“Live like children of light…”

 

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome

From Ephesians:

8For you used to be darkness; but now, united with the Lord, you are light. Live like children of light, 9for the fruit of the light is in every kind of goodness, rightness and truth — 10try to determine what will please the Lord. 11Have nothing to do with the deeds produced by darkness, but instead expose them, 12for it is shameful even to speak of the things these people do in secret. 13But everything exposed to the light is revealed clearly for what it is, 14since anything revealed is a light. This is why it says,

“Get up, sleeper! Arise from the dead,

and the Messiah will shine on you!”

15Therefore, pay careful attention to how you conduct your life — live wisely, not unwisely. 16Use your time well, for these are evil days. 17So don’t be foolish, but try to understand what the will of the Lord is.

From <https://www.bible.com/bible/1275/eph.5>

Children of darkness, now children of light, have characteristics that define them.  One, they are united with Christ, so they are filled up with Him; in their words getting up and going down He is seen.  They live differently than before. They seek to please the Lord.  This is so different from seeking an experience.  Children of darkness seek experience through alcohol, drugs, sensual activities; not any different from the worshipers of idols in ancient days.  Seeking after experience for the feel good is missing the mark.  Two, children of light seek the Giver who  brings an experience; the experience doesn’t have to be sought after.  Seeking experiences leads to experience that is self-driven, contrived, and the same elements are used that are used by the agents of darkness.  Lights, music, loud; overwhelming the senses; working the crowd…the agents bombard the worshiper, whipping them into a release then leaving them spent; wrung out like a wet rag.

Rather than making the experience king; get to know the Giver of the experience.  This is a subtle image of what worshiping the creation rather than the Creator looks like.  Worshiping the creating of experiential events rather than the Lord of all gives false euphoria that vanishes in the wind.  It isn’t soul food; it’s whipped cream.

“Pay careful attention to how you conduct your life.”  Begin to willfully come into agreement with Jesus and become a giver not a getter.  “Use your time well; live wisely not unwisely.” Don’t be foolish; whipped cream is good but lacks in health giving nutrients.  It is a treat not a meal.  “Try to understand what the will of the Lord is.”  This requires meat that is found in Scripture.  The how-to’s and elements of a strong foundation are found here allowing one to begin to know the Giver and better able to identify genuine and counterfeit.  Become givers; of time spent alone, without distractions in Scripture, getting to know Him,  time spent with teachers of the Word who have spent time studying its precepts, and  become givers of love shown in actions and words towards others.  Become givers of self and self-will to God and His will.

Pray – I want to know You, really know who You are and what You do.  I enjoy whipped cream experience but I realize I need meat and vegetables to live the life of light.

Repent – My Father, please help me to be on my guard; stand firm in the faith; be a person of courage; be strong and do everything in love.  I repent for seeking after illusions of you at the expense of my time spent communing with You.

Ask – Lord, the Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. (1 Timothy 4:1)  Please, Heavenly Father, help me to stand firm in the faith and not be deceived in a time of growing deception.

Yes – Yes, keep this book of God’s law on your lips, and meditate on it day and night, so that you will take care to act according to everything written in it.  Then your undertakings will prosper, and you will succeed. ( Joshua 1:8) I will keep Your Word in my heart and on my lips.  I will not be discouraged by the evil around me, rather my focus will remain on what You do, who You are and therefore who I am in You and what I can do through You.

Sources: Ephesians, 1 Timothy, Joshua and Praying God’s Word by Beth Moore

Oneness…the Power of One

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome

From Ephesians:

Therefore, I, the prisoner united with the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you’ve been called

Always be humble, gentle and patient, bearing with one another in love, and making every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit gives through the binding power of shalom.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as when you were called you were called to one hope.  And there is one Lord, one trust, one immersion, and one God, the Father of all, who rules over all, works through all and is in all.

One is powerful; one implies unity and strength.  One is constant; one is pure. Look at all the facets oneness possesses.

One has no division; one works together, may be many but having one purpose.  The cord composed of three or more strands is still one; it is combined to give strength.

Christ brought the peace of oneness.  One call, one hope, one Lord, one body, one Spirit, one trust, one immersion, one God all give purpose and strength.  All is the result of one love; the love of the Father for the creation, so lost, and their love in return.  The same love sent Christ and provided his peace for all.

