we may have true life, both here on earth and in the world to come, for all Eternity. Amen.

Friday, February 15, 2008




Lenten Meditation 10
For the Year of Our LORD, 2.15.2008

The Prayer of our LORD for His+ Followers,

Whom HE+ now calls Brethren:

And now I am no more in the world,
but these are in the world,
and I come to thee.
Holy Father, keep through thine own name
those whom thou hast given me,
that they may be one, as we are.

And for their sakes I sanctify myself,
that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
Neither pray I for these alone,
but for them also which shall believe
on me through their word;

That they all may be one;
as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee,
that they also may be one in us:
that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them;
that they may be one, even as we are one:

I in them, and thou in me,
that they may be made perfect in one;
and that the world may know that thou hast sent me,
and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

The Mouth of The LORD hath spoken it;
The Apostle John recorded it

(in chapter 17, verses 11 and 19-23).

Let us strive to be ONE with HIM+.

LENTEN MEDITATION 9 ~ All through CHRIST




LENTEN MEDITATION 9 ~ Relating through CHRIST
For the Year of Our LORD, 2.14.2008


With all lowliness and meekness,
with longsuffering,
forbearing one another in love,



endeavoring to keep the unity of the SPIRIT in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one SPIRIT, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one LORD, one faith, one baptism, one GOD and FATHER of all,
Who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Ephesians 4: 3-6



There is simply no excuse for divisions. The Apostle Paul wrote this to the church in Ephesus while he was imprisoned. Do we notice the concern on his heart? He did not mention his own well-being. His concern was for the ONENESS in the Body of CHRIST. Are we that concerned… while we are at liberty?

Assuming we Brethren of CHRIST are all trying to walk in unity and concord with one another, how can we be at one with someone who belongs to CHRIST JESUS… yet with whom we disagree or who disagrees with us? How can we walk as one with our spouse or family members with whom we disagree?


With all lowliness and meekness,
with longsuffering,
forbearing one another in love…





We do this by knowing one another through CHRIST JESUS.


Dear Sister Brigid of the Desert Companions of St. Anthony has with great insight pointed this out, “We do not relate directly to that person, but we relate to him/her as through CHRIST.”

The Apostle Paul tells us that we are dead and our life is hid with CHRIST …in GOD. This means that our acquaintances, friendships, and yes, even relationships within the family circle now must go through CHRIST before they reach that other person.

To put it simply, The LORD filters all our interactions before they come out of us.

We submit our old-man emotions to The LORD.
We submit our desires to The LORD.
We submit our thoughts to The LORD.



Thus, we allow the LORD to modify
or to change our emotions
before they take root in our heart
and come forth out of our mouth.



HE+ has us to lift our demands away from others. We take our demands that the other person “be there” for us and treat us rightly… to The LORD. We lay those demands down on the altar of love to The LORD, for HIM+ to consume by HIS+ Holy fire. We make our demands an offering of Self unto HIM+, dying daily.

When we offer up Self on such a deep level, HE+ takes it and refills us with HIMSELF+. We become one with CHRIST JESUS instead of trying to be one with others. We live, then, inside a Reservation… a place Reserved Only for JESUS. We then know HIM+ as our shield and buckler and high tower whereunto we run. HE+ meets all our needs, for we are complete in HIM+ (Col. 2:10).

When that deep, dying-out to Self is accomplished, then nothing can touch our inner man except CHRIST HIMSELF+.




And, touch us, HE+ does !
HE+ fills us with love, joy, and peace
which the world cannot receive.
But, all can sense it and want it, too.

Then will be brought to pass


that marvelous Word from the mouth of The LORD JESUS CHRIST:


And I, if I be lifted up from the earth,
I will draw all men unto ME+.
~ ~ ~



Let us pray:

Dear Heavenly FATHER, through your SON our Gracious LORD and SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST… how I long to be ONE with THEE+. O LORD, help me to lay my demands on others at the foot of Thy cross. I’m sorry I have looked to human flesh to fill up my heart’s needs. I’m sorry I have wanted my acquaintances, relatives, family and friends to make me feel good about myself. I bring those needs to You, my Savior and Friend.

