Walk. Day 40 of Lent. Be inspired.

Walk. Day 40 of Lent. Be inspired.

Walking to Improve creativity

Like the Greek philosophers, many writers have discovered a deep, intuitive connection between walking, thinking, and writing.

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live!” Henry David Thoreau once wrote in his journal.

What is it about walking, in particular, that makes it so inspirational to thinking and writing?

The answer begins with changes to our physical chemistry. When we go for a walk, the heart pumps quicker, more blood and oxygen circulate not just to the muscles but to all the organs, including the brain. Many experiments have shown that after or during exercise, even very mild exertion, people perform better on tests of memory and attention. Walking on a regular basis also promotes new connections between brain cells.

The way we move our bodies further changes the nature of our thoughts, and vice versa or thoughts change the nature of how our bodies move. Sports Psychologists who specialize in exercise music have found what many of us already know: high tempo music motivates us to move faster.  But did you know that walking at your own pace creates an unadulterated feedback loop between the rhythm of your bodies and your mental state that you cannot experience as easily during any other kind of movement.

Walking is defined by an ‘inverted pendulum’ gait in which the body vaults over the stiff limb or limbs with each step of locomotion.  When we stroll, the pace of our feet naturally vacillates with our moods and the cadence of our inner speech; at the same time, we can actively change the pace of our thoughts by deliberately walking more briskly or by slowing down. And because we don’t have to devote much conscious effort to the act of walking, our attention is free to wander and to overlay the landscape with images from our mind.

This is precisely the kind of mental state that studies have linked to innovative ideas and strokes of insight. Stanford published a set of studies that directly measure the way walking changes creativity in the moment. The bottom line is this- walking is a great activity for brainstorming ideas but not so productive for laser-focused thinking.

Where we walk matters as well. A small collection of studies suggests that spending time in green spaces—gardens, parks, forests—can rejuvenate the mental resources that man-made environments deplete. So parks will be more productive to your creativity than city streets. Psychologists tells us that attention is a limited resource. It is continuously drained during the day.  A city scape populated with activity volleys our attention around. While walking in a park allows our mind to drift peacefully from sensory experience to another as the landscape changes. If you are overstimulated, go for the serene setting of a nature walk. If you need stimulation, a walk in the city will give you a variety of sensations for your mind to explore.

The reflection found on a walk reveals the relationship of walking, thinking and expressing ourselves. After a brisk walk when I return to my desk I find similar aspects in walking and in writing.  When I walk my mind decides the map, my footsteps following the mental path I’ve laid out for the stroll as my body makes that ‘inverted pendulum’ gait. Similarly, writing forces my brain to review its ideas, plot a course of story and transcribe the imaginative thoughts into narrative and descriptive passages through the guiding hand of the strokes on my keyboard.

Of course the delight of a good walk is always the inner conversation you can have with God.
The rambling prayer that skips and lingers, circles back only to look ahead. And somewhere in the walk I usually pause or smile or have that ‘ah-ha’ moment when my spirit and mind bump into the Divine. Glory. Right?

Want to be inspired, go for a walk.

Hope. Day 39 of Lent. Hope springs eternal.

Hope. Day 39 of Lent. Hope springs eternal.

 

They call it March Madness. To determine the national champion of men’s NCAA Division I college basketball, 68 teams play in a single-elimination tournament.  They use Bracketology to predict the field of participants and as each college is announced there is unrivaled joy and excitement to be issued an invitation.

People everywhere jump on the band wagon for the Big Dance, you don’t have to be a fan or even have your team make the cut. March Madness calls out to any one of every age to join in the Bracketology and make your best picks.  It’s kind of like horse-racing to me. Everyone has their philosophy. Some spend hours analyzing; others go by the head coach, the schools record, some pick the underdog, you root for the home team, curse your rival to go out in round one and who doesn’t like a Cinderella team the first two rounds.
But if your team is in the tournament… it’s a nail-biting 67 games.

It all starts with such great hope.