Pray – We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord and Your banner over us is love.

Repent – I repent for those times I am so focused on me I forget I am part of something much greater.

Ask – Keep my focus on our oneness in You

Yes – O how good, how pleasant it is for brothers and sisters to live together in harmony.

Perfect needs Practice…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome
Practicing the doing of the Word.

“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”

Practicing the peace(shoes), the righteousness (breastplate), the salvation (helmet), the faith (shield), the truth (belt), the scripture (sword), praying (the activator) is work.  When we speak of salvation it is a gift, not of works, lest anyone should boast; we are not saying there is no work.  A misconception that is commonly heard.  What is said is simply the truth that we cannot work to attain salvation; but salvation, the gift, comes with a set of instructions so that it may be complete.  We do the instructions; following them requires practice.  Even in this, God is the enabler, we are not abandoned to a task impossible…

So what does this practice look like?  When one decides to learn a new skill, one first researches it; studies it; asks for a ‘master’ of the skill to help.  Then one begins to practice that skill.  Simply wanting the skill does not make one skilled at it.  The celebrities of the world did not go out onto a rink, onto a court, onto a stage and begin their ‘game’ untaught and unpracticed.

How does one practice a skill of the Christ-like lifestyle?  Not by following a set of restrictions, but by being freed up from fear to continue the practice.  Freedom from fear of failure, fear of inability, fear of inadequacy allows confidence in who one is, the identity in Christ, and what tools are available to use in the quest for an overcoming life full of the blessing found listed in Ephesians.   Who one is in Christ and what is available to the believer is found clearly defined in Ephesians 1-3.

Begin with study.  We have a study guide full of encouragement and advice directly from  God!  Follow with coaching from one already skilled.  We have teachers of the Word and those walking in faith as well as fellow students at different levels of ability.  Pray, asking for that promised enabling that comes from God, keeping the focus on “the ball”, “the light,”  the Lord, not on the circumstances.

In conflict, follow Psalm 62: My soul, waits in silence for God alone; my salvation (from the conflict) comes from Him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation (not any other source; money, job, etc.) my stronghold; I won’t be greatly moved.  ( emotions are recognized but don’t rule my actions).  I sit, listen, wait.  I’m gathering information about the other person, about the nature of the conflict, and I’m hearing the voice of the spirit in the Word I’ve already placed in my heart and mind.  I speak only when given prodding to speak by the spirit, not by the emotion.  This is practicing peace(shoes).  Dug in and standing firm, unmoved by emotion or fear.  It is practicing truth(belt), it is practicing the Word in action ( sword and shield).  Activate it all by praying the scripture in the heart and mind; ready for use in deflecting accusations.

Pray – My soul waits in silence for God alone; my salvation comes from him.  He alone is my rock and salvation, my stronghold; I won’t be greatly moved.  Putting on the helmet of salvation and the shoes of peace.

Repent – I repent for those times I have placed my efforts before your instructions came; Moving out in my own strength without waiting for your commands, without seeking Your commands.

Ask- My soul, wait in silence for God alone, because my hope comes from Him.  He alone is my rock and salvation, my stronghold; I won’t be moved.  O God, You are my God, I will seek you eagerly.  My heart thirsts for You, my body longs for You…, my lips will  worship You.

Yes – Yes, I will bless you as long as I live.

Sources: Psalm 62,63; Ephesians 1, 4, 6

Fear equals respect…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome

Proverbs 16:6-

Grace and truth atone for iniquity, and people turn from evil through fear of Adonai.  When a man’s ways please Adonai, he makes even the man’s enemies be at peace with him.  Better a little with righteousness than a huge income with injustice.  A person may plan his path, but Adonai directs his steps.

 

Fear of Adonai equates with respect.  Respect that stems from understanding who he is and what he does.  Yes, Jesus smiles but he had a face of flint toward those who practiced pride, arrogance, judgment, and oppression toward others.  We look at one aspect of God and, like children, forget the whole, making the one aspect the whole.  There is a gross lack of respect following on the tails of a smiling, gracious God that is evidenced in the actions of some.  It is notable that ‘go and  sin no more’ followed ‘neither do I condemn thee.’  Truth will demand respect as grace opens up love…

 

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Undisciplined children

Parents,

Proverbs 13:18 – [Pro 13:18 KJV] 18 Poverty and shame [shall be to] him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.