O LORD, fill me now with Your goodness. I lay wide open my heart to You, my Savior. I’ll stay at Your Feet, O LORD, until I can go forth in Your name and for Your purposes… in order to draw all men unto THEE+ … instead of unto myself.

This I pray, O HOLY FATHER, in the brokenness of my life and heart, through the precious, Life-giving name of Our LORD and Savior JESUS CHRIST…Who+ liveth and reigneth with THEE, in the unity of Thy HOLY SPIRIT, ONE GOD, forever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

LENTEN MEDITATION 8--- A HOLY, UNBROKEN MARRIAGE

LENTEN MEDITATION 8

Being one with CHRIST, in the unity of the The HOLY SPIRIT, in communion with our GOD and FATHER, is the goal of our Christian walk.

It is the true “holy” marriage.

Anyone--- rich or poor, single or wedded, young or old, imprisoned or free--- can be in this holy union, this holy marriage. Furthermore, all human beings are predestinated for it… although not all accept HIS+ proposal. Sadly enough, most indeed do reject such a union.

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie,
and do not the truth.

But if we walk in the light,
as he is in the light,
we have fellowship one with another,
and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son
cleanseth us from all sin.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. I John 1: 6-10

It is NOT our failures and faults that break our fellowship with CHRIST.

It is our hiding.

We do like Adam did and hide from HIS+ Face, breaking our communion with HIM+.

If we come to CHRIST JESUS
the moment we are aware
that we have gone against HIS+ Word and HIS+ Will,
then neither satan nor our Adamic nature nor our flesh
will be able to drive a wedge between us and our LORD.
Only our HIDING from HIM+ can do this.

Our fellowship with HIM+ will continue, perhaps with great shame and humility on our part… but with great love and compassion on HIS+.

Our goal is to STAY IN FELLOWSHIP WITH CHRIST
through every failure, every error, every fault, every situation.

No matter the reason for our stumbling, we return immediately in repentance to the ONE+ Who+ loves us best.

We do not take advantage of HIS+ grace.

Staying in close communion, in unity, with HIM+ brings Life because…
HE+ is our life. Why bother to hide away in darkness, in death, to nurse our woes…to secretly nourish our pet sins… or to indulge in Self-pity, even for a short time?

It will only make the repentance harder than it should be,
the struggle longer than it ought to be,
and grieve the HOLY SPIRIT more than is necessary.
~ ~ ~


O Gracious Heavenly FATHER, God of all mercies, God of all Truth, I ask for the grace of conviction to fall upon me from Your hands. I am sorry for the times I have broken fellowship with You, for the times I have hidden from Your face. I am ashamed of all the times I have pouted and refused to give it up. Please forgive me for behaving as though Your Holy love is not enough to make me happy. Thank you, Holy FATHER, for wanting me to stay close to You… even me, such as I am.

Thank you for your great mercy through the Blood of Your Beloved Son, JESUS CHRIST. Help me to stay in unity with You throughout this hour, this day, and on into Eternity. I praise You, O Holy FATHER, in the name of The LORD JESUS CHRIST, through the power of Your HOLY SPIRIT, both now and forever. Amen.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

LENTEN MEDITATION 7

LENTEN MEDITATION 7

No, my young student did NOT come back to class eager to tackle the skill he miserably failed. (See Lenten Meditation 6).

With his reading material in front of him, he watched the clock, doodled with his pencil, took awhile to locate the correct page in his reading folder, and told me about his weekend. All the while, I was waiting to hear his determination re-surface … the determination to tackle that hard part, that part that caused him to hurt and me to ache, that part that was the means of his failure.

He avoided it assiduously.

But there I sat, smiling and listening and waiting for him to realize that he had to do what must be done… and only he could do it. I, the teacher, could not give him the determination to “get it right this time” if he didn’t will to do it better… if he didn’t will to tackle it with all his might.

When the LORD gives us lessons to learn, don’t we act this very same way ? Those hard lessons of life:
· giving thanks when every security but HIM+ crumbles;
· forcibly rejecting the spirits of depression, resentment, self-pity, and anger;
· turning our backs on those chronic situations with dear ones who refuse CHRIST JESUS as LORD … and continuing on to serve HIM+ with joy and delight regardless of unanswered (as of yet) prayer.