But quickly, March Madness turns to March Sadness.
There’s only one winner in the end and 67 teams have met the devastation of loss.
Villanova became the face of the disappointment.
It wasn’t a basketball player but a girl who played the piccolo with tears of devastation running down her face as the game came to an end. Like 67 other teams, Villanova lost.

villanola crying picolo player

There is something about Hope.
An expectation we feel that so quickly can be devastated by disappointment.

Holy week starts out that way.
The Hope of Hosanna!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
And yet by Friday Jesus Christ is cursed.
The fickle crowd crying out, “Crucify him!”
The disciples scattered.
The Lord dead and buried; sealed in a tomb.
God silent on Saturday.
All hope defeated.
Despair-the complete loss or absence of hope.

Webster’s defines Hope as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. It reminds me of how the world defines love as a feeling instead of a commitment. To most hope is a feeling that what is wanted will happen and can denote either a baseless optimism or a vague yearning after an unattainable good.

Holman Bible Dictionary defines Biblical hope as the anticipation of a favorable outcome under God’s guidance.

More specifically, hope is the confidence that what God has done for us in the past guarantees our participation in what God will do in the future. If hope is to be genuine hope, however, it must be founded on something (or someone) which affords reasonable grounds for confidence in its fulfillment.

“We who have taken refuge (in God’s promises) would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast” Hebrews 6:18-19

The Bible bases its hope in God and His saving acts and uses the vocabulary of hope; that those who hope hold to the truth, endure, and wait expectantly.

During the Passion week Sunday booms with hope. The disciples could see it coming, Jesus would be king and they would be elevated as rulers in His kingdom. “Expectation is the root of all heartache” William Shakespeare said and it is true.  What heartache on Good Friday- how excruciating the disappointment. And Saturday, how numb the grief. We’re frightened to even feel a thing, much less hope.  We all have our ‘Spiritual Saturdays’ when all seems lost and life seems empty. Its like when the seconds tick down to the buzzer and your team misses that last shot. You lost. You’re out. The TV goes black. You’re a part of March Sadness.

Sunday is coming. The resurrection is the ultimate victory.

Christ overcame. He is alive. And hope is alive. And in it, we live.

Along with faith and love, hope is eternal.

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never is, but always to be blessed:
The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
– Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man

Pain. Day 38 of Lent. Phantom pain of the old sin nature.

Pain. Day 38 of Lent. Phantom pain of the old sin nature.

the_phantom_pain_logo

The International Association for the Study of Pain’s widely used definition states: “Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.”

Nociceptive pain is caused by stimulation approaching or exceeding harmful intensity. The most common categories being “thermal” (heat or cold), “mechanical” (crushing, tearing, shearing) and “chemical” (iodine in a cut, chili powder in the eyes).

Neuropathic pain is caused by damage or disease affecting any part of the nervous system involved in bodily feelings. It is often described as “burning”, “tingling”, “electrical”, “stabbing”, or “pins and needles”. Bumping the funny bone elicits acute neuropathic pain.

There is another type of neuropathic pain- Phantom pain is pain felt in a part of the body that has been lost or from which the brain no longer receives signals.


Phantom limb pain is a common experience of amputees. It is often described as shooting, crushing, burning or cramping. Local anesthetic injections into the nerves or sensitive areas of the stump may relieve pain for days, weeks or, sometimes permanently, despite the drug wearing off in a matter of hours. Vigorous vibration or electrical stimulation of the stump, all produce relief in some patients.

Spiritually speaking, have you ever felt this ‘phantom pain’ of the old sin nature?

I love how Bob Hamp explained this in his Freedom series of teachings.

A Parable: The Kingdom of God is like: Phantom Limb Syndrome

Our flesh is the part of you that you travel around in. Go read Romans 5-7 to learn more about it but here is a short course. There are Three Characters at war within you:

    1. Old Nature (Sin Nature, Old Man, Dead Nature)
    2. Flesh (Body, Container, physical needs, desires, nervous system)
    3. New Nature (Spirit, Born Again Spirit)

In Salvation the old nature is crucified and buried but the nervous system has been programmed by the old nature for years. Just because the old man is dead and buried doesn’t mean the program stopped running. You’ve got baggage from the past, it’s like you can’t wipe the hard drive, there is still all your old data stored in there, and viruses that you didn’t clean out.