Children who choose to disregard instruction face shame (correction consequences) and poverty (lack of knowledge and lack of learning) both of which shows in the final assessments (grades). Children who choose to listen and exercise self-control need only to be told once and learn. They too face consequences; honor, for as they are able to listen they learn, they have knowledge and they apply it. In the final assessments (grades) it shows. They are honored in many ways one of which is the honor roll. They are also developing into individuals who will succeed at what they do. It is a choice. When we block the natural consequences, we harm them. We teach them self-control is not important, it will be overlooked time and again and they become adults who if they make any gains make them at the expense of others, for that is what they have learned. Forbearing one another, treating one another with kindness, preferring one another is foreign to them. They have been catered to and believe that is how it should be. What and how are we teaching our children? My experience in the classroom says we are not following scripture. My experience in the classroom says we are spoiling the child. Our natural love gets in the way of what is best for the child. It is hard to discipline a wayward child. They are cute, they are ours, they are masters at manipulation, they persevere till they get what they want,

[Pro 22:15 KJV] 15 Foolishness [is] bound in the heart of a child; [but] the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

That rod can come in many forms. It does not always have to be corporal punishment. It is a rod of correction, it is reproof, it teaches consequences, it follows God’s Word. Time to take a close look at what we are doing to prepare our children for their future.

Break the silence….

 

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Genesis 42:21

21 Then they said to one another, “Truly we are guilty concerning our brother, because we saw the distress of his soul when he pleaded with us, yet we would not listen; therefore this distress has come upon us.”

 

Do we honestly think we are immune?  It is time to break the silence…Germany paid dearly for their silence…

Luke 10:29-37

 

29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain [man] went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded [him], and departed, leaving [him] half dead.

31 “Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

32 “Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.

33 “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion.

34 “So he went to [him] and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

35 “On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave [them] to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’

36 “So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”

37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

 

The following excerpt is included because it is a battle cry to action.   

 

“God specifically tells us:

“When you happen on someone who’s in trouble or needs help . . . don’t look the other way pretending you don’t see him – don’t keep a tight grip on your purse. No. Look at him; open your purse; lend whatever and as much as he needs. . . . Give freely and spontaneously. Don’t have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God’s blessing in everything you do – all your work and ventures. . . .” Deuteronomy 15:9-11The Message (MSG

First they came for the Coptic Christians but I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t Coptic.

Then they came for the Homosexual and stoned them to death, but I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t homosexual.

Then they sold the Kurdish women and children in to slavery but I wasn’t a 9 year old Kurd so I didn’t say anything.

Then they came for the Muslim who wasn’t Muslim enough and the Christian that wouldn’t convert but I didn’t say anything because I didn’t think it involved me and I didn’t think I could do anything anyway.

Eventually they will come for you, and there will be no one left to speak out for you.

Not to speak is to speak, not to stand is to stand. God will not hold us blameless.”– Glen Beck

 

Not to speak is to speak.

Not to stand is to stand.

Not to vote is to vote.

Not to act is to act.

Each of us can be a Samaritan in some way to our neighbors suffering violence whether it be at the hands of ISIS or angry protestors or the scalpel of an abortionist.  Violence is done to the innocent.  We can no longer look away as children and women are enslaved and trafficked to a customer base that includes the US of A.   It doesn’t go away because we close our eyes.  It remains and grows.

God’s people are the salt and light of the earth.  Salt enhances flavor but also burns the wounds and destroys the soil.  Light brings understanding but also exposes the acts done in darkness.  We are the salt and light.  We have a voice.  We must raise the voice of the Samaritan and bind the wounds, bring relief, spread the message of love to counter the voices of hate.  Note that the religious leaders avoided the confrontation.  Let’s not turn away or go to the other side of the road. Let’s engage in this fight against evil. Let’s raise our voice…

Remember this?

“The Sound Of Silence”

Hello darkness my old friend.

I’ve come to talk with you again.

Because a vision softly creeping

Left its seeds while I was sleeping

And the vision that was planted in my brain

Still remains

Within the sound of silence.

————————-

In restless dreams I walked alone

Narrow streets of cobblestone

‘neath the halo of a street lamp

I turned my collar to the cold and damp

When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light

That split the night and touched the sound of silence.