By all means, let us draw CLOSER to The LORD in these heart-wrenching situations, doing always those things that please HIM+. Yes, lay the state of affairs before HIM+ Who+ Made the Heavens and the Earth… but you go on unfettered in heart to serve HIM+. Never let these troubles break your union with HIM+. HE+ is your strength and your very sanity!

Listen to these words of wisdom, sung by Betty Jean Robinson, a warrior of GOD who has come through unmentionable heartaches … and stayed true to The LORD JESUS CHRIST.

I have one desire when I go out to meet HIM+
and lay my sheaves at HIS+ feet.

Just to hear HIM+ say, “Well done, faithful Servant
Enter in and be one with ME + .”

One with HIM+! One with JESUS ! Oh, I long
To be one with HIM+

To enter in to the HOLY of HOLIES, Oh, I long
To be one with HIM+

I plead the Blood, that blessed cleansing fountain,
That I may be one with HIM+.

Secure I rest upon His+ Holy Mountain,
Free to be one with HIM+.

My soul desires that sweet communion,
Oh, I long to be one with HIM+.


Let us pray:

Precious Savior, I come to you, bringing nothing except my little self. Draw me close to you, dear Savior. Help me not hide when I have pain to deal with. Grant me Thy power to walk through this life doing always those things that please THEE+. Look upon my reluctance to obey Thy Dealings with me, granting me a vision of your
good cheer and love. Thank you for lifting the burden from my heart and helping me when I truly cannot help myself. Oh, what a precious Savior THOU+ art!

In the name of The FATHER, The SON, and The HOLY
SPIRIT. Amen
.

Monday, February 11, 2008

LENTEN MEDITATION 6



The sacrifices of God

are a broken spirit:
a broken and a contrite heart,

O God, thou wilt not despise.
Psalm 51:17



It hurt me, the teacher, to mark 9 errors on his paper. He was absolutely certain he was going to get a 100%. It wasn’t just any old 100% either; it was the crucial one. If he made a 100% on this exercise, then he could jump up one level of reading cards.

Our criteria, you see, was three 100%’s consecutively. Accomplish that great feat and one could avoid doing all 20 reading cards… and jump to the next highest level! Conversely, if a student made lower than a 70 % ,he had to return to the lower level next to the one from which he came. Needless to say, only a few had done this, to their shame, and no-one wanted to be a shirker due to this.

The beauty of this system was that the teacher did not have to crack the whip; the students’ own self-esteem (pride?) did it for her.

So, here was the dilemma. One of the hardest working students struggled with his reading passage… and failed… after getting two 100% in a row. I knew for his own good he had to go back. I knew he also wanted so badly for me to set aside the standards “just this once, for me, your dear student who works so hard.” It hurt me to enforce the rule: go back to the lower level and re-work those skills.

I saw the utter pain in his eyes and disgust at his own failure. I saw the years of “I’ll never get this skill” crop up in his eyes once again… a look I had taken months to dissolve.

How I wanted to break the rules so he wouldn’t be discouraged and quit trying ! Yes, I was there to help him through his difficulties, but he had to engage his own mind and make himself focus on the task at hand. I simply couldn’t do that part for him; he had to do it himself.

As I ached in pain and blinked back the tears, we erased his name from that higher level on the reading chart. I prayed that self-disgust and self-defeat would not overwhelm this dear student. He and I both knew he had come a long, long way. I prayed that he would not stop trying.

But as my heart ached, I became aware of another Presence in the room. It was The LORD Himself. HE+ was present and it was His+ eyes that filled with tears… tears of compassion for me, for the Brethren, for the whole human race. His+ Presence is there at our defeats.

We Christians so quickly revert to self-disgust when we fail His+ “lessons”. Immediately we are daunted and discouraged and filled with defeat. We have the pain of years of defeat and struggle in our eyes, too, just like this precious student. Rejection and even self-loathing oftentimes enter in until depression threatens to overwhelm us. Nobody cares.

Yet, there stands The LORD by our side. HE+ cares. HE+ carries. His+ hand is not shortened that HE+ cannot save.

At times of our greatest defeats, we must JERK OUR MINDS away from Self and FORCE OUR THOUGHTS to be on HIM+. Let us force ourselves to realize WHO+ IS IN CONTROL of our lives… and WHO+ is in control of every detail of every situation.

Nothing is too difficult for HIM+.
HE+ made the Heavens and the earth.


Let us attribute power to WHOM+ power is due; let us attribute sovereignty unto WHOM+ sovereignty is due. Let us realize WHOSE+ servants we really are. Let us yield not only our wills but also our great defeats unto The LORD JESUS CHRIST. Surely, the fish and the bread had to be broken into pieces before they could feed thousands… in the Master’s hands.

Gracious Heavenly Father, I put myself back into Your hands. I repent for being so discouraged when I am defeated. Help me to look to You and lay these defeats before You. Grant that I may look boldly through these struggles and not let them mar my vision of You. Correct my ways, my errors. Shield me from the lying torments of self-disgust and self-rejection.

Help me to yield ever more of my heart, my time, my thoughts unto You, the FATHER of Light, so that I may become more single of eye. Let my whole being be so filled with the Light of Your Love and the power of Your Spirit that I may never lose sight of Your purpose for my life.

I pray these things to You, O Gracious FATHER, in the Name of Your Son JESUS CHRIST, through the power of your HOLY SPIRIT. Amen

Saturday, February 9, 2008

LENTEN MEDITATION 5

LENTEN MEDITATION 5


LORD JESUS CHRIST, O LAMB OF GOD,
Who+ taketh away the sins of the world,
Have mercy upon us.


LORD JESUS CHRIST, O LAMB OF GOD,
Bearer of our sins,
Have mercy upon us.

LORD JESUS CHRIST, O LAMB OF GOD,
Savior of the world,
Grant us Thy+ peace.

LENTEN MEDITATION 4

Taking Advantage of GOD
This morning I awoke and was dull of spirit. I wasn't sleepy but simply dull. When I started my morning Psalms, it was totally from a sense of duty; all zest had gone from my early morning devotions.
What was wrong?
After we did morning prayer, our dear and precious LORD, gracious and long-suffering as HE+ is, showed me my sin: I had taken advantage of HIS+ mercy ... so that I could do what I wanted.
What I had done --- willfully done --- last night, Friday evening, was read a children's story book (grade 4 !) of short stories, put out by a Christian publishing house. The situation would likely be innocuous for most people. But for me.... my scheming heart and whiney Self... made this into sin.
Earlier, I had given over to The LORD my reading of Christian novels for Lent. This was important because I LOVE TO READ and I relax down at the end of the work week with a "good book." So... I convinced myself that reading a home-schooling curriculum book of children's short stories (from a Christian publishing house, no less) would not be the same thing as my reading of a Christian novel, right?
NO, WRONG.
The hermitage had an element of un-peacefulness this morning. It was only after our combined morning prayer that peace returned to my husband and me... after I came under conviction that I had taken advantage of the Grace of GOD with my guile... in order to indeed read my book.
Guile, you may recall, is ARTFUL DECEPTION.
Thank you, LORD, that you are not able to be tricked and will not ever bless even the slightest bit of artful deception in me. Thank you for your true mercy of conviction of sin... without which I would be lost. Help me to live honestly and uprightly before you all the days of my life.
It brings to mind the old prayer out of the 1945 Book of Common Prayer.
But, O GOD,Who+ knowest the weakness and corrruption of our nature, and the manifold temptations which we daily meet with;
We humbly beseech THEE to have compassion on our infirmities, and to give us the constant assistance of Thy HOLY SPIRIT; that we may be effectually restrained from sin, and incited to obedience.
Imprint upon our hearts such a dread of Thy judgments, and such a grateful sense of Thy goodness to us , as may make us both afraid and ashamed to offend THEE.
And , above all, keep in our minds a lively remembrance of THAT GREAT DAY, in which we must give a strict account of our thoughts, words, and actions to HIM+ Whom+ THOU hast appointed the JUDGE of the living and the dead, Thy Son, JESUS CHRIST our LORD.
Amen.