New Nature is born inside the Flesh. The New Spirit is meant to re-program from the inside out working through you.

Because there is a war within you, the Old Nature keeps trying to tell you it’s still around, in fact sometimes you wonder if it’s not still in control.  It’s painful.  Just like Phantom Limb Syndrome.

When treating Phantom Limb Syndrome, doctors tried to treat giving Tylenol when the missing foot hurts, they actually found they strengthen the nervous systems embedded reactions telling the brain the leg is still in tact. It was successful temporarily, but it maintained the lie over time. This was because as the treatment made it better for a moment and then it got worse again, and more medicine made it better, but then it got worse again, and it only strengthen the programming of the brain that the limb was there.

Instead doctors learned to prescribe a series of treatments that engage the new nerve endings at the stump of the limb. Touching the NEW nerve endings with hot things, cold things, prickly things, soft things, as many new sensations as possible to stimulate the NEW nerve endings, telling the nervous system through new experiences that something has indeed change, the limb is gone and allowing the brain to be re-routed for this new information.  These treatments got the brain to focus on what is the NEW condition.

Like Phantom Limb Syndrome, in order to allow the New Nature to reprogram our nervous system we must begin to stimulate the new nerve endings, which allows the nervous system to reprogram those new experiences into our beliefs.

Many people who get saved are told to go to church, read your bible, pray, etc… doing those things, good things, don’t save you. “By grace we have been saved through faith, and it is not of ourselves it is a gift from God.” Eph 2:8 However the Bible is a book full of Words written by God for you and it’s full of information about what has been done in you already. Instead of wrestling with a dead man who isn’t there anymore-fixating on it; what we are dealing with-then medicating it with ‘solutions’ only to fixate on it again-is not a process that works. Instead we can begin to stimulate our nervous system to what is NEW in us. Going to church and being with other believers, hearing the Word Taught, but also talking WITH other believers allows us to renew our nervous system to that which is NEW there. Bible Reading, Pastors Messages, Prayer, Church Gathering, Etc are all ways to stimulate what is New about you, that which has ALREADY happened.

The more of these you do, with the mindset that you are not doing them “to become”, but rather, “to discover” what you “have become”, the faster we can re-program our nervous system to understand what is new about us and what has really died.

The lesson of the parable is this: don’t focus on the Old, stimulate the New and keep your focus on Christ, abiding in Him we draw all that we need to bear fruit for His kingdom and if you take a look at the list of the fruit of the spirit-love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Gal 5:22-23,  that is what happens supernaturally as we abide in Christ.

 

This writing was an adaptation on the message from Bob Hamp and my notes from taking his Freedom Series class.

http://gatewaypeople.com/ministries/freedom-kairos/media1

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Broken. Day 37 of Lent. Psalm 51.

Broken. Day 37 of Lent. Psalm 51.

Ps51 broken

When I am broken I go to one of my favorite passages of Scripture. Psalm 51
A psalm of David.

I love this version song by Jars of Clay.


1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is[b] a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.
18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
in burnt offerings offered whole;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Debit. Day 36 of Lent. Spiritual Accounting 101.

Debit. Day 36 of Lent. Spiritual Accounting 101.

ledger debit

Debit is a bookkeeping term for the recording or an entry of debt in an account.

To understand its spiritual significance we first have to understand sin’s definition.

Sin is anything that is contrary to the law or will of God. If you do what God has forbidden, then you have sinned. If you do not do what God has commanded, you sin (James 4:17). Either way, the result is eternal separation from God (Isaiah 59:2). Sin is lawlessness (1 John 1:3) and unrighteousness (1 John 5:17). Sin leads to bondage (Rom. 6:14-20) and death (Rom. 6:23). Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. 1 John 3:4
Sin is breaking the law of God.

Sin, breaking the law of God, is a legal debt. 

In Luke 11:4 it says, “And forgive us our sins (hamartia) . . . ” Jesus equates sin with debt.  We can think of it as each sin is a debt recorded as an entry in a ledger. At some point that debt will come due for payment.

Legal debts can be transferred.

Sin is a legal debt and because legal debts can be transferred that is why Jesus could bear our sins in His body on the cross (1 Peter 2:24). Through faith we believe this and are justified.

Justified is a legal standing before the Law.

To be justified is to be declared legally righteous. It is a divine act where God declares the sinner to be innocent of his sins. It is not that the sinner is now sinless but that he is “declared” sinless legally. This justification is based on the shed blood of Jesus, ” . . . having now been justified by His blood . . . ” (Rom. 5:9). When God sees the Christian, He sees him through the sacrifice of Jesus and “sees” him without sin. This declaration of innocence is not without cost, for it required the satisfaction of God’s Law, ” . . . without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness,” (Heb. 9:22).  In justification, the justice of God fell upon Himself—Jesus, the Son of God. Justification is a legal act of imputing the righteousness of Christ to the believer (Rom. 4:11; Phil. 3:9).

To impute means to reckon to someone the blessing, curse, debt, etc., of another.

Adam’s sin is imputed to all people (Rom. 5:12-21). Therefore, we are effectively all guilty before God. Our sins were put upon, imputed, to Jesus on the cross. He became sin on our behalf (2 Cor. 5:21) and died with them (Isaiah 53:4-6). Our sins were dead and buried with Jesus Christ in the tomb. Therefore, our sins are forgiven. Understanding imputation is very important. Imputation is the means of our salvation. Our sins were put upon, imputed, to Jesus on the cross. Our sins, the legal debt we owed, were “given” to Jesus to pay for. When He died on the cross, our sins, in a sense, died with Him. The righteousness that was His through His perfect obedience to the Father in His complete obedience to the Law is imputed, given, to us and legally put in our account. In short, our sins were given to Jesus. His righteousness was given to us.

 To sum it up:

Sin is breaking the law of God and is a legal debt.
Sin is a legal debt and because legal debts can be transferred that is why Jesus could bear our sins in His body on the cross.
Through faith we believe this and are justified.
To be justified is to be declared legally righteous.
Justification is a legal act of imputing the righteousness of Christ to the believer.
To impute means to reckon to someone the debt of another.
Our sins/legal debt were transferred to Jesus.
His righteousness was given to us.

Now that our debt is paid, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8

He paid a debt He did not owe;
I owed a debt I could not pay;
I needed someone to wash my sins away. “Amazing Grace.”
Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay.
Hymn by:  Ellis J. Crum

 

FOLLOW. Day 35 of Lent. You, Me keep on following.

FOLLOW. Day 35 of Lent. You, Me keep on following.

You, me keep on following.

Jesus used a two-word phrase most often when engaging people.
It was a simple, yet profound, call issued with a tone of encouragement.
Follow me.
Jesus used this call, follow me, at least 12x in the gospels.
When Jesus first saw Peter and Andrew his challenging call was “follow me and I’ll teach you how to fish for people.”
Jesus told his followers – take up your cross and – follow me.
He described his followers as sheep – who follow him.
He told us if anyone serves me, he must follow me.
He challenged Peter, after Peter had denied Jesus – follow me.

In New Testament times when a rabbi said “follow me,” he wasn’t simply saying get behind me and go where I go. It wasn’t a recruitment line like “Be all you can be, join the Army.” It was a much deeper appeal—a call— that told the one hearing it, I see something in you, I think you have a heart like mine, a soul like mine. We’re like minded. Join with me, watch me, listen to me, learn from me. I believe you can be like me.

The meaning of the words ‘follow me’ are a challenge to the called to be in the same way as their teacher.
When Jesus said ‘follow me’ it was both a challenge and an encouragement.

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. ‘Follow me and be my disciple,’ Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.”-Matthew 9:9 (NLT)

Jesus saw the heart, soul and mind of Matthew; a tax collector.
Back then tax collectors were master extortionist, real bad guys who were crooked and greedy and hated by the Jews because they had aligned themselves with Rome. So hated they had their very own category – tax collector’s, who were considered so evil that they weren’t even lumped in with “sinners”. Matthew was a Jew by name only, he had to renounce his Jewish heritage to become a tax collector. He could no longer go to the temple to make sacrifices. He would be considered a traitor. And considered far from God.
When Jesus called Matthew he called a tax collector hated by everyone. Do a quick study to see the story from another perspective. In Luke’s gospel it says Jesus “saw a tax collector,” the Jewish response would be resentment, and disgust. But notice how Matthew records it in the gospel version he wrote, “Jesus saw a man named Matthew.”
Matthew knew by personal experience that Jesus saw past the façade. He saw beyond the poor choices and bad decisions and greedy motivations. He saw beyond the family line of the inherited position and past the pride that was a shield to his outcast heart. Jesus saw the man.

“Here is one of the greatest instances in the New Testament of Jesus’ power to see in a man, not only what he was, but also what he could be. No one ever had such faith in the possibilities of human nature as Jesus had.” -William Barclay

As Matthew sat at the tax collector’s booth Jesus issued him an invitation, a way out of his former life to begin a new life. With the words ‘follow me’ he was lavishing encouragement-which means to impart strength into someone saying He believed there was something about Matthew that was like Him- you have a heart like mine, a soul like mine, we’re like minded- join with me, watch me, listen to me, learn from me. Be my disciple.
Matthew got up and followed Jesus!
He wanted out. He wanted freedom. He wanted community and union and love more than the emptiness of money and power. In that one moment can you imagine what Matthew experienced? Grace, amazing grace, full and deep and real. Love. Jesus saw him. His inner being understood. Jesus gave him another chance and a new life. Isn’t that the picture of salvation. Yes. Lord, yes, how you love us. Our God sees us.
Matthew experienced a spiritual truth that day … God sees us where we are and calls us to follow him into deeper things.

You might think about Matthew and be tempted to compare your story to his. Don’t.
In C.S. Lewis story, A Horse and His Boy, Aslan recounts his sovereign workings in Shasta’s life. As he listens and reflects he suddenly questions, “Then it was you who wounded Aravis?”
“It was I.”
“But what for?”
“Child, I am telling your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own.”

Comparison kills contentment and takes our focus off of the story God is writing in our lives. The apostle Peter learned this truth after he was reinstated through Christ’s three questions, “Peter, do you love me?” that counter balanced Peter’s three earlier betrayals as he answered, “Yes, Lord, I love you,” and was commissioned again to feed and shepherd Jesus people. Jesus then explains that Peter’s life of service would be difficult and he would have to bear his own cross, Peter looks at the apostle John and asks the comparison question- “Lord, what about him?”
Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.

Jesus final ‘Follow me’ can be translated like this,
“You, Me keep on following.”
You- your journey, your story is personal and Jesus knows it all.
Me- the Lord Jesus Christ is the one we are to follow.
Keep on- following is a never-ending pursuit.
Follow-like I walked, where I lead you, in my spirit, abiding in me for energy and sustenance.

After 2,000 years Jesus’ challenge hasn’t changed. It is simply…
You, Me keep on following.

Jesus isn’t inviting us to join a lecture group to get to know Him and His ways.
This is an apprenticeship. It’s hands on application we are called to by the words,
“You, Me keep on following.”

The Jews had a blessing said over students of a rabbi –
May you always be covered by the dust of your rabbi.”

A rabbi would often travel and following close behind would be his disciples. After walking the dusty roads directly behind their rabbi, the disciples would be dusted, covered by the road dirt that was kicked up from the rabbi’s feet.

“May you always be covered by the dust of The Rabbi, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

May you find the dust of your rabbi in his mysterious call within your heart and in his true Word spoken aloud. May dust find you in moments of quiet meditation and settle over you in those times of deep reflection. May his dust sparkle in the air as you worship, giving to those who have less, serving those in need, pouring out to others the good news of the gospel. May the same dust of The Rabbi so infiltrate your life that it begins to cover others behind you as you run the race set before you, your story in His story, of the grace and love of God.

TRUST. Day 34 of Lent. Believing in Truth.

TRUST. Day 34 of Lent. Believing in Truth.

Tell the truth now, You are a liar.

everybody lies

Dr. Gregory House claims, “Everybody lies,” on the show House, but few understand what lying is, what it does, and how to stop it.

Lying is saying something with the intent of creating a false belief or impression. It’s an attempt to get someone to believe something that is not true. We deceive other people because we think it serves our purposes in some way.

We often lie when we are afraid of facing what would happen if we told the truth. We lie to cover-up. Or we lie to inflate who we are because we lack self-confidence and feel overlooked or want attention or status. We deceive other people because we think it serves our purposes in some way or it keeps us from hurting them because as Jack Nicholson’s said, “You can’t handle the truth.” We’re all habitual ‘white liars’ because we are too lazy to find creative ways to speak the truth in love and we can’t fathom how rude we would be if we all told the truth all the time like Jim Carrey in the 1997 comedy Liar Liar.

The most common ways we lie are to save face, shift the blame, avoid confrontation, to get our way, to be nice or to make ourselves look better. But every lie has a cost. Dr. Feldman says in his book The Liar in Your Life, “Even if we are telling what seems to be a totally harmless lie, we know we’re telling that lie, and it causes a kind of smudge on the relationship.” When we find out we’ve been lied to a certain trust has been broken, our faith is shattered and we find it harder to trust.

Trust. The firm belief in the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing that gives us confidence or reliance in them. Trust makes something worth believing.

In a world where everybody lies how assuring is it that God himself “does not lie” (Titus 1:2). In his holiness, he is incapable of lying.
God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).
God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” Numbers 23:19

God cannot lie. If it were ever righteous to lie, then that would mean there is something that God can not do. It is clearly not God’s plan for people to say something with the intent of creating a false belief or impression to get someone to believe something that is not true because we it serves our purposes in some way. As His children we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves and not bear false witness.

Some might make an argument for lying when it is the lesser of two evils like in the case of Corrie ten Boom, who saved a number of lives by hiding Jewish people from the Gestapo. Sarah Sumner says that, “Ten Boom’s situation—like many other situations—was so tangled up in sin that it seems like her best option was to lie. What ten Boom’s case shows is not that lying is honoring to God, but rather that human circumstances can degenerate into something so depraved that lies get mixed in with acts of faith.”
In a sinful world truth dilemmas are the exception not the rule. Corrie ten Boom was an honorable hero but when she lied, she wasn’t imitating God.
We can trust God because God never lies. God always tells the truth. Truth is that which corresponds to reality. God always speaks truth. If He says fire is hot, it is hot. His truth corresponds to reality.

Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life.” (John14:6) “In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” (John 18:37)
Lying is sin because untruth violates Truth. Since Jesus is the Truth, it is antichrist or against Christ to lie. Without truth there would be only chaos. No community.

God is relational and He knows that lying breaks the trust in a relationship. It is a sin against our fellow-man, ourselves and our God. God wants us to be truthful as a way of cultivating our relationship not only with Him but also with other people.

Jesus is truth and cannot lie therefore God can be trusted.
But there is a father of lies named Satan. He is always saying things with the intent of creating a false belief or impression, attempting to get someone to believe something that is not true because it serves his purpose to deceive the world.Satan tries to tell us truth is relative and is based on ‘How you see reality.” Maybe fire isn’t hot it is only warm, you should touch it and see.

Truth is not relative, it is absolute. Everybody knows what truth is because everybody knows how to lie and tell what truth is not.

The issue with TRUST, isn’t an issue with having a God we can trust, it is more an issue with our own ability to trust because everyone else we know lies.

Today just meditate on the truth- My God can not lie.

For the king trusts in the LORD, And through the lovingkindness of the Most High he will not be shaken. Psalms 21:7

Devotion. Day 33 of Lent. How we finish The Story.

Devotion. Day 33 of Lent. How we finish The Story.

we behold the lamb

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Rev 12:11

From Day 31 of Lent there was The Story of the Moravian Missionaries and their rallying call of “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of his suffering!” On Day 32 of Lent The Story continued with Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf’s call to Serve after he read the words, “I have done this for you; what have you done for me?” On Day 33 we finish the story with Devotion, after realizing Christ died for us and we, the Church are the reward of His suffering.

Acts 20:28 says that God purchased the church with Christ’s blood. “Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son.” On the authority of this text we can say: Christ’s bleeding wounds were meant to purchase me. The Savior’s drops of blood were shed to obtain my redemption.”

Understanding that the Church of God is the reward of Christ’s suffering we realize we are not our own. We have been bought with a price. Redeemed from the wrath of God and the destination of eternal hell and given eternal life.

We are Christ’s reward and this truth moves our heart with devotion-an ardent, often selfless affection and dedication to Him.

Christ suffered to cleanse and beautify His people, His bride.  “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25–27

What was the reward of His suffering? To sanctify His church that the holiness-spiritual beauty-of his people will be His reward. To present her to Himself in splendor; without spot or wrinkle, so His reward will be the beauty of His bride. The Church, Christ Bride, will be splendid and glorious at the marriage feast of the Lamb.

When ask what the most important commanded was, Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.’ Are you loving Christ with all your might to render to Jesus the reward of his suffering—to offer up to him what He has purchased? Is your heart in tune with his heart, understanding what Christ suffered for, not that you would be blessed with health and wealth and live in a comfort zone of happiness-all outward things, but that you might be holy, spiritually beautiful, set apart for Him, becoming more and more like Him daily. He considered your holiness worth dying for; are you considering His love worth living for or do you neglect what he died to purchase?

So the reward of Christ’s sufferings is the holiness of his people. He suffered and bled and died to obtain a people and to make that people holy—clean and beautiful. Your holiness—your spiritual beauty—is the reward of his sufferings and the purchase of his blood.

This spiritually beautiful bride of Christ will be passionate for Good Deeds. “He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness.” Titus 2:11-14 (MSG) Or as the NIV translates, “He gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

He gave himself to make a people zealous for good deeds. He shed his blood to purchase your passion for practical righteousness, for showing mercy, for benevolence and goodness and kindness, for courage and compassion.  Notice this carefully: he did not die merely to get you to start trying harder, to stop doing some bad things or get you to do some good things. He died to change something in our spirit, to fan into flame a fire in us to serve, passionately.

Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And Jesus said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

Christ suffered and bled and died to give you, the people who love Him, a zeal for doing good.  Do you have a passion for doing good to people? The eternal good through being a witness of the good news of the gospel and a temporal good of serving others as a means to that end, that they too may be saved. How are you loving your ‘neighbors’? Are you denying Christ the reward of his sufferings by only serving yourself?

The passion of those early Moravian missionaries was zealous and peculiar. Zinzendorf made sure that they never forgot the blood of Jesus. They understood: my life, my holiness-spiritual beauty, my passionate love for others shown in service was purchased at the price of his blood. How can I not live for his honor with every breath I take! How can I not freely offer up to him what he has purchased with his blood and give Him wholehearted service?

Finally, the reward of Christ’s sufferings is a ransomed church from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. In Revelation 5:9 the Lamb of God is worshiped with these words, “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain,     and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.”

We are the reward of Christ suffering, the redeemed of every tribe, tongue, people and nation, made spiritually beautiful and zealous for good works. The reward of His suffering is also the forgiveness of our sins (Ephesians 1:7), and justification by faith (Romans 5:9), and reconciliation with God (Romans 5:10), and cleansing of our consciences (Hebrews 9:14), and the final victory over Satan (Revelation 12:11).

When I first heard this story of the Moravian missionaries, I found in comparison my own heart had a terrible indifference to the price Jesus paid for my holiness and my zeal for service and my passion for world evangelism. Yet their inspirational parting cry to family and friends can becoming our meditative prayer of devotion; making a difference now in how we live for Him. “MAY THE LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN RECEIVE THE REWARD OF HIS SUFFERING.”

Lord Jesus, as your reward, may there be nothing we want more in life than what You suffered, bled and died to obtain. Let us love You with all our might to render to You with passion the reward of Your suffering; an inner holiness of a beautiful spirit, a zeal for service, a passion for witnessing to our world the good news of the gospel to the praise of Your glory. Amen

 

Serve. Day 32 of Lent. The Story continues.

Serve. Day 32 of Lent. The Story continues.

Stamp_Germany_2000_MiNr2115_Nikolaus_Ludwig_von_Zinzendorf

Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf was a German, born in 1700, who founded a community of earnest Christians called Herrnhut-“The Lord’s Watch”. The community became part of the Moravian Church and was best known for its unparalleled missionary zeal that sent out the two young missionaries in The Story from Day 31 of Lent.

In 1727 the community started a round the clock “prayer watch” that lasted unbroken for 100 years. There were about 300 persons in the community and various ones covenanted to pray for one of the 24 hours in the day. 65 years later, with the lamp of prayer still burning, the little community had sent out 300 missionaries to the unreached peoples of the West Indies, Greenland, Lapland, Turkey, and North America. They were radically dedicated to making Jesus known. Behind this community at Herrnhut there was an experience of deep humbling, and cleansing, and power based on the blood of Jesus.

In Zinzendorf early years, after he had finished university, he took a trip throughout Europe looking at some of the cultural highlights. In the art museum at Dusseldorf something life changing happened when he saw a painting by Domenico Feti entitled “Ecce Homo”-Behold the Man.

ecco homo behold the man

Beneath the portrait were the words,
“I have done this for you; what have you done for me?”

As he stood there, as it were, watching his Savior suffer and bleed, he said to himself, “I have loved him for a long time, but I have never actually done anything for him. From now on I will do whatever he leads me to do.”

For the rest of his life the blood of Jesus had a central place in the doctrine and devotion of Zinzendorf and his community at Herrnhut. It was this devotion to serve Christ and Zinzendorf’s passion to proclaim Him that was transferred to the two young missionaries in The Story from Day 31 that sailed to the West Indies, departing with the sacred pledge to their friends on shore, “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of his suffering!”

What is the reward of Christ suffering?

The church of God.

We are not our own. We have been bought with a price. Redeemed from the wrath of God and the destination of eternal hell and given eternal life.

“Has the Lord obtained the reward of his sufferings in your life?”

Think about the blood of Jesus running down his face from the thorns, and across his scourged back, and from his pierced hands and feet and pouring from the wound in His side, are you satisfied with what Christ has of you? Or are you withholding any of the reward of his suffering? Do you rise each day and commit to live every moment so that the Great Purchaser of your soul will receive the full reward of his suffering”?

Christ came to serve. “and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matt 20:27-28

I have done this for you; what have you done for me?

This question is worth of meditation when we think of the word serve.  How can we serve our Christ?

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2

 

STORY. Day 31 of Lent. The Reward.

STORY. Day 31 of Lent. The Reward.

movarian athem

Leonard Dober and a carpenter named David Nitschmann were two young Moravian Missionaries who heard of an island in the West Indies where an atheist British owner had 3000 slaves. This slave owner had sworn, “No preacher, no clergyman, will ever stay on this island. If he’s ship wrecked we’ll keep him in a separate house until he has to leave, but he’s never going to talk to any of us about God, I’m through with all that nonsense.”

Three thousand slaves from the jungles of Africa brought to an island in the Atlantic and enslaved there to live and die without ever hearing the good news of Christ.

When these two young Moravians heard about it, they were so moved that they sold themselves to the British planter and used the money they received from their sale to pay their passage out to his island for he wouldn’t even transport them.

As the ship left its pier in the river at Hamburg and was going out into the North Sea carried with the tide, the Moravians had come from Herrenhut to see these two young men in their early twenties off.  They would never return again, for this wasn’t a four-year term, they sold themselves into lifetime slavery. Their mission to simply live out their lives as slaves, they could be Christians where these others were who would never hear the hope of Christ. Their families and friends were there weeping, for they knew they would never see them again. And many there wondered why they were going and questioned the wisdom of such a supreme sacrifice.

As the housings had been cast off and were being curled up there on the pier, and the young men saw the widening gap between ship and shore, one lad with his arm linked through the arm of his fellow, raised his hand and shouted across the growing chasm the last words that were heard from them.

“MAY THE LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN
RECEIVE THE REWARD OF HIS SUFFERING!

MAY THE LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN
RECEIVE THE REWARD OF HIS SUFFERING!”

This became the call of Moravian missions. And this is the only reason for being. That the Lamb that was slain may receive the reward of His suffering!

Told by P. Reidhead

lamb slain

Moravian anthem: “We will follow the Lamb wherever He goes. May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering.”