—————————-

And in the naked light I saw ten thousand people, maybe more.

People talking without speaking,

People hearing without listening.

People writing songs that voices never shared

No one dared, disturb the sound of silence

—————————–

“Fools,” said I, “you do not know,

Silence like a cancer grows.

Hear my words that I might teach you,

Take my arms that I might reach you.”

But my words like silent raindrops fell and echoed

In the wells of silence.

————————

And the people bowed and prayed

To the neon god they made

And the sign flashed out its warning in the words that it was forming.

And the sign said, “the words of the prophets

Are written on the subway walls and tenement halls

And whispered in the sound of silence.

© 1964 Words and Music by Paul Simon

 

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But Lord!…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Psalm 31

 

In you, Adonai, I take refuge;

Let me never be put to shame;

In your justice, save me!

Turn your ear toward,

Come quickly to my rescue,

Be for me a rock of strength,

A fortress to keep me safe.

Since you are my rock and fortress,

Lead me and guide me for your name’s sake.

Free me from the net they have hidden to catch me,

Because you are my strength.

Into your hand I commit my spirit;

You will redeem me, Adonai, God of truth.

 

This passage above would be a great prayer to pray for Saeed and the Christians under siege in the Mid-east.

 

I hate those who serve worthless idols;

As for me, I trust in Adonai.

I will rejoice and be glad in your grace,

For you see my affliction,

You know how distressed I am.

You did not hand me over to the enemy;

You set my feet where I can move freely.

 

Show me favor, Adonai, for I am in trouble.

My eyes grow dim with anger,

My soul and body as well.

For my life is worn out with sorrow

And my years with sighing;

My strength gives out under my guilt,

And my bones are wasting away.

 

I am scorned by all my adversaries,

And even more by my neighbors;

Even to my acquaintances

I am an object of fear–

When they see me in the street,

They turn away from me.

Like a dead man, I have passed from their minds;

I have become like a broken pot.

All I hear is whispering,

Terror is all around me;

They plot together against me,

Scheming to take my life.

 

But I, I trust in you Adonai;

I say, ‘You are my God.’

My times are in your hand;

Rescue me from my enemies’ power,

From those who persecute me.

 

Make your face shine on your servant,

In your grace, save me.

Adonai, don’t let me be put to shame,

For I have called on you;

Let the wicked be put to shame,

Let them be silenced in Sh’ol.

May lying lips be struck dumb

That speak insolently against the righteous

With such pride and contempt.

 

But oh, how great is your goodness,

Which you have stored up for those who fear you,

Which you do for those who take refuge in you,

Before people’s very eyes!

In the shelter of your presence

You hide them from human plots,

You conceal them in your shelter,

Safe from contentious tongues.

 

Blessed be Adonai!

For he has shown me his amazing grace

When I was in a city under siege.

As for me, in my alarm, I said,

‘I have been cut off from your sight!’

Nevertheless you heard my pleas

When I cried out to you.

 

Love Adonai, you faithful of his.

Adonai preserves the loyal,

But the proud he repays in full.

Be strong, and fill your hearts with courage,

All of you who hope in Adonai.

 

Matthew 7:21-

 

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, only those who do what my Father in Heaven wants. On that Day, many will say to me ‘Lord, Lord! Didn’t we prophesy in your name? Didn’t we expel demons in your name? Didn’t we perform many miracles in your name? Then I will tell them to their faces, ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!

 

Taking refuge in God is by the mind, emotions, will, our soul, our spirit. This cannot be a physical refuge but a guarding of the mind especially. A guarding of the heart…out of the heart, the mouth speaks. We experience constant attack and bids for our minds, our heart. Immersed in God’s Word, immersed in him and by His Spirit we are kept true to him. Then, in that Day, we will be known by him, we will enter into his kingdom, we will not be sent away. We cannot work for our salvation, but we can work to keep our focus on him alone. David tells of his fears, his depressions, his attacks but always keeps his focus on the One who created him, can protect and provide for him. For this he was rewarded with exactly that. He made known his fears and God covered them, he made known his attacks and God fought for and with him. We have the same promise. In this relationship we know Him and He knows us. We need have no fear of being turned away in that Day.

 